You have embarked on the adventure of starting a small online business and think you have the million-dollar idea. It is normal. In fact, it is very, very easy to get carried away by that euphoria at the beginning. But beware because that same euphoria can blind you to certain dangers of entrepreneurship.
Because that euphoria is common to most entrepreneurs, a whole set of avoidable mistakes surprise many. Here we talk about ten mistakes that are too common when starting a small online business.
This is the typical advice that your father would give you: don’t be too confident, son, because those who receive the biggest slaps are those who don’t expect them. Parents are always right because this also applies to playing online casino games. So don’t get too confident and think you’ve invented fried chicken.
No matter how good your idea is, do not launch it without first conducting a good market study. Find your direct competition because surely you are not the first to have the same idea, and you can apply everything you learn from this study to your online business.
Not Having a Business Plan
Setting up an online business must be perfectly structured and stipulated in the relevant business plan. And, be careful, because the business plan is so important that maybe you should consider getting the services of a consultant to help you bring it to fruition.
One last piece of advice in this regard: the Internet works at lightning speed; therefore, it is almost impossible to predict what will happen five years from now. The most advisable thing regarding online business is to make business plans for two years and thus review them to incorporate changes and novelties.
In addition to having a business plan, it is important to ensure that all company data and confidential information is kept private within the business. A business VPN can be used to support this.
In the beginning, and especially if you do not have an adequate business plan, one of the most common mistakes is to conceive an oversized and unrealistic infrastructure. When starting your business, you always want the best, the biggest, the most spectacular without considering that the best is useless without a good base.
Before you think big about infrastructure, focus on creating a flexible foundation. In this way, those foundations can support a larger or smaller business depending on how things go.
Not Finding The Perfect Professionals
At the beginning of everything, and no matter how much love is invested in an online project, there can be three common cases: you lack time, experience, or contacts. These three shortcomings can imply that you do not hire the most suitable professionals for your company.
It is worth spending a reasonable amount of time looking for the profiles that best suit your needs and talking to colleagues who have been through the same thing as you so that they can advise you and get competent networking. Invest energy in these three parameters, and you will find the professionals capable of making your business grow.
Ignoring Online Marketing
Suppose your business has a purely online base. In that case, you cannot be an entrepreneur without investing in an online marketing strategy that positions your company within the Internet’s complex (and increasingly overpopulated) network. It doesn’t have to be complex and sophisticated, but you must do it.
Start with the basic strategies and tools, monitor how they work and refine your online marketing strategy based on the conclusions you draw from this process. Although, as in the case of the business plan, having specialized professionals will always give more effective wings to your entrepreneurial adventure.
Not Ensuring Customer Retention
Knowing our ideal client is essential, but taking care of our frequent clients is more vital. Repeat customers are invaluable to a business. Studies show that returning customers spend 3%-15% more than new customers.
They also have a much higher conversion rate: 60%-70% compared to 5%-20% of new customers. However, in most cases, we design our marketing plans thinking only of achieving recruitment and sales objectives, forgetting the loyalty phase.
All this information reminds us that Customer Centricity strategies must constantly be in our marketing plan. Not working on specific strategies for our most loyal customers is a serious mistake we must avoid when starting an online business.
Inconsistent and Unadapted Tones
In the same way, the brand’s tone and verbal identity (the verbal equivalent of its visual identity) should align in the media and other marketing channels.
However, ensure that the tone can be affected by the communication objectives in the different channels. Therefore, we must be prepared to design the appropriate tone for each of them while remaining consistent with the verbal identity overview of our brand.
In short, your strategy must be designed to adapt the tone to the message, channel and objectives. This should align with the ultimate goal of generating the most significant user interests.
Ignoring Traditional Marketing
Today’s customers are neither online nor offline nor perceive a brand as digital or traditional. They are oblivious to media, channels and technology. They use available tools to optimize their time, money and experience.
They claim to be able to interact and communicate with companies and do not mind through which channel they do it. They are prosumers; they are in both online and offline media.
This means that brands, in exchange for prosumers loyalty, receive unique and harmonic experiences without interruptions. This should be aligned in message and aesthetics, regardless of the market, channel, device or moment.
That is why separating marketing plans to build a “digital” plan is not the best idea, especially in structures such as startups and small businesses.
Not Having a Clear Path to Reach Your Client
Marketing plans should be created with the customer, not products and business tactics. The buying cycle is one of the best tools for designing marketing strategy, along with customer lifetime value and share. That is why it is essential to design strategies for each objective phase of the consumer’s purchase journey, especially when talking about small businesses.
Setting Generic Goals
Another common mistake is setting generic goals and forgetting about the purchase funnel.
Setting generic and global goals is perfect. But knowing how to differentiate macro-objectives and micro-objectives will be important when measuring the success of the strategies and actions of the marketing plan, taking into account:
- That each action must pursue a single objective
- That no plan should be rigid, but flexible and based on data analysis
We cannot work on a marketing plan with only the most desired macro-conversion objective: sales. Our global objective to keep our business afloat and obtain profits cannot be other than to obtain successful sales.
And it’s good as a stimulus to have a clear sales conversion goal. But let’s not start building the house from the roof.
A good plan that gives us the greatest guarantee of success must be clear about the different stages of the process we must follow. Achieving macro conversions will depend on the achievement of smaller objectives. Therefore, every optimal marketing plan must be able to define micro-goals for each stage of the conversion funnel.
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