Thanks to the many technological innovations spawned by the internet, the tasks involved in starting a business have been streamlined and simplified. Gone are the days when entrepreneurs would have to sit down and hand over thousands to big city lawyers to establish the legality of their venture. Retailers no longer have to travel across town searching for the most suitable location for a brick-and-mortar storefront. In short, the barriers to entry for online startups have been torn down and the field has been leveled for a more equal opportunity marketplace.
Here’s how to start a business online:
First, startups must establish themselves legally.
This involves securing their name and setting up the legal structure of the venture.
To secure the desired company name, individuals must check with authorities to see if it’s available for state business registration, then check with a domain registrar such as GoDaddy to see if it’s available in the ever-popular .com format. When it comes to the state, it’s just a matter of requesting, completing and filing a few straightforward forms and paying the required filing fees. When it comes to the internet, it’s generally a simple matter of completing an online form and entering a credit card to pay for the registration. It’s recommended that businesses secure their domain name for at least 5 years to show dedication to search engines and take advantage of long-term savings.
To establish the legal structure of the company, whether it be sole proprietorship, LLC, traditional corporation or non-profit corporation, it is often best to just consult an online legal service such as Legal Zoom or Rocket Lawyer. The process varies from state to state and can tend to be rather involved, so it’s best to leave it to the experts. Again, thanks to the internet, the prices for setting up the legal structure of a company have gone down significantly over the last decade or so.
Second, startups must establish themselves virtually.
This involves setting up an online storefront/shopping cart and instituting payment processing procedures.
To set up an ecommerce website, it’s generally best to go with an established all-in-one hosted solution such as those provided by Shopify and Magento. The sites themselves are WYSIWYG template-driven storefronts with coordinated shopping carts and product management databases. In addition, most offer some form of payment processing service. The great thing about going with a known quantity such as those mentioned is that there is a huge community of support that is ready and able to assist their fellow businesses with advanced online retail concepts and components.
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As can be seen, it’s much easier to start a business in today’s virtual world than at any time in history. There are any number of services available to give you advice and help you in your quest for continued business growth and success.
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