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When you’re looking for work in sports, or even if your career is already thriving, continue identifying ways to get more involved in the sports industry.

One of the best ways to contribute is by channeling your entrepreneurial spirit and starting your own sports e-commerce business. There are several advantages to pursuing this.

You can build important skills, like marketing and general business acumen, generate passive income, and expand your network as you build relationships with customers and vendors.

This is especially helpful if you can’t find work in sports that’s the right for you or you’re stuck in long-term unemployment. Explore this venture to find your true passion so you can build a career.

Here’s your step-by-step guide to building your sports e-commerce business:

The Planning Stage

This is the toughest part — starting. You might have a few ideas bouncing around in your head. At this point, you want to start further developing them.

Determine Your Niche

What do you want to specialize in? Keep in mind that a lot of people work in sports e-commerce, so determine what makes you stand out from the crowd.

Start with general ideas, like sports memorabilia, fan art, or used athletic equipment. Then, narrow it down to a topic you’re passionate about. For example, if your hobby is working with 3D printing, consider making customized sports toys.

Name Your Company

Find a name that fits your products and helps you stand out from the competition. Remember, this is part of your brand, so think about how you’re going to market your name to customers.

A boring company name like “Customizable Cycling Bib Shorts” is too generic. Find the sweet spot — the name needs to sound good when you say it out loud, and it should also illustrate what products you’re selling.

Concept to Reality

Once you have a clear vision of your e-commerce business, it’s time to go from ideation to realization.

Buy Your Domain and Build Your Website

Your website makes or breaks your ability to succeed. While you may be selling great products, if your website design looks bad and your user experience is awful, you won’t get very far.

First, find a domain that has your company name in it. Some of the best places to buy a domain and host your website include GoDaddy, HostGator, and Bluehost.

When you have a domain with your company name in it, you can rank better on Google as customers search for your company and your products. Learn search engine optimization (SEO) basics as you build your site.

As you look to build your actual site, instead of trying to learn coding, research website-building services. Some of the best, easiest ones are Shopify, Weebly, Wix, and Squarespace.

Register Your Business

Next, choose your business structure from one of the following options: sole proprietor, partnership, LLC, or corporation. Then, register with the IRS.

You will be given an employer identification number (EIN), which is essentially a social security number for your company. You use your EIN to open business bank accounts and file business taxes.

Apply for Licenses and Permits

This step will vary, depending on where you are in the country. Do your research to determine what sales tax licenses and home business licenses you need for your city. You might also need specific business permits.

Build Your Store

At this point, your business is real in the eyes of the government. You finally have a home for it on the internet. Now, it’s time to create the space where customers shop for your products.

Take inventory and create a system for managing it before you launch your store. This way, you can hit the ground running.

Then, start writing listings for your products. Again, your SEO knowledge comes in handy here. You want to optimize product pages, so when your customers search for a product on Google, yours is the first result to show up.

Amplification

Now your store is up and running. How will your target audience find out you even exist?

Start Marketing

From social media and Google AdWords to blogging and building email lists, the idea of marketing your business can seem overwhelming. The best thing to do is start small and take it step by step:

  1. Create buyer personas: Identify who your target customer is and write detailed descriptions about them. This helps you find opportunities to reach them.
  2. Determine your channels: Prioritize what digital marketing channels you want to invest the most time and money into. Options include email, pay-per-click advertising, display ads, affiliate marketing, and more.
  3. Write your strategy: Create schedules and calendars for each of your strategies and channels.
  4. Measure and adjust: Use analytics to determine what strategies work best and how to improve others.

Invest in the Right Tech

As you might imagine, building a sports e-commerce business is a big project. Running the business is even more daunting.

Instead of getting overwhelmed and drowning in paperwork, find the right resources for your needs and use them as you build your business.

Here are some tech tools to look into:

  • Customer relationship management (CRM) software: Consolidates information and documents into a single database. Aspects of these programs include marketing automation, sales force automation, geolocation technology, analytics, and more.
  • Accounting software: Simplifies bookkeeping tasks, tax compliance, reporting, financial performance analysis, and more.
  • Project management software: Used for project planning, scheduling, resource allocation, and change management.

When you build and manage your own sports e-commerce business, you can establish an awesome reputation in the sports world. Not only does this help you find work in sports, but also it can pave the road for you to be your own boss.

What sports e-commerce business do you plan on starting? Share in the comments!

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