Not every business has to start with grand ideals of corporate boardrooms, lunching with Lord Sugar and reusing a 4 year old suit until it starts to peel away, however even online businesses can require a significant amount of interaction, office space and to-ing and fro-ing.
An eBay business however is different. Imagine Bargain Hunt, only without Tim Wonnacott’s super sweet tweed and moustache combo. Even if you have those things, you probably won’t come near his level of exuberant machismo intellect. Anyway. Running an eBay company follows the exact same premise. Find something that somebody is selling at a low price; buy it, and turn it into a profit by selling it on.
In terms of what you need, the requirements are happily limited. A computer, an internet connection (which we’re presuming you have, considering you’re reading this) and some storage space. From there you can go however you want. Many people when starting these types of companies vie to search for items that they have a personal interest in. The obvious benefit of this is that you’ll be able to spot a bargain immediately, and can tailor its description when you sell it on to outline what exactly there is to love about it. There is the chance however, that this could limit your potential for growth, especially if there are already a number of players in this particular branch of bidding market. Book and game selling in particular seems overloaded with sellers, so unless you can find a particular niche in the market, you’ll need a lot of luck. On the topic of selling books, it’s worth having a look at Monevator’s detailing of his/her eBay business and the lessons learnt from it.
The most important thing to have sorted before you quit your 9-5 for the glamorous world of online selling is your supplier. From them, you will normally buy your first load of produce in bulk. Depending on what you’ve chosen as the first product, there will be a variation of people you can contact. Look at a company’s website and check if it has a ‘dealers’ section. Don’t be afraid to shop around quite a bit before you buy. In particular, you should make absolutely certain that there isn’t another seller online already selling your potential produce for a lower price than you’ll be buying them for, taking into account how much of a profit you want to be making.
One thing that is apparent, is that asking other eBay sellers who their providers are is fruitless. They will likely have spent a good deal of time and hard work – the same way you should – into getting those contacts, and there are zero reasons why they should give them up to a potential competitor. The same is true obviously with regards your own contacts when you find them. Don’t tell them to anyone. Actually signing on with eBay is a surprisingly straightforward process. After creating an account (for free) it’s just a matter of clicking the Sell button and following the relevant steps. Once you’ve got 5 positive reviews from selling things, you can then create a business account with the website to sell under a brand. Just make sure and register with the taxman. They don’t like it when they find out you’ve been generating profit and not giving any to the government.
As you start selling items, try and get into a routine. Upload different types of things for sale on different days, have their deadlines close at the same time and package everything together. Make sure to organise your PayPal account so that it’s separate from your personal one. Keep an eye on it to see which items generate the greatest profit, and let go of those that are slow sellers. Finally, don’t be afraid to experiment. If you find you’re stuck in a rut that’s only letting you scrape by, then you’re your own boss. Change your prices, your product, your hours of selling. Your brand catchphrase, your social media, your description format. Change it all, and record what works and what doesn’t.
Mi-IDEA Manchester looks for disruptive startups
11th Apr 2017
Tech Startups take note - this Manchester evening meetup on 26th April 17, will give you all the key info you need to know about the Manchester based MI-IDEA post accelerator programme...