Growing a business is not as simple as getting up in the morning and shouting ‘grow!‘ at your favorite _______ (device) screen.
It simply does not work this way.
Yet, this does not mean hard work alone is going to yield positive results.
There are certain tips which are provided by ‘experts’ who are not aware of what truly works.
They are trying to grab your attention and will say anything.
Outside of governmental requirements, taxes, labor/hiring – sales remains the single most important problem facing your business today.
So, to avoid making mistakes in scaling up your business, let’s take a look at 14 ideas that have been uttered over the years about growing an online business.
They are downright untrue and should be ignored.
#1: Having A Great Business Card And/Or Logo Is Most Important
One of the worst tips online entrepreneurs tend to see is the emphasis on little things.
The ’80/20′ rule comes to mind when speaking about this tip.
80% of all success is going to come from 20% of the work being done. Things like the logo and/or business cards are in the rest of the 80% which have minimal impact on growth.
What you should be focusing in on is the business plan, marketing campaigns, and how you are going to appeal to the target market.
Things like the business card are not going to push you into a new tier. (I don’t carry business cards anymore. People are surprised by this, but interestingly enough – not the ones I do business with.)
They might help you out when you reach the top in order to solidify what you have, but nothing more.
Don’t just focus on these things alone or you will never grow.
#2: Money Will Come Naturally As You Grow
This is a common tip given because it is assumed as long as you are growing, the money will also come in.
No, this is not the case at all.
It depends on how you are growing.
If you are putting all of your money into marketing and start to grow, what is it going to take to ‘break even’?
You need to have the accounting down pat before you start to look at growth as being a reality for you.
Growth does not equal success in many cases. It just means your problem has grown larger.
This is why money should always be accounted for as you are in the business of making money not solely in the business of growing.
Sometimes, it is better to make money in your small niche rather than wasting time doing the same thing in a larger sub-section.
#3: Focus On The Product Rather Than Customer Service
There are so many people who feel their product is what will woo people.
Last year, I met an entrepreneur who had spent $1.5 million dollars on product development, only to realize (too late) that his low priority marketing and non-existent customer service prevented his actual launch. His product didn’t sell and he ran out of money. Nice guy, but business is brutal.
Sure, quality products are going to attract people, but it is the brand positioning, reviews and customer service that will make them spread the word and keep coming back.
Growth does not occur on the backs of new customers alone, it comes on the backs of those who are already loyal and trust you.
They are the ones who are going to end up being repeat customers and will influence growth.
Just take a look at some of the largest online businesses and you will see the emphasis they put on customer service. They will do whatever it takes to appeal to their customers.
The product is important, but so is customer service for growth. Take care of your existing base of revenue and referral opportunities.
#4: Be Involved With All Social Media Platforms
Social media is the way of the future and those who deny this are not of this world.
You have to realize that word-of-mouth is only going to work through social media. Interacting on these platforms is key.
However, there is a line that has to be drawn in the sand with regards to how social media is used.
There are some businesses who take this advice to heart with regards to just adding their business onto all social media platforms.
Even the ones they have never heard of. Instead, stick to the main options such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube — at least to start. Research your market and find out where your prospects hang out and engage there.
Don’t start adding profiles to social media accounts that are not used by the target market and/or are not even utilized in the country! It does not make sense and you are wasting time.
Plus, it is going to cut into the time you spend on the social media accounts that matter.
#5: Copy Your Competition
Want to grow?
Why not copy what your competition is doing and call it a day? Sounds simple enough right?
Well, this is shocking advice and there is a reason for this.
Have you truly analyzed what your competition is doing? Are you sure their results are not going to plummet in the long-term? You don’t know their game.
Do you just want to stay neck and neck with them? Don’t you want to go past them?
This is why you should not copy. Yes, you can learn from what they are doing and take notes, but that is all.
You need to work on putting together a comprehensive solution as you are not getting a peek into their books. Next thing you know, not only does their company go down the drain, but so does yours along with them.
Don’t make this foolish mistake as this tip is not worth your time.
#6: Hire Based On Resume First
Let’s assume you are going to spread out and hire more people to do the work for you. This happens when you are looking to grow and get larger.
You will want to bring in those who are talented and will reduce the stress that is being put on you and your team.
This is fine and is a great thing to do. However, there is advice that tends to get passed around with regards to hiring based on the resume.
You have a vision and you are going to want certain team members, why would you ignore this at such a crucial moment in your growth?
Hire not only based on qualifications (which are important), but also on the person themselves.
Look at how they work and what they are providing in terms of their mindset. Only then should you hire them. Don’t just look at their resume and pick them based on this alone.
Lead by example, and make yours a fun place to work too.
#7: Remain Firm With Your Ideas
You have this collection of ideas right? Well, stick to them.
This is the advice you are going to get from many people.
