When you’ve started an online business but you’re unsure about the next steps, then it can sow the seeds of doubt. This can paralyze you in place and prevent growth (both business growth and your own).
It’s important to stride forward as an entrepreneur because losing momentum can be deadly. As the saying goes – You’re either expanding or you’re shrinking. And that’s never been truer than now.
Here are some thoughts on how to expand successfully with an online business.
Don’t Stray Too Far from the Original Concept
While some business owners open a disparate range of seemingly unconnected businesses where they have an idea and just run with it each time, this doesn’t work out for most people.
Why is this?
Because they have experience of running one kind of business (and previously worked in that industry as an employee). Going into an unrelated industry they have limited familiarity with is high risk and substantially increases the chance of failure.
Instead, don’t stray too far from the original concept. Offer additional services or products that are connected, so much so that existing customers will both understand and appreciate them. Perhaps they’ve even been crying out for a reliable provider with this offering and have struggled to find them?
Stay Flexible in Your Approach
While you may have some idea how you’ll approach the expansion, the details and execution may differ from your initial thoughts once you jump in. The starting costs with any new product or service inevitably end up costing more than expected too. This can create headaches.
Outside of regular banks, there are now alternative capital solutions available. These originate from enterprising business leaders who are keen to provide lines of credit to business owners. This type of lending isn’t time-consuming to apply for, so lending decisions can be made quickly. This is useful when the funding is needed sooner rather than later.
Avoid Development Hell
When creating a new service and especially if developing a product, it’s important to avoid getting stuck in development hell. This is where the product design or service model is tweaked endlessly with the owner fearful of giving the green light and going to market.
With Software-as-a-Service, sometimes a first iteration of the online software never gets launched. It stays in the alpha or beta phase for years. Similarly, not launching a new product for sale “because it’s not perfect yet” loses sales and the opportunity to iterate the design through subsequent versions based on customers’ feedback.
Not Being Promotional Enough
There is a great deal of competition in business, especially online. To get above the din of other marketers, it’s sometimes necessary to be overly promotional to be heard.
When there is a limited budget available for marketing, then get creative about how you do it.
For instance, getting booked as a guest on a business podcast can get your SaaS or mobile app in front of listeners who haven’t heard of it before. Similarly, finding other affordable ways to make potential customers aware of your brand and what you offer is the key to rising above the noise of other competitors.
Expanding an online business is usually less costly than an offline one. However, care must still be taken to take prudent steps to find greater success and avoid failing to get enough traction.