Let’s face it, everybody - no matter who you are - makes mistakes.
Even guys like Steve Wozniak, Stephen King, Michael Jordan, and others failed and were rejected in some shape or form. The only reason why we remember them is because they overcame their failures and went on to build successful careers in their respective fields.
As an online business owner, you are bound to commit errors along the way towards your path to success.
However, this article will help you identify the five mistakes you must avoid from the beginning so you can fast-track your way towards your business goals!
Lack of demand
What kind of business you want to build doesn’t matter in the long run. In the end, your online business should be able to produce products and services that people want to buy.
Without demand from your audience, you’re better off discontinuing your business before you lose even more money.
So, how do you determine demand for your business from the beginning?
It begins and ends with research. And, in this case, you need to roll up your sleeves and be ready to get some elbow grease on.
It doesn’t matter if your business doesn’t sell physical products like Web Growth Boss. Because for your business to exceed, you need people who are interested with what you have to say at the very least.
The first thing you should do is develop your buyer persona. Define the ideal customer for your business and break him or her down into demographics - gender, income, education, social status, and other identifiers.
To help you in this regard, check out your competitors and the type of people whom they are attracting with their brand. You want to aim for their type of audience assuming that you will be selling the same product or service.
Using your buyer persona, join online communities related to your niche and get more insights from them. At this point, your online business is ready for launch. But you’ll need help from your target audience to ensure that there is interest in your brand before you could even go live.
And to do this, you must ask people to fill out a survey about your business. The goal of the questions you will ask in your survey is to gauge their interest about your business. You can also use this opportunity to gather intel about what they look for in a brand.
Based on their answers, you must tweak your product or service to meet the demand of the majority as long as it’s feasible.
Create a questionnaire using Google Forms so you can easily share the link and collect their answers.
Once you have the survey ready, join online communities related to your niche and share the link to your survey there. But before doing that, you need to build trust with other members there by replying to their comments and sharing your expertise.
Keep doing this until you have gathered enough answers to improve your product. Once you’ve made the necessary changes to it, you can inform the survey participants about the product you built and give them a discounted price for it or a free trial.
This way, you also turn them into early adopters of your business.
Of course, there are other ways that you can generate demand towards your online business. But the point here is that you need to do your legwork and actually put yourself out there for people to see. Because there won’t be any demand if people don’t know you exist.
Not keeping your clients happy
You’d think that, since you already have a client base, you’re all set towards business success.
Sorry to burst your bubble, but you can’t rest on your laurels just yet. After all, business never sleeps and so should you, no matter how many clients love your business.
With just a few missteps, you can drive your clients into the arms of your competitors that fast!
The key here is to make every client and customer you have feel important. It doesn’t matter how seemingly small this act may be - the fact that you’re willing to put them first above all else shows a lot about your character which reflects on your business.
After all, you won’t have any business without them in tow!
There are many ways to keep your clients happy. And let’s start with the simplest one: responding on time.
If clients have questions about your products or services, the least you could do is have a way for them to reach out to you or your customer support. Have your contact details such as email addresses and phone numbers available on your website. Better yet, you can set up a live chat widget so they can shoot you a message on Facebook or any messenger you have and receive it in an instance.
Next, reply to them as soon as possible. Don’t put them on hold because it shows to them that their business isn’t important to you. If possible, set up a ticketing system so that all queries pass through it to ensure that the right department attends to each question.
Another way to keep clients happy is by setting up an affiliate program for them. The fact that they’re signed up with your business means that they love it and know how to use it. And what better way to help spread the word about your business than your current customers?
The thing about affiliate programs is that you reward them for every successful referral they send your own. Therefore, this gives them an incentive to promote your business because they receive a commission in return.
Bluehost is a prime example of a brand that runs a very profitable affiliate program. So, what is Bluehost, you ask? It’s a web hosting company known for its extremely helpful customer support. Due to how great this platform is, a lot of its clients are breaking bank with it.
Finally, offer them exclusive discounts and deals on your online business. This is an excellent way to reward their loyalty and thank them for trusting their business with yours.
Not unique enough
For your online business to peak, it must stand out from the pack.
Think of it as the act of dumping a book in a depository with millions of junk. If you don't attach a golden string that allows you to pull it out quickly, I wish you luck if you want to find it eventually.
So let its freak flag fly! It’s what sets your business apart from the rest.
However, if your product or service is similar to the ones in the market, then you have a serious problem.
Since your competitors have years of experience and leverage over your business, you need to position your product and service to help you gain an edge.
And similar to finding interest in your product, you need to do your research and find ways to grab the attention of people.
The best way to do this is by compiling all similar products and identifying their strengths and weaknesses. From here, you need to create and improve your product based on what makes your competitors weaknesses. This way, you offer your product as a viable alternative to your competitors’.
This process will be time-consuming and there’s no easy way around it. However, this is vital in helping your product become much more unique than the ones in the market.
Once you have developed the product, it’s time to market it properly.
Guerilla or grassroots marketing is a great way to get traction from your business. You simply need to find a small group of people to help get the word out about your brand.
Compared to other marketing types, guerilla marketing is highly targeted and focused to your target audience. It’s also cost-effective with a low-risk, high-reward rate. Your campaign can go viral if you do it the right way.
