Starting any business takes a lot of guts. When it comes to an online business, the stakes are slightly different from that of a brick and mortar business.
With a physical business, your clients are people you see and interact with. In an online business, you must try and ascertain the needs of a countless number of people you have never met. This can be very daunting. With the right tools, managing either kind of business for success can be a lot easier.
Slow business growth?
When we start a new business, we have expectations of the business. Some of the expectations can be quite unrealistic, but almost all of them are time-bound. What happens then when your endeavor is not meeting these expectations (realistic and otherwise)? What happens when the growth of the company is slow and sometimes non-existent?
We panic, we get flustered and might even want to give up. Ever wondered why your online business is experience is experiencing slow growth? Here are seven reasons why your business might not be growing as much as it could.
1. You didn’t do any research
You have an excellent idea for an online business, and you zoom off to launch a “great business.” Months later, the sales are still not growing. Did you carry out any research before commencing? Did you do any form of planning?
Research and planning are crucial to any business. It is best to carry out proper research about any business you choose to start. Check if there is a market available for your business. What problems will you be solving? Is there someone already doing something similar? What will be your niche?
After all the necessary research, you begin to plan. You create up a short-term and a long-term plan. But then, you also need a solid, well-researched business plan. The business plan should not be all fluff. It should be thoughtfully drawn up and make sense to others as well.
Without a business plan, you will be working blindly. When you set goals, make sure they are smart, realistic goals. Setting unrealistic goals will only leave you frustrated as they might not be achievable. Moonshots are fine, but make sure that the goals remain realistic.
2. You don’t know your target audience
Every business is a solution to a problem. What this means is that there are specific people who will require the services of every company. Those particular individuals and organizations are your target audience.
Know your target audience, what they want, and how they want, and why. This is a quick way to grow your business. You cannot have an online shop that provides sales of rare vintage dresses and start targeting kids between the ages of 8-12. No, you target mostly young to middle-aged women with a proven interest in vintage dresses. All of that doesn’t mean that you don’t cater to other demographics. It means that based on research, the members of this group are most likely going to do business with you.
3. You are not using the right tools
Numerous tools can be of great use to you as an online business owner. Due to the vast number of prospects an online business could reach, you will have to be prepared to deal with different people and scenarios.
To keep in touch with people who visit your site, you can also consider to build a newsletter and suggest your visitors to sign up on it to stay in touch, get news, or even hear about sales events.
There are also other tools that can boost your business growth. Social media is a very powerful tool for the success of modern businesses. If you haven’t explored it yet, then you should consider doing that.
Depending on your industry and niche, there will be various solutions to help your business grow further. CRMs are great to help you with sales and marketing, accounting tools can help you with the paperwork, and everything that helps to automate recurring standard processes is very likely going to help you grow without even touching a button.
4. You are not putting enough effort into it
You set up an online business and sit back, waiting for customers to stumble upon your website accidentally? Nothing will happen. The internet is vast, and someone somewhere is doing something similar to what you are doing. The difference is that they are also doing online marketing, cold emailing, website optimization, and so many other things they need to make themselves more visible than you are.
It doesn’t matter how great your products or prices are. If you are not visible, people won’t come. When people do not come, your business won’t grow. You may have some fantastic products, but if you have no idea and to utilize sales optimization, SEO, mailing list, and customer habits to boost your business, you will have great products that no one is buying.
5. There is no brand
All companies need branding and a vision statement. Branding is packaging your business and presenting it the way you want your clients to see it. It invokes a sense of loyalty and commitment from your clients. When you brand your business, it is easier to leave an impression in their minds.
Branding your business include getting the right logo, colors, value statement, and social media presence. A brand kit will help you get the right tools you need to brand your business. But don’t just write these down somewhere in the fine print. Advertise what’s important to you and why. Live your vision and show others why you care.
When branding your business, avoid following trends. You know your business better than anyone. Whether you use a branding specialist or do it yourself, your business branding must reflect the true identity of your business. Do not cover up the soul of your business underneath layers of branding. People connect better to brands that seem more human than packaged.
6. Your platform is not diverse
A physical business can sometimes get away with not providing support for a diverse crowd. An online business not so much. You operate online, and that automatically makes your brand a global brand.
Despite designing your website to target a specific audience, you cannot prevent people from different backgrounds or countries from visiting your site. The more visitors, the more emails you get for your email list, the more customer returnship.
To make every customer (potentials, new or returning) feel welcome, your site has to be set up to accommodate diversity. Not everybody speaks English, and one of the issues might be around language translation. Still, if you truly care for international customers, you can create your website in a way that everybody can read.
This makes shopping a lot easier for your clients and reduces your workload. When clients know that they do not have to struggle with language when they visit your website, they are more interested in coming.
7. You are not experimenting
You are not trying new things. You are comfortable with what you know, and you are not willing to learn. You might think this means that you are staying true to your brand, but in truth, you are scared of changes. As weird that might appear to you, this is nothing unusual at all, but you should know better by now.
New things can be scary, especially when you are comfortable with the old. Unfortunately, business metrics are constantly changing, especially online businesses. Do not be afraid to flow with the tide. This is not to say you should jump on every trend. Rather accept new changes that genuinely improve your business and apply them to your business, or even better, anticipate change and act before the hype becomes the new normal.
There is no magic trick to why your business is not growing. Most times, all you need to do is tweaking a few things here and there to see the growth you need. These days, it’s simply not enough to have a business plan as you have to put in the work, carry out extensive research on the tools you need and then apply them.
If you have to hire experts to help you understand what to in branding your company, then do it and begin to enjoy the benefits of modern business trends. I wish you all the best for your business and future endeavors!
This is a guest article provided by Anna Medina. Thank you, Anna, for your contribution!
Anna Medina is a specialist in different types of writing. She graduated from the Interpreters Department, but creative writing became her favorite type of work. Now Anna improves her skills while working as a freelance writer and translator and has free time for other work, as well. She always does her best in the posts and articles.
Photo credit: The feature image has been done by Thought Catalog. The photo “three persons pointing” has been done by John Schnobrich. The picture “blue ballpoint pen on white notebook” has been prepared by Med Badr Chemmaoui. The author’s photo has been provided to us for usage and is owned by the writer of the guest article.
Editorial notice: This guest article does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the publication.