Setting up a business online – Why Be the Apprentice, When You Can Be the Boss

By | July 12, 2011

Fed up of being pushed around at work and not getting anywhere? Do you long to be a boss? Well you can make it happen. In recent years many people have started to think about becoming self-employed, and with the wonder that is the internet, being self-employed has never been easier. Compared to brick and mortar organizations setting up a business online is much easier and cheaper.

So you want to set up a business online

The first step is to have a clear vision of what you want your business to be about, what products and services you would like to sell and how you will get there.

The next step is to draw up a solid business plan. Writing a business is invaluable because it forces you to think about all of the details that you might not have otherwise considered. There are various resources online that can help you with this so make sure you take advantage of them.

Business Structure

Most new online businesses start off as sole trader/proprietorships; This means that for tax purposes the owner is liable for any debts the business has – this is however the simplest form of business structure. A similar alternative to this is a partnership then both owners would share the liability.

Your other option is to form a limited company. This structure is a lot more complex and there are various responsibilities you will have to deal with as a director.

Sole traders often become limited companies when they become more established, but remember, what ever structure you choose, make sure you are complying with government regulations and are properly registered.

Next steps

You have your business idea, plan and structure; Now is time to think about getting a website. In order to get a website you firstly need to find a reliable and dependable web hosting company…

Web hosting is essentially where you rent digital storage space on the internet this is where the files that make up your website will be kept. Finding a web host with a good reputation for reliability will mean that you have fewer problems in the long run, so it is worth taking the time to research.

The next step is to buy a domain name for your website, make sure that this reflects the nature of your business and something that’s easy to remember.

Web design and other bits

Once you have figured your way around web hosting and you have secured your domain name, you will actually need to think about building and designing a website, or alternatively, having one designed.

Many web hosting companies have templates and designs to help you, but if you are not pretty tech savvy already, the learning curve is very steep. Hiring a web designer is the better option for most businesses; your site needs to be professional and user friendly…

You will also need to consider how your customers will buy products/services. You can use a service such as Paypal or many other merchant account options are available. Ensure you shop around to look for the best deal that will suit your business needs.

Finding Customers

To ensure that your website is actually found by potential customers it is essential that you consider marketing options. Without a marketing strategy your site will simply not get noticed.

Search engine optimization is a great option, it is a relatively new field and is not well understood by many businesses, so if you are prepared to put in the investment you might well be able to beat out your established competitors.

Again marketing is a big area and SEO is just one option, this is an area that you should be considering carefully when you write your business plan.

Summary

Setting up a business online can seem like a big task, but the key is to break each section down, do the research and really make sure you understand what it is you are trying to do. With a little luck and a lot of hard work you can make it a success.

My name is Nisha Sandhu I am 26 years old and I am an Editor at merchantaccountforum.com, whom I have been working with for 2 years now. I love to write and give online business advice to new and growing businesses.