You had the idea. You put in place a business plan. And, you’re all set on becoming an entrepreneur. But, there’s one pretty big issue. How tostart online.
As you know, having an online business is a must nowadays. There’s just no other alternative in promoting and selling your products or services. However, just because you have website, blog or social media account doesn’t mean that you’re going to find success online. There’s a lot of planning and gimmicks attached to online marketing. So, why make your life more difficult?
Whether you’re waiting for feedback, the perfect time for a release or achieving a certain number of visitors or subscribers to your blog or podcast for months or years without ever offering something for sale is one of the worst mistakes an entrepreneur can make.
Whatever the reason for this – not having the time, funding or being afraid that your business will fail – staying in this state of limbo is detrimental to your business. The longer you wait to release a product, the further you get away from your initial business plan. Not only does this mean revenue lost, it also means that creating a business that no one will support once you do finally launch.
As an entrepreneur, you’re going to make mistakes and there will be bumps in the road. Instead of worrying about these potential failures and over-thinking your business, go get your product out there and make adjustments as needed. Once you take this leap of faith, you’ll get one step closer to sustainable revenue.
2. Going it Alone
Just because it’s your business doesn’t mean that you have to do everything alone. In fact, it’s pretty much impossible that you will be able to get your business online all by yourself. Between the time, various skills and stress involved, you will have to bring in some other people to get your business up and running.
Hopefully, if you received funding or already making sales, you have enough to hire the right people to get your business online, like a web designer or social media manager. And, there’s no shame in outsourcing these people as long as you are the driving force and force behind the brand.
3. Not Being Different
Chances are that you’re going to have competition, unless you’re in some unique market. Instead of underestimating your competitors, focus on the reasons why potential customers will select you , as opposed to copying others.
In short, you won’t be able to gain an audience if you’re only offering an inferior version of a well-known site or product. While you certainly want to provide a quality good or service, you also have to be different and stand apart from the competition.
4. Solving an Unimportant Problem
A major cause of businesses failing is because they do not offer a product or service that nobody really cares about. While that may sound like an obvious observation, why don’t people care about this hypothetical business?
Most likely it’s because the business is attempting to solve a problem. Why else would someone buy a product? They need it to enhance their lives. If your product doesn’t accomplish that, then you need to rethink your business plan.
5. Not Listening to Customers
How do you know if the problem you want to solve is important enough to customers? By listening to them. Whether it’s through research or social media monitoring, no listening to your customers is a fatal mistake. How else will you be able to know what they want to invest in or what people like or dislike about your business, products or marketing campaigns. Being online means that you have to listen and engage with potential customers and site visitors.
Listen to everything your customer say. Your online reputation can be damaged in a matter of seconds. It’s up to you to listen to what they say and make it right. You’re online marketing will pay the price if you don’t respond. I’ve found that for every person that complains publicly there is around 10 that keep quiet. If you’ve heard it online, I’m sure it’s not the only person who’s thinking it.
6. Targeting Too Small a Market
We understand the appeal of trying to corner a niche, but what if your targeted market is too small? The result is that your company’s growth will stall sooner than you think. Then what? Choosing a larger market will give you the opportunity to grab a slice of the pie, despite your company’s size.
7. Having Unrealistic Expectations
You have to be ready and willing to put in the work and hours of operating an online business. And, if you’re thinking that you’re going to have overnight success, then you need a quick reality check. It’s not going to happen.
Put away these illusions of grandeur and talk with your fellow entrepreneurs on what it’s going to take to start and run a business online. At least you’ll have a better understanding of what’s in store.
8. Not Carrying About Your Topic/Product
We’re not necessarily saying that this has to be your life’s greatest piece of work or passion. However, you should at least care or like what you’re working on. After all, you would you want to make being an entrepreneur even more difficult and stressful?
When you do care about your topic, you will have the knowledge, stamina, and creativity to build a competitive online business.
9. No Distribution Partnerships
Unless you’re in an industry where there is already an established network of agents, brokers, manufacturers’ reps or other third-party resellers -think media, fashion or food – then it’s going to be difficult to get your product into existing distribution channels. If you’re in an industry that is a little bit more unique or harder to sell, create a list of potential referral sources and reach out to them. Ask them if they would be interested in selling or promoting your product. This should give you a better idea if your business can succeed or not.
10. Not Having the Right Amount of Capital
Prior to launching, take into consideration and calculate your expenses. While you may believe that you only need enough to rent a physical location, equipment or inventory, you’ll also need money to purchase a domain name, pay a host or and a web designer to build and maintain your site. Without enough money, how can your setup and run your business online?
At the other end of the spectrum, you could have an issue if you have too much money. Why is that a problem? When there’s an excessive amount of money, you will be tempted to spend money on frivolous items and events. Also, the company’s accelerated growth will cause it to grow too quickly and become too bloated.
When it comes to capital, make sure that you have enough to pay for every anticipated expense. And, if you do over extra, make sure that you save it for a rainy day.