There are several costs associated with starting an e-commerce business, which you’ll want to account for when you’re creating your business plan. If you’re trying to acquire funding from investors or even your local bank, a good business plan is absolutely necessary. Here, we’ve listed some potential costs you’ll incur when starting your online business. You should include these expenses in your plan to get a better understanding overall of the financial burden of starting one of these businesses.
Web design can get expensive quickly. With a professional designer at your service, you’ll be charged by the hour for their creative and practical skills. Although this is an absolute necessity for a working e-commerce site, you’ll want to be sure to get the best value for your money. After all, you’re going to have limited funds to work with when you’re first starting out, so making the most out of every dollar becomes essential to keeping startup costs as low as possible.
Avoid using DIY site builders, even though you will potentially save money by using them. You won’t be able to fully customize your site with these DIY tools, and for e-commerce sites, it’s best to just hire a designer. The best thing you can do to save money on a designer is to keep your site design simple to begin with. You can always upgrade or add to the site later on. Compare rates of several designers before you choose one to be sure you’re getting a good deal that’s well within your budget.
Marketing and Research
You’ll need to pay for some much-needed research before you start your online store to get a better idea of who your customers will be. Once you know what your target audience is, you’ll need to create a marketing plan, and of course, pay for marketing in your preferred medium.
You can market in a variety of ways; from television ads, radio ads, social media promotions, and more. In order to keep startup costs low, begin your marketing efforts on social media sites like Facebook. Facebook has a great Ads tool, where you can pay for promotions while controlling the cost and reach of these promotions. This is a good place for startups to begin their marketing journey, and with 2.7 billion people on Facebook as of July 2019, the possibilities for reaching customers are truly unlimited.
Legal costs for an online startup are often overlooked by prospective entrepreneurs. Legal costs can be generally low if you use a site like LegalZoom, but if you’re hiring a full-time attorney to take care of the legal end of things, the cost will add up quickly.
Attorneys usually work on a per-hour basis, so using LegalZoom to get all of your legal paperwork filed and registering your business with the state can be a cost-effective alternative. LegalZoom will handle all of your paperwork, get you registered, and even act as your registered agent (which most states require for businesses).
With LLC packages starting at $79 (plus filing fees), you’ll save a lot of money on the legal end of things using LegalZoom. Hiring an attorney may not even be necessary if there are no legal complications to your business (like high-risk products or specifically regulated industries). Give LegalZoom a try today and see why the site is so highly rated and trusted by its customers.
POS and Payment Processing
One of the expenses of your online business you probably haven’t considered is your payment processing system. You’ll need a safe and secure way to process your customers’ money, and this means investing in a modern POS system that can work with your e-commerce store.
POS systems like Vend can track inventory, customer profiles, and serve many other functions beyond just taking payments. With such a wide array of tools available to you from one source, a POS system can be a great investment for your online business. Using only PayPal for your website is a sure way to scare away and/or lose new and potential customers alike.
Be sure you choose a POS that allows you to add new payment methods, should you come across one you’re unfamiliar with. This will help you earn the loyalty of any new customers and keep them happy by supporting their favorite payment methods.
When you’re shopping around for a new POS for your business, you’ll want to take a close look at the cost and features of the system. If you only need a minimalistic POS option, you won’t want a system rich with extra features; otherwise, you’ll be paying for tools you won’t even need.
Some businesses require specific permits from their local or state governments. Yes, even online businesses. If you’re producing a product, you’ll likely have a warehouse or manufacturing location where your products are made, and your city/state will probably require you to have a permit.
To ensure you’re covered, check with your local and state agencies to ensure you gather all of the permits you need for the legal operation of your business. You won’t want to miss a permit and risk having your business fined or potentially shut down in the middle of production.
Keeping yourself in compliance with permits and all of your legal paperwork is essential to running your online business without issue. Whether you pay for an attorney or use a site like LegalZoom, be sure everything you need is on file with local and state agencies to avoid fines and other penalties.