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How To Start A Small Business On The Internet

How To Start A Small Business On The Internet

When you're starting a small business, whether it's on the Internet are not, you should ask yourself a few questions first? Are you going to have a product or service based business? How much capital do you have to start the business? Do you have a business plan? Do you know how to market and attract new customers? These questions and many more are especially important because it is not just a matter of setting up a website and watching the money roll in. Below are some key areas of focus when starting a small business on the Internet.

Business Basics

Operating a small business in general requires significant resources and adding the Internet into the mix makes it more complicated. No business will be successful without a properly researched business plan. A business plan establishes a singular goal taking into account projected revenues, a market analysis of competitors, operating expenses as well as possible obstacles. You must also research the type of organization you will have and whether it will be an LLC, DBA or Corporation. You will need to obtain state licensing as well as liability insurance. It may be necessary to get an EIN number to set up business bank accounts. Professional advice from a certified public accountant or like-minded business owners is always helpful. If it is a product based business, what are your inventory needs? As you can see there is a significant amount of work to be done prior to considering any of the technological challenges associated with the Internet.

Internet Basics

Once you have all of your business information and preparation sorted and ready to go then you can consider establishing your small business online. If you plan on selling a product you will need a way to accept orders using a shopping cart. You will need a secure certificate to make sure credit card information is kept confidential. Unless you're a web developer, you will need to find a reputable web development company specializing in e-commerce. A business website should be search engine optimized which helps with both search engine ranking and website and product discoverability. Will you need product images shot by professional? Will you have dedicated hosting or a virtual host for the website? If the website is larger, will you higher a web developer? What programming language will the website be in such as PHP, ASP, Ruby, Python, etc.? Will you be using pay per click advertising and do you have a budget? Starting a small business on the Internet cost more money than anticipated by most business owners and their budgets. It will also require significant research to make sure costs don't balloon out-of-control when you get started.

Open For Business

After you get the ball rolling on your new small business there will be ongoing maintenance and operations issues specifically related to being on the Internet. One important consideration is the ability of the business owner to manage their own inventory with an administration interface. One way for web development companies continue charging you money is to limit what you can do yourself. While it will cost more money up front, make sure that the entire front end is database driven and can be modified and updated on the back end. Is your website scalable and can it handle additional traffic if necessary? If your small business takes off it could cause problems if it can't handle large amounts of traffic or process simultaneous orders. If your small Internet business targets international customers, how do you handle currency conversion and customs issues? Due to the Internets global reach you may be surprised at the type of issues which crop up daily.


Starting a small business on the Internet is much more involved and complicated than opening a nail salon in a strip mall. There are numerous additional issues that come from combining global reach and technological issues. Just like building a home, it all starts with the foundation and the more informed and prepared you are prior to outlaying any money the better off you will be. When it comes to technology if someone is spouting off buzzwords make sure you understand exactly what they mean and determine whether or not they are necessary. It can be even more exciting than normal when opening a store to the world but learn to expect the unexpected and consider every day an adventure.

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