Trading, or selling things online is an easy and cost effective way to start a business and, with the pending improvement of the economy and interest rates being so low, what better time than now to set up your online selling business. It can be flexible enough to fit around your day job or your family and means you can make some money from your interests or hobbies reaching a wide customer base quickly.
Decide On A Trading Name For Your Online Business
You don’t have to become an incorporated company, issue shares or even have a partnership agreement drawn up. If it is just you owning and running your company you can become a Sole Trader. There are a few legal requirements of a sole trader but in comparison to other types of company it is the easiest and less costly route. You can read more about becoming a sole trader here.
Where Will You Sell Your Products Online…Or Off
Choose whether you want to trade on ebay or whether you want to set up a website. Ebay could be a good way to test the market and see whether people will buy what you are selling at the prices you can afford to sell them at. Setting up an account is free and listing costs are nominal and from time to time you can benefit from no listing fee weekends. If you want your own independent site you can set up a free site with a tool such as Google Sites but if you want a more involved site with a shopping cart it may be worth investing some time and money to find the right one for you.
What Will You Sell in Your Online Business?
I am assuming that you already have some idea of what you intend to sell. Before investing vast amounts of money you need to work out whether there is a market for it. Work through your pricing carefully identifying all of your outgoings and make sure the price you sell at covers all of these costs and a profit for yourself. Don’t forget postage costs and fuel for you to get to the post office.
Take a look and see who else is selling what you want to sell and how much they are charging. If you can’t make the profit that you want after having bought the product, paid the packaging and any overheads then do you really want to sell that product? If you are determined then think outside the box- are there any ways you can add value and sell it for more without increasing costs too much?
Buying More Stock Can Bring Down Your Costs
Once you have tested your market, set up your site, or begun trading on ebay it is probably time to start thinking about benefiting from economies of scale. If you bought larger quantities of packaging, or larger quantities of the product you are selling, could you bring your buying price down and make more money? By testing the market (see above) you will already have removed some of the risk from making such an investment and if you plan well you may even be able to do this with the money you have made whilst testing the market.
Storing Your Stock to Keep It In Sale-able Condition
Before you buy in bulk you will need somewhere to store it. Wherever you choose should be dry and secure and not subject to vast changes in temperature unless whatever you are stocking will definitely not be affected (i.e. not electrical or food and drink based products). You should also ensure that products are kept in a smoke free environment wherever possible. If your home doesn’t have space, a local self storage facility with access 7 days a week like Space Station will enable you to get hold of your stock whenever you need it and will keep it safe and dry without cluttering up your home. You may choose to keep the bulk of your stock in a self storage facility and keep a week’s stock at your home or office so that you can action orders without delay and make a weekly trip to your self storage facility to stock up on items you are running low on.