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    Friday, February 29, 2008

    E-Commerce Startup Checklist

    There are many business issues and considerations unique to an online business when considering starting an e-commerce business. Below is a E-Commerce Start-up Checklist from the law firm of Griffith & Jacobson, LLC. This checklist contains many of the key issues a new e-commerce business should address before launching an online business.
    For a more thorough review of the issues and considerations that you may need to address in launching your e-commerce business, please contact Arieh M. Flemenbaum at Griffith & Jacobson, LLC - 312-236-8110 or at amf@gjlaw.com
    1. Have a Business Plan:
    • Define niche market
    • Write brief mission statement
    • Develop a business identity
    • Have a reliable source for your product- manufacturers/suppliers
    • Have a reliable source to deliver your product- direct delivery or drop-shippers

    2. Form a business/corporate entity:

    • Choice of Entity/ State Selection
    • Obtain a federal tax employer identification number (EIN)
    • Obtain state tax identification number
    • Obtain a state/local sales tax license, as necessary
    • Open a business checking account

    3. Business Logistics:

    • Establish business address
    • Set up phone & fax service
    • Establish PayPal/Google checkout accounts or a merchant account (direct credit card processing)?
    • - review procedures, fees and dispute mechanisms
    • - Information Security - determine what services are offered/needed to establish
    • security for payments
    • Contract with a preferred shipper - set up shipping provider accounts:
    • - Establish fixed & discount shipping rates
    • - Purchase shipping supplies
    • Contract with suppliers/vendors

    4. Web logistics:

    • Choose a web hosting provider - address costs, liability for service interruptions
    • & denial of service, services offered/security
    • Designing your e-commerce site - Contracting a web designer and/or graphic designer
    • Address web-marketing & Search Engine Optimization for your website and products - Ensuring that your clients find you on the web

    5. Legal Issues:

    • Terms & Conditions of Use for your website
    • - Disclaimers
    • - Limitation of Liability
    • Warranties/liability for products:
    • - charge backs, consumer disputes, procedures for returns
    • - responsibility for shipping and handling costs
    • Liability for 3rd party content (product descriptions, endorsements, comments)
    • Safeguarding Privacy:
    • - establish procedures for safeguarding certain non-personal information
    • - determine marketing practices: Will you sell website user information?
    • - certain industries and certain information require privacy notices
    • Use of copyrighted materials/trademarks

    For further information, please contact Arieh M. Flemenbaum at Griffith & Jacobson, LLC via email - amf@gjlaw.com or by phone at 312-236-8110.

    For additional resources for entrepenuers and business start-ups at: http://www.gjlaw.com/CM/FSDP/PracticeCenter/Business/Starting-a-Business.asp