Home Business Entrepreneurship 10 Mistakes Should Avoid When Starting an Online Business

10 Mistakes Should Avoid When Starting an Online Business

1. Not having a plan of attack.

You don’t need to have a formal business plan — but you still need a plan. “People regard the business plan as homework they don’t want to do but planning helps me — whatever my success is,” says Tim Berry, chairman of Palo Alto Software, which produces business-planning software and author of The Plan-As-You-Go Business Plan.

While the big-format business plan is growing obsolete, Sujan Patel, vice-president of marketing at the software company When I Work and the founder of several SaaS startups, says, “You don’t need a formal 20-page business plan 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.”

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In addition, work out how much cash you’ve got and how long it will last.

2. Failing to Research What Others Have Done

Let’s be honest. Chances are, whatever you’re doing to make money online isn’t 100% original. That’s okay. The key to making money online isn’t to do something that nobody else has done. It’s to create an opportunity within whatever market you are entering.

In order to do that, you have to research what others in your space have done. More importantly, you have to identify those important gaps where they have left needs unmet. Perhaps your predecessors have failed to target particular Interpreting demographic and social changes. Maybe they aren’t offering the range of products they should.

Do your research. Check out your competitors’ social media sites. What do their customers love best, and what do they complain about? Don’t forget consumer review sites either. When you learn how businesses are failing to satisfy customers, you also learn how you can succeed.

3. Not Bringing in The Professionals When You Need Them

Your online business will be most successful when you focus on your talents and applying those to your company. For the rest, you are better off delegating tasks to the professionals who are best able to handle them. Don’t fracture your time, skills, or talents.

There’s another reason to bring in the professionals. You’re simply going to get results that work better and are more attractive. This is especially true when it comes to your website and the content you publish.

4. Monetizing Too Soon

Sometimes, it’s important to establish yourself before you monetize. If you have a blog or website dedicated to a certain interest or passion, this is especially true. Move too soon, and people may assume that you don’t really care about the subject of your blog or website, you just want to spam people.

Think of it from the customer’s point of view. They come to your website. They don’t see many blog posts, images, or web content.  You also don’t have many followers. What they do see is links to advertisers. They see pop up ads hawking whatever you’re trying to sell.

If you haven’t established yourself, if you haven’t developed an audience, why should people spend money on your affiliate products or even what you’ve offered for sale? Establish trust and thought leadership before you start selling products.

5. Failing to Optimize Your Blog or Website

Your website should be easy for your customers to find, and easy for them to navigate once they arrive. This begins with optimizing your site for SEO by providing great, original, and visual content. You can also optimize by ensuring that your site is mobile friendly.

There are also other things you can do. You can publish new content frequently. You can link to your own content from within your posts, and you can work to earn links from others. You can also take technical steps such as optimizing the images on your website and blog.

6. Not Using Social Media to Your Advantage

Sadly, many online business owners do themselves more harm than good when it comes to social media. Worse, some of them do not participate at all.. That’s a shame because something like keeping and updating a blog a couple times a week, publishing pictures on Instagram, and sharing updates about your business are all great ways to drive traffic to your website and increase your online footprint.

7. Forgetting to Follow up With Customers

When should you follow up with customers? Basically, anytime a customer or potential customer has interacted with your brand in any way, they deserve some sort of follow up. If they review your company online, respond to them. If they comment on a social media post, at the very least like that post. When a customer makes a purchase, follow that up with as personal a thank you as is reasonably possible.

Don’t pass up other opportunities to follow up and connect with customers and those who are interested. Find discussion groups on Facebook, participate in trending topics on twitter that are related to your industry, Take a look at Quora and other question and answer sites as well. Finally, keep track of customer shopping carts. Reminding a customer that they have an abandoned shopping cart, and asking if they need help or offering an incentive to close the sale can really have a positive impact, even if only a fraction of the customers respond.

7. Not Using Social Media to Your Advantage

Sadly, many online business owners do themselves more harm than good when it comes to social media. Worse, some of them do not participate at all.. That’s a shame because something like keeping and updating a blog a couple times a week, publishing pictures on Instagram, and sharing updates about your business are all great ways to drive traffic to your website and increase your online footprint.

8. Skimping on early hires.

Entrepreneurs rush the hiring process to quickly fill positions in order to scale their business. But by going down this route, founders run the risk of issues down the road, including a mismatch in skillset and business needs, a personality that doesn’t bode well with the culture or a lack of commitment to the company’s mission.

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

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9. Ignoring Your Passions

There are people who can successfully run online businesses strictly as a means to make money. They’ll start a website or blog selling whatever they believe will make money, they’ll monetize it, and will operate it until it’s time to flip it or move onto the next enterprise. However, most people aren’t like that. For most, starting an online business grows from a passion.

Unfortunately, as businesses grow, it can be easy to get caught up in the daily operations of it all and forget why you launched in the first place. Remember that part of your appeal to your target audience is your passion for and knowledge of your products or services. Take time to stay on top of trends in your industry and explore new products. That will enable you to keep your customers interested with new products and up to date content and insights.

10. Thinking that everything is one size fits all.

Just because a product or strategy has worked for one company doesn’t mean it will work for you. Have a healthy degree of skepticism about what you read and see successful elsewhere, Patel recommends. If you can test your product using minimum financial and resource risk, then do so.

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