Monday, January 25, 2010

Enterprise Nation - Lessons learned at Small Business 2.0


Small Business 2.0 was held on January 23. Now in its second year it’s an event dedicated to helping shedworkers and other small businesses profit from the web. Emma Jones from Enterprise Nation went along and picked up some useful nuggets.
One of the reasons I like the Small Business 2.0 event is that it’s held on Saturday. Not only does this mean it’s accessible to 5 to 9’ers (those holding down a day job and building the business at nights and weekends) it also means there’s a relaxed feeling about the place as attendees listen, learn, and meet new people in an informal setting. These ingredients came together well on Saturday and were the recipe for an interesting and enjoyable day. Here are a few things I picked up:
* A bit if trivia - the first item ever sold on eBay UK was a Scorpions CD at the price of £2.89.
* The power of eBay – eBay has over 17 million monthly unique visitors and offers over 15 million items for sale. There are 123,000 full time eBay businesses, generating over £1.7bn per year in turnover. To date, $600million worth of business has been driven through the eBay iphone application. The company expect this to become an even more popular way to shop.
* E-commerce continues to climb – the numbers of people shopping online – and the amounts they are spending – is increasing at a rapid rate ie it’s still a very good time to be starting an online trading business.
* Customers are becoming more demanding – the majority of customers expect their online shopping experience to be as good as, if not better, than an offline shopping experience, placing the onus on the store owner to make it a simple and enjoyable experience.

The secrets to success – in creating a successful online venture can be summed up as having:
- Great products
- Competitive prices
- Outstanding service
- Giving something back (eBay report that of their sellers participating in eBay for charity, the seller gives 10% of the sales price to charity but the item is 20% more likely to sell, at a better price. This resulted in $50 million being raised in 2009 for charitable purposes)

Enterprise is alive and well – I met a number of people in the early stages of starting a business, from Domino Duhan who is soon to launch Flog.com as a place to create a free online store, and Steven and Zoe who travelled from Worcestershire to pick up tips for their new venture selling cottage gifts. All together, there was a great vibe and positive signs that 2010 will be another exciting year for anyone starting and growing an online business. For details on the event, visit www.sb20.co.uk
Emma Jones is Founder of Enterprise Nation the home business website and author of ‘Spare Room Start Up – how to start a business from home’ Her next book ‘Working 5 to 9 – how to start a business in your spare time’ will be published in May 2010.
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