For years you’ve played with the idea of starting an online business. You’ve read all of the books and done all of the homework. You’ve finally decided that it’s time to move forward with your plans and are ready to open your very own online business. With global online sales predicted to reach $1.5 trillion this year according to eMarketer, there isn’t a better time than now to get your business online. But before you jump onboard and start designing your online site, you should be aware that there are some common mistakes new online business owners are guilty of making. If you can avoid them, you have a great chance of making your online business a success.
Having the Wrong Expectations
If you think starting a business is easy, think again. There is no such thing as an overnight success. When you are starting an online business, or any business for that matter, you have to be realistic in terms of how much work it is going to take to get it to where you want it to be. You won’t be able to start an online business while you are traveling the world. If you think that you will be able to do it with only four hours of work a week, you will probably fail. Talk to some entrepreneurs who have achieved the level of success that you want to reach and find out what it took for them to get there. Then ask yourself if you are prepared to do the same.
Solving an Unimportant Problem
Every business is about solving a problem that customers have. Whether it is something that helps customers clean their floors quicker or makes it easier to keep track of their finances, a business has to solve a problem in order to be successful. If your online business sells a product or a service that solves a common problem then you won’t have to go looking for customers; they’ll quickly seek you out. However, if what you are selling is trying to solve a problem that nobody cares about, chances are your business will fail. You want to make sure that you are solving the right problem and not trying to provide a fix for something that isn’t a priority in the eyes of the consumer, explains Ryan May, writer for Business Dictionary. If you put a product or service out there and nobody buys it, you need to look for a more important problem to solve rather than searching for a bigger audience.
Not Really Listening to Customers
How can you know if people don’t care about the problem you are trying to solve? The answer is simple: really listen to what your customers have to say. Many companies tend to focus too much on the products and services and forget to listen to what customers are telling them. While it is always great to get positive feedback from customers, it is the negative feedback that can help you the most. Listen to the customers who are asking for a refund and those who are buying your product but not using it. Find out why visitors to your site aren’t buying your products or services. Without their input, you won’t know what you need to correct and pretty soon you won’t have a business.
Selling Something You Don’t Care about
When it comes to starting an online store you have to make sure that what you sell is something that you care about. There will be competitors that you will have to go up against that will care more deeply than you do about the product or service that you are selling, so you need to make sure that you have fresh creativity, deep subject knowledge and unwavering stamina when it comes to your online business. If you don’t care about what you are doing and what you are saying, then why anyone else should, explains Andy Lopata, a leading business networking strategist. You don’t have to turn it into your life’s work nor does it have to be your number one passion, but if you want a chance to succeed, you do need to care about what you are selling.
Not Being Different
In most markets, consumers have a number of different options to choose from. If your competition is selling a product that is exactly like or similar to yours, then you have to give your potential customers a reason to choose your business instead of theirs. While you may have a product or service that is the best being offered, being better is a subjective term. You want to make sure that you are different. Whether you present your product or service in a different manner, or offer different shipping terms, the point is you have to be different from your competition.
Starting an online business can be a very rewarding venture. While it is a lot of work and it will take some time to grow, with the right plan and understanding of how the market works and what consumers want, you can ultimately find yourself running a very successful online store.