Running a online venture is so easy anyone can do it – sitting around in your pyjamas answering a few emails – right? Making money whilst sipping a margarita on a sunlit beach is everyone’s idea of a successful business – but is it all hype?
I hate to break it to you but to make an online business successful, you need to realize that hype is just that – hype. Let’s explore some common misconceptions:
There’s less competition – Compared to traditional businesses, competition online is fierce and fast. You have 3 eyeball seconds to interest your customer in your offering. They can move on with the click of the mouse and they will, unless you can draw them in to enjoy your particular brand of the online experience.
There’s no overhead: The only overhead you don’t have in online business is retail rent, that is if your business sells products. Unless you are running your business out of your home, which is a great way to start, your business will need premises eventually as well as staff and all the other business tools traditional businesses use.
There are no barriers to entry: It’s true that anyone can start a website, but making it successful does have barriers to entry. For example:
- Trust – Many consumers still don’t trust websites, how will you build trust in a sea of websites?
- If you build it, will they come? – It takes time for a website to list on search engine results. In the meantime, how will your customers know your website exists?
- Difficult Suppliers – Each industry is different but some suppliers will refuse to sell to you when they find out you’re online.
- Price – Remember my first point about competition? Price comparison online is easy, and the switch for a $2 saving is just a mouse click away.
I can work in my pyjamas: You will definitely work in your pyjamas, late at night catching up with overseas suppliers in a different time zone!
I won’t need to pay anyone: If you want to start an online business, chances are that you are awesome with computers. But what about HTML, SEO, eyeball seconds, conversions vs. visits, abandoned carts, FTP, API, product feeds? Eventually, you will need to hire an expert or two.
Don’t get me wrong, I love online businesses and there will be points in the life of your online business when you have a clear advantage over the bricks and mortar competition. But the truth of it is that a successful online business still needs investment in time and money, commitment, passion and a drive to solve problems quickly.
The good news is that there are solutions to every business problem, so if you have a passion for online business then I say go for it! Just make sure you enter the sector with your eyes wide open, plenty of investment dollars, time, patience and a willingness to see past the hype – in the end it’s worth it.