First Steps… In Online Retail – Starting Out

TrolleyIn the first of an occasional series, I’ll be sharing some of things I’ve learnt since becoming an online entrepreneur and answering the big question I see asked on forums and online noticeboards…

“I want to start an online business “selling stuff” – but I don’t know where to start!”

Firstly, you need to decide what you will sell and to whom.

I know that sounds obvious, but often peeps get a bit carried away with the idea of selling online and don’t stop to think about what exactly they will sell and who they will sell it to.

My advice would be to find a niche and target a specific market.

If you seriously want to make money online then finding a niche is not about selling something so unique only a few people will want to buy, it’s about selling things people want in sufficient numbers but offering a new spin or targeting a group of potential customers (your unique selling point – USP).

A word of warning too – don’t let “mummy vision” cloud your business ideas. Many new mums start great businesses when inspiration strikes after they give birth and discover a must-have baby product or invent something new and practical as a result of their experiences. However, some become one of the many sling makers/sellers, real nappy makers/sellers, etc etc and realise that once their child has outgrown that stage they’ve outgrown their enthusiasm for the product!

Think carefully about what your big idea is – is it something that motivates you, you feel enthusiastic about because of what it is rather than what stage you are in your life. Remember success doesn’t happen overnight. If you thought you may not make any money from your business to pay yourself a wage for a year, or even two! Would you still have the hots for it?

As an example for this series, let’s look at selling something connected to children’s parties.

The party business is fairly steady, parents do spend on their children’s parties when they may cut back elsewhere. If I was starting a business in this area I would gather some research to back this up (from a business library, Business Link etc), and find out as much information to test this idea before I committed myself.

In my next post I’ll be looking at how you can research your children’s party business idea quickly and painlessly…

Creative Commons License photo credit: macieklew

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