4 Mistakes You Need to Avoid When Starting An Online Business

By: | January 7, 2020 | Tags: ,

Photo by Bruce Mars from Pexels

Do you need free business advice?

Are you considering starting a new business online in 2020?

Today’s guest author tells you what 4 mistakes to avoid to beat the online competition and be successful.

4 Mistakes You Must Avoid When Starting an Online Business

Contributed Post

In the modern-day, many startups are uncovering the potential and power of operating an online business. And although there are millions of eCommerce websites out there, there’s no reason as to why yours can’t also be successful.

However, this achievement won’t be easy. You will have to have the motivation, experience, and skill to achieve your dreams. 

Although the business world is a learning curve, especially for beginners, it’s important that you’re aware of the mistakes you must avoid when starting an online business. As without doing so, your new business will quickly lose sales, the trust of customers, and its reputation. 

So what are the mistakes you should avoid? Here are four to sink your teeth into.

Free Business Advice for New Businesses

Not Investing in Brand Protection 

A brand can be extremely powerful. How your customers see you: It needs to be watertight, credible and authentic. And even if you have the best intentions, without brand protection, your business might soon become a thing of the past. There are so many reasons, therefore, why you should invest in a trademark, copyright or patent – no matter what industry you’re within. 

You don’t want to lose the trust of your investors, suffer a decrease in revenue, or seem untrustworthy to those both within the market and your customers. So a key step to take when starting an online business is to discover how to protect your brand

Not Having a Business Plan

This goes for every business, whether it’s operating solely online or physically. A business plan is key to your future success. With a forecast of future revenue, potential campaigns, how you’ll receive investment, etc. it’s an asset that can be used to sell your vision. 

It can also be used to determine which path you should take and how your business will fare within the industry. Without a clear plan, not only will you soon become disorganized, but any potential investor will deem you as inexperienced and unprofessional. 

Thinking That ‘One Size Fits All’

This opinion, “One size fits all,” will never work – especially within the online world where you have to create a product or service that stands out from the crowd.

You need to realize that just because a strategy or a product worked for one company, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it will work for your business. You need to thoroughly research your market and see what your customers want before establishing your business.

Keeping their needs and the existing market at the forefront, your business strategy will be unique to you and will have a better chance of success both now and in the future. 

Ignoring The Power of Exceptional Customer Service

In order to be successful and considered one of the leading figures within your industry, you need to establish an exceptional level of customer service. Even when you’ve just started within the field, you mustn’t ignore the potential that comes with implementing this.

Many online businesses are ignorant to this as they are sitting behind a screen. But if you give each of your customers an incredible online experience each time they venture onto your site, they’ll be more likely to return and recommend you to others. 

You can do this, by either chatting to them through live chat (perhaps asking them about their user experience, if they have any queries, etc.), through email, on the phone, on social media or via a survey. You could also implement a platform such as Trustpilot, posting all of the positive reviews on your website which will help to boost your brand’s reputation. 

Wrapping Up: Free Business Advice for Startups

Host blogger’s comments:


The guest author’s free business advice included making a business plan.

That business plan includes:

  • Future Revenue
  • Potential Campaigns
  • How You’ll Receive Investments

Use this checklist as an actionable business plan to give your new venture a strong start.

Readers, please share so other new entrepreneurs read this free business advice and receive this business plan thumbnail.

I look forward to your views in the comments section: Do you have any free business advice for startups you can add?

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  1. eugenio

    awesome article! it is always difficult to start a new online business, but with this tips you suggest it surely is much easier.
    of course, i think it is also very important to choose the right niche, the one we re confident writing about and giving useful tips to readers.

    • Janice Wald

      Hi Eugenio,
      Thank you for the compliments and for commenting on my post.

  2. Bella X

    Planning before starting anything the key importance to success. Doing market research is also a key to finding out whether an online business is going to take off. Branding is what I like to identify my company and distinguise from the rest.

    • Janice Wald

      Hi Bella,
      Thanks for commenting. I agree with the importance of planning. I hope readers understood the guest author only shared part of the online business plan. Three parts are not the whole plan. Research is a great idea too. Before I plan a post I do research to see if there’s interest. Thanks for contributing to the discussion with your suggestions.

  3. Amit Kumar

    Nicely points to be kept in consideration for starting an online business. It is difficult to be successful as an online store. Competition is tough and customer expectation even more so.

