Ten Pitfalls of Starting an Online Business

Ten Pitfalls of Starting an Online Business - Macaulay Gidado

Thousands of people launch their business every day. Unfortunately, many of them have little or no idea of what to expect and they end up falling into the same pitfalls that brought down a lot of start-up companies in the past

If you are in the process of starting a new business, this post is meant to bring to your attention pitfalls to avoid. As a wise man once said, “Learn from the mistakes of others. You can never live long enough to make them all yourself.”

Waiting Too Long to Launch Your Business

Ten Pitfalls of Starting an Online Business

People stall for various reasons. Some wait to have a certain amount of audience (for instance, 5,000 subscribers) before launching. Some are simply afraid to start. Others don’t know where to start. Whatever your reason for waiting is, you can’t grow a company without taking the first step. If you need help, then reach out to the right people and begin somewhere. Most successful businesses didn’t start with a bang. They started small.

Solving the Wrong Problem

Ten Pitfalls of Starting an Online Business

Don’t solve a problem no one has. Business is all about making money by meeting needs, by solving problems. This means that if you want a bigger audience for your product, then that problem should be solving a problem a larger number of people have.

Not Paying Attention to Customers

Ten Pitfalls of Starting an Online Business - Macaulay Gidado

Customers are the backbone of any company. And since businesses make money by solving customers’ problems, the only set of people that can establish that your product or service is effective in solving their problems is your customers. And this is why success in business requires listening to your customers.

Don’t just listen to the customers that love your product. Also listen to the ones that ask for refunds and use the information you have gathered to tweak your product to better serve the needs of your customers.

Not Being Unique

Ten Pitfalls of Starting an Online Business - Macaulay Gidado

Competition is one aspect of doing business every entrepreneur contend with. When you and another brand offer similar products, you have to give customers a good reason to patronise you and not that other brand. This is where your product’s unique selling point comes in. What extra features does your product have that the other brand doesn’t have?

Focusing on an Idea You Are Not Passionate About

Ten Pitfalls of Starting an Online Business - Macaulay Gidado

Passion is good for business. As a small business owner, you need to have a broad knowledge of your niche, a knack for coming up with creative ideas relevant to that niche, and the stamina to see your goals ideas. This is what passion is all about. If you are not passionate about your business focus, then it’s very likely doomed to fail.

Having Wrong Expectations

Ten Pitfalls of Starting an Online Business - Macaulay Gidado

We are all dreamers. Some expect their company to take off immediately. Some others expect their business operations to be easy. Unfortunately, life is unfair, and overnight success is a fairy tale. To succeed in business, you need to be somewhat flexible and resilient. Failure and disappointments will always come, but what will elevate you is your ability to learn, tweak your strategies and goal, and forge ahead.

Many Ideas, Very Little Done

Ten Pitfalls of Starting an Online Business - Macaulay Gidado

Thinking is good. But when it’s all you do, your business is bound to fail. There’s no point in thinking up new ideas if you are not implementing any of them. There has to be a balance. Thinking should take at most about 20% of your business time. The rest should be ‘doing’.

Going It Alone

Ten Pitfalls of Starting an Online Business - Macaulay Gidado

Nobody can grow a successful business alone. You need people. Depending on your type of business, you need employees, partners, suppliers, consultants, service providers, and, of course, customers. You can even reach out to other entrepreneurs for support.

The bottom line is that you cannot do it alone. Get help whenever and wherever you need it.

Thinking Your Social Platform Is a Business

Ten Pitfalls of Starting an Online Business - Macaulay Gidado

Whether you run a blog, YouTube channel, Podcast, or even an Instagram account with a large following, thinking it’s a business is a mistake. It’s simply a platform for sharing ideas, networking with people, and growing an audience. Not a business. If you want to make it a business, then you need to create a marketable offering around such a platform and invest both time and money into making it earn money for you.

Quitting Before You Start

Ten Pitfalls of Starting an Online Business - Macaulay Gidado

Fear of making mistakes and that of failure are common feelings that accompany doing business. Often, people succumb to the fear and quit before they even start. What these people don’t realise is that by quitting early, they have already failed.

