Since 1996 or so, everyone with access to the Internet has had the opportunity to create an additional revenue source with an online business. A web-based business can be very successful if you do it right. It's a way of making money without worrying about changing the economy, a boss or employees. All you need is a website, a merchant account, a bank account and your brain.
What you won't need
There are certain "no's" that you need to know to have a successful web-based business. To build the perfect online business you first need to think about the things you don't want or need before concerning yourself with what you need. Here are the things you won't need:
• NO Employees: Employees require you to pay them, manage them, and many times they need a place to work. To make things easier, stay away from employees, at least in the beginning.
• NO Inventory: You should not have an inventory that you need to store it somewhere and storage space can be expensive. Also, you'll end up with tons of shipping and packing demands. If you sell products, make sure your supplier does drop-shipping to most places in the world. Another form of product is electronic products such as music, software and e-books.
• NO Time: After your business has started, it should not require more than a few hours of your time to manage and maintain each month. The more you can automate things the better.
• NO Location: Your business should not reside anywhere other than in cyberspace. A website will allow you to make business anywhere in the world. Your web-based business is making you money and you can maintain it as long as you can get Internet access a few hours a month.
What to sell?
Now that you know what not to have, you have to focus on what you need for your web-based business. First, you need to know what you are going to sell. You have three choices - physical products, services, and intellectual property.
Physical productsare food, clothing, appliances, homes and nearly everything that can be touched. As inventory is not necessary there are a couple of ways to handle products without inventory - you can use companies that make drop shipments or you can manufacture on demand. You can print and bind books, copy videocassettes, or burn a CD or DVD as orders come in. There are some people that are successfully selling print-on-demand books.
Drop-shipping is the key to selling products online without an inventory. Many manufacturers around the world will fulfill your customers' orders as they come in and put your label on the box before sending it out. You don't have as much gross profit per product, but you are saving money since you don't have to warehouse items, to maintain staff to package and ship products or fulfill any other demands. All you have to do is sell the product.
Service businessescan also use Internet. There are some industries that have been gaining some success such as online tutoring, various types of consulting, language translation, computer programming including web design, and several others.
To have an online-only service business, you will need to be able to fulfill the service from your location. One cannot wash customer's windows in France if he or she is in New York.
You need to be able to close the sale without a physical meeting. If you must meet face-to-face with a prospect to get her to buy, you won't have much freedom and you will need to pay for the travel. You wouldn't get too many clients if they had to pay for airfare just to do business with you.
Informational productsare perfect for the Internet. This type of intellectual property can be writing, works of art, or software.
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