Establishing and running a successful startup isn’t all that different from doing it with a traditional brick and mortar company. Most of the rules about good business apply in both cases. As a matter of fact, most of the experience you may have in running a traditional company can help you with your Internet startup as well. Both are businesses and require dedication. However, there are some peculiarities that you need to pay attention to in order to be successful. Here we take a look at the steps you need to take to be a successful Internet entrepreneur.
Work On Your Mindset
This might sound strange but bear with me. Many people jump into Internet business lured by false promises of all play and no work. Once in, they have a nasty shock about the harsh reality that doesn’t conform to their expectations. Whether you want to start a business to escape your 9-to-5 grind or to become rich isn’t really important, but you have to be prepared to work your ass off in order to make that dream come true. If you don’t have that mindset, you are only setting up yourself for a massive failure. There are certain aspects all successful entrepreneurs have and you need to be honest with yourself when assessing your chances of success.
Identify a Niche
A niche is something you can excel at. The rule of a thumb is that the more profitable a niche is, the more completion there is. However, there are many exceptions. There are niches you have probably never heard of that made some people very rich, just because they are very narrow and highly specialized. Now, it is possible to succeed in a niche that is highly populated and competitive, but that’s very hard. You need something that will set you apart from the pack and help you compete with established players that have been on the market for years. Have you got that “something”? If not try your luck with a less competitive field.
Do Your Research
Before plunging in head first, spend some time researching your field. Who are the biggest players, how did they succeed, what are common pitfalls you can expect, etc. Read everything you can about your niche, even the stuff you are sure about. If your goal is to create a site that ranks for the Internet’s best online casinos, you need to put in countless hours of research in order to create a ranking your customers can rely on. If you don’t, your career will be a very short one. Having as much information as possible will help you make smarter choices down the line.
Develop a Business Plan
If you fail to plan, then you plan to fail, it is as simple as that. Making a plan and sticking to it is a key aspect of creating a successful Internet startup. Your business plan will dictate everything else that follows, like how many people you need to hire and when, what are your key weaknesses and strong points, what jobs to outsource, etc. One important caveat is to keep it flexible. No matter how well you have planned, along the road you will encounter some obstacles you couldn’t predict and you will need to adapt to them.
Manage your Time
There are plenty of tasks that you need to perform when creating a startup, but usually, there are limited resources. You will need to learn how to manage your time to do everything. The key aspect you will have to get comfortable with is delegating. Identify the most important matters and focus on them, everything else should be delegated to your staff. It can be scary at first, as it will feel that you are leaving your future in someone else’s hands, especially if don’t have much experience managing people, but it is an essential aspect of growing your business.
At first, you probably won’t have enough money to plaster ads all over the web. You need to create a budget and stick to it and you have to identify the best platforms for your advertisements. Remember that research we were talking about above? This is time to use the fruits of that labor. What are your key demographics? Where are they? What platform will allow you to reach them? A good marketing agency can and will do all this leg work for you, but chances are that you can’t afford one at this stage, so it comes down to you and your team.
Network, Network and Network
Get to know people. This is best achieved by visiting seminars or events related to your field. See who is who and how can they help you advance. Perhaps there is a partnership you can form that can help both sides move forward. Remember, after all, said and done, it all boils down to human touch.
Keep Up with the Hustle
Congratulations, you have survived your first 120 days as an Internet entrepreneur. You have beat 90% of people who have started an Internet startup and failed. Surely you can relax now, maybe take a vacation? No! That was the easy part. The real challenge only begins now. This is the time to consolidate and think ahead. Consult your business plan again and see what changes need to be made, and there will be changes. Keep up with both your competition and technological development. Always keep an eye on new digital trends and think about how you can incorporate them into your business because the competition surely will.
If you want to start an Internet business solely based on some online course you took, like “4 Hour Work Week” or some other nonsense, you are in for a bad surprise. You can’t run an Internet business (or any other business, for that matter) on auto-pilot, while you are out partying all night and sleeping till noon. If that is your plan, you might as well save yourself a massive failure and stick with your cubicle job. All successful Internet entrepreneurs possess a will and a drive, enforced by self-discipline, that allows them to work long hours and go months, even years, without taking a day off. If you are not prepared to do that, this probably isn’t for you.