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13 More Tips to Avoid Ebusiness Plan Mistakes

Here are more tips to help you avoid mistakes when writing your ebusiness plan. Give yourself a head start on your competitors and take the time to learn from the mistakes others have made. You will save yourself time, money, and frustration by knowing how to get it right.

Choose a genuine business offering quality in-demand products or services; make them available at competitive prices; and step on the road to success!

This article is a continuation of 13 Common Ebusiness Plan Mistakes to Avoid

The above article lists the 13 common mistakes made by ebusiness owners shows where they go wrong at various stages of development. This article highlights even more mistakes people make right at the business planning stage:

1. Trying to be a 'Jack of All Trades'
2. Selling the Wrong Products or Services
3. Not avoiding Obstacles to Shopping
4. Not Identifying a Unique Selling Position
5. Buying into Someone Else's Business
6. The Business doesn't Suit the Owner
7. No Support or Backup Systems
8. Trying to 'Go it Alone' without a Mentor
9. Unrealistic Time Targets and Goals
10. No Customer Service Policy
11. Not Prepared for Success
12. Didn't get the Fulfillment Right
13. Underestimated the Finance Required

1. Trying to be a 'Jack of All Trades'

Websites that attempt to sell just about anything going, have no chance of success on the internet. General retail sites work well for long established corporate companies who have had many years as offline businesses, and have a large customer base or well-known brand. However, such sites don't work well for the majority of aspiring internet entrepreneurs. Websites offering unrelated products or services tend to be ignored by search engines.

Plan to Specialize
The best way to increase your chances of success is to find a large target market looking for something specific, that few or no-one Else can provide - then place it right in front of them. If you can select a specialized niche that offers potential for growth, you are on the right track. Do your research well, and make sure that your chosen market is large enough to support your planned sales volume, and that you can entice them to buy your products or services.

Learn More about Niche Marketing Secrets

2. Selling the Wrong Products or Services

It is true that you can sell anything on the internet, sometimes the craziest items raise amazing prices on Ebay! However, these are one-offs and not sustainable as a real business. There are many physical products that are difficult to sell via a website, unless you only plan to sell locally and offer an easy returns system. These are products that need a customer's personal evaluation - to be seen or tried on; products that are perishable or fragile; heavy goods with added shipping or delivery costs can be more expensive than buying locally, and so on.

But the biggest mistake to make is being product-led, rather than market-led. You may have a fantastic product, but if hardly anyone is searching for it on the internet, you will rarely make any sales.

Choose the Right Products
The internet is great for high value products not easily found on the High Street, or products that are cheaper to buy even with shipping costs added. Digital products which can be instantly downloaded or online services are a natural choice.

The best products or services to offer on the internet are those identified through research, where keywords and phrases used in search engines (amongst other research techniques) will identify what people want. It's then possible to locate or create what people want, and stay within a niche market. Find the right product, and people will come to you, ready to buy.

Learn more about Keyword Research and Keyword Optimization

3. Not Avoiding Obstacles to Shopping

Many website owners actually create obstacles to shopping, and wonder why they don't close sales. Potential buyers leave such sites because they have to go seek out how to pay, or the shopping carts are complex, or they can't find an explanation of what happens when they pay, or the payment methods are not limited and not acceptable to them. They are asked to pay before they know shipping costs, or delivery schedules, and so on. The worst offender is a non-secure website, with no credit card encryption or any indication of how safe their personal information is.

Give your customers the opportunity to 'Buy Now' or 'Order' as soon as they find the product they want. Give them all the information they need before they make payment, such as a summary of what they are buying, the price, shipping and handling costs, delivery schedules, terms of sale, returns, refunds, etc, and then ask them to confirm all is well before they pay via a secure payment system. And follow that through with a thank you page, and what happens next.

A Word of Warning
If you communicate by email, make sure your buyers know they will only receive order confirmation, etc, and not be bombarded with future emails unless they ask for it by subscribing to your mailing list. This is spamming of the worst kind, and some of the largest corporations are guilty of this offense! If you want to follow up a sale, do it right, and ask if they want to subscribe to your newsletter or special offers bulletin, and only then after using double opt-in methods. Don't lose future sales using email without permission!

Learn more at Direct Opt-in Email and Permission Marketing

4. Not Identifying a Unique Selling Position (USP)

Without a unique selling position (USP) that sets you apart from your competitors, your new business will struggle. There is no reason why visitors to your website should buy from you, as opposed to a trusted and respected market leader, unless you can offer something different or unique.

Perhaps you can offer a better service or guarantee, lower prices or more added-value offers; enhance something standard into a bespoke product; or some other factor that identifies your USP? Maybe you can build a community by setting up a discussion forum for your customers to communicate with others using the product? Create a video clip showing them how to use it?

Make Sure you Identify a USP
Whatever else you do, you must identify your unique selling position if you are to succeed.

Learn More at Content, Community and your USP

5. Buying into Someone Else's Business

Starting with a "Turnkey" or "Plug-n-Go" business opportunity may sound very tempting and easy, but in fact, these "Ready to Roll" opportunities fail miserably as they lack the facilities to differentiate your ebusiness.

Some of these opportunities are really only marketing systems that can be applied to a particular product or service. You get some form of instruction - perhaps a manual, CD or video, but these are not a complete business.

Others offer all the tools and tricks to sell their products for them, including websites, standard advertisements, communications and so on. These kind of opportunities tend to attract spammers, who think they might get sales using unethical methods. How many times have you seen the same subject heading appearing in your inbox?

