Not enough market research in starting an online business
As entrepreneurs, it’s easy to fall in love with an idea about how well your products are going to sell online. Just build a better mousetrap and they will come. Well in the online world that’s like waiting up all night to catch the tooth fairy.
It’s just not going to happen. Most entrepreneurs come online with the belief that their idea is going to be worth millions right out of the gate.
But if you do the market research and look at the facts you might discover that your idea is not going to work and it would be better to ditch an idea in the planning phase than to waste time and money to make it work.
When you are doing market research make sure you find multiple people selling something similar to your product. That’s proof that other people have made it work and you can too.
Next, you need to visit their site and sign up for their email list and buy the product. I would suggest you use something like Camtasia or Jing to record the funnel and process or at the very least print out the pages.
Once you have this research together it will help you better understand the market dynamics and what you’ll need to have it place to compete successfully with them.
Not focusing on 1 thing until it’s done
Now that you have your market research done and have proof of concept that there is a healthy demand for your product, you need to focus on it until it’s done. That means 100% done, not 99% done.
As online entrepreneurs it’s easy to get sidetracked by bright shiny objects that are designed to make you part with your hard earned money. You can’t sell anything until you get it done. Don’t try to do multiple projects at once. That is a surefire recipe to take twice as long. Plus, you only need to have one front-end product going to build your business.
Not using your own domain
You can’t judge an ebook by its cover, but you can judge an online business by its domain name. A lot of entrepreneurs will be poundwise and penny foolish by using a free hosting account or a shared domain name.
That’s a sure sign of an amateur. Your domain is your storefront online. Make sure you have a self hosted domain that reflects your business. Plus, you’ll inspire confidence in your buyers with the right name.
Not building your email list from day 1
The life blood of your business will be your email list. Think of them as your own tribe and you are their fearless leader. It’s up to you to lead them to whatever results you or your products deliver. Never be afraid to email your list because you know you are providing value.
Also make email list building your first priority as soon as your site is live. I would suggest you use Aweber for your email marketing. They have a crazy deal where you can get 30 days free. Even if you don’t have your products ready for sale, still get an email form to capture emails on your blog.
Not building out your funnel
Now that you have your email capture up and running it’s time to review your market research to see what and how your competitors are selling their products. You need to really look at how they are positioning their products to the market. Are they the Rolls-Royce brand or do they have the Walmart mentality? You have to figure out your positioning before you create a product.
Plus, you need to look at what types of funnels your competitors use. Are they losing money on the front end to acquire a customer only to promote high ticket items to them next week? Do they make enough money from the front end sales that they don’t have a back end funnel? These are important details you need to review.
Not focusing on recurring income
Even if you’re only selling 1 item, look at how you can take that one time sale and turn it into repeat sales or, better yet, offer some kind of continuity program to create recurring income. Often this is done with a DVD of the month, membership sites, newsletters, and product refills.
This is where the bulk of your long term income will come from. Plus, if you ever plan to sell the business the recurring income with the email list will be the assets that buyers want the most.
Not wanting to spend money on advertising
This is where most entrepreneurs trip themselves up. You have to be willing to spend money to get your offer in front of your target audience. Just like in real estate it is all about location, location, location.
You can’t make sales if nobody ever sees your site. Paid traffic should be a line item on your cost of doing business.
Trying to do the technical stuff yourself
I’m a victim of this myself. I can’t count the times I should have spent my time growing the business, but instead, I was tweaking some code on the site or fiddling around in the shopping cart. Don’t spend your time doing techie things.
Technology is hard to learn, and often you will only use it once or twice. But technology is easy and cheap to outsource.