This is horrible advice because look at some of the best businesses and you are going to see how they change as time goes on.
You are not going to win bonus points for not changing. You will lose out and probably not even have a business to talk about if you get stuck.
The goal should be to grow the business and that means listening to what people have to say and then doing your own research prior to making a decision. This is the signs of someone who knows what it takes.
Who on earth today creates a business plan with excruciating detail, and doesn’t stay flexible to change? Only those who want to lose the business game, does that.
#8: Wait Until Everything Is Set Before Expanding
It happens far too often and this advice is perplexing to put it nicely.
The business will know they have to grow and that includes releasing the product and/or service as soon as possible. Yet, they are going to keep waiting because they are nervous about pulling the trigger.
They don’t want to see how the market will react. They’re scared, and stuck in analysis-paralysis mode.
You have to realize this as soon as possible because you want to gauge how the market will work. The damage being done by those who don’t launch is higher than those who do and then fail.
#9: You Don’t Have To Be Different To Make Money
This goes along with the idea of copying competition. You do have to be different in order to make money.
Anyone who tells you otherwise is lying.
If you don’t become different whether it has to do with pricing, types of products/services being launched, or customer service, you will lose out. It is critical to sit down and take a look at what you are doing to be different and then market these differences.
Be passionate about them and the approach you are taking. This is the only way to go.
#10: Pump A Lot Of Money Into “The Thing” And Results Will Come
Just keep throwing money at it. This is what they will tell you.
This is wrong and will lead you to bankruptcy.
You have to analyze what is happening and then tweak along the way. Throwing money at things is not going to work.
You are simply wasting your time.
#11: Try As Many Marketing Campaigns To See Growth
Keep trying new marketing campaigns, platforms and “shiny” tools and see how things go.
You are going to be spreading yourself far too thin and that will lead to minimal results. You need a lot of data to see what works.
This is where thinking “unique targeting” with your approach is key. Look at what the target market tends to react to and then market in those areas first. Find a group of hungry “buyers”.
#12: Target Unrelated Markets For Growth
This is advice some have been given over the years and is utterly absurd.
Let’s suppose you are working in the acne niche and want to make sure your skin care product is up to par with requirements.
So, you will start to dive further and deeper into this particular niche. You will advertise to those who are dealing with these concerns.
One day, you will get a bright idea to spread out and towards an unrelated market such as those who want thicker hair. Does that make sense? No, it does not.
Sure, you might be putting the product in front of new people, but these individuals are not targeted. They could care less about your business and what you are selling.
They want hair care products, not acne related options. Spread within the niche and stay there.
#13: Link Building Is Not As Important As Content
Ranking online is important any business owner worth their salt is going to focus in on this. What is the value of not building links?
The advice given to many online entrepreneurs is to focus on the content they have in place and make sure their sales copy is up to speed with market requirements.
Growth does not take place without link building. You can attract this via earned, paid and owned media.
You need to get the word out and quality links from other sites in the niche will do a lot for you. It will increase your chances of ranking on major search engines and this will bring in more traffic. Include keywords into your content, create marketing campaigns and regular promotions too.
What is the point of working on the sales copy, if there is no one to read it?!
It is shocking to see people work with such a mindset and while the sales copy is key, it is not the most important aspect of growing online.
#14: Increase Pricing To Show Quality Or Decrease It To Sell More
Sounds reasonable enough, right? Wrong!
This is an absurd idea and one of the worst things to do when looking to catalyze growth for an online business.
You are making a horrible mistake by doing this.
There are so many people who do this with reckless abandon. They are unaware of how consumers react.
A bad pricing strategy is a mistake many make because they are working with a linear mindset.
What does this mean? Price going up does not signal quality.
The consumer is not as naive as you might assume. It can come across as being greedy and will hurt the bottom line.
While, dropping the price is also a sign of unsure pricing. It will resonate with the consumer and they might buy at first, but over time they will move on.
These are the tips one should be ignoring when looking to grow their online business.
There are so many hurdles along the way and adding to your worries by agreeing with these tips is going to make things worse. It will reduce the chances of being able to see progression.
Running an online business is not easy, but that does not mean you sabotage yourself and hinder growth by following the wrong advice.
Complete your research and see what works and what does not before moving forward.
Don’t use your business as a means to test incorrect theories no matter who it comes from.
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Jon Rognerud is well known as the most sought-after SEO, Digital Marketing Consultant and Online Advisor for Finance, Technology, Real-Estate and Health industries. He is famous for building business strategies, mobile websites and integrated marketing solutions that brings process, profits and brand loyalty…without wasting time. Jon Rognerud is the author of the best-selling book (Buy On Amazon), “The Ultimate Guide To Optimizing Your Website” (Entrepreneur Press) and is the Founder of Chaosmap. Get more information about the company here.