T Nation

internet business

 I've been considering making my own website and sell stuff to make some money on the side. I know all about the time and effort you have to put into it, howvermy question is, what do you do to get products at factory prices? My friend mentioned i'd needto get a tax i.d. from my town department. Does anybody have any advice/tip/info? Tc? Shugart? would you be so kind as to (gulp) sharing a tip or two here? Or simply clarify how Id be able to get products at factoy price so I can sell them for on my website? Thanx!

You need to go to the Small Business Administration. They have a website. Also, they have offices located in various cities; there is one in downtown Portland that I had gone to for research for my own “business” (artist). Also, you need to go to either a IRS satellite office, or their website. This information (obtaining a Tax ID # will be there). Hope this helps.

 Thanx Patricia - looking good on'real muscle, real people' article!
 Anyhow, before I drown on my own drooling... Any more tips? I'm considering selling aviation stuff for pilots, considering im a pilot myself, OR bodybuilding supplements (u know, the legitimate ones that actually work- THAT kind of stuff).,p>
 I want to keep it small, just enough to generate an extra paycheck to help me pay for my education [and go out and party]!
 Once I get my tax I.D. number do I just callup the suppliers and place an order? Will they automatically sell me their product factory

priced so I can sell it on my website?
And, any tips on how to get the word out once the website is running without atracting TOOO much attention - just keep a relatively small group of faithful people that keep coming back?
Thinking of it, an art webstore could be a good idea for my website. patricia, do you think if i decided to go with it, people would be interested in ‘online art’, or is it like clothes where you like to try it on and see how u feel about it first? Where would I be able to purchase good art for ‘factory’ price in order to sell it on my website? Thanx!

The other thing I would claim your company as a Corporation not a sole properitor. You save on taxes and if you go belly up it helps in legal ways. Ask a lawyer or go to a local libarary to get the paper works on becoming a Corporation.

 Can you be claim corporate status if you're a [very] small company?
 Thanx for the input!

As an internet based business, you have a real challenge “getting the word out.” Have any idea how many web sites there are out in e-land? What is your competition going to be? Ever wonder why it took so long for Amazon to post a profit? The big problem with the 'net is that your market is unlimited. It’s also the biggest asset. Think on this – if you live in Dallas, your local Safeway doesn’t advertise in Portland. Why? People in Portland aren’t going to shop in Dallas for Safeway’s products. It’s called proximity. Now think of the 'net – what’s your “proximity?” That’s right, the entire world. So, now where do you advertise? Banner ads? Barnes and Noble paid AOL $40 MILLION for a banner ad. You know, those flashing things that we scroll off the screen. I know, you want to keep it small. Just wanted to post something for you to think about. Hope it all goes well for you.

Yes you can! You can be a corporation even if you only have yourself as an employee.

Thanks, for the kind words on the interview.

Listen to what brider said. That be good advice. As for just calling up a company and placing an order for product. More than likely you'll be asked to complete a sheet of info. Any business that receives a call for large orders will either have an account established or need to establish an account. You will need to establish an account. Also, some other things to consider: starting a business acount with a bank. You know, checking account with your business name. If this business is going to be ran out of our home, you need to acquire information on "home based" businesses (from the IRS).

As for "online art" there are quite a few already. Also, alot of artists sell prints via their own websites. I'm supposing that's your question: selling artwork via the internet. I already purchase my art supplies from established internet suppliers. And you see, will be the rub: people are still wary of purchasing via the internet and purchase via "established" suppliers. You will need to look into such things as customers purchasing with a Visa/AmEx/Discover, etc. But I'm getting ahead here.

It sounds like you need to do alot more researching. While internet only businesses are still relatively new, you can do research on them to see what works in the way of marketing/advertising, etc. Another thing that can help you hone your ideas: write out a business plan. If you've never written a business plan before, there are some good books and websites that can help you. Perform some research on internet sites currently existing that are similar to what you have in mind. Also, keep in mind that owning/running a business is hard work. Especially when it's in the "start up" mode, and it doesn't get easier as it becomes more successful. Hell, no.

Since I write and maintain websites for a living, let me give you a few VERY important things to consider:

  • Who is your compition? Make sure you research carefully, if you can't beat their prices and they are established (i.e. Amazon.com or target.com) then you have an uphill battle.
  • Research domain names that are similar to yours, and common mispellings. It is no good for you if you are called vitamin.com and there is a competitor names vitamins.com. You will be just as likely to get their traffic as they are to get yours.
  • Keep your domain VERY easy to remember and leave out -, _, and other 'weird' characters. Again, look around for names that are close to yours and register mispellings if possible. Xerox owns Zerox for a reason.
  • If you can't afford a professional designer the save up until you can. We go to school for design for a reason - just because you can design your own page doesn't mean you should
  • If you can't afford a professional developer save your money. A website that is difficult to navigate, is slow, or complicated to use will not get return hits. Again, just because you own FrontPage doesn't mean you should use it.
  • Learn about how search engines work, it can take up to a year for your page to be at the top of a Google or Excite search. There are people who do nothing but optomize sites for search engines, they are good at it, but you will pay for it.
  • Consider the benefits of a database driven site. They take longer to build initially but in the long run they are MUCH cheaper.
I'm not trying to be negative here, but internet businesses have a higher failure rate than 'real' businesses. You need to do your homework. There are many people out there who are making a lot of money because they found their 'niche' - Huck can testify to that - but you need to find that one special thing that you can do that no one else can.

Is there a reason you want to have an e-business (ie internet based)? In other words, would you be happy if you found something that could make you money on the side that was not an e-business per se? I a just getting into something to make some extra cash myself, it is related to the internet, but not really the kind of thing you’re speaking about.

Good showing of your html skills, Michelle.

BG - you ain’t seen nothin yet grin … thanks

the true test for you is have you made a business plan if you havent and you dont think you feel like making one either then you probably wont open a business…its funny you talk about just a few loyal customers for a little extra cash, ive known many drug dealers start with that same idea… im not saying your going to sell drugs or should i just found it amusing

Best of luck to you. That you said “making my own website and sell stuff” makes me a little bit curious. Wholesalers and the like are a dime a dozen. Have a quality product and you may do well. quality and value are key to any business. F the splash and flash. Whatcha got?