Getting and maintaining a strong internet presence is important to any business in today’s digital world that increasingly intermingles with the “real” world. It is especially important to businesses that are completely digital and do not have a “storefront” or office type of location. And while it is relatively easy to set up an online business, the majority of online businesses fail within their first two years of opening. The following is a compilation of common things that online businesses that have failed, would have done had they had the vision of 20/20 hindsight.
Plan, Plan, Plan
Even though you do not need a formal business plan, you still need a plan. Big-format business plans are growing obsolete and are not as relevant in today’s online markets as they were for the more common brick and mortar businesses of the past- but it is still important to know your product or service, know your market, know your (potential) customers, to know your competitors, and perhaps most importantly, you need to know how much cash you have and how long it will sustain your business until it starts making a profit.
This may seem overly simplistic but a common mistake founders make is wasting time on too many small details without keeping a global view with key goals in mind. While your brand and its image are of utmost importance, don’t get too side-tracked and focused on things such as, how your business cards look or your logo design. It’s important to concentrate on tasks that will help to push your business to the next level and out of your competitors’ reach.
Be Optimistic Except…
Most people who start their own businesses need a strong streak of optimism to deal with all of the difficulties they are likely going to incur but one thing entrepreneurs should hold back on their optimism is for, money. There is a good chance that a new online business is going to run out of money before it makes any. Instead of scrambling to raise funds when it’s too late, have a strong financial plan that details important milestones you need to make and how much money this will take, from the get go.
Value What You Are Selling
Make sure that you have set a price for your product or service that will allow you to make a worthwhile profit to keep you, your employees (if you have any), and the business at large, afloat. Don’t sell your product or service for too little money in the hopes of creating a customer base if it means that you cannot sustain your business, and/or your customers leave when you raise your prices. Price points can be adjusted as a business evolves but a business cannot evolve if it goes out of money for lack of funds.