There are F words in business. We have seen many small businesses on the internet flourish and fulfil their dream, but sadly we have seen some flounder and fail because they had the wrong product.

To be successful in a new business:

  1. Choose the right product or service.
  2. Learn everything there is to know about the product or service.
  3. Price it well.
  4. Arrange reliable delivery.
  5. Get a customer friendly website.
  6. Get found at the top of search results.

In this article we discuss choosing products for the purpose of selling them on the web.

  1. Consumables:Products that get used up and need replacing create repeat business. e.g:
    Razors cost little but the blades wear out and need replacing.
    Printers are often sold at a low price, but their cartridges always need replacing.Good service in delivering consumables generates repeat business.

    This applies to compatibles as well as brand-name products.

    The most successful among our websites in this group sell printer inks and toners.

  2. Books, CDs, DVDs:If people know the item and it is authors / producers, they will not mind buying it on the internet, if price and delivery is competitive.If the item is a self-published book, CD / DVD, then people need to be able to inspect it before deciding to order it.

    The most successful among our websites in this group sell known text-books.

    The least successful offered home produced CDs

  3. Artworks:Prints or reproductions of known artworks can sell on the internet, provided there is a money-back guarantee if the customer is not happy with the quality.If the item is an original by an unknown artist, then it is very difficult to display its quality on the web to the point of persuading a customer to order it. Most people would want to personally see the actual artwork.

    The least successful in this group offered original oil paintings.

  4. Brand Name Products, Parts, Accessories:If they are brand-name items with a manufacturer guarantee, then provided price and delivery is competitive, these are the basis for most successful businesses on the web, regardless what product.People know exactly what they are getting, and receive a guarantee.

    The most successful among our websites in this group sell computers, parts and accessories, followed by perfumes.

  5. Services:Breaking into a service market is very difficult. Exact details of the service offered must be provided on the website.A service business often needs to get established and get the first few customers to provide testimonials, before business from strangers flow in.

    The usual rules of competitiveness and reliability count very much towards success in the service industry.

    The most successful of our service website clients provide wedding cars, followed by landscaping, then financial services.


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 overseas supplier started selling direct to their customers.


As mentioned at the beginning of this article, other factors must also be present to ensure a successful business, but choosing the product is the first make or break factor in starting a business.


These articles were first published on 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.