You have done your homework and decided that you are ready to become a business owner. You have an extra room in your home that would make a perfect office. You begin researching the recommended home based businesses and find that the Women Entrepreneur has an article on 5 low-cost businesses to start from home. You decide that you would like to explore the on-line store a bit further.
You realize the first step is to put your ideas into a business plan to increase your chances of succeeding. The one-page business plan is an excellent tool to move the abstract thought into the physical realm so that you can begin to strategize how you will build your own business.

As part of your business plan, you will need to determine what products you wish to sell, your expenses and monetary investment needed, explore your competition, market analysis and contact wholesale vendors you will do business with. Be prepared that the wholesale vendors require your Employer Identification Number (EIN) in order for you to purchase wholesale inventory. You will not actually physically store inventory but will arrange with the vendor to ship ad hoc directly to the paying customer. Determine your pricing to include overhead costs such as shipping and a markup to render your desired percentage of profit. In a brick and mortar retail store, it is common practice to double the wholesale cost and add a percentage for overhead expenses. Seek out a business mentor to guide you as you lay the foundation for your new venture. Allow yourself adequate time to plan out your strategy before "opening the store".

You have created your business plan, bought a computer, printer, and office supplies. You have met with a business mentor to review your plan. Now you are ready to move into the next phase of opening your online store.

Here are your next steps:

1.Set up a website and hosting plan
- Yahoo, Host Gator, Go Daddy

2.Build your online store
- upload product images/prices

3.Create your product catalog
- Instructions, policies, contact information

4.Activate a shopping cart to allow online payments
- PayPal, COD, checks and/or major credit cards

5.Advertise your grand opening
-Constant Contact, Campaigner email tools

These are overviews of your steps to get started. Owning and running a business will have its challenges and moments of exhilaration. Continue working with your business mentor to learn more about online marketing, client attraction and business management. Don’t forget to make time for yourself away from your business. Find a networking group where you can not only market your business, but socialize with others as running a home based business can be very isolating.

Author's Bio: 

Constance Drew, MBA, is a successful NYC businesswoman. She is a global business start-up consultant founding Visionary Global Startups. She supports business start-up owners through her speaking, workshops and freelance writing. Her past experience as pioneer of educational programs, manager of new technology departments and retail business owner adds an empathetic value to her clients. She has managed technology departments for the FAA, USDOJ and AM LAW 100 global law firms.