|Starting a business.need help|
Hi everyone. First let me introduce myself. I work with health care but have previous experience with the net and am savvy with computers. I want to start my own business online. I'd like to start selling nursing supplies and health care products for nurses or/and hospitals. I can't stock products or ship them so I guess my business model would be a affiliate(?)model. According to what I read in this forum the best option is to be an affiliate with a direct partner relationship. What would be the best way to get started? Should I contact companies who sell these products and see if they have partnerships programs? Should I get into a affiliate program who caries the same products. Should I buy my own site instead of using templates? Any sites you recommend I check out, or learning sites. It's so raw at this point, anything helps.
Thank you a bunch...
Hi and welcome to WebmasterWorld [webmasterworld.com], Family_Guy!
As you are already in the industry, you may already have some good contacts for suppliers. If so, network with them (as long as you don't run afoul of any issues with your current employer). Without decent industry contacts, I doubt you would have any luck with direct partners, especially for a brand new site.
Your best bet would be affiliate programs, at least until you build uo your site and repotation. There are quite a few related to medical supplies, nursing uniforms, etc. To start, go through affiliate aggregators like cj.com and LinkShare.
Search Shareasale.com under "More Merchants" TOP RIGHT
Sub-category HEALTH > There you will begin to find what you may be looking for.
Another option may be drop shipping. This is where you allow the customer to order directly from you, then pass the order to your supplier who dispatch the order. This removes the need to carry stock and can be fairly lucrative.
You are selling to your customer at retail price, buying from your supplier at wholesale price, the difference is your profit margin.
You will however need to negotiate a deal with a supplier whereby they will allow you to act as a drop shipper, there may already be companies set up within your niche who provide this. You will also need to ensure that your supplier is able to stock a suitable quantity of your products. Some drop shippers allow you to query their system to ensure an item is available before you sell it.
Drop shipping is a lot like being an affiliate, you do not have to carry stock, and the supplier can be hidden from the end customer.
Make the site easy to update wrt the advertising bits.
As a timesaver, look at viglink and skimlinks. As the revenue grows, you can make adjustments and join other affiliate programs.
Many thanks for all the great replies. As for putting up a website is it better to create your own or have a template site such as flexoffer has?
Family_Guy, welcome to webmasterworld.
Also, get out of the business you think you are about to get into. Every question you asked indicates you have no clue for that industry. If you were ready to get started you'd already have business in your local area, you would have figured out your drop shipment needs, and would have put together your suppliers for that purpose.
Again, welcome, but don't think the web is going to earn you a living if you aren't already doing it in some fashion in the real world.
(I know I will get slammed by all and sundry for this harsh ADVICE) I'll close with if you don't have a working business to start with no web site will make it better. Sorry. Call this my grouchy day. Please!
I disagree to some extent with Tangor's advice. You say you work in the health care industry, so if you do have some knowledge of nurse's supply needs, how they now meet those needs, there's a chance you could eventually build a business online around that need. But you have an awful lot to learn about running a business online.
What I'd suggest instead Tangor's "forget it", is that you keep your day job and decide before you go any further how much spare time and money you're willing to invest and can afford to lose if it doesn't work out. Also find out if going ahead with this would in any way be a conflict of interest that would cause your day job to fire you.
If you decide to go ahead, be sure you own your domain name. A template is just a design, so it probably doesn't matter whether or not your use a template. You just want to be able to keep that template and website structure in the future if you move to a different webhosting company.
As far as drop shipping vs an affiliate model, the affiliate model is a lot easier in some ways, since you don't make the sale directly. But, for a lot of reasons, it can be pretty difficult to make much money as an affiliate.
As far as drop shipping goes, you become the seller as mentioned above. So if you choose drop shipping, you have to take the buyer's credit card (so you'll need a merchant account) and accept purchase orders if you're selling to businesses (and then you'll have to invoice customers), and provide customer support. You'll also have to set up to take sales tax.
Customer support, if you go the drop shipping route, will include answering questions like "What do I need?" "I need three. Can I get a discount?" "I placed my three day order 3 days ago at 11 PM, how come I didn't get it this morning?" .. You'll also need to answer, "Where's my order?" when a package gets lost in shipping, so you need a good relationship with the shipper/mfg. You'll also need someone available during the hours your customers shop to answer those questions.
Tangor's advice is harsh but I can see where he is coming from. Far too many people seem to imagine that drop shipping is a "fire and forget" way to make money.
You need to be sure that there is a gap in the market for you. In most sectors there are a host of affiliate sites and drop shippers these days.
OP. The affiliate marketing is a easier way. Many people start internet marketing via affiliate marketing first.
Then after they are comfortable,they go into drop shipping. You can do that way too.