10th January 2013
The Internet seems to have somewhat taken over the world in recent years, with many of us using it as our sole source of many news, views, products and services. At the same time, high street shops have continued to suffer... so, if you are considering starting a business, why not make it an online one?
However, there are also certain key things that you should keep in mind when you are thinking of starting an online business - from getting your tax affairs in order to the possibility of offering a next day delivery service.
Those first steps
Naturally, a business cannot exist without a sufficient number of willing customers, so you'll need to research the market to identify a target audience and assess demand and competition. Can you offer the products or services that customers will actually want, while keeping your profit margins healthy and growing the business as required?
A business plan is absolutely essential at this stage, so that you can convince yourself and other potential funding providers of the viability of the business. Tax will also need to be paid, of course, while you'll also need to observe data protection legislation when sensitive customer information is being stored.
Getting your website up
A website is obviously vital if you are to trade online, although it may not be your own - for example, you may trade exclusively through eBay. Nonetheless, even some of the smallest businesses these days find that they can't perform well in the present competitive marketplace without having a website of their own.
Your company website is a central part of your marketing strategy, and a web design agency can help to ensure that it is pleasant to browse for your visitors. Although many such companies may try to convince you to invest in a bespoke ecommerce site, there are many ready-made solutions out there that do the job perfectly well, at least for those who are new to trading online.
Make life convenient for your customers
If you walked into a high street shop that was full of clutter and where the employees were rude and unhelpful, you wouldn't be likely to stay for long, and much the same rules apply on the internet.
So, be sure to eliminate those broken links and ensure that your contact details are prominently displayed. Delivery is also a key part of any online business - indeed, you may consider offering delivery on the same or next day to further tempt in potential customers.