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7 Crucial Mistakes To Avoid When Starting An Online Business

7 Crucial Mistakes To Avoid When Starting An Online Business

The cyberspace has over the years become a veritable tool for entrepreneurs to boost their businesses. The wider audience that the online community gives business owners is one of the advantages the online community gives entrepreneurs. Like never before, more entrepreneurs are embracing the online platform for their business transactions, as it has proven to be the needed catalyst for the growth of their businesses.

While some of these online business owners are smiling their way to a more prosperous business, others are not getting the best of their time. This could be attributed to certain mistakes they made while starting their online business activities. Here are 7 mistakes to avoid when starting an online business:

1. Not doing a market survey

Though the online community has the potential to make virtually anything sell by making it visible to the buyers, not doing a market survey before starting an online business jeopardizes the success of a business. A business survey entails identification of a particular need that your business is out to meet. Surfing the net to know what buyers ask for through their searches will go a long way in helping you to identify a particular need for your business to sell.

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2. Failure to clearly identify satisfaction gap

It is almost impossible that nothing has been done in the area of the business or product you want to sell. That some people have tried to satisfy the need you seek to meet isn’t arguable, however the degree to which they have been able to give full satisfaction to the buyers is what satisfaction gap is all about.

Not identifying what has been done and what is yet to be done in your line may make your own product a duplicate of an existing one. Now, I’m sure you don’t want that. Your success lies in making your product or service render that which existing ones fail to render.

3. Failure to have a follow-up e-mail system

It isn’t guaranteed that everyone that visits your website will purchase your product. In the search for products and services, not every click by a buyer ends with a purchase of the item. Though people may not patronize you on their first visit to your site, having a means through which you follow them up through e-mail, Facebook, twitter and other social platforms may deprive you of their future patronage.

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Failure to provide a means through which you can collect their e-mail address makes you lose them forever. Not having a way of collecting the e-mail addresses of those that visit your web site will truncate any other future patronage.

4. Not doing a good SEO for your website

The survival and success of your online business depends largely on your visibility to the buyers. Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) enables and enhances your visibility and ranking on search engines. During engine searches, the results with top rankings usually enjoy more attention and patronage than those below. It is noted that the results that appear on the first page enjoy more patronage than others of the subsequent pages. SEO enhances your chances of being on that first page that enjoys more attention.

5. Using a crappy hosting company

Choosing crappy web hosting company is tantamount to settle up your business for failure. Hosting companies with old servers will often develop faults which may lead to the crash of the server, or the server becoming extremely slow. An online business that relies on a crappy hosting company will always run into troubles with the server. This will make the searchers divert to other competitors.

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Working with a host company that doesn’t provide a web content management system makes it difficult to manage the technical aspects of managing the site. It is thus important to engage the service of the best web hosting company that meets your need when starting an online business.

6. Not working with an expert

There are experts that specialize in seeing to the smooth running of your online business. For instance, a SEO expert helps to tackle the technical problems that may hinder your visibility. Such an expert sees to the design of a good content page as well as the development of necessary key words to optimize your advantage with the search engine.

The online world is a dynamic one and any online business that fails to work with an expert who is dedicated to watching new developments and trends or changes will soon be found out of market.

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7. Failure to maximize the social platforms

Social platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Whatsapp etc are good tools for a successful online business. Having a website for the business alone isn’t enough to guarantee the success of the business. Social platforms are another way of reaching a wider audience and making your business visible to people, even without the search engines.

Featured photo credit: Lifehack Library via lifehack.org

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Zuhair Sharif

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Last Updated on May 20, 2020

What Are Analytical Skills (And How to Strengthen Them For Success)

What Are Analytical Skills (And How to Strengthen Them For Success)

Everybody makes bad decisions. Some people, however, are more capable of making better decisions that inch them closer to success.

These individuals are not ruled by emotions, desires, or hunches. Rather, they depend on their analytical skills to overcome challenges regardless of urgency or complexity.

What Are Analytical Skills?

According to Richards J. Heuer Jr., a former veteran of the CIA,[1]

“Thinking analytically is a skill like carpentry or driving a car. It can be taught, it can be learned, and it can improve with practice. But unlike other skills, it is not learned by sitting in a classroom and being told how to do it. Analysts learn by doing.”

Analytical skills can be considered as one of the critical life skills that are not taught in schools. It comprises of visualization, critical thinking, and abilities for gathering and processing information.

Here’s a closer look at some of these abilities:

Visualization

Also tied to a person’s creativity, visualization is the ability to predict the possible outcomes of strategies and actions. In a professional setting, visualization involves the analysis of data – often through illustrations like charts, graphs, and detailed lists.

Critical Thinking

Simply put, a person’s ability to think critically can be measured by his or her consistency in creating reasonable decisions. It pertains to the ability to evaluate information, siphon what’s useful, and draw conclusions without being swayed by emotions.

