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Business start-up costs

When planning to start a new business, most mishaps occur by underestimating business start up costs. While an online business can be set up for less than a traditional retail store, it still takes research and planning to design a professional ecommerce site. You need a well-designed site to build brand recognition and draw in visitors. Once someone visits your store they expect to find easy navigation and features such as easy to locate product displays, search options, shopping carts, checkout, and secure payment options. An online store can be a low cost start up business compared to the start up cost for a business in the traditional venue of an onsite retail location, a well-designed ecommerce site doesn’t need to cost thousands of dollars or take months or a year, possibly longer to complete.

Necessities for success

While informational sites can be built on sites such as WordPress easily and economically, a fully functioning online store usually requires the assistance of professional designers and developers to design, implement, and fully test a new online business site before it is launched to the public. Web development is an ongoing process that continues to expand as your business grows. While it is necessary to keep small business start up costs within budget, realize that there are ongoing costs to growing your business and estimate those expenses at least a year in advance. A successful online business relies heavily on excellent customer service. Unless you are prepared to handle all customer service personally, hiring someone to answer emails, phone inquiries, and post to social network sites is a start up cost for a business you should take into account in your early planning. Excellent customer service is important to building the relationships with customers that will bring them back and have them recommending your business to friends! Better to overestimate start up costs and have a well-designed, functional site with customer service ready to answer questions from day one than to wait for customer complaints or non-working features to start creating problems later.

Save money but don’t cut corners

While an ecommerce site offers businesses with low start up costs compared to traditional options, you should avoid the temptation to give in to some cost-cutting strategies. Do not have a well-meaning friend, relative or web design intern/ student build your site free. The stress and frustration involved in setting up a business site can place enough stress on friends and family members to ruin relationships. Design interns and students may not have the experience to handle all design challenges and may not be on hand later should you need to try to resolve problems with your business site. You need a web designer or web design company you can count on for ongoing technical support. Once you have your site ready to launch, keep it simple, and start small. Do not order a ton of inventory you may or may not be selling right away. A benefit to online marketing is you have access to real-time data that you can use to determine how much inventory you need to have on hand.

A quality ecommerce store doesn’t need to be costly

You can save time and money in small business start up costs by using a company that offers  web design templates such as those at Shopify. Using our service provides you with an easy to use online store builder, professional designs that you can customize with your brand and logos, secure shopping cart features avoiding costly shopping cart design mistakesmany start up businesses make and excellent technical support.

In addition to the cost of setting up your online business, your business start up costs will include marketing costs. Rather than traditional advertising in print, consider pay for click ad options on sites that attract the target audience you want as customers.

Low start up means more immediate profits

Online businesses with low start up costs offer the potential to see a return on investment sooner than traditional retail stores if set up and run properly with online advertising, great customer service and products at competitive prices. However, like any retail venture, your low cost start up business must also include factors such as the cost of sales, the cost of technology such as computers, software, and other support. There will still be professional fees for lawyers, accounting, and insurance as well as administrative costs to consider. Realize that a new ecommerce site can be a low cost way to start up a new business but you must be sure to consider and address all the same concerns a tradition retail business involves in day-to-day operations. While your new business is not likely to be an overnight success, it can be a highly successful venture as long as you take time to research options and plan your start up budget accordingly.

+ Jannelle Pierce