12 Key Steps to Establishing an Online Business
Embarking on e-commerce endeavours brings abundant business opportunities, from amplified revenues to market expansion and stronger brand allegiance. To navigate this transformative process and facilitate smooth payment acceptance once operational, we’ve condensed the essential steps involved in launching your online business.
- Establish a Legal Entity
Before commencing online trade, securing a legal entity is imperative. Register your company with Companies House or a Company Formation Agent to obtain a company registration number (starting from around £20).
- Open a Business Bank Account
Create a business bank account to manage funds from your online trading account. Visit your chosen bank to set up this account, where all cleared online trading funds will be deposited.
- Craft a Business Plan
Develop a comprehensive business plan delineating your company’s identity, objectives, and strategies. Consider key aspects like your business profile, products/services, financial backing, industry experience, future plans, target market, and marketing strategies.
- Design a Customer Support Plan
Implementing robust customer support is pivotal for online business success. Outline a detailed plan for addressing customer queries or issues, ensuring clear service levels to manage customer expectations.
- Outline Comprehensive Terms and Conditions
- Select a Domain Name
Choosing a domain name is crucial for online visibility. Register a web address through various domain name providers, which can cost between £3 – £25 annually.
- Choose a Reliable Hosting Provider
Opt for reputable web hosting providers to make your website accessible online, generally offered as part of a package including domain name, hosting, and web shop.
- Establish Your Website
Create a compelling website tailored to your business needs by collaborating with a web developer or utilising pre-built e-commerce solutions for rapid setup and cost-effectiveness.
- Ensure Website Compliance
Ensure compliance by displaying necessary information like company details, terms and conditions, shipping policies, customer service standards, product listings, and appropriate card scheme logos on your website.
- Organise an Internet Merchant Account
Set up an Internet Merchant Account distinct from your business bank account specifically for online trading. Provide essential business information to facilitate account setup.
- Define Payment Requirements
Decide on payment methods—web-based, phone, or a blend of both—and consider alternative options like PayPal or online cash payments in addition to card transactions.
- Achieve PCI DSS Compliance
Compliance with Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards is mandatory for businesses handling cardholder details. Ensure your online business adheres to PCI DSS regulations, should it qualify.
Embrace payment processing software to ensure secure online transactions, seamless integration, compliance, operational efficiency, global payment support, and enhanced customer experiences.
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