The P.R. Trade and Export Company (Compañía de Comercio y Exportación de Puerto Rico) recently announced the P.R. E-Fulfillment Center; the first center in the Caribbean designed to receive, package and ship merchandise purchased through e-commerce. This project originally conceived by Alan Taveras, Co-Founder of Brands Of Holding, Inc., recognizes the importance of e-commerce in Puerto Rico.
Because I also believe in e-commerce as a way for entrepreneurs –including those in the creative industries– to launch Puerto Rico to a sustainable economy, in this blog post, I share with you how to start your e-commerce in Puerto Rico in 7 steps.
Step 1. Design your Business Plan and look for Incentives.
Your first step should be to design your business plan. What will you sell? Who is your target market? How will you reach them? Once you have a notion of your business, you should consider what incentives are available for you. This way, you can better design and deal with the next steps.
Step 2. Select a Business Structure and consider Taxes Implications.
The second step is for you to determine what business structure best suits you, while also considering taxes implications. Note that while you can start your business as a sole proprietor (DBA), selecting a legal entity can protect you personally from your business’s liabilities and debts.
While selecting your legal entity, you should also consider taxes implications. Finally, don’t make the mistake of avoiding to consider your business’s taxes consequences such as sales and property taxes.
Step 3. Apply for Incentive and Permits
The third step is to apply for both the incentive you previously identified and the necessary permits. Some incentives can help you obtain your permits faster and even exempt your business from paying high taxes or paying at all.
Step 4. Protect your Intellectual Property
The fourth step is to protect your intellectual property, and I cannot stress enough the importance of this step. It is vital that you (1) consider whether you have a trademark or copyright and (2) avoid infringing other people’s intellectual property.
On the first hand, IP can be the most valuable thing your business has. On the other hand, IP infringement can get you in serious trouble. Protect yourself.
Step 5. Armor your Online Presence
E-commerce is regulated by both federal and local governments. Therefore, when dealing with your online presence, you have to comply with the Federal Trade Commission and the Department of Consumer Affairs (DACO, for its Spanish acronym).
Your marketing and social media campaigns also need to comply with the FTC and DACO regulation. In general, be straight and real with your customers, don’t lie, confuse or mislead them. Otherwise, the FTC and DACO can penalize you.
Step 6. Get Solid Contracts and Agreements
Solid contracts will give certainty to your relationships and transactions. As such, they can be an asset for your business. Therefore, consider what type of agreements you need, and get them in writing before things get messy. Also, if you need help with your business, consider whether you need an employee or a contractor.
Step 7. Have fun, and stay in compliance.
The seventh step is to have fun and stay in compliance! Don’t forget to consider what other professionals can help you excel in your craft, such as a CPA, an attorney, a designer, a developer, etc.
In this blog post, I shared with you how to start your e-commerce in Puerto Rico in 7 steps. Are you thinking about starting your own e-commerce in Puerto Rico?
This article was inspired by a previous one published with Microjuris.com, 7 consideraciones legales al establecer un e-commerce en Puerto Rico.