STARTING THE BUSINESS ONLINE Learning how to start an

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STARTING THE BUSINESS ONLINE Learning how to start an Powered By Docstoc
Learning how to start an Internet Business doesn't have to be complicated. Starting a
new online business or taking an existing business online can seem intimidating or
overwhelming.But like everything else, if you make a plan and take it step by step, you'll
be up and running in no time.


1. Start an Online Business from Scratch:

For example, if you are an artist or crafter you might make your own products and offer
them for sale or you can offer a service such as career counselling or matchmaking. You
could even enter the lucrative market of creating information products. The internet
business ideas are endless.

2. Start an Online Business with Affiliate Programs:

If you don't have your own product or service to sell, you can market someone else's
products through affiliate programs. With an affiliate program, you are paid a percentage
of sales that are made when you refer someone to a company's website.

Usually the buyer must click on your affiliate link and make the purchase immediately.
Some affiliate programs will track visitors from your link and pay a commission for
within a period of time, such as within 3 months of the visit.

3. Start an Online Business with Direct Sales:

Finally, if you feel you need more structure and support, you can join a Direct Sales
Company and market their products. There are hundreds of direct sales companies
available offering everything from cosmetics and skin care to kitchenware, home décor,
craft products, and dietary supplements.

Usually independent representatives sign on under another representative or sponsor
who will provide information and support to get you started.

4. Start an Online Business by Reselling Products You Buy at Wholesale:

If you don't want to develop your own products, you can resell other people's products.
You can buy them at wholesale and ship them out from your home. Or you may prefer
the ease of having somebody drop ship the products for you.

There are 16 basic steps to start online business:
STEP 1: Evaluating Business Potential
STEP 2: The Business Plan
STEP 3: Communication Tools
STEP 4: Business Organization
STEP 5: Licenses & Permits
STEP 6: Business Insurance
STEP 7: Location and Leasing
STEP 8: Accounting and Cash Flow
STEP 9: How to Finance Your Business
STEP 10: E-Commerce Business
STEP 11: Buying a Business or Franchise
STEP 12: Opening and Marketing
STEP 13: Expanding and Problems
STEP 14: International Trade
STEP 15: Managing Employees
STEP 16: Home Based Business

        The most common serious mistake made in business is not picking the right
        one to begin with. This STEP will provide you with important evaluation

       Characteristics of a Successful Entrepreneur
       Step-by-Step Approach
    o   Decide if you really want to be in business
    o   Decide what business and where
    o   Decide whether to start full-time or moonlight
       Selection Strategy
       Things to Watch Out For
       Required Activities
    o   Comparative Evaluation
    o   How to Evaluate a Specific Business you have in Mind
    o   "For" and "Against" List
    o   Get Completely Qualified

        This key ingredient for a successful business is too often skipped. This
        STEP will show you how to create your own individualized business plan
        and provide the tools to make it easy.

       What is a Business Plan?
       Why Prepare a Business Plan?
o   What to avoid in your business plan
   Business Plan Format
o   Vision statement
o   The people
o   Business profile
o   Economic assessment
   Six Steps to a Great Business Plan
o   Basic business concept
o   Feasibility and specifics
o   Focus and refine concept
o   Outline the specifics of your business
o   Put your plan into a compelling form
o   Review sample plans
   Business Plan's Necessary Factors
o   Understanding your market
o   Healthy, growing and stable industry
o   Capable management
o   Able financial control
o   Consistent business focus
o   Mindset to anticipate change

    Communication is key to any business success! Here we will review basic
    communication and equipment aspects of business

   Types of Communication
o   External
o   Internal
   Basic Communication Tools
o   Landline telephones
o   Cell phones
o   Smartphones
o   Video and web conferencing
o   Social networking sites
o   Online chat tools
o   Fax
   Computers
o   Desktop
o   Laptop
o   Notebooks/Netbooks
o   Tablet
o   Handheld
o   Software
o   Auxiliary Products
   Internet
o   Browsers
o   Feasibility and specifics
o   Internet service provider
o   E-mail
   Technology Planning
   Top Ten Do's and Don'ts
   Sound Byte Transcriptions

    This STEP will clearly spell out your options for deciding the form of
    business that is right for you.

    Decisions that every entrepreneur must make:

1. Whether to go into business alone or with a partner.
2. What type of business organization to use for the business:
   proprietorship, partnership, corporation or Limited Liability
3. What professional advisors to select.

