Guest Post by Loredo Rucchin, Founder & CEO of JukeboxPrint.com.
At Jukebox Print, we’ve experienced it all. As a successful e-commerce business serving customers in over 100 countries, most people don’t think of Jukebox Print as a startup, but in fact, Jukebox was once the very definition of a startup. Jukebox was created and managed by one person. That one person was the CSR, the designer, the packager, the shipper, the IT guy and the accountant. The “office” consisted of a bedroom with a desk and computer, and the product line consisted of only business cards. If any of this rings true to your current circumstances, keep reading. We’ve got some insight from our own personal experiences growing into a successful business. There will still be some challenges along the way, but with our help, you might just be ready to face them.
You have a brilliant idea for your own e-commerce company; a product or service that stands out and meets an unmet demand. What you need before you launch is an effective name, and this should be given serious consideration. If we were called Loredo’s Print Shop, you would probably envision us as a small, plain, industrial shop offering the same old aqueous coating on everything. Instead, we’re called Jukebox Print – an offbeat, exciting, intriguing, stylish and memorable name that lets you know immediately we are not your average print shop. If you are not an overly creative person, enlist the help of someone who is. Test out your name ideas by judging the reactions they receive. The first general reaction to the name Jukebox, along with our bright pink branding, was shock and disbelief. The fact that people had such a strong reaction is what solidified the name as the right choice for us. It would give people something to talk about – and for 8 years, it has.
Another main challenge you will face in your early stages is making the leap to expand outside of your basement or home office. Jukebox is an online business that has grown its customer base mainly through referrals, and although we serve an international customer base now, we grew locally first. Before you are known as a reputable business, people are going to want to meet with you, view samples in person and in general, get a feel for how professional your business is. This demands that you have a professional office space. A great option for today’s budding startups is a shared office or “co-work” space. You don’t need a large storefront, so focus on finding a small yet modern environment. Expand your team slowly by hiring one person at first, and don’t overlook the value of students or those with little experience – you can mould the right person into exactly what you need. Although it might be tempting, don’t hire your friends. The more professional you keep all aspects of your business, the more professional your reputation will be with your clients.
As you grow, your challenges will change dramatically. If you are operating your business mostly or even partially online, you need a good IT team (yes, you need to hire multiple people) to keep your website stable, secure and operating smoothly.
Once your website is backed up by a great IT team, you can start to focus on international expansion. Shipping and payments will be your biggest challenges. Choose your business partners wisely from the beginning. We are thrilled to offer UPS shipping and Paypal during check-out, company names that are trusted all over the world. This has had a direct increase on our international sales.
Grow your international customer base further by having a strong social media presence, and by tailoring your marketing approach to the specific location you are targeting. The products that are a hit in North America may not be new or exciting in France or Australia. This will be the case with any product or service you offer, as worldwide customers will have different appreciations and expectations of service. It might seem obvious, but don’t forget that an exotic Bamboo business card isn’t so exotic in China. Communication can also be a difficult barrier you may face. When hiring, start to look past the obvious talents and put more value into multi-lingual capabilities. This will be a huge asset to your company, as one employee can help you connect with a whole new market.
Lastly, never forget the power of aesthetic attraction. Our branding is something our customers compliment us on the most. Something as simple as a beautifully wrapped box can be the motivation your customer needs to share photos online or recommend you to everyone they know. This can be as simple as branding your packaging using a custom stamp of your logo at first, evolving into using a fully customized set of branded tissue paper, boxes, wrapping paper and product tags. And we happen to know the perfect place for you to get them printed.
About the Author: Loredo Rucchin is a successful entrepreneur – his company, Jukebox Print, recently made Profit’s top 100 list, with five-year growth of 4,331%. Jukeboxprint.com offers high quality business card products and the latest, most innovative print products. Learn more about Jukebox Print.