Archive for August, 2009
I have learned extremely quickly that when you start your own companies everyday is a workday. I have a lot of catching up to do on blog entries but as much as I enjoy writing about my entrepreneurial experience there are too many other immediate needs the companies have that reallytake precedence. Things are pretty much as busy as I ever imagined and there always seems to be an endless stream of new things that I need to do.
Since the last update we have finished the programming of scrubadoo.com and completed the majority of what seems to be a never ending list of data entry that needs to be done. Selling products online is not as easy as you would think. Every product needs to have unique sizes, colors, descriptions, details, etc, etc, etc. It is extremely mind numbing and boring. But we are almost done.
I will be posting in the next few days about the official launch of scrubadoo.com. Anyone in the Minneapolis area feel free to email me and I will let you know about the launch party that will happen next weekend.
Once we have launched I will try and catch up on all the pointers and tips I have learned the hard way over the last few months.
On a side note The Ugly Dumpling is starting to move along nicely. We have found some space that we are very interested in.
You will hear from me again in a few days…Things are getting exciting.
I know I haven’t finished the merchant services piece yet, but we have been extremely busy with another aspect of the business that I think is good to talk about (besides we have yet to finish setting up the merchant account).
I want to share a little insight in the online retail cart system, what you use to load your products into and have people check out of etc…, that we are using, X-Cart (XC). XC is a very complex system that has taken us several weeks to begin understanding. We are finally at the point where we are starting to get the hang of it.
On top of the standard XC implementation we are having an outside developer make specific modifications that we think will help differentiate us. I have learned a ton from the process of getting the cart up and running.
First, it is extremely time and labor intensive to load products into the system correctly. We were doing it manually one by one to start and we then figured out a way to upload directly from a csv file. Even with our new bulk upload capability it is still takes a tremendous amount of time filling out the csv to get the initial products onto the site (this is probably the most monotonous job we have yet to encounter).
Second, what makes this even more difficult is the importance of the upload. Everything needs to be perfect or else it will come back to haunt us. If we mislabel products or make any other mistakes we will be hit with returns that can have a huge impact on our bottom line.
Finally, like everything else web based expect it to cost at least twice as much and take twice as long as expected. There are always error messages that the programmers will run into. It is extremely frustrating and a huge pain.
All in all I think XC is a powerful system that will treat us well once we have it figured out. On the flip side they are expensive, have terrible customer service, and are impossible to get a hold of.
On a side note we are only few days away from the official launch which is extremely exciting. Once we launch the site in Alpha I will post it here and ask everyone that reads to go to the site to provide feedback and run through everything to help look for bugs.