By Sawaram Suthar

So, you’re a small e-commerce business owner. You have everything set in place and ready to go to officially launch your online business. Money starts coming in and everything is going well! But is it really? You may be informed of how to get your business started, but it’s even more crucial for you to know how to keep it going successfully.

Here are 5 things that you need to know as an e-commerce business owner, if you want your company to be on the right path towards success.

1. Running out of capital.

Having cash is important when operating any business successfully, whether it is for expected or unexpected events. Some small business owners may consider working capital financing to grow their company even further, but sometimes they don’t fully understand how it works, which is very important if you want to be on the road to success, and especially if you don’t like wasting time, energy, and especially, money.

There are many reasons why people may take out a capital loan, but the main reason is probably because business owners are looking to expand their business in some way, and taking a capital loan will be sure to lead them on the right path.

The cash from these loans can be used for marketing, as this is absolutely crucial for small businesses and their success, especially if they don’t have the funds to do so. Late invoices are something that every business owner deals with, so it helps to have money on hand to maintain good relationships with your fellow suppliers and contractors. More importantly, the cash can be used to help maintain and grow your company’s payroll.

2. Is your supply chain management on track?

Good management leads your business on the path to the optimization of business operations’ speed and efficiency, which are key for a business’ success. Now, supply chain management is exactly that, managing and overseeing the supply chain. This involves creating a smooth flow with good coordination within a company, as well as with other partnering companies.

Follow recent supply chain trends, like the collaborative approach, which is where multiple parties come together to share and use their knowledge and skills to create and implement a better business plan for order fulfillment.

Using technology to improve order fulfillment is another great way to improve supply management. It increases efficiency, automation, and overall workflow. It’s also important to use digital networks, which used to be linear, but are now more dynamic. This is because of technological advances, called the Digital Supply Network (DSN). You can be sure that improving your supply management chain will definitely take your company on the road to success.

3. Do you spend enough time testing out your products/services?

If you want to make sure your business is on the right path towards success, there is no better way than to see for yourself and to run some tests yourself!  The more time you spend on testing, the more likely your product or service will succeed, because you will know what works and what doesn’t.

Do research on your competition, look for trends in your market, take notes, and use this vital information to improve your product or service. Continue to analyze and evaluate how well (or not so well) the changes have affected your business, and go from there.

Continue to be creative and innovative with your business, and be open to feedback and constructive criticism from others. Always spend time testing and improving your products and services to ensure that you are taking your business to where you want it to be.

4. Are you developing meaningful connections to customers and other companies?

Business is truly about helping others, whether it is you helping your customers solve a problem or make life easier with your product/service, or businesses supplying each other with what they need for their business to thrive. It is very important and crucial that you genuinely take the time and effort to build honest relationships with these people, because it will definitely help lead you to where you need to be.

With customers, connect with them using a backstory of yourself and your struggles, or why and how your company came to be. Better customer connection always leads to better sales. This is because people don’t buy products or services, they buy brands.

Connect with existing companies through LinkedIn or other forms of social media. Especially if you’re a smaller online company (and even if you aren’t), it would only help to connect. Whether it is to collaborate, gain advice, share ideas, or even help promote each other, it is absolutely the right step in gathering the community to support each other and your successes.

5. Learn about business failure!

Believe it or not, learning about what not to do is just as important as learning what to do. In business, there are so many ways to fail. If you stay informed about all of the ways that your business could go wrong, then you will be better prepared to know how to make it succeed.

Learn about how failure to plan, manage, and even learn about your market and target audience is a big mistake when having an online business. Realize and tell yourself that these are the paths that you will definitely not take.

The more you know, the better, even when it comes to knowing what not to do with your business. It is helpful in that you will be more familiar with what to stay away from to avoid costly disasters with your company.

When you make sure that your online business has sufficient funds, manage your supply chain well, test your products/services, connect with customers/companies, and learn about the ways in which businesses don’t thrive, you will definitely be better prepared to make all of the right moves and decisions necessary to keep your e-commerce business on the right path towards successful growth.

Sawaram Suthar is head of marketing at Tagove, a provider of chat software and also a founder of Jagat Media. A digital marketing consultant, he has experience in things including branding, promotions and page optimization, along with research and strategy. He has an MBA from the University of Pune.