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Starting an Online Business

Starting your own business has become a lot easier with the influx of the internet - because it is much easier to set up your own business online. Your business maybe online but you can still sell physical goods online - it's also possible to do so without even coming into contact with the goods or needing to pay for them before you have sold them.

Before doing anything you need to consider choosing a name for your business - it seems simple to come up with one or two words for your new company - but it can often take hours of thought to come up with a name you are happy with.

Once you have a name and you have registered the name you will usually need a business bank account.

Obviously if you want your business online you will need to purchase a domain name.

We don't know why but some people get confused about buying a domain name - they don't realise that all you've bought is a domain name - a domain name is almost useless without web hosting as well. Like most companies these days that sell domain names they will also try to sell you hosting to go with your domain name (makes perfect business sense). What we would say is search around - a lot of people assume you have to buy the hosting from the same company as you purchase the domain name from - but that simply isn't true. You may need specialist hosting if you are creating adult content sites for instance. Also you may need specialist hosting to use certain CMS (content managed systems) so check first before you buy. Certain hosts specialize in only hosting Wordpress sites - that is there unique selling point - for example WPEngine do this...whether or not there is any advantage we aren't so sure. Also when choosing your hosting - try to work out what kind of disk storage you will need as well as how much bandwidth you are allowed each month. Quite often you can get unlimited bandwidth and unlimited disk space as well as unlimited domains being hosted and at a very cheap think ahead whether or not you are likely to purchase more domain names in the near future.

Next you need to consider how you are going to develop your website.

Once you've designed your site you will need to market it. There is an extremely good article here about weblinks here.

Don't forget to also read up on how to advertise your business online.

As selling online has become normal - new laws have been set (rightly so) in order to protect the customer, such as providing proper contact details in order to reach you if there is a problem with a product or service you are providing. Make sure you are fully aware of any local laws that need to be adhered to in order to sell to a particular country.

Online business are required to follow the same federal, state, and local tax laws as regular businesses. If you are operating your online business in a state that charges a sales tax; or levies a gross receipts or excise tax on businesses you may have to apply for a tax permit or otherwise register with your state revenue agency. Online businesses are responsible for collecting state and local sales taxes from their customers when applicable, and paying these taxes to state and local revenue agencies.

Operating internationally requires many additional considerations from finding overseas markets and suppliers to shipping and tax regulations. Follow international trade laws for online business to be sure you are in compliance with all regulations.

Good luck with your online business.

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