Tuesday, November 22, 2011

How to Start an Online Business

Starting an online business is one of the best ways an entrepreneur can establish a business without shelling too much while building up his reputation at the same time. Many moms, seeking new ways to augment the family income, venture into online businesses as a second job.

With over 1 million Facebook users alone, the internet poses much opportunity for sellers. All you need is a computer and internet connection and you can run your dream business from the comfort of your own homes.

1.       Know your business

 As with any businesses, do your research and feasibility studies. But you can also start somewhere closer to home,  in your passion. What piques your interest? What do you love most? Venturing into a business that is related to one of your passions will have a higher rate of success than venturing into one you don’t love at all.  Find your niche.

2.       Put up an online store

There are a wide range of platforms that you can choose from. Most of them have established themselves already in the buy and sell business and are offering their basic services for free. 

Most shops have established themselves in popular social networking sites Multiply and Facebook. In both platforms, you can upload pictures of your wares and arrange them into albums. And since this is a social networking site, any new activity or updates in your page gets shown across your list of contacts or groups.


Click Photo to Sign-up
Click Photo to Sign-up
Sulit.com has a nice, although cluttered, site. You can post different items according to their categories but a buyer can always see all your items just by clicking a tab to go to your Sulit Store. It also has a feedback system which you can use to build your reputation as a seller (or buyer!). There is also a dedicated field so buyers can post negotiation messages. They can also opt to send you a Private Message if they’re the shy type. :D The downside is that unrelated items show up in your search because of the tags their sellers have attatched to them.

Ayosdito is a very minimalist buy and sell site. Unlike Sulit, all items, in their respective categories are listed in chronological order. This means that your ad can easily get buries under all the newly listed items. But of course buyers can always use the search button if they already have something specific in mind. 

Ebay on the other hand is more business-like. You post your items as in any other sites. But here, if you choose to declare your item as brand new, used, defective etc, these have a certain definition that buyers can refer to. It also uses Paypal so the payment is very safe, as long as you’re transacting with a legitimate seller
3.       Your Payment Options

As an online seller, you need to provide your buyers various options on how to pay for the items you're selling. Here are a few that you can use:

Sign up for PayPal and start accepting credit card payments instantly.

A Paypal payment is still considered as the safest way of sending money all over the world. you only need to sign-up. If you still haven't just click the banner, and it'll take to the registration page. To withdraw money, just add a bank account and have your card verified.


Another safe option is AlertPay, this is like Paypal too. Click the banner to sign-up.

For both Paypal and AlertPay, you can put their widget in the website and allow your buyers to order and pay for your items directly. 

If you are unfamiliar with Paypal and AlertPay and find linking your bank account cumbersome, you still have other options that are equally effective and safe. 

Both Globe and Smart offers their subscribers an option to use electronic money using the basic money transfer concept. Both utilize personal pins that users have to key-in before making a payment. 
4.       Your Delivery Options

There are a number of ways how you can deliver your item to your buyer.

a. Cash-on-Deliveries

For buyers who want to ensure that they get the item they're buying, this is the way to go. Of course it has its pros and cons that both parties have to consider.

Before,  this is strictly a meet-up between the buyer and seller. Today, 3rd party CODs are in the wings of some shipping companies, like Xend, if not fully operational like Gcash Click. 

b. Pick-ups

You can set a pick-up point, like your office or home. To protect your privacy, giveout your home address only to sure buyers. You can also utilize Google Maps in your website so your buyers can have an idea how to get to your location. 

c. Couriers

There are lots of shipping companies that offer very affordable rates. A good choice are the ones that offer a badge that you can incorporate in your website. As you use them for your deliveries, your credibility as a seller goes up since the number of your successful deliveries are reflected in your badge. 

Here's my badge from Xend. :) 

Here's my badge from Jam Global which I have yet to try! :)

Are you an online seller too? Please share your stories. :D

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