Although the barriers to starting an online business are minimal and basically anyone can open an online store, not many online businesses manage to survive and maintain a presence on the market. The reasons behind this may vary from one business to another, but in my personal experience, these are the biggest mistakes made when starting an online business:
Functioning on the online market in this fast-paced, competitive business world isn’t as easy as it was a decade ago. It will require of you to constantly know what you are doing and why you are doing it. Everything begins with planning – planning your store’s name, the niche you’ll work in, the products or services to sell, your marketing strategy, etc.
But it doesn’t stop there. The online market changes by the second, and you have to be ready to adapt and change with it. Writing a business plan can help tremendously when it comes to knowing what step to take next and to keep track of where your business is as opposed to where it should be. It’s a written guide to what your next course of action should be.
While it does help greatly in many situations, opposed to the previous belief that a business plan is something every business should have, nowadays you don’t really have to have it if you feel unable to make one, or can’t afford to pay experts to write one for you. As Sujan Patel, vice president of marketing at the software company “When I Work” and founder of many SaaS startups, has said – “You don’t need a formal 20-page business plan to successfully plan a business. You need to know who your customers are, what you are selling and what people are willing to pay for your product or service.”
Before opening your online store, take into consideration how much capital you have available and what you will spend it on. While you don’t need to spend finances to rent a physical location as other businesses do, you still need to pay for a web designer to create and maintain your website, a domain, host and other things which are specific to an online store. Considering your work is to sell online, a good quality computer is one of the basic things you must own because you would want to be able to do your work unhindered. You can always try different platforms for free first and see if you like them before you invest your money. For instance, you can get an online store Shopify free trial to test the platform and be aware of what you will be getting as a service.
Apart from the initial costs, you will have additional expenses for which you must adjust your budget. A smart thing to do is have some savings on the side for unpredictable situations. Since you are an online business and your prime working ground are websites, you run the risk to get a virus on your computer every day. Investing in a good quality, up-to-date antivirus is vital in order to protect your computer from unwanted cracks.
Your fixed costs aren’t the only risky thing for your business from the aspect of budgeting. Spending too many funds on unnecessary stuff can put your online store in an undesirable situation. I know having your own business can be exciting, and you will want to get anything and everything for it, but be patient and learn how to restrain yourself. There will be things you won’t be able to afford in the beginning, but with time your online business will grow, and so will your funds.
Deciding to become an online business owner is a big step to take by itself. It requires determination and a desire to succeed.
But being insecure about your abilities as a business owner just isn’t going to work. You have to have confidence in yourself and your ideas and follow them through. If you are hesitant and scared to implement your idea, you will find yourself standing in one place. You have to overcome the fear of failure and put yourself in the spotlight.
Having confidence in yourself will give your clients reassurance in your ability. Doubting yourself or lacking confidence can affect the way others (including your clients) view you. If you don’t believe in your products or services, then how will your clients?
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