Most businesses started today are unsurprisingly run completely online. The barriers that exist for starting a business online are nothing compared to those in the physical world. So why aren’t they all successful? Most online businesses that fail are due to mistakes that in hindsight may seem completely obvious. These can easily be avoided by following these seven musts when starting your business:
- Have a plan of attack.
While it is not necessarily important to have a formal business plan unless you are presenting to investors, you still need a very solid plan, nonetheless. You need to know who your customers are, what you are selling and what people are willing to pay for your product or service. Then and only then should you begin to move forward.
- Don’t get hung up on the little stuff.
Get your business off the ground, first and foremost. Don’t get bogged down by the details. You can figure out what your logo design, business cards and even job titles will be down the stretch, there’s no need to get stuck on them now. You must concentrate on tasks that will help propel your business to the next level and let everything else sort itself out in due time.
- Money isn’t everything (yet).
You should know how much money your company has to work with and spend it accordingly. There is a very good chance you may run out of money before you make any, and if you’ve planned appropriately, you won’t have to scramble at the last minute to make more. Have a financial plan that details milestones and stick to it.
- Believe in your product.
If you know you have a great product, set the price accordingly and stick to it. You may have to adjust price points down the road, but you should take everything into consideration (labor, service, etc.) to price your product, no more, no less.
- Have excellent customer service.
Because your business is run online, not only is customer service important, it is more important than ever before. Your customers may never have a face to go with your brand, therefore your online interactions through email, websites, messages and phone calls has to be helpful, timely and professional. Have a Facebook and Twitter, but only if you can monitor it well. If it applies, also be sure to monitor websites like Yelp and TripAdvisor and always respond when needed, even if it is just a “Thank you”.
- Hire talented people.
Look for people who have the skills you don’t and embody the qualities you respect, but don’t hire just for the sake of hiring. Remember to stick to you financial plan.
- Be ready to give it everything you’ve got.
The balance of work and life is extremely important, but during the first year or two, sacrifices will need to be made. This is okay, and is for the greater good of what you are trying to achieve.