Setting Up Your Business
1. Define your product or service.
Starting an online business gives you the benefit of having access to millions of customers, but you also have a lot more competition. No matter what you’re trying to sell, you can bet that hundreds more online retailers have a similar idea. What differentiates your product from other similar products? To help your product stand apart from the rest, you’ll need to find a niche.
- Let’s say you make jewellery—but so do a few million other people. What makes yours different? If one-of-a-kind jewellery (or another product) is your gig, make sure it’s truly original.
- Offer expertise in an area. Even if the product itself isn’t very unique, your expertise might be a strong selling point. If you’re selling a line of skincare products, for example, it helps if you have a degree in a field related to skin health.
- Check into the competition. Figure out what isn’t already being offered, and find a way to fill the hole with your product.
2. Register your business.
Your business needs to be registered according to your state’s laws. Choose an official business name and fill out the appropriate paperwork to make your business official.
- Before you register your business, it can help to have a business plan laid out. Consider your production costs, shipping costs, taxes, and web hosting fees.
- Know the business regulations in your state, and be sure to comply when you get things up and running.
3. Register a domain name.
Like the name of any other business, go for something short and catchy that will be easy for people to remember. Visit the website of a domain registration company and test out some of the names you’re interested in to determine whether they’re available. Once you land on a good name, go ahead and register it.
4. Get a web hosting service.
There are free hosting services to be found, but if you’re serious about running an online business long term, consider paying for one that offers all the services you need. You’ll be less likely to run into problems when your business starts to take off. Choose a hosting service that allows for growth.
- Some hosting services are highly structured, allowing you to choose from among different templates to create a website quite easily. Others allow you to do your own programming, giving you greater flexibility.
Creating Your Online Store
1. Create a stylish and functional website.
Elegant or funky, classical or hipster, your online store should reflect what you’re selling. No matter what your style is, it’s important to give off a professional air. Since you won’t be able to earn people’s trust in