5 Mistakes When Starting An Online Business
It’s never been easier to start an online business. The combination of a low startup cost, the potential for extra income, and the potential to reach a worldwide client base with just a few clicks can give you the ability to finally launch that business idea you’ve had bouncing around in your brain for years.
But starting an online business isn’t as easy as setting up an online store and watching the money roll in. You still have to be aware of the mistakes when starting an online business, so you can avoid them and set yourself up for success. Steer clear of these pitfalls to give your new online business a major boost:
1. Thinking too small.
You might think that your business idea, selling handwoven wool moustache warmers to graphic designers, is an amazing one, but you’ve fallen into a trap — picking a niche that’s too small, or that just isn’t important enough. “A major cause of businesses failing is because they do not offer a product or service that nobody really cares about,” writes John Rampton in Forbes. If your potential customer base consists of only 10 people, your online business isn’t going to succeed. Do your research and make it so that the product or service you’re offering answers a real need in the market, and that you’ll get enough customers to ensure your business will thrive. “Choosing a larger market will give you the opportunity to grab a slice of the pie, despite your company’s size,” adds Rampton.
2. Thinking too big.
It’s also really easy to think too big when it comes to online businesses. Because of the almost limitless reach of the web, you might be tempted to try to do too much, too fast. You might try to build a product for everyone, but because you don’t have a focus, you end up pleasing nobody. Fight this trap by thinking big, but acting small. By all means, have a big long-term plan, but when you’re just starting out, keep your goals achievable, and most importantly, stay attuned to the needs of your customers so that you can give them the best service you can. As The Start-Up Bros say, “Be one thing to one group of people, but do that one thing better than anybody else could ever do it. You can branch out from there.”
3. Using only one advertising source.
“Don’t put all your eggs in one basket,” as the saying goes. Don’t spend all your advertising budget buying, say, Google AdWords, and ignore all the other options. Again, do your research on which advertising sources your ideal audience will be most likely to see. For example, here in the Philippines, 94% of people use Facebook — would advertising there be a more effective way to reach your audience?
4. Neglecting to build an email list.
Research shows that email marketing is one of the most effective digital marketing channels. If you’re not building an email list of potential customers, you’re missing out on the chance to solidify your client base and grow your business. “Offer something of value in exchange for their email address — new product alerts, free shipping, etc,” recommends Jonathan Long, founder and CEO of Market Domination Media. You can then use services like Mailchimp to send newsletters and sale announcement to your newly compiled customer email list.
5. Not making your site mobile-friendly.
According to the Google Mobile Report 2013, 88% of Filipinos have researched a product of service on their smartphone, 32% of people have purchased a product on mobile, and 68% of smartphone users make purchases at least once a month. And you probably never leave your house without your smartphone (77% of people don’t, so don’t feel too bad about it). So if your site can’t be seen on smartphones, you’re losing out on a lot of business. Making it easy to see your site on mobile, and signing up with easy, secure payment methods so that your customers on the go can buy your products right from their phones, can be a great boon to your business.
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