Starting your own business is exhilarating and rewarding, but it’s not without its challenges. As anyone who has embarked on a start-up project knows, there are many pitfalls along the way – and falling into them could mean the difference between failure and success.
If you’re launching your own ecommerce business in 2015, to help you along the way, we’ve put together some top tips for dealing with common start-up mistakes.
Here’s our guide to 6 things you shouldn’t do when setting up your own company:
1. Listen to pessimists
The Bazz Lurhmann song Everybody’s Free (To Wear Sunscreen) offered some salient wisdom in the lyrics ‘be careful whose advice you buy, but, be patient with those who supply it’. Anyone embarking on a new business venture will be offered advice left, right and center, whether you asked for it or not, and many people are quick to criticize. If you genuinely believe in what you’re doing and think it has commercial potential, ignore the doubters and stick to your guns.
2. Concentrate on where you want to be in 5 years’ time
We all dream of long-term success, but the reality is that most start-up businesses don’t make it past the first couple of years. Those that do flourish tend to be run by founders who stop focusing on the end goal and instead concentrate on the here and now. Breaking your business plan down into months, weeks and even days, is the best route to making micro decisions that benefit your company’s ongoing prospects. And don’t forget to celebrate the little milestones along the way.
3. Expect others to second guess your vision
Particularly for solo entrepreneurs, communication is key – whether that’s with colleagues, partners, suppliers or investors. Your associates may understand the broad picture, but they are unlikely to be able to mind read your day-to-day priorities, or the ethos behind how you want the company run. The clearer you are, the smaller the scope for misunderstanding.
4. Try to get website messaging right from day one
The simple fact of the matter is that, so long as you have a company name and a clear product or service description, you can start selling online. Obviously in time it’s important to match your website’s wording and imagery to the tone of your brand, but initially it’s much more important to ensure your website is functional, and concentrate on the art of selling.
5. Fuss over the little details
Our advice regarding the website messaging can be applied throughout your business; it’s best to be out there selling, rather than fretting over the minor details. All too often start-ups waste time worrying about the placing of a picture in an advert, or debating whether the product name needs to be capitalized, rather than getting the basic, money-generating tasks running efficiently.
6. Contemplate re-imagining customer demographics
Personalisation is becoming increasingly important in modern retail, which is creating new pressure to understand the exact profile of your shoppers. In the early days, however, use existing profiles on websites such as TGI and Experian to draw together your target market, rather than trying to develop bespoke personas based on limited in-house data. These third party segmentations are based on years of experience, and could improve the level of engagement your business experiences in your sector.