Product and service reviews are conducted independently by our editorial team, but we sometimes make money when you click on links. Learn more.

3 Key Factors that Define Successful Online Businesses

Nathan Resnick
Nathan Resnick
at Sourcify

E-commerce is a competitive and growing industry. Here's how to stand out.

Starting an online business is all the rage these days, as people want the ability to work remotely and have a steady income. The hard part of these businesses is making them last.

Over 90 percent of companies started in 2016 won’t make it through 2017. If starting an online business has become easier than ever, why hasn’t the success rate increased over time?

The fact of the matter is many people start a business without realizing the amount of work it takes to make it a success. Though work shouldn’t scare a potential entrepreneur, starting a business gets in the way of common leisures, and people often choose to relax over their ability to grind.

You don’t need to reinvent the wheel to be a success. Instead, focus your efforts on defining the following three aspects of your business:

1. Have a Clearly Defined Product and Audience

Successful businesses must have a clear understanding of their own value propositions and target market. To do that, you must first understand the existing marketplace you want to enter. Conduct a detailed review of what array of products are currently being offered and how yours will be different.

Many entrepreneurs think their products have to be completely different. That is false. The most important aspect of a online business is your messaging. As an online business, content is your vehicle to inform, target and spread your message. Understanding the trends of successful messaging is key.

For more information on market research and positioning your message, read this article by fitness entrepreneur turned business coach Stephanie Joanne,  “The Art of Influence & Authority.”

2. Be Engaging and Relevant

Today, the typical person has an attention span of 8.25 seconds. That means a paragraph of copy is a sales pitch, so it helps to know how to position your message for maximum effect. Fortunately, engaging content is rooted in psychology. The best way to create memorable copy? Use emotion and tell a story.

To tell a good story, focus on the benefit your customer will receive from using your product. Will they become happier? Will they lose weight? Ask yourself these questions before launching your product and then focus your sales pitch around this story.

3. Deliver Value at All Customer Touch Points

This is perhaps the most important aspect of successful online businesses: They deliver.

Think about the typical life-cycle of a customer. How many touch points are involved? Search, gathering information, social media, browsing, shopping, check out, customer service, and more.

Delivering value means focusing on the customer across all touch points. It means putting systems in place with a strong understanding of a customer’s needs. For example, many customer service lines today begin the conversation with an Artificial Intelligence bot. These are useful for standard tasks like checking your balance, (if it’s a bank) or providing store hour information (if it’s retail) but almost everyone gets annoyed with these bots.

You can’t let people get annoyed with the automation behind your online business. To make experiences personalized, collect what you can on potential customers. Why do you think companies often send you a Happy Birthday card?

Starting an online business is easier said than done. Though it may be simple to get a website online, scaling your business to a sustainable level is the challenge. By clearly defining your product, while being engaging and relevant, you’ll soon find yourself on the pathway to success!

Photo credit: mangpor2004/Shutterstock

Nathan Resnick
Nathan Resnick
business.com Member
See Nathan Resnick's Profile
Nathan Resnick is a serial entrepreneur who currently serves as CEO of Sourcify, a marketplace of the world's top manufacturers. Having brought dozens of products to life, he knows the ins and outs of how to turn ideas into realities.