Starting an online business is not easy, especially when you are in your first business experience. This is mainly because of the unforeseen and the lack of knowledge to deal with them. We know that more than two-thirds of microenterprises and almost half of the small businesses fail before passing the five-year mark. Interestingly, however, in many cases, the mistakes made would be easily preventable.
Here are ten pitfalls to avoid in starting an online business:
#1. Delay in asking for help when starting on online business
Don’t be afraid to ask for help when it’s needed. In this way, you prove to those around you that you are open-minded and want to progress in the right direction. By asking for help, you increase your chances of receiving quality support for your business development and even attracting serious partners or collaborators. Mentoring for entrepreneurs made me understand the importance of consulting experts and surrounding myself with several experienced people to succeed in business.
#2. Act hastily
Do you have the feeling that things are not moving fast enough? This is entirely normal. But that doesn’t mean you need to act in a rush to achieve your goals. To avoid mistakes, you should always make sure you understand what you are doing and why. This is true of all your interventions as a business leader. Avoid, for example, getting involved too quickly or, in a problematic situation, deciding the influence of emotion. Also, take the time to properly assess your ideas before devoting a lot of energy to their development. One of my mistakes was applying for financing when my working capital was not strong enough (even though I was expecting large payments from some clients). I understood this over time.
#3. Lack of flexibility when starting an online business
As you know, it’s easier to retain good customers than to attract new ones. However, to achieve your goals (and significantly exceed them), you need your customers. With their feedback, you can tailor your products and services to their needs and requirements. That doesn’t mean you have to comply with all of their demands. Each situation must be carefully analyzed. But customer feedback does allow you to grow your business with your markets. It is, therefore, in your best interest to be flexible. After all, by listening to your customers, you retain them and encourage them to talk about you favorably in those around them, especially on social media (which I must admit have been very useful to me).
When starting an online business, you should expect to meet many people, including some who do not share your values and who might waste your time. You will no doubt be asked to participate voluntarily in realizing specific projects or in the organization of events. If you want to get on with your priorities and achieve your business goals, you have to learn how to say no. I know from experience that it is challenging at first. As an entrepreneur, you will, no doubt, tend to want to seize as many opportunities as possible to develop your business. But in fact, it would not always allow you to move forward in your projects.
#5. Neglecting to document the procedures
To facilitate the integration of new collaborators or employees into your company, you benefit from documenting each particular product or service’s production and delivery procedures. It takes a lot less time when you have to explain how things work to newcomers. I understood this by managing a project that required changes in the legal structure and had trouble understanding the people who accompanied me in my process. I now avoid keeping everything in my head. I have gotten into the habit of noting the new procedures, and I also encourage all my staff to do the same for the documents we share.
#6. Making your project in your corner.
Isolation is a business creator’s worst enemy. You have to surround yourself at all costs (with the right people) to launch your project. This allows you to test it with your loved ones, to have outside views and constructive opinions to help you move forward. You can also get closer to outside help to create your business by setting up in a coworking space or business groups, joining meetings of business leaders, specialized associations, or even the CCI (Customer Composite Index) closer to being surrounded.
#7. Choosing the wrong partner
If you don’t want to go it alone, you can join forces to carry out your project. However, finding the right partner is not an easy task; talk around you about your desire to partner to launch your project without saying too much. It would be best if you chose someone you trust, with a character and skills that complement your own so that you don’t step on your toes. A professional association is like a marriage! For this to work, the two partners must complement each other and be involved in the same way.
Do not hesitate to take some precautions for your association. Indeed, individual pacts allow you to specify a few points to facilitate your collaboration by including sharing powers, the conditions for the transfer of the shares of one of your partners, etc.
#8. When you don’t analyze your market when starting an online business
Before going straight into administration, have you thought about analyzing your market? If this is not the case, stop launching your project immediately and start from scratch!
The incredible thing about starting an online business is when it comes to market research, it allows you to know perfectly, or almost, your future customers, their behavior, your competitors, and the suppliers available for your sector of activity!
Understanding the mode of operation and each of these parts’ strategy is essential to differentiate yourself and even to do better than your competitors already established. Your system will flow from what emerges from this study, which will allow you to launch your business under the best auspices.
#9. Neglecting your financial forecasts
The financing plan for your project is essential to the proper functioning of your business. If you skipped this part, now is the time to get started! Indeed, when drafting your business plan, you must integrate the financial aspect, which is, in fact, a kind of economic simulation of your activity. Forecasts of turnover, charges, cash flow, and so on; everything must appear there so that it is as complete as possible! Avoid being too optimistic; banks are not fooled.
Your financing plan will be your best ally to face the banks, and why not interest some investors! It can only be beneficial for your project.
#10. Give up quickly in starting an online business
Starting an online business takes time. Think of all the big businesses you know today; Apple, Nike, General Electric, and so on. Before you start, make sure you are 200% ready to get involved! Entrepreneurship is difficult, and it is essential to persevere to be able to obtain the expected success. So don’t give up; if your project is critical to you, give yourself the means to succeed!