Want to Start a Small Business on the Internet? The Myths and the Reality

This is a picture of me with one day of shipments. This time of year I ship anywhere from 50 – 75 orders per day. You can do this too, if you know your business.

I frequently get comments that say, “You can’t make money selling books, games, and DVDs online. It’s too competitive. The market is flooded with cheap merchandise. I don’t believe you are making the kind of money you claim you are.”

Steve at budgetvideogames.com shipped over 130,000 videos games last year. He did this all from his 3 car garage! He has 1 FT employee and 1 PT employee. Video games are one of the most competitive markets out there yet he’s able to pull this off. Not only is his video game business successful but he’s used it to as a platform to launch other non-internet businesses.

When you work for yourself, when you run your own small business, there will be a million people who will tell you a million reasons why you will fail, even while you are succeeding.

Shattering The Myths

You don’t have to be the cheapest – But you do need to be competitive on some items. Not everyone buys on price alone.

You don’t have to be the biggest
– Being small allows you to grow niche markets and give exceptional customer service. Sell to the long tail not the Wal-Mart crowd.

You don’t have to have the best technology – My business runs almost entirely via cloud computing. Depending on your niche and the size of your business there are web 2.0 companies that will provide you the tools to complete at a low cost. You don’t need SAP to run an online business.

The Reality

Know your customers – Why do your customers buy your product? Price? Quality? Are they collectors? Are they likely to be repeat customers?

Know your merchandise – Who are your competitors? How much of it is out in the marketplace? How many vendors are wholesaling it? Where can you go to find more merchandise?

Know your business – How many sales channels do you have? Revenue streams? Profitability?

Don’t listen to the naysayers, I don’t and I bet Steve doesn’t either.

To find out more about how you can start your own internet based businessĀ check out Skip McGrath’s site.

Christine Olson owns and operates BooksMN.com.

6 thoughts on “Want to Start a Small Business on the Internet? The Myths and the Reality”

  1. Thanks for this post Christine. I’ll add that it perplexes me when people say “you can’t succeed in that — it’s too competitive.” Practically every field, even if it’s something obscure like professional dart throwing, is going to have a lot of competition in it. It seems like more of an excuse for fearing change than anything else. — Best, Chris

  2. Determination, and the will to work hard and make a success of your business are the most important factors I think. However, for an online business, the importance of website promotion and a good domain name are often underestimated. Website promotion can be scaled up once the business is running, hiring a specialized company for instance. But the domain name needs thinking before you get started, since it’s difficult to change it once you get going. Very important!

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