Over the past few years, the number of online shoppers has increased tremendously. Statistics curated by online selling tool, Selz, predicted that by 2018, the total number of online shoppers in the U.S. will climb to 215 million. As more and more consumers turn to their mobile phones and computers to do their shopping, entrepreneurs are setting their sights on the ecommerce industry. If your one of these individuals hoping to launch your business online, the following checklist will help you get started:
Select a Business Structure
The business structure you choose will have both legal and tax implications, so it’s important to choose wisely. Your options include: sole proprietorship, partnership, LLC and corporation. Keep in mind that there are different types of partnerships and corporations you will have to research in depth. If you fail to specifically choose an LLC or corporation structure, the IRS will automatically consider your business a sole proprietor. Which business structure you choose completely depends on your individual circumstances; your choice should be based on liability, taxation and recordkeeping.
Research Business Licenses and Permits
After you’ve chosen your business structure, you will need to spend time researching the appropriate business licenses and permits. The sales tax licenses and business permits you need will depend on your city, county and state. All off these licenses and permits will need to be approved before you launch your business operations.
Invest in Marketing Early On
On the other hand, you can begin marketing even if you’re not up and running yet. Start by setting up social media profiles and write content for your blog – lots of it. As they say, “content is king”. For those who are interested in your business and are looking for more information, you can place a “coming soon” page on your website where they can sign up for updates.
Some of the largest, most influential companies started in a dusty garage (Amazon, Apple, Disney, Google and Harley Davidson). You’ll need to make sure you have enough inventory before you launch your startup, even if you have to store it in your garage or a warehouse. After your business is up and running, you’ll then have to monitor the rate your sales increase; this will allow you to effectively manage future orders.
Seek Financing Options
It’s never too early to research your business funding options. Even if you’ve secured financing for the startup phase, you will likely experience periods where you require extra cash. Without sufficient cash flow, you will be unable to purchase additional inventory, hire new employees or cover expenses. This is especially true if your experiencing growth or have opportunities to expand. As you make a list of your options, don’t forget to consider alternative providers, like EMB. eMerchantBroker specializes in offering affordable, flexible business funding options for startups. This includes an ecommerce merchant account specifically tailored to meet the needs of the ecommerce industry.