What Every Potential Mompreneur Needs to Know About Starting an Online Business

An online business can be a very appealing and safe way to start a business. It allows moms to be home with their children while still having the opportunity to be an entrepreneur. The running of an online business allows you to work from home while creating your own schedule. The initial investment can be very little and your monthly expenses are minimal. Most importantly an ecommerce business can be run anywhere there is Internet access which allows you to be home with your children and even work while on vacation.

What You Need To Run an Online Business

With very little equipment you could be running your own ecommerce business out of the confines of your home. Ideally, a home office is best but I started my first ecommerce business from my kitchen table. So, just clean organized spaces where you can keep your computer and files. You will, of course, need a computer. I prefer a lap top as it allows me to work from anywhere in the house or in various coffee shops. Of course you will also need an Internet connection and I highly recommend a high speed connection. As moms we need to work fast and as efficiently as possible and high speed Internet allows that to happen. A printer is nice to own and will be useful for printing whatever documents you may need. A fax machine is not essential. With programs that offer online faxing, such as “eFax,” owning a fax machine is no longer critical. Believe it or not, that is basically it from the standpoint of hardware and connectivity.

Stocking Your Website with Product

The most important step in owning an ecommerce business is stocking your online store with product. Depending on the industry you get involved in, you might find that you are able to drop ship versus holding product in house. Drop shipping means you hold no inventory. How drop shipping works is once a consumer makes a purchase on your site you send the order directly over to the vendor. The vendor fills the order and sends it directly to your customer.

When the customer makes the purchase on your site the money goes directly into your business bank account. When the vendor ships the order out, they will at that time charge your card. You pay the whole price for the product to the vendor. The customer pays retail price. Your profit margin is the difference between the two.

Daily Tasks of Running an Online Business

When running an ecommerce business, daily tasks have to be completed each day such as checking orders and answering emails. I would allow 30 – 45 minutes when you first start out to complete these tasks. You must answer emails each day as you want to offer your customers the very best in customer service. What can be done in your own time is search engine optimization, merchandising, and marketing. Search engine optimization is the process of optimizing your site so when someone types in keywords that relate to the products you sell on your site then your site will come up high in the search engines. This is part of the daily running of your ecommerce business and is critical to your success.

Merchandising is a term I like to use when referring to updating your product, adding new product, and changing out the product on your front page. You want your site to be dynamic and interesting. Changing out the front page and adding new product makes your site interesting to potential customers.

Monthly Expenses

The monthly expense of running an ecommerce business can be very minimal. Some of your fixed costs include monthly hosting which on average is $10.00 per month, a merchant account which on average is around $25.00 and month, your newsletter providers which is about $5.00 per month and your 800 number which can vary but with services like “Kall8.com” you can keep that cost to around $5.00. So for around $45.00 per month you can run your ecommerce store. By just obtaining 1 sale per month you could cover the cost of that overhead.

Software and Security

Everybody asks about additional software they must add to their home computer or laptop to run help them run a store. That’s one of the benefits of running an ecommerce business; the software applications that are so critical to your success are ASP or Application Service Provider software. This means the tools you need are online and are attached to the backend of your website. You don’t need to purchase any software and load it onto your computer; everything is in an online environment. The “chain link” is what we like to call it and refers to the succession of links starting from your website to your bank account. It goes like this: your website and store admin are hooked or linked, your store admin is hooked to your shopping cart, your shopping cart is hooked to your gateway, and your gateway is hooked to your merchant services provider, which is hooked to your bank account. All of these critical pieces are online and accessible to you by a unique user and pass with 128 bit encryption, so it’s very secure.

Security problems such as viruses can be a concern because you are online often perhaps doing research on your online marketing rankings such as search engine optimization and pay per click or searching for new vendors to help expand your product line. As always, you have to be very careful of accepting emails from unknown senders. If you don’t know the sender, don’t open the email. Also, be wary of the occasional popup. You can combat this by turning on your “popup blocker”, cleaning out your cache, and deleting your stored historical web pages once in a while. I would recommend purchasing a good and reputable virus scanning software such as McAfee or Norton. It’s hard to go wrong with those two. Also, McAfee offers a free virus sweep that you can use once every couple of months that is very easy to download and run. All that being said, your specific ecommerce work, such as editing your site and shopping cart, viewing orders in your shopping cart, answering` client questions with your gateway, or reviewing the money in your merchant account prior to it being passed on to your bank account, is all done in secure user and password generated sites.

