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Guide on how to create a business plan that provides direction on running an online business

Starting Your Business

Learn how to open an online store.

01Choosing products for sale

You should consider what will sell when choosing products for your store.
Good products are the ones that best suit your customers' needs.
Make sure to conduct a customer survey before deciding what to sell.

Check if your product meets any of the criteria below for successful ecommerce strategies.

Choosing products for sale
General products Check if you have basic products that everyone needs.
They will serve as a stable source of income for your business.
Special products Make sure your product list includes some special products that you can offer better than your competitors.
These special products are key to drawing customer attention.
Exclusive products See if you have products sold exclusively on your store.
These exclusive offers make your store more appealing to customers.

There are two things you should keep in mind when coming up with product ideas.

Choosing products for sale
Potential Think about if product categories you have chosen to sell can make profits.
Fearlessness Do not afraid of expanding into a niche market.

Here are the most common ways to come up with product ideas.

1. Revisit what you already have on your mind

Doing research or visiting markets can help, but the first thing you should do when thinking of product ideas is to go back to what you already have on your mind.
Take a moment to think about products or industries that you or your friends are interested in.
Or imagine what kind of products would help to address inconvenience you encounter.
It will help to jumpstart your knowledge and interest in the products.

2. Attend trade shows

A trade show is an event where members of a particular industry get together to promote or sell their products.
Attend one of the trade shows to see a wide range of products, from everyday items to innovative products.

3. Keep an eye on social media trends

Many consumers share what they find interesting or trending on social media, such as Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest.
Keep an eye on social media trends to get insights about what to sell on your store.

4. Visit online marketplaces

Find out what are the top-selling categories on online marketplaces, such as eBay, Amazon, and Alibaba.
You will learn what the most popular items are, not only in your country but all over the world.

02Conducting market research and finding your supplier

Once you have decided what to sell, the next step is to find your supplier.
It takes a lot of time and effort to find a supplier that offers quality products at a reasonable price.
Search for suppliers, online and offline, and contact them directly.

Learn how to find a supplier for your business below.

Step 1. Decide the right type of supplier for your business

There are mainly two types of suppliers from which you can source products: manufacturers and wholesalers.

You can either source products made by manufacturers themselves or buy products in bulk at discounted prices from wholesalers.

After choosing the supplier type, you should decide whether to work with domestic or international suppliers.
Both domestic and international sourcing have pros and cons.

Điều tra thị trường & Tìm nhà cung cấp
Domestic sourcing International sourcing
  • No language barriers
  • High product quality and labor standards
  • High reliability and safe trading
  • Easier marketing strategies
  • Low costs
  • More choice of suppliers
  • Easier to find suppliers with online marketplaces, such as Alibaba
  • High costs
  • limited choice of manufactured goods
  • Low customer trust in product quality due to low awareness
  • Weak IPR protection
  • Language barriers
  • Longer shipping time
  • Different business processes due to cultural differences
  • Import & export restrictions
  • Relatively higher transaction risks
Step 2. Get a price quote

If you have found a supplier that meets your needs, you need to get a price quote of the product you want to buy via email.
The email should include questions such as:

  1. What is the minimum order quantity?
  2. How much are samples?
  3. How much is the product?
  4. How long is the lead time?
  5. Are there any payment terms?

Asking too many questions in the inquiry email may come off as overbearing to the supplier.
You can ask for more details once you have received the answers to your first five questions.

Step 3. Negotiate for a lower price and a lower minimum order quantity

Once you have chosen your supplier, you need to negotiate for a lower price.
First, ask the supplier if it has a minimum order quantity and why it is set at that price before ordering samples of the product you want to purchase.
Make sure to determine the minimum order quantity within your budget.

Step 4. Sign a contract with your supplier

Once you have decided to sign a contract with your supplier, check if the supplier has its own contracting process.
Take time to read through terms and conditions, and relevant documents, and sign the contract in accordance with legal requirements.
Experienced suppliers may give you some helpful advice for your business.

03Writing your business plan

A flash of inspiration doesn't always bring business success.
It takes thought and preparation to turn your business ideas into reality.
A business plan can help you to save time and resources and struggle less.

Why a business plan is necessary
  • It organizes your thoughts.
  • It guides you through business challenges.
  • It helps you to find flaws in your ideas.
  • It helps you to come up with better ideas.
  • It is a prerequisite to attracting investors.

A business plan should be formatted differently depending on its purpose, but the basic content is the same.

What a business plan should include
  • ・Name of the business, address, capital, ownership, history
  • ・Suppliers
  • ・Business goals and mission statement
  • ・Customers
  • ・Business background
  • ・Production planning (facilities, personnel, etc.)
  • ・Main features and trends of the industry in which you will operate
  • ・Budget planning
  • ・Business status
  • ・Marketing strategies
  • ・egal requirements and insurance
  • ・Timeline

Organize your business ideas by writing a business plan. It will provide direction needed to run your online store.