Starting an online business comes with a string of benefits such as:
Wide geographical reach
Low marketing costs
Larger potential customer base
Better visibility for your business
Improved customer profiling
However, starting an actual online business isn’t really a carefree stroll around the park even if you have a strong business background, attitude and motivation. In fact, if you’re not careful, you could end up making a series of mistakes that could pummel your business before it gets off the ground.
Usually, mistakes give us a better understanding of our shortcomings to help us improve. But while they do happen even in the professional environment, it is important to minimize them as best as we can to save our business from folding.
Bigger businesses can find a way to sweep their pitfalls under the rug and move on, but it can be tougher for startups since they haven’t been in the game long enough. That explains why nine out of ten startups fail in the long-run. It’s a bummer, but that’s what business is all about – you either go big or you pack up and go home.
So to save your rookie firm’s dream from eventually crumbling into an afterthought, you must be on the lookout for the list of common mistakes that we have accumulated for this post and avoid them at all costs. Only then will your business will be able to pick up steam and enjoy a longer tenure.
Lacking A Plan Of Action
The business has everything to do with planning and without it, everything will come crashing down. A business plan involves identifying your target audience, what products and services you’re selling, how you’re supposed to market yourself and how you can keep your company afloat for years to come.
Planning keeps you organized and prepared to brave harsh conditions that could hamper the progress of your company. It allows you to properly allocate your time, resources and efforts strategically as well as keep track of other important aspects.
Starting A Business You Have No Love For
It is only natural for an entrepreneur to get into business and earn a decent payday. But it becomes a waste of time and effort if there isn’t any passion for that business.
A true business is when an entrepreneur stays devoted to a company even during layoffs and less-than-average cash flow. Without vivid enthusiasm, your lack of care for the company will be reflected in its customer service and quality control for which your customers will become disengaged and cut likely their ties with you.
Therefore, if you hope to instigate an online business that you’re thrilled about, you need to put your heart and soul into its products and services as well as value the needs of your target audience. It’s love and care that begets a trusting and reliable business.
Not Targeting The Right Audience
You have to position your products and services for a specific group of people who are actually interested in buying them because not everyone on earth will. Everyone in the world has separate preferences and tastes that match their needs and style and that should serve as the foundation of your marketing plan.
It is pivotal that you isolate and understand the wants and needs of your target audience if you wish to appeal to them. You also need to determine how you can get your target audience to buy from your website instead of your competitors’. In order to do this, you need to commit yourself to hours of intense research.
Visit your rivals’ websites to find out if they’re offering anything unique or special to their customers like discounts, bundles, deals or promotions. Look into their social media accounts and read their user feedback to understand what makes their products and services so desirable to their audience.
Work yourself around the data that you’ve collected and designed your website in accordance with it.
Not Adhering To Customer Feedback
Chatboxes, as well as comment sections for both your website and social media accounts, are there for a reason; to collect user feedback. A good business is one that openly communicates and engages with their target audience to answer their questions and address their queries.
If customers want to reach out to you, it is highly imperative that you immediately respond right there and then. The more responsive you are to user comments, the more they would want to reach out to you and refer you to their group of contacts.
But if you’re not quick on your feet, your potential customers could very likely bail on your website in favor of your competition.
Having An Atrocious Web Host
Do not opt for a web hosting company that has a history of providing unreliable and slow-performing servers which are prone to constant fluctuations and crashes more times than one can hope to tolerate.
A website’s speed is essential to pushing up conversion rates as well as conducting sales for online stores. In fact, over 79% of online customers will be discouraged to buy from an online store that doesn’t load fast.
If you’re going to be operating an online store and selling a lot of products at once, expect traffic levels to spike up and slow server speeds. So to patch up that little dilemma, you should opt for a web hosting company that can provide you with a dedicated server or a virtual private server (VPS). Some of the best web-host names that come to mind are Shopify, Volusion, and BigCommerce.
Not Optimizing Your Online Store
If you’re serious about turning up a buck, you must ensure that your online store is up and running without facing any technical, typographical, speed or design issues. That will only happen if you don’t properly optimize your website.
You already know how customers are going to react if your website isn’t fast, but it’s going to falter even further if the user experience (UX) isn’t efficient.
One of the worst ways to derail a website’s UX is the lack of a call-to-action (CTA) function. For online shoppers, a CTA function would be “Find out more,” “Buy now” or “Call now.” You must provide users with as much convenience to keep them hooked and nixing a CTA function would only spoil their experience.
Messing Up Your Site’s SEO
Getting your online store optimized for Google and other search engines is the only way prospective customers are going to find your site and start buying from it.
Search engine spiders not only have to find your website, but they also have to rank your store’s pages in terms of relevance so that it shows up at the very top of the search engine results.
However, it all depends on the usage of page titles, meta tags, how you strategically place keywords and develop sitemaps for Google and Bing.
One of the worst things that could ruin your SEO rankings is keyword stuffing. Nowadays, it is all about quality and not quantity. In layman’s terms, you have limited chances of placing your desired keywords on your website. If Google finds that you went over the specified limitation, they could penalize your site by demoting it or worse, remove it all at once.
So be sure to abstain from keyword stuffing to keep your website’s longevity intact and rolling.
Having a Lackluster Social Media Presence
At this point, it’s just common sense to know that social media is the biggest marketing tool for companies everywhere. One might even go as far as to say that having a social media presence is compulsory. As a matter of fact, over 81% of small and medium-sized businesses use social media to conduct sales.
What’s more, there is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all platform that can get the job done – meaning, you have to use more than one social media platform to spread the word about your website. After all, over 91% of retail brands use two or more social media platforms.
So in hindsight, there is too much marketing potential to be lost if your social media game is not on point. Don’t miss the opportunity to engage with your audience on other platforms to expand your reach.
Hastily Hiring The Wrong Guys
Be careful not to rush the hiring process, or else you will be dealing with incompetent or mismatched employees. If you do this, then the company’s overall productivity might diminish, sales can’t be properly conducted, the cash won’t be able to flow in and, well you get the rest.
As a result, this flaw will impact the overall image of your company and adversely affect your reputation in the long-run as well. It will also amount to a wastage of investment and resources, which won’t sit well with potential customers and quality hires.
Henceforth, during the hiring process, look for employees that have the skills that you do not possess as well as represent the desired qualities of your company.
Not Having A Follow-up Email System
Not everyone who visits your online store and clicks on your product page will want to make a purchase. Chances are that those products are too pricey, too tacky or perhaps were forgotten about and that customers never came back to them to complete their purchase.
So you have to follow up with the customers who bailed on your site to try and encourage them to buy from you. You can get back to them via social media or by phone, or better yet, by email.
Even with the omnipresence of social media, emails have never withered away. According to Small Business Trends, emails generate 23% more leads, improve sales by 19%, conversion rates by 17% and reduce marketing costs by 13% among other perks.
Going Over Legal Issues
Whether you’re operating a physical company or a digital one, it’s all the same for you to own the rights to your brand identity, product, service, and name. Even if you don’t realize that you’re using another business’s name, you could run into a series of legal problems and could be forced to rebrand everything from the start.
The same thing can be said about your company logo. You must be absolutely certain that nothing in your logo’s design is identical to another established brand’s. For this, we would suggest hiring a professional logo designer to give you a unique identity, especially one that’s doesn’t come off like a rip-off.
It’s Time to Jump-Start Your E-Business …
It is only by heeding and avoiding the aforementioned pitfalls in this post will you finally be able to open and operate a strong, honest and reliable online business of your own. Just so you know, it’s not going to be easy, but then again, nothing ever is.
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