How And Why You Should Start And Run An Online Business Now
The emergence and prevalence of the online business model has added a completely new dimension to the global marketplace both for consumers as well as entrepreneurs or business owners.
Consumers are now able to find and buy products and services from any part of the globe by paying for them remotely, using electronic means. It is no longer necessary to physically travel to and from a store to buy items and online consumers also enjoy the convenience of having their purchases delivered to an address of their choice.
On the flip side, e-commerce enables businesses to showcase their products and services to an online audience which can potentially number in the billions. With relatively low start-up costs, the prospect of owning an online business is an alluring one for the modern day entrepreneur,
However, starting and running an online business can be a challenging, rewarding and fulfilling full-time career or it could just be a small supplement to your income, it’s really up to you.
Why you should Start an Online Business Now
In addition to the massive exposure digital platforms provide online business owners, most internet-based startups also enjoy freedom from commitments to real estate because the majority of online businesses can be run from practically anywhere, including your dining table.
There has never been a better time to start an online business. Large online business corporations such as Amazon and Alibaba have blazed a trail for smaller players and consumer confidence in online shopping is steadily on the rise.
In the US, online shopping accounts for about 13.7% of all retail sales and the trend shows no sign of stopping or slowing down. The reason for this trend and surge are numerous, but one thing that is sure to stand out is the fact that online businesses are very flexible and adaptable to the marketplace. They also offer you the freedom and flexibility to make wholesale as well as minor changes to your brand’s strategy at short notice.
Once you have untangled the complex legal spaghetti surrounding the registration and operation of your online entity, you can enjoy the various benefits a small business of this nature
provides. Some remarkable advantages of an online enterprise are the low running costs and the nearly limitless growth potential.
For an entrepreneur looking to get their finger in the digital pie, the following section of this article will guide you on the basic steps to follow before you begin your adventure into the digital marketplace.
How to Start an Online Business Now
Please note this article does not constitute legal advice.
The E-Commerce laws which govern online business start-ups are very particular and can be somewhat difficult to keep up with, so it will be necessary to enlist the expertise of a small business lawyer who will assist you to:
- Register a business under a legal structure of your choosing. This might see you create an LLC, a corporation or other business structures.
- Acquire the necessary licenses and permits for your online business
- Register your intellectual property, such as trademarks and your business’ name
- Devise a strategy to protect your business from litigation and risk
Apart from the legitimizing and protecting your business and personal assets, you will need to be prepared for the complex compliance issues which will arise once your online business actually starts selling via the internet and accepting payments electronically.
There is a lot of legislation involved in selling online and it will be your responsibility to ensure that your business complies with every aspect of it.
Starting an online business can sometimes be a legal minefield and online businesses can be especially vulnerable to litigation, and if that happens, your only way out might be with the help of a Dallas business lawyer A sound defensive strategy is imperative if you wish to survive and grow as a digital business entity. Online businesses are subject to certain legal requirements that are particular to the virtual marketplace and which enforced at both state and federal levels.
Below is a list of just a few of the unique legal obligations owners of online stores in the United States face when compared to their brick-and-mortar counterparts:
Enforceable Digital Contracts
Your online business’ website must be structured in such a way that an agreement made between you (seller) and the buyer can be regarded as a legally binding contract in a court of law. For any agreements to be regarded as such, certain legal instruments must be incorporated into your website. A few examples which apply to an owner online business are:
- You will be required to provide your online customers with the option of reviewing their transaction before they ‘check out’
- Before any online transaction is finalized, the courts have ruled that buyers will be required to physically click a confirmation box to complete the sales process
- There also needs to be very strict adherence to privacy laws as it concerns the handling of personal data and information of your customers.
The nature of the online transaction process often requires the buyer to furnish the seller with certain personal (and often sensitive) information. Online business owners must comply with federal laws concerning the handling of such data and will ultimately be held responsible if it falls into the wrong hands. A large component of your online business’ defensive legal posture should revolve around cybersecurity as any breaches could result in litigation.
Shipping regulations and taxation
Before you start selling goods via the internet It will be necessary to acquaint yourself with the legislation which regulates the distribution of certain products or services within the United States.
Certain products and services are liable to a special tax in some states but not in others and the nature of the products or services you intend to sell online, as well as their ultimate destination, could result in additional taxation. If you plan on shipping any goods to other countries, international shipping law, as well as country-specific taxes, will apply to those items.