10 reasons to stick with the Internet: It is getting tougher to make your e-business succeed, but it is certainly not time to give up.

By Andrew J. Birol, President, Birol Growth Consulting, Inc.

I was speaking recently at an e-commerce seminar with Tom Zych of Thompson, Hine and Flory on the topic of why businesses should continue to throw resources at the Internet despite the dubious returns most businesses are experiencing. One of the topics we had the most fun with was that in spite of the Great Internet Shakeout why would an intelligent business owner continue to throw good money after bad into their e-strategy. Well, here are 10 good reasons to stay focused on your company’s e-strategy.

10. The medium is established.

Web traffic continues to increase as do the number of Web site visits and e-commerce.

9. There is no variable cost of distribution.

The Internet provides the ability to communicate with a million people as cheaply as one person. So with no variable distribution cost, the net cost to reach those people becomes zero.

8. It turns technology into relationships.

Few technologies really humanize communication the way the Internet does. You can truly express who you are and what you are to somebody online.

7. It helps you turn relationships into value.

The Internet allows a visitor to indicate preferences, interests and opinions, which form the basis for interaction, and thus a relationship. And in business, it’s all about relationships.

6. Pornographers are never wrong and they’re never broke.

The videotape, video store and, quite frankly, VCRs all owe their early success to the pornography industry. While a distasteful role model, it’s important to recognize success when you see it: 60 percent of Internet commerce is still pornography-based.

5. Leverage, leverage, leverage.

In the era of knowledge businesses, what we know if often all that we are worth. Therefore, take your knowledge and leverage it online. Your articles, experiences, case studies and client studies are more interesting than you may think. Inventory them and make them easily accessible examples of your business.

4. It makes us them and them us.

As Paul Simon says, "One man’s ceiling is another man’s floor." Your different roles of vendor, customer, peer and competitor can all be fleshed out and communicated to those who need to see you in those terms. This way, you can simultaneously extend all your critical relationships.

3. You either have inventory or information.

Long before the buzz word "supply chain" came into vogue, it was clear American distribution channels were contracting. The Internet gives you two choices - either convey information or carry inventory.

2. Your suppliers are online.

Think of everything your firm buys. How much of it do you - and could you - buy online? Chances are, most of what you need is waiting for you there. If your vendors are there, you should be too.

1. Your customers are online.

How many of your customers are doing business online? If a majority are selling online, how often do they stay online and look for vendors. Are you at risk by not being there? Even though commerce may not be occurring online, impressions and preferences are being reinforced and revised daily.

Going back online is not too different from your plans for the weekend following the first party you went to in college. You swear you will exercise better judgment, but you have no intention of staying home. As the weekend beckons, so does e-commerce. The key is to play the game intelligently and with greater forethought.

Articles by Birol Growth Consulting are © copyrighted and all rights are reserved. However, articles may be reprinted with prior written consent if attribution is included as follows:

© Copyrighted by Andrew J. Birol, President of Birol Growth Consulting, who helps owners grow their businesses by growing their Best and Highest Use ®. Andy can be reached at (412) 973-2080 , by email at abirol@andybirol.com, or on the web at www.andybirol.com.

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