While many businesses turn to more service-oriented models, there’s still plenty of value in product offerings. Whether you’re interested in leveraging your product photography background or enticing buyers with the latest must-have item, there are plenty of ways to start a product-based business that can thrive.
If you’re a beginner, you’ll need to find a new home for your business, consider a bridge loan, and determine how you can use social media and marketing to benefit your growth and expansion. If you want to showcase your products effectively, you’re going to want to know the ins and outs of your chosen industry. Whether you’re developing apparel and accessories or you’re offering competitive rates on popular items, here’s how to start a smarter product-based business.
Secure adequate business capital.
Unless you already have a solid amount of collateral and business, you’re likely going to need to borrow money. You may borrow money to make a down payment on real estate or a new home for your business, update your business’s current home, develop a stronger product image, or produce wares like jewelry, diffusers, and more. Before you accept any offer to borrow money, make sure you’re working with the right lender. While a traditional lender may seem like the ideal choice, you may want to consider a bridge loan. A bridge loan lender is a bit different than a conventional lender. When you borrow a bridge loan, it’s more like a short-term loan that gives you time to find more permanent capital. In many ways, a bridge loan is, well, a bridge between the concept of a business and a successful venture.
If you’re looking for a bridge loan lender, you’ll need to weigh the pros and cons. Look at the lender’s background to better look at interest rates, origination fees, and more. A bridge loan lender is a great way to secure your business’s necessary finances to give yourself a strong start. A bridge lender differs from a hard money lender or a real estate investor, so it’s important to make a few comparisons before you settle on a particular bridge loan. Since your bridge loan is a stepping stone to an agreement with a commercial loans broker, it’s a great way to secure the necessary capital that you need to succeed.
Review the loan amount, make sure it’ll provide sufficient equity, and that the income ratio benefits you as a business owner. It’ll help you avoid common mistakes as a borrower that include the wrong loan type, a poorly reviewed bridge lender, or a loan that doesn’t give you enough cash. Search for bridge loans based on your location. For instance, if you live in California, Google “bridge loan lenders California.” It’ll help you find the right bridge loan for your needs.
Showcase your products effectively.
If you’ve ever browsed your average Etsy setup, you know that a good number of product-based businesses don’t use the right type of product photography. Product photography should be clear, crisp, and use natural light for the most striking effect. While you can use studio lights for product photography, you may want to leave this to a professional photographer. It’s the best way to secure product photography that draws customers to your merchandise. You also need to consider the background of your product photography. A dark background can work for a brighter type of product, but a crisp white background helps many of your online store listings pop.
If you’re investing in professional product photographs, you need to find someone with years of experience. Product photography, graphic design, and Photoshop can go a long way towards boosting conversions, but you need to make sure you’re getting your money’s worth. Ask to take a look at the photographer’s portfolio. Look at their Photoshop proficiency, see past examples of eCommerce product pages, and ask what kind of shoot camera they use. Whether you’re developing an Etsy, Shopify, or other eCommerce store product page, you need to ensure that you can populate your pages with high-quality images.
The best quality images may cost a bit more, so you need to factor this into your budget. You want your product photos to speak for themselves, or else you’re going to have a harder time boosting conversions. A good product photograph can do more for your business than you might suspect, so it’s well worth the investment. It can attract both an in-person shopper and an online shopper. Plus, some product photograph professionals provide discounts if you make a cash offer upfront.
Secure the right partnerships.
After you borrow money and find the best eCommerce product photography for great product photos, you need to ensure that you have a robust network in place. Partnerships can provide added exposure to shoppers and help you prove your brand’s viability to a conventional lender. Your partnerships are also a reflection of your values. If you need a better idea for how to expand your brand’s reach, start with adjacent businesses in your industry.
For instance, if you sell CBD or hemp products, consider working with a brand like CoolJarz, found at cooljarz.com. Their hemp and oil packaging services effectively meet product needs and connect with new faces in the industry. It’s a smarter way to network for any online retailer. If you’re only a click away from reaching your target audience, your best shot may be a hassle-free partnership.
For products like jewelry, you’ll want a partnership that can offer greater levels of exposure. Of course, you’ll need to think about what you can offer in return. In this case, you may try to partner with an efficient manufacturer. While the manufacturer can connect you with other industry contacts, you can refer business to the manufacturer in return. You must ensure your partnerships are reciprocal, or it can lead to a negative industry reputation.
Set up your site.
When you’re developing a product site, you’re going to want to populate it with your own product photos, logo, and smart user interface considerations. If you have an existing property or domain, this is a great option for a digital renovation. You can also use some of your interim financings to cover some of the upfront costs. You can also leverage a conventional loan here. You’ll also need to decide what type of product photo will work best on a particular page. You don’t want your browsers to have to zoom in on the final image to get a closer look at your products.
It’s also important to invest in a quicker checkout process. Consumers want to know that their sensitive information is safe when they shop online. If you don’t have a secure checkout process, you need to find a way to prop up your system. Your site needs a security certificate, checkout encryption, and firewalls to tighten up your operations. Without this, you risk damaging your brand reputation if you ever expose customer information.
Starting a product-based business might seem complex. That’s because it often is. With so many moving parts and fine details, you must have a robust plan to develop your business model and secure capital. Once you’ve addressed all of these intricate pieces, you’re ready to start selling. Work to build up your network, discuss loan terms before you borrow money, and make sure your site is up to par. All of this can help you scale your business in a sensible, effective way.