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As a critical thinker, you’ll find yourself challenging assertions and finding loopholes in proposed solutions.

Computing

Whether you like it or not, you need to be comfortable with numbers if you want to sharpen your analytical skills. Bear in mind that computing encompasses other skills like cost analysis, budgeting, and performing general calculations.

In business, you need to use computations when weighing the risks and benefits of any given strategy.

Problem-Solving

Remember that analytical skills are used not just to understand problems, but also to develop the most suitable course or courses of action. This relates to your goal-setting skills, which involve breaking down and prioritizing between objectives.

Resource Management

Lastly, analytical skills involve some degree of resource management depending on the task at hand.

For example, professionals with a tight schedule must know how to effectively manage their own time – also known as one of the most important resources in the world.

Business leaders, on the other hand, must know how to manage company resources, including cash and manpower. Take note that the definition of analytical skills may change to match the requirements of a specific situation.

For example, upon hiring a web developer, analytical skills may refer to the ability to determine the needs of online users, understand web analytics for optimization, and identify visual elements that can match a company’s brand.

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The skillset above, however, should be applicable in most if not all scenarios.

Develop Your Analytical Skills for More Growth Opportunities

There’s no question that the right decisions lead to positive results. It doesn’t matter if you’re running a business or simply trying to climb the corporate ladder. By training your analytical skills, you position yourself for more growth opportunities while staying away from negligible actions you will regret.

For example, you plan to launch a new startup in your local community – but struggle to decide the niche you want to enter. Since you’ve been a technophile your whole life, part of you desires to invest in a gadget store. If you’re passionate about your business, success will come – right?

If you have sharp analytical skills, you begin to see your plans in whole new dimensions.

What are the possible outcomes of this venture? Does the local market have a need for a new gadget store? How much do I need to get started – and how much should I sell to make a profit?

Depending on your findings, you can determine the feasibility of your business idea without letting your emotions get in the way.

6 Ways to Strengthen Your Analytical Skills

There are several approaches when it comes to developing an individual’s analytical skills. For instance, psychologists agree that reading fantasy stories as a child can help sharpen critical thinking.[2]

Research also suggests that undergoing traditional education has a positive effect on a person’s IQ and analytical skills.[3]

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But as an adult, such opportunities to hone your analytical skills no longer apply. That’s why you need to devise a more deliberate, active approach yourself.

Below are a few strategies to get you started:

1. Ideate Business Ideas

Developing a profitable business idea, whether you pursue them or not, involves numerous challenges. You need a ton of research, computations, and problem-solving to create a tangible business plan.

You can organize your ideas with a note-taking tool like Microsoft OneNote or Evernote. Doing so will allow you to delve deeper into your analysis, organize your findings, and stay focused on roadblocks as well as how to solve them.

2. Leverage Analytical Tools

Aside from note-taking tools, you can also leverage other software that can help with analytical tasks. A money management app like Mint, for example, makes it easy to track your spending habits as well as manage your budget with visual tools. When it comes to prioritizing goals, you can use simple task management apps like Trello or Wunderlist.

3. Have a Personal Learning Library

Thanks to the internet, there’s a colossal amount of resources you can utilize to learn new skills, expand your vocabulary, and train your visualization muscles.

Social media networks like SlideShare and YouTube, for example, offer mountains of tutorials you can access to your heart’s content.

For a personalized learning library, you can download Instagram videos or GIFs from educational accounts like NASA Goddard and the American Mathematical Society. But if you prefer specific, technical skills, then a good place to start would be online learning platforms like Coursera, edX, and Alison.

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4. Participate in Online Communities

The internet is a great place to share experiences, opinions, and sometimes intellectual discussions with like-minded individuals. Reddit, for example, has a place or “subreddit” dedicated for every topic imaginable – from technology to entrepreneurship.

For structured debates, you can head to websites like Debate.org and let other users choose the winner via votes.

5. Seek Mental Stimulation

To keep your mind sharp, make it a habit to engage in mentally stimulating activities, such as chess, puzzles, and brain training apps. A great resource would be Lumosity, which contains dozens of cognitive games designed by teams of scientists and game designers.

6. Keep a Personal Journal

Finally, keeping a personal journal allows you to take a second look at everything that happened in your day.

Remember that writing about learning experiences lets you focus on the lesson rather than the emotion. It will help you analyze how you made your decisions, why you came to certain conclusions, and what you can do to improve in the future.

Here’s How to Create a Habit of Writing in a Journal.

Bottom Line

As an adult, you are required to face a myriad of challenges on a daily basis. Work, school, business, relationships – the list goes on when it comes to the sources of life’s problems. With analytical skills, you can confront and overcome any obstacle standing between you and your goals.

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Featured photo credit: Campaign Creators via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] M. S. Ramaiah University of Applied Sciences: Analytical Thinking?
[2] KD Novelties: Why You Should Read Classic Tales to Your Children
[3] Economic Inquiry: The Effect of Education on Cognitive Ability

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