Seven deadly mistakes online start-ups make…and how to avoid them

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Starting an online business seems easy. The website set up can be done in a few hours, and voila, a business is born! So why more than 90 per cent of new online businesses fail in their first 120 days? Here are the most common mistakes and how to prevent them.

What’s your customer avatar?

Ninety per cent of people aren’t clear on who their target audience is. Selling online has a major advantage – it allows us to laser focus on the audience we want to target and exclude everyone else in between. The tools and technology available to us is there to be used. Don’t waste your money on people who will never buy what you’ve got to offer.

Don’t innovate – adopt a model that works!

There are endless possibilities on how to set up a sales funnel, drive traffic and convert. Though there are only a few paths for each industry that are proven to deliver great results. Numerous companies have spent millions on finding these optimum paths. Unless you have a big budget, don’t gamble and model what works!

No action equals no result

Nothing is worse than being a perfectionist. What stops most from generating great results is actually starting. Results are delivered through consistent imperfect action.

Online doesn’t mean offline

Leave meetups, networking and coffee catch-ups to offline businesses. Every online business and, particularly a new one, needs to spend most of its time generating sales online. Don’t waste your time on reaching individuals if you can reach millions with a few clicks.

Use a systematic approach

The beauty of online selling is the easy access to data. Use this in a systematic way to interpret a story of what’s going on and let it guide you with what to do next. I call this my ‘$1M-dollar story’ because it is that powerful. Lots of entrepreneurs disregard the data or don’t use it systematically which leads to guessing and hoping unsure of what to do next. I compare this to gambling.

Invest into what matters

Starting entrepreneurs tend to spend lots of time and money on setting up a beautiful website, creating an appealing logo and hiring the best photographer to represent their brand. Unfortunately though, unless you know how to sell what you’ve got, this stuff can be worthless. Instead, you want to focus on online ads and marketing. You can always make your website look good later on. Nothing is worse than investing a ton of time and money upfront and potentially into a product no one will buy.

Follow your funnel flow down, not the other way around

“I’ve got lots of traffic but no sales…” is something starting online entrepreneurs often say. Entrepreneurs look at clicks and then tend to jump right to purchases (or lack of them) skipping a few very important steps in-between. Making this type of business decisions is like driving west and expecting to arrive east – it can be done but it will be too expensive for a new business and it will take a very long time to get there. Instead, you want to follow the funnel flow down every step along the way – first the clicks, then the website visits, add to carts or service enquires and only then start looking purchases.

Generating great results doesn’t have to take long and I’ve seen entrepreneurs without any marketing or advertising background reach six figures in just a few short months. Find a system that works for you and you’ll be on your path to become a success instead of a statistic.

Silvia Myers, eCommerce Growth Specialist