The Internet is full of articles, videos and products that promise to show even the most basic of Internet user how to start a profitable online business. What are discussed less often are the pitfalls that so many start-ups face, often resulting in the abandonment of the venture.
No Clear Plan of Attack
Just like everything else in life, your online business takes some planning. The best way to create your plan of attack is to approach your website as a business – and not as a hobby. Like any other business, it has costs it needs to cover and it needs to make a profit.
Poor Keyword Research
Keyword research could be the single most important element of your online venture. Aim too high and you risk missing out on a lucrative sub-market, or niche. Aim too low and there won’t be enough customers in your target market to sustain the business.
Doing it all Yourself
A big problem for online start-ups is the misconception they need to be a jack of all trades. When the electrics in your home go faulty, would you attempt to repair it yourself? Or would you rely on an expert to solve the problem for you? It’s the same with your website. If you don’t know HTML and don’t have the time or interest in learning it, outsource. Every job can be outsourced, from graphic design to customer support.
An online business isn’t that much different from a bricks and mortar business at the end of the day. Both require time, energy and can only be built layer by layer. It takes time to see results.
Not Tracking Progress
It’s important to set realistic goals for your business, even if you don’t reach all of them. Monitoring your progress will tell you what’s working and what’s not. The only rule of marketing that matters is; do more of what is working, and less of what isn’t.
Starting too many Projects
Spinning plates isn’t easy. Think of each website you own as a plate that needs to build up enough momentum to spin on its own before starting a new one. While it’s tempting to implement several ideas and ‘strike when the iron is hot’, it’s also a risky strategy that can lead to the loss of focus and burnout. Only start a new project when you have the current one running as you envisioned, or set aside time to work on each one – and stick to it.
This one is a major concern for new start-ups, trying to figure out the right direction. Buying new products, downloading the next report and spending hours surfing through forum threads isn’t going to help you build your business — in fact it’s preventing you. Products, tools and forums will always be there when you need them, take it step by step and learn by doing. Email, instant messengers and websites can be huge time wasters — allocate a dedicated time for this stuff and build it into your routine.
And with that said, now’s the time to close your browser window and get back to focusing on your business. Good luck.