6 Things to Remember When Starting Your First Online Business

Congratulations on making the decision to start your own online business! Owning a business can be incredibly challenging, but offers equal reward in terms of personal fulfillment and monetary value. Running a business is hard work, make no mistake, but as long as you remember these six things, you’ll be on your way to running an efficient and profitable business. Keep reading to learn some key things to remember when you start your first online business.

1. Discipline is Key

Owning a business is all well and good until you have to start putting in extra hours, sacrificing personal time to run the business, and missing important obligations because duty calls. Make no mistake; owning a business will require much personal sacrifice and discipline.

Discipline is the key to success when things become difficult. You’ll need the discipline to get up early, to work late, and to allocate more of your personal time to the business’s needs. You’ll likely be spending the majority of your time running your business, and without the discipline to hold everything together, you’re setting yourself up for failure.

One way to foster discipline in yourself is to start with a simple daily schedule. Write out tomorrow’s tasks before you go to bed, and wake up/go to sleep at the same time daily if possible. Sometimes, you’ll have to stay up late, but you should always try to get up early to maximize the hours you get out of a day.

You’ll also want to discipline yourself when it comes to company money. It can be tempting to spend company funds on non-necessities, or to give yourself raises. Discipling yourself against these situations can help you navigate the tricky financial landscape that is entrepreneurship. You can also hire a financial advisor if you’re not great at managing money.

2. A Good Web Designer is Irreplaceable

If you’re building an e-commerce store, you don’t want to attempt to design it yourself with those DIY site builders like Wix. That is, unless you’re a web designer by trade! Web designers are absolutely priceless when it comes to creating that perfect custom website for your brand.

DIY site builders are perfect for your parenting blog or personal writing site, but when it comes to an e-commerce site, you’ll want a professional to design it for you. They’ll be able to create custom pages that adhere to your specific requests, and will also be aware of any coding or design requirements that an online store might need.

3. Market Research is Essential

If you don’t know who you’re selling your products to or how to reach them, you probably won’t have much success with your online business. You should know your target audience in and out before you even open your store, and have a solid marketing plan in place to begin bringing customers to your website.

Be sure to first identify your audience; are they male, female, both? What are your target ages? Races? Geographic locations? There are many factors that contribute to identifying the right audience, and you can also analyze your competition to paint a clearer picture of what your customers will look like.

Analyzing the competition is a must if you’re going into business for yourself. Identifying the things they do well and not so well can help you craft a better business model to draw those customers to your brand instead.

4. Failure is Only Failure if Your Learn Nothing

When you’re running a business, you’re going to hit roadblocks. It’s inevitable. There will be plenty of challenges, shortcomings, and even mistakes that will be made; which will probably set you or the business back. The most important thing to remember is that failures are only failures when you don’t learn from them.

Fail forward, not backward. When you make a mistake, stand up and look that mistake in the eye and keep moving forward. Think of it this way: if you fall down, but you never get back up, how will you ever get where you’re going? It may take you a hundred times to finally stand back up, but if you do, you haven’t failed at all. You’ve evolved.

Try not to let mistakes and setbacks get under your skin. The default reaction to a mistake is to question our own abilities as people. Consider this: we are human. Mistakes are part of human life. You will make mistakes, and from those mistakes, you will learn some of your most valuable lessons.

5. Networking is Important

Networking is an essential part of running a business. Connecting with other businesses and professionals can help you grow a support network or referral network to drive new customers to your store and vice versa. You can provide your customers with referrals to other services that your trusted networking connections provide. A video conferencing system can help you easily stay connected with your network, as can sites like LinkedIn or Facebook.

6. Interact With Your Customers

Interacting with your customers on your website or social media pages is one of the most important actions you can take as a business owner. Did you get a bad review? Interact with the customer one-on-one to figure out what they didn’t like and how you can fix it. Do you have a new customer asking questions about your products? Engage with them, and you’ve got yourself a potential sale.

Don’t leave customers hanging. Answer every post, message, or comment you possibly can and stay in touch with customers. Keep your site and social media updated, so your customers are always in the know.

Photo by John Beans