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    5 Replies Latest reply on Aug 8, 2009 5:25 PM by vnavguys

    Not Sure Where to Start

    matthewt2003 Newbie
      Hello I am a recent college graduate witha degree in business administartion. I have always been interested in starting my own business and during college I did run a small mobile detailing business, mostly during the summers. I feel I learned more from the venture than I ever made money at it. I also worked for two small business owners, one a franchisee and one a small contractor. I learned alot from those experiences as well. I managed to save some money during college. I decided I should stay within my relm of experince and interests in deciding what type of business I should get into. Because I dont have an unlimited supply of money or much avaliable credit , though my credit is excellent just not enough history, I was interested in the idea of opening up some type of online retail shop. I am figuring the overhead is much lower than a traditional brick and mortar store. I feel I should stay in my realm of knowledge and interests. I know electronics and stereo equipment, i was also intrested in teh idea of an online hobby shop, even though i know I am not the first to think of that.
      I have been leaning towards the hobby shop. Mostly because I am interested in that sorta thing and also because I feel like I could specialize in certain products ( I am not sure what exactly yet) and that would seperate me from competitors. I have many questions though and I am hoping some current online retailers could help me out and give me some guidance. I know I would have to seek help from proffesionals on website design and an online marketing campaign of some kind. Most of my questions at the moment pertain to suppliers and product manufactuers. How will they be willing to deal with me and take me seriously if I do not have a business address and am running the business from home and over the internet. Also if anyone has any advice or criticisms of my idea so far I would be willing to listen. Thank you!
        • Re: Not Sure Where to Start
          The issues you've identified are not unique to the businesses you've mentioned - actually, they are common to pretty much every business. You are talking about establishing creditability - both socially and financially.

          Financially that means building business credit rather than using your personal credit. I recommend a free webinar that will help there. Go to
 and follow the links to Resource Center, Professionals We Recommend, and check out the very first link on that page. It is a complete guide to building business credit (credibility).

          Socially, begin establishing the relationships before you need to do business - i.e. network. Let them know your plan (you have one, right? it's required - you need a plan). If you have those things established it will give you the confidence you need to look like an attractive business partner rather than wet-behind-the-ears risk. Sell them on you and your plan just like you were selling a model plan to a customer.

          I hope this helps. If you have any website needs, consider Have a wonderful business life.
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          • Re: Not Sure Where to Start
            oldhlywd Wayfarer
            I had a couple of experiences with online business, and found it to be quite challenging to start, maintain, and make a profit off of. I created my own website, maintained it, searched for new products, maintained my own quickbooks, ran to and from post offices, and took orders on the phone. I basically did it all.

            My advice to you, once you have determined what your prodcut line will consist of, is to form a single member LLC. It will looks professional, and you'll be taken more seriously. Not to mention that most ecommerce merchant solution comanies (if you will take orders online) will not do business with "sole proprietors". This goes for distributors as well.

            Another piece of advice is to try to find "drop shippers" for your line of products. A reputable drop shipper will ship the prodcuts for you, and supply you with all the images (jpgs), and product descriptions for your site.

            Also, don't be dupped into purchasing expensive websites. They are4 almost literally a dime a dozen. There are open source template designs, and people who can create one for you at a fraction of the cost.

            So, basically do your homework and don't be too hasty in your decisions.

            Hope this helps.
              • Re: Not Sure Where to Start
                Hymesdesign Adventurer
                I'd honestly sugesst gettin your feet wet in some sort of free marketplace like, if you can market your ecrater store well enough to make some money then move forward if you can't then really it just shows that it's not meant to be. There are numerous challenges to online retail that I guarantee you have never thought of, any experience you can gain in it will be for the posistive even if it is an out right fail. I realize these two ideas clash but while I would take it as a sign and not pursue any further business online if I failed with ecrater you might just take it as a learning experience and that is what I was trying to say, Good luck.
              • Re: Not Sure Where to Start
                phanio Pioneer
                To be taken seroiusly by your suppliers or vendors - just pay them. You can buy their products from them, then turn around and ship them to your cusotmers with a mark up for profit. Plus, you should be able to get volume discounts from your suppliers. They just require payment. As you work with these companies - and build a relationship - then start asking for trade credit.

                Yes, you can also drop ship - but, I have found that when you give your customer's information to a supplier - so that they can send the goods - you never see that customer again as the supplier has their information and will send their marketing material. (for you to succeed - you need repeat customers).

                You can try purchasing some goods and selling them on eBay or Amazon to see how it goes. This will really keep your costs down as well as give you some experience on what sells and what your potential cusotmers are looking for.

                I suggest, you do as much research as you can - write an informal business plan to ensure you have really thought things out - then just get started. This way you will learn first hand what you need to do. make sure you do great research on your target market - this way you are not wasting your time and money marketing where your customers are not.

                There are many hobbie forums and specific product forums that you should join and participate in. You could learn a ton on these forums and sites.

                Business Money Today
                • Re: Not Sure Where to Start
                  vnavguys Tracker
                  I have a couple of ideas for you based on my own experiences. I have started my own ecommerce sites and spent a LOT of money and time learning how the game works. Do not let anyone tell you that making money online is a breeze. All of those people are idiots and have no experience doing anything like ecommerce, they are just trying to make a quick buck promoting something silly. If you are serious, I would do one of two things

                  1. Get educated. Join a serious network and immerse yourself with learning. I suggest stompernet.
                  2. Although number 1 costs some serious dollars, I would suggest becoming an apprentice. Finding someone to teach you all the ins and outs of the business is probably the best way to go. This technique seems to be the lost art nowadays, but it was alive and well a generation ago. I myself would extend you an invitation if you were in the central florida (orlando area).

                  Best of Luck

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