It takes more than an idea to start a business.
You have to consider managing business operations, marketing, customer management, plus a lot more.
Many online entrepreneurs fail within the first few months of the launch of their businesses.
According to a report, some of the most commonly cited reasons include failure to understand their customers. As such, the company ends up making products that consumers do not want.
Gennaro Cuofano, the founder of FourWeekMBA, is no stranger to failure.
He remembers two years, from 2015 to 2017, during which his online business was performing terribly. Yet, he managed to learn some valuable lessons from his failures and became an online success.
Presently, his blog, FourWeekMBA is one of the leading business blogs in the world.
We talked with Gennaro to learn how online entrepreneurs can turn their failures into success.
Gennaro’s Entrepreneurial Journey
Just like most first-timers, Gennaro made several mistakes when starting his online business.
Gennaro started his business with no marketing strategy. Initially, it was an experiment, and he was just testing whether or not the audience would like his content. Although some of his work ranked highly online, he was not able to monetize his content.
Because Gennaro did not understand his audience.
The content he uploaded online was a gamble (remember he was experimenting). So some content would rank highly, whereas other content would perform poorly.
Gennaro did not have a marketing strategy. This issue went hand-in-hand with his lack of understanding of his audience. As such, even when he opted to engage in social media marketing as a strategy, his content would still get poor engagement.
Gennaro lacked the relevant data needed to succeed online. He did not conduct a competitor analysis. He had no tools for monitoring engagement. Also, he did not know what kind of content his customers enjoyed.
All of these factors significantly affected his startup.
In the end, from 2015 to 2017, Gennaro was counting losses.
How Gennaro Turned FourWeekMBA into an Online Success
After 2017, Gennaro Cuofano went back to the drawing board. He looked at his website and prioritized coming up with a strategy.
He tried to understand where he was going wrong. For this, he looked closely at areas of his business that needed to be changed.
Based on his experience, Gennaro has the following tips for aspiring entrepreneurs:
1. Developing Unique, SEO-Friendly Content
One of the main reasons behind the success of FourWeekMBA is its original, SEO-friendly content. When Gennaro decided to write for himself, he wanted to focus on writing fresh content based on intensive research. Of course, SEO is also important to get more visibility.
To create high-quality content that is also SEO-friendly, online entrepreneurs can leverage
tools such as the Google Keyword Planner, SEMrush, KWFinder, and others.
These tools can help you find popular keywords in your niche that your audience is searching for. Based on the trends, you can plan your content strategy.
Content analytics tools can also help you optimize your content and make it easier to read and scan. Through analytics, you can also figure out if an article is performing well or not.
2. Develop a Solid Marketing Strategy
For any business to succeed, it’s important to market the products or services well. If you don’t have a roadmap for promotion, it’s difficult to attract and retain new clients.
That’s why all online businesses need a marketing strategy. It should highlight the approach you’ll take to retain your first customers.
When it comes to marketing, most entrepreneurs aren’t sure where to start. The secret is to have foresight about how the business will grow. This requires a fine understanding of the industry, competitors, and market trends.
So, it’s a good idea to invest time into understanding your audience.
You can use tools like Google Analytics to get insights into your audience’s preferences. Also, keep track of what your audience engages with on social media. That will help you understand the kind of content that resonates with them.
3. Look For Gaps in the Market
Giant tech platforms are like the David and Goliath story.
They have the resources and the potential to attract the audience by the masses. Still, don't lose heart. Content is the real secret ingredient to success.
Gennaro explains that for FourWeekMBA, his biggest competitor was Investopedia. Investopedia has a broad audience across several countries in Europe, South America, and Australia.
So how did he outsmart the competition?
He noticed a gap.
Whereas Infoplease is the leading giant in data, they could not allocate resources for a blog like FourWeekMBA.
As an entrepreneur, you need to look for such gaps in your industry. To build a successful digital business, you need to figure out which areas big companies in your niche have failed to capitalize on.
Once you identify the gap, you can work on bridging the gap.
This strategy requires that you take a close look at your competitors’ strategies and analyze what’s working for them. Also, try to find opportunities they might be missing out on.
While researching, look at their pricing, and read the reviews. The information you get will make you better at targeting your customers.
Over to You
When you’re starting an online business, you are going to make some mistakes. You’ve got to be prepared for that. The important thing is to learn from your mistakes.
It can be overwhelming to find your place in a crowded market. You may need to look for market gaps and amp up your marketing strategy.
Do you have any questions or insights to add about online entrepreneurship? Please share your views in the comments section.
Shane Barker is a digital marketing consultant who specializes in influencer marketing, product launches, sales funnels, targeted traffic, and website conversions. He has consulted with Fortune 500 companies, influencers with digital products, and a number of A-List celebrities.