Starting your very first online business isn’t a walk in the park. It will take a lot of time, hard work, and money just to launch your store, and it will take more to run it. Investing a lot of on it won’t even guarantee that it will be a success. It’s a risky endeavor, but the rewards will be great once you achieve your goals.
Lots of businesses don’t survive their first year for many reasons. It can happen to your business too if you don’t prepare well and anticipate all the challenges and changes you will encounter. That said, here are several things you should expect when starting your first online business to ensure that you can reach successfully reach the peak.
Not Everything Will Go according to Plan
During the 1800s, German military strategist Helmuth von Moltke once said, “No battle plan ever survives contact with the enemy.” You can’t predict what will happen on the battlefield when you make contact with your enemy, so your plan is essentially based on assumptions. And it can fall apart when faced with the unexpected.
In reality, it’s not as drastic as Moltke says it is. You certainly won’t be facing enemies who are out to spill your blood. However, Moltke was right about how everything doesn’t always go as planned, especially in business. Maybe your website won’t be ready in time for your launching date or you encountered an unexpected problem with your product supplier.
There are some things you just can’t control, but wallowing in your frustration and panicking won’t solve anything. Take a deep breath or get a good night’s rest to clear your mind. Only when you’re calm enough will you think of another option.
It’s always good to have contingency plans in case the first one doesn’t work out. Do your research and think of everything wrong that can happen, so you can aptly prepare for them. Be open and flexible in case your contingency plans fail too.
You can help prevent problems by being as prepared as you can be. Get to know your intended market intimately so you know how to connect with it. Communicate regularly with your supplier to make sure everything is running smoothly on their end. Finally, choose a reliable e-commerce platform to ensure that your website is ready on your launching date.
The Beginning Will Be an Uphill Climb
You have an incredible product, a bomb website, and the perfect business plan, but you aren’t getting the number of buyers that you expected. Know that this is a common thing for small start-up online businesses. It’s not easy putting your website out there and attracting buyers, especially with the online market being as saturated as it is today.
Prepare to wait and work hard. The first year of business will be filled with challenges, but don’t let that get you down. Every buyer will reward you with a sense of accomplishment, and that feeling will push you to try harder to achieve your goals.
The beginning is almost always the hardest part. After you survive the rough patches, you may not exactly be treading on smooth ground yet. But you will be smarter and more resilient, and that will help you survive every trial and find the best course for your business.
There Will Be Lots of Changes
The Greek philosopher Heraclitus said that the only permanent thing in this world is change. And this applies to your business too. There will be changes and lots of them. When your first plan doesn’t work out, you must change it.
If your website design doesn’t fit your target audience, change it. And if your product turns out to be more appealing to moms in their ’30s than to the young adults, just roll with it and adjust your marketing strategies.
You need to keep an open mind when it comes to change because you can’t stop them from happening. The only thing you can do is to learn how to adapt to change and think of ways to make it work out for you. After all, change is one way you can improve your business.
You Will Make Mistakes
Everyone makes mistakes. It’s a rule that you’re not exempted from. No matter how much you research and carefully consider all your decisions, some of them will be wrong (sometimes, all of them). Don’t consider mistakes an inability; rather, take them as a lesson.
Mistakes are just opportunities for development. As long as you face up to them, you improve your plan of action and work out a way to propel your business. Passion for learning is one of the most valuable assets of an entrepreneur especially a new one. It will keep you motivated and inspired to continue chasing your goals even when you encounter setbacks.
You may not have all the essential knowledge and skills when you enter the e-commerce world and make certain mistakes, but you can always change that by studying and gaining the necessary whatnots and know-how and improve your business.
Success Will Take Time
Success doesn’t happen overnight, in one year, or in a few years, in most cases, when it comes to small business. Launching an online business is a huge risk, and it will take a lot of smarts, hard work, and resources to get from the foot to the peak.
Prepare yourself mentally and emotionally for the stressful days, long nights, and disappointments. Have a solid support system to give you comfort and encouragement when you need it and help you get through the tough times.
Don’t beat up yourself for every mistake, but take it as an opportunity to improve your thinking and practices. Leave yourself some room to disengage and reflect on everything that’s going on so you can see the situation clearly and take the right course of action.
Endure and be patient. You will receive rewards, be they monetary or emotional, from every customer who chooses your shop. After all, good things come to those who wait, but better things will happen to those who work hard for them.
Expectation versus Reality
After the exhilaration and accomplishment of starting your first online business, you’ll realize that it’s not that easy to thrive, or even survive, in the first year of operation. You can be upset about this, but don’t let it stop you from working on your goals.
Maintain an optimistic mind-set, and learn how to handle setbacks in your business. Avoid comparing yourself with others who are more successful as it will only frustrate and discourage. Manage your expectations and prepare for the long journey ahead. You will have your time sooner or later.