Starting An Online Business

E-commerce

Starting An Online Business

January 7, 2020, Michael J Wynn

ecommerce make money online
Although starting an Internet-based business poses its own particular set of challenges, it offers benefits enough to tempt almost any entrepreneur.
An online business deals primarily with E-commerce (electronic commerce). E-commerce is the buying and selling of goods and services, or the transmitting of funds or data, over an electronic network, primarily the internet. These business transactions occur either as business-to-business (B2B), business-to-consumer (B2C), consumer-to-consumer or consumer-to-business.
Unlike a job where glass ceilings, contract negotiations, wage cuts, prejudice, and wage freezes prevent you from making more money, no-one will stop you from trying on the internet.
Below are the many benefits of starting an online business:
1. It's Easy to Get Started with Little Cost Involved.
2. Global access, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
3. There's Unlimited Income Potential. 
4. Faster delivery of products.
5. Online Businesses can Be Automated.
6. You Can Work Anywhere in the World.
7. You're Building an Asset. 
8. Improved client service through greater flexibility.
9. Cost savings.
10. Increased professionalism.
11. Opportunities to manage your business from anywhere in the world. Many entrepreneurs are drawn to online businesses because of the freedom they offer. Modern technology, laptops, tablets, business apps, and VOIP communication systems are just some of the tools that allow businesses to be operated from any location.

Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to start an online business.

Step 1: Choose a Business Structure

 Please note that this guide does not substitute for legal or professional advice, and additional permits may be required depending on the circumstances of your business.

The business structure you choose influences everything from day-to-day operations to taxes, to how much of your personal assets are at risk. You should choose a business structure that gives you the right balance of legal protections and benefits.

Of all the decisions you make when starting a business, probably the most important one relating to taxes is the type of legal structure you select for your company.

"Not only will this decision have an impact on how much you pay in taxes, but it will affect the amount of paperwork your business is required to do, the personal liability you face, and your ability to raise money.”

https://www.entrepreneur.com/

Online-only businesses generally do not require a specific state license, unless you are selling a regulated product or service. The license and certification guide has details on specific businesses. Otherwise, consult with your local municipality for any specific regulations that may be in place.

When you start a business, you must decide whether you’ll operate as a sole proprietorship, limited liability company or corporation. A sole proprietorship is the simplest business structure, since you need not register your business name with the state, and you can use your Social Security number instead of obtaining an employer identification number.

You do not need an attorney to form an LLC. You can prepare the legal paperwork and file it yourself, or use a professional business formation service, such as LegalZoom, which I personally used to form my LLC. The initials “LLC” behind your company name make it look good, giving you credibility with more customers. They have a greater sense of security, knowing you are registered with the state. An LLC allows you to obtain an EIN (Employer Identification Number), which is needed to buy wholesale from suppliers.

In all states, only one person is needed to form an LLC. You don't need an LLC to start your own business, although you may decide you want one. An LLC, or limited liability company, provides personal liability protection and a formal business structure.

Internet business attorneys often recommend forming an LLC and then elect S-corporation status to maximize tax benefits.

You don’t necessarily need to incorporate right out of the gate.

While incorporating your business protects your personal assets, you can start as a sole proprietorship without any official paperwork.

A sole proprietorship is an unincorporated business owned by a single individual. Freelancers and many other self-employed people are, in legal terms, operating a sole proprietor business.

Sole proprietorships can be a good choice for low-risk businesses and owners who want to test their business idea before forming a more formal business. A sole proprietorship is easy to form and gives you complete control of your business, but do not produce a separate business entity. This means your business assets and liabilities are not separate from your personal assets and liabilities.

 

The most important distinction when it comes to doing business online versus in person is online business law. These laws regard the distribution of your customer’s personal information, as well as other privacy and intellectual property regulations. The SBA gives a thorough rundown of the specifics of online business law,

 

Starting an online business begins with filling a need and building credibility.

Start and grow successful businesses by doing the following:

  1. Find a need and fill it.
  2. Write copy that sells.
  3. Design and build an easy-to-use website.
  4. Use search engines to drive traffic to your site.
  5. Establish an expert reputation for yourself.
  6. Follow up with your customers and subscribers with email.
  7. Increase your income through back-end sales and upselling.

 

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1. Find A Need And Fill It

The term originated with Ruth Stafford Peale, wife of the Rev. Norman Vincent Peale, author of The Power of Positive Thinking. Discovering a problem that leads to a consumer need is a sure way for an entrepreneur to start a business.

You can look around and find a need and fill it in a unique way to form a business that will work.  Doing the research and homework ahead of time will tell you whether or not it is a business that is viable or not.

