Are you thinking of starting a new business or perhaps already have one? I’ve had my blogging business for nearly 4 years now and have learned a lot along the way. There are plenty of business start up mistakes to avoid, but based on my experience, I believe these 5 are among the most important to watch out for. Keep in mind, many of these are based on starting an online business.
1. You Don’t Know Who Your Customers Are
Many people jump on the web hoping to make a lot of money but never really know their potential customers. It’s not always an easy thing to determine, especially when you write about money. :). Everyone uses it, right? But whether you like it or not you need to have a target customer. Figure out who it is and you can the. Determine what they may need.
2. You’re Not Building Relationships with Customers
Once you identify customers, you need to get to know them. Creating an email list is a great way to begin doing this. Surveys may also help. Certainly a blog or Facebook page helps too. Interact with them and build trust by finding new ways to help them. This isn’t easy either but once you understand their needs you can work hard to provide them value with monetized products and services.
3. No Clear Definition of the value you Provide and the Tools or Products You Offer
It’s also easy to fall into the trap of offering a wide variety of products or services. This shotgun approach is likely to confuse customers and just may mean you don’t know what your customers want from you. Make sure your website clearly identifies what it is you’re offering. If your product is a blog, state that on the home page and also tell visitors who it’s for and why. I think many blog owners have done a great job telling this story simply with their domain name and / or tagline. While One Money Design is unique, I don’t think I did a good job of telling people what my blog is about.
4. Not Setting Proper Expectations at Home
Starting a business is hard work and you’ll never know how much time it will actually require. If you’re married, it’s critical to establish expectations at home. How much time can your loved ones expect you to spend on your business? State clearly the end goals and why you’re taking on the opportunity. Your family must be bought into the purpose as well.
5. Not Setting Proper Expectations with Yourself
Finally, set expectations with yourself, otherwise, you could be your own worst enemy to the success of the business. How much time will you personally dedicate? When will you stop working on your projects at night? What will you give up? Is it worth giving up exercise or other hobbies? If not, how will you keep theses things in your life too? Also, set expectations on business growth. Try to realistically forecast customers and profits, otherwise, you can become discouraged and want to quit. As long as you can continue to financially support your business, it’s far better to plan for the long run and avoid high expectations of short-term monetary success that can lead to disappointment.
Just in a short time of running my online business, I’ve encountered these challenges and of course, many more. Keeping them in mind, will help you get off to a good start or perhaps steer an existing business in the right direction. I love online business and believe there is much more opportunity to come in the future in this space.
So, what about you? What do you think are some business start up mistakes to avoid?