Home Student & Career Tips 8 Mistakes Online Start-Ups Make

8 Mistakes Online Start-Ups Make

This article gives an insight on the 8 common Mistakes Online Start-Ups Make.


It’s no doubt the internet has made it very easy for businesses to come on board without bothering about owning an offline shop. However, the internet has come to define how your business is run. It has become so rampant these days to see businesses only developing online models.

With the help of online tools and applications, business transactions are done seamlessly, eliminating the need to move from one place to another or communicate in person. As fun and easy as it may sound, it’s easy to make a few mistakes that can make your online business suffer in a very short period.


Here are common mistakes online startups make:

1. Not Making Proper Plan

A lot of entrepreneurs find this very difficult, but then don’t overthink it. As an online startup, you don’t need to stress about having a formal business plan but still, you need to have a plan no matter how little. The mistake many online startups make is believing a business plan is the old fashioned 30 pages that is gradually becoming obsolete.

Sincerely, when it comes to business plans as an online business owner, the basic thing you need to know is who your customers are, and if they will need what you are projecting in the business. Can they afford it? Where can I find my audience? Who are my competitors and how can I standout? etc

In all of these, consider your pocket too. Not planning and answering these questions before launching out online is a big mistake that leads to frustration as an online startup.

2. Solving a Minor Problem

Another mistake online start-ups make is that they offer a product or service that doesn’t really solve a major problem. Every serious business solves a problem, from accounting to jewelry design. But the problem is that many new online business owners don’t know exactly what they’re trying to fix.

If the problem your business solves is important enough, you shouldn’t even be looking for customers. Identifying the specific problem you want to tackle will help you understand who needs your solution. So, before starting an online business, you need to ask yourself two questions: Does it solve any problems? Does it increase the value of human life? If your product or service doesn’t meet the above criteria, you’re selling something people don’t need.

3. Not Knowing Your Target Audience

There is a common belief that defining your audience can limit you and with this ideology, many business owners tend to market to everyone. This doesn’t work that way.

Not everyone can be your target audience. Every business has its audience. Prior to this time, the online space was less competitive and there wasn’t any need to be strategic in building an audience.

These days, the internet is saturated; a lot of people tend to be doing the same thing. Many times, people rush into business because they see others doing so well and making lots of money.  If you go into the same business without understanding that these people have their audience, you will be frustrated out of business if you don’t know and build your audience.

Identifying your customers, getting them to know, like and trust you will allow you to focus on them through direct marketing.  The more you know about your customers and the public, the better you can offer better solutions to people.

4. Focusing Too Much On Less Important Stuff

As an online start-up, you might likely get confused and overwhelmed by what goes on online and along the line get carried away with doing less important things just to keep up with your competitors.

A lot of startups get sidetracked focusing on getting a business logo, business cards, registering a business and a lot of things that should come later.

Getting a business logo as an online startup shouldn’t be a major concern but because many businesses have grown to believe branding is about logos, this is why this mistake is rampant. Building an online brand is way beyond logos.

On the other hand, registering your online business shouldn’t be the first thing to do. There have been a lot of misconceptions about this. Going ahead to register your business only exposes you to paying taxes. You can do this later on but not as a start-up.

Instead of focusing on less important things as a startup, concentrate on tasks that will help propel your business to the next level first.

5. Do It Yourself

Whoever told online startups that they must do everything by themselves misinformed them.

Oftentimes, some new online businesses believe that they must do everything by themselves. Doing business online doesn’t mean you have to run everything. You cannot be a graphic designer, web developer, social media manager, sales representative, customer service representative, etc. Doing a lot of things is not bad but contracting some jobs to experts can save you lots of stress and burn out and costly errors.

6. Trying To Get On All Social Networks At Once

Another mistake a lot of startups make is getting on all media platforms at a go. This is not so bad if you can multitask, be consistent and not get distracted.

As an online business owner, there is more to business than just appearing too salesy. First, you have to create content that doesn’t necessarily have to sell copies and it has to be good for people to engage. This includes photos, videos, infographics and more.

Getting on all media platforms means you will need to pay equal attention to all. All of these take useful time. So, instead of trying to focus on all social media platforms at once, choose one or two of the most important and start operations before you shake other platforms.

If it’s Facebook, start from there and build a strong audience and client’s base, engage in other people’s posts, get on different groups, be visible and gradually expand to other platforms.

7. Unhealthy Competing With Bigger Brands

As hard as it may sound, there are online start-ups that launch out and immediately they start competing with bigger brands. This is an error. Take it one step at a time. Instead of building unhealthy competition, get close to such brands, see how they run and learn from them, if need be. Above all, build relationships with other brands for more online visibility

8. Giving Away Too Much and Getting Nothing In Return

A lot of online business owners have come to believe that you must do a lot of giveaways to attract customers. I won’t completely dispute this because it has worked for some businesses.

Giveaways can come in various forms including free ebooks, videos, etc.

Before you establish credibility as a seller or an expert, offering something for free can turn into a conversion and long-term customer, especially for those entrepreneurs focused on offering services.

The mistake lies in starting to build an audience with monetary giveaways instead of the above mentioned options. The danger in this is that it will only attract an audience who are only interested in freebies and not paying audiences. If you can’t keep up with this, avoid it.


Running an online business can be all shades of rosy when the results are seen from afar but the truth remains that there are lots of challenges.

As a start-up in the online space, it will not always be rosy, at least not in the early phase.  To avoid some mistakes as a startup in the online space, this article is specifically written to bring to your notice some of these mistakes to enable you to do things differently.

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