Even during the most downtrodden of economic times (and perhaps even more during those times), the dream of starting a new business venture burns brightly in many people’s minds. These days, a vision that used to include the establishment of a brick-and-mortar business has mostly transformed to fit the new aesthetics of the digital age; instead of envisioning the perfect storefront, aspiring business owners have images of the perfect home page dancing in their heads.
Unfortunately, the wide-open feeling of endless possibility that the internet inspires in budding business owners can have its downsides too. In fact, the convenience and easy access of starting a digital company can be deceiving to the point where many business owners forget that online or not, most of the same business rules apply – and so do many of the same start-up functions and expectations.
Here are few reminders of issues that are just as present in the digital realm as they are in traditional business development. Make sure to tend to and prepare yourselves in these areas for a smoother and more successful online business launch.
- Competition – Just like any other time in history, if you’re going to participate in the business world, being aware of your competitors is not optional. The rules for assessing your range of contemporaries in a digital marketplace, however, are slightly different. Too often, new online business owners will throw themselves entirely into a venture with an incomplete picture of what that market already looks like. With most digital industries feeling pretty saturated these days, the only way for anyone – especially a newcomer – to be competitive and viable is to have a really comprehensive grasp on similar products and services currently available. Otherwise, how can you make sure yours is a cut above? The key: do your research. And then do more. And then maybe hire someone else to do even more. Find out what competition exists, and use your newness as an advantage (by building a better product), rather than letting it hold you back.
- Patience – For people venturing into the development of a digitally-based business for the first time, the easy access of the internet, and the relative speed with which you can tangibly implement your ideas can raise unrealistic expectations about how “fast” the process of launching their business will actually be. Just because pretty much anyone can throw up a website in 10 minutes doesn’t mean that you’ve done more than scratch the surface when it comes to truly laying the groundwork for a business with any potential to thrive. Just like it’s easy to quickly write some copy, set up social networking frameworks, and buy a domain name, it’s also incredibly easy to be overlooked, quickly forgotten, or ignored altogether. Just as you would when building a “real world” new business, be prepared for a long road, filled with lots of ups and downs.
- You have new interests now – Let’s say your business is selling shoes. You’ve always been involved in the fashion and apparel business, and you know shoes and all things pertaining to shoes. Once you decide to launch a digitally-based business, you are signing on for learning an entirely new set of professional skills and interests. In addition to having to know your industry, you now need to stay on top of topics that are relevant to all businesses that operate in the digital world. It can be daunting, no doubt. Try keeping yourself posted by subscribing to news feeds and blogs on topics like digital marketing, technology development, social media, etc. Don’t worry – you’ll soon figure out which components to these topics are most relevant for your particular business, and keeping tabs on them will become just one more layer to your business management routine.