   Should You Have a Partner
o   Arguments For
o   Arguments Against
   What Type Of Business Organization Is Best For You?
o   Sole proprietorship
o   General partnership
o   Limited partnership
o   Corporation
o   "S" Corporation
o   Limited liability company
   Laws That May Affect You
o   Income tax returns
o   Franchise tax returns
o   Employment tax returns
o   The time for payment of withheld and employers share of
    employment taxes
o   Unemployment tax returns and payment
o   Sales tax reports and payments
   How Can Your Professionals Help You?
o   Attorney
o   Accountant
o   Payroll service providers
o   Other Professionals
    Choose a suitable name for your business and find out what licenses and
    permits you may require, and how to get them.

   First Things First
   Licenses & Permits
o   Local Licenses and Permits
o   State Licenses and Permits
o   Federal Licenses and Permits
o   Where do I go to get a licenese?
o   How about if I am working from home?
   Business Name or DBA (Doing Business As)
o   Do I need to have a DBA?
o   What are the benefits to establishing a DBA?
o   What is the process of getting a DBA?
o   Banking Under Your Business Name
o   Should I Trademark My Business Name?
   Seller's Permit
o   What is a seller's permit?
o   Where do I get a seller's permit?
   Employer Identification Number (EIN)
o   What is the importance of EIN?
o   Do I need an EIN?
o   An EIN is required if:
o   How do I apply for an EIN?
o   Useful Links
   Business License and Permits Checklist

    This STEP will explain in simple terms the various forms of insurance you
    will need and explain the importance of each of them.

   Insurance Coverage For Small Businesses
o   Business Property Insurance
o   Liability Insurance
o   Worker's Compensation Insurance
o   Other Insurance Coverage
o   Excess Liability Coverage
o   Employment Practices Liability Coverage
o   Life Insurance

    A wonderful business can be crippled by a poor location or a poorly
    negotiated lease. You will learn how to create your own site model and the
    important aspects of a lease agreement.

   Location, Location, Location
o   Zoning Categories
o   Criteria for Home Based Business
o   Criteria for a Manufacturing, Warehousing or Industrial
o   Criteria for a Retail Business
   Leasing Do's and Don'ts
o   Do's and Don'ts
o   Points to Consider Before Signing a Lease or Purchasing
o   Lease Check-Off List
o   To Rent or to Buy Considerations

    Before you start your business, you will need to learn how to keep score
    (basic accounting) and how to maintain cash in your bank account (cash
    flow control). This STEP explains both in simple terms.

   Step One: Gain the knowledge
   Step Two: Select an accountant
o   Methods of Accounting
   Cash Basis Method
   Accrual Method
o   Tax Liability Issues
   Income taxes
   Payroll taxes
o   Financial and Technical Assistance
o   Internal Controls
o   Quarterly Returns
o   Bank Account Reconciliation
o   Employee Benefits Policy
   Step Three: Do your own bookkeeping!
o   The Three Major Financial Statements
   The Balance Sheet
   The Income Statement
   Cash Flow Control
o   Accounting and Cash Flow Punch List

    You will learn how to locate, negotiate and maintain sources of money to
    get you started and help you expand your business.

   First Things First
   How Much Money Do You Need?
o   What do you need it for?
o   Unsecured Loans
o   Secured Loans
o   Collateral
   Loans vs. Investment
   Where to Get the Money
o   Types of Funding Sources
o   Lender Comparison Table
   The Art of Getting the Money
o   Business Loans
o   Repayment Plan
o   Other Quick Tips

    E-Commerce is the fastest growing segment of our economy. It allows even
    the smallest business to reach a global audience with its product or message
    with minimal cost.

   E-Commerce Overview
o   What is E-Commerce?
o   Is an E-Commerce website right for your business?
o   Money transactions
   Setting Up a Website
o   Registering your domain name
o   Hosting your website
o   Building your website
o   Hiring a professional website developer
o   Designing your own website
   Tips For Developing a Successful Site
o   Make your site easy to use
o   Provide useful content
o   Encourage customer feedback
o   Develop a mailing list
   Online Marketing and Promotion
o   Search engines - your primary marketing tool
o   How does your website rank?
o   What are people searching for?
o   How to manage search engine placement
o   Key components to successful search engine marketing for a
o   Search Engines and Resources
o   Targeted E-Mail
   eBay
o   How to get started
o   Listing basics
o   Fees
o   Get the most from your eBay experience
o   Don'ts of eBay
    You will learn how to make objective decisions when considering the
    purchase of a business or a franchise--and how to evaluate how much you
    should pay.