    • Janice Wald

      Hi Amit,
      I agree with what you wrote. I never thought about customer expectations. With all the competition out there, people have higher marks to hit than they used to.
      Thanks for commenting.

  4. Moss Clement

    Hi Bruce & Janice,

    Your post is a great read, and I especially like that you hinted that online business is not a one-size fit all. Yes, absolutely because what worked for Mr.A might not work for you. That is why expert marketers always encourage readers to keep testing their marketing strategies. Moreover, having a business plan is paramount since it serves as a roadmap to success. Without it, you’re more like aiming without a target.

    • Janice Wald

      Hi Moss,
      Great to see you! Happy New Year if I haven’t said so already.
      Thanks for commenting on my guest author’s post. I agree he did a great job with it. I agree with what you wrote about the importance of testing. Yet, ironically, I read recently that many people don’t A/B test anymore. People definitely need a plan. He included important parts of the online business plan.
      Thanks for commenting.

      • Moss Clement

        You’re right, Janice. Although some marketers are not testing anymore, a business plan is critical because it offers you a framework to follow. It is more like a roadmap that guides you along the way.

        • Janice Wald

          Hi Moss,
          I don’t know why when in theory, testing should result in more success. Yet, when I tried A/B Testing Email headlines years ago, I don’t recall it making much of an improvement in my open rate. Do you A/B Test? Do you find it helps?

  5. The In-between Moms

    I’m doing what I can to avoid all of these mistakes! Thanks for the advice!

    • Janice Wald

      Happy to help! Thanks for writing to tell me you found the post valuable.

  6. Gaurav Kumar

    HI Janice,

    It is important to invest in brand protection. This is something which most of the new or small businesses are ignoring. Without brand protection, anyone can steal your name and fame.

    Thanks for the tips!

  7. Jennifer Newman

    Hi Janice,

    This is a great way to sum things up! Yes, there is no such thing as a “One Size Fits All” strategy. This is one of the most common mistakes online businesses commit. In every business plan, strategies differ and what works for another may not work for you. It’s important that you gain understanding of what you want to achieve, know your audience, set goals and develop unique strategies that best suit your plans. Cheers!

    • Janice Wald

      Hi Jennifer,
      Thanks for your compliments. I’m glad you liked my guest author’s tips. The importance of having different strategies for different clients is one of the most common comments on this article.
      Thanks for contributing to the discussion by reinforcing the importance of goals.

  8. Ronald Gonzalez

    I agree. A business plan is very important before starting any business and also brand protection and promotion is the main part of the business. Customer should be treated as a king.

    • Janice Wald

      Hi Ronald,
      I’m glad you agree with the importance of a business plan and the importance of treating the customer well.
      Thank you for your comments.

      • Emmanuel Uzoezie

        Thanks for sharing the top mistakes to avoid when starting an online business. But business plans aren’t as effective as they do before.

        Rather, the new business plan is having a good customer service because, the customer will lead us to the plan.

        Most times, lots of time is spent planning whereas, if we can just launch, while having an idea of how we want to operate, with a good customer service, the customer will happily lead us on how to best serve them.

        Thanks for sharing.

  9. Jessica Jones

    Awesome piece of advice, Janice. Thanks for posting it. Even I had a multi-niche blog. Unfortunately, I fall short of promoting it. Since, I had no clarity how to take it further. I didn’t make any plans before starting it. Now, it becomes a friend of failure. I admit that I made a mistake. Same applies to any business. Thanks for helping out businesses with your free advice.

    • Janice Wald

      Hi Jessica,
      Great to see you again. I think I saw you over at Lisa’s site this week, Inspire to Thrive.
      I read your comments about not niche building. Years ago, I wrote a post about how to niche build. The post was well-received. I’m confident you’ll find the niche-building hacks helpful. Here is the link: https://www.mostlyblogging.com/niche/
      Thank you for the compliments on my post and for commenting.

  10. Rich

    I feel like customer service is everything. If one company provides better service with higher prices I will 9/10 choose them. Knowing if there is a problem I’m in good hands. It’s not always about price. Thanks for the post.

    • Janice Wald

      Hi Rich,
      This is a strong testimonial to the power of customer service. My business partner for the Mostly Blogging Academy and I had a discussion about prices today. He says people pay less for courses than on our site, so he suggests lowering the prices even though we’d give great customer service if they needed our service.
      Thanks for your comments.

