While more and more people are obsessed with the idea of starting an online business, a lot of them are still completely oblivious of all that it takes to succeed in an industry. There are some issues that need to be resolved beforehand and some infrastructure to be laid down. Nonetheless, this course of action often eludes new entrepreneurs, which causes a wide array of difficulties further down the line. In order to avoid this becoming a serious problem, here are a few things you must do before starting an online business.
1. Gather the funds
Although it is true that some online businesses can be started with as little as $500, this greatly depends on the industry you are in.
At the very least, you need to pay for website design, monthly subscription fees for software you use and the cost of registering your domain name. This is, of course, in a situation where you If, on the other hand, you are in retail, you also have to think about the cost of manufacturing/paying the supplier. Needless to say, you need to bear in mind that the less money you aim to invest, the more effort will be required on your part, which doesn’t always seem like a smart trade for those who are already preoccupied with their day-job.
2. Separate your personal from your professional life
Perhaps one of the hardest things for a first-time business owner is finding a way to separate their personal and professional lives. This needs to be done both emotionally and financially. When it comes to the former, you need to try and restrain yourself from trying to micro-manage everything, seeing as how your personal relationships might suffer because of it. Moreover, you are putting yourself at risk of burning out early, just when your business might need you the most. As for protecting your personal finances, you need to register a company as soon as possible, so that, in the event of failure, you do not lose your personal savings to repay the investors.
3. Postponing worries about customer services
Everyone knows that customer service is a vital component in the success of a company. What they disagree on is how early on you need to resolve this issue. A vocal minority argues that this is something best left for later on, while the majority of experienced business owners argue that this can be a devastating mistake leading to the inevitable demise of your company. Therefore, your customer service needs to be among the first things you deal with and if you don’t believe you can handle this adequately in-house, outsourcing might be a good idea.
4. Having loose hiring criteria
A mistake that is probably the easiest one to sneak up on you is believing that the talent will come later on and that, for the time being, you can loosen up your hiring criteria. Needless to say, the very launch of your company is where you are supposed to shine the most, which is why allowing just about anyone into the company may cause irreparable damage in the long run.
5. Spreading yourself too thin on social media
Even though there are over a dozen important social networks out there at the moment, you don’t have to be equally represented across all of them. Retailers of gadgets and software have the greatest odds of appealing to their audience on YouTube, while those focusing on arts and crafts might have better luck on Pinterest. Furthermore, teens are the most common audience on Snapchat, while Facebook is believed to be a predominantly female network. Overall, you need to identify your target audience and focus the greatest portion of your efforts on one or two channels.
At the end of the day, the greatest problem with the above-listed tips is that not all of them are logical or intuitive, which makes them easy to overlook. Sure, everyone knows that hiring the right people and dealing with your customer service is important, but not everyone knows just how dangerous skipping any of these steps may turn out to be. If you’re lucky, you will never have to find this out the hard way either.