If you are starting your own online business, here are some of the biggest misconceptions you need to be aware of, and how you can work around them.
Myth #1 – You can start your online business without a plan
Contrary to this belief, proper business planning is essential for success. Hence, before you launch your business online, you should formulate a plan that details your goals, strategies and timeframe. You also need to make sure that there is a market for your products and that you are not under- or overvaluing what you’re trying to sell.
Your business plan should include the following elements:
- Executive Summary – Your company’s description, purpose and goals.
- Market Overview – A detailed evaluation of your target market, competitors and relevant market trends that can affect the business at present and in the foreseeable future.
- Marketing Plan and Strategy – An overview of how you will promote your products and services to your target market, the results you want to achieve and how you will evaluate your strategy based on these results.
- Management Plan – An explanation of your company’s management team and operational structure.
- Financial Management Plan – An explanation of your funding strategy, important assumptions, sales forecast and cost structure.
Myth #2 – You need to have a lot of money to start a business
Every business needs capital to get off the ground and finance its operations, from marketing to hiring staff. It is a common perception that you need to have substantial funds to set up a business. However, there are online businesses that do not require a lot of capital to start, such as dropshipping, freelancing or selling handcrafted and homemade goods via a website or social media.
Regardless of the type of business you are starting, be prepared to incur start-up costs, which can include website design and maintenance, domain name registration and professional services such as logo and graphic design.
Myth #3 – You need to have a lot of business experience
Starting a business is all about taking risks. For an individual to be effective at running a business, it is important to have some working knowledge of fundamental business principles.
If you have set your mind on setting up an online business and you think you have the right skills to make it happen, then you can invest in increasing your knowledge, gaining any relevant experience and even learning new skills to better manage your online venture.
Myth #4 – You don’t need to be technically skilled to run an online business
Regardless of the skills and experience you already have, it is still important to gain the technical knowledge you need to independently manage your online business.
From learning how to handle the backend of your e-commerce website, to knowing how to set up virtual meetings and webinars, expanding your technological knowledge can help you continuously develop new creative and innovative ideas for your business.
In addition, integrating IT solutions into your business operations can significantly boost your productivity and performance.
Myth #5 – Reaching out to customers will be tough
Selling online for the first time can seem daunting, but it is more than doable if you utilise a few marketing tactics, such as online giveaways on social media and email marketing. Opening an online business gives you access to a larger audience, and all you need is an effective strategy to reach out to them and turn them into customers.
Besides, thanks to the explosive growth of mobile devices, people can shop whenever and wherever they want – they no longer ‘go’ shopping, but ‘are’ shopping at every moment and everywhere. Take every opportunity to boost your online engagement. Leverage digital marketing tactics such as search engine optimisation (SEO) and social media advertising to reach a greater number of people and sell your products online.
Starting an online business can be easy or challenging, depending on the activities that you want to do. However, it can be a worthwhile investment if done right. If you are planning to start your business online, ensure that you are fully prepared to do it. Take the time to do your research and go through multiple sources of information. Getting advice from experts can also help you make sure that your business is on the right track.