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Thread: Starting a new business, can this be done as a website?

  1. #1
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    Question Starting a new business, can this be done as a website?

    It will soon be quite obvious that I'm new to this, so please forgive my ignorance!

    I'm looking at starting a new business offering a service to business owners that helps them manage customers. I'll need either software or a website to do this. What I'm picturing will need to be able to do the following:
    1. Allow business owners to enter customer information
    2. Send notices to the owners about the customers
    3. Charge my customers monthly and allow them to charge their customers monthly automatically
    4. Be web accessible
    5. Possibly support a mobile app
    6. Allow owners to track progress and give an overview of performance with charts, graphs, etc


    I hope to have hundreds of customers in a short time, and they will hopefully have hundreds as well so that is a lot of information.

    Should I be looking at making a stand alone product or can I do this as a website?

    Thanks!

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  3. #2
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    im new aswell but this can be done with a website, are you building this yourself?

  4. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by coleio View Post
    im new aswell but this can be done with a website, are you building this yourself?
    I at least want to start it myself. I've done some very basic coding and would like to learn more. At this point though, I don't know how complex this would be. Is it something that would take an experienced coder a few hours or a few months?

  5. #4
    Unpaid WDF Intern TheGAME1264's Avatar
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    1. Yes. A server-side programming language and a database are your requirements here.

    2. If you mean email notices, yes. The exact logistics of how this would work would depend on things such as what type of notices you'd want (plain text vs. HTML/nicely formatted with bold text and Headlines and pictures and things in a manner that looks much better than this phrase), who the "owners are", whether or not the emails need to be disabled or owners can pick and choose what emails they want, who exactly "owners" are (are they the website owners or does this have another context?), and their frequency (instantaneous is easier than anything that has to be scheduled simply because scheduled tasks require the additional time to schedule the task).

    If you mean something else, you'll have to tell us what you mean.

    3. Yes. You'll need a payment processor such as Authorize.net or PayPal (yes, PayPal can be used for this purpose) that offers a service known as auto-rebill, or automatic recurring billing. If you want financing, PayPal can offer it as well to your customers without you being charged. In the last 24 months, they've done a heck of a job of improving their payment processing overall (to my pleasant surprise).

    4. Yes.

    5. Yes.

    6. Yes, but graphing and charting is generally trickier since it requires some form of a drawing or charting object (to draw out say the lines of a line chart, bars of a bar chart, or pie slices of a pie chart). Again, the exact logistics depend on what you're trying to accomplish.

    If you want to know how much something like this would take, that depends on what you're trying to build. I would suggest that if you have no prior programming experience, the things you'll need to learn will take a very, very long time. #3 and #6 alone can take a long time to master, and then you've got the other stuff.

    Let me put it to you this way...it's obvious you've got an idea of some sort, or you wouldn't be asking these questions. I'm guessing that you haven't seen your idea implemented before. Without knowing the finer details of your idea, I'd suggest that there's at least one reason you haven't, and that reason relates to the complexities associated with the general ideas you've listed. Again, #3 and #6 alone can be an absolute nightmare at times, and anyone reading this who has ever had their sites scanned for PCI compliance will know exactly what I mean.
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  6. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheGAME1264 View Post
    1. Yes. A server-side programming language and a database are your requirements here.

    2. If you mean email notices, yes. The exact logistics of how this would work would depend on things such as what type of notices you'd want (plain text vs. HTML/nicely formatted with bold text and Headlines and pictures and things in a manner that looks much better than this phrase), who the "owners are", whether or not the emails need to be disabled or owners can pick and choose what emails they want, who exactly "owners" are (are they the website owners or does this have another context?), and their frequency (instantaneous is easier than anything that has to be scheduled simply because scheduled tasks require the additional time to schedule the task).

    If you mean something else, you'll have to tell us what you mean.

    A simple email would suffice. I would want it to look professional but it wouldn't need to be anything fancy. "Owners" are the business owners I will be selling access to my site to that would be primarily in the construction industry.

    3. Yes. You'll need a payment processor such as Authorize.net or PayPal (yes, PayPal can be used for this purpose) that offers a service known as auto-rebill, or automatic recurring billing. If you want financing, PayPal can offer it as well to your customers without you being charged. In the last 24 months, they've done a heck of a job of improving their payment processing overall (to my pleasant surprise).

    Can it be set up to charge my customers and my customer's customers? Say you signed up for my service, could my site also charge your customers on a recurring basis but send the money to you? I think this may be the biggest obstacle. I would like to have it integrated like that but may look at other options if it isn't doable.


    4. Yes.

    5. Yes.

    6. Yes, but graphing and charting is generally trickier since it requires some form of a drawing or charting object (to draw out say the lines of a line chart, bars of a bar chart, or pie slices of a pie chart). Again, the exact logistics depend on what you're trying to accomplish.

    If you want to know how much something like this would take, that depends on what you're trying to build. I would suggest that if you have no prior programming experience, the things you'll need to learn will take a very, very long time. #3 and #6 alone can take a long time to master, and then you've got the other stuff.

    Let me put it to you this way...it's obvious you've got an idea of some sort, or you wouldn't be asking these questions. I'm guessing that you haven't seen your idea implemented before. Without knowing the finer details of your idea, I'd suggest that there's at least one reason you haven't, and that reason relates to the complexities associated with the general ideas you've listed. Again, #3 and #6 alone can be an absolute nightmare at times, and anyone reading this who has ever had their sites scanned for PCI compliance will know exactly what I mean.
    Thanks for the detailed reply! I added some comments and questions in blue above.

    #6 would be a nice add-on but not necessary to get up and running.

  7. #6
    Unpaid WDF Intern TheGAME1264's Avatar
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    It probably could be integrated like that, since a rebill is a rebill (there isn't a lot of variance involved), although I personally haven't attempted anything like that before.

    The email, since you mentioned "look professional", probably means you want an HTML email. Those tend to take longer and are trickier because different email clients format HTML emails wildly differently.
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    HTML emails seemed like a great idea when they started doing them, but things went sour when browsers and email clients didn't figure out a way to make it universal. I avoid using them simply because you have no idea how the user will see it ... will it be messed up? will it look good? will their client hide the images and make them click a button to "view the images"? Plain-old text emails are still the best way.


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    Wow, I'm surprised to find out that what I figured would be one of the simplest parts of the whole thing isn't.

    I've found a service that is very close to what I want to do.

    https://www.servicefrequency.com/

    What would it take to build something pretty close to that?

  10. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by carny View Post
    Wow, I'm surprised to find out that what I figured would be one of the simplest parts of the whole thing isn't.
    i know all to well how you feel dude

  11. #10
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    I feel like I'm in one of those car commercials where they don't know where to start!


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