A good way to find the wants and needs of consumers is to do market research. Market research means to gather information about target markets or customers.

Free Tools For Conducting Market Research

2. Write Copy That Sells

All of the pages of your site are important, but the home page is the one where people will get their first impression of you. So it is vital you take particular care when producing this page.

Good writing, impeccable spelling, good grammar, and punctuation will go a long way in copywriting.  The most important thing about producing good copywriting for the web is about grabbing, as well as keeping, the person’s attention, and in the end getting the result that you want.

The main focus in order to produce effective copywriting is as follows:

 

  1. Keep it short and.
  2. Be informative but friendly.
  3. Be passionate about what you are writing on – but do not make it into a complete sales pitch.
  4. Make sure that you aim it specifically at your target audience.
  5. Be aware at all times of search engines.

More info on writing good copy for your website can be found here

 

3. Design And Build An Easy-to-use Website

Your website is the hub of your online business; it is the virtual representation of your company whether your company exists physically or not. When you are doing business online, people cannot see you physically like how they could if they were dealing with an offline company. Hence, people do judge you by your covers. This is where a good design comes in.

I personally use WordPress to create my websites. WordPress is a content management system based on PHP and MySQL that is usually used with the MySQL or MariaDB database servers but can also use the SQLite database engine. Features include a plugin architecture and a template system, referred to inside WordPress as Themes.

With a well thought out website design, you will be able to create a site that generates multiple streams of revenue for you.

More info on creating your website can be found here

4. Use Search Engines to Drive Traffic to Your Site

Search Engine Optimization or SEO is a term widely used today by many e-commerce sites. Search engine optimization is utilizing tools and methods in making your site top ranking in the results of search engines.

Getting yourself in the first page and better yet in the top half of the page will ensure that your site will generate public awareness of your site’s existence and subsequently generate more traffic, traffic that could lead to potential income and business.

More info on search engine optimization can be found here

5. Establish An Expert Reputation

We all have some level of expertise, and those who are recognized as industry experts have a leg up in the business world. It can be a key competitive advantage and a strong business asset.

Being an expert earns trust and respect from others, making it easier to inspire people and to get everyone on board with new projects and ideas. People prefer to do business with people and companies they like, trust and respect.

Here are tips to help build your reputation as an expert in your field.
  1. Share Your Knowledge.
  2. Be Active on Social Media.
  3. Create an online presence.
  4. Look for Public Speaking Opportunities.
  5. Reach Out to the Media.
  6. Get deeply involved in your industry.
  7. Write about your industry.
  8. Take a Leadership Role in an Organization or Association
  9. Pitch ideas to the media.
  10. Write a book related to your industry.

6. Follow Up With Your Customers And Subscribers With Email

Email marketing is the act of sending a commercial message, typically to a group of people, using email. The term usually refers to sending email messages with the purpose of enhancing a merchant's relationship with current or previous customers, encouraging customer loyalty and repeat business, acquiring new customers or convincing current customers to purchase something immediately,

Follow-up emails are by far the most important type of email you can send because they're the most effective.

By sending a follow-up email, you demonstrate that you care about the recipient’s experience with your products or services.

It usually involves using email to send advertisements, request business, or solicit sales or donations, and is meant to build loyalty, trust, or brand awareness.

Effective email marketing converts prospects into customers and turns one-time buyers into loyal,  fans.

Email marketing is popular with companies for several reasons:

  • Email marketing is significantly cheaper and faster than traditional mail.
  • Reach an already engaged audience.
  • Easy to get started.
  • Deliver targeted messages.
  • Drive revenue.
  • Reach a global audience.

7. Increase Your Income Through Back-End Sales and Upselling

Back end refers to the set of products or services which a company sells or resells to a customer who has already made an initial purchase. Back-end sales are one of the most important concepts to understand in order to run a successful online business.

For example, if the customer is purchasing an electronic item, you could suggest that they buy some batteries to go with it. If they're purchasing a book on starting a business, you could offer personal coaching along with it to help them succeed in business.

Most money in business is made from people who buy from you again and again

Upselling is a sales technique where a seller induces the customer to purchase more expensive items, upgrades, or other add-ons in an attempt to make a more profitable sale.

While it usually involves marketing more profitable services or products, it can be simply exposing the customer to other options that were perhaps not considered.

Conclusion

Starting an online business is not so hard. Making it profitable is the toughest part. It takes hard work and smart planning. Like any new company, an Internet business requires hard work and dedication.

"Life can be much broader once you discover one simple fact, and that is--everything around you that you call life was made up by people that were no smarter than you. And you can change it, you can influence it, you can build your own things that other people can use." --Steve Jobs

May success be with you, always. Wishing you good luck.

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