Now that Oinc is up and running as an online clothing retailer, we have to look towards the future to decide strategies for growth. There is a learning curve for all businesses because those in charge of the businesses learn better practices and approaches on the job, and this knowledge accumulates to increase efficiency. Because Oinc has just started to sell products online, we are at the beginning of this learning curve, but we already see many things that we need to improve upon and have come up with some solutions to these problems. We want to reduce our expenses, organize ourselves better, and build stronger relationships with customers.
As we have started selling our products online, we have encountered several problems with receiving payments, shipping items, and other logistical issues. With respect to receiving payments, it has been somewhat difficult to keep track of how much revenue we have brought in because we lacked an accounting software. We plan on using QuickBooks to solve this problem, a digital accounting software that allows users to easily keep track off all sales, expenses, taxes, etc. Keeping good records is important because we need to know which products are popular, how we can increase our bottom line, where we can cut expenses, and a host of other reasons. Additionally, we need to keep good records for tax purposes.
The last major problem that we have right now is trying to develop long term relationships with our customers. We don’t want people to buy one item and then forget about our company, so we have been debating how to introduce loyalty programs and continued marketing.
At this stage of development, we can only rely on our own intuition in picking which solutions to implement, so we have to choose carefully and consider all potential consequences. Before we choose to pursue any option, we do a cost-benefit analysis. For example, getting the better shipping rate would require us to pay an annual fee, so we have to weigh this annual fee (plus the reduced shipping costs) against what we are already paying. In this example, the annual fee and reduced shipping costs are much lower than the high standard rates that we are currently paying, so it makes sense to pursue this option. All of our decisions will not be so black and white, however. We will certainly make mistakes and experience failures, as all businesses do. While we would like to avoid failure as much as possible, we also understand that failure is inevitable on the journey towards more efficiency, and we will appreciate these failures as learning experiences.