Online businesses and moneymaking ventures pop up left and right like wet gremlins, yet only a small fraction of them will have some semblance of success. A lot of people seem to equate the Internet with “easy money” because you’re able to set up a website and try your hand at making money while sitting in front of a laptop at home in your underwear. The fact of the matter is that it takes a lot to create a successful business and not much at all for it to fail. Here are 9 reasons why your online business is slated to be as popular as a screening of Bruno in the Bible Belt.
- You bring nothing new to the table. If you think of an idea that’s the exact same as something that already exists and you can’t think of a way to make it better, faster, stronger, sleeker, shinier, lighter, etc., you’re probably going to fail. Nobody is going to use a Facebook clone if it’s the exact same as Facebook. People won’t use your tools if they’re worse than other tools out there and cost more. You have to either offer something completely new that no one has created before or you have to take an existing idea and vastly improve it.
- You’re not disciplined. There is no 9-5 when you’re starting your own business, and online businesses are especially time consuming because the Internet doesn’t have a closing time. If you’re not disciplined to hunker down and put in the massive amounts of hours it takes to get a business off the ground, you’re not going to get very far. Your business will reflect your output — if you phone in the effort, you’ll end up with a crap product or service.
- You have no focus. Obsessing about how good your site looks instead of improving your tools or products might win you a design award or get you into some CSS galleries, but it won’t bring you satisfied customers. You need to know what to focus on and what’s important — you can’t tackle it all at once, so it’s important to prioritize and determine which tasks have the biggest, most direct impact on your business’s ability to make money.
- You don’t trust your team. If you’ve hired a couple people or have a whole team of employees by your side, they’re here to help you, not hinder you (if you’ve made smart hiring decisions, anyway). You hired these people for a reason and they should want your business to succeed as much as you do, so if you don’t trust their work or their ability to make good decisions that will positively affect the business, you’re just creating extra work for yourself and for everyone else.
- You think you’re entitled to succeed. Ah, the ol’ entitlement complex. It doesn’t matter if you have a good idea — if you don’t see it to fruition and work hard to make that idea a reality, it’s not going to magically appear by itself. Nobody owes you anything, so suck up your pride and hunker down to get some work done. Respect is earned, sonny boy, and you’re not going to get any if all you do is sit around and expect success without getting off your ass and making it happen.
- Your street smarts suck. Who cares if you’re a book smart genius who got straight A’s in high school and college? Being a business owner requires common sense, and if you’re too dimwitted to have good instincts and street smarts, you’ll likely get eaten alive by the competition. People might try to screw you, cheat you, and lie to you. It’s a tough world out there, and if you can’t cut it and hang with the big boys, you don’t belong.
- You’re a cheap, corner-cutting bastard. It costs money to make money. Too cheap to hire extra help? Don’t think you need that more reliable server? Sure, you see potential dollar signs in your future but if you’re too cheap to spend what it takes to get your business off the ground, you won’t be making much money any time soon.
- You take your customers for granted. If you do have some customers and subject them to poor usability, shitty customer service and bad products, you won’t have customers for very long. Don’t take your users/readers/customers for granted. They’re a huge part of your success. If you don’t appreciate them, they’ll spend their time and money elsewhere.
- You’ve never experienced failure. This might be the most important reason of all. If you’ve never experienced failure and you fail for the first time at something, you’re put at a huge crossroads and your tenacity is really put to the test. Most successful business owners have failed numerous times in the past, and they’ve picked themselves up and gone back to the drawing board each and every time to fix what doesn’t work and get back on the right track. If you don’t know what it’s like to fail and you find yourself in a position of failure, you might just throw up your hands, say “Fuck it” and quit. Sometimes you need to experience failure in order to determine if you’re cut out to be an entrepreneur.
There you have it, 9 reasons your business will likely fail. I’d love to hear any other reasons if you’ve got any, or you can share how you’ve grown your own business and any issues you came across along the way.