Whether you're planning an entirely web-based business or you just want to develop a web presence, this section is full of top tips on making the most of the Internet.
Becoming an e-trader and selling products online requires more than a website. Like all businesses, your idea will benefit from a well-researched plan.
You should consider all the elements of a traditional business plan, but also think about the following:
Your online sales may also be subject to VAT, although you don't need to register until your turnover reaches a certain level. You can check the current turnover limits at the HM Revenue and Customs website.
Many website hosting companies can provide you with software to get your business online. Although this low cost method can be useful in the early stages of a business, or to test the water, you should carefully consider talking to professional web designers and developers to give your website the best possible chance of succeeding.
Consider the following when making your web host selection:
If you use a professional web design service they may offer a hosting service, if not ask them to recommend one.
If you are trading online then you should add the following:
To collect payments from your customers through your website, you'll need to include a virtual shopping cart and a secure way for them to pay (sometimes known as a payment gateway).
To collect payments from customers you will need a merchant account linked to your website. Lloyd's TSB merchant service provider Cardnet ® can advise you on what you need to be able to collect online payments from your customers.
You'll want to make sure that your customers know where to find your site. Website promotion should be part of your overall marketing plan. If you already sell offline you should integrate your website into your traditional advertising and promotions campaigns.
Your web presence will enable you to reach more of that market as you are not confined to a particular geographical area.
Here are some ways that you can promote your website:
If you are trading online then you are more likely to be using automated payment methods than cheques and cash. With this in mind we have created the Electronic Business Tariff, where payments such as direct debits, debit card payments and Internet banking transactions are free of charge when your account is in credit. There is a monthly fee for this tariff.
You can use our Internet Banking service, Online for Business to access your business account at a time to suit you, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week*. You can also receive up-to-date balance information through our free Text Alerts service.
To make the most of the Electronic Business Tariff, or make online transactions yourself, you may also be interested in our range of card services, such as our Business Credit Card, Business Debit Card and Business Charge Card.
All of these services can be used with our Business Extra Account.
All cards are available subject to status.
There are a couple of things you should always check before you go live and open your website for business:
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