22 Mar 11 Point Checklist for Starting an E-commerce Business
Every new business requires a good bit of hard work to start for the best chance of success. When you first start a business, you will need to be well-prepared prior to going online and taking your first order.
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The solution for this preparation is to understand what needs doing to succeed. All businesses need to adhere to a checklist for starting an E-commerce business to be certain they have covered all bases. E-commerce businesses have shown incredible growth over the past few years.
It is no secret that the use of the internet and smartphones by consumers has also witnessed phenomenal growth. More and more consumers are making their purchases from their mobile device or from home instead of going to brick and mortar stores. That results in a massive demand for online businesses.
Starting a new E-commerce business is no easy task and has many decisions and steps that need to merge at the right time. You need to spend the necessary time laying the proper groundwork. Once you set your E-commerce correctly, it will easy to handle and will be profitable as well.
With the following tips for starting an E-commerce business, you should be ready to be off to a fantastic start.
1. Start with a Business Plan
It is no secret that writing a business plan is stressful and intimidating. Even if you feel that just because you are starting a business, there is no need to bother sitting down and writing a paper, it is very crucial to do so. By having a business plan, it will help you in more ways than you realize, and it cost you nothing but time.
When you have a well-drafted business plan, you are letting important entities, such as lenders, know that you are a serious business with intentions of succeeding. Your business plan should lay it all on the line. Be sure to have all the details about your business in your plan.
The following are some of the vital details your business plan should have:
- What You Sell
- Where your Profit Comes From
- How Much Inventory You Will Have on Hand
- Where You Store Your inventory
- Your Return Policy
- Details your Total Start-Up Cost, include your Ad Campaign, Web Designer, and Monthly Server Fees.
Are you 100 percent certain you believe enough in your business to risk this much?
2. Your Business Name
Your business name is actually a joint first and should be one of the best parts of starting an E-commerce business. Make sure the name you choose is memorable and a fabulous name that no one else has.
You need to make sure you conduct a corporate name search to make certain the name you want is not already in use. Once you have decided on the name, you will need to register it even if you choose to form a corporation or LLC. That will automatically happen when you file your paperwork with the state.
3. Secure Your Website and Domain Name
Ideally, you will have a business name that is the same as your domain name. However, if that is not available, pick a URL that is easy to spell, say and relates to your business.
Designing your E-commerce website is typically the most significant expense you will have. However, you need to ensure that your site is not only functional but appealing as well. There are simple, out-of-the-box solutions that will get you started. However, your business may need something custom-made if your demands are more than the average.
4. Select The Best Business Structure then Register Your Business
You have several choices when it comes to how to structure your business:
- Sole Proprietor
- Partnership (if you have a business partner)
If you do not pick a business structure such as an LLC or corporation, the IRS will consider you to be a partnership or sole proprietor. However, if you operate as a sole proprietor, your personal belongings and assets will be at risk.
If your business gets sued, you could lose your personal assets if you do not have the money to pay the debts. Both the LLC and corporation separate your assets and you from your business and it offers many tax benefits.
5. Get Your Employer Identification Number
You will need an EIN (Employer Identification Number) to open a business bank account as well as filing your taxes. The EIN is similar to what your social security number is to you. It is a set of uniques numbers that is your businesses identity and assists with relevant paperwork. You will need this whether you have employees or not.
6. Make Sure Your Business Stays Compliant
Life is going to move at lightning speed once you launch your business. Every business has regulatations, educate yourself about ones that affect your business. For example medical and healthcare professionals are regulated by HIPAA and require a hosting provider that is HIPAA compliant. It is short for Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act and affects every healthcare professional.
Do not overlook your important deadlines to pay annual fees for permits, taxes, and your annual report. Keep a calendar handy so that you can stay on top and meet deadlines.
7. Apply for Business Permits and Licenses
Just because your business is an E-commerce does not eliminate you from having to apply for permits and licenses. You will need to check with your county, city, and state to see what home business license or sales tax license you need and have them approved before you begin operating.
8. Find the Right Vendors
There is no doubt when it comes to selling products online you will face tons of competition. So, it is in your company’s best interest to find the best prices and best quality for the materials or products you sell. You also need to find the same for what it is you use to develop your products. Shop around to find the best vendors you can do long-term business with and stick with them.
9. Get More Productive with the Right Software
Having the right tools will make your life much easier. Moreover, in your line of work, software are your tools. Be sure to test many options available to help with your business needs.
10. Stock Your Inventory
Whether you have a huge warehouse or your garage at home to keep your products, make sure you have enough on hand to launch your business. Not knowing how much you will need will be the tricky part. Keep in mind; it is always better to have too much than not enough.
Pay close attention to future orders and see how your sales increase to help determine the amount of inventory to have on hand.
11. Start Marketing Early
There are several steps you can take to get ready for opening day. You should take this time to set up social media profiles and write high-quality content for your blog now so that you do not have to rush to do it all on day one.
Now it is time to launch your business. Remember, you are not going to do everything perfectly. Just worry about getting started. If consumers want to pay for your product, you can improve and redefine your E-commerce business at any time.
As you make your way through the above checklist for starting an E-commerce business, you will know building your business will be no easy task. However, following these steps will have a significant impact on your first impression.