Home – New Forums Starting your journey Consultants/organisers for small business startups. Do they exist?

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  • #994977
    Shackleton
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    I’ve been running my small business for the past year with a basic website, Ebay and lots of spreadsheets for managing stock, orders, customers and contact details, etc. It’s ok for the time being as I’m very small but I need to prepare for future growth and additional products. I want to streamline the whole process and get an ecommerce site integrated with Ebay so that I can actually chase sales and new products.

    The problem is I keep getting lost and confused by the multiple software applications and services on offer. After several hours of research I have to go back and deal with customers or manufacturers and when I have time I need to start all over again. I’m sure many have been or are in a similar situation. I’ve wasted 6 months and I’m starting to get frustrated.

    For example I sell boat equipment. I get customers all the the time who are completely lost, don’t which product is the most suitable, where to get it or how to install it. I tell them what they need, offer solutions and guide them to suitable trades people or service providers. It’s easy for me as I have years of experience and contacts.

    Essentially I’m loooking for the same but for the backend of my business. A specialist who knows what software is available, and especially what would be suitable for my business. They would then setup the processes before handing over to me. A sort of back office turnkey concept.

    This might sound like a silly question but does it exist? What are these people called?

    The term business consultant comes to mind but my experience is that they tend to talk about strategy, increasing sales, how to deal with customers, provide information on the industry and contacts, etc. In other words more focused on sales than operations.

    #1199405
    Paul – FS Concierge
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    Hi Shackleton,

    Yes, these people do exist. I suspect the best description for them would be Web Developer. Some people describe themselves as a Full Stack Developer – they handle both the front end, customer facing elements of a site as well as the back end – database management, fulfilment, order processing etc.

    I feel it is important to find somebody with experience that is similar to what you are hoping to achieve eg a strategy roll out for Ebay, website, possible Amazon affiliate and offline eg, email. They should be able to relay the results they have achieved.

    #1199406
    Warren Cottis
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    Hi Shackleton,

    I have sailing blood running through my veins so as soon as you mentioned ‘boat equipment’ you had my attention.

    I can give you structured guidance if you’d like to chat.

    #1199407
    nduell
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    Hi Shackleton,

    I agree with Paul, it sounds like you chasing a web developer that has experience with the bigger picture and putting it all together.

    Today web developer can almost code anything, it just comes down to cost and time. So, I also think a great place to start, would be with a plan of your ideal setup, what would be your perfect business operation and the processes? Outline the details, and where the pieces connect together and would you be involved in the daily operation, or would a employee/VA do all this? What third party software will you be using ebay, Xero and so on?

    Outlining your operations process will mean that you have a clear picture to give to a web developer for costings. This will save you a lot of time and money.

    Ping me if you need any help with it, or to help research what applications can work together.

    Also, I recommend that you look at WordPress CMS, I know from the rough picture you have painted, that WordPress with some extensions and integrations will be able to achieve this. And best of all, there are many web developers that work in WordPress that will be able to help you.

    Cheers,

    Nick

    #1199408
    Rohan@TD
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    It looks like you are looking for somebody to advise you on which existing eCommerce software/platform will best support your business needs – e.g. integrate with ebay and is easy to use (like shopify). A developer, which the gents discuss above, is more suitable if you want a custom solution ( software/platform).

    Software/eCommerce selection / development really needs to be linked to business and user needs. A lot of available platforms already exist meeting most small business’s needs. However, they will never be perfect. Perfection only comes with a significant investment.

    We provide startup support for founders and their business by providing a range of services. However, software isn’t our specialty; but, it is something we can reach into our network to advise on.

    #1199409
    Shackleton
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    Thank you all very much for your advice. Being a very small business on a limited budget I would be going for existing software/platforms and a templated design for the website.

    Where I always get bogged down is when trying to compare WordPress, Magento, Woocommerce, Shopify etc with Xero, Wave, Quickbooks, etc, and all the shopping carts and payment solutions (as well as plug-ins for any extra bits). I understand they can all work together but it’s the selection process, costing and ebentually the set up for which I need help.

    Below is what I need. Number of products will initially be 200 growing to about 400 and I gather this is quite small. Customers are retail and trade.

    • E-commerce website with shopping cart and payment facility
    • Stock and pricing management system
    • Invoicing
    • Accounting

    At a later stage:

    • Customer management
    • Email Marketing System
    #1199410
    Paul – FS Concierge
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    Warren, Nick and Rohan above can all help – all of them provide solid advice on the Forums so I recommend getting in touch.

    I am sure they will give you options based on your needs and budget.

    I do recommend thinking about the big picture before you reach out – have very clear thoughts around what your business goals are and be able to communicate them.

    Good luck!

    #1199411
    bb1
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    All good advise above, but just a word of caution if going down the web developer path, make sure that they are advising you on a low maintenance product for your needs and not one that needs constant web developer involvement (Read $’s), there are a lot of Ecommerce platforms about that almost (almost not quite), work out of the box, and don’t need a heap of customisation by yourself or a developer. Make sure they are looking at those type of products, rather than something where they need to spend heaps of your $’s to get going.

    Based on what you have said above you are not creating the next Ebay or Mega online store, so basically you don’t really want any specialised development (coding), if they mention code, think twice, and than think a 3rd time. A good Ecommerce tool wont need any coding, rather just configuration, and templates to suit your needs.

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