3 Things That All Successful Online Businesses Have in Common
While anybody can call themselves an “entrepreneur” because they launched a website and started marketing a product or service online, the reality of turning that website into something profitable in the long run is still just as difficult as it was for “traditional” businesses in the past. There is an old quote saying that 90% of businesses fail in the first year. In the online space, it is more like 99.999%. The number of people who launch a website and make that a successful business venture five years down the road is probably 1/10000.
That being said, what truly sets apart the flourishing virtual enterprises from companies that fail in the first year? How can an aspiring online entrepreneur ensure that their business is successful for years to come? Well, as the founder of Live Lingua (a top-5 online language school), I’ve learned a thing or two about launching and growing a lucrative virtual business. Here are three key elements that all successful online businesses have in common.
A Clear Vision They Wholeheartedly Strive Towards
To thrive in the long run, an online business must have a crystal clear vision of the problem they are attempting to solve with their products or services, as well as the target customer that they cater to. In addition, that company must maintain a steadfast focus on that vision that does not waver over the weeks, months, and years it takes to build a business. Companies that wholeheartedly focus on and strive towards achieving their vision will excel and reach a level of success that other enterprises chasing after the latest fads never reach.
On top of this, virtual enterprises that fully focus on achieving the clear vision they set will save a ton of money and time in the long run. This is because they won’t waste those valuable resources on marketing strategies, sales outreach tactics, and other initiatives that don’t move them towards accomplishing their long-term vision.
The Ability to Adapt to the Changing Times
There’s no doubt that society is always changing — there are always new popular internet memes, new shows and movies people rave over, new news headlines that capture everyone’s attention, new products and services that consumers want to try… and the list goes on. We also saw how society was completely flipped upside-down due to the COVID-19 pandemic. That said, to be successful, an online business must stay on top of societal changes and trends and see how they can adapt to them in a way that aligns with their vision.
For example, say a virtual company primarily advertises its products through Facebook ads and sponsored posts on Instagram, but they’ve recently discovered that many of their target customers are now avid TikTok users. It would be in the business’s best interest to adapt to this trend and implement new TikTok marketing strategies (like partnering with popular TikTokers in their niche on sponsored videos) to reach these potential customers. They can even launch their own TikTok page to post funny videos of their products, share industry information, etc.
As another example, say a business has shared industry insights and advice on their website’s blog page for many years, which has helped to bring in a lot of traffic. However, lately, that enterprise has noticed that their blog posts’ views have gone down, and their primary consumer demographic have become big fans of podcasts in their industry. It would be in the company’s best interest to adapt to this trend and launch their own informative podcast. Also, the business’s executives could market to all of the podcast listeners in their target customer audience by being a guest on other podcasts in their industry.
A Focus on SEO Above All Other Website Attributes
It’s a fact: a virtual business will not maximize its potential if its website is not SEO-friendly. Yes, this might seem obvious, but so many online enterprises fail because they don’t keep this top of mind. They will instead spend all of their budgets on UI/UX, a Content Management System, making their website responsive, etc. They then lose out on a ton of potential customers, as their competitors’ websites consistently rank higher than theirs for searches on the products or services they offer. Consumers end up clicking on their competitors’ sites instead of theirs, and the lost traffic leads to lost sales and possible struggle down the line.
That said, ensuring that their website is SEO-friendly — and staying on top of off-site SEO — must be the primary priority, as it will bring in traffic, which leads to customers, which ultimately leads to business growth. Companies also definitely don’t have to pay digital marketing agencies a fortune to keep their websites SEO-friendly — anyone can go on freelancer websites like Upwork.com to get their website fully optimized for a reasonable price.
To Wrap It All Up
Countless online businesses, unfortunately, fail in the first year after they are launched. The virtual companies that thrive and succeed in the long run have three key elements in common: a clear vision they dedicate all of their efforts to, the ability to adapt to societal changes, and a steadfast focus on SEO above all other website attributes. Thus, in order to continually reach new heights, it is vital for any online enterprise to ensure they too have these three attributes.
Ray Blakney is the CEO and co-founder of Live Lingua, a renowned online language learning platform. Live Lingua offers a unique and immersive approach to mastering a new language, as it pairs users who want to learn Spanish, French, German, Chinese, and more with their own hand-picked, certified, native-speaking tutor for online teaching sessions. An award-winning, Filipino-American entrepreneur, speaker, and podcaster, Ray builds and helps others build 6- and 7-figure businesses on a bootstrap budget using SEO. www.livelingua.com