by Tommy Bjorn, founder of Secondonlineincome.com
Starting up and running your own business from home can be difficult – but it can also be rewarding, exciting and most of all, successful! There are pitfalls, traps and common mistakes that every startup should avoid in order to have the best chance at success.
If you’re looking for tips on how to start a successful online business, whether it will be a full-time or part time online business, you’ll need to beware of some of the common mistakes that startups make:
1. Losing Focus.
While there are countless decisions to make, plans to get in order, products and/or equipment to attain and more, it’s crucial that startups never lose focus. Whether your focus is your product, your strategy or your audience, diligently and mindfully work to maintain your sights on the right place. Amanda Peyton, Co-Founder of Grand St., explains that one thing she has learned is the value of intense focus. “Trying to complete only a few things each week means doing an excellent job on all of them, whereas trying to do the 27 things I want to do usually results in mediocre or incomplete work,” she says. The key is to prevent becoming overwhelmed – prioritize and focus your time and your resources, since they are limited.
2. Failing to Understand Gaps between Sales and Profits.
How is your business going to account for and reconcile your expenses? What is your budget? How much “cushion” does your budget allow? There are many other additional questions regarding finances that you must answer if you’re going to be successful. When you start an online business, whether it’s full-time or a part time online business, you have to know your company’s financial standing – always. Otherwise, you’ll burn right through your savings before you knew what hit you.
It’s too easy to over-estimate profits and under-estimate costs. Be sure that you create a strict budget and allow some cushion for unexpected expenses. Overestimate figures, which will also reduce your error margin. After you’ve set a budget, do not go as high as you can to reach the budget ceiling – if things don’t go as you plan, you will need that extra “room” between your expense amount and your budget ceiling!
3. Putting Too Much Stock in Feedback.
Although it’s great to get feedback from other people about your startup, keep in mind that not every decision you make has to be made by or influenced by the collective. You don’t have to balance the opinions and suggestions of all people all of the time. Allison Beal, Co-Founder and CEO of StyleSaint says, “You will have a ton of people constantly sharing their feedback and opinions of your business with you. Keep in mind that people will give you feedback based off of their market knowledge and domain experience – it is your job to apply that knowledge to your company without losing sight of your vision.”
4. Not Listening to Customers.
One of the common mistakes people wanting to start an online business make is developing a product without enough input. It becomes a delicate balance between taking too much stock in feedback and not taking enough. Adda Birnir, Co-Founder of Skillcrush, explains, “Every time we have been unsure about a product or direction and we have taken the time to talk to users, we have always walked away with the insight we needed to move forward.”
It’s important to engage customers early on to help put you on the right path. You don’t have to expose your ideas and your product to the entire world at once – just a select handful of loyal people who hold an opinion you respect.
5. Failure to Prepare for a Lifestyle Change.
Whether you’ve left home each day for your job or you’ve always managed to work from home, you’ll be up for a lifestyle change once you act on how to start a successful online business. Many people (most, in fact) who quit their current jobs to start a business are not able to sustain their current lifestyle – at least, not at first and not for a while. Startups require a huge amount of sacrifice, and this includes sacrificing more than just money. It also requires sacrificing time, mental energy and more. If you are not prepared for a cut in pay, less free time and more business needs to tend to, your business won’t be the only thing that quickly burns out – you will too.
With a solid plan of action, business plan, and financial plan, you’ll realize that starting a successful online business doesn’t have to be so confusing, frightening or stressful. The key for everything is to plan and focus.
Dedicated family father, trumpet player and professional online entrepreneur, Tommy Bjorn is the proud founder of Secondonlineincome.com. He specializes in teaching others how to create professional websites and build successful online businesses through internet marketing. When Tommy isn’t coaching others, he spends most of his time with his new son and wife.