Starting your own business

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Starting an Internet Business


When starting a business, having an internet presence by using a website can serve one of two purposes. Firstly it can be an online business marketing tool, an information source for potential customers to gain an understanding of what the start-up does and who is involved in running it.

Secondly, a website can not only supply details about the enterprise, it can also enable the start-up to run an internet business in its own right, allowing visitors to select products and services and to pay for them. In some cases facilities on the website can actual handle the delivery of those items purchased via an internet download or other electronic means.

Start an Online Business

Whether a person is able to start an online business in a particular industry will depend on several factors:

The ability to assign a definite cost to an online product or service
Some items, such as e-books might normally have a predetermined price. Therefore when a customer wishes to purchase it over the internet, the asking price can be displayed together with the facilities to pay for it.

Other commercial items, typically services might not have a typical price and thus could not be bought online. Examples of such items are legal fees and accountancy services which would normally be priced according to actual time spent on the assignment.

As each client would have different requirements, the actual cost of providing those services would not be known until the work has been completed.

Online Business Payment Facilities

Having some form of online business payment facility is necessary for conducting transactions over the internet. They are many designs of shopping carts and payment gateways available which can readily transform an informational website in to one which offers full e-commerce options.

In addition to having a shopping cart facility, a merchant account is usually required so that the customer’s payment eventual reaches the bank account of the online business.

Two popular such accounts facilities are Worldpay and Protx, which accept payments from a range and debit and credit card companies.

Delivering Products and Services over the Internet

Software, once purchased on the internet can usually be downloaded straight away. Even large files containing full programs can be transferred from the business' servers to the buyer’s computer. Many websites, which permit users to extract online files also, have a resume download function so that should the transfer fail, it can be restarted from the stage prior to the connection becoming lost.

Some items, due to their physical size or their intangible nature may not be delivered over the internet. Although payment for these services and products might be made online, the actual satisfaction of the customer’s requests may have to be carried out offline.

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Take the 6 question quiz and test your knowledge on matters relating to starting your own business
1. Which type of business entity typically provides limited liability?
Sole trader
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Did you know that company formations can be carried out entirely online without any need for paper or written signatures?