5 mistakes to avoid when starting an online business

Starting and managing your own online business offers an exciting opportunity for growth and achievement. According to Insider Intelligence, Ecommerce sales in the UK are projected to reach £168.1 billion in 2024, highlighting the immense potential for success in the online business world. However, it’s crucial to be mindful of and steer clear of common mistakes that can impede your progress. In this article we’ll explore some easily avoidable errors that can contribute to the downfall of online businesses.

Underestimating cash requirements

When starting an online business, it’s important to recognise that while it comes with reduced costs compared to traditional businesses. However, it still requires some investment. Allocating funds for essentials such as domain and hosting for your website, website design, and marketing requirements is crucial. However, it’s also important to consider additional expenses that may arise depending on your business model.

For example, if you plan on selling physical products, you’ll need to budget for stock and operational costs such as inventory storage, packaging, and shipping. These costs can vary depending on the size and nature of your products, so it’s essential to research and plan accordingly.

Additionally, if your online business involves providing services, you may need to invest in equipment or software that will enable you to deliver those services effectively. For instance, if you’re offering graphic design services, you might need to purchase design software or a high-quality computer.

It’s important to budget for sufficient cash to cover these needs because, like any business, it takes time for a new online venture to consistently generate income. By allocating funds for these essentials and potential additional expenses, you’ll be better prepared to navigate the initial stages of your business and set yourself up for long-term success.

Remember, starting a business is an investment, and having a clear understanding of your financial requirements is key to avoiding unnecessary stress and setbacks. By planning and budgeting wisely, you’ll be able to focus on growing your online business and achieving your goals.

Lack of planning

Having a fantastic idea for a product or service is an exhilarating starting point for any online business. However, it’s important to understand that having an idea alone won’t guarantee success. To maximise your chances of long-term success, it’s important to conduct thorough research and create a solid plan of action before launching your online business.

Conducting thorough research may seem like a time-consuming task, but it is absolutely essential. By understanding your target audience, you can tailor your products or services to meet their specific needs and preferences. This will not only help you attract and retain customers but also enable you to develop effective marketing strategies that resonate with your target market. We discuss researching your target audience and market in our article “How to Choose an Online Business Niche

Another crucial aspect of planning is ensuring scalability. As your business grows, you need to be prepared to handle increased demand. This may involve investing in infrastructure, hiring additional staff, or implementing new systems and processes. By considering scalability from the beginning, you can avoid potential bottlenecks and ensure that your business can continue to grow smoothly.

By conducting thorough research, creating a solid plan of action, and considering factors such as target audience, competition, scalability, and collaboration opportunities, you can significantly increase your chances of success in the online business world.

Vulnerable online security

In today’s digital age, cybersecurity should be a top priority for every online business, regardless of its size. With cyber threats becoming more sophisticated and prevalent, it’s crucial to stay informed about the latest security measures and take proactive steps to protect your customers’ data and ensure the security of your business website.

Regularly educate yourself and your team on the latest cybersecurity best practices. Stay informed about emerging threats and new security technologies. Consider attending webinars or workshops, subscribing to industry newsletters, or joining online communities to stay updated with the latest trends and developments in cybersecurity.

In addition to these proactive measures, it’s important to have a plan in place for responding to and recovering from cyber attacks. This includes regularly backing up your data, so you can restore it in the event of a breach or ransomware attack. Test your backups regularly to ensure they are functioning correctly.

You can read more about the threats posed by cyber criminals and steps you can take to protect yourself and your business from cybercrime in our article “Cybersecurity: not just a buzzword but a life saver

Ignoring opportunities for change

It’s essential to stay ahead of the curve and be open to adapting your business to changes in the market. The ability to recognise these changes and be willing to make necessary adjustments, even if it means making fundamental changes, can significantly increase your chances of creating a successful and sustainable business.

Stay informed about the latest trends and developments in your industry. This means keeping up with industry news, attending conferences and seminars, and engaging with other professionals in your field. By staying connected and actively seeking out new information, you can gain valuable insights into emerging market trends and adapt your strategies accordingly.

In addition to staying informed, it is important to be proactive in identifying potential changes and opportunities for your business. This could involve conducting market research, analysing customer feedback, or monitoring competitor activity. By actively seeking out new information and reviewing data, you can identify areas of improvement or untapped potential in your business.

Flexibility is key in navigating the ever-evolving market landscape. By being open to change and willing to adapt, you can position your business for long-term success. While making fundamental changes to your business can be challenging, it is often necessary to stay relevant and competitive in the dynamic online business landscape. Embracing new technologies, exploring new marketing strategies, and continuously improving your products or services are all ways to stay ahead of the curve and ensure that your business remains relevant and competitive.

So, don’t be afraid to make necessary adjustments and embrace change – it could be the key to taking your online business to new heights.

Expectations of overnight success

It’s important for aspiring online entrepreneurs to have realistic expectations when it comes to the timeline of achieving profitability. While online businesses do have the advantage of lower overhead costs compared to traditional brick-and-mortar businesses, it’s important to remember that building a stable income takes time and effort.

Starting a new business is a journey that requires careful planning, strategy and hard work. It’s a marathon, not a sprint. It’s unrealistic to expect immediate success and profitability within the first year. In fact, according to research by Fundsquire, a global start up funding network, 20% of UK small businesses fail in their first year and around 60% fail within the first three years.

During the initial stages of your online business, it’s important to focus on laying a solid foundation and building a strong customer base. This means investing time and resources into market research, product development, and effective marketing strategies. It’s about creating a brand that resonates with your target audience and building trust and credibility.

Consistency is key when it comes to profitability. It’s not just about the initial surge of sales but about maintaining a steady stream of revenue over the long term. This requires ongoing effort to attract new customers, retain existing ones, and continuously improve your products or services.

It’s also important to remember that setbacks and challenges are a part of the entrepreneurial journey. There will be ups and downs, and it’s crucial to stay motivated and resilient during the tough times. A successful online business is built on perseverance, adaptability, and a willingness to learn from mistakes.

By setting realistic expectations and understanding that consistent profitability takes time, you can avoid the frustration and disappointment that can come from expecting overnight success. Focus on putting in the hard work, staying committed to your goals, and continuously striving for improvement.


Starting and managing an online business requires careful planning, budgeting, and a willingness to adapt to ever-changing market trends. By avoiding common mistakes such as underestimating cash requirements and lack of planning, business owners can set themselves up for long-term success. It’s important to remember that building a profitable online business takes time and effort, but by staying committed, continuously improving, and embracing change, entrepreneurs can position themselves for growth and achievement.

So, if you’re ready to embark on the exciting journey of starting your own online business, remember to plan wisely, stay informed, and be resilient in the face of challenges.

Useful articles

Make your online venture a success by staying informed and taking the necessary steps to thrive in the competitive online business world. Take a look at these related posts for more tips on how to take your business online. 

How to choose a domain name for your website
Make an impact with Email Hosting
Which Web Hosting solution is right for you?

Written by

Rich Kenwrick

Rich is passionate about all things marketing and web design related, as well as growing beards. He's part of the LCN furniture and takes pride in keeping our customers updated on our latest product offerings, and how they can take advantage of the current trends in digital marketing.