As a start up entrepreneur, are you ever bothered about the costly online business mistakes that can ruin your chances of success as a business?
As you probably know, running an online business is great. A profitable online business can support you, give you some back up funds or even become your life saver.
But running an online business is not always without its own principles and challenges. This is why according to Forbes, 8 out of 10 online businesses fail in their first 18 months.
Of course that’s not a very encouraging statistics up there but, that’s the grim truth that cannot be wished away.
In as much as online businesses are easier to set up and manage, there are decisions you’ll have to make, risks you’ll have to take and other actions you’ll make that will either sustain your growth or get you out of business.
In this post, I’ll be revealing to you, the top 7 business mistakes you need to avoid while setting up your online business, if you really want to build a truly successful online business.
Here’s the list below…
Starting Without a Set Goal
One of the biggest online business mistakes you can make is starting your business year without a clear goal.
A lot of online business owners make this mistake.
It happens that most of these start up entrepreneurs do not even understand the difference between a business goal and a business plan.
Your business goal is that specific thing you want to achieve with your business, over a certain period of time while your plan is the steps you’re going to use to achieve the set goal.
Starting a business year without a business goal has consistently been one of the top online business mistakes made by entrepreneurs.
As an entrepreneur, I’ve also made this mistake at some point and the result was very devastating for my young business then.
For the fact that you’re an entrepreneur, you can’t afford to enter into business without any specific goal.
It’s like taking a flight to New York without having a specific place to go. This is a serious business mistake that can cost you a lot in terms of loss.
As a consultant, I’ve seen a lot of people go into online business just because they think there’s an opportunity to make money online. But, this is wrong!
Without a set goal, it is very difficult to measure your success or stay committed to your business when you meet up with setbacks.
Any little setback can knock you off because you don’t have a sufficient goal to coordinate your business effort or stimulate your interest in running the business, against all odds.
Starting your online business with a specific goal gives you something to target and look forward to.
And with this, you can always measure your success. And audit your focus.
Starting without a Plan
Starting without a business plan is one of the top business mistakes made by online entrepreneurs.
It baffles me how people keep repeating this business mistake, even when we keep re-iterating its importance to the success of every business start up.
Now, one question I usually ask entrepreneurs starting out their business without at least a rough plan is this; “how’d you get to anywhere without knowing exactly how you can get to that place”?
At most you’ll only drift and drift and drift away.
At some point, you’ll most likely take any detour you see until at the end of the day you end up not getting to anywhere. This is how a lot of online businesses operate.
You want to avoid this costly mistake with your own business start up, that’s why you need to start with a business plan.
Remember, your plan doesn’t have to be something too sophisticated or elaborate.
It can be anything like a collection of steps you want to take to achieve your business goals.
More like, this is what I’m going to do to get my start up business to point A. From point A I’ll take this other step and it’ll land me at point B.
With your plan in place, you’ll have something to look up to as sort of a map. And with such a guideline you can always gauge your journey from time to time to see if you’re actually on track or not.
Not Reviewing your Business Periodically
One thing that interests me about new year celebration is that a lot of people use it as a time to make new resolutions, plan their life, budget and review the previous year.
I personally love these things too. In fact, I’ve been doing it for a long time now.
But recently, I began to have some misgivings about this ritual.
It all started as a simple question where I asked myself WHY? I asked myself; why wait till the end or beginning of a year before planning your life?
Why wait till the beginning of a year before reviewing your business and whats been happening around you?
These questions stirred a lot of answers. In my mind, I fought hard to justify these things I do until I realized it was baseless.
You don’t have any reason to wait until the beginning of a new year before you plan, review or allocate your resources for your start up. This is the business mistake you want to avoid.
Find time to audit your business at quarterly and even monthly intervals.
Not reviewing your business activities and even strategies has the potential of causing you untold loss.
It stops you from having a good knowledge of strategies that’s working and the ones that are not. And at the end of the day, this can have a huge effect on the growth and success of your business.
Not Understanding your Priorities
A lot of small business owners do not really understand their priorities. This is very dangerous.
