The most common complaint I hear from ecommerce sellers is that they don’t have enough time. But really the bigger issue is how you use that time. Have you ever felt like a robot? You churn through your list of tasks – photographing and researching and describing and listing and shipping and responding and…repeat. Too often we don’t take time to really take a step back and evaluate our eBay business.
To help you deal with this challenge, you can use a simple exercise. It’s called SWOT. No, it’s not a new police show (there are enough already!) It’s an evaluation of your Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats.
Short Term Pain = Long Term Gain
Take the time you’d be putting towards selling and focus on SWOT. Ultimately the investment in time here should pay off in a more successful business. Okay, so how do you do it? Hide yourself away from your kids and your cell phone. Get some paper and start writing.
Strengths – Looking inside your business, what helps you do well? Do you have good product sourcing? Perhaps you’re an expert in a particular category? Maybe you create great looking listings? For those eBay sellers, do you use a nice eBay selling template for all of your listings? eBay listings that look professional will make you more credible in the eyes of prospective buyers.
Weaknesses – Don’t worry if you have more weaknesses than strengths, it just means you have a great chance to improve! Maybe you are bad at time management? You don’t have a strong knowledge of keywords or Best Match? Have you taken the plunge into social media?
Opportunities – Look outside your business. Have you wanted to find a new product category to specialize in? Do you have expertise that you could use to create a presence in social media? Or perhaps expand to new marketplaces?
Threats – Today or in the future. Is there a competitor who’s undercutting your pricing or growing faster than you? Are you a small seller without back up to run the business if you’re unable for some period?
Time to Prioritize
You probably have a big list by now. The next part of the process means choosing the most valuable items. Maybe a strength that you want to exploit. Or a weakness you need to finally eliminate. Or an opportunity you’ve had in the back of your mind for a long time but have never taken the plunge. Pick one or two that will have the biggest impact on your business.
The Tough Part – DO IT!
Break the one or two items into small tasks with dates. Now it’s Nike time – Just Do It! After you’re done, evaluate the results. Now pick one or two more and do it again.
Take the time to go through the SWOT process with your eBay business. To help, there’s a free SWOT guide in our eBay seller resources section. It has a lot more examples in each area and more tips on being successful. It’s free so check it out!
About the Writer: Chris Taylor is VP of Marketing at Page Mage. Page Mage, a recipient of eBay’s 2011 Ecosystem Champion Award, offers Billboards, a “Top 10 Most Popular” application for free custom eBay listing templates for eBay sellers looking to stand out from the competition.