WooCommerce makes it really easy to build an e-commerce store with simple platforms and low overhead costs. But between hosting, shipping, business tools, and more, the cost of building and growing an eCommerce store adds up.
Entrepreneurs are commonly faced with funding shortages within the first few years of starting a business, and even more, find themselves in a situation where their goals don’t align with their current budget. When you need to create more income to build and grow your WooCommerce store, you must secure funding without breaking the bank or ruining your credit.
Finding funding can be a challenge, but it’s simpler when you know where to look. We’ll discuss some ways you can prepare your business for the loan application process and what kinds of funding opportunities are available for online businesses. It’s important to know what your options are before diving into debt, and for eCommerce entrepreneurs, there are six main choices when it comes to securing funding.
Costs of starting an eCommerce store
When first starting an online business, there are some costs that are fairly obvious – but hidden costs are always lurking. You can reduce the chance of being surprised by additional costs by doing plenty of research beforehand and creating a business plan that outlines your spending.
Ecommerce shop owners should also carefully consider their future goals. It can be hard to plan months or years in advance, but things like providing a range of payment methods and including enough storage to be scalable can have an impact on future costs and growth.
You must also consider the third-party providers and external software that is necessary for your online business to operate. It is likely that you will need to work with supply chains and shipping companies at the very least. You will also need payment and accounting software to provide a seamless checkout experience on your site, as well as software to manage your finances. As you explore your options, look for invoicing software that comes with certain features like customizable templates and recurring invoicing.
WordPress and WooCommerce specifically provide access to many plugins essential to online businesses – come with bigger price tags than others. You will need to prioritize your upcharges to make sure you provide customers with a positive user experience without breaking the bank.
Funding options for WooCommerce store owners
Traditional business loan
A traditional business loan is typically what people in need of funding think of first. Business loans can be a great option for small business owners who need a single lump sum of cash to get started or to get over a hump.
Keep in mind that lenders and creditors will want to know about your payment history, credit scores, and your ability to manage debt before they offer you any funding. Before you apply for a loan, consider whether or not you might be able to reasonably cut business costs and make more financial wiggle room, and make sure you can afford an additional monthly loan payment.
A personal loan is one of the other more obvious choices when business owners are looking for funding. Personal loans will provide you with a single dose of cash just like a business loan, but with an extra perk: raising your credit score. The problem is, if you fail to pay, you will go into personal debt, so this may not be the safest option for new business owners.
Credit cards can be great tools when they are used correctly. When properly managed, credit cards can provide you with immediate, upfront funding that you can pay back over the long term. Having an open line of credit that can boost your credit score which can also help you to secure more funding in the future.
There are plenty of online lenders who are willing to give extra funding to well-established businesses who are looking to expand or improve their online presence. Sometimes online lenders can even give funding to business owners more quickly than traditional methods. If your business has already launched and you’re looking to expand, this is a good option to consider.
Crowdfunding is a particularly helpful option for startups or eCommerce professionals who have a unique product and an existing following. Websites like Kickstarter or Indiegogo can help you launch an eCommerce business fast, especially if you already have a specific and attainable funding goal. Some crowdfunding sites will take a percentage of the earnings, but free money is a huge perk.
With the onset of the pandemic, there was lots of support available through government agencies for small businesses. However, a survey of UK-based businesses revealed that only 56% of small business owners were able to benefit from this special funding.
Fortunately, there are grants specifically for e-commerce businesses. You can also look into state or country-wide grants that may be available for minorities and veterans, as well as industry-specific grants.
Applying for financing
After deciding what funding option is right for you, it’s time to apply. A loan or grant application will include questions about your business income, other personal income, and details about your credit history. You may need to provide collateral like property or investments in order to secure a loan, so be prepared with information on your assets as well.
Many small business owners often forget that they can shop around for better rates and loan opportunities. You don’t always have to accept the first offer that you receive. In fact, it’s wise to shop around to ensure that you get the funding that you need with terms that you are comfortable with.
There are a few other financial factors to consider as you take the next steps toward securing funding for your WooCommerce site. When funds are tight, there are things that you can do to make your website more attractive to shoppers with a streamlined checkout process and an appealing overall layout.
If cart abandonment is causing you revenue woes, it might be time to optimize your checkout experience. You can retain cart abandoners by removing roadblocks like requiring an account to checkout and additional last-minute fees. Online customers may give up on completing transactions if it is a difficult process, so make it easy for your customers to spend money on your website.
Also, be sure to make your WooCommerce site a safe place to shop online. There is nothing like a ransomware attack or data breach to throw you into debt and lose customer trust.
Keep your website protected by doing a regular audit of your site’s plugins and use continuously monitoring anti-virus software so that you don’t unknowingly become responsible for transmitting malicious code to your customers. More people will shop on your website if you build a reputation for customer satisfaction and privacy protection.
When it comes to growing your online business, there are plenty of funding avenues available to small business owners. Before you start applying for loans, make sure that you have a business plan that includes financial details that can help you determine how much funding your online business will need. And when it’s time to decide on how to fund your online business, shop around for loans, and don’t be afraid to look into grants or crowdfunding opportunities to pick up the slack.