Then there is the "totally flexible" opportunity of a system that claims to work for any product, service or in any market. These opportunities cannot work either, as variations in marketing will apply to each unique industry.

Learn More at Getting Started: Things to Think About

6. The Business Doesn't Suit the Owner

We are all individuals with our own unique experiences and backgrounds. What works for someone else will not necessarily be suitable for you. Be sure that your business venture meets your own personal criteria, and if you enjoy and are passionate about what you are doing, you are halfway to success.

Decide what goals you want to achieve in your life; what sacrifices you are prepared to make to achieve those goals; how you are going to achieve them; and what you will be comfortable with. Getting a life balance is important for your health and welfare and your ultimate success. Your own comfort level and attitude play the most important part in determining your success in any business, along with quality products or services to sell and a good marketing system.

Decide on your Personal Criteria for Ebusiness

7. No Support or Backup Systems

When you write your ebusiness plan, include details of the support and backup you will need to develop your business. Many businesses fail through lack of support, whether it is financial, technical or advisory. Many give up or don't even get started as everything seems overwhelming. This is where real support, advice and encouragement would really make a difference - but just isn't available in most cases.

Identify all the support you will need, and make sure they are part of your ebusiness plan. This might be someone you know, or a local service that can provide you with technical advice when things go wrong. Identify business training resources for yourself (and staff if you have them) and learn as much as you can about your niche. Build in a contingency plan to keep things moving when there are delays you can't control.

Find yourself a good mentor (see item 8 below), or a program to give you access to someone with a lot of experience in your industry. They will know what it takes, be able to tell you how to avoid the pitfalls and really guide you to success.

8. Trying to "go it alone" without a Mentor

A good mentor can guarantee you succeed. They can customize a business development program that specifically suits your unique qualities; a program you will be happy with and be able to stick to. As long as the opportunity they are mentoring you on has a quality product with good demand, is competitively priced and offers an effective way of reaching the market, then they can take you by the hand to build your business step-be-step. This is the way a real business succeeds.

Fortunes are not made overnight. A solid business develops and grows, and an experienced mentor can take you for where you are now to where you want to be, in the shortest possible time.

Learn Why you should have a Mentor

9. Unrealistic Time Targets and Goals

"Rome was not built in a day" and a credible business won't make a fortune overnight. When planning your time scales, make sure you build in flexibility for delays and strategic changes. If you want a professional website design, this can take many communications between yourself and the web designer to get everything exactly as you want it. You will no doubt change your mind about the design you thought you wanted, or the colours, or the functionality, and all this before you load up the content. There will be much 'testing' and 'tweaking' before you launch your website. "Under Construction" or "Coming Soon" does not give a professional image and a half-finished website will simply put visitors off, never to return.

Once you're happy with the website and have tested your payment process, etc, you will need to allow time for optimization (if you didn't do this whilst writing content), then registering with search engines and directories before you start marketing. All this can take months, depending on the number of pages on our website.

Learn More about the Stages of Web Development

10. No Customer Service Policy

Ensure you have planned and organized your customers service to avoid severe repercussions on your ebusiness. Good customer service includes making sure your site is always working, with no broken links; answering email inquiries or complaints promptly; having secure and easy to use order forms or shopping cart; immediate order or purchase confirmation process which also says thank you; a straightforward returns policy or guarantees; reliable fast shipping for physical products; asking your customers or website visitors for feedback; clear and understandable FAQ's.

Learn More at Laying Solid Foundations for your Ebusiness

11. Not Prepared for Success

If you get everything right, with good traffic levels and conversion rates, your ebusiness success can be phenomenal, so plan for growth right from the start. Make sure that you have scalable options, such as the ability to secure additional bandwidth to enable your pages to still load quickly as more and more traffic accesses your website. If you are offering direct downloads, this will also affect your bandwidth, so ensure your web host can provide you with everything you might need.

Learn More about Commercial Web Space

12. Didn't Get the Fulfillment Right

Unreliable and tardy deliveries to your customers will usually result in no further orders and loss of potentially good relationships. This applies to both physical and digital products - there are many websites offering "immediate downloads" which are nothing of the kind! So the buyer is left chasing up what happened and trying to obtain their purchase. Often, these are technical faults, links to download pages are broken, too many people are trying to download at once, and there is insufficient bandwidth, and so on.

Websites offering physical product deliveries within 48 hours which actually turns into weeks (due to many excuses) should also be brought to task. If you plan to deliver physical products, research to find the best distribution services available to your industry, and monitor the service they provide for you. Remember, it's your customers who are paying so negotiate the best deal for them. Tell your customers how and when they can expect their order to arrive - before they make their payments - and confirm delivery dates and other details in your "thank you for your order" email. And don't forget to give them a link to contact you should anything go wrong.

13. Underestimated the Finance Required

There is no such thing as a free lunch, and many budding entrepreneurs are easily driven to believe they can get online at little or no cost, by using free services, cheap website design offers, free hosting and other resources available on the web. Beware - such such offers always have a condition or a 'catch' to them.

If you want a sustainable ebusiness, calculate your set-up costs realistically. You need to allow for company set-up costs, accountancy, equipment and other factors related to setting up your company.

Costs will be for a professional website design, secure server and commercial hosting, plus content and copywriting services, optimization, linking campaign, etc, and all the elements to prepare for marketing.

Allocate a Realistic Marketing Budget
Allocate a realistic marketing budget, particularly for initial registration with the major search engines and directories; budget for promotion on search engines (Google AdWords or other Pay per Click) if you want to be found quickly; different types of advertising; article writing; access to keyword research tools and so on. There are many techniques and strategies you can apply to promote your website.

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