7 Biggest Mistakes Made When Starting an Online Business

By charles kirkland | free lessons

Mar 07

Not enough market research

twitter 2As entrepreneurs it’s easy to fall in love with an idea about how well your products are going to sell.  Just build a better mousetrap and they will come. Well, in the online world that’s like waiting up all night to catch the tooth fairy. It’s just not going to happen.

Most entrepreneurs start an online business with the belief that their idea is going to be worth millions right out of the gate. But if you do the market research and look at the facts, you might discover that your idea is not going to work. In this case it may be better to ditch the idea in the planning phase than to waste time and money trying to make it work.

When you are doing market research make sure your find multiple people selling something similar to your product. That’s proof that other people have made it work and you can to.

Next, you need to visit their site to sign up for their email list and buy their product. Take note of the different products they offer for sale in their funnel.

Once you have this research together you will better understand the market dynamics and what you’ll need to have in place to compete successfully with them.

Not focusing on 1 thing until it’s done

Now that you have your market research done and have proof of concept that there is a healthy demand for your product, you need to focus on creating the product until it’s done. That means 100% done, not 99% done. As online entrepreneurs it’s easy to get side-tracked by bright shiny objects that are designed to make you part with your hard earned money. You can’t sell anything until you get it done. Don’t try to do multiple projects at once because it will just slow you down. Plus, you only need to have one front-end product completed to build your business.

domainNot using your own domain

You can’t judge a book by its cover, but you can judge an online business by its domain name. A lot of entrepreneurs will be pound wise and penny foolish by using a free hosting account or a shared domain name. That’s a sure sign of an ameteur. Your domain is your storefront. Make sure you have a self-hosted domain that reflects your business. Plus, the right domain name will inspire confidence in your buyers.

Not building your email list from day 1

The life blood of your business will be your email list. Think of them as your own tribe and you are their fearless leader. It’s up to you to lead them to whatever results you or your products deliver. Never be afraid to email your list because you know you are providing value.

Make email list building your first priority as soon as your site is live. I would suggest you use Aweber for your email marketing. They have a crazy deal where you can get 30 days free. Even if you don’t have your products ready for sale, still get an email form to capture emails on your blog.

Not building out your funnel

Now that you have your email capture up and running it’s time to review your market research to see what and how your competitors are selling their products. You need to really look at how they are positioning their products to the market. Are they the Cadillacs of the niche or do they have the Walmart mentality. You have to figure out your positioning before you create a product.

You also need to look at what types of funnels your competitors are using. Are they losing money on the front-end to acquire a customer only to promote high ticket items to them next week? Do do they make enough money from the front-end sales that they don’t have a back-end funnel. These are important details you need to consider.

coins-1015125_640Not focusing on recurring income

Even if you’re only selling 1 item, look at how you can take that one time sale and turn it into repeat sales. Or better yet offer some kind of continuity program to create recurring income. Often this is done with a product of the month, membership sites, newsletters, or product refills. This will be the source of the bulk of your long-term income. Plus, if you consider selling the business the recurring income and the email list will be the assets that buyers want the most.

Not wanting to spend money on advertising

This is where most entrepreneurs trip themselves up. You have be willing to spend money to get your offer in front of your target audience. It is just like in real estate– location, location, location. You can’t make sales if buyers never see your site. Paid traffic should be a line item on your cost of doing business. The entire internet is based on the model of using paid traffic.

Trying to do the techie stuff yourself

I’m a victim of this myself. I can’t count the times I should have spent my time growing the business instead of tweaking some code on the site or in the shopping cart. Don’t spend your time doing techie things. Technology is hard to learn, and often you will only use it once or twice. But technology is easy and cheap to outsource.

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About the Author

Charles is a walking, talking, networking blend of credibility and know-how. Raised in a working class family, he combined a tenacious work ethic and keen sense of curiosity to usher him over one hurdle after another.