Aspiring Internet Based Businesses – Common Pitfalls to Avoid

Internet has revolutionised the way people shop, communicate, interact with companies and literally every aspect of life.

If you are one of the many aspiring Internet buff who has decided to start-up and be the next big thing, read this article.

More people have access to the Internet today than ever and it’s a no-brainer that it is only going to grow rapidly. Yet, it is still considered to be in its infancy. Every year, plenty of startups use the online space to create a new product.

With this enormous list of online customers bundled with the fact that marketing and advertising can be done on the Internet at a super targeted level at a far lower cost compared to traditional advertising, startups now have a fascinating opportunity to be successful in online business.

More and more companies are now increasing their advertising budgets in favor of the online space because of the obvious benefits it offers. However, a word of caution before you jump to any quick and miscalculated conclusions, online advertising and marketing is not as easy as it looks. It takes a deep insight and some technical knowledge, quite a bit of hard work coupled with significant financial investment.

Below is a quick checklist to follow before you start an online business, courtesy of our friends at Aquo Digital

  1. Do you want to Sell Products/Services?

If you want to sell a product, unlike the old days where the whole gamut of operations, supply chain, inventory handling, order management, taxations, shipping, logistics would contribute a significant nightmare, one can simple leverage the all-powerful e-commerce companies’ huge reach. They handle all these tasks for you, albeit at a cost. So be wise to factor in these costs before you decide on pricing your product. Also, look at what advantage you would be able to give a customer that the other sellers would typically not be able to provide. How unique is your product and how differently can you brand and position it.

One can always do a simple internet research to understand the margins each product approximately yields. Or if you are an Internet pro, consider starting an affiliate program that helps these online etailers get more customers. All the etailers pay a generous fee in exchange for your services. Read about Affiliate Marketing to get a better idea on this topic.

Services, on the other hand, if you are good at it, generates a ‘continuing’ income. It is possible to have a monthly income as long as you are able to provide your customers with a significant value such as increase in sales, consulting on strategy, creative positioning and so on. A simplified example would be to provide a web hosting service where you would provide online space and manage your customers’ data and online footprint

2  A Foolproof Business Plan

Although, temptation would drag you into your favourite idea, don’t start an online business until you have made a comprehensive plan about your target market, your product demand, services necessity etc. The next step is to understand, evaluate how to acquire these products (or services), how you will market and sell them and earn money. Like any other business, you must have a business plan for your Internet business.

Understand your limitations on marketing in the online space. Set achievable short term and long term objectives, prepare a budget and stick to them. Check periodically on the performance of your products, take feedback from your customers religiously and make necessary corrections to your plan. Keep improving, stick at it.

  1. Finances & Patience

By now, you might have understood that building a successful online business takes a lot of effort and time. Not only that, it also requires prudent financial investments. The investments could well be spent on acquiring new skills or to advertise your business. Don’t be naive, there is no overnight miracle that will make your business a unicorn in no time. Listen to the hyped stories and cut it out of your brain.

Prudent financial management combined with patience can lead to consistent growth for your business.

  1. Discipline & Perseverance

Although, online businesses do not require huge spaces, it is important to commit to some form of discipline. Once you have decided to start an online business and to spend countless hours in front of the computer, you must stay focused on your goals and do not allow any external distractions to affect your thinking.

It is important to note that you need to treat it as a business and not a hobby. Strict but flexible schedules in work and personal life can make a world of difference. The perseverance to sit in front of the PC and learn new things can be daunting in the beginning. Don’t be disheartened, you will cope with it soon. Divide your time practically in order to avoid unnecessary conflicts that can result in a heart burn and burn a hole in your pocket.

  1. Know how to Advertise

There are a lot of avenues where you can advertise your business for free. Professionals, however, suggest that with due diligence, define an online marketing strategy to identify what your target customers do and where they spend most of their time online. Once you have a reasonable idea, you can plan to reach them and grow your business.