This is the final episode in my “Building an Ecommerce Business” interview series. I’m the founder of Beardbrand, an ecommerce business in Austin, Texas, that focuses on beard care and men’s grooming. Over the past nine months, I’ve hosted 18 amazing guests who have provided much insight into launching, growing, and selling an online company.
What follows are my final, spoken thoughts on the series, as well as a transcript edited for clarity and length.
In my experience, there is no right way to run a business. You’ll likely find success, however, if you focus on three primary functions: vision, execution, and cash flow.
For vision, think about your mission statement and core values. Why are you in business? How are you changing the world? How do you bring value to your customers’ lives? Vision — your mission and core values — will help you persevere.
Our mission at Beardbrand, for example, is to make men look and feel confident. That’s what’s driving us every single day.
Next is execution. You can have a team with a bunch of good ideas that never gets off the ground. I’ve seen companies like that. To me, the first step in execution is to build a drama-free organization, one that makes decisions based on data and key performance indicators.
With KPIs, team members know if they’re successful. No one wants to work for a company and not be successful. Once the company reaches $ 1 million or so in revenue, you’ll likely need standard operating procedures — repeatable steps to hand over to other team members to execute. You, as founder, can focus on bigger fires such as how your company will evolve. In that respect, an execution strategy should always evolve.
Hiring the right team members is crucial to a drama-free business. It’s important to hire folks who are aligned with your core values — your mission and what you’re doing as an organization.
The third essential function is cash flow. A business cannot grow without cash. Most entrepreneurs think they don’t have enough money. But let’s shift that view. Every business deals with scarcity — time, employees, cash. A good business can prioritize scarcity. Profit is the most important thing for your organization. It allows your company to grow and thrive.
So budget a profit goal and then allocate resources. How much to pay for inventory? Or marketing? Or personnel? Once you have those priorities, start with options that have the biggest impact. Do Facebook or Google ads produce the highest return?
The decisions are often not obvious. I could put $ 10,000 into Facebook ads for an immediate impact, or $ 10,000 into producing YouTube videos that have a delayed (but perhaps higher) return.
So as I wrap this up, think about your next steps as an entrepreneur. If you’ve listened to (or read) all 19 episodes, you’ve got more than enough information. Remember Nike’s advice: Just do it. There are a lot of great opportunities. There’s a lot of educational sources. But your best education comes from doing and learning.
Creating this series has been a ton of fun. I’ve enjoyed the guests, and I hope you’ve enjoyed it, too. I also hope you’ve received value. Follow me on Twitter or, even better, send me an app message on Twitter. I love chatting and sharing my expertise.