In my experience working with numerous budding ecommerce entrepreneurs, I've seen one mistake trip people up over and over again. It's something that we've probably all experienced at some point in our lives (in general life circumstances), and if you aren't careful there's a good chance it will kill your chances of success with ecommerce. What is this dangerous problem?
It's your desire to make sure everything is just perfect before launching your site.
Far too often, new entrepreneurs will get hung up on getting the perfect logo, getting just the right website design, and making sure everything is perfectly in order before launching. The problem is that you will never be satisfied in your quest for perfection. The simple reason for this is that our subconscious preferences and opinions are constantly shifting, so that even if you love your website design one week, there's a good chance you'll hate it next week.
I am incredibly guilty of this myself! A few years ago, I had an idea for a new business selling custom photo wedding invitations. This was my first venture into the world of ecommerce, and I spent months perfecting the website. Not only did I spend countless hours designing the products (template wedding invitations), I probably spent twice as long working on my website. I wanted everything to be perfect!
After a few months of working on it, I grew to dislike the website (probably because I spent hours every day staring at it). I found a different theme to use, and then had to spend a ton more time customizing it. A few months later, I redesigned the logo. A few months later, I built still another website on another platform with a new design.
During this time, I set up an Etsy shop and made a few sales there, but I never actually put my full effort into marketing my website because it was never quite... ready. This was a big mistake--I should have gotten something online and started marketing it consistently much more quickly, then worked to improve the website gradually.
I'm not saying you should throw up a half-hearted excuse for a website and call it good--you should still put time and effort into a professional website. But don't let that slow you down. Set a target date for launch, and then stick to it as closely as possible. Create a written plan for how to market your ecommerce business, and then stick to it.
This is closely related to the idea of a minimum viable product--the simplest version of what you need for your business to start making money. If you can get your products online and selling quickly, you will have more cash flow to invest back into the business to improve it. One reason this is important is to determine if your business is viable. Some ecommerce stores don't effectively meet the needs of a particular niche, or just can't compete for some reason. It's better to find this out within the first few months of the idea, rather than spending months or years on the website only to have it flop. This might sound harsh, but some ecommerce stores simply won't succeed, so it's better to find that out at the beginning so you can move on to more successful projects.
Launching quickly and sticking to a written plan will greatly increase your chances of success in the ecommerce world. Don't be like me, failing to launch because it's never quite good enough--launch quickly and confidently, then figure out how to improve.