Top 5 Advantages of Starting Your Business Online

Starting a business is risky. It’s the reason why everyone doesn’t have one. It can require thousands of dollars of investment just to get off the ground. 9 out of 10 of all new businesses fail in the first year. Before any profit is made, things like product inventory, incorporation, advertising, employees, accounting, insurance, licenses, commercial space etc. have to be paid for.

Enter the internet..

The digital world has taken away a lot of the risk of starting the business of your dreams. There are still start-up expenses involved in the beginning but they are not nearly as high as starting a brick and mortar business. License and incorporation fees are going to have to be paid online or offline but most of the other expenses can be avoided in the early stages by starting with your online presence.

If it can be sold in a store it can be bought online and shipped to the customer’s home. At the very least it will add an additional revenue stream for the business. There are plenty of advantages to starting a business online but here are my top five.

1. There is no immediate need for full-time in-house employees.

What makes online business so powerful is its scalability; meaning you do a little bit of work for a greater result. With automation tools you can have a lot of your tedious data entry tasks done without you even thinking about it. With PayPal you can accept payments online through your website without you even knowing a credit card was entered.

If you are selling digital products that are to be downloaded then there is no need for pre-ordered inventory or commercial space, thus eliminating the cost of rent.

For when you actually need the assistance of a real human, sites like oDesk.com and Elance.com make it possible for you to outsource work to people on a for hire, monthly or even a full-time basis.

Things like insurance and security are needed for online as well as online but securing intellectual property stored online in the cloud is a lot less expensive than doing the same for merchandise in a store that is susceptible to theft or fire

2. You have the freedom to travel.

There is no need for a physical location in most cases so there is no need to stay in one place. If you need to pack up and move your company to another state where there is more opportunity, it can be as simple as packing up your laptop and accessories and leaving. With a physical ‘brick and mortar’ business, it would be a little more difficult to relocate. You will most likely be constrained to whatever lease agreement you may have in place.

As you know, business and tax laws vary from state to state. Having your operation online gives you the freedom to choose where you want your business to be incorporated. You would have to have some sort of address established in the state but it doesn’t have to an actual store. There are a few states who’s laws work best for the traveling internet entrepreneur. *I am not an accountant or a business lawyer so please consult one before getting started.*

3. The whole world has access to what you’ve got to offer.

You aren’t limited to your immediate geographical area anymore. You aren’t limited to ANY geographical area for that matter. Offering your products and services online opens your business offering up to the edges of the world. The internet doesn’t sleep and there are billions of people online looking for solutions to their problems, while YOU are sleeping.

4. You are at the fingertips of a growing online market.

The internet definitely isn’t going anywhere anytime soon as more and more people are gaining access to an internet connection or a smart phone every second. E-commerce is following the same trend as more and more people are becoming comfortable making purchases online and from their mobile devices. From a consumer’s standpoint, making purchases from the comfort of your own home can save you a lot of time, and for certain products, shame or embarrassment.

5. You can inexpensively test your market.

Not every brilliant idea translates into a consumable product or service. And as you know, the failure rate of new businesses is very high. Another advantage of starting a business online is the ability to gauge interest without actually having the product readily available for sale. One example of this that I’ve seen a lot is a preview or ‘beta’ page with a prototype of a product where people can sign up to ‘be the first to know’ when the product is made available. This can be done with a food product, a clothing line, an app, pretty much anything. It’s a great way to gauge interest before you go all in with a final product.

You don’t need $10,000 to start a business anymore..

There are hundreds of ways to make money online and frankly, who can afford NOT to open up shop to the billions of people on the internet. There are still a lot of traditional brick and mortar businesses that are not providing their products and services online, constraining themselves by business hours and management of on premise staff.

All you need is a website, a product or service and consistent potential-buyer traffic to that website. No permits, no city council meetings, no weather constraints and depending on where you live, no off duty police officer.

Recommended reads: ‘The Four Hour Work Week’ & ‘The $100 Startup’

Launching A Start-Up Business – When You Should Vs Shouldn’t

Launching a Startup – When You Should vs When You Shouldn’t

Starting a business and making the decision to move from being an employee to being an entrepreneur is one of those things that is often painted in an unrealistically rosy picture. Sure, if you’re successful at it, there’s nothing better than being your own boss, doing something you love, and making a comfortable living doing it. But what does getting there actually entail?

This is one in a series of posts aimed at helping “would-be” entrepreneurs get out of the gate and on the road towards establishing a running business of their own.

Why take the risk of launching your own business venture?

There are plenty of great reasons for launching your own start-up. These include:

  • The opportunity to be in control and do the things you want to do: you get to succeed or fail on your own
  • Not having anyone tell you what to do: you are your own boss
  • The opportunity to create something new: the ability to bring something totally new into existence without the constraints often faced by larger companies
  • The opportunity to impact the world: to develop a new way to communicate, a new way to cut costs, a new way to collaborate, or anything else to make the world a better place
  • Money: when things go right, there can be a lot of money in successful start-ups

These are some of the more fundamental reasons for starting a start-up.

The downside to launching your own business

There are just about as many, if not more, reasons not to start a start-up.

  • They can be emotionally draining: from exuberant highs to depressing lows, start-ups can constantly put you through an emotional rollercoaster
  • Nothing happens unless you make it happen: in established companies, everything happens according to a fixed set of operational procedures, but in a start-up, you have to do virtually everything yourself
  • You are constantly told “NO”: unless you come from a sales background, you are probably not used to being told “NO” all the time, and it isn’t very fun
  • Hiring is extremely difficult: you are constantly faced with casual shoppers, folks who aren’t as serious or passionate about your idea as you are, and you end up being taken for a ride before being told “NO”
  • The hours can be grueling: despite books, articles and workshops promoting the perfect work/life balance, as a start-up entrepreneur, it isn’t likely you will have much of a life outside running your business, at least in the beginning

Still ready to take the plunge?

