My Top 8 Things To Do When You Start An E-Commerce Business

Okay as promised in my Story of StonesNSilver blog post ...
If you are looking to get into E-Commerce ... here are my Top 8 Things To Do When You Start An E-Commerce Business -  

1 Write Out A Business Plan For Timing, Financing, Marketing And Daily Operations

Before you start a new business venture, you'll need to develop a detailed business plan. You could follow these steps or do a Google search on "step-by-step guide on how to create a business plan".

How to Write a Business Plan, Step by Step
  1. Write an executive summary.
  2. Describe your company.
  3. State your business goals.
  4. Describe your products and services.
  5. Do your market research.
  6. Outline your marketing and sales plan.
  7. Perform a business financial analysis.
  8. Make financial projections.
2 Decide What Type of Business You Will Have & File Your Paperwork

According to the Small Business Admin of the US Government ... the business structure you choose influences everything from day-to-day operations, to taxes and how much of your personal assets are at risk.   At InkFile they can help you make the right choice for what type of business to setup, as well as file all the pertinant paperwork.

You will have to get a Federal ID Number as well as a Sales Sales License for your particular state.

At Inkfile you can start Your Company for $0 Plus State Filing Fees with!

3 Get A CPA And Plan Your Bookkeeping Records

Well since my background is accounting, I do my own bookkeeping, however I used a CPA to file my corporate returns.  Be aware that not all CPA's deal with E-Commerce business which just means they won't be able to help you deal with the changing Internet rules for sales tax.   You can always learn yourself by doing a Google search.

These are a few links that might be useful;

4 Decide What You Want to Sell and Create Your Brand

If you read my previous blog 20 Years - The Story of StonesNSilver, you will see how I came up with the products I sell at  

5 Find Suppliers and Purchase Your Merchandise

Okay ... the next blog I write will be all about my experience buying for StonesNSilver including the Tucsonc Gem Shows ... so if you aren't signed up to my email list do it now!

Here's a good article with resource links on How to Find a Wholesaler for Your Retail Business and How to talk to wholesale suppliers

6 Decide What E-Commerce Platform to Use and Build Your Online Store 

I have used a few online platforms in 20 years, but my current store is on Shopify which has been the best for me.  The main reason I like Shopify is because there a a lot of plug-ins or apps you can incorporate giving you new features.  Also my Shopify Store will automatically connect to my Amazon, Ebay and Etsy stores which means I don't have to duplicate my work for those.  It also keeps the inventory synced across all stores.

If you need a simpler business website or store, I recommend Weebly which I have used for years and built many sites on ... including my personal resume/portolio, my family photo albums and my book site Peaceful Heart Journal

A few more resources are;

7 Prepare And Present Merchandise On Selling Platforms

PRICING:  The normal retail mark-up is cost time 2.5 to 3. Exactly how much can depend upon a lot of things; how big is your market, how much competition do you have and what are customer willing to pay.  Because my business is such a niche where I have to travel and had select the hard-to-find stones my costs are more, but on the otherside of this, I sell a lot of designers who then resell the finished product. All factors need to be taken into consideration when deciding your product mark-up.

PHOTOGRAPHY:  You can get a great tabletop photo studio from Ebay and use you smartphones camera (yah, the days of buying an expensive manual camera are over so no need to buy those tripods, etc..).  Some of the selling platforms require a white background so make sure you know before selling on them.

PHOTO EDITING: You will have to learn how to use editing software like Adobe Photoshop or the one I use Paintshop Pro and this is very time consuming. 

  • Give Canva PRO subscription a try free for 30 days and if you don't want to pay anything, you cancel it and continue using the Free subscription (which will have limited used of graphics and templates, but still enough to be worth using).  If you decide to keep the Canva PRO it will cost $120/year but this includes the photo background eraser feature.
  • I use InPixio Photo Studio online to remove my photo backgrounds with just a few clicks.  You can use it for 7 days free and then it costs $49/year.  This saves me literally hours of time so it's totally worth it.
  • Here's an article

PRESENT: You will have to learn how to add your products to your e-commerce website or whatever platform you use.  The best way to learn this is to watch tutorial videos on YouTube ... example:  how to add a product to your shopify store

8 Market and Sell Your Products

Marketing on the internet is definitely the biggest hurdle to being successful with your new E-commerce store because there is a lot to do to prepare your site to be "search engine friendly".
Here are a few articles and links that you might find useful;

SELLING:  So you just made your first sale .... YAH!
Number 1 advice is "the customer is always right" even when they aren't.
My number 2 advice is to ship your products out in a timely manner.  Remember you are competing with Amazon Prime and your customers will be happy with you.

Ok, you can learn about most of these step by watching free, educational videos on In addition to E-Commerce, YouTube has taught me so many things about; vegetable gardening, help with new babies (Grammy of twins), how to repair stuff on my RV and house, travel tips and I watch my worship music videos and great sermons on YouTube.

Below are a few links to some of the products I have used in my business that I recommend or found useful:
This is where I got the LLC for my corporation.  Nationwide Incorporation and Filing Service. Home of the $0 LLC. Lifetime Customer Support. Clear Pricing & No Contracts. A+ BBB rating. Register Now!

Create your online store and start selling. Try it today at!
I used this before changing to Shopify, however I still use it for website that aren't as big as SNS.  Check this site I designed with Weebly ... Peaceful Heart Journal
My Top 8 Things To Do When You Start An E-Commerce Business
I used Upwork to hire a web developer to transfer my site from the old platform to Shopify. It was a big job - he completely designs the graphic look/layout, created some custom functions and migrated about 1200 products over, all for $3K.  I have also hired a book editor to review my friends book.
My Top 8 Things To Do When You Start An E-Commerce Business
My Top 8 Things To Do When You Start An E-Commerce Business
My Top 8 Things To Do When You Start An E-Commerce Business

*Disclosure: I only recommend products I would would use myself and all opinions expressed here are our just that, my opinion. This post may contain some affiliate links that are at no additional cost to you, however I may earn a small commission on qualifying purchases.