Most entrepreneurs will face the challenges of running an online business at some point i their career. Many people think just because they set up a website, visitors are going to swarm to it automatically, and they’ll be the next dot com millionaire. While it is always good to be optimistic, it is even better to be strategic so that you reduce the risk of starting a business. 

A well known statistic is that 50% of all businesses fail within the first five years. How does one find themselves in the other half of businesses that succeeds? The answer comes down to having a solid plan and then executing it while consistently tweaking it along the way. 

Even in the online world of business, a good foundation for a company is a detailed business plan. The plan serves as a guide to launching and implementing strategies and tactics that give your business legs to stand on.

Finding and keeping clients is one of the main strategies businesses should constantly work on developing. It takes a lot of momentum to find a new customer, but once they have been acquired, business owners should figure out how to encourage repeat and referral business. 

Marketing rules apply to all businesses. Entrepreneurs must learn to identify their target market and figure out exactly what they want. Marketing is an ongoing process, and it is the lifeblood of all successful enterprises, whether online or offline. Online businesses must use marketing channels like advertising, promotion, sales and public relations to position themselves to be successful. They should be well versed on Internet Marketing as well. 

Internet Marketing is still at its core marketing, and must be approached as such. Entrepreneurs should learn about tactics like keyword research, search engine optimization, online advertising, social media, blogging and email marketing. The most successful online marketers use a combination of all of these tactics to consistently reach their target market and transfer them into customers. 

One of the main benefits of Internet marketing is that results can be easily tracked. Companies such Google have products like Google Analytics that can track website visitors. Analytics can tell you everything from where the visitors came from, what page they landed on, how long they stayed, what device they were using to browse your site, and lots more. Armed with this type of data, businesses can learn more about their visitor’s behaviors and also gain a competitive advantage over their rivals. 

No matter what type of business you are starting online, there will be challenges to overcome. A detailed business plan will service as a compass and consistently point towards the direction where the business needs to go. It will help manage the daily operations of the business and serve as reminder to the principals when things are going off course. 

Every business plan should include a marketing plan that will help identify customers as well as competitors. This part of the plan should be referred to often especially in the online world because changes occur so rapidly. Staying abreast of these changes can help entrepreneurs handle them by adjusting and correcting their course more rapidly. 

Wishing your business every success in 2015.