I am in the process of starting an online retail business and have several questions. I would love to find a mentor that has experience selling merchandise via an online store to ask questions of and advice from. A couple of the questions I need help with are:
1) Would "Quickbooks" or "Microsoft Small Business Accounting" be the better accounting program to use for a small online retail business?
1) I`d recommend using Quickbooks. It`s the most recommended accounting tool even among CPAs while Microsoft SBA is relatively new.
2) Is there any other software programs I should consider using to make things easier?
2) Unless you already have a program to keep track of this, use anything from a simple word processing program like Word or Excel to a databasing tool in order to keep track of your business and customer contacts. A way to easily keep on track of e-mail is a must with programs such as Microsoft Outlook or Thunderbird.
3) I have located some Wholesalers but where is the best place to look for these contacts? My business will be selling boxer breed related merchandise.
There are a number of sources to find wholesalers. Here are the main ways, with varying degrees of difficulty and fruitfulness.
1) Trade publications (Dog magazines)
2) Trade directories (Check your library)
3) Competitors (Never hurts to know their connections)
4) Google (A few good searches will get it done)
4) Is it wise to hire someone to design my site so that I have more time to focus on other agenda with the company? I am just wondering if this expense is a wise one and I am not especially computer savvy.
Yes, but it`s important that you take some time to study the technical aspects yourself, even if it`s a basic understanding. You`ll know if you`re being ripped off and after all, the technical aspect is the core of an online business.
5) If I hire someone to design my website, I would love to hear recommendations for website designers other retailers have had experience with.
Depending on your time constraints and how you take to the technical aspects, I`d recommend doing it yourself. There`s free open source e-commerce solutions you can experiment with, the same solutions multi-million dollar businesses use. If you`re using firms, it may be better to hire individual people so you can have more control.
"Forget inspirational quotes to keep you going. If by doing what you do, you get an hour every day to relax, be with the ones you love in comfort without doing wrong, then it is all worth it." -Anon.