By Brendan Fitzpatrick
If you have a business plan then you are likely way ahead of a beginner and may need at least a mid-level type storefront such as a hosted solution. You’re also likely to be ready to spend more than the average person to get your business up and running on the internet. We would be foolish to advise that you skip any steps in the assessment process so read the following recommended steps and serious consider each, it may help you uncover gaps in your business plan or it may reinforce the position that you believe you are at:
1. What is unique with my business plan that sets me apart from other companies?
2. How long have I been planning this business and how solid is my plan? Have I considered ever possible failure point and considered all recovery options?
3. What is my impact if this completely fails? Will I or my family end up on the street?
4. My business plan is foolproof, what do I do when Google offers the same solution?
If you already have a business and you are trying to get on to the internet then I’m going to assume that you have good business sense and that opening up storefront online is a small percentage of risk to your current business. If you don’t have a business but you are working full time then I’m going to assume that you’re not putting your entire salary into a storefront in desperation. I’m also going to assume that this is not an idea that you thought up at a bar 2 weeks ago and your now putting your life savings into.
With this said, it is very important to understand how business works on the internet before you just jump in. The lure of high profits on the internet is too easy to sucker in anyone looking to make a dime. You must research your industry and then e-commerce on the internet. You have to be able to speak Internet language to avoid getting ripped off.
If you want to test the waters then open up a free storefront from amazon.com. If you already have a web site then see if your hosting company provides free storefront software such as oscommerce.. If you’re beyond both of these options then you may need a custom storefront which can cost from a few hundred dollars to tens of thousands of dollars.. You have to put your business hat on and determine how much makes sense to spend on a custom storefront. There are many companies that will customize a framework for you such as a Drupal.org solution. This is an excellent scalable option for any new business idea online, small or big.