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Agile bootstrapping of a drop-shipping business

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Apr 11, 2019
Hi all,

first of all deep thanks to all of you for having helped me along this looong year to push forward my interpretation of my own life. Without this blog + book i would have not been able to raise my market intrinsic value to a point allowing me to chase the answer i would like to raise today.

Of course i will be happy to introduce myself soon but setting on ground a bootstrapping business is the step of these days.

i am structuring my first e-commerce, a drop-shipping business with institutional actors as suppliers. i know this might sound like not the easier step from which to start but after some market research i am confident i have found a niche my position and modest track record could leverage. i am now in the following situation. i have the website ready, plain design, 200-300 products listed from around 15 suppliers, and i am planning workload to reach my goal, that is the first buyer’ purchase.

I already validated the idea.

i am good fan of lean execution and i should now tackle a challenge that might be
popular among more experienced mates.

On the one hand i need good (institutional) suppliers agreements allowing proper mark up, while on the other i need a brand credibility i don’t posses now to achieve object above.

What i was thinking is make a decent website ranking good in search, no check-out, zero ads and upload the smallest amount of brand items (logo & mission) allowing me to negotiate fair suppliers agreement and then use the money to continue with brand development and the rest to the point to become n 1 in the niche. there are no in here at the moment if not the suppliers themselves.

Another walkable path might be to spend 1.5/2k in branding before approaching suppliers, work 100h in supplier negotiations and prepare all the pieces of the puzzle before effective launch. but i don’t want do be cross finger driven neither ego oriented.

Also, i will sell products that have not big markup and my competitive advantage is more on aggregation and after sales value and therefore i would not start shipping until an agreement is in place.

Having bother you enough, here my doubts:

Do you agree with first option listed or would go another way?

From your experience what are the most important elements to be in place from the suppliers perspective?

Would you care more about the website brand credibility or mine willingness to help their customers being satisfy?

Would you start selling products at a cost because no agreement in places until i can show value to suppliers or would you fake..
. fake until i make it?

I really look forward to read your thought guys. knowing this blog has been a life changing experience and i am motivated to provided value to this community along my way.

I love all of you and of course i am available to share more insights to whom feel to be in similar situations.

Nicola from Italy

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Gold Contributor
Speedway Pass
Mar 1, 2016
It seems you are trying to be big right off the bat.
100 suppliers and 1000 of products might seem required but
it probably isn't.

Maybe you should try to niche down even more.
Start with one type of product and target sub-niche.

See if its working. If not improve or change.
If it does, expand.

(If you are interested in reading more about it get anything on Lean startup)


Bronze Contributor
Read Millionaire Fastlane
Speedway Pass
Apr 12, 2019
Hamburg, Germany
Hey Nicola, 100 products is SOOO much, way too much in fact!

You must start with one product and get your first sale. If it really doesnt work, move onto the next.

Testing 100 products all at once is a sure way of getting no sales at all. Bad product descriptions, bad images, etc etc...

You need to pick one target market/audience and give them one product you think they want most. All your energy and work should go into creating angles and advertisements for selling your product to that audience.

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