Starting a Business With a Website – A Practical Outline
This article is meant as a practical outline for starting a web/world based business from someone in the process of doing so. I started to put a merchandising business together about a month ago and assumed that a presence on the internet was a necessity. The first thing I did was to research tax laws and file a DBA (“doing business as”) in the counties clerk’s offices where I anticipated doing “physical” business. The tax laws for an individual doing business “under an assumed (business) name are simpler than the more complicated corporate tax laws. Filing the DBA legally establishes you under the business name chosen. At each step from here you need to ensure compliance with manifold regulations, such as permits and licenses for your activities if you wish to sell things in various venues.
Next, you need to ensure the production of your product. This depends on what you produce. Keep record of all your business related expenditures and income. Do not do this in an electronic database only. Keep hard records!
When you have or are close to having a product, you need a website. You should look up “web hosting services” and compare reviews and rankings from those who have used them. Good customer service is essential with a web host. For a small business, you may want to use a shared server or a “VPS” (virtual private server), which costs a bit more. You need to either build the site yourself with software provided by the host or chosen from the marketplace (varied options) or hire it out. It depends on the scope of your site, but inquire about building it yourself as this can be cost effective and more fun. You will need to configure your e-commerce setup by providing online payment services. You can use Pay Pal, Checks, or Credit Cards as a few possibilities. Credit Card processing generally requires a merchant account with Visa/Mastercard. This can be an involved process. Once you are online, you need to promote your site. While there are tricks to web programming (search engine optimization) that make your site accessible, traditional real-life contact is indispensable where you share your name and website while building a rapport with the customer is just essential to a startup business. I am now at the point of marketing and advertising. Best of luck with your own start-up business.