Soon or later, virtually everyone thinks about starting a business. The allure of being your own boss can be strong, but it’s important to remember that launching a new business is risky: about 50% of all small businesses will fail within just five years.
While the barriers for setting up a company are low, the majority of people starting an online business fail largely due to mistakes that seem obvious, such as overestimating profits or trying to be too many things to customers from day one.
Here are the 9 online business neophyte mistakes to avoid, +1:
- Not having a plan.
You don’t need to have a formal business plan, but you still need a plan. You need to know who your customers are, what you are selling, what people are willing to pay for your product or service and to work out how much cash you’ve got and how long it will last.
And don’t forget your online and social media plan. Are you going to invest time on improving you SEO or will you invest money on PPC? Which social media will be part of your online marketing strategy? What and how often are you going to post and share? How are you going to get new leads?
- Focusing on unimportant stuff.
Don’t waste your time on things like how your business cards look or the design of your logo.
Launch your business first instead and concentrate on tasks that will help boost your business to the next level.
- Don’t worry about time.
I am sure you’ve read about the importance of work-life balance…forget about it…at least for the first year or two.
Don’t worry about time, the best ideas do not come when you are trying to manage every minute of your time. They don’t come when you are multitasking. They come when you are focused on one thing.
- Inaccurate estimation of the demand.
Too many small businesses fail because the owner overestimates demand. Before quitting your job and launching your own business, find out how strong the demand is for your product or service. Is it a product or service that most people need or want? Does it fit with current trends? Do you have any competitive advantage or product differentiation from what is in the market right now?
If your business has competition, you have to give your potential customers a reason to choose your offering over another.
- Inaccurate estimation of costs.
Like any other large-scale project, successfully launching a business requires a thorough, upfront accounting of costs, both financial and personal. So before you launch, make sure you have a detailed budget that includes not only financial costs but the living expenses you’ll have to take on before your business can start paying you.
It’s best to assume it will cost more and take longer than you initially think it will. And it’s also important to include the personal and family costs since it can be an all-consuming experience.
- Undervaluing what you’re selling.
Whether you’re selling a product or service, set the price at what it needs to be to make a worthwhile profit and as your business evolves continue to adjust your price points.
- Ignoring customer service.
Because of so many of our business transactions and interactions take place over the Internet, it’s easy to forget that customers are people who are way more likely to return to your website if they have a good experience.
- Giving away too much and getting nothing in return.
Before you’ve established credibility as a seller or an expert, offering something for free can turn into a conversion and long-term customer, especially for those entrepreneurs focused on offering services. However, the cost of free product can add up, so think of offering something useful and intangible in exchange for a customer’s email address, such as a free ebook, recipe, instructions, webinar, guide or checklist.
- Failing to delegate.
No one person is great at every aspect of running a business, so make sure you identify your strengths, use them to your business’s best advantage and delegate or meet a consultant for those functions you don’t feel comfortable with for lack of skills and experience.
+1. Not starting at all
This is the biggest mistake of all.
It’s easy to get so worried about all the possible mistakes that you never get started at all. But that’s the only way to guarantee failure.
Starting a business isn’t a sure thing but you will get better over time only if you start.
The best way to ensure you’ll succeed is simply this: don’t be afraid to make mistakes. Mistakes are part of the process.
This is my list based on what I hear and see daily.
Have you made any of them?
What mistakes do you see new entrepreneurs making?
Please share your opinion in the comments below.