If you have ever thought about starting an online boutique, you've probably asked yourself...
Should I sell on Facebook or start a website?
And you are not alone...many boutique owners ask themselves this exact question every day!
Let's say you decide to start an online boutique right on Facebook. You create a Facebook page, pick a cute name and start posting items for sale. You add your friends and family to the page and they invite their friends and before you know it, you are almost to 100 fans (cue the confetti)
Hitting a 100 fans wasn't that bad, maybe you are on to something? So you post more items for sale and you get some sales, mostly your friends and family but it's a start right! You start thinking...this could be a start to something AMAZING!
Then you realize your sister isn't commenting under your posts anymore...what the what?
UGGHHHH...the frustration sets in as you realize Facebook isn't showing your posts to your fans. It seems like they saw your posts at first but now....crickets. What the heck happened?
You go to bed thinking about it and come up with a solution at 2 am....you know when all the good ideas happen.
How could you have missed it...you need to start a Facebook group! That's the answer. That's what all the BIG boutiques do. They have Facebook pages and VIP groups. You have figured it out! You start a Facebook group and start posting away. You remind everyone to join your group and the excitement begins again (break out the confetti again)
Now you are killing it, in only a week you have almost 100 people join your group and the best part...they are shopping. Whoop Whoop! You can finally relax now...you have figured it out.
Another week rolls by and you realize sales seem to be down a bit, not as many comments. You start to think...maybe it's slow because people are busy? Maybe it's the items you are offering? Maybe it's a slow time of year?
Oh, wait...once again....you realize the members of your group aren't seeing your posts as they should. But you know the answer (because you've seen it in other groups). All you have to do is tell your group members to enable notifications, that way they will see every time you post.
Are you seeing a pattern here????
I know this all too well. I started my first online boutique in 2010 and at that time, ALL...yes ALL of my Facebook posts went to my fans. As Facebook grew and changed (like all things in life) I quickly realized one of the most important lessons I have ever learned in my life...
Don't run your business on someone else's real estate.
And so my love for e-commerce began.
You see while selling on Facebook is very popular, easy to set up and simple to run, it may not be the best choice for your online boutique. While it may be easy and you may get a couple hundred or thousand people to like your page or join your group, you will never control what they see(unless you are Mark Zuckerberg and in that case...I am so thrilled you are reading my blog...LOL)
All joking aside, if you want to start and grow the online boutique of your dreams, you can't do it on someone else's real estate.
I know because this idea of not running a business on someone else's real estate helped me build a MASSIVE online boutique.
I shifted from using Facebook to sell to using Facebook to drive people to my own website(my real estate). This single shift was a catalyst for major change and set up my online boutique for scalable success.
My focus after learning this very valuable lesson was to build a profitable and scalable online boutique on my very own website. I spent years testing, tweaking, and building an online boutique that thrived on its very own real estate.
I discovered that Shopify was by far the best option for my online boutique. It is an all in one solution that could grow with my business. You don't have to be techy to figure it out, believe me, if I can build a website...so can you my friend.
And while I can't tell you what the right choice is for your online boutique, I can tell you what my experience has been. My hope is that it will help you make the best decision possible for your online boutique.
So, get out there and dream big...your real estate is waiting for you.
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Do you dream of opening your own online boutique?
Finding the perfect products, building a killer website and coming up with a catchy business name are only small parts of the process of starting an online boutique. So how do you go from dreaming about starting an online boutique to actually opening an online boutique?
Not sure? Don't worry...I've been there, done that and came up with a few simple steps to get you started on the right path to success.
A dream without a plan is just a wish, or so they say! A business plan can help you validate your business idea, clarify strategies and goals, and plan for future growth. If you have a dream to start an online business you better get to planning. Maybe you started your online boutique but didn't even write a proper business plan?
Either way, you need a plan and here are my top free resources for business templates and 500+ Free Sample Business Plans from BPlan.