According to a recent research, 9 out of 10 small businesses result in failure. Seeing how in 2017 the largest number of them exists only in the digital environment, the root of (at least some) of their failure must be in their online activity. As for the rest, well not even online business owners are immune to some of the oldest errors in the book. Luckily, some of the greatest slip-ups that your startup makes can be avoided by planning a proper start. Here are seven tips on how you can make this happen.
1. Choose an Industry You Are Passionate About
First things first, you need to realize one thing- no matter how interesting your job is, at times it will be completely unbearable. The very fact that so much is at stake and the fact that things don’t go as planned will most likely make you want to quit. The only thing that can make you push through this rough patch is a passion for what you do. There are, of course, other advantages of doing something you love like the desire to constantly self-improve and the fact that you probably already possess a formidable amount of knowledge about trends of the niche.
2. Go with Crowdfunding
Gathering funds for your company is never an easy task. Luckily, with the boost in popularity of various crowdfunding platforms such as Kickstarter, things have definitely looked up for online startups and SMBs. Nowadays, it is much easier to present your business idea to broad masses and get people who like it to invest in you. Still, you need to find the best way to present your vision to the world, which on its own isn’t an easy task.
3. Don’t Quit Your Day-Job (Yet)
Another thing you need to bear in mind is that for a traditional business it takes about 6 months to 2 years until they are self-sustainable. Seeing how resource investments in an online startup usually aren’t that great, your business might become profitable much sooner, but this doesn’t mean that it will be bringing in enough money on its own. In order to survive until this comes to life, you should either keep your day-job or get another source of revenue to support you. You could sell an asset or at least get one more roommate.
4. Pay Special Attention to Design
If you were to open a traditional business, you would try to make a good first impression on your potential customers by designing your HQ’s driveway, entrance and reception area. In the digital environment, all of this can be replaced with the idea of a great web-design. While some people prefer to do this on their own, it is usually for the best to leave such an important feature to the professionals. For those who are particularly budget-oriented, there are great great affordable web design offers out there for you to choose from.
5. Outsource IT Support
Next thing that deserves your full and undivided attention is the question of IT support. Without the proper expertise in the field, it is highly unlikely that you would be able to take care of this issue at a satisfactory level. On the other hand, hiring someone skilled enough for the job to perform this in-house might not be cost-effective. Because of this, it is probably for the best to simply outsource your startup’s IT, until you are ready to commit to it on a much larger scale.
6. Hire Remote Workers
The larger your staff, the more gear you have to buy and the larger office you will be forced to leash. As an alternative, you could always outsource and start hiring remote workers (at least as a temporary solution). In most cases, telecommuters work on a performance pay, which means that they will a) work harder and b) their paycheck will becomemuch more convenient outcome. This also means that in the situation of a decreased workload, you will be spared of the unpleasantness of having to lay people off (in a traditional sense).
7. The Choice of a Host
Finally, the choice of the host is paramount for any online business. For starters, you need someone who offers you at least 99.99 percent of uptime. Second, you need to insist on someone with 24/7 available support, since for an online business a problem that occurs at 2am is as big as a 2pm one. Finally, you should look at the reviews and ratings they have on at least several sites so that you don’t find any surprises there.
As you can see, running an online business is not unlike running a traditional one. You need to up your organizational abilities, boost your infrastructure, but most importantly- you need to choose a profession you feel passionate about. Those who manage to pull all of this off have nothing to fear in the world of online business.
Steven Clarke is a digital marketing specialist/business consultant. In his spare time, he likes to write about his ideas and share them with the world. Steven is a regular contributor to several websites.