We are human. Prone to mistakes. We all fail sometimes. Mistakes and failure aren’t the end. They are just part of the process. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes or fail. Instead, challenge yourself, and when you fall, get up, learn from the mistake, and move on.

Find out how Macaulay Gidado can help your company.

This post also appeared in Macaulay Gidado Medium blog.

Why Businesses Need to Start with an MVP

Why Businesses Need to Start with an MVP Macaulay Gidado

Every successful business started somewhere. In fact, most started small. Think Twitter, Airbnb, Foursquare, and so on. When these businesses were launched, they weren’t as grand or multi-featured as they are today. They all started with a minimum viable product (MVP) and then grew gradually from there.

Take Airbnb as an example.

Why Businesses Need to Start with an MVP Macaulay Gidado

Two men, Brian Chesky and Joe Gebbia, started by cheaply offering their apartments to people that participated in their hometown conference. They did this to raise money to pay rent. So they designed a simple website showing photos of their flat. It didn’t take long and the demand for the service began to grow really fast.

Today, Airbnb doesn’t just connect hosts to guests, but also connects people seeking adventurous and unusual experiences to people offering those experience. This didn’t happen overnight. Airbnb started with an MVP and then scaled gradually.

So What’s an MVP

Why Businesses Need to Start with an MVP Macaulay Gidado

As mentioned above, it means minimum viable product. It’s simply that product of your dream, which is also valuable, but which requires a minimum amount of resources to create. It simply means starting small.

Think of it as a mango seed. It’s a single thing–valuable, easy to plant, and doesn’t need you to focus on multiple things at once. You plant the mango seed. It gradually grows, developing new branches and leaves, then bearing flowers and fruit. That’s how many successful businesses grow from an MVP to a giant corporation.

Why Start with an MVP?

Reduce Development Cost

Why Businesses Need to Start with an MVP Macaulay Gidado

A minimum viable product is one that requires the least amount of resources to create. According to a report by Go-Globe, 29% of new businesses run out of money before they are fully established. Don’t try to do it all at once. That would only push up your development expenses and before you know it, you are out of money. Start with a product your resources can handle. Then add more features as you grow.

Do a Test Run

Why Businesses Need to Start with an MVP Macaulay Gidado

How do you know for certain that people are interested in (and will buy) the product you want to create? In the beginning, all you have is a viable product. That it shares similarities with a popular product doesn’t necessarily mean that people will be interested in yours. The only way to truly know is by doing a test run with an MVP. By starting with an MVP, you would be able to understand how interested people are in your product and then gradually introduce new features from there.

Receive and Use Feedbacks

Why Businesses Need to Start with an MVP Macaulay Gidado

Which one is easier and better? Using great feedbacks to add valuable features to a simple product? Or dismantling a multi-featured product and doing away with some already-built features so you can incorporate feedbacks into the product? An MVP allows you to start small and then add desirable features by utilising feedbacks.

Save Time and Money

Why Businesses Need to Start with an MVP Macaulay Gidado

Don’t spend a year and lots of money trying to build a fully developed business when you can spend a month and a smaller amount starting with an MVP and then growing from their to become fully established. Ask yourself this question: what if after spending a year and all that money building that full-blown business, it doesn’t connect with people? That would be a whole year and lots of money wasted. By starting with an MVP, you can course correct as you go.

Get Your First Paying Customer and Grow from There

Why Businesses Need to Start with an MVP Macaulay Gidado

Don’t spend too much time building your product that you forget you are doing it to make money. Remember, to make money, you need customers. And using forever to build a complex product isn’t going to help you get those customers.

First, you need something simple. Something that solves just one problem. Something you can sell to one person. That’s where an MVP comes in. If you can sell that product to one customer and the customer likes it, chances are that they will tell their family and friends. From there, you begin to get more customers and grow.

Find out how Macaulay Gidado can help grow your new business.