   How Should I Go About Buying A Business?
o   Opportunities
o   Financial ability
o   Evaluating a Business
o   Verify revenue information
o   Buying an existing or new business
   Pro's and Con's of Buying a Franchise
o   Pro's and con's of buying a franchise
o   What I should know about a prospective franchiser
o   Becoming a franchiser
   Suggested Activities
o   Visit different operations
o   Attend trade shows
o   Understand your intended business
o   Analyze any appropriate existing business
o   Analyze a franchised operation

    You are furnished with check-off lists to maximize your marketing results
    and avoid the most common mistakes made in opening a business.

   Opening for Business
o   Before you start checklist
   Marketing
o   Pinpoint your customers
o   Recruit the "good" employees
o   Train your employees thoroughly in marketing skills
o   Check list for hiring and training of your marketing team
o   What and how to buy
o   How to buy checklist
o   Marketing tools
o   E-commerce
o   Promotion and advertising
o   Mailing lists
   Most Common Mistakes
o   Checklist to avoid pitfalls
    A growing business needs to have appropriate expansion policies in place,
    plans to motivate key employees and know-how in handling common
    business problems. Here's the advice from been-there-done-that experts.

   Rules to Follow Before Expanding
   Starting with a Pilot Operation First
   Problems in Expanded Business not Present in a
o   Delegation of responsibility and authority
o   Monetary incentive plans
   Ways to Motivate Key Employees
o   Leveraged profit sharing plan
o   Unleveraged profit sharing plan
o   Commission plan
   Key Elements for Profit Centers
o   Overall considerations
o   Long-range financial planning
   Common Business Problems
o   Uncontrolled cash flow
o   Drop in sales or insufficient sales
o   Higher costs
o   New competition
o   Business recessions
o   Incompetent managers or employees
o   Dishonesty, theft
o   Basic rules for handling serious business problems

    Finding overseas markets or suppliers and dealing with shipping complexities
    are only two of the challenges facing small firms seeking to participate in
    international trade. Entrepreneurs should be cautioned that international trade
    involves many complexities above and beyond the basic disciplines necessary
    for operating a domestic business.

   Warning Label
   What is International Trade?
o   Exporting
o   Importing
o   Hollow corporations
   Is International Trade Appropriate for Small Business?
   Advantages and Disadvantages of International Trade
   Online Resources
   Common Mistakes Made in International Trade
   Importance of a Business Plan
It is not possible in this STEP to include all the complexities and legal rules pertaining
  to employees. Since employees play such a large role in achieving success, we
  recommend you maintain ongoing access to a labor lawyer to keep you current on
  labor matters including hiring and firing employees. It is far better to avoid mistakes
  by securing legal advice before labor issues or claims are raised than to deal with
  expensive consequences later.

       Step One: Before You Start
    o   Are you hiring an employee or independent contractor?
    o   Retain a payroll service provider or a professional employer
    o   Have job descriptions in place
    o   Have a benefits package in place
    o   Determine overall costs of new employees
    o   Create an employee handbook
       Step Two: Hiring Employees
    o   Attracting applicants
    o   Interviewing practices
    o   Drug screening
    o   Americans with Disabilities Act
    o   Understanding workplace harassment
    o   Prevention of workplace violence
    o   Employment eligibility verification
    o   Selecting outstanding employees
    o   Legal considerations
       Step Three: Create Training Disciplines
    o   Indoctrination
    o   Growing employee skills
       Keeping Good Employees
    o   Importance of retention
    o   How to retain good employees
       Discharging an Employee

    This STEP will review the do's and don'ts of operating a home based business and will
    also state the case for not quitting your job at all. But keep in mind that operating at
    home will still require business skills just like any other business. And it will be
    important to gain understanding in all the other STEPs contained in the My Own
    Business course as well.

   What have you got to Lose Gain?
   What are the Special Benefits of a Home Based Business?
o   Minimum investment
o   Maximize communication technologies
o   Start small and grow by compounding
o   A built-in organizational structure: all in the family
o   Open to all ages and walks of life
o   A productive activity for the out-of-work
   Approaches to a Home Based Business
o   Moonlight business (part-time)
o   Full-time home business
   Picking the Right Business is Crucial
o   Specialization works best
o   One that will not conflict with your employment
o   Appropriate for "all in the family" participation?
   Common Pitfalls
o   Failure to compartmentalize
o   Failure to limit financial risks
o   Disregard for zoning requirements
o   Physical limitations
o   Work at home schemes
o   Disregard for allowable business deductions

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