Team Up With Local Stores To Be Their Online Arm


Do you know of a local merchant who really has a great product or service that you think would succeed if sold via the internet? Although most local merchants are interested in exploiting the web, many don't have the time or the know-how to get their internet presence started. That's where an eBiz101 graduate such as yourself comes in. You can take your newfound internet expertise and team up with this local merchant.

The possible partnerships or fee structures are endless. A lot will depend on what you and the merchant want and/or are willing to do. Here are a few examples:

Just Build Their Site (And Oversee Hosting And Updates) For A Flat Fee:

  • Gain Experience - Almost anyone can quickly become a web site designer/e-commerce expert. You should start off small at first to get some experience. Offer one or two local businesses that you will build them a site and they only have to pay the monthly hosting fees and maybe about $100 or so in order to cover your costs for buying Microsoft's FrontPage 2000.
  • Sell Your Services - Then once you have a couple good-looking sites under your belt, visit local merchants and make them a reasonable offer. What's reasonable? First figure the amount of hours it takes you to build a site and also the hours you spend (and money) to acquire an average customer. Then figure out what you would like to be paid hourly and multiply this by the total hour number. This is the number you don't want to go below. Offer your services at around 20-50% higher than this and you will have some negotiating wiggle room. Of course, your fees will have to be somewhat competitive with your local market.

Charge Them Out-Of-Pocket Costs Only And Split Profits:

  • Out-Of-Pocket Costs - If you know HTML or already own web designing software, your only out-of-pocket costs could be about $35 a year for a domain name, plus about $25 a month for web-hosting fees. Maybe a bit more if you have transaction capabilities. Want to spend additionally on marketing? Have the merchant pick up this tab too. This is still a small yearly expense considering that your local merchant gets to take a credible shot at capturing much greater profits off the internet with no additional work on his or her part.
  • Splitting Profits - How should you split the profits? Whatever way you both think is fair. If you suspect that this local merchant's business is so compelling that an online presence will reap in profits, you might give the merchant 70 or 80%. A ballpark cut for an average partnership might be 50/50 or even more in your favor since you are doing all the work.

You Cover All Costs And Split Profits:

  • Must Believe In Business - If you believe very strongly in a local merchant's prospects online, you might want to make all the investment in return for a greater percentage of the profits. You might have some negotiation leverage here because this is all gravy for the merchant with no risk. This might make it much easier to persuade a local merchant to partner with you, particularly if the local merchant wasn't planning on doing anything online in the near future anyway.
  • Protect Yourself - If you make this sort of an arrangement, you are not only risking your time but also your money. Make sure you have some sort of exclusivity arrangement with the local merchant for at least a couple years. For instance, you don't want to show the merchant how to proceed profitably online and then have the merchant just duplicate your efforts behind your back and cut you out of the picture.