In many ways, starting an online business is similar to starting a store. You’ll plan your business, organize your funding, produce your product, and get to work. But, there are unique aspects of running an online-only business that would-be entrepreneurs need to consider.
The different types of online businesses:
Wondering what type of online business to start? There are a few different options, and the best type to start will largely depend on your specific business, and what it is you’re selling.
An eCommerce site:
An eCommerce site is the most direct form of online business you can start; with a eCommerce site, you will be selling your goods and services directly to your customers, without a “go-between” such as eBay or Etsy. The best part about a direct eCommerce site is the level of control you have over your store. You’ll be able to customize virtually all the options when setting up your own eCommerce site, such as the complete look and feel of your store, but this flexibility makes the process that much more complicated, too.
An Etsy store:
The biggest consideration, Etsy is a site for creative types, and focuses on handmade items. If you sell handcrafted goods, resell vintage items, create and sell your art, and so on, you’ll fit in on Etsy. mass-produced goods are not welcomed on Etsy
An eBay store
As with Etsy, you won’t have to set up a website, customize your online storefront, or choose a shopping cart software—when you use eBay to sell your products. However this means that your customers will have to go through eBay to buy from you. There is no stipulation with eBay stores that the goods be handcrafted or vintage resale. However, there are still certain items that are prohibited, so make sure to look into the details of selling on eBay before you decide that it’s the right choice.
Steps to starting an online business:
1. Plan your business
2. Write your business plan
3. Register your domain name and set up your website
4. Make it legal
5. Read up on online business regulations
6. Visit your secretary of state’s website for state-specific requirements
7. Learn about tax obligations for running an online business