Author Topic: Anyone run an online bussiness?  (Read 3569 times)

Offline john1976

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Anyone run an online bussiness?
« on: March 19, 2011, 03:55:46 AM »
I have what I believe to be a good product at a good price point. I have ordered and put together a relatively small batch of the items. I plan on setting up a Godaddy Quickshopping cart account and starting business next week. Could someone recommend the best book or website for advice? My main concerns are shipping and order tracking.  If anyone wants to offer advice I would welcome it.

If this info is already on the boards just show me where. I tried a search and did not find what I am looking for, this is my second post here and I do not want to look like an AC.

Offline Jackncoke

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Re: Anyone run an online bussiness?
« Reply #1 on: March 28, 2011, 10:30:24 AM »
Hello, and welcome to the board!

My wife and I started our business online about a month ago, and there's plenty of advice I can give. There are quite a few more questions you need to have an answer for though to be successful in this. I'm saying this because we jumped in feet first to get something set up as quick as possible, and it's starting to bite us in the ass.

If you're really chomping at the bit, I'd say that registering your domain might help things a bit. I'm not familiar with Godaddy, but it is pretty cheap to own a website. There are plenty of people on this board that can help with that too. Designing the page can be as complicated as you want to make it, so just keep that in mind.

As far as your items go, is it something that you should patent? That requires a good chunk of change up front, and time to file it. I'd recommend developing a business plan to keep things on track. Google "SCORE" and your state to find info on that.

Starting a business can be as rewarding as it is frustrating. We love it so far!

Offline mvrck

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Re: Anyone run an online bussiness?
« Reply #2 on: March 28, 2011, 08:24:03 PM »
From my experience, DO NOT use Go Daddy Quickshopping cart. Slow, cumbersome & complicated is what I found when I opened my second website using Quickshopping Cart.

For my first website, I used www.homestead.com, now owned by Intuit who bought Homestead at "version 8". Now the cart is at version 10 and a lot new features have been added and it is very easy to use and setup. It integrates with PayPal and other credit card processors.

I have had good success with homestead. And, since I was able to compare Homestead with Go Daddy's cart, I have data to support my opinion.

I can say if you do not want a Cart, but just want to create an information site, Go Daddy works quite well. I do have other info only sites at Go Daddy and that has worked out great. I have an old copy of Microsoft FrontPage and turned on FrontPage Extension at GoDaddy and can do WYSIWYG editing of the web pages.

Thanks

Maverick



Offline Sister Wolf

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Re: Anyone run an online bussiness?
« Reply #3 on: March 28, 2011, 09:13:13 PM »
I've had an online business for a year and a half.  I suggest CS-Cart Pro, but you NEED to know what you're doing behind the scenes in order to handle it.  It's the best shopping cart there is (as far as I'm concerned).

As for order tracking, get your business a UPS account, a Paypal account, and an account at USPS.  You can track ANY order you ship, as long as it's within the US.  Anything outside the US is a complete pain in the ass, and I highly recommend telling foreigners to either pay for UPS or not shop there.

FTR: I think business plans are a complete waste of time.  However, I also think that listening to a ton of other people tell you how to run your business is a complete waste of time.  If you think a business plan is a good idea for you (or necessary if you don't have the money to invest into your business), then make one.  It really is going to come down to what's best for you. 

Other stuff I suggest:

* Hire a web developer to create your site for you.  Just spend the money.  It'll be worth it in the end.

* Use Facebook.  Use Facebook. USE FACEBOOK.  It works, and will drive people to your site, and give you a chance to have a real conversation with "the public" about what they want.  It will also give them a chance to remember that you exist when they're spending their "me time" on Facebook.  They'll see who you support, what sorts of things you say, and will come to respect you more than they would if you were just "that guy who sells [whatever you sell]"

*Keep records of EVERYTHING.  Get a Dome book from your local business supply store (Staples, or Office Max, or whatever is in your area).  Use it to keep track of every time you use your phone for business, how many miles you drive every day to the post office and back, how much it costs to buy paper, ink, tape, boxes, etc., how much you charge for shipping in, and how much you pay for shipping out.  The list goes on and on and on.  You'll be able to write off EVERYTHING you do for business at the end of the year. 

