So you’ve been entertaining the idea of starting your own online business for quite a while now? At this point, the scope of your operation and future actions may seem easy to handle. That’s probably because you’ve done your research and developed a business plan.
Since we want you to succeed, we’ve decided to provide you with even more information. More specifically, information that’s hard to come by. Here are the things that nobody tells you about owning an online business.
You probably won't make a profit in the first year
Before you make the big plans for the future, you really need to take full control of your finances. Many business owners don’t, causing their business to fail really quickly. In fact, only 20% of new businesses make it past the first year.
What’s the leading cause?
Businesses typically fail because they run out of money
During the first year, businesses overestimate their needs, spending too much money on overhead. You probably won’t make a profit in the first year, so make sure to identify the key areas, your needs, ongoing costs and possible hidden costs. Make your plan accordingly and keep reinvesting in your small online company.
You'll have flexible working hours allowing you to work more
Being a business owner is different than being an employee in so many ways. The most crucial thing to understand here is the concept of your future workday. And trust us, it's not going to be anything like the good old 9 am to 5 pm model.
You have to get ready for more flexible work hours, as your online business may require a lot of your attention, especially during the first couple of years. Get ready to work a lot more and a lot harder, and in a hectic fashion at times.
There will be SEO
Search engines shape the Internet. They decide which website is going to pop first in the results page and in front of everyone’s eyes. Since you are going to be swimming in the vast online waters along with your competitors, you have to draw a map for your target customers, so that they can find you easily.
To draw this map you will have to apply the best SEO practices to your website and the content you share on it. So get ready for SEO, as there is going to so much of it. To streamline your SEO efforts and make sure you are doing everything right, you should consider using some of the best SEO tools.
There will be Social Media
With 2.62 billion active users, social media platforms have become the most popular marketing tools used by businesses of all sizes and models. They provide access to big crowds for a very low price. What's more important, they enable businesses to build long-lasting relationship and trust with customers for free.
As an online business owner, you should know that there will be a lot of Social Media activity on your part, especially if you want to cut through the noise of generic and spammy brands.
You'll need to hire well from the start
If your customers are the backbone of your business, then your employees are definitely the muscles and tendons keeping it up and moving forward. Saving cash on hiring decisions can cost you your business in the long run.
You will definitely need to hire well right from the start so that you don't have to deal with the damage a bad hire can cause. With the right employees, you will be able to increase productivity and build the culture you want.
Even though you're an online business, customer service matters
Providing an excellent customer service should be on the list of your business priorities. It will help you build high-quality relationships, retain customers, leave good impressions and reap the benefits of word of mouth marketing.
There are many ways to do so. You can publish informative FAQs on your website, invest in a live chat, update your product pages, adopt a simple and flexible returns policy. These are just some of the ideas. You can get as creative as you want, as long as it benefits your customers in some way.
You'll need to learn a lot to keep up
Whether you want to admit it or not, the digital landscape is rapidly changing. Cutting-edge technologies and new best practices arrive every day. And each of these things affects the way we do business, some more, some less.
For instance, have you heard about the customer centric model that’s taking over the business world? Chances are that your competition is already putting it in practice by listening to their users and clients at all times. All we are saying is that there are a lot of lessons to be learned, and some, such as having a customer-centric approach, have to be learned in advance if you don't want your business to suffer.
If you want to keep up and stay relevant in your niche, you will have to keep on learning. When we say learn, we mean reading high authority blogs, following experts in your niche on social media, listening to podcasts, attending events and webinars, and so on. Consistently learning and adapting to the newest changes will help you lead your business to prosperity.
You'll get advice whether you want it or not
Get ready to receive advice whether you want it or not. Try to understand the people who are giving it to you. They just want to help, so there is no need to get defensive. Hear them out, thank them and then carefully analyze their advice.
There is a chance that there is something that you can salvage from it. For all we know, the best business advice can come from where you least expect.
As you can see, things are not that simple, and owning and running an online business will require a lot of time and effort on your part. Get familiar with what’s ahead of you and get ready for your new responsibilities.
Guest author : Marco Mijatovic is a blogger and one of the guys behind FirstSiteGuide. Make sure to check out his work, including in-depth guides and posts that can help you run, start, and grow your online presence.