10 Biggest Challenges of Starting An Online Business and How To Overcome Them

Whether you’re selling online services or products, these are the challenges you’ll need to overcome.

It can be extremely rewarding to offer your products or services to people online, but you need to know about the numerous challenges of starting an online business.

Don’t worry, we’ve got you!

In this post, we’re exploring some of the most common challenges of starting an online business so that you are well-informed and can take precautionary action.

The main challenges of starting an online business

Using the power of the internet to promote and grow your business is a smart move. There are so many possibilities out there and you can make a lot of money selling online. However, there are some things that you will need to have a game-plan for:

1. A lack of quality leads

Being able to generate high-quality leads is crucial to doing business online. You need people to know of and be interested in whatever it is you’re selling.

Without a consistent stream of good leads, your online business could be in trouble.

A good degree of skill and knowledge is needed when it comes to generating leads to boost your business.

Luckily, lead-acquisition is what we specialise in. Click here to learn more about our services.

2. Security worries

We can’t deny that security is one of the major challenges of starting an online business. Spam can wreak havoc on your website, and if someone hacks your account that is a whole other level of trouble.

Some business owners have to start everything from scratch because of a bad security breach. Sometimes viruses can affect your laptop/computer.

As a result, suspicious activity occurs which leads to search engines banning websites.

Security is a priority and has to be monitored all the time.

Tip: Understand the strengths and weaknesses of your site and “…take strong actions to improve cyber defences” — Doug Clare, vice president and product manager at FICO.

3. Lots of online competition

In the digital marketing industry, competition can be fierce. This can be even more so than traditional business marketing because the internet and social media give you a global audience.

So, while it’s great that you have access to a wider audience, you could still struggle to reach them because of all the “noise” online.

Becoming visible online is one of many challenges of starting an online business. You have to have a proper strategy to help you ace every aspect.

This includes marketing funnels, a robust social media posting strategy and constant engagement with your audience.

This is where consistency comes in. Being consistent with marketing, posting regularly and always engaging is one of the ways you can become more visible online.

Tip: discover the benefits of creating a content calendar.

4. Generating quality content all the time

Quality content is important because it helps you to solve your potential and current customer’s problems.

Everyone subscribed to your email newsletter and podcast takes some time out of their day to listen to what you have to say.

So, provide quality content and make sure that it’s worth their while.

Tip: read this blog to discover how to repurpose your content to save you time, effort and money.

5. Finding a website host that you can trust

Any website needs a home, we think of this as a host where the website lives and goes about its functions.

Website hosting companies give users tools and other essential tips to help them with their website. This also helps to reload content with unnecessarily slow load times.

That being said, besides providing you with the tools you need to have your website, the host needs to function properly.

Loading speeds must be fast otherwise your viewers could become annoyed having to wait several minutes to open up a page on your website.

Host sites should also be free from other technical problems and if any arose, it ought to be resolved speedily.

Tip: Use reputable hosting sites like HostGator or Blue Host. Do extensive research before making a final decision.

6. Being “PC smart”

When starting up an online business, it comes with the territory to know how to work the software and programs you choose to use.

Luckily, most software companies make things as user-friendly as possible. Canva, for example, easily solves all your design needs.

This is good news when you need to “self-teach” your way online.

If tech is really not your thing, then before starting up an online business you’ll have to hire professional help.

Tip: Ask for help from professionals in the digital marketing industry or do an online course to master the necessary skills.

7. Deciding on what industry is best for you

Digital businesses can operate anywhere in the world. These businesses don’t have the same overheads that traditional businesses do.

Yet, there is still the problem of which industry will be more profitable.

Selling products online is one thing, but when you’re offering a service, then things might be more tricky.

Tip: Research your market and see what is more lucrative. Do you have experience in this market and will you be able to be confident and deliver?

Do you have a specific niche you can target?

For example, instead of being a “content creator” (too broad) your messaging can speak to people looking for a “content creator for beauty salons.” — this is far more specific and you’ll find it easier to craft your copy, ads and blogs to this niche.

8. Keeping current clients and making new ones

In general, generating repeat sales/business from your current clients will be less expensive than having to advertise to source new ones.

We wrote an entire blog on how to make more sales from existing clients which you can read here.

But as a growing online business, you need to keep expanding your client base as this will be a better turnover for your business.

For example, if you’re a life coach, then finding new clients can be a real challenge as opposed to having a retail online shop that people walk into.

It’s can be difficult to convince your existing clients that they need to continue more life coaching sessions or online training if you’ve already resolved their issues in one or two sessions.

So, no matter what your online product or service, we’re encouraging you to think about how you can entice existing clients to book repeated business with you.

Also, consider how you can use your existing client base to attract new customers. Word of mouth is still an incredible form of marketing.

Could a referral program work for you?

Tip: Offer your audience rewards as a thank you for being part of your class. Rewards tend to have a positive effect on people and it shows your appreciation.

9. It can take time to get going

One of the most difficult challenges of starting an online business is the slow start. Before you can even see true profits, people first have to get to know, like and trust you.

Think of it a bit like the start of a relationship, and as you build your potential customer’s trust and recognition of your brand this can turn into sales.

This doesn’t happen overnight so you have to actively work at improving your online presence and being a human voice to your audience.

Tip: Stay consistent and learn as much as you can about your market and competition. Also, provide value to your audience.

10. Staying on top with all the internet/platform changes

Another problem online business owner’s face is the ever-changing internet and social media platforms.

What may have worked as an excellent SEO method in the 20th Century is not necessarily going to cut in the 21st Century.

It’s clear that keeping on top of online changes is important.

Tip: join our free Facebook group where we give you the latest information and free training.

Note: please answer the questions and agree to the group rules otherwise you will not be accepted.

Despite the challenges of starting an online business, the benefits are great!

  • You can save in overheads when compared to having a traditional brick-and-mortar establishment
  • You have a smaller carbon footprint (less paper waste too)
  • The internet allows you to reach people from all over the world
  • Your audience can find and reach you 24/7 (website, posts, videos etc)
  • Flexible hours to match your daily lifestyle and schedule
  • It’s possible to run your business with very few staff or just some freelancers to help you
  • Work from anywhere in the world
  • Generate money while you sleep (by selling your courses or products)

So what can we gather from all of this?

Having a successful online business has the potential to give you great lifestyle rewards and financial benefits. The best part is that you don’t necessarily have to choose between online vs physical selling.

You can probably do both, depending on what you’re offering and what suits your business model best.

But always ensure that your bases are covered because your business needs to generate regular sales to be successful.

The takeaway on facing the challenges of starting an online business

While working for yourself and being your own boss can be a profoundly rewarding achievement, the road isn’t easy.

For your small business to succeed online, you may have to work five times harder and go through periods of slow business.

However, if you address the above challenges in advance, then you’ll be ten steps ahead and ready to take on the world of running a successful online business.

Originally published at https://blog.bigdomino.co.za on February 17, 2020.

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