You may be wondering what type of equipment you will need to start an online business. One of the best things about online business is the low overhead. (overhead means operating expenses). You don’t have to take out loans, pay rent, remodel your storefront, pay license fees, pay employees and etc.
A lot of these traditional retail tasks are eliminated with an online business. But there are things like instead of painting the walls of your store, you pick colors and graphics for your online store. Other than paying your landlord a rent check, you are paying for hosting instead.
The main expenses for your online business are computer related; software and hardware. Internet, email, networking, programs & applications that you will need to run smoothly and efficiently. You obviously don’t need the best of the best here. You will find things that can fit any budget.
Great news! If you already have a computer and an internet connection, you are already mainly there and so upgrading your equipment may be unnecessary. But also keep in mind that older devices and programs are lacking in new features and connectivity for technical aspects of your business. So if your computer is frustrating you due to slow speeds, then you should research to upgrade your machine or get a new one.
Your computer is your main device for work, and so eliminating as much frustration and stress just by buying a new device will save you so much headache in the long run and will allow you to enjoy what you are doing so much more!
Software is a biggie here. Software can be extremely expensive and the different kinds of things you need can quickly add up.
Office programs like Excel are a must have. With Microsoft 365 for Business you can pay monthly and have access to cloud storage, email and office applications across all your devices. Having this flexibility is super important. If your computer crashes, you will have all your saved things on the cloud to access from another computer quickly. I know that cloud saving with apps like Dropbox have been extremely important for us!
Don’t forget security! You will have access to customers private information. It is your duty to ensure that information is protected as much as possible with anti-virus and internet safety programs. Secondly, viruses are always popping up online and sometimes in surprising places. So just do the right thing and protect yourself and your customers. Norton360 is an excellent program for this!
Storefront Software – thankfully with most store hosting companies these days, they put a nice administration area together for you to use for your online store. So buying other site building, shopping cart type software is eliminated with getting the one service. Bundling as much together as possible is definitely the way to go when you are just getting started. If you can pay just a handful of companies for their services or programs, it will be easier to manage. As you get comfortable and familiar with how things work, then you can start looking into cutting more costs.
The last thing we will talk about here is accounting software. You can hire an accountant to handle everything for you, or you can do it yourself by using awesome programs like Quickbooks. Quickbooks will integrate to allow you to automatically pull your transactions in to the system for easier tracking and reporting.
You will need other things down the road, like promotion applications and services for marketing and perhaps graphic creation software to edit and create images. But what we have above are great resources for you to start an online business.