Doing everything by yourself
No man is an island, as the saying goes.
In relation to your online business, you need as much help as you can get to reach your goals.
It would be nice if you can multiply yourself so you can get more things done. Unfortunately, you can only do so much by yourself. And you can’t meet your goals by going through it alone.
Therefore, you need to put trust into people whom you feel can do a good job.
As with most business owners, it’s difficult to put your faith on others who have other interests in mind. They are only committed to your business to an extent, and therefore may not do everything you ask them to.
In this case, the problem isn’t necessarily about trust. It’s about delegating the right task to the right people properly.
Most of the problem stems from the fact that people you hire can’t do a good job because they don’t know how to do it your way.
By setting up systems that you will use to run your business, people will have a clearer understanding of their role in your online business. As a result, they know how much effort to use into the tasks based on their asking rate.
A task in your online business that you need help with the most is your sales funnel. How you design it will determine how profitable your business can become. And since you will be too busy to set up the funnel, you need help from someone who knows his or her way around creating high-converting funnels.
That means this person uses a tool to build one like Clickfunnels and knows the tool inside and out like features and Clickfunnels cost. He or she should also know how to manage the funnel and make necessary tweaks to improve conversion without your guidance.
Regarding their rate, it is customary that your staff receives an increase if they perform beyond expectations. Doing so is a great way to keep them happy and onboard, as well as keep team morale high. However, you need to put everything into paper and define the KPIs of each worker to ensure that they level up properly in your business.
Setting unrealistic expectations
It’s great to be ambitious with your business as long as it’s within the scope of reality.
If you set the bar of expectations too high, then you’ll just end up disappointing not only yourself, but also your customers. As a result, this could put your online business to ruin.
To avoid unrealistic expectations, be in the know of what you and your team can do.
Discuss with them your plans and get their thoughts on whether they can reach the quota or not. Giving them this platform is crucial to your business because it ultimately depends on what they can accomplish at a high rate. From here, come to an agreement on what needs to be done and how long it would take.
Next, track down their process to give you a better understanding of your business’ performance. You can use analytics tools like Google Analytics and Google Search Console to see how many site visitors you have and which platforms referred them to your site.
On a more granular level, you need to monitor the performance of people working for you. A project management tool gives you a bird’s eye view on how people are contributing in your online business. If necessary, you may want to consider using a time tracking tool to get screenshots of people’s screens during work hours.
Having all this information, you can set attainable goals within a period. This way, everybody is accountable for their actions towards the achievement of these goals.
Frequently Asked Questions
So, you know what mistakes can cause the downfall of your business.
Aside from avoiding them, the real doozy is learning from them and making better decisions in the process.
Below are answers to questions related to the points raised above. These should help you determine the kind of online business owner you should be and become the best version of yourself.
Do you have to be passionate about your business?
It helps to be passionate about your business. Some people run a business because of the profit they make from it, but they are not necessarily passionate about what they do. Conversely, there are people who run a business out of love for it but are barely making bank. You may not have the best of both worlds, but if you do, your passion for your business increases your drive to succeed. As a result, you can make more money this way.
How will you show your clients you are listening to them completely?
There are many ways you can do this and it depends on the situation. If they have a problem with your product or service, acknowledge the problem by assuring them that you know where they're coming from. Then offer a solution or compromise to rectify the situation. You can also ask for their input about your products and services. Use their insights to implement the necessary changes in the future.
How do you make products unique?
You must identify factors that are uncommon in your industry and turn it to your advantage. For example, if the products of your competitors have a high barrier of entry, then you need your product to have a lower one so you can attract more people in the process. Aside from price, other product differentiators include features, customer support, and quality, to name a few.
How do you deal with unrealistic expectations?
Business expectations always start from the top. If you’re the business owner or one of the decision makers, you need to know why the expectations are unrealistic in the first place. That would entail you to talk to your managers and team members and get a better understanding of what they can do.
From here, you must temper your goals based on the capacity of your team. If the goals are too low for your liking, you can hire more people to get more things done. Or you can train your people to improve their skills and equip them better with the tasks at hand.
Ultimately, communication is key here. You need to get the best out of people without offending them and vice versa. Never take business decisions personally as it could ruin everything you’ve worked for in your business.
How do you delegate your business effectively?
First, you need to establish a hiring process that allows you to filter out the best candidates for the job who have the intangibles and aptitude for your business.
You can start by posting your vacancy on job boards and choose the best ones for you. Run a short test that puts their skills on display. Then talk to them and get a better sense of who they are as people. From here, you should have all the information you need to make a decision.
You can also put together a dedicated HR team who will manage this for you.
From here, you may need to further train them to get acquainted with your system. After a couple of weeks working closely with your employee, he or she should be able to operate without your supervision.
The real mark of a successful person is how he or she recovers from failure. It’s how they bring themselves back up, learn from their mistakes, and continue treading the path towards their goal.
Ultimately, making mistakes is the only way to learn how to improve your online business. You cannot level up if you don’t know what it takes to get to that level. Only when you commit errors do you feel the gravity of the situation and allow you to see what you could lose if you let yourself be careless.
However, the most important thing to learn from this post is to avoid the mistakes most people make with their business. By following the advice shared here, you can fast-track your way towards business success!
And if you want others to avoid the same ones, feel free to share this post.