You can get rich on the web, but you must work on a strategy to succeed. Here are 12 steps to success.
Q: – How can you get rich on the web easier than in a ground based business?
A: – A web business needs less on the ground costs.
A web business can be run without the costs of store fronts in towns and states, because it has a world wide territory. Start-up costs for a web business are a fraction of those for a ground based business. There is no goodwill to pay for buying an existing business. A website can look like it represents a nationwide or world wide business, even if the business is conducted from your spare bedroom. The signage for changing promotions on a website can be done in little time, at little or no cost compared to a store front business.
Steps to starting and succeeding:
- Products and market:
Choose products for which you can get repeat orders, get referrals, become known for. The potential for more sales is with consumables rather than with items people buy only once in their lifetime. Research the market for your products. Is the market going to grow? What is the competition? What prices will your market accept?
- Become an expert:
Do not be just a mover of boxes. Learn everything there is to know about the product or service that you about to sell. Know more than your competitors.
Be sure there is reliable shipping for your product. Calculate shipping costs for products to various areas. Will your products still compete? Generally, products are now advertised excluding the shipping cost, so that prices can be more easily compared.
Evaluate the capacity of various suppliers to supply increasing quantities. Do they have acceptable lead times? Your customers will expect immediate shipping. Will you get a reasonable margin between buying and selling prices? Will you need to carry inventory yourself or can suppliers ship directly to your customers? Get a binding agreement with a reliable supplier, and ensure the supplier also benefits from selling through your business. We know one business which closed down after their supplier started selling direct to their customers.
- Business Plan:
Know your buying and selling prices and what sales volumes you can achieve. Do a budget of monthly and annual sales and costs. Allow for telephone, internet costs, web hosting, bank fees and other regular costs.
- Domain Name:
Check availablity of an appropriate name. To be search engine friendly, choose a name containing a key word for your product. E.g. flowershop.com, not billsmith.com, if you are selling flowers. Choose one not similar to any existing name. There is no future in trying to get customers from established businesses by having a similar name. You are more likely to loose customers to them.
- Business Name:
Protect your business by registering a business or company name relating to your domain name with an appropriate government agency.
- Bank account:
Open a bank account in the name of the registered business or company. It gives more credibility to your business.
- Credit card merchant facility:
Choose one from a bank, or open an account with a gateway like PayPal. Your customers need to be able to pay you easily and securely.
- Website design:
Choose a web designer who you can communicate with easily, and who has designed similar successful websites. Make sure you both agree the website should be:
- search engine friendly,
- easy for visitors to buy your products on-line,
– in that order of importance. If nobody finds you on the web, then all the other steps are wasted. There are a lot of articles published to help you become search engine friendly. Be sure to know what you want on the website before it is started. Be sure to have as much text as possible to promote your website plus some attractive pictures of your products. Have a product list ready for the web designers, containing product codes, descriptions, prices, image filenames, promotional data. Make sure you get a link from a well ranked site to get your site listed with search engines.
- Accounting system:
Set up an easy accounting system. Use internet banking to capture your data. Do not let accounts take over your valuable time, but be sure to have a system that tells you how you are trading.
- Put time into your business:
Ensure that your business can be relied on to ship products promptly and as ordered. Make each customer feel they are getting prompt personal service, and they will be back with all their friends.
Follow all these steps and succeed on the web. Above all, be search engine friendly and get found.
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