The development and expansion of the has made business opportunities, once only available to the wealthy, available to nearly everyone. In the past, opening a business was a huge commitment in terms of finances and risk. Traditional business owners had to quit the their current jobs, obtain bank financing, and sign leases before they even made a penny. It’s easy to see why 95% of them failed within five years. Today, business opportunities are available to anyone willing to put in the time and effort to learn about the world of e-commerce. Best of all, you can start an e-commerce business with minimal funds and very little risk. This guide will take you though the steps necessary to start your own e-commerce business.
Establish A Business Entity
In order to conduct business, you need to establish a business entity. Fortunately this can be as easy as filing a “Doing Business As” or “Fictitious Name” form with your local County Clerk’s office to become a sole proprietor. When you arrive at the County Clerk’s office, they will check their records to make sure your intended business name is not already in use. If it’s available, you will need to complete the appropriate forms and pay your filing fee. Each state has different requirements. Check with your state for requirements on becoming a sole proprietor.You will also need a sales tax id. You will need to charge sales taxes in the state where your business resides. Contact your county office for details about sales tax ID’s and any other requirements they may have.
Open A Business Bank Account
Now that you are a legitimate business owner, it’s time to open a business bank account. Take your court documents to the bank and open a business checking account. Most banks offer a variety of business accounts. Choose the one the best meets your needs. It’s usually best to start with their least expensive account because it could be a while before you start earning revenue. You can always upgrade in the future.Some banks require a business owner to wait specified amount of time, usually 90 days, after the court documents are filed before opening a business bank account. These rules are in place to help prevent fraud. Check with your bank to obtain waiting period information.
Promote Your Business
Now that your website is live and you’re open for business, it’s time to promote your website. If no one knows that it exists, you will not receive any sales. Most website visitors originate from search engines. Before search engines can list your website, they have to know that it exists. You’ll need to submit your to search engines and directories such as Yahoo!, DMOZ, Excite, and others. Search engine submission programs and services are available, but they not effective. Most good search engines require websites to be manually submitted. They enforce this by displaying an image with a series of letters or numbers that automated programs cannot read. The code embedded in the image is required to submit your website.
Search engine algorithms are extremely complex. The ranking of a website in their search results depends on a number of factors, including keywords, density, back links, page rank, and other factors. After submitting your website to the major directories and search engines, the next step is to establish back links. When search engines crawl the web and find a link to your site, they count the link as a vote for your site. The more votes you have, the higher your site will rank (assuming other criteria has also been met). You can acquire back links by sending emails to other website owners and offering to exchange links. It’s very difficult for new websites to acquire back links. Most people prefer to exchange links with established websites. In a way, it’s a catch-22, but it can be done and the results are worth it.
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