*Get a professional tax person.  They will be able to help you get the most out of your potential write-offs for taxes, and will help you understand what you can do to make those write-offs more worth while in the next year.

The first year is always the toughest.  There will be many sleepless nights, a lot of frustration, and a LOT of you asking yourself what the hell you were thinking.  ;)  Don't worry about it.  We've all been through it.  Stick with it, and you'll be happier than you ever would have been working in a cubicle.

Offline Jackncoke

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Re: Anyone run an online bussiness?
« Reply #4 on: March 31, 2011, 09:51:13 AM »

FTR: I think business plans are a complete waste of time.  However, I also think that listening to a ton of other people tell you how to run your business is a complete waste of time.  If you think a business plan is a good idea for you (or necessary if you don't have the money to invest into your business), then make one.  It really is going to come down to what's best for you. 


I'd like to expand on my view of this. I think it depends on the individual. Some people need plans, others don't. Having a plan doesn't guarantee success, but it does tend to keep one pointed in the right direction. I think the main key to being successful is having goals that focus your time and energy, but remaining flexible. There are several cliches that point toward this.

"No battle plan survives contact with the enemy"

Bruce Lee also pointed out, "Be like water making its way through cracks. Do not be assertive, but adjust to the object, and you shall find a way round or through it. If nothing within you stays rigid, outward things will disclose themselves.

Empty your mind, be formless. Shapeless, like water. If you put water into a cup, it becomes the cup. You put water into a bottle and it becomes the bottle. You put it in a teapot it becomes the teapot. Now, water can flow or it can crash. Be water my friend."

Having a destination is important. Picture a ship for a moment. The only way it gets where it's going is by having a destination. If it did not, it would simply float around until some outside force acted on it. Having a destination (goal) allows the ship to know where it's going. Issues may come up the ship must handle, but it will always head towards it's destination.

Hopes this helps a bit.

Offline Sister Wolf

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Re: Anyone run an online bussiness?
« Reply #5 on: March 31, 2011, 11:53:54 AM »
^ Very good advice.

Offline john1976

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Re: Anyone run an online bussiness?
« Reply #6 on: April 02, 2011, 05:00:58 AM »
Thanks for the advice. I am limited on spare time(lame excuse) so I have decided to try and sell my product to businesses directly. It is a simple kit that can be used by preppers and the vast majority of the public. My main concerns were tracking of orders and inventory. My profit margin is pretty slim on each item so 1 lost/misplaced shipment and I would be behind the profit curve. I believe being a wholesaler will limit this downside in that I can send large chunks of product at a time. Again thanks everyone.

Offline langloisandy

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Re: Anyone run an online bussiness?
« Reply #7 on: April 02, 2011, 05:19:23 AM »
John,

I have run an online biz or three (or more) since 1991... pop me an email or PM to set up a time to talk (phone is better for me).  I would be happy to tell you my mistakes and solutions so you don't have to "reinvent the wheel" for your endeavour!

Andy

Offline g8tors09

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Re: Anyone run an online bussiness?
« Reply #8 on: April 12, 2011, 08:52:54 AM »
John, 
As far as the "lost" shipment goes use UPS or FedEx if the value is under 100.00 the insurance is free. I make claims with them on a daily basis due to the volume that we ship.

For the website K.I.S.S.   you kow it!  Grow your business just like a garden. Learn then expand. You will not be a amazon.com overnight(and you don't want to be)

My business plan is as follows........  Make Money   It really is that simple. All the other crap is well crap.

Do unto others is the only other rule you need to remember!

Good Luck!
Jason

Offline ThePlainsman

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Re: Anyone run an online bussiness?
« Reply #9 on: August 18, 2011, 03:04:47 PM »
I had a retail business once. I also had an online business. Both failed due to lack of planning. Read the book "The E-Myth revisited" to see why good planning is absolutely necessary for a successful business. Ninety five percent of small businesses fail in the first 10 years, 80% in the first 5 years and that is because the owners had no goals or plan to accomplish them. That is exactly why mine failed. Now I'm starting a new business with very detailed plans (2" binder full of procedures and objectives) and it is doing very well. You'll never get ahead being lazy with your planning.

If you want a good way to build an online business, try eBay. I did my own site and also a store on eBay. I got 10% of my business from the web site and 90% on ebay. It costs for a store, but it has great exposure and support tools.