By ILYA POZIN

1. DO test your product.
2. DON’T assume that people will just find your site.
3. DO set aside a budget to test marketing.
4. DON’T bank on raising more money.
5. DO listen to your customers.
6. DON’T try to be everything at once.
7. DO build a solid foundation before launch.
8. DON’T give up quickly.
9. DO have a business model that makes money.
10. DON’T spend 12 hours a day sustaining your company.

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A very helpful list of things that you should contemplate when running your own store. In fact, I think it also applies to brick-and-mortar retailers.

And this is my experience so far based on the points shared above.

1. DO test your product.
Very true if you want to have the confidence boost when selling your products. One of my stores has got more than 3,000 products, so I don’t think I can TEST every single one. You are your own best critic, and if you won’t use the products yourself, how can you make your customers use them?

2. DON’T assume that people will just find your site.
Yes, if you are running your own store, building that traffic is the most challenging part of the game, for at least the first 12 months. As suggested in my earlier post- leverage on the platforms, but don’t rely on them too much.

3. DO set aside a budget to test marketing.
You don’t know what works, yet. So keep trying out new channels and cut your losses fast. If everyone is doing it, doesn’t mean it’s going to work for you.

4. DON’T bank on raising more money.
Never had experience on this one, not yet. But I suggest that you spend your time in building up your core business and make it work first.

5. DO listen to your customers.
Well, not all of them are always right, but you can really improve faster based on the feedback customers gave you. We are even giving out freebies to customers just to hear what their suggestions. You will be surprised how ‘truthful’ they are.

6. DON’T try to be everything at once.
Unless you have a 100-employee gig going on, it’s never a good thing to spread yourself too thin. You can only spend that much time talking to suppliers, designing your own brand, developing your marketing plans, fine-tuning your stores. And if you are like a lot of start-up, your most precious asset would be your time. Doing the right or wrong things can make or break your venture.

7. DO build a solid foundation before launch.
Yes, I learned this the hard way in the bookkeeping department. We are still catching up with backlogs, but be careful of the perfectionist syndrome.

8. DON’T give up quickly.
Ahh… When do you call it quits? In my opinion, you can’t really quit something. You merely try a different way of doing it. Read The Dip. There’s a reason why there’s a barrier to every business you go into. In fact, the barrier is the very reason why the reward is real.

9. DO have a business model that makes money.
That’s why you are in a business in the first place, isn’t it? Your responsibility is to survive, and survival means profits. As much as they say you need passion, I think you also need bread and coffee on the table every morning.

10. DON’T spend 12 hours a day sustaining your company.
More hours doesn’t mean you are more productive. Being a workaholic, I cannot say what is the right amount of time you should spend on your venture. Delegate when you can, so you can focus on the more pressing issues. In the beginning, everything is pressing. Balance is key.