Starting Your Small Business Series - Part 4
How to use drop shipping to start a small business for under £150
Starting a new business is actually easier than you’d think. We’re at risk of over simplifying things here, but at a very basic level here are the things you’ll need to do to get started:
- Choose a brand name, domain name, host and a dedicated email address.
- Choose a supplier or drop shipper.
- Choose an ecommerce platform, like Shopify or Bigcommerce.
- Choose a website theme or template.
- Create or source your product designs.
- Decide on a marketing budget and launch!
Choosing a website theme
This is something you’ll need to take some time to consider – do you go with a free theme or pay for one that offers the layout you’re looking for? Shopify’s free themes are modern and very customisable, so we think there’s really no reason to shell out for a premium theme at this stage. There are benefits, like extra features or customisation options, but when we’re working to a budget there’s no point spending money that doesn’t need to be spent.
If you’ve gone with Bigcommerce however, paying for a theme may be the way to go. Their themes have improved quite a bit in the past year or so, but they’re still lagging a bit behind Shopify in terms of contemporary style. In the end it’s a matter of choosing the theme that best represents the way you want your site to look. You’ll likely change your website theme a few months down the line when it’s worth paying for a premium one, so the choices you make aren’t set in stone.
Both Shopify and Bigcommerce have helpful articles to help you select a theme for your store. Shopify’s How to decide which theme to choose article concisely explains the different features and functionalities of their free and premium themes, whereas Bigcommerce’s Design your storefront article is more of a sales page to explain the benefits of using their service. Remember that both Shopify and Bigcommerce are trying to sell their product to you, which means they might be a little biased towards their own brand.
So, as always, it’s probably best to do some research on your own. Set to Google to search for theme comparison articles, or use your free trial period to play with the free themes on offer to get an idea of how they will work with your brand. Both Shopify and Bigcommerce let you preview how a theme will look before buying/applying it to your store, though Shopify takes this further and lets you fully cusomise a theme to get it exactly right before buying/applying.
Image taken from the Brooklyn Theme demo
For Crearte we’d go with the free Brooklyn theme; it’s modern, responsive and relies heavily on fantastic product photography, which is exactly what we’re looking for to showcase our artists work on the products they want to sell.