Starting a new business is an exciting prospect! One of the things that we’ve found in beginning our own business and in helping others launch their new businesses is that business owners have no idea what to expect that first year. It’s easy to get thrown for a loop – or ten – with your new business. Here’s a great list of five things you should expect to encounter in your first year with an online business.
1. Ramping up takes time Once you’ve had your big idea, it’s easy to expect things to all fall into place. However, that likely won’t be the case. There will be a myriad of things you’ll have to decide before you even get started. Your brand message, your imagery, your target audience are all things you’ll have to take time to strategize. Don’t be discouraged that the time from when you decide to get started and when you actually get started is a little longer than you’d like.
2. Startup costs will exist To start any business, even one that doesn’t have the costs of a brick and mortar store, takes some capital. At a minimum, you’ll likely need to pay for hosting for a website, a logo, and possibly some marketing materials. You also should consider if you need to create a formal legal entity such as an LLC. Investing in your business can be the key to making sure your business actually takes off. An online business website that is hard to navigate or looks like spam can easily turn potential customers off.
3. You need more business than just friends and family I have no doubt that your friends and family think your idea is great. They likely will support you and even buy some of your products or services when you start. However, you can’t expect them to be your sole source of revenue once you’re off the ground. It’s unreasonable to expect them to buy something from you every single month. Your customer base needs to be larger than just the people you already know. To get this, you’ll need a marketing and/or advertising strategy to reach people who will be likely to become repeat customers.
4. People will unfollow you Social media can be a huge driver for many businesses. New followers can be extremely exciting! While it’s something no business owner likes to see, the truth is: people will unfollow you online. This can happen for a number of reasons. Perhaps they’ve decided to only follow friends and family. Perhaps they were only following you because they’re playing a numbers game and looking for a follow back. You may never know the reason that someone unfollowed you but take heart: it happens to every person and every business. There’s no reason to take it personally. Just keep on chugging away with your awesome content.
5. You owe taxes Hooray! You just made a big sale. That money is all yours, right? Unfortunately, it’s not that simple. If your business is making sales, you owe taxes on that money. One of the things we’ve seen with many small businesses is that they forget to take taxes into account when they set their prices. It can be tempting to set your prices low to make sales. However, you need to be sure that after the cost of materials, labor and taxes, that you’re still making a profit off these sales. Without planning for this, it can be a shock when the government comes knocking on your door.
Have you started your own business? If so, what would you add to this list?