One of the most exciting parts of creating an online store is cherry-picking what you’re going to sell. There’s a blank slate just waiting to be filled with your favorite goods, which you’ll be surrounded by for the duration of your business. However, while it is important to carry items you’re passionate about, resources and brand identity won’t let you sell everything you’re into. It can feel overwhelming, having to choose what to stock, but here are some tips to keep you from becoming fatigued by the process.
1. Just pick something. Studies have shown that sometimes good enough is really good enough. While it may seem like carrying either artisanal soaps or artisanal candles might make or break your business, once you actually make a decision it will free up mental space for moving forward with the rest of your to-do list. (Not to mention it’ll save you sleepless nights of worrying about what you’re going to stock.) It may seem hard, but eventually you need to throw caution to the wind, both for sanity and productivity’s sake.
2. Let someone choose for you. Sometimes the easiest thing to do is close your eyes and let someone else take the wheel. Giving another person control of even a tiny fraction of your store can feel scary, but if you’re wasting valuable time and energy on a small decision, you’re not going to be able to put in the work that you need to be successful. Consult someone who is familiar with you and your business, and see whether they think you’re more of a candle or soap kind of vendor. Outsiders have a clearer assessment and less emotional investment in the situation, making them great for cutting through a haze of choices.
3. Follow through with your decision. The only thing worse than agonizing over a choice is agonizing over the choice you made. If you chose soaps, stick with the soaps. Avoid the temptation of looking at candle catalogs and wondering what might have been. Soaps are your baby now, and they need your full, undivided attention if your shop is going to get off the ground. Don’t create extra mental anguish for yourself by second guessing your decision.
4. But learn when to fold. OK, maybe it’s six months in and you just aren’t making any money from soaps. In fact, a lot of customers have been requesting artisanal candles. But…you chose soaps! You have to stick with it, right?
You made a decision and didn’t second-guess your choice. You tried your best to sell those artisanal soaps, but they just aren’t working for your business. It’s OK! The only mistake you can make at this point is not learning from your mistake. You gave your initial choice the time and attention it deserved, but now it’s time to move on. So go ahead and break out that candle catalog.
5. Get predictable. Once you’ve found the right vibe for your inventory, put on some blinders. You now know what works for your store, so keep stocking the tried-and-true products and don’t deviate from them too much. Sure, it’s fine to test the waters with a few new, related goods (and important to keep your stock fresh and up-to-date), but if candles are working for you, don’t create more decision making chaos by deciding to also stock aprons. Stick with what you know, and your business will go far.
Have any advice for avoiding decision fatigue? Let us know in the comments!