Starting any business from home can be extremely exciting. After all, more than 60 percent of billionaires are entrepreneurs. But starting an eCommerce business comes with its own set of challenges you might not be aware of. That’s not to say an online business is more difficult to get off the ground. On the contrary, sometimes it’s a much faster path to profits than a brick-and-mortar type of business. However, if you’re not technologically savvy, you might have a lot to learn (or hire out) before you start. There are also some things you’ll need to know about what and how to sell products or services online.
Almost everything you could hope to learn about building a successful eCommerce business is readily available online. But it’s essential to figure out who to listen to and where to find your information. You’ll find that many websites out there are simply trying to sell their products or make a commission off them. And while that doesn’t always mean their information isn’t valuable, it’s something to remember when you’re doing your research. Meanwhile, the following are some excellent foundational tips and steps to get you started.
Guard your website.
One of the biggest mistakes many new eCommerce business owners make is not setting up the proper protection for their websites. Intellectual property and financial information is a huge commodity for the online world. Many hackers are becoming more and more adept at figuring out how to steal them. One of the biggest threats today is ransomware. This is where a hacker gets into your system, steals your information, and tries to charge you a ransom to recover it. Fortunately, some good companies, such as MonsterCloud, protect businesses from these types of cyberattacks. Checking out MonsterCloud reviews indicates that they’re pros at preventing and recovering accounts that have fallen prey to these malicious thieves.
Use the right platform.
There are lots of great ways to sell your products or services online. You can use Facebook Marketplace to integrate social media with your store. You can set up a virtual store on sites like eBay and Amazon. You can go through a storefront like Shopify or WooCommerce. Or you can set up your own site and integrate some selling platform. It’s a great way to effectively reach your customers without taxing your systems or resources too heavily.
One example would be a Storis and Shopify integration that marries the software for selling furniture with a well-known eCommerce giant. This type of upgrade can save you a lot of time by giving you both platforms’ benefits. This way, you would have some specific attributes specific to the furniture business and an easy-to-use payment platform with built-in marketing.
Cover your legal bases.
Just because your small business is online doesn’t mean you won’t have any licensing and other legal restrictions. For example, if you’re using a business name, you’ll need to make sure you’re not violating copyright. You may also have to register your business name with your local courthouse. These are things you can typically find out there. It’s a good idea to check with them before ever launching your website. Some cities and counties even require registering your business or getting a license before you start. This will depend on the type of business you’re running.
Additionally, you might want to secure legal services. There are a lot of different types of lawyers with various specialties. Try to find one with some level of eCommerce experience. Having an attorney, you can consult will help you decide things for your business, such as what type of legal structure you should have. Sole proprietorships, partnerships, LLCs, and corporations all have different legal and tax benefits you may not know about. Lawyers can also help you avoid certain pitfalls of online businesses, such as not getting the right licenses or not getting the proper permission from your landlord if you don’t own the real estate where you’re conducting your business.
Set up a dedicated workspace.
If at all possible, designate an entire room for your new business. For one thing, having an office to “clock in” at will help you put distractions aside while you work. And for another thing, you can use the space as a tax write-off at the end of the year. Some popular upgrades to home offices are whiteboards, ergonomic chairs with good lumbar support, stand desks, and file cabinets. Also, try to organize your paperwork and supplies neatly at the end of every day, so you’re always walking into a clean work environment. And set up your office with sufficient lighting by using natural light, desk lamps, and/or fixtures.
Put aside money for taxes.
Don’t let yourself get blindsided by the IRS at the end of the year. Remember, you don’t have an employer taking taxes out of your paycheck every month. You are solely responsible for covering that yourself. Self-employment taxes are also quite a bit higher than most business owners expect. As of right now, you’ll have to pay 15.3 percent on every dollar you make. Most self-employed business owners find it helpful to save about 20 percent of everything they make so that they have plenty to cover those end of year expenses. Also, create the habit of saving everything. All receipts, correspondence, and paperwork that pertain to your business can help you figure out all your deductions. Not to mention, they might save you if you ever find yourself facing a lawsuit.
Market your business.
Marketing your business is not something that should be left to chance. The “if you build it, they will come” mentality only works in the movies. Your marketing strategy should be tailored to your specific business, and you should only put money towards it when it makes sense. Social media, pay-per-click, SEO (Search Engine Optimization), guest posting, and email are all popular and effective methods for marketing an online business. Each one has something different to offer in great customer service, ease of use, and a simplified workday.
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