Running an ecommerce business can allow the busiest of moms to raise a family while running a successful business. It also allows a mother to have a creative outlet while expanding her skills as the CEO of both her family and her business. For more information on starting your own boutique web business or other work at home web businesses check out http://www.pureecommerce.com

Business Cards and What They Can Do for Your Business

It has been said that advertising is vital in order for any business to survive. With that said, most people will tell you that this is because advertising brings in the customers and customers are the lifeblood of any business since they are the ones that keep the business going by bringing in business. One way that you keep bringing in customers is when you advertise and that is why you have to use every means at your disposal so that you get to grab more customers. That certainly makes sense doesn’t it?

Also, if you have customers, they can also be a form of advertisement since people like to talk. But one way that you can really get cheap advertisements is through the use of business cards and some roller banners. You might scoff and say that those are such old fashioned ways to do advertisements for your business. See, advertising does not have to cost you too much money for it to be effective and bring you the kind of business that will bring you big money. The thing there is these business cards may be old fashioned but that does not always have to mean that they no longer do the job because believe it or not, a lot of businesses still make use of business cards for advertisements.

It is all a matter of innovating; taking something old fashioned and making it into something that can still catch the eye of most people. That is what you need to make people come to you. Just get something that may be old fashioned, and modernize it. Once people see what you have done with a business card, they will love your idea and will surely get interested.

You see, advertisements need not be too fancy; sure those huge wide screens can be eye catching but sometimes, some things as little as business cards and roller banners can also be eye caching if displayed and designed the right way. People will always go for clever advertising and that is why you need business cards that are cleverly made.

If you already have some designs in mind, you can most certainly make your own business cards. But if you do not trust yourself how to do it, then you can contact a company that will make and your business cards for you. All you have to do is give them some input and you are good to go. They will do the designing and the printing and they will even send it to you for free. You do not have to pay for the shipping just the business cards that you can use for advertisements.

The same deal goes for the roller banner and you will even get a stand to go with it. You cannot use a roller banner without a stand right? And a stand is perfect if you want to use your roller banner outside your store. So there is no such thing as old fashioned media for advertising, juts old fashioned thoughts.

RAID Cache

As part of my articles regarding RAID I want to focus on a very important RAID controller feature. That would be the memory cache.

The process of transferring data to and from disk storage includes storing the data temporarily in a memory cache located on the RAID (Redundant Array of Independent Disks) controller that is managing the data transfer. In other words, RAID controller cards temporarily cache data from the host system until it is successfully written to the storage media.

Memory cache is comprised of high-speed silicon memory DRAM chips. The access time for writing data to or reading data from DRAM (Dynamic Random Access Memory) is roughly 106, or a million times faster than the typical access time for writing directly to or reading directly from a set of disk drives. In a posted-write operation, as soon as the host computer writes data to the cache, the write operation is completed; and the host is freed up immediately to perform another operation. The host does not have to wait for the write data to be transferred to disk. Therefore, use of cache memory on RAID controllers significantly speeds up write operations and increases overall system performance. Current cache amount varies from 256MB, 512MB, 1GB, 2GB and even 4GB.

Another advantage the cache provides is, in case of a system failure and depending on the size of the buffer, the cache will hold information until the system can get back online which helps prevent or minimize data loss. Of course, the cache might lose charge eventually (within about 30 minutes) so RAID controllers usually come with a battery backup unit (BBU) to hold the charge longer until the system is brought back online and the cached data is extracted.

Without a memory cache the controller has to stop the flow of data until the drive has acknowledged that it is ready to receive. The controller will then receive the data from the operating system and forward it on to the drive that’s being written to. This process is very fast and can hardly be noticed but when dealing with millions and billions of these transactions everyday even nanoseconds can add up to noticeable levels. Memory cache allows the controller to go ahead and receive data from the operating system and place it into the buffer memory if the drive is not ready for it at that time; and as all business majors (and even non-business majors) understand, time is money.

I hope this was informative and will aid you in understanding when the benefits of high level RAID controllers can be utilized to your advantage.