Starting an online business and running it successfully is not about being smart, it’s about common sense and perseverance. Launching a business is hard work and requires a great deal of dedication. But the reason most people end up being unsuccessful has nothing to do with being intelligent enough – it’s because they lose their focus, don’t follow through, or give up too soon.
So how do you make sure you won’t fall flat on your face with your incredible business idea?
Here are some tips to help you launch your online business without failing first.
Solve a problem
People often make the mistake of searching for a product first and a problem later. To be successful, the key is to identify a problem and then find a way to solve it. A market that’s looking for a solution, and not finding any results, will be your biggest asset.
According to Fortune, the single biggest reason most businesses fail is because they created products nobody wanted. A lack of market need was identified as the biggest reason for failure by 42% of failed startups.
If you’re planning to invest time and money into a business, make sure your product/solution has a market.
Have a plan of action
Although you don’t need a formal 30-page business plan to succeed, you still need to know who your target audience is, what their problems are, what solution you’re offering them, and whether they’d be willing to pay for your service or product. This means you need a plan of action. If you start without a plan, your actions will not be aligned with your business and you’ll end up wasting time and money. Like they say - “If you fail to plan, then you plan to fail.”
Try to streamline your path when you start out to avoid being all over the place. When you have a focused timeline and a focused action plan, things are sure to run much more smoothly.
Know your profit model
According to SmallBizTrends.com; 30% of small businesses break even, 40% make money and 30% take a loss. In order to succeed at business, you must be clear – down to the last dime - about how much you’re spending, where it’s coming from and how much you’re getting in return. Many people make the mistake of starting a business without paying attention to financial issues such as expenses, taxes, or cash flow.
What’s your net margin on sales? Your gross margin? What’s the number of sales you need to make to break even? You need to lay out a proper profit strategy to get answers to these questions before you launch your business.
Many small business owners think they can do it all themselves. With this kind of thinking, you’re setting yourself up for failure. No one person can be good at every aspect of running a business. You need to determine important functions and delegate duties to suitable people to get the job done. Your skills and strengths should be used for the business’s best advantage but you must learn to assign responsibilities to others who can perform them better.
Moreover, never make the mistake of ignoring tasks you don’t like to do. Starting a successful business requires many critical actions. You don’t want to end up going bankrupt by failing to pay attention to an important function just because you didn’t like it. Find the right people for each job and make sure they’re in the right position.
Build an audience
When you’re starting out, it’s essential to build your brand voice and an audience to market to. This is where most small businesses fail. You create a business plan, a beautiful website and take all the right steps, but sales don’t happen because you didn’t build an audience.
You can use various methods to quickly build a following. Create a presence on social media by testing out one or two social networks where your target audience hangs out. Advertise your product or service with a small budget to a customized audience and monitor the results.
Another great way to get the word out is by guest posting on blogs that are relevant to your niche. This is one of the best ways to build credibility, market to a larger audience, and direct traffic back to your site. You can also be a guest on applicable podcasts to get the message out.
No matter how great your product or service is, it won’t matter if you’re not able to get the message to the right people. If you’re not well-versed with digital marketing techniques, consider hiring an expert to help you with it.
Launching an online business is hard work. Many aspiring entrepreneurs assume the road to success will be easy and streamlined, but that’s not true. Unfortunately, passion alone is not enough to ensure victory. However, if you follow the above-mentioned steps, you’ll be on your way to launching an online business with a much higher chance of success.