Learning from the Mistakes of Failed Businesses

I ran across this article about the Top 10 DotCom Failures in the mainstream media this past weekend. If you’re considering starting (or already have started) a home-based business, there are lessons to be learned here because the World Wide Web is likely to be a major component of just about any home-based business nowadays.

One theme here is that, as in the case of Pets.Com, customers must be given a compelling reason to buy goods or services from your business. There was a tendency in this case to think that consumers could just be bombarded with high profile advertising and success would follow.

This really hit home for me because there is a similar situation with one of my own web sites. We have managed to achieve first page ranking on Google for 9 different high traffic keywords for this website (in some cases, Golden Triangle positioning). The site is getting a lot of visitors, but relatively few buyers.

This has caused us to go back to the ‘drawing broad’ on what value the site offers for the customers and to try to find a better way to present that value to them. Fortunately we have not spent the huge amount of capital that Pets.Com did, but the underlying lesson is similar. You can bring as many people as possible to your site, but if there is not enough value there, there won’t be enough success. (And by the way, don’t be afraid to go back to the drawing board).

What lessons do you see in these Top 10 DotCom failures? Can they help you avoid mistakes in your business?