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Will your new online business survive 2020?


Many small businesses operate from home, sometimes in some far-flung parts of the country. While this offers a flexible schedule and a view of the beautiful weather outside, only a few people get to know them. We solved that problem, by moving businesses online. With 2020 fast approaching, however, many new online businesses in Nigeria are still behind, struggling to make that leap into a successful online business, largely due to some big mistakes. If you are a new online business in Nigeria, you are probably making one or all of these mistakes. 

In this article, I will share with you the 6 big mistakes new online businesses are making in Nigeria that might affect their survival as we go into the new year. But it won’t happen to you if you know how to avoid them. First, I hate to be the one to tell you this, but many new online business owners do not have a plan. They think that all you need is a “good idea”, to become a successful online business.  Big mistake! That’s why; we hear of people who invested time and resources to set up a new online business, only to find that nobody is buying. The thing is, the online business is clearly becoming more sophisticated. So you need a plan to validate your “good idea”, to ensure that it does not just resonate with you but actually catches the attention of your ideal clients, and it’s profitable.   
Second, some people think you don’t need a website to run a successful online business. They use public platforms like yahoo, Gmail, Outlook, WhatsApp, among others to host their service. But not having a website means your clients are not yours; they belong to those public sites! It also means, if there is a policy change around that, your business will be at risk. Having your own business website, however, means your business presence is established online, your clients are yours, and you can readily position yourself as a brand expert, just by giving out your customized business email address, not those public email address!

Another mistake is that all those details you’re focusing on – they are wasting your valuable time! Oh, I know this fly in the face of everything you were told, “Pay attention to details”. But as the online business continues to grow and evolve, you have to be able to adapt and move quickly to survive. If you were to focus on the details of the several elements required to create your service, you will be distracted. The thing is to focus on big-picture tasks, as you move into 2020 and beyond.
One thing we have also seen is that many new online business owners want to sign on their first set of clients quickly. In this rush, they end up undercharging for their offerings. This is a mistake because undercharging makes it difficult for your new online business to survive for the long term. Rather, evaluate the costs of labour and all other resources, and then set the price at what it needs to be for your business to be profitable and sustainable.
Another thing is the way many new online shops apply giveaways. They often give their services for free to grow their clients’ list, but without making real sure that they are growing the right list! No wonder many online business owners end up with thousands of subscribers, but with only very few people really interested in what they are selling! To avoid this mistake, you have to put on your thinking cap early in the giveaway process, think much more about something that is useful to your ideal clients – in the mode of your offering.
Finally, owing to the speed and volumes of transactions online, many online businesses easily ignore customer feedback on their websites. Now, if those customers were to post your service failures on social media, this will be really bad for your business! As we enter 2020 and beyond, the chances of such posts making it to social media is high. So, here is the deal – if a customer makes the effort to contact you via your website, do make the effort to respond as well. If you would make efforts to learn and avoid these big mistakes, it will enhance your shot at a sustainable online business in 2020 and beyond. For additional resources, get “The Experienced Professional Online Coaching Checklist” at
Hunder is a former service quality executive in corporate Nigeria.


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