How to Start a School Supplies Store Online
Hi everyone, welcome back to another episode of What’s Your GamePlan.
Today, I’m going to give you a quick start guide on how to start a school supplies business online. As you may know, school supplies are an essential tool for students of all age groups. This industry last year alone grossed around $20billion dollars. So, where’s your piece of the pie? To launch a school supply business doesn’t require any special qualifications..So, if you want to help improve classrooms and make money doing it, here’s how you can get started...
Before You Start - Choose a Sales Method
So, there are 2 methods to start this kind of business, you can set it up as a "drop ship store", where someone else is responsible for shipping the goods to the customer or you can buy, store and ship out your own inventory. Once you choose a method, you can now proceed to step one.
Step 1 - Get a Business Plan
If you have no idea how a school supplies business operates or you are a first time online business owner, I recommend downloading a business plan from BPlans.com. Their plans outline exactly how the business is supposed to work and what you should expect. If you are excited about starting, you can buy The $5 School Supplies Store Business Plan plus The $5 School Supplies Vendor List, so you’ll know exactly where to get the inventory from.
Step 2 - Find a Supplier
Whether you chose the dropship method or to buy your own inventory, the supplier research process is still the same. If you want to get started right away and you don't have a lot of money to buy inventory, you'll want to head over to google and type in these words, "dropship school supplies" or “school supply drop ship program". This will give you access to thousands of products to sell in your online store right away, without actually needing to buy any of them.
If you do have some money and you want to manage your own inventory and keep products in your own warehouse to ship, just google the words "wholesale school supplies". As you can see the listings have changed and from here you can find a company to buy in bulk from.
Step 3 - Register Your Business
Now, it's time to officially register your business. You won't be able to accept payment for services until you complete this step. You'll need to register & apply for a federal EIN Number, and form an LLC or Corporation. I recommend using MyCorporation, as they do have a variety of packages to choose from, but their most basic package will get you started right away.
Step 4 - Open a Business Bank Account
After you’ve chosen a name and registered your business, you can officially open a business bank account. It's pretty easy to open, but they won't get you set up without having the legal incorporation paperwork and the EIN number that I just spoke about. You can work with a local bank that you are already using or you can just choose a new one.
Step 5 - Buy Branding
This is one of the most important parts of creating a school supplies business, because it's your brand’s identity that will leave a big impression on your target clients. I recommend using 99designs because the process is quick and painless and you actually get what you want. For marketing materials, I like envato, because they literally have tons of graphics for each and every single kind of business, on demand. School supply companies usually need to start with a logo, business cards, a pdf brochure, and some social media graphics. 99designs actually has what they call the ‘brand identity’ pack that will get you started right away.
Step 6 - Setup a Website
So the next step is to buy web hosting. I always recommend choosing Bluehost because they are the most reliable for e-commerce websites. You can check if your website name is available... for free and with their packages, you'll get bonuses. They’re giving a free domain, a free ssl, ad credits and access to 24/7 tech support. So, you really can’t beat it. Once you pay for a plan with Bluehost, you'll get your login credentials. You'll want to save that information and deliver it to the web designer in the next step.
Step 7 - Choose a Web Designer
If you don't know about Fiverr, it's a company that sells affordable web development and marketing services that get done really quick. You just type in what you want in the search bar, and it will reveal tons of people who are willing to help you get a website up in less than 3 days. Once you choose the person you want to work with, give them the bluehost details and communicate your vision and plans for the website.
Step 8 - Setup a merchant account
While they are working on your new website, you'll need to activate a merchant account for your customers to pay you through. Many businesses use paypal, square or stripe. I personally like Square, they make it super easy for me to accept payments online via my website, a payment link or even over the phone. An account with Square is free, so when
you sign up, give these details to the web designer to complete the integration process.
How Will You Make Money?
Congratulations on owning a school supplies business! I know you’re going to do just great and the customers are going to love you! If at any point in the process,. ...you start having doubts, please reach out to me...I’m happy to help!
Ok, so now that you’re all set up, How will you actually make money? Here’s what you’ll need to know in order to take a check to the bank. Since you are a school supplies store, you can choose from a variety of items to sell. Right now, the most popular items are loose leaf paper, calculators, staplers, scissors, rules, notebooks, pens, pencils and markers, glue, tape, classroom decorations and binders and folders.
To bring in extra cash, you can also even start selling bundled packages or what we like to call ‘starter kits’ by age or grade. Teachers in the classroom and parents who homeschool can both benefit from products that are actually suggested for them to buy.
Now, I know you're probably wondering...what's the price tag on this baby? If you are launching online as a dropship company, startup costs for this kind of business usually starts at $500-$1000 on average. But if you're planning to fund your own inventory, you’ll need a large warehouse to store inventory, so be prepared to drop the big bucks.
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About Adella Pasos
This Entrepreneur and Marketing Expert has shared her passion for growing brands from the ground up. She’s worked with Startups, Small Businesses, Fortune 500 Corporations and Entertainment Talent to help them recognize the value of marketing, and give her clients the ability to access their niche market via online, social media, mobile, merchandising, and events.
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