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Should You Start a Brick-and-Mortar Local or Online Business?
By Bob “MAVERICK” Stanford – “The Maverick Entrepreneur™”
This article isn’t attempting to steer you to one choice or the other. Only you would know what’s best for you, depending on your goals, and available resources. Our purpose is to help you make an intelligent, and informed decision regarding your best options and solutions. Also, it will compare the leading free ecommerce platform to the number one affordable paid platform, woo-Commerce Vs. Shopify platforms.
What are your Best Business Model Options? Basically, there are Five (5). They are:
- Start a Brick-and-Mortar Business (Physical location).
- Start an Online Business (Only).
- Start a Hybrid Combo Online and Physical Business.
- Expand an Existing Physical Business, taking it online too.
- Expand an existing Online Business adding a Physical Location.
In a nutshell, each of the five categories has unique advantages and disadvantages. The three primary differences are #initial startup cost, and personal resources, meaning your ability to set up and operate your entire business. Both approaches require many of the same talents, yet it can differ like day and night in financial start-up requirements.
Let’s face the reality, a physical business startup will generally cost a minimum of several thousand dollars initially, while a new online business can be started under a $100, especially if you utilize Dropshipping as a business model.
Dropshipping – The most popular online business model
Most online businesses market products, either physical, digital downloadable, or even both (like STC).So here we aren’t outlining the Service Business Model, but emphasizing the online ecommerce store.
Dropshipping means delivering products from the manufacturer or supplier, directly to the consumer (Buyer) without going through the usual distribution channels. You don’t need to invest in any inventory, or pay double shipping cost (From the supplier to you, then you to your customer).
You make the sale from your online website, and through an automated ecommerce platform, you collect payment, make payment to your supplier from the sale funds, and your supplier directly ships the product to your customer IN YOUR NAME. This is called “White Label” meaning ONLY your name appears in the product delivered directly to your buyer.
Getting started, let’s compare the financial investment required to start a physical business opposed to an online one. To keep this subject simple, and not overly detailed, we are just outlining the basic startup requirements.
Physical (Brick and Mortar) –
- Location (Rent and initial lease requirements in both credit requirements and upfront deposits)
- More comprehensive and expensive Insurance
- higher overall startup costs (Thousands of dollars)
- Minimum starting inventory investment
- Physical displays, site preparation, and setup costs
- Higher travel expenses (Maybe delivery cost too)
- Employee costs including salaries, and benefits
- Create and maintain your advertising and marketing campaigns
- Overall MUCH HIGHER monthly minimum operating costs
- Collecting and paying sales taxes
- Considerably more sophisticated accounting, payroll, and taxes operating costs
- Much longer hours to set up, operate, and including travel to and from work
- And much, much more…
- Can be under $100 to start and under $50 per month to operate
- Work from home with $0 physical location operating costs
- Ability to learn WordPress to set up, build, and maintain your website
- Setup your Shopify ecommerce store
- Develop and maintain your online marketing campaigns
- Develop and maintain your Social Marketing presence through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and etc.
- Handle your simplified bookkeeping and income taxes
We could continue to add many more items to both lists but I believe you get the idea. You can set up just the Online Business Model for under a $100, work from, home, and earn as you learn opposed to the high investment in both financial, and educational requirements for the physical business.
The easiest way to set up your online business
You can learn to build your own site and maintain it, or pay a monthly service to do it for you for only a few hundred bucks to start. It is estimated that today in late 2018, around 1/3 of ALL websites now use the WordPress (WP) website platform.
According to the Netcraft January 2018 Web Server Survey, there are 1,805,260,010 (over 1.8 billion) websites, yet most of those get little or no traffic.
This is a plus for the serious aspiring online marketer because this means competition is NOT so intense and many think it is. In fact, once you understand online marketing, or subscribe to a service that can help you maintain your site, it really isn’t that difficult to get your share of the market for your niche.
- It’s user-friendly, especially for beginners
- It features a build in BLOG feature
- No need to learn HTML, code editing or FTP Software
- WordPress is Search engine friendly
- You can manage Your Website from any computer, anywhere
- You have total control of Your website
- The Design of Your Website is totally customizable, especially with the DIVI site builder
- Extend the functionality of your site through thousands of free and low-cost Plugins (Adding additional features)
There are a number of excellent low-cost ecommerce platforms to choose from
STC uses and only promoted one affordable, yet comprehensive ecommerce platform called Shopify. It is free to check out for two weeks, then only $29 per month (no contract required – cancel anytime). THAT”S IT.
Should you use a FREE website hosting service and the FREE WooCommerce ecommerce store platform?
The simple answer is YOU GET WHAT YOU PAY FOR. If you want to :
- Learn to set up your own website
- Do ALL THE WORK required to build it correctly and maintain it
- Do all the marketing to attract potential buyers
- Lose credibility by having ads by OTHERS on your website that YOU DON’T GET paid for, but the hosting company does
- Have LIMITED website features
Then, by all means, use a free hosting platform to save $10 to $15 per month. Actually, you NOT saving anything at all, but subsidizing the success of a hosting company. We strongly suggest you NOT starting out with these free hosting packages.
WordPress can be used on about any hosting company in the world, while their proprietary website builder is exclusive to just their company. Change hosting companies, and you’ve got to learn a new website building system that will likely be deficient or even devoid of many features. And it may NOT be compatible with your ecommerce platform.
With Shopify, you don’t even need a hosting company. It is included with your package. Yet it is 100% compatible with WordPress hosting. There are reasons MANY companies need both a WordPress and Shopify site. You can use both Shopify AND WordPress for more functionality if desired. Cost for both only ads an additional $10-$15 per month. How’s that for LOW Overhead?
Should you use the free WooCommerce ecommerce platform
First of all, WooCommerce is really NOT FREE, once you actually get to the point of doing serious sales and marketing. Yes, it is free TO START, but will quickly start requiring many new monthly and new plugin purchase fees.
It is an excellent ecommerce platform, but the learning curve is MUCH GREATER and MORE TIME CONSUMING TO MAINTAIN than Shopify and does require you to have a separate WordPress hosting company. No hosting or additional built-in payment gateway (an alternate credit card payment platform in addition to PayPal or Stripe) is provided as it IS WITH Shopify.
In the LONG-TERM, Shopify is MORE USER-FRIENDLY, affordable, and includes the website hosting. You must buy separate hosting for WooCommerce.
If you are interested in additional information as outlined in this article, need assistance in applying this information, or just want more resources, contact us for FREE (no obligation) and we will do our best to accommodate you.