Starting an Ecommerce Business

Do you have a product or service you can sell online? Starting an ecommerce business may be the best way to do so. Since they exist solely online, unlike brick-and-mortar businesses, they can usually be started with very little upfront investment of money.

The steps in starting an ecommerce business are the same as they are for any other business except they are done online.

Step 1: Build your business plan. What product or services will you sell? Do you already have a product or will you sell products made by others? Will you be responsible for shipping or will you drop ship?

Will you need money to make or purchase your product? What will it cost? Where will you obtain the funding? Do you have family or friends who can loan it to you? Savings? Will you need to apply for grants or loans?

How will you market your product or service? You will definitely need a website for any type of ecommerce. Can you build it yourself or will you need to hire a web designer? Who will host your site? What will the cost be? Add that to the costs already determined. Do you have enough funding?

Will you be able to provide your product or service alone or will you need assistance (such as help with shipping, providing additional services)? Should you hire an employee? If so, what will the cost be?

Step 2: Once you have written your business plan, you can begin to actually build your business. If you determined you will need to obtain additional funds, complete the process before moving to the next step.

Step 3: Ensure you have an adequate amount of your product or all of the supplies necessary to provide your service. Don't make the mistake of starting your business only to discover you can't meet all the orders or satisfy all your potential clients.

Step 4: Purchase your domain and build your website. If you have the skill, building it yourself can be the most cost effective. If HTML is just 4 letters of the alphabet to you, use an alternative such a Solo Build It! to help you build your site. If even that is too much, hire a professional web designer. Since you are starting an ecommerce business, your site must be professional-looking, user friendly, and encourage your prospects to click and buy.

Of course, it's not really quite this easy. You will have to market your business, obtain any licenses or permits required, decide whether or not to incorporate and if so, how. But these are the main steps to starting an ecommerce business. Product, business plan, website, marketing plan - GO!

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