Don`t hate the Boss. Be the Boss. Would you like to work for yourself and be your own boss? You can now start your own business without a large investment.
Online Shopping is now popular
A rapidly growing percentage of shoppers now buy online because they can conveniently shop from their own homes. It is easy to set up an online shop. Shops on the street have overhead costs such as rent, maintenance, rates, and electricity and a high set-up cost. Online shops have a continuing cost of domain name registration ($10 to $20 per year) and hosting ($100 to $200 per year). These costs are very small compared to physical shops. With an ecommerce business online you are open 24/7 for customers.
First, choose a business that you can be good at. Remember the saying “The secret of life is not to do what you like, but to like what you do.”
So choose products that you will like selling or a service that you will like providing. Learn all about the product line you choose so that when you talk to a customer you can talk as an expert.
Consumables are products that need to be replaced regularly and can provide returning customers. Examples are Office stationery, Food, Clothing, Gifts, Flowers, Jewelry, Pet supplies and any products that get used up.
Check for reliable suppliers, delivery to customers and payment options. Some suppliers can “drop ship” for you. That means you receive the customer orders but have the supplier deliver the goods direct to your customer. You don`t need to hold stock.
Look at the market. Check for competitors. Is there room for another player?
Choose a business name and register a domain name that includes key words about your business which can help Google index your website. E.g. if you sell gifts use mygiftshop.com, not myshop.com or myempire.com. Don`t have a name too similar to an existing one – that confuses people. If the COM version already exists don`t take the NET or any other version for your domain name. Choose another name. Costs range from $10 to $20 per year.
Spend $2,000 to $5,000 on a web design? Not anymore! These days it`s easy to create a website using WordPess which is free and for which there are thousands of free themes or templates. There are also thousands of free addons or “plugins” for many functions including ecommerce, advertising, surveys, newsletters, search engine optimization and many other utilities. Some WordPress themes are mobile phone responsive.
If you have any difficulty, get help from your web host, or from a web designer, but keep control of access to the hosting control panel.
There is a large range of ecommerce plugins, but they all blend seamlessly with your website. We recommend one named woocommerce that is easy to install, versatile for setting up product options like colors and sizes, has different display options, can import product details and prices from spreadsheets and has a range of delivery pricing methods and payment options.
Don`t be anonymous on the internet. Display a postal address, phone number and email prominently. This assures the customer that you are in the same country.
To accommodate an ecommerce system and products with images take a hosting plan with 200 MB space. Costs range from $100 to $200 per year. Make sure the host`s servers are located in your own country to avoid communication difficulties.
Search Engine Optimization
This should be kept in mind every time you add information to your website. If your website is not on the first two pages of Google most people searching for your products won`t see your website. Google ranks websites in the order of relevance to the words searched for.
To be relevant to a search, a website must contain the words searched for. Websites that have more information in their content are more relevant. Websites that have more other relevant websites linking to them are more relevant. Insert a range of alternative key words in the text. If you are selling “costume jewelry”, capture people also looking for “fashion jewellery” or similar expressions or spellings.
Use the facilities of WordPress permalinks to make the title of each page, each category and each product a user-friendly web address. Get an SEO plugin. There are SEO merchants who will offer to charge you for some common sense procedures that you can do yourself.
Be quick to answer phones and emails. Become an expert on your products. Put the website address on your emails and stationery. Use an email address @yourdomain.com. Do not use a free email account.
Give customers the impression that they get personal service from you, even online. Put your time into your business.
Over the years we have seen many businesses start up on the kitchen table, then flourish and expand into a shop or warehouse. Success does not come all at once, so don`t give up a regular job until your business is producing a regular cash flow.
Choose the right products for you. Check market, suppliers, delivery options and payment options. Choose a business name and domain name. Arrange a hosting plan with WordPress installed. Choose ecommerce and SEO plugins. Load products with expanded descriptions.
The rewards are there for those who sell the right products and are prepared to work at their own business. Be the boss!
These articles were first published on www.platywebs.com.au and have been re-published on many other websites and ezines over the years. New readers are still finding them to be of value and up to date with today’s conditions. We believe they illustrate common sense and the value of thinking through situations. Please check out the other articles advising on small business, web design, search engine optimisation, web hosting and domain names.