Starting an online business

The world of online retailing is like one giant roller coaster. You have your ups and you have your downs. But out of all the ways to start a business from home it really is one of the easiest.  You need products to sell and somewhere to sell them and quite simply that’s it.

Selling online : 

google analytics

In many cases you don’t even really need to have your own website with the likes of 3 party sites such as eBay and Amazon you can easily set up mini shop and are guaranteed visitors straight away.  I do however usually advice people to buy their own domain and set up a branded holding page, this enables you to build up domain authority and means nobody else can use your business name.  It is important to consider that 3rd party sites might not be around forever.

For handmade products see : Where to sell crafts online

Costings : Do bear in mind costings. You will need to take into account listing fees (if using 3rd party sites), website fees (are they yearly or monthly if setting up your own site. I use Create.Net and pay a yearly fee as this is the cheapest option for me.) and payment fees, paypal and google checkout will charge a fee per transaction too.

Further Reading : How to set up your own Ecommerce Website

Stock :

In the beginning you don’t even need to hold large amounts of stock. Start small.  With Charlie Moo’s I initially spent £56.65 on stock. Once I sold this I reinvested the money into new stock and I still do this now.  You don’t want to end up with a ton of stock that doesn’t sell so take the time to test your market and buy small orders in the beginning. Dropping shipping can be a great way in which to fill your shop without holding stock.

With stock you will need to ensure that once you pay any fees (ie transaction fees, website fees) you are still making a profit. Otherwise there really is no point. It can be easy to pitch too low so ensure you have your costing formula water tight.

charlie moos stock

For further handmade products see : How to price your handmade goods

Amazon also have launched Fresh Store Builder which enables you to develop a shop laden with products which you don’t actually stock. The products will be sent directly via Amazon and you earn a commission.

Storage Solutions :

Online retailers usually need somewhere to store all their products.  Currently mine are in our home but I am already beginning to outgrow this space.  I don’t dropship so hold all the stock content myself. When the time arrives to pack up your stock boxes from every single space you have crammed them into (cupboards, under the bed, children’s playhouse) and move to a more permanent warehouse solution there are a few things to consider.

Location : How far is your storage unit from your home? You don’t want to spend a large proportion of your time travelling to your unit. Also consider how the products will be shipped and whether this location is viable.

business storage

What kind of storage you want : Consider optimising your space and functionality with pallet racking instead of traditional shelving.

  • Pallet racking can be a tailor made option based on the stock you keep & the load of the pallets which is needed.
  • Materials are stored on pallets which make it easier for handling.
  • Traditional shelving can only help you to a limited extent. Pallets on the other hand are a modern solution to smoothly move the supply chain process.
  • Pallet racking is a cost effective solution for high density items too.

Pallet racking is available in Leeds & other parts of UK from Warehouse Storage Solutions.

Is the space workable : There might be proportions of the time when you need to work from there to. Things like WIFI, a desk and somewhere to boil the kettle. The space will need to work in a variety of capacities.

Have you started a small online business from home?  I’d love to hear your feedback.

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