We are living in the world of the freelancer and the entrepreneur, but it definitely takes a leap of faith to get there as you throw yourself into a world of the unknown, because as we know, not all business ventures end atop Google Towers (if that’s even a place). Many freelancers and newbie entrepreneurs end up losing, but it’s mainly due to a lack of preparation or conviction in their original idea. So, for those who are thinking about starting a business from home, an e-commerce model makes a lot of sense and here’s how to do it so it gets up off the ground and makes you some cash.
To start an e-commerce business, you need to find your product. If you have nothing to see, you can’t make money. You must ensure that the product you’re selling is one you care about and one that people will want to buy in the quantities needed for you to turn a product. Once you’ve settled on a product, you need to find a manufacturer or you could always sell handmade trinkets, however these types of businesses never amount to more than a hobby really, unless you’re really, really lucky.
Know your enemy. There would be no point in starting a search engine company – just ask Bing – because the competition is way too stiff. Likewise, learn where there is a hole in the market and exploit it. This ties in with finding a product, but once you have you need to learn who else is selling them and how they are doing it; copy, if you need to, or find a way of doing it better than they are.
Building Up the Basics
Once you’ve settled on a product and you’re fairly certain that it’s going to work and sell well, you get to do the fun bit: naming the company. When naming, you can either go for something foreign and mysterious sounding, like Kuoni, or you can go for what I would do and find a great pun, like a wine shop called ‘Planet of the Grapes’ or a kebab shop called ‘Abra-Kebabra’. After the naming ceremony (get a bunch of friends round for wine and cheese, ideally), then you need to design a logo – or get a professional to do it. It’s at this point you will want to register your business and sort out any taxes and the rest of the boring stuff.
Now Comes the Marketing
This is the make or break section. Your entire enterprise will rise or fall based on the quality of your marketing. First, you’ll need a site to market, so get in touch with a company like Smart Hosting who will be able to help you get your site online. After it’s actually live you’ll need to understand all about digital marketing and the murky world of SEO. On the most basic level, SEO is getting your site seen by the people who google your service. SEO and webhosting can be costly; however the old adage that you have to spend money to make money has never been truer.
That’s the basics, really. All you need to know to get a good foundation on your business, is above, however the internet is filled with more details if you ever get stuck down the line.