Wednesday, May 11, 2011

“Save on Startup Costs with Your Online Business”

Starting a business takes determination and preparation. Oh, and it also takes money. How much money you need depends on the type of business you want to start. For an online business, you can make that dream come true and save some green in the process.merle09_coloring

What is the first thing that people ask about with a business? Usually it’s “What will it cost me in the beginning?” With an online business you are already ahead of the game because you avoid many of the costs that come with owning a traditional brick-and-mortar company.

Even so, there will be some costs that you have to shoulder. If your capital is limited, you can still get things going. It may take some legwork and time but it is absolutely doable.

Here are the 3 main costs associated with starting an online business.

Domain Name Purchases – In order to have a presence online, you’ll need a website address or URL. There are specials all the time for domain name purchases, but you can get your domain name for less than $10 a year in most cases. Be careful not to get sucked into buying all the extras most domain name registrars try to get you to purchase when you purchase a domain. Stick to only purchasing the domain name.

Hosting – In order for your website to actually show up on the Internet you’ll need to purchase hosting for your domains. You can purchase this inexpensively with hosting companies such as Hostgator. Award winning web hosting. Affordable rates and tremendous customer service.

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Website Design – If you aren’t proficient in web design or HTML, you’ll need someone to set your website up for you. There are a few different options for getting this done:

• Hire a Designer: This is the most expensive way to get things done.

• Site Builder: You can build your site yourself with programs like SiteBuildIt. Learn how and save money by doing it yourself.

• Included with Hosting: Look for deals with your hosting company. For instance, when you purchase a hosting package you can get a WordPress blog (using the WP platform as your main site is very common due to its ease of use and flexibility) installed on your domain for free. Any customization is up to you, but it’s a start that doesn’t cost anything extra.

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Here are some tips for purchasing additional items you’ll need to run your business online.

1. Negotiate – All you can do is ask for what you want. When it comes to buying computers and other office equipment, there is some room for haggling. Find the best payment plans you can to help you to offset the cost. This goes for telephone services, answering services and high-speed Internet rates too.

2. Shop around - Buying computers online at sites like allows you to add the features you need and pay the price you want to pay. Printers don’t cost as much as they used to. If you need a fax machine and a printer, look for deals on all-in-one equipment so you can save money.

3. Buy in bulk – When you need paper, printer ink and other office supplies, buy as much as you can when a deal comes along. Even if it takes you an entire year to use the paper, you know that you will use it so it doesn’t matter.

4. Ask for advice from others – For example, you’ll need hosting for your website. While there are dozens of web hosting companies out there, both paid and free everyone’s needs differ. What are your needs? If you know other online entrepreneurs, ask who they use. Keep in mind that high price doesn’t necessarily equate with good quality, just like low price doesn’t always mean poor quality.

5. Use what you already have for now – The best thing about an online business is that it is operated from your computer. Most people already have one of those. It may not be the top of the line model, but if it has high speed Internet access and a word processing program, you can get started. 

There are costs that you can avoid by starting an online business versus an offline one, but you still have to spend some money. The above five tips will help you to whittle down the costs you do have even more. This allows you to get your new enterprise up and running as soon as possible. And, don’t forget all these costs can be written off on your income taxes so don’t forget to keep records.

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