This article is geared towards the modern entrepreneur, solopreneur, or startup business blunders that are so common today and which after reading this quick article you’ll surely avoid.
Blunder #1: Buying into the social media marketing (SMM) hype
How many SMBs are shelling out mountains of cash for SMM which is bringing in negative cash flow? It’s insane. Especially when the millions upon millions of “fake accounts” are considered. Studies are being done and spreading online that show vast majorities of “social media signals” are from low-wage digital workers.
Yeah, so someone out there is being paid $1/hr or less to like things on Facebook, Pin stuff on Pinterest, Tweet things on Twitter, etc. with dummy accounts. Then there are the contractors being paid to leave comments. It’s ridiculous.
Blunder #2: There’s no clear USP
Have you ever been to a really impressive website and been absolutely clueless about what they do? I mean the quality imagery and responsive nature of the design keep you interested so you search around a bit and scan everything you can, but there’s no clear “this is what we do” statement. How frustrating.
For the business owners that spend small fortunes on these websites and e-stores, it’s a real nightmare. Oftentimes they have no idea why their conversion rate is so low. And, what’s worse, they head out and spend more money trying to understand. All the while all they needed to do was present their traffic with a perfectly clear idea of what it is their company does.
Blunder #3: What’s an ideal prospect?
Ouch. So you’ve created a business for…who? You’re spending all this money marketing your products or services to…who? Your web copy is crafted to compel and engage…who? Get the picture?
If you don’t have an ideal prospect in mind and are at the forefront of all your marketing efforts then you’re knee-deep in some epic blundering. Modern companies should be striving to establish personal relationships with customers, especially the niche or specific types of people who will appreciate their wares/solutions the most.
Blunder #4: Depending on outbound marketing
The tragedy of depending on outbound marketing is that no inbound work is done. Everything is dependent on annoying pop-ups, signup and subscribe forms or spam, black hat SEO, and cheap web content. Then of course you have the low-wage virtual workers being paid to email, cold call, or reach out and contact people. Trying to sell them on the spot…
A business these days should be built upon a foundation of inbound marketing principles. The platform and all marketing efforts should inform, coach, entertain, and provide value to people for free and thereby attract those prospects into the sales funnel. No pitching. No advertisements.
Blunder #5: “We’re just winging it…there’s really no plan.”
You’ve got a great product or service, you spent good money on a website or web platform and a team is in place…but there’s no real concrete plan. “Just go sell it! Spread the word. Write and publish content like a couple of days a week or something.” Wow! Just…wow.
Don’t make the mistake of thinking that contemporary internet-based business and e-commerce are “easier” than brick-and-mortar type companies. Imagine running a decent-sized coffee shop in a major city. Picture everything that’s involved: employees, marketing, production costs, entertainment costs, and on and on. It’s no different online!
What’s in a decent business plan?
We’ll just stick with the bare essentials here:
- Market Research: Take a good look at your competition and the overall market to see good/viable entry points.
- Customer Research: Who are you going to direct sales towards and why?
- Team Setup/Accountability: Who is doing what and how will you handle accountability as well as turnover/retention?
- Budget: No-brainer here. How much money/funding is there, where’s it going, why, and who is keeping tabs on this?
- Plan of Action/Goals: Where will the company be in 1, 3, 6, 9, or 12 months?
A business plan is essential to the success of any online venture, as it outlines the necessary steps and strategies for achieving your desired goals. It should include market research, customer research, team setup/accountability measures, budgeting plans, and a clear plan of action with measurable goals. With these components in place, you can ensure that your business will have a solid foundation to build on. By taking all these elements into consideration when creating your business plan, you’ll be well-equipped to successfully navigate the ever-changing digital landscape.
Photo credit: The feature image is symbolic and has been done by Brit Worgan.