Top 10 Mistakes To Avoid When Starting An Online Business

10 Common Online Business Mistakes To Avoid When Starting Out
10 Common Online Business Mistakes To Avoid When Starting Out

Starting an online business can be exciting for a first-time entrepreneur. You’re setting out to maybe solve a problem, and hope to someday grow your startup into a million dollar business. While aspirations are important before the start of any business, it’s important to know that there’re common online business mistakes that can kill your startup.

Knowing these common mistakes online businesses make, will help you boost your chances of surviving the hurdle and scaling through to a successful startup.

See Also: How To Make Money Online In 5 Realistic Ways


Here Are 10 Common Online Business Mistakes To Avoid When Starting Out:


1). Not Having A Plan For Your Startup:

Before you start up your online business, you must have an idea of who your target customers are, where you can reach them, their browsing behaviors, if they already patronize your potential competition, and more.

Knowing the customers is the first step. The next is to have an acquisition plan. How you intend to get their attention and successfully convert them is crucial to the survival of your online business.

Sometimes, the business plan you layout upfront may become irrelevant after your online business takes off because, as you run your startup, you’d understand the market even better, and adjust your customer acquisition strategies to better suit that market.


2). Not Prioritising Customer Service:

Acquiring and keeping customers is everything! Without them, your online business wouldn’t exist or stay afloat.

One of the most crucial online business mistakes entrepreneurs make, is not to care too much about the customer; especially at the early stages.

When customers realise they’re been taken for granted, or are not getting a great value from using your product or service, they move on to a more sensitive brand.

You need to show the customer that your brand cares. Try your best to always get reviews from them every time they use your product or service. Your response towards their comments or complaints, would not only show them that you value your relationship with them, but would also have them stick to your brand for the long haul.

See Also: How To Win Back Lost Customers And Keep Them For Good


3). Focusing More On The Glory, Than The Process:

Most internet entrepreneurs read success stories of several online business owners, then excitedly setup an online business, sit back, and watch, to see their glory arrive. The problem is, as many as are that do these, are as many that close shop within a short period.

When the process that creates a successful online business is not followed ( like first having a great product, ensuring it truly solves a problem, acquiring customers, retaining customers, etc ), the end that these entrepreneurs aspire for will never materialize.

Rather than looking purely at the destination, look first, at the next step. When you’re there, reach out for the next, then the next, and the next, till you reach your destination.

See Also: 10 Lucrative Small Business Ideas That Will Make You The Next Millionaire


4). Not Paying Attention To Your Expenses:

Uncontrollable expenses have ruined even companies that have gotten investments worth over $100 million dollars.

It’s important every new internet entrepreneur pays attention to their cash flow. If you’re on a high negative, it’s time to sit back and reassess your full business strategy and model. Check the root causes of your sporadic expenses, and if they’re non-reversible, it might be wise for you to shutdown that online business and start up something new .

Not paying attention to your expenses is one of the most dangerous online business mistakes both new and existing entrepreneurs make.

See Also: 7 Sure Ways To Cut Your Small Business Expenses And Increase Your Profit


5). Assuming One Method Works For All Companies:

One size doesn’t fit all. What worked for Amazon did not work for Ebay. What worked for Apple, did not work for Microsoft.

No matter your online business domain, you need to define your target customers, and plan your marketing strategy around how they think, live, and react to events.

The e-commerce strategies used in the US, mostly don’t work in developing nations like Nigeria or India. For example, people strictly pay online in the US, but in Nigeria, over 85% of the online shoppers currently only pay on delivery.

If the US payment model is forced on Nigerians, the e-commerce business simply doesn’t scale.

Understand your market, and define the best strategies that’d work for them.


6). Waiting Too Long Before You Launch:

The only way to truly ascertain if people need what you’re building or about to start up, is to put out there while you setup. The first version of your online business doesn’t have to look perfect, but has to have it’s core feature pronounced, so that customers can know what problem you’re trying to solve for them.

If it’s a fashion store that only sells handbags, make sure people don’t have a problem figuring that out. Make the message clear from the onset.

These types of online business mistakes can make you lose valuable time and money if you eventually do launch much later, and realise people don’t need what you’re building.

See Also: The 5 Powerful Investing Tips That Made Nigeria’s Aliko Dangote A Billionaire


7). Solving A Problem That’s Not Important:

Before you launch a startup or an online business, ask yourself these two questions: Does it solve a problem? And, does it change people’s lives?

If your online business will not solve a problem, or add value to people’s lives, then you just might have picked the wrong venture. While trying to setup, ensure you’re providing products or services that people truly need. If you’re selling what nobody needs, you’re setting yourself up for failure.


8). Starting Out Alone:

No one man/woman is an island. While been an internet entrepreneur might sound exciting, there’s a limit to what you can achieve on your own.

When starting your online business, start out with the right partners. The most brilliant people you can find in their fields. This tiger team will ensure you have the right set of minds and hands to reach your goals.

Without the right team, your efforts might as well be a total waste.

See Also: 10 Things No One Will Tell You About Being An Entrepreneur


9). Not Having A Unique Selling Point (USP):

What makes your online business different from others? What can you do differently to draw some customers to yourself from the competition?

If people cannot identify what makes you stand out, or what would make them leave their existing trusted brands for yours, then you probably don’t even have a product.

Set yourself apart, then you can be darn sure you’re one step in the right direction.


10). Selling Too Cheap:

Being the new business around the corner doesn’t mean you should price your items lower than the competition. Pricing your items too low for your small business, can send you packing if you don’t hit your customer expectancy number within the period you’ve speculated.

Instead, focus on solving the most pressing problems you can notice, and deliver the best customer service any prospect could ever experience. These would go a long way in justifying the cost of your products and/or services.


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What are your thoughts on these 10 common online business mistakes to avoid when you’re just starting out? Please let me know by leaving a comment in the box below.


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Stan Edom
Stan Edom
I'm an entrepreneur with expertise in supply chain management, international trade, small business development, e-commerce, internet startups, renewable energy, and agriculture. I'm also a network engineer, I.T security expert, and computer programmer. In my spare time when I'm not working out at the gym, I try to solve problems people face in their everyday lives with whatever means necessary.

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  1. This is nice. I have an online business idea that solves a problem and all.. But i dont even know the steps to take or how to get an investor.. Any tips?

    • Hi Keji,

      I’ll do well to write a post on how to successfully start an online business and get investors.

      Please subscribe to the newsletter to get first-hand information about when the post is up.

      Thank you for your comment.

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