Welcome to the Community Jennifer.
There is a lot of planning to start your own on line business.
The key to your business success is YOU.
There is a lot of info on line and YES this community can help.
Keep doing your research, ask us specific questions and hopefully you will get good answers.
I always feel that a Business Plan is most important. The Plan is like a road map to success.
It should include which route you take, should include Income and Expenses
and help you to reach your goads successfully.
Good luck, LUCKIEST
Hi Jennifer, welcome to our community! Congratulations on making the decision to start an online business! As you've figured out knowing what type of business and which path(s) to take can be the most difficult part of any startup. I think you'd enjoy this great series by our expert Steve Strauss that will help you explore, and perhaps decide on, exactly how you want to proceed. What do you do after you get that big idea? (Part 1)
Once you've figured out your path (or in coordination with deciding, you need to figure out just how much it is going to cost to get your new venture up and running, and what you can afford. By doing so, this might help you narrow down which path you want to proceed with. Steve Strauss also has an excellent new article that provides some helpful tips that you might find beneficial Figuring out your startup costs
I hope you find these articles beneficial in helping you make your decisions. Please let us know if you have any specific questions, and our helpful members of this community will be glad to try to assist with advice, experience and tips.
Best of luck to you in your new venture!
Jennifer: You might want to start out with a wholesaler drop ship company at first so your money is not tied up in inventory. Hand to mouth at first until you establish some well selling lines and then approach a manufacturer of a good selling item and see if they will sell you direct. Don't tie up your capital with just one area of marketing.s
As ChinaDave mentioned, a dropshipper company is beneficial in the fact it costs less to start because you don't have to pay for inventory costs initially. However, be warned that most consumers in my experience complain because of the long drop-shipping times it takes that company to ship. From the moment that your customer makes a purchase on your site, you're kept in the dark until that dropship company delivers the product. This can greatly impact the ability to deliver great customer support (often the case to retaining repeat customers). The other alternative as you mentioned would be to first purchase the products with an upfront cost in order to then sell that product online. This method works and gives you more control over the entirety of the transaction but a risk if the product you're selling isn't something people want.
You don't need a full-fledged website to start. I would recommend a pre-made online store option such as shopify, or bigcommerce .That allows you to get started quickly without having to worry about the technical side of things. When your business scales, you can then consider building a custom website, something that we do at Zlass. As with all businesses though, especially those with inventory costs, I find it very helpful to first validate your business idea beyond just friends and family first- I would recommend generating an email list of 100 people who are willing to purchase your product by pitching them in real-life before actually getting started so you then know if you're purchasing the right product.
Hope that helps!
Hi Jennifer, you've received some great advice on your startup questions and I wanted to follow up and see how it was going. Have you decided on designing your own website, or will you be using a dropshipper?
Please check back with us, and let us know how it's going and if you have additional questions!
Best of luck to you!
I agree with the comments above. On the website, I would just add that you should buy and use a domain particular to your business from the outset. Repeat customers will know your business by the domain name. If you need to upgrade to a better website down the road that requires a different domain, many of your customers will be unable to find you.
I am undecided between working via a dropshipper like Worldwide, a wholesaler like Daily Trader, or go straight to the manufactures which would require upfront costs to order the products. I also originally thought of using a company that offers the website for a %/fee like Google, but have also considered the possibility of just creating/and working my own website (which I know will require more of my time). I've been doing research, but the more I research I do the more torn I become of which route(s) would be more beneficial.... Any feedback from anyone who has started and running an on-line store would be GREATLY appreciated!