Sep 172013

So, you have taken the plunge, set up a business online and finally seen all of your ideas placed before the world. Self satisfaction meter is pointing towards “cool”, life is good. Of course it’s not a business yet because there is no income and no one knows about it except the people you have asked to test it or look it over. But how hard can the rest be right? I mean, just how hard can it be to build something from scratch online amongst millions of other voices?

When I first had the idea to build a small business radio station – I never imagined the obstacles I would face as an online brand. I am a hands on retailer, a Café owner who can literally touch and see and sometimes even smell her customers. Have I ever mentioned Mr Tall Flat White who comes in every morning from the gym freshly showered, flushed…anyway, I think you can see where I’m going with it, lol.


On The First Day…

I had an idea, I began to build it and even though I am a seasoned business owner, I still naively thought it couldn’t really be that difficult. It’s the internet, everybody is on the internet and everybody is online, right? Throw up a website, put some content, pics and get going. You have told everyone about your fab idea, they ALL have told you its fab so therefore must be a slam dunk. And then the work begins. The hard hard work of getting your name out there, of building momentum, clicks, hits, traffic and engagement. There is only so much family and friends can do, and it’s not a Facebook page. An online business is about making money, about offering something of value in a world that has layer upon layer of competitor that’s spread globally. Lucky I didn’t think about that when I had my moment.

I think that more than ever people want to identify an online business with a person in some way; they want to feel more secure that there is a heartbeat in the frequent cold climate of online activity. It’s a cut throat world that is even more intense than American TV show ratings. It’s an exact scientific measurement and numbers don’t lie.

One of the truly most enlightening experiences has been seeing and hearing the amount of so called experts who all seem to know how to build your online business. I mean they all just seem to know. They know how to charge as well. I do not mean to slight any professionals out there, and I acknowledge that there are some seriously savvy people who get it ( I work with a couple of them ), but the online world has developed a by product that has taken a few of us newbies for a ride down a suck money out of me lane.

Idea & Reality

When you have the idea and concept for your online business, like many business ideas, you don’t necessarily know how to make the product, you just know there is a need so you start. At this early stage, you don’t see yourself as a web developer, SEO expert or PR magician.

You weren’t born coding or formatting, or at least I wasn’t. But then again, I have never owned a radio station before either.

When I got over how much I didn’t know – it really overwhelmed me at first since my comfort zone was obliterated; I started to edit the noise of the experts. I took off my very dark startup online sunglasses, saw the clarity of what I was doing – building a business just as I have always done. Yes, huge operating differences, but new businesses are not for the fainthearted, it’s the courage under fire scenario that gets you through.

Fresh Is Best

Building your brand reputation online is about building your brand offline as well. Relationships need to be established, nurtured and leveraged. Affiliate marketing considered and you must keep your window fresh. That’s a café analogy, if my deli looks dull then I can’t sell my food. If you don’t keep you content fresh online then it will go stale and nobody likes stale anything, virtual or other.

I don’t have all the answers, but I don’t stop asking the questions and testing the experts. I educate myself around there opinions but take responsibility on my strategy. Of course it’s the execution of all matters that separates the winners. Great idea, sensational concept, online reality and strategic execution all add up to the first step. If you build it right, market it effectively, refresh and develop your idea and content, then the incline won’t leave you feeling as if you have emphysema. But then you have to increase the level of difficulty as well, no rest for you! Online is 24/7.

Who are you online? was first published on Angela Vithoulkas’ Blog and Women in Focus.

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