A business plan is basically an outline of what you want to accomplish with your business. Every business, whether it is a brick-and-mortar store or an online business, needs a plan to keep the direction of the company solid. If you sell a particular type of product to a specific niche, do not feel pressured to add items to your inventory that do not fit that niche. You will likely sit on a huge amount of inventory that costs you money in the long run.
The more detailed you make the business plan at the start, the better, especially if you are looking for investors or bank financing. Include a description of the business, how it will be marketed to the public, where the financing will come from, information about who will manage the company and how many employees the company will employ. There are many examples online of business plans that you can tailor to your own business.
Once the basis for your online business is set, you need a website, hosting, and a shopping cart. Even though it may seem like a daunting task to find all these things, start investigating web hosting first. In the simplest of terms, the host is who gives you your place on the web, either with a free or paid hosting account. Your website will not be visible to others without having a host, so starting out small with a free account is a smart option for work-at-home moms with new businesses.
After you open your hosting account, play around with their website builder to create your site. These programs are generally very easy to use with pre-loaded templates and fonts. Simply type in your sales copy, upload your photos and publish your site in minutes.
Note: Many web hosts have website building programs but not all of them are free. Do not get duped with added fees; ask all of your questions upfront about what is included in your hosting package to avoid any future surprises.
Next on your list of necessities is a shopping cart. Whether you are selling physical products or information products, you need a cart where people can see your product, make a purchase, and where you can process credit cards securely. Again, ask a lot of questions about extra fees for the shopping cart, merchant accounts, how easy it is to add new products and how to process payments.
The best of all worlds is to find a free web-host company with a website builder, a shopping cart, and a strong desire to help fellow work-at-home moms. This will save you money and considerable amounts of time having all the services through one company.