OK, so I haven’t talked you out of your conviction that starting your own business is what you want to do. Alright, fair enough. It seems you are convinced that it’s the way to go. If you think you’re ready, great! There is no time like the present, and opportunities abound for those who unwaveringly want to see things through. If you want to get your business up and running, here are a few things you to help get you started:

  • What is your business idea?
  • What will you name your business, product or service?
  • How will you go about building a team?
  • How will you build an organization with a thriving work culture?
  • How will you market yourself?
  • How does your team communicate, and how will you establish your online presence?
  • How do you test your idea and collect valuable customer feedback?
  • How can you raise funds, or like-minded business collaborators?

In the next series of upcoming posts, we’ll go through all of the above points in turn to give you a better grasp of what you need to do, and how to do it, in order to successfully get your own business off the ground and go from being an employee to being a business owner.

How to Start a Business and Follow Your Dream

Owning your own business is a goal that many people dream of, but not everyone realizes this dream. In order to make your dream come true you must a plan. This plan will lay out the steps you need to make your business a success. Many small businesses fail for lack of planning and resources. Use these tips to start a business and follow your dream.

Write a Business Plan

A business plan is the first place to start. In your business plan you need to state the nature of your business, a company description, organization and management structure, marketing plans, your target audience, and a budget. Depending on your business you plan may contain more items; each one is different because each business is different and has different goals.

Get Training

The Small Business Association has free training seminars you can attend if this is your first time starting a business. Their courses cover all aspects on how to start a business. If you’ve never had any financial training you may want to consider taking accounting or bookkeeping classes. These classes will give you a deeper understanding about the financial structure of your business and how to keep accurate records.

Location is Important

If you are going to start a business and have a physical storefront you need to give location a lot of thought and research. Scout out locations in your town and talk to other business owners in the area. Ask them about the traffic flow, if the area is safe, and if they would rebuild there again. Enlist the services of a commercial real estate agent. They will help you navigate the complicated process of purchasing commercial property, or find the perfect location for building your storefront.

Research Financing Options

You have several options to explore when you start a business. The Small Business Association offers loans at competitive rates, and they have several types of loans and loan structures set up to help people start a small business. Banks are an obvious choice, but you may want to explore venture capital, personal loans, and grants.

Obtain the Proper Licenses

In order to do business you will need to register your business’ name with your state. This is known as “doing business as” or DBA license. You must get a tax identification number from the IRS, and register for any state or local taxes. You will also need to get any local and state business license and permits.

Hire Your Crew

As an employer you have certain legal responsibilities to your employees and to the government. Contact OSHA to find out the safety concerns pertinent to your business, and get an employer identification number so that you can file taxes. Don’t forget to deal with the three types of withholding taxes; federal, state, and social security. Keep excellent records so that when it comes time to file your quarterly taxes you will be ready.

It may not sound easy to start a business, but if you have a passion and want to see it become a successful business it will take planning and organization. Use these tips to get started and build a business you can be proud of.

Starting a Business After 50? It’s More Common Than You’d Think!

Starting a business after 50 is becoming more common because, as we live longer, the ages between 50 and 80 is a time for discovering our inner passion and perusing our dreams on our own terms. Senior entrepreneurs are empowered by greater life experiences and better confidence and more perseverance.

In fact, a study at Babson College & Baruch College found that Americans 55 and older started 18.9% of all businesses created in 2008. When you compare with this the 10% created in 2001, that’s nearly twice the percentage in a seven year span! We baby boomers make up a huge percentage of the population which is part of the reason why. However, I believe we also have the patience and perseverance that it takes to start a new business.

The kids today tend to have very little patience; and it’s patience and perseverance, indeed, that give you the makeup to start a successful business after 50 – or at any age!

Here are a few examples of people who have been successful at starting a business after 50…

Throughout his life, Mahatma Gandhi demonstrated how to fight for a cause in a nonviolent way. One of the most important acts in his quest for Indian independence occurred in 1930, when Gandhi was 61.

Kroc, the guy responsible for all the McDonald’s in the world, began his venture at the ripe age of 52, despite battles with diabetes and arthritis. Seven years later, he convinced the brothers to sell out their shares, and he became the owner of a franchise that would sell more than a billion hamburgers by 1963. Kroc continued to be involved in McDonald’s operations until his death in 1984.

Grandma Moses never had any formal art training — indeed, she’d had very little formal education at all — but she painted every day, turning out more than a thousand paintings in 25 years. She had no experience or education in paining, and didn’t being painting until the age of 76.

One of the oldest success stories is The owner of Kentucky Fried Chicken, Harlan David Sanders, well known as Colonel Sanders. He was 65 years old when he started Kentucky Fried Chicken. KFC was a brand new business idea for him. In his youth, Sanders worked many different jobs from farming to steamboat pilot, to insurance salesman.

When he turned 40 years old, he started a service station and sold chicken dinners to his patrons. Over a number of years he developing the way he pressure fried the chicken, yet he didn’t decide to actually start his own business until he received his first puny social security check for under $100.

And what about his patience and perseverance? Get this: Old man Colonel Sanders solicited over a thousand restaurant owners to try his chicken recipe in an effort to start his business. And, after persevering 1009 rejections, he finally received his first “yes” and his chicken business had been launched!

This is the kind of perseverance it takes to start a business that soars to success.
Some people think that it’s even harder in today’s economy to start their own business. However, contrary to popular belief, a tough economy makes it easier. In fact, there were more successful businesses launched in the great depression than ever before.