Kitchen table start-ups, side hustles, homepreneur businesses…call them what you will, there is little doubt that the practice of setting up with nothing but a computer, a small space at home and that all important idea has become a phenomenon of the UK online retail sector. What’s more, it’s a trend that shows no sign of slowing down.

The problem is that many online entrepreneurs start small as an add-on to their reliable pay packet. Then, when business booms before they’re ready to sacrifice job security and the nine-to-five, managing fulfilment from the garage of their suburban semi in the evenings and at weekends can become an insurmountable challenge. 

That’s where outsourced fulfilment can provide just the extra pair of hands you need to help you continue juggling all your career commitments. These are our top tips to help you navigate your way to side-hustling success.

Service is Critical to Success

No matter how brilliant your business idea may be, customers will not return for a repeat purchase, recommend you or leave a positive review if your fulfilment service lets you down.  This fundamental reality of running an internet-based side hustle is one of the key reasons for eCommerce business failures, particularly as the major players continue to drive high standards for rapid response times and customer engagement.

For those selling products via marketplace channels such as Amazon or eBay, consistently excellent service levels are even more vital, because negative reviews can affect your search rankings or even lead to your products being delisted.

Contract Considerations

One of the factors that often deters homepreneurs from seeking help from an outsourced fulfilment specialist is the fear of being locked into a contract that could become an expensive overhead, particularly if sales don’t take off as quickly or substantially as you’d hoped.

It’s vital to ensure that your fulfilment partner offers you the flexibility you need to start small, grow at your own pace or even cease trading if you decide to park your side hustle and concentrate on your main career for a while.

Look for a fulfilment partner that offers a high quality, reliable service without onerous contractual commitments to minimum order quantities or time periods. A provider that offers a pro-rata approach to storage requirements and order fulfilment is the ideal choice for the side-hustler and will enable you to start, stop, pause or adjust your requirements aligned to your sales and ambition.

Don’t Cut Corners

While keeping overheads low is a priority for most start-ups and small businesses, reputations and loyal customer bases are built in those early days so it’s important to work with a fulfilment provider that you can trust to offer consistently high service standards.

Time is tight for any entrepreneur, and that’s especially true if you’re a homepreneur with a full-time job alongside your fledgling business.  However, it’s worth taking time out to research potential partners fully by asking for verified service level statistics, for example, or visiting their facilities.

Always look for a fulfilment partner that’s willing to offer compensation for any service failures too, because that will tell you a lot about their confidence in their capabilities.

Avoid Nasty Financial Surprises

Manging cash flow is vital to the success of any business, particularly if you’re a kitchen table enterprise using the salary from your day job to buy stock.  That’s why it’s vital to choose a fulfilment partner with transparent pricing so that you can always calculate the storage and fulfilment cost of every item in real time.

At Exact Abacus, we provide our customers with detailed billing reports, which not only provide peace of mind but may also help you plan your purchasing and marketing strategies, making the most of your valuable weekend and evening side-hustling time.

Turn a Great Idea into a Thriving Business

Whether you dream of turning your side-hustle into a £multi-million business or you just want to supplement your main income by doing something you love in your spare time, working with an expert online fulfilment partner will help you focus on your customer. It will save you from getting bogged down with the day to day of finding items of stock at the back or the shelf and packaging goods for dispatch.

We all need a little work / life balance and, if you’ve got a side hustle, you may need a little more help with that balancing act than most. Contact our expert team to discuss your requirements.

by Gemma Tomlinson on 18/06/2018

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