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CONTENTS

This section deals with how to set up UK web based business ...

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HAVE YOU GOT WHAT IT TAKES?
Starting any business involves a lot of hard work and determination. It is often said that we all have one truly ingenious idea once a lifetime, never truly realizing they ever had the idea, until they see someone else be successful with it.
Ask yourself, how do you exploit that thought, into a fully-fledged business? It takes a huge amount of effort, hopefully the following section will show you how to start a business.
The characteristics shown by the more successful entrepreneurs include:  
  • Never giving up on the reasons why you started a business.  
  • Being well organized and adaptive to change.  
  • Coping with stress.  
  • Being able to lead and motivate people.  
  • Remaining self-motivated through it all.  
  • Durability.  
  • Having the support of partners and family.
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BUSINESS CONCEPT
The first thing to identify is your initial business concept. Decide what your web business is going to be about? Are you going to sell a product? Or offer a service? or merely setting the business/web-site up as a way of promoting yourself on a C.V?.
Look at the environment within the World Wide Web, to see what your competitors in your business concept are doing is the next step. 
Enter your business concept on ISP search engine. Analyze your results                     
                            Yahoo!    Lycos      Hot-Bot   Alta-Vista                              
     No of Results           xx             xxx           xx             x                
 
This gives a flavour of your competitors on the web, the next step is to visit the sites and making a note of what you liked and disliked about your competitor web sites. Look at the sites that have the highest hit counters (if any) to see what the main attractions are, apply this logic in your web site design.  
Re-assess your concept you will have to do this if you find there are several hundred web-sites selling the same products/services as yourself, because if the market has too much competition you will find it hard to survive.  
Further information for your market research can be found from trade journals, local business links/chambers of commerce, regional development boards, banks. There is a huge amount of information out there, try using the useful contacts area of the UK Specific Data section of this web-site to get it.

You can never do enough market research! The more research you carry out, the more successful your business idea is going to become. Research will make you aware of market forces, as such you will not panic when market conditions fluctuate, itíll make your business pro-active. Good market research is not simply done in the start up phase of you business but regularly once the business is established.

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MISSION STATEMENT

A mission statement is a simple statement, which shows expresses why you are in business. Why have one? Because it announces to the world why you set the business up. Donít make the mistake of saying itís to make bags full of money. You need to project a good quality service and some indication of future intent. The mission statement developed by eCommerce-Now.com quite simply tells you we have been set up to offer free information, and develop the site in the future.

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 FINANCIAL CONSIDERATIONS

As a potential new business, there are a whole host of sources of finance, these include your local chamber of commerce which have been set up to help co-ordinate local business growth. Your local council is also a source of funding in that they can help with business rates and trying to get suitable premises for your business. In addition these bodies there are a variety of national bodies such as the Princes Youth Trust, Department of Trade & Industry, regional economic agencies, etc. Details of you nearest organization can be found in the useful contacts section. Currently your business may well be able to receive grants for training in specific IT skills needed for your business.
You need to decide if the concept you have thought about will make money, how are you going to generate income? This will be a very important step, as you will need to provide the bank with proof that your business has the potential to generate revenue and not become a loss maker. Bear in mind that the business income does not have to come from sales of products/services, money can be generated from member subscriptions, commissions from advertising banners (see free resources link), or from commercial sponsorship (contact different organizations to see if they sponsor your idea).
In order to obtain financial backing from either a bank or from commercial sponsorship you will need to produce a business plan. This will involve looking at your set up costs, and site maintenance costs and viewing them across your potential revenue. Most banks will require you produce a business plan for at least an initial 12-18 month period. Producing a business plan will enable you to view your monthly budgets and set monthly spending/cost targets for your business.
Nearly all the major high street banks have business start up information packs, which give you information on how to start a business up. You may be wondering why you need to approach a bank?  Well quite simply it is a lot less stressful having a business account to process your receipts for the business, as well as a source for funding when the money is not rolling in. All the banks visited in researching this web-site had manual and electronic business plans available.
Once you have formulated your business plan, you should have some idea of how much capital will be required to fund the business. If the business looks like its going to make a loss the re-formulate your business concept. It is better to continually re-assess your concept prior to launch, than when your up and running.
There is no clear-cut rule of thumb as to how much of your own money you should put into business. But as a guide the banks would be looking for at least a 10-20% figure. The costs of setting a web-business are relatively small, you pay for your domain name, and hosting. It would be advisable that you have sufficient money to keep the business on it's feet for at least 6 months to the first year of it's existence.
In addition to banks you could use your business plan to approach venture capital firm, to provide your business with capital, these organizations will generally ask for a share of the business or a percentage of your potential profits. In some instances they may ask for some form of control in the business. You could even ask a business to sponsor your business, helping with the initial start up costs in return for advertising on your web-site.
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DOMAIN NAMES

Domain names are in essence Ďaddressesí on the world wide web it is important that you register your business name as soon as possible. If you donít register a domain name then you could find, that youíve done all the business preparation only to find someone else has the domain name for your business.

When deciding an appropriate business name. It is very confusing as to what to call yourself after your business names. What do all the .co,.com,.net,.org letters actually mean?

Code

Means

.ac.uk

Academic Centre like Universities in UK

.com

Commercial Business - Global Web

.co.uk

A British Company

.edu

American Educational Establishment

.gov

Government Department

.ltd

Private Limited Company

.mil

Military

.mod

Ministry Of Defence

.net

A Internet Service Provider (ISP)

.org

Usually a Non-Commercial Organisation

The present company naming system is relatively simple to pick up, but changes are afoot. The new generation of web-addresses for the European Union nations has the country name, followed by company type, for example currently where there would be xx.co.uk the new method is xx.uk.co.

Most web-hosting companies, and search engines have domain name checking facilities as well the costs of web-hosting. You should now be in a position to present your business case to your bank/sources of funding.  

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CONCLUSIONS
         Define Your Business Concept.
        Identify market conditions, competition, pricing. Can you compete?
       Discuss your business concept with a solicitor, accountant, insurance firm and if needs be environmental consultant.
        Review potential sources of funding, are there any grants available.
       Establish a concrete business plan, if your in the UK please read UK Specific Data section.
        Approach a bank to generate a business account (Important for taxation purposes!)
         Register the correct domain name. 
         Your now ready to develop a web strategy!
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