Biggest challenges when taking your business online

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Launching an online business or establishing an online presence for your existing business is a challenge most fail at and it often comes with some drastic consequences. While a few businesses can survive and thrive without an online presence, it has become a necessity for marketing and customer relationship management.

Despite its necessity, however, online entrepreneurship isn’t a walk in the park. There is no specific answer to what challenges lie ahead if you go online. You may face stiff competition from similar businesses online. Or, you might have trouble remaining consistent. This article explores the possibilities and explains how different factors affect your chances of succeeding online. Read on to find out more.

What is the Present Situation?

You’ve probably heard that 90% of startups fail for various reasons. Don’t be scared by this glaring statistic but to give you a reality check. Online businesses compete on a revolutionary platform that essentially doesn’t play by the traditional business rules. Most success factors in online business still need time to understand. Fortunately, we now know enough to determine what works and doesn’t.

What Are the Challenges of Online Entrepreneurship?

Here are several challenges most businesses will face online, which lead to a significant chunk of them failing:

  • Cash reserves dried out before the business could establish a solid presence.
  • There was no specific need the product or service could satisfy
  • Poor business model
  • Lack of research into e-commerce
  • Stiff competition
  • Issues with legal and regulatory compliance
  • Poor product launch timing
  • Poor product pricing strategy
  • An incompatible and inefficient team
  • Clashing objectives between investors and founders
  • Lack of passion and commitment to the project

While these challenges equally affect brick-and-mortar businesses, an online approach infuses a unique angle to them. Therefore, you’re likely to face these challenges when taking your business online:

Customer Expectations

The modern customer is spoiled for choice, with established brands going above and beyond to deliver on their expectations. Most successful brands have learned to anticipate customer needs and provide viable options. Therefore, you have to contend with such high standards as a new player.


Customers decide to buy from you because you have an appropriate product or service, and the interaction is smooth and satisfactory. It is no longer just about the product; your customer service and support, marketing, and billing are essential interaction points where any delays, misunderstandings, or other negative experiences could cost you that customer. Therefore, you have to present and maintain a consistent experience throughout the customer journey.


This refers to your ability to mold your products and services to the prevalent season, customer situation, and needs. How efficient is your product or service at meeting customer needs? Can it adapt to changing circumstances fast? How well do your upgrades or new products comply with the seasons or new customer needs? Online customers’ needs change rapidly, and you need to keep up with those changes.

Transferring Your Customer Experience Online

Designing your website and its customer support team to deliver as expected is one of the biggest challenges. If you have brick-and-mortar branches where you’re famous for excellent customer service, you’ll find it challenging to transfer the same experience online. The challenge arises not in your inability to offer similar standards but in molding them to fit the digital space.

Growing Your Online Customer Base

Most businesses need help figuring out where to start growing a respectable online customer base. A fancy-looking website doesn’t cut it; you need a well-organized website with SEO, appropriate design, and rich content. Hitting the right tone with your website significantly affects your success online, which makes this the most significant challenge most businesses face when going online. Running an e-commerce website needs as much, if not more attention, as your retail outlets. Similarly, maintaining an online presence requires careful attention to what you put out there, even when it is not your primary resource avenue.


Having a global reach has proven to accelerate most businesses’ attainment of success. However, it also means your competition enjoys similar advantages, which saturates the market and leaves little room to stand out. Therefore, staying relevant online is more challenging than going online.

Cyber Threats and Attacks

Opportunistic and otherwise malicious entities are always hunting for weak spots on websites to exploit. Cyberattacks cause significant data, revenue, and image losses. As another website vulnerability, this challenge doesn’t directly relate to the nature of your business. Nonetheless, its impact can derail your online business progress or kill your business altogether. Customers quickly change their minds when they are not sure their sensitive information is safe with you.

How Can Your Business Overcome These Challenges?

Taking your business online at the start or establishing an online presence for an existing one requires similar diligence as a physical one. The difference is in the approach. Therefore, you need to prepare well, quickly observe the market’s reaction, adapt to any changes and always be one step ahead of the competition. That all sounds good, but how do you do that online:

Organize Your Online Presence

It would be best if you actively managed all online channels affiliated with your business. Therefore, consolidate your website, social media channels, apps, and other web assets. Next, run them using similar language, tone, style, and timing. It is not enough to have these channels; you need to be consistent across all of them. Additionally, it would be best if you made them work for you. Hiring professionals to help you with SEO, email marketing, social media management, etc., is crucial. The best strategy is to craft a specific front and maintain it throughout. Such an organization has the added benefit of easing SEO efforts, which is critical to your success online.

Present the Right Product Offering

Most businesses fail online because they present a great product that doesn’t solve the real world or present problems. Presenting a product that addresses your customers’ most significant concern guarantees success. Therefore, only go online when you have something people want. You can figure out other challenges but can only fix your business if you get this right.


You have to be patient with the business. While this is not easy, your initial research before going online should have included a timeframe that focuses on attaining success fast and attaining it over a more extended period. This way, you’d have a budget to sustain your marketing efforts long enough for them to pay off. Therefore, understand how long you need to stick it out to avoid giving up too soon.

Protect your Brand Image

Image is everything online; no business survives for long with a damaged one. Since you don’t interact with customers face-to-face, any customer support mishaps or poorly functioning website spells doom for the business. Therefore, address all customer complaints immediately they occur and troubleshoot your website and social media channels to ensure a smooth user experience.

Be Authentic

It is easy to get hypnotized by trends, customer expectations, competition, and other market forces. However, you need to maintain your unique brand identity online. Similar to brick-and-mortar branches, your business should be uniquely identifiable. Customers appreciate businesses that remain true to their identity. Therefore, keep what makes your brand stand out to get a chance against the repetitive nature of competition and the market.


Whether launching a new business or creating an online presence for your existing one, the internet will significantly affect your success. Your website and all other online channels are critical factors, and their performance determines what success you’ll attain. Additionally, treating your online presence like any other business venture with excellent preparation and execution is the best way to overcome most challenges online. This article has revealed the main challenges and how you can overcome them.

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