Being able to avoid common mistakes can save you and your business a lot of time and trouble (not to mention $$!). Though it is perfectly common to make mistakes as a new business, that doesn’t mean you can’t avoid them.

How are you supposed to know what’s right and wrong while doing business on the internet? There are so many different ways to do things while having an online business that it can be a bit overwhelming to know what’s a mistake and what’s simply a different way of doing things. So, to start, what even is an online business?

You have an online business if you are offering services or selling goods to consumers exclusively or primarily via the internet. With running an online business there comes unique differences than having a local brick-and-mortar shop that sells to consumers face-to-face. Mainly because you are usually reaching a higher number of people, which brings me to my list of common mistakes online businesses make.

1. Not Searching: For trademarks, that is. With an online business, your brand is now on a wider scale compared to traditional brick-and-mortar shops. It’s vital to do a thorough trademark search of the name and/or logo you’d like to use before proceeding with launching your online business with the name. Not online? You’re local? Your risks of having a trademark infringement dispute may arise, though the risk will be marginally less because you don’t have such a vast scope of being across the nation or even worldwide. Before opening a new online business, do a detailed search of the USPTO records or have an attorney perform a clearance to make sure you’re safe to proceed with the company name you like. (**cough cough** we always perform a thorough trademark search as part of our Brand Bombshell trademark registration package!)

2. Being Too Transparent:  Sometimes in business, being transparent and open is a good thing! But when it comes to handling your customers’ personal information, privacy is the best policy. There have been a lot of national and worldwide developments addressing how businesses collect and store their customers’ personal information. If you collect email addresses for your newsletter, accept orders through your website, or have a contact form on your website, then this especially pertains to your online business. Making sure that you have a secure privacy policy (ie. NOT a generic template that you found online) goes a long way. Your privacy policy should be specific to your business, the information your business collects, and what you do with that information. When it comes to website privacy policies, one size does not fit all.

3. Advertising Accidents: Make sure your online business is following the rules and regulations set forth by the Federal Trade Commission. The FTC has thorough rules and regulations regarding internet marketing. Truthfulness is key: your business’s advertising cannot be misleading or provide false information about your services or products. Reviewing the FTC rules and regulations is a good step to take to make sure you’re not getting in trouble by the FTC or anyone else.

4. Social Media Madness: To add to advertising, you must know exactly how to properly advertise on different social media platforms. Each social media platform has rules about what you can and can not post. Look at each platform that you intend to use privacy policy. If your online business is heavy on social media, you want to make sure you don’t lose your social media presence due to a mistake that could have been avoided.

Looking for some help with your online business? Well then, click here to schedule a consultation!