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Succeed Online

12 Factors For Success Online

How do you ensure your business will succeed online?

There are complex answers to this; but a simple way is to list the primary factors that are the key to success online.

Many successful businesses don't score well for every single one of these, so lacking one might not be a death sentence; but they certainly help. If you crack it with all these, though, the sky's the limit.

This is our interpretation of their order of importance, and it's fair to say there could be some debate over their relative positions, especially in the second half of the list. Points number one to three, though, are inarguable.

#1: A great business idea.

#2: A product or service that has a large potential market.

#3: A very good reason (or two) why your product or service are clearly better than your competitors' equivalents.

#4: A good understanding of marketing.

#5: Not heavily burdened by loan financing or big overheads.

#6: A good business model.

#7: A willingness to learn, adapt, and change.

#8: Realisation that the owner does not have all the necessary skills.

#9: An ability to locate the best resources, which includes personnel.

#10: A willingness to keep tuning your marketing.

#11: Use a clean, modern dynamic website solution.

#12: Get an expert to set you on the right path.

Did you know that more than 95% of Internet start-ups fail? There
are plenty of reasons for this, but it's likely that most failed on many of the points above. It seems logical, then, to pay attention to those factors first - before you even think about investing time and money in a new enterprise. Just wanting to set-up online is not a good reason to do so - you can lose all your money just as quickly as in a brick & mortar business. Business objectives and business achievements online are best met by taking account of these 12 factors.

Business success factors explained

#1: the idea
Of course, the reality is that very few of us can score on point #1. That means, in effect, we better be extra good on the rest.

In discussions of online marketing technique and search engine optimising, there are always multitudes of technical points raised; but the fact is that the single killer success factor is having a great idea to start with. If you look at the top 500 world websites, a high proportion have a unique business selling point. Good ideas are clearly crucial to success, and can never be discounted.

#2: market size
Because of the size of the Internet audience, regional strictures no longer apply. Even niche markets can be big on the Net - see the final listings lower down.

#4: marketing
It's hard to face the fact, but unless you have a good appreciation of marketing, then your chances of success are limited. To do well, you have to sell your idea to people. If you weren't very good at that offline, then there is no reason to suppose you will be better at it online. The difference might be, though, that you can succeed better because you understand the online world better; but does that apply to you? If not, you can still prevail - but you'd better listen to your advisors very carefully.

#9: personnel resources
As well as commercial resources you need the right personnel. In fact they are probably more valuable than anything else, since ideas, talent and skill are without peer. A successful online business needs three key personnel above anything else: the businessman, a developer, and an SEO advisor. Wherever you find an enterprise without the best talent in those three departments, you'll find an under-performing business.

#10: Marketing is testing
You should never rest - your work is never finished. Selling online is high-pressure compared to many offline areas, meaning that competition is strong; customers can easily compare the market offerings; and you have to try harder. Marketing means constantly changing for the better: keep working at it till you get the results you want. Then change it and test some more.

#11: Use the right tools
This means using a CMS or ecommerce application that is accessible, standards-compliant and validates 100% at the W3C. Using a clean, modern solution like this is the best move you can make.

#12: Hire an expert
There are only a few ways to improve website income: better planning, better SEO (search engine optimising) and better marketing. On-site marketing drives will work, but not if you have no traffic in the first place. Your consultant will tell you the first things you need are a clean, modern website solution; a good hosting service; good website content; and links. Do what he says because it's his job to earn you money, and the fees will be returned many times over.

It's obvious

As web business consultants, all these things are glaringly obvious to us. Although we have a qualified management consultant on the staff, their advice might be unnecessary here: we see young businesses, growing businesses, booming businesses, failing businesses, and businesses with no chance. You soon get to understand why they're going the way they are - and we know the numbers, don't forget.

More success factors for selling online

Finally, as regards selling online, you might take note of the following:

1. Brand awareness beats marketing beats advertising. That means that if you have a big name, it beats major selling drives by less well-known names; which itself outsells pure advertising. Build your brand.

2. Trying to compete on price (i.e. selling cheaper than competitors) is not a recognised success model except for the largest enterprises, with the lowest costs per unit. You can't beat firms like Dell so don't even try. Instead, you need to be selling something else: unique merchandise, quality, service, hard to source goods, performance, style and image, local service, and so on.

3. Niche marketing is highly effective on the Net, because although the market may only be small if you sell locally, online you can reach all your potential customers worldwide without too much difficulty. That can turn a niche into big business. Offline marketers can never get that sort of reach, so this works much better for us. Niche is the word, as Olivia Newton-John didn't say but should have.

4. New ideas - that is to say completely new ways of doing business - work on the Net when they would have no chance offline. If you can come up with a new concept and have the drive to make it happen, then you really can fly here. Otherwise, you need to be clearly different from or clearly better than the dozens, or thousands, of others with whom it will be so easy to compare you.

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5. Search optimising is any website's secret for success. You can double your revenues or better if you pick the right consultants and do what they say.

Web Business Managers