This is why you have lots of small business owners focusing on targeting clients or demographic that’s not concerned with their product or services.
Doing this is a waste of your time and you want to avoid this business mistake by all means.
Considering that time is one of your scarcest resources as a small business owner, you need to understand your priorities clearly. And then focus on what’s of priority to you, at every specific time.
Find out, If your business is at the point you need to create brand awareness, focus on that.
If it’s at the point you need to get better traffic to your website, focus on that too.
Don’t mix things up because you see others doing it. You’re not at the same journey with all your competition.
Undervaluing your Product and Services
A lot of online business owners and freelancers have consistently undervalued their product and services. Especially when starting out.
From under pricing, to allowing clients treat them shabbily and not having confidence in their products and services…
These mistakes affects a lot of businesses.
First of all, you don’t have any reason to be in business if you’re not producing genuine value to others.
If you’re producing genuine value then you don’t have any reason to see yourself or your product and services as inferior to others.
To avoid the mistake of undervaluing your product and services, you’ll have to do the following…
Work hard to produce genuine and exceptional value to others. This will drive your confidence in yourself and your products.
When this is done, set your standards. It doesn’t matter if you’re just starting out or not. Don’t lower your standards for anyone.
The moment you start lowering your standards for some people, they will expect more of that from you.
You’ll notice this a lot if you bring down your prices for some people either because of your relationship with them or some urgent need for money.
These clients will go ahead to tell their friends about the cheap stuff they got from you and how they can also get it cheaply.
This gets the circle continuing. But, this isn’t what you want.
So, you need to set your standards. Provide exceptional value that will distinguish you then price your product and service based on that value you set.
Not having Good Customer Service
One of the excuse most freelancers give is that they are still small so they don’t need any serious customer service.
They believe customer service is for bigger businesses. So, for this reason they can operate without a reachable mobile line, ignore checking their mails or refuse to give their clients the necessary courtesy. This is a costly business mistake you want to avoid.
As an entrepreneur, you’ll always need to be professional if you’re really planning to go far with your business. So you need a good customer service.
You can’t afford to operate without any regard for your clients and still expect to get recommendations from them.
Spending too much resources on the wrong Social Media Platform
Another important online business mistakes small business owners make is spending too much time and other resources on different social media platforms.
You can’t be on all social media at the same time. Not only is it a bad idea, it is not productive.
To get effective results from your social media marketing, you need to find out the social media platform that has a lot of your target clients.
Then focus your social media marketing such platforms. These are the kind of platforms that will most likely get you the leads and possibly real paying clients.
Don’t get your self spread out, focusing on all top social media platforms when it’s only one or two of those that can actually get you the result you need.
Thinking that everything that works for others would automatically work for you
No matter how perfect it worked for another person, sometimes a strategy you read online may not work for you.
This has got nothing to do with you in person but it could involve the specific situation of the person, their location or a combination of other factors.
If you read up a strategy, also be sure you understand the principle behind the strategy. And its context of use.
Don’t adopt everything you see online. Some ideas, strategies etc. are not applicable in certain locations or for some businesses.
Read the whole concept and have a background understanding of some concepts before applying them to your business.
This will save you from investing your time and resources on strategies that cannot really work for your business..
This also goes out specifically to small business owners in developing countries.
Some of the things that work for those big businesses in the developing economies may not be working for you exactly the same way.
Take for instance, residents of some African countries cannot receive direct receive payment via PayPal at the moment.
But, that doesn’t mean that the article you just read about receiving payment via PayPal cannot work because it doesn’t work for you.
It means you may have to find a PayPal alternative if you want to use a third party payment platform for your business in your current location.
So don’t always assume every business tip you read online will work out exactly the way you read it.
Understand the writer’s background and find out if there’s need to customize or edit the tips to fit in with your need or specific situation.
In conclusion, starting and growing a successful online business takes a lot of guts, work and effort, but, knowing the possible business mistakes to avoid can make the journey far easier.
This is exactly what this tutorial is meant to do for you.
So, do you want to know more about what not to do when starting an online business? Let’s talk.
Now, it’s over to you! What’s the biggest online business mistakes you wish you never made?