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    4 Replies Latest reply on Feb 20, 2011 12:28 PM by Pat Steger

    I am starting a new online business with a large artisan community..In need of advice .

    Newbie

      Hi everyone! 

       

      I am starting a new online business with a large artisan community online.  I am hoping other business owners here would give me much needed advice on this subject.  I have prepared almost everything I need as far as the .com is concerned. I just have a few more things to finish before I open shop but they are minor details.  I have obtained the merchandise, sorted it and need to photograph and list it.  I am getting my business and sales tax license on Friday and applied for my tax ID.  I know...a bit backwords order there!!!

      I have put in an order for business cards to promote the shop and include in orders.  I am starting out small with plans to expand with new items in a few months, if all goes well with what I am doing now. 

       

      I am concerned I have forgotton something!

       

      Any and all advice is greatly appreciated!

       

      Thanks so much!

       

      .

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          • I am starting a new online business with a large artisan community..In need of advice .
            Newbie

            Hi Doug!

             

            Wow, you are good!  I have set this up as a sole proprietorship.  I have consulted an attorney about this and the legal structure will be complete once I get my business license, state/local sales tax license which includes the Tax ID.  My locale is in Colorado and new laws have taken effect for online business practices.  When I spoke to the attorney yesterday,  we discussed these laws and I understand the requirements that I am obligated to abide by.

             

            In Colorado, you also have to register your DBA trademark with the Secretary of State even if it's not trademarked with the feds.  I have already started the process of registering my business name with the federal government since it is unique.  It is a name family/friends know and I have wanted to start a business with this for years. It is fun and memorable I am told.  It is also available in my state and with the federal government. I know that sounds ridiculous for most people but it is important to me. With all that said  I believe I have the legalities worked out.

             

            I have written a business plan with the help of the Small Business Association in my city.  I took classes through them (free) before I even started this process.  It was eye-opening and very informative, especially in this economy!  My business plan includes very specific goals and includes a well defined structure for expansion if the business takes off.  Like I said in my post, I am starting on a smaller scale and this community is very affordable as far a fees go.  Your assumption of me not being independently wealthy is correct!

             

            I have a marketing plan in place. again with the SBA's help. I have allocated funds for the business and a great sales application to track everything.  I have done research into my target customers and have spoken to people in these specific age groups which are from late teens on up.  I will be connecting with all the age groups online and off.  I have ordered postcards, business cards and flyers.  My contacts are willing to market for me.  I have given them a few pieces of the merchandise and discounts as long as want to spread the word and show the product by wearing it.  I have 8 people in this group and already had people place orders which is encouraging!  I have met with several businesses willing to display some items with the printed postcards for their customers to take with them.  We live in a moderately sized city which means many more businesses to contact.

             

            We have communities within our community and each has a it's own newspaper.  I have looked into that and will be advertising in those.  They are highly respected and well read through out the areas.  Much less expensive than the local paper but I haven't ruled that out either.  Need to generate more cash flow first.  The community that I joined,  free of charge,  does an amazing job of advertising has structured free classes in every different area and marketing is a big subject.  Most people in the community gladly share what works for them and the resources to get the information, again free!  As for my website that comes with my free membership and is powered by Google.  As soon as my virtual shop opens, I write what I want about the merchandise and it automatically goes on my own website, (also free) which will be maintained by my son who is an Aerospace Engineer and a very knowledgeable computer geek.  With Google comes the search feature by what I sell and  name.  I tag it and write all the information I want.  Good deal I think!

             

            Payment structure is completely set up through PayPal  That is the only way I will accept payment.  All of my shop policies are clear and concisely written and will be seen before every purchase or if someone is browsing the shop.  I offer Free First Class shipping within the U.S. with other options if the customer so chooses to pay for.  That is the first and only promotion I will have at the moment.  I do plan to continue free shipping though. It will be a loss but definitely increases a customer base, returning customers, perfect for advertising and word of mouth is a great tool!

             

            I have spoken to my insurance agent and all is covered!  That was must do! 

             

            I am sorry I have written a book here but your information and ideas were TERRIFIC and very helpful!!  I feel better knowing that I have covered almost all of your questions and have gleaned some good ideas also.

             

            Thanks so much for taking the time and interest to help!  I truly appreciate it!

             

            Best Regards,

             

            bizbuzz

          • Re: I am starting a new online business with a large artisan community..In need of advice .
            Newbie

            Buzz;

             

            The #1 and #2 reasons business fail (regardless of type of business): 1) lack of sufficient funding (working capital - cash), 2) lack of or slow first year sales.

             

            I can give you tremendous help and ideas as to how to nail first year sales, which also helps meet the needs of cash and working capital.  Just respond back and let me know if you are interested.  This is no gimmick, I have extensive entreprenuer experience and have seen many do it right AND wrong and can help.  The idea I have is affordable even to start up businesses.

             

            Won't cost a penny to explore.

             

            Pat