Starting an Online Business
Of course you want to begin an on-line business. Who doesn’t dream of having millions of cash ready customers just waiting to buy what you have to offer. It must be easy, it seems as though everyone is creating an on-line business and making tons of money. Right? Well not so fast…
For the one business that you come across on-line that seems to be successful, there are untold numbers of people who have tried and not made their fortunes with their form of the next big thing.
But that should not deter you from giving it that old college try. Here are some tips that just might give you a bigger bite of that on-line business apple.
First—get your feet wet in the on-line world.
In short try to sell something, anything, to see what it is like. Of course a great place to do this would be E-Bay. The reasoning behind this is to show you just what all is involved in each step of business.
Deciding what to sell.
Procurement of your product.
Marketing, advertising, copy writing.
Billing and collections
Customer follow through.
Customer relations and building that base.
Returns and customer service.
With just one sale on E-Bay you will deal with each of these business modes. Sounds easy doesn’t it? But wait there are pitfalls.
Deciding what to sell of course may be the easiest since you have already decided what your new on-line business will sell. But make sure whatever it is you’re going to sell is not only a good product, but to make it to the top of the heap it needs to be a great product. If you are producing it make it your very best effort. Don’t cut corners. John Q. Public will not accept second best when they spend their money.
If your product is produced by someone other than yourself, check out that company. Are they consistent? Would their product be something that you would buy? Really? It is safe? Is it reliable? Will they be able to keep up with your needs?
Are you ready to sit down and market your business? On-line means time spent telling people that you don’t see, exactly what you want them to see. You need to be able to create a picture with words. It is important to be able to show not just tell your customers how wonderful your product is. This is not only done with wonderful pictures, but with words or what is known as copy writing.
Billing and collections is the meat and potatoes of your business. You can sell and ship but if you don’t get paid you are not in business. Being able to deal with lost payments, collections of late payments and no payments at all is a big part of business. But if you are ready from the get go you can handle whatever a customer tries to throw your way.
Yes you will even be your own shipping department. You will need to know the fastest, easiest and least expensive way to get your product to your customers—of course after they have paid first! This means leg work of what all is available. USPS, UPS, FED EX. They all have special rates and don’t forget that overseas shipping has a world all to itself with international rules that must be followed to the letter!
The last three items on the list go hand in hand. To keep your business going you need to cultivate your customer base. That means keep the customer happy and coming back time and time again. This is done by offering new and more exciting products, handling in a timely manner any shipping, delivery or bad product issues. These WILL all come up with your customers. A great rule of thumb here is to put yourself in your customer’s shoes. It is well worth it to remember how you have been treated in any situation with a business when you have run into a problem. Would you go back to a business if you are treated poorly? Of course you would not. So the golden rule is alive and well—“Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”
The last but probably most important thing you need to get in line with is not on the list above. That would be the legal portion of your business. The taxes you may need to collect and pay. The forms just waiting to be filled out and filed with all the departments of local, state and federal governments. One slip up here could be very costly.
But for now just try selling one, two or three items. See if you can handle every aspect of those sales through to the end. That will tell you if you are cut from the business cloth. If you are—jump right on into the business world.