Are you sick of the nine-to-five? Have you ever dreamed about becoming your own boss, working your own hours and fulfilling your own destiny?
Most people who chase this dream want some degree of flexibility. For example, flexibility gives you the freedom to drop the kids at school without having to put them in before-school-care; flexibility gives you the energy to get the endorphins flowing in a spin class, yoga class or pump class before work; flexibility even gives you the choice to get a bit more sleep in the morning when you really need it.
That’s because flexibility is all about investing in your own wellbeing.
These benefits are realistic when you become your own boss, especially in this online age, where contact hours can be on your terms. A lot of industries and a lot of business owners have shifted away from bricks and mortar stores, to go completely online. It’s not for everybody, but for those that want it, there are plenty of upsides. But, make sure you weigh up everything IF you’re serious about taking that leap of faith and starting your own online business.
If starting an online business is something you’d like to do, why not start by thinking about your favourite online stores and services. Most, if not all, have considered these five steps when setting up their hugely successful online businesses:
1. Choose the right e-commerce platform for your product/service
2. Look at the real costs
3. Find reliable and cost-effective ways to deliver your products
4. Make a great first impression, then educate your customer
5. Find a reliable merchant provider for secure transactions and as a way to capture important customer data
Choose the right e-commerce platform for your product/service
You’ve come up with that “magic” product or service to satisfy a customer’s needs. Instead of renting out a shop or a floor space at your local shopping centre, you’d be using an e-commerce software program. This is the easiest way to manage your store, without absorbing all of the costs for business support. The real key is finding a reliable platform, with fair pricing. With hundreds of thousands of retailers between them, Shopify and Etsy are great places to start gathering information before you commit to a platform!
Look at the real costs
Yes, e-commerce platforms are cheap to run, but they aren’t free. You need to be prepared for any minor costs associated with setting up your own online business. Expect to make small investments in domain registration, website hosting, commissions paid to e-commerce platform hosts and merchant providers. It might seem tough at first, especially when you don’t have a lot of revenue coming in. But, they are the basic requirements of any successful online business. They’re also in addition to your traditional business costs, when going out on your own.
Just remember, it’s a small price to pay for a lifetime of job satisfaction and a better work-life balance!
Find reliable and cost-effective ways to deliver your product
Many online retailers now offer free shipping. But, this generous offer can eat away at your profit margin, especially if you haven’t considered domestic vs international shipping, or delivery in remote areas within Australia. If you’re going to offer free shipping, make sure you factor it into your budget and manufacturing costs. You can always visit the Australia Post website to calculate shipping costs, based on parcel weight.
First impressions count and so do customer shopping experiences. If their product arrives late or the price doubles because of freight, your customers might not return.
Make a great first impression, then educate your audience
If your customer has a great experience, they’ll come back again and again and again. Find simple and effective ways to educate your customers about your product or service. You can be straightforward, highlighting why your product/service will benefit them. You can also keep it simple AND entertaining.
Whichever way you end up going with your online content, make sure it’s real. Talk to your customers like they’re in the same room; definitely don’t talk at them. If they’re comfortable and engaged by your social content, they’ll head over to your website. The more engaged they are in your website, the further in they’ll go and the more likely they’ll subscribe to your e-newsletter or blog, or buy your products.
Remember to make it simple, make it memorable and most of all, make it real.
Find a reputable merchant provider
Have you ever been shopping online and been reluctant to enter your credit card details? Online businesses often use merchant providers to ensure online transactions are secure. The most common forms of payment are by credit card or by logging into a PayPal account. These forms of payment are the most convenient for both the customer and the online business owner. More and more online stores are using PayPal or another one called Stripe, because they have reputations for being extremely secure. Please note that there are fees associated with using either.
It might take about three days (give or take) for the money to be transferred to your account by your merchant provider, but that comes down to the provider you use. eWAY is another good one and usually only takes three days to complete payment.
There’s another huge benefit of using a reliable merchant provider: capturing marketing data! You might be asking, “What’s that information used for?” This information will help you target your customers more effectively in the future. You can use that data when promoting your products on social media and when using cost-effective email marketing programs like MailChimp.
Remember, trust is a must. Your customers need to know they’re shopping on a site with secure payment methods. You also need to know that you’ll get paid, so a reputable merchant provider is the best way to go.
Starting your own online business could open up plenty of doors for you – especially when talking about job satisfaction and work-life balance. All you need to do is have faith in your product or service, then follow these five steps to success in the online business world!
Contact Marisa Riccio, Director & Representative of Accounting & Business Advisory AFSL 485569, for more information on starting your own business on 1300 764 200 or [email protected]
Hood Sweeney and Adelady will be hosting an event to give you the opportunity to discuss starting your own company with the best in the business. To register your interest, email [email protected]
Information contained in this article is of a general nature only and does not constitute personal financial or taxation advice. The information has been prepared without taking into account your personal objectives, financial situation or needs. Before acting on any information in this article you should consider the appropriateness of the information with regards to your objectives, financial situation and needs. It is recommended specific financial advice be sought in relation to matters referred.
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