10 Mistakes to Avoid When Starting an Online Business

10 Mistakes to Avoid When Starting an Online Business

Starting an online business starts with filling a need and building credibility, but the factors that make your online business a resounding success do not stop there. While the barriers to starting a business are low, the majority of people starting an online business largely fail because of mistakes that seem obvious in hindsight – such as overestimating profits or trying to be too much for customers from the start. But there are many more disadvantages for business owners.

To improve your chances of success, try to avoid these 10 common mistakes when starting an online business.

Related: How to make money online: the basics

1. Do not have a plan of attack.

You don’t need to have a formal business plan – but you still need a plan. “People see the business plan as homework they don’t want to do, but planning helps me – no matter how successful I am,” said Tim Berry, president of Palo Alto Software, which produces planning software. and author of The Plan-as-you-go business plan.

As the large format business plan becomes obsolete, Sujan Patel, vice president of marketing for software company When I Work and founder of several SaaS startups, says, “You don’t need a business plan. 20-page official business to successfully plan a business. You need to know who your customers are, what you are selling, and what people are willing to pay for your product or service. “

Also, determine how much money you have and how long it will last.

2. Focus too much on the little tricks.

“First, you have to start your business,” says Steve Tobak, founder of Invisor Consulting, a business strategy company and author of Real leaders don’t follow: be extraordinary in the era of the entrepreneur. While this directive may seem obvious, new business owners can get bogged down in the details. Do not do that.

By turning away from focusing on things like the appearance of your business cards or the design of your logo, the founders are wasting precious time. Instead, focus on tasks that will help take your business to the next level.

3. Don’t worry about the money.

Be optimistic, but not in terms of money. “There is a very good chance that your business will run out of money before you make it,” warns Tobak. “Know how much money you have to run your business, what your burn rate is, and make sure you have a plan to try to get more before you run out.”

Too often, business owners struggle to raise funds when it is already too late. Instead, the founders from the start should create a financial plan, detailing the steps and how much money it will take to achieve these goals.

Related: Don’t start an online business unless you want to run the gauntlet

4. Undervalue what you are selling.

Whether you are selling a product or service, set the price to what it needs to be to make a meaningful profit.

Cynthia Salim, Founder and CEO of Citizen’s Mark, a line of professional blazers of ethical origin for women, set the starting price of her product at $ 425 after taking into account the costs of labor and materials for his line. “The price is what it has to be,” says Salim.

Patel also points out that “as your business evolves, keep adjusting your prices.”

5. Ignore customer service.

With so many of our Internet business transactions, it’s easy to forget that customers are people who are much more likely to return to your website if they have a good experience.

“Make sure you have a way to interact with the people who visit your site,” says Tobak. “Regardless of the field – by live chat, survey, email or phone.”

Also, monitor social media sites for brand sentiment and check review sites like Yelp to see who is dissatisfied with their experience and reach out.

6. Give too much and receive nothing in return.

Before you have established your credibility as a seller or expert, offering something for free can turn into a long-term conversion client, especially for service-oriented entrepreneurs. However, the cost of a free product can add up, so consider offering something useful and intangible in exchange for a customer’s email address, such as a free ebook, recipe, instructions, a webinar, guide, or checklist, advises Joel Widmer, the founder of Fluxe Digital Marketing, a content strategy company.

Related: The top five mistakes people make when starting a business

seven. Spread too thin on social networks.

When you start with marketing and building your brand, test one or two main social audiences where you know your audience is and can create a personalized audience on a budget. Don’t waste your advertising budget at first.

In general, Facebook and Pinterest tend to be better for product sales. LinkedIn is a better area for a corporate personality trying to build their own brand, says Widmer. LinkedIn is also a good place to redirect content.

8. Skimp on the first hires.

LikendisLikes rush the hiring process to quickly fill positions to grow their business. But by embarking on this path, founders run the risk of problems down the road, including a mismatch of skills and business needs, a personality that does not bode well for culture, or a lack of commitment to the mission of the company.

So when hiring, look for people who have the skills you don’t have and embody the qualities you respect. “The first five hires will set the temperature for your business for the rest of its life,” said Patel.

9. Underestimate the obsession and motivation to succeed.

You’ve read a lot about the importance of work-life balance – forget it. (At least for the first year or two.)

“Don’t worry about the weather,” says Tobak. “Big ideas don’t come when you are trying to manage every minute of your time. They do not come when you are multitasking. They come when you focus on one thing. Let everything else go black. “

10. To think that everything is unique size.

Just because a product or strategy has worked for a business doesn’t mean it will work for you. Have a good skepticism about what you read and see succeed elsewhere, recommends Patel. If you can test your product using minimal financial risk and resources, do so.

Related: To succeed with your small business, avoid these 5 mistakes

This article was originally published on October 16, 2015.

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