Starting a new venture is never easy and the challenges are even greater if your start-up in the online domain. Still, the humongous opportunities of this landscape make it attractive for new entrepreneurs. No wonder, the number of online startups is growing at a rapid pace despite the barriers. The key to success lies in knowing your challenges and envisioning their solutions even before you start. There are some common ones that every new entrant faces while there can be some that may be specific to your startup. Let us highlight the early stage challenges you can expect to face when you embark on this journey.
Challenge #1: Finding the right offering to sell
First things first, you need to have the right product or service to sell. Everything boils down to having an offering that matches the expectations of your target audience. Unless you have something for them, don’t expect them to even access your website. The first step, therefore, is to identify your target audience and create a product development strategy to match their needs. Proper research and building a buyer persona right at the beginning can go a long way in giving you a good start.
Challenge #2: Massive competition
Another challenge that most of the new online businesses come across is the huge competition in the landscape. Don’t start without extensive market research because you need to know how big the competition is. Invest only where you see viable prospects of survival and growth because you cannot beat the established rivals unless you are better than them. Even if you have a better offering, your chances may still be bleak if the market already has some established players.
Challenge #3: Having a technology foundation
A visually appealing and feature-rich website is something that you cannot survive without. Building the foundation itself is something that baffles the new sellers, both in terms of knowledge and costs. You need to identify the best platform for building a site that users would love. Additionally, you should also ensure that it is easy to use as a seller because you may not have all the coding knowledge to manage the backend. Also, having a development team that offers the right expertise in the budget can make all the difference.
Challenge #4: Unrealistic expectations
Most of the sellers enter the online market with unrealistic expectations, which becomes a major challenge for them. Rather than expecting a windfall at the initial stages, you need to have a plan B to help you survive through the tough phase. Look for alternative streams of income and the best tips on how to make money fast to help you sustain until your business breaks even. Besides keeping your expectations realistic, having enough funds at the initial stage along with a fair idea of timelines would also help.
Challenge #5: Attracting initial momentum
Another major challenge that a majority of online startups encounter relates to attracting initial momentum. The only way to promote your business is by being visible online. This requires extensive investment in a digital marketing plan that attains high search rankings and builds the reputation of your business. A digital marketing strategy is something that you cannot ignore at any cost. Since this can be a major expense, you need to set aside a budget to get results.
Challenge #6: Building customer loyalty
After increasing your reach online, building customer loyalty is the next major challenge that your online venture will have to face. Don’t consider the job done even after you start fetching traffic and sales online. The challenge of customer loyalty is an ongoing one and you will need to address it throughout the life span of your business. Customers will stay loyal to you only when you win their trust and retain it as well. Great product and service quality in addition to secure transactions make you a trustworthy seller.
Challenge #7: Strengthening customer support
One of the critical elements of loyalty is customer support and building it is a major challenge. Buyers prioritize the online sellers that offer solid and trustworthy support because it really matters, considering that the business does not have a physical presence. For winning the online game, you need to have a solid customer supports strategy in place right from the start. Being flexible in your return and exchange policies is equally vital.
Now that you know all about the key challenges and their solutions, starting an online venture will be much easier. Addressing them at the initial stages of your business enhances the possibilities of success manifold.