Starting an online business is not easy. It takes time, discipline you never knew you had and requires a herculean amount of effort to stay focused. But you did it! Congratulations! You got the word out, are great at what you do and are growing your online business. You have leapt far over all of the hurdles that have stopped lesser businesspersons in their tracks and are on the way to total world domination.
But even the savviest start-ups can have a few hiccups. Lucky for you, most of them can be avoided. Here are five tips to help make your online business a runaway success.
Tip #1: Separate your personal and business social media accounts
We know it’s a pain to have separate accounts for your business and personal life, but your business will thank you. Let’s face it; not everything that is appropriate to share in your personal life sends the right message for your business. Photos of your breakfast and angry rants about the postal system might not mix so well with a repost of a great review of your services. Also, a change in your relationship status might be more information than your customers need.
Keeping a separate business and personal identity also allows you to evaluate what social media platforms are best for your business, which brings us to the next point:
Tip #2: Remember that not all forms of social media will be appropriate channels for your business.
Your business doesn’t have to have a presence on every social media platform. In fact, forcing engagement where it doesn’t naturally occur can do more harm than good for your brand. Twitter might be a great way to get info and updates out to your customers as well as a fantastic avenue for direct customer service. However, you might struggle with how to position your business on Instagram or Vine.
A good rule to determine whether a social media platform is right for your business is to consider the ease at which you can create content. If you find yourself struggling to make your messages fit the platform, it isn’t right for you.
Tip #3: Register a good domain name.
Just putting up a Facebook page and calling it a day is a rookie mistake, and you run the risk of losing all your content and engagement with customers if your page gets taken (permanently or temporarily) down due to a mistake in following Facebook’s guidelines or a malicious report. Your business needs a website and a domain name. When you control the website for your online business, you control your business. We recommend something personal, memorable and catchy: .ME offers the ability to truly get connected with your customers with a URL they will keep coming back to.
Tip #4: Don’t make promises you can’t keep.
The best lesson about starting an online business to not learn the hard way is to not make promises you can’t keep. Whether it is a vacation for your significant other or a job for a friend once you can afford to expand, don’t say it out loud until you know it is a reality. We get it. You’re doing well, you’re proud of your work and you’re on track to having a better year than you projected but you have to keep it a secret until you are 100% ready to follow through on your promise. If you announce and then fail to deliver, it will haunt you and make you feel BAD. Don’t let this happen to you.
Tip #5: Control your momentum.
If done right, your business will gain momentum. Make sure you constantly check-in with yourself about your work load and control the pace at which you are growing. Since you are a human being and not a machine, there is a finite amount of time in a day to get things done. Take on only the projects you know you have time to well. Saying “yes” to everything and failing to deliver will hurt your business and brand far more than saying “no” politely.
With these five tips under your belt, you are ready to go out and conquer the online business world. Also, we would love to hear from you: What tips would you add for navigating the rough waters of online business?