Paleo Bread’s grand debut at The Green Store in Hermosa Beach was a rousing success. Catch some tips from the SBDC on Setting Up Your Online Store to Accept Payments and More.
Entrepreneur Tressa Basler-White found herself at a crossroads in her professional life. After formulating a Paleo-friendly protein powder, Basler-White kept hitting road blocks on the path to officially launching her product – and then her personal world was shaken to the core when her best friend was diagnosed with a rare auto immune disease called CIDP. With her friend no longer able to eat bread, one of her favorite foods, Basler-White set out to create something that would meet her ailing friend’s new dietary needs. And so, Paleo Bread was born.
While Basler-White had a storefront and a place to bake, there were numerous other hurdles she had to clear before she could officially launch her business. That’s what brought her to the Small Business Development Center (SBDC). As she puts it, “I spent two months going in circles, not sure which direction to take, and then I reached out to the SBDC in May – I was just online Googling, walking around blindly, and that’s what brought me to their site.”
Basler-White attended a seminar about beginning a small business, which is where she learned of the SBDC’s one-on-one consultation program. From there, she met with two consultants from the Orange County SBDC location in Santa Ana Traci Cole, who helped Basler-White create a list of what she needed to work on and two weeks later, with John Guth to help her with her accounting.
“Then I went to the Ontario chapter and took a seminar –Facebook for Business,” Basler-White recalls. “And that was awesome because I met a whole slew of other people who helped me…through that seminar I met Mike Alpert, who really stepped up and helped me solve my website issues so I could launch within a few weeks of us meeting.”
Alpert, a business consultant at the Inland Empire SBDC and digital media guru says, “the key to longevity is online. Launching an online store can help you reach a wider audience – and breathe more life into your new business. It’s another sales avenue and another way for people who are interested in your product to get to your product. Especially for specialized things like Paleo Bread, you want your product to be widely available.” Alpert, helped Basler-White accomplish the seemingly impossible in record time. “We did so much –within a month we created a website that could sell product and take payments. And she’s so comfortable with editing her own website now.”
Basler-White successfully launched Paleo Bread on Saturday, June 23rd with an event at The Green Store in Hermosa Beach, where she spent three hours educating customers on her product and sold 14 loaves of bread. The store itself bought 10 loaves at wholesale and sold out, then immediately placed an order for more. And while she’s been fielding requests from other retail outlets for more products, Basler-White is slowly expanding and managing the hurdles that coincide with being a new business owner.
“I don’t know what I would’ve done without the SBDC I’m very thankful there’s a platform like this for people like me to use,” she says. “At the end of the day, the state of California wants to have successful businesses, which means it’s in their best interest for small business owners to succeed. And the SBDC will do what they can to make us successful. Small businesses need that nurturing, and our success is the SBDC’s success.”
You can find Paleo Bread at The Green Store in Hermosa Beach or order it online direct from their website. For additional information, please visit http://www.eco-paleo.com/.
Top Tips for Setting Up an Online Store
Michael Alpert, SBDC Business Consultant shares his top tips for getting started with your online store.
Set up an Account to Accept Payments Online
- Creating an account to accept payments online is easier and faster than getting a merchant account, which can be costly and time consuming. Plus, platforms like PayPal and Stripe have excellent customer service and you can always upgrade your account to get perks like a credit card swiper. Adding platforms like these to your site, as nationally recognized authoritative brands, lend your business legitimacy and builds trust with consumers.
- Find Out If Your Business Name is Available as a Domain
Use GoDaddy, Host Gator or a similar domain registration service to determine if you can dot com your company name – and if not, try to come up with something similar. “Ask yourself the last time you went anywhere other than online to search for a company. Dot coms have authority, and if your business name is in it, it’s easier to find you.”
- Create Your Website with WordPress
WordPress is an excellent tool for building a website, because it’s a high-functioning basic platform that you can customize for free (or with little cost.) You can often contact the creator of your chosen theme to help you, access YouTube tutorials that can help while you’re building your site and even utilize WordPress customer service resources.
- Sign Up for a Proper Hosting Plan
“Make sure you don’t have extra services that you don’t need, because they can lead to unexpected costs,” says Alpert. “If you wind up signing up for a plan and not using all of its features, call your hosting company to get a refund on the tools you didn’t use. Here’s three services I recommend to SBDC clients: Wix, GoDaddy, HostGator and Shopify.
- Assure Your Site is Secure
Especially with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) changes throughout 2018, you’ll want to work with your hosting company to ensure your site is up to par, and offer clear return and check-out policies.
- Optimize Your Site and Link Up Your Social
Your website won’t be found and categorized by Google or Bing unless you’ve submitted and verified it, visit both and share your information so their bots can crawl and categorize you. In addition, social media accounts further verify your site and if you use your social accounts to lead customers back to your site, it helps your rankings too! Many social media integrations are available by plug-ins. Don’t forget to assure your website is built for use on mobile and tablet, too.
For additional information about how to request a no cost, no catch appointment with the SBDC or register for an upcoming business workshop please visit: ociesmallbusiness.org or contact us at 1 (800) 616-7232.