Want to Start Your Own Business? Here Are a Few Tips for Becoming a First-Time E-commerce Merchant


Are you tired of working for someone else and, instead, want to become your own boss eventually? Do you have an entrepreneurial spirit and the desire to get out there and work? You may want to start your own e-commerce business. Although starting an e-commerce business is difficult, it’s not impossible. From developing a business plan to obtaining an international credit card processing account, you will have a lot of hard work and decisions ahead of you. If you’re up to the challenge, though, it can be incredibly worthwhile. Here are a few things to keep in mind as you start out:

Determine What Kind of Products You Want to Sell

Before anything else, you should have an idea of what you want to sell. Will you be marketing a single niche product or multiple products? Are you retailing stuff that you’re passionate about or products where you see an opening for revenue?

There are various approaches you can take to answer these questions. For example, you can take a SEO approach and conduct keyword research to see where there is a lack of merchants for a specific category. Here, you might be able to have the quickest impact.

Or you could take a brand-building approach where you really get to know the category and think of ways to build your brand to distinguish yourself from the competition. This would be the better approach if you’re entering a market you’re passionate about, but one that is fiercely competitive.

Create Your Business Plan

By the time you are ready to create your business plan, you should have picked out what you want to sell, determined whether or not the product could sell, and sourced your supplier. You should have also taken some time to research the competition.

Your business plan will be used to describe what you plan to do and how you plan to do it. A business plan is necessary to attract investors, find employees who will believe in your vision, and partner up with suppliers who can help you get there.

There are generally three parts of a business plan. The first is the business concept where you will discuss your business and how you developed the idea. The second is the marketplace section. Here is where you will show how you plan on attracting customers and competing with others in the marketplace. The final part is the financial section, which is where you will talk about the numbers and calculate what it will take to successfully run your business.


Get Approved for a Merchant Account

After you have written your business plan, registered your business, and started building your brand, you will need to consider how you will collect payments. A merchant account is a bank account that holds debit and credit card sales. You will need a merchant account to accept credit card payments online. Along with a payment gateway, the merchant account is necessary to facilitate the transaction.

Because merchant account providers could be potentially on the hook if something goes wrong, you will need to meet basic criteria before you apply. If you have had previous chargebacks or a poor credit history, this could hurt your chances for being approved.

To get started, you should gather your financial statements and write a cover letter that clearly states what your business does, where your business is incorporated, how you plan to mitigate fraud, and other concerns an underwriter may have. It is often more difficult for startups to get approved so it is important to be prepared and plan ahead.