How to Start an Online Shop
E-commerce is the future
If you’re thinking about opening an online shop, it’s a great time.
Here’s how to start your shop…
1. Start your company
You’ve probably heard about Limited Liability.
It’s what you get for registering your company with the state and following certain formalities. It's a big deal because without it, your personal assets (like your car, house, and bank account) are considered company property. That means they can be taken by creditors to pay your business debts. With limited liability, only your company assets are at risk.
Youʼll start by completing the state paperwork to register your entity.
Read more: How to Start an LLC
2. Lock down your brand
A trademark allows you to own your brand.
It means you're the only company who can use your company name, logo, slogan, domain name, personal name, product name, or hashtags.
Here's why it's key: without it, you can be sued, forced to rebrand, or have your customers stolen by copycats.
Trademarks give you the exclusive rights to use the name nationally. So if someone else registers your trademark, they’ll own the rights to your name nationally. You'll only be able to use it in your geographic region (typically your city). That's not ideal!
Think about how many brand pieces feature your company name: your website, social media, business cards, products, marketing materials, press links, inventory, etc. If you want to operate nationally, you'll need to change all of that + pull back all inventory with the brand on it, or possibly pay monetary damages. You'll lose customers, money, and valuable momentum.
Bottom line: if you’re building a brand, you need to own your trademark.
Read more: How to Trademark a Brand in 3 Steps
3. Find your products
Have a plan for what you’ll sell. Ask yourself:
Will you make these products?
What supplies or ingredients do you need?
How much does it cost to make the products?
Where will you buy the products?
At what price will you buy the products?
At what price will you sell the products?
If you’re working with someone to create your products, lock down your agreement with a contract. Legally, the person who created your products is still the owner of the work, unless you have a contract that says otherwise. That means you can be sued for using their intellectual property or they can prevent you from using it in the future.
4. Create a Website
You need a gorgeous branded website to attract customers + convert them to buyers. You’ll also need a personalized website terms + conditions to secure your customer service policy.
Thinking it doesn't matter? Think again! Your online policies have a big impact on customer happiness and your bottom line. Plus, they'll need to meet certain legal requirements to prevent fines and lawsuits.