Each year I speak to dozens of entrepreneurs looking to launch their business on-line, with not only a presence but including eCommerce, or custom 'line-of-business' application.
Sadly, we've seen many of these fail - not due to technology - but due to unrealistic expectations.
We've identified the following as the Top 3 Mistakes that are commonly made when setting up an on-line business.
1. Have A Hard Conversation With Yourself
Setting up business is hard work, offline as well as on-line; do you recall what was involved with setting up your premises - the fit-out, choosing furniture, installing phone lines, internet and other services?
Did it take twice as long and cost twice as much? There were headaches right?!
Are you ready to go through the same again to launch your business on-line?
2. Don't Assume Your On-line Business 'Works Like Magic'
Also, and unfortunately, 'build it and they will come' is not a game plan for a successful on-line business.
The technology required to drive your business on-line, and manage it from the back-office, is normally complex, sophisticated and unfortunately prone to both technical and user errors - you will need to spend time understanding how it works, how its maintained and will require your patience.
(This is probably the biggest problem we see)
3. Setting Unrealistic Revenue Expectations
Generating income and meeting budgets is gazing into a crystal ball; it's rare that income comes as easily or as quickly as you would hope.
First you need to attract customers, then you have to convert customers to sales, then you have to retain those customers.
Our own business has been powering away at this for the past 15 years and we fully appreciate that it's hard work.
Complaining about the failure of any of the above as a result of not being realistic is not a strategy for a successful business.
Rather, be honest with yourself and appreciate that on-line success comes as a result of investing in a lot of work, time, cost and the effort that is understanding the engine that powers your on-line business to success.