I haven't written a new entry in my online retailing start-up diary in the past couple of weeks because the administrative details I've faced have been increasingly mundane and boring. I can be a pretty clever writer, but it would be a real challenge to make the ordering of checks, or correcting Cobb County's misspelling of my business name on my license interesting or funny.
Well, actually, the license misspelling could be made funny if I wanted to resort to bureaucracy-bashing. But typos are not that uncommon, so as long as they fix it, it's a minor detail.
I still have an enormous amount of work to do before I actually make my online retailing site go live. The biggest tasks are settling on product, and getting the website developed.
I've somewhat streamlined both those things by keeping it relatively simple.
First, I've decided to initially simplify my choice of wholesalers by only dealing with companies which will "drop ship". This means that the wholesaler warehouses the product and fulfills the order on my behalf. Needless to say there is a cost in profit margin involved in this, in addition to adding some complexity with respect to shipping and return policies. But it relieves me of two major tasks and expenses (storage and shipping) during my start-up phase.
Later I'll decide if I want to expand my choice of product by working out arrangements other than drop ship. But for now, this will serve my purpose, and get me up and running more quickly. Before I even consider doing bulk purchases, I'd have to figure out everything from shipping cost, to storage cost, to order fulfillment method.
As for the website development and design, I'm starting with an off-the-shelf Yahoo! Store. There are still many design and configuration decisions to make, but at least the starting point is someone elses work, not my own. I have more than enough tasks and decisions to keep me busy.