  11. Ganiyu Sodiq

    Hello Janice,

    This truly business advice, but it is unfortunate to see many entrepreneurs neglecting this important fundamental.

    I particularly resonate with planning. If we fully understand the benefit of planing we wouldn’t live a day without it. I take one percent of each to plan for the day. Mind you, one percent is just 14 minutes each day but the result can make the remaining 99 percent awesome.

    Thanks for this post.

    • Janice Wald

      Hi Ganiyu,
      In contrast to you, I am constantly making plans. I start each day making a plan, and I check off as I accomplish my tasks. Then the next day I schedule whatever tasks I didn’t get to the day before.
      If the 99% is awesome, then whatever gets it there is worth it.
      Thanks for commenting. I enjoyed reading your comments and responding.

  12. Daniel

    Hi Janice.

    First of all thank you for this post. I have recently embarked on this quest myself so this information is invaluable to me.

    I agree completely with the customer service aspect. So many companies ignore this aspect and to me this is one of the most important things.

    Opening a store online or starting a new business is a journey for everyone. No one is born ready; we need to knuckle down and go for it!

    Thanks again for the post and looking forward to more from you 🙂

    • Janice Wald

      Good luck Daniel!
      I recently have started an online business- the Mostly Blogging Academy.
      As you indicated, a lot of seeing what works is trial and error.
      Here’s to both our business success in 2020!
      Thanks for commenting.

  13. Leon

    I would add a must for starters: Never ever work for free.

    Sometimes it could look like a good idea but it is not. It kills your reputation, kills the market and bring you no profit.


    • Janice Wald

      Hi Leon,
      Yes! Slave wages– forget it. I used to publish content for free. That got old real fast!

  14. jozaf

    Your post is a great read, and I especially like that you hinted that online business is not a one-size fit all.

    • Janice Wald

      Hi Jozaf,
      Thanks for your comments and calling the post a “great read.”
      I agree the guest author did a great job with the article.

  15. Nirali Jain

    Thank you for such a helpful article. I am also currently running a startup Digital Marketing company and the tips you have mentioned has really given me an idea of how I can grow my business in the future. Thanks again 🙂

  16. Julie Vilich

    Wow! This is definitely the information I need as I’ve made some of these mistakes recently. So, I’ll try again and hope to get a positive result! Firstly, I have to work on a business plan! It’s a pity that I haven’t seen this article before. Much obliged!

  17. Ravi

    Hello Janice,

    Very powerful advice here. Before someone step into creating a product, they need to do the research in-detailed about few factors like competitors, customer needs and USP’s to stand out. The business owner must put himself or herself into the customer shoe and understand what the competitors are missing at that point.If this gets cleared, the path of profits would become more easy for the owner.

    Eventually, thank you for enlightening on this business subject. Just loved it!

  18. Jack Shawn

    HI Janice,
    You are absolutely right. Making your business successful also involves making your employees happy and keeping them sound. Being interactive and knowing what they are capable of helps boosting your business. Also risk taking should be taken into consideration while running your business. Taking risk in right process helps in making your business fruitful. Thank you for sharing your ideas regarding the topic.

    • Janice Wald

      Hi Jack,
      Thanks for contributing to the discussion with your suggestions.

  19. Bella D. @ Self-Publishing Made Easy Now

    I am thankful to have come across this article. Thank you for sharing these pieces of advice with us. It would be very helpful to those who are running a business as well as those who are still planning to have their own business.

  20. Brian Hebert

    These are some helpful tips on blogging and online business. I must admit that I am too lazy to build my email list. But thanks so much for this pep talk! 🙂

    • Janice Wald

      Hi Brian,
      May I recommend the Aweber email service? Aweber draws from my RSS feed so I do virtually nothing but set it up initially. Aweber saves me hours of time.

  21. Meghan Vaughn

    Brand protection and business plan is the most important part. The brand is the image of the company in the consumer’s mind and it should be protected and cared well.

    • Janice Wald

      I agree Meghan. In fact, I have an article coming out in a few weeks about my branding and branding tips.

  22. review house

    Insights will help you develop your products, improve customer service, and manage customer satisfaction. Thanks to customer feedback you can make sure that your clients will stay with you, be loyal to your brand and in consequence will spread positive word-of-mouth for you.

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