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The development and expansion of the Internet has made business opportunities available to nearly everyone. In the past, opening a business was a huge commitment in terms of finances and risk. Traditional business owners had to quit their current jobs, obtain bank financing, and sign leases before they even made a penny. It is easy to see why 95% of them failed within five years. Today, business opportunities are available to anyone willing to put in the time and effort to learn about the world of e-commerce. Best of all, you can start an e-commerce business with minimal funds and very little risk. This guide will take you though the steps necessary to start your own e-commerce business.
The first step to creating your own e-commerce business is to find you niche. Examine your hobbies and interests for potential business ideas. You may also consider opening a business that is similar to your current job. For example, as a nurse you may know a lot about medical supplies and how hospitals obtain them. You could start a medical supply business. Your contacts and industry knowledge could give you an advantage over a competitor who does not know the inner-workings of hospitals the way you do.
Now that you have a few business ideas, it is time to research the demand. If you plan to sell to the general public, youâ€™ll want to find out how many people are looking for your products or services. As a small business owner, you will not have the marketing funds to create a demand for a product. The products you sell, must already be in demand.
Before settling on a business idea, scope out your would-be competitors. You will need to know your competitorâ€™s websites inside and out. Spend some time exploring each one. This will give you an idea of what you are up against. Keep in mind, that your website will need to be equally as professional or better than theirs.
In order to conduct business, you need to establish a business entity and obtain a sales tax ID. When you are registered as a legitimate business owner, it is time to open a business bank account.
After that you can start building your website. First, register a domain name. Names that end in â€™.comâ€™ are best. If possible your, domain name should include one or more of your target keywords.
One of the keys to successful e-commerce businesses is a professional website. Your website is the first and often the only impression your visitors will have of your business. A professional website can be the difference between your visitors viewing you as a home-based business operating out of your garage and a multi-million dollar business with hundreds of employees. Fortunately, you do not need to be a web programmer to create a professional website. There are companies that sell professional website templates. You can get website templates for free, but itâ€™s much better to pay for a highly professional template. You should expect to pay $50 â€™ $150 for a good template with multiple pages and professional images.
You will want your website content to target specific keywords. This can be achieved by creating articles, product reviews, product comparisons and detailed description of your products. Avoid repeating the keywords so often that the text becomes difficult to read. There is a fine line between good copy text and spam text. Spam text is designed to increase your siteâ€™s listing in the search engines, but often backfires when penalties are issued and your website is dropped from the listing.
Now that your website has been created, itâ€™s time to find a company to host your website on their servers. You should be able to find a good hosting company for around $10 per month. This fee should include technical support and email accounts with your domain name. Domain name-specific email accounts are important for a professional image.
No e-commerce website is complete without a secure shopping cart. There are many shopping cart options. Many e-commerce business owners make the mistake of using Pay Pal to accept payments, which immediately tells visitors that their company is very small and not professional. A good alternative to Pay Pal is a remotely hosted shopping cart. Remote shopping carts take the burden of maintaining security and credit card numbers off your shoulder and places the responsibility on another company. Remote shopping carts can usually be configured to look similar to your website. In fact, your customers may not realize that they have left your website to place an order. When your potential customer clicks on the Buy Now button, he or she is taken to the remote shopping cart to enter the personal information and payment details.
Now that your website has been created, it is time to stock your inventory. The first step is to find the manufacturers of the products you wish to sell. You can find this information by reviewing your competitorâ€™s websites. Some of them may list the manufacturer with the product name or description. Contact the manufacturer and tell them that you are interested in becoming a distributor. Ask for a wholesale price list and an application. The price list will help you determine if the profit margins are high enough to justify selling their product.
Your website is live and you are open for business â€™ it is time to promote your website. If no one knows that it exists, you will not receive any sales. Most website visitors originate from search engines. Before search engines can list your website, they have to know that it exists. You will need to submit your website to search engines and directories such as Yahoo!, DMOZ, Excite, and others.
Starting your own e-commerce business is a lot of work. Making it successful is even more work, but the pay-offs can be rewarding. Thanks to the explosion of the Internet age, e-commerce business opportunities are now available to anyone with a computer, a few hundred dollars for start-up costs, some spare time and the desire to create a business.
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