Every entrepreneur makes mistakes. In fact, some estimated 90% of startups fail – eventually.

Many of these mistakes can be industry-specific, or represent an unprepared entrepreneur fighting against complex issues like market-targeting or properly monetizing their product. But there are plenty of mistakes that are simple: and thereby easily avoided.

We’ve put together a comprehensive list of the top 3 mistakes entrepreneurs make when starting their own online business, to help any potential business owner be better-prepared for their biggest hurdles.

1. Waiting Too Long to Monetize

Waiting

When starting your own business, you may fall into a common trap, and try to hit a magic number of visitors or subscribers to their website without spending effort on monetizing their business idea. And this, unfortunately, simply translates to lost income. But that’s not the only problem that can occur.

Some entrepreneurs will spend money and effort building their website, only to get cold feet at the last moment and never press the ‘go’ button. Others will get to the crucial point of having invested in content, only to refuse to do the marketing which will get potential customers in front of their product.

Waiting for the ‘right’ moment to formally launch your business is often a symptom of anxiety. For most people, there will be no ‘right’ moment which feels better than all the others, and the planets will never feel like they’ve aligned. It’s important to remember that entrepreneurship is filled with small daily struggles, and will almost always feel a little difficult, and stressful. That’s because it is! But taking the plunge to begin selling your product is also the biggest way to overcome your anxieties and fears.

2. A Bad Business Idea

Pickle and bacon toothpaste
photo credit: Kelsey Rakes / Flickr

Have you rigorously tested your business idea? If you’re like most entrepreneurs, the answer is a resounding ‘no’. And if you haven’t already begun selling, you should strongly consider doing so: it isn’t difficult!

Poor business ideas typically suffer in at least one critical area. They could solve a problem which no one has, or not being different enough from dozens of other options. In this day and age, where potential customers can do a great deal of research on potential products very easily, if you’re not the low-cost-leader, you should have some other unique element to your business. There are millions of online businesses. If yours can’t stand out from its competitors, you will suffer for sales.

3. Not Listening to Consumers

Ignoring customers

Your consumers are the reason your business exists; without them, you’ll never complete a sale. And while you may have stopped to get reviews on your business or products from friends or associates, it’s the opinion of your customers which will make or break you. And if you listen only to those customers which reinforce your pre-existing opinions, you run the risk of losing sales.

To combat this problem, it’s best to actively solicit advice from your consumers. Offer coupon codes to prior customers in return for completing product-quality surveys; and always be sure to have a large and visible area on your website to keep public reviews and testimonials. If someone has something negative to say about your service or product, make a point of responding with an apology and a genuine promise to improve.

Few online shops or products start out perfect. But actively and visibly improving your product is a great way to gain consumer trust from the outset, which can help to grow your business. Failing to do so can have the opposite effect, and all it takes to ruin your business is a handful of bad reviews.

The Bottom Line

These mistakes don’t by any means represent the majority of all the issues you’ll run up against when making an online business. From website design and workability issues to marketing problems, delivery issues… being an entrepreneur is more often than not just ceaselessly putting out fires. But being prepared and forewarned about the mistakes you’re likely to run into will no doubt help you overcome entrepreneurship’s biggest pitfalls.