Start an on-line business


By: Drew Sauveur

Starting an on-line business is quickly becoming the fastest growing trend of the current business landscape.  Online businesses take little to no maintenance, overhead, or start-up capital.  Here is a basic start-up guide to getting your idea off the ground:

Step 1: Define your product or service. Starting an online business gives you the benefit of having access to millions of customers, but you also have a lot more competition. No matter what you’re trying to sell, you can bet there are hundreds more online retailers that have a similar idea. What differentiates your product from other similar products? To help your product stand apart from the rest, you’ll need to find a niche.[1]

  • Let’s say you make jewellery—but so do a few million other people. What makes yours different? If it’s one-of-a-kind jewellery (or another product) is your gig, make sure it’s truly original.
  • Offer expertise in an area. Even if the product itself isn’t very unique, your expertise might be a strong selling point. If you’re selling a line of skincare products, for example, it helps if you have a degree in a field related to skin health.
  • Check into the competition. Figure out what isn’t already being offered, and find a way to fill the hole with your product.

Step 2: Register your business. Your business needs to be registered according to your Province of State`s laws. Choose an official business name and fill out the appropriate paperwork to make your business official.   A sole proprietor license is very inexpensive, and it ensures that everything you are doing is legal.

  • Before you register your business, it can help to have a business plan laid out. Consider your production costs, shipping costs, taxes, and web hosting fees.
  • Know the business regulations in your province or state, and be sure to comply when you get things up and running.[2]

 Step 3: Register your domain name:  Many do-it-yourself Website builders will do this for you.  This will ensure that the domain isn`t used.  I prefer myself, however, there are plenty of other good, inexpensive resources out there such as  Check around, and see what fits for you, OR, you can choose to setup only a facebook page.  Now that facebook offers shopify, it is possible to run an online business completely from facebook.


Step 4: Setup e-commerce payment options.  I prefer to use Paypal, which is in my estimation probably the easiest, and user friendly platform.  Having said that, there are some drawbacks to Paypal, as in they will hold your first few transaction for up to 21 days to ensure funds are legitimate, or hold larger amounts.  I learned this the hard way when a client wanted to pay for a roof using their credit card, processed the sale through Paypal, and it was held for 2 weeks.  For a small business, that can hurt cash-flow, so be sure to thoroughly read their terms and conditions.

Step 5: And this is probably the most important one, BE SOCIAL! Engage people with pictures of your product, write articles about your business, why you started it, who you are trying to sell to.  Join facebook groups, go to networking events, be noticed!

But most of all, have fun, and make some money!

Drew Sauveur is a local entrepreneur in Ajax, ON.  For more information or help getting your online business off the ground, contact him at

Drew Sauveur
Author: Drew Sauveur

Local business owner and resident of Durham Region

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