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eCommerce Websites, Dropship Programs - Developing an Income with an Online Business in Michigan

"How do I start a profitable online business" is the most common question I hear as a web developer.  People are lured by the idea of lower overhead cost, the ability to reach a wide audience and the perceived ease of marketing on the Internet.

It is true, a small business can thrive on the Internet and even be profitable.  As with offline businesses, it takes hard work and diligence.  The web has developed into a great place to reach niche markets, and small companies taking advantage of this fact can blossom on the Internet. 

Many long-time entrepreneurs and first-time business owners, have found the Web as an inviting market for starting a business.  The promise of "earning while sleeping," and then waking up to an email full of orders is possible, but takes time. 

Online businesses fall into a number of categories:

  • Online retailing with your own products
  • Online retailing using Drop Ship programs like Doba
  • Affiliate programs (earn commissions on larger retailer's products)
  • Ad-based or subscription-based sites
  • eBay or Auction websites like Ubid
There are 3 drop-ship programs that we have found successful.  Doba, Operation Dropship and Sports Life (for entrepreneurs that want to work in a sports-related business)
  • Start a dropship sports business. SportsLife members get access to over 70 wholesale suppliers who carry over 200,000 prodcuts.
  • DOBA DropShip is a secure online provider of drop ship and wholesale sources, allowing online sellers to access thousands of wholesale products for resale in online auctions, websites, and brick and mortar stores.

    Key DOBA DropShip Features Include:

    • 150,000+ Wholesale Products
    • Quicklist on eBay wizard with over 200 templates
    • Quick watch board allowing you to search products, watch supplier inventory, and order & track product delivery
    • And Much More!

Of course, like many other businesses, new online business owners are discovering that it takes more than a Web site to earn income on the Internet.  The off-line "rules" of business apply on the Web, also: 

  • Develop a Business Plan
  • Develop a Marketing Plan
  • Thoroughly understand your competition
  • Create compelling reasons for customers to buy 
  • Display excellent customer service
  • Continually look for customer feedback and listen to what customers want

Remember - web shoppers on the Internet seem to have shorter attention spans and can quickly move from one site to the next. 

Technical knowledge that you will need (or contract out)

  • Web programmer that understands eCommerce applications (me!!)
  • Search Engine Optimization Expert or at the very least a PPC consultant

The Web has opened many doors (and windows) in the form of opportunities for the small entrepreneur dreaming of becoming their own boss and working at home or in a small office.  Give yourself plenty of time to get your online business going.  Google's Sandbox alone, will delay orders by six to eight months.  Don't quit your day job the month you launch your website!

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