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7 Mistakes to Avoid When Starting an Online Business

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Starting an Online Business

For individuals with an entrepreneurial mindset, there exists an incredible potential to utilize the power of the Internet to establish a thriving business. Online businesses provide distinct advantages, including the opportunity to commence operations with minimal or no overhead costs, a faster timeline compared to traditional brick-and-mortar establishments, and the ability to extend their influence beyond a single location.

Research indicates that nearly 70% of Americans engage in online shopping, and the revenue generated from U.S. business-to-consumer e-commerce from 2006 to 2013 reached a staggering $700 billion dollars. Nonetheless, alongside these benefits and opportunities, there are also unique business mistakes to navigate. This article aims to highlight these potential pitfalls so you can improve your business.

#1 Startup too long

In business, timing holds immense importance. When individuals first discover an excellent online business opportunity, they tend to thoroughly research the market, competition, processes, and aspects of creating an online business. While research and evaluation are beneficial, spending an excessive amount of time on this stage might result in missing the window of opportunity to launch.

It is crucial to recognize that delaying the launch extends the timeframe to start generating profits. Business experts suggest that this mistake often happens when business owners wait for the perfect execution of their ideas, when in reality, “good is sufficient.” Prolonging the timeline for launch, even with the intention of achieving perfection, might increase the risk of being outperformed by competitors.

One should avoid falling into the trap of analysis paralysis, where overthinking and striving for perfection can lead to missed opportunities.

#2 Not having a plan

Tim Berry, chairman of Palo Alto Software and author of The Plan-As-You-Go Business Plan, suggests that having a plan is necessarily crucial for success, despite not requiring a formal business plan. According to him, people often view a business plan as tedious homework, but it serves as a helpful tool throughout the entrepreneurial journey.

Sujan Patel, vice president of marketing at When I Work and an entrepreneur with several SaaS startups, shares a similar perspective. He believes that a 20-page business plan is no longer necessary for successfully planning a business. A well-thought-out plan is what truly matters.

#3 Not worrying about money

Regrettably, many entrepreneurs find themselves frantically seeking funds only when it is already too late. To circumvent this predicament, founders should proactively establish a financial blueprint that outlines specific milestones and the necessary financial resources to achieve them. One way is to ask for advice from an audit firm, co-founders, and just interested parties. You can use online faxing to submit your funding strategy. It is enough just to download FAX from iPhone and you will be able to use all the possibilities of fax technology. In this case, you do not need a fax machine at all.

#4 High expectations

Many businesses, whether they are brick-and-mortar establishments or operate online, don’t typically generate profits in the first year. Some online business owners may mistakenly believe that due to their lower overhead costs compared to traditional businesses, they will start making profits sooner. Numerous popular books offer success stories and the illusion of getting rich quickly with minimal work in the e-commerce realm. However, these stories create false expectations and lead people to believe that instant wealth is attainable on the internet. In reality, building an online business is just as challenging as establishing one in the physical world. It requires time, effort, energy, and careful planning. Even Amazon, a powerhouse in the online retail industry, faced losses in its early stages.

#5 Poor understanding of your product

When selling a product or service, it is important to set the price at a level that ensures a worthwhile profit. In the case of Cynthia Salim, the founder, and CEO of Citizen’s Mark, a line of ethically-sourced professional blazers for women, she determined that the starting price for her product should be $425, taking into account the labor and material costs involved. According to Salim, “The price is set according to what is necessary.” Another aspect to consider, as suggested by Patel, is the need to adjust price points as the business evolves.

#6 Ignoring negative reviews

When launching a new online business, it can be tempting to prioritize listening to fans and disregarding critics. However, it is important to maintain an open mind and not dismiss negative feedback or criticism as mere “haters.” Surprisingly, there can actually be benefits to receiving negative feedback:

– It allows for a deeper understanding of customers.

– It provides an opportunity to refine the product.

– It enables the development of exceptional customer service.

Consumers utilize online feedback in unexpected ways: 88% of consumers place as much trust in online reviews as they do in personal recommendations. By addressing negative feedback, a business demonstrates its commitment to customer satisfaction.

Ignoring negative reviews

#7 Not knowing your target audience

Their ideal customer is not “everyone.” They understand that not every business can fulfill the needs of every consumer, and that’s perfectly fine. Their goal is to identify the individuals who can benefit the most from their online business and find ways to meet their needs. By defining their target audience, they open up the opportunity to market directly to them. By targeting a niche audience, their online business can outperform larger companies. It’s crucial for them to identify their niche in order to understand their market and effectively focus their efforts.


The key to successful online businesses is to avoid the common pitfalls that can stand in the way of success. By being mindful and taking preventative steps, entrepreneurs can increase their chances of creating a thriving business. The most important takeaway is not to get discouraged if things don’t go as planned; setbacks are a part of any entrepreneurial journey and should serve as learning experiences.

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