"Let's get it started..."

I was chatting to my GEarth-buddy Marc the other day about my business plans, and he suggested I take it online. As in e-commerce, shopping baskets on the site, all that stuff.

The boy is brilliant!

The more I think about it, the more I realize that's a darned good option. You see, I'm terrible at person-to-person selling. I hate having to push a product. But I know how to print-advertise and net-advertise. I've got the basics to set up an excellent site to promote my stuff, and if it's online I truly can do it part-time or full-time - I can keep the day job until I'm earning enough to support myself.

It will also give me a definite direction as to what I can and can't offer - and let me sell imported stuff (like free-trade and organic-cotton bits and bobs - coffee, clothing, whatever). Expanding the goods on offer will be as easy as adding a photo and a checkout item.

I was planning a website for my product/services range anyway, but simply hadn't thought in terms of business being mainly online. When I think about it though, it's increasingly becoming a more common way to get your goods out there, and an easier way for customers to shop.

So how to spread the word? Well in last week's community paper one company had a mid-size printed card, with their products nicely photographed, full colour front and back, all the info you'd need about where to buy and what their opening special was etc. That's a good kick-start! Put it in a couple of newspapers and magazines (checking costs to do that today), spread it around a few bulletin boards and such, and it's a handy product reference that your customer can stick on the fridge.

Anyway, I'm on leave Monday and Tuesday next week. I'll be sitting down with the business account guys at my bank to talk internet merchant accounts. The domain name will be registered shortly, along with acquiring a hosting service. I'll be starting on product photos (which I don't have to pay someone else to do!) as soon as my packaging and labels arrive, and starting to source the free-trade/organic-cotton type goods I want to add in to my home-made range. I want to see if one of our local online book/music/etc traders will share info on how they got started (seeing as I'm not competition), how they operate etc. (if it's not a state secret), and investigate a few other things that need looking at.

But the more I think of it, the more I know this is seriously going to work. And the more it just feels right, like a very good fit to where I need to be heading. Cool!

There's nothing like a sense of excitement to get one through a mundane day.. :)