So you have built a few sites for you friends, your mother and the kitten down the street. Now you plan to go big time with the beach house, ferrari, parties, and the really good life. Is this possible? What does it really take to make a successful Internet Business? Where can you get support?
What are your thoughts and ideas? I will post mine along with some resources next week.
Internet Media Provider
Let me put it this way.
I think it will not be easy to make big bucks with a website(or you have to go with porn and warez). It's like in real life, the big guys have 'take over' the net. Advertisers are expecting these days lots of traffic from your site to even talk to you.
Ofcourse are there exceptions, like Yahoo(founded by a couple of students). But that was way back, and ofcourse a very good theme then)
The real problem is in my opinion that it is very hard to come with a brand new idea to implement on the web. If you are the first with something that is not allready on the net and is usefull to a lot of surfers, yes then you maybe can make some big bucks...
But as i stated above, this is really hard, I am still searching for that answer
If you're going to start your own dot-com start-up my best advice is to surround yourself with people who have been at this for a long time, and who have a lot of industry contacts, experience and know-how.
But what if you don't know this kinda people?
And why should a "stranger" with all the knowledge you discribed help me to maybe be there compitetor? I mean you think that Yahoo shall help me out with ideas etc. if I want to build a Portal/Search Engine on the web? If they would I would be really supprised
I'll post early to get you an idea of where my response is going. I know Matt already read the article that made me pick this topic because he mentioned the magazine once already in the forums.
Yahoo probably won't help you form a new portal or search engine but other companies would. Yahoo won't help not because it might mean competition but because that isn't their business model. There are companies that will help if your idea is sound and you can sell them that your the one to make it work. These companies are run by the masters and will help you get off the ground. More will come at the end of the week.
If you really think all the good ideas are taken here are some things that need work on the Internet:
Privacy and Security
E-Commerce (the actual process)
Integration of web apps with desktop apps.
Electronic Media Distribution.
Personal Payment Systems.
Information Retrieval via agent or robot software.
Confidential Records i.e. Voting, Medical Records, Financial Records.
The internet is just in its infancy and while maturing fast it hasn't even begun to reach its full potential. Now that there are new standards that take the burden of content and document structure away from HTML we will begin to start seeing truly dynamic, interactive applications on the Internet where data and information is updated by the seconds instead of daily or even every 15 minutes. The next ten years is going to be where all the fun starts and your already in the mix.
Internet Media Provider
[This message has been edited by wluke (edited March 25, 2000).]
If you don't have contacts in the industry, make them. Participate in discussion lists where the "big-wigs" hang-out. Go to industry trade shows and conferences. Go to the dot-com parties that abound, especially in tech centers like Seattle, New York and San Francisco.
Having a rolodex full of contacts at major companies is a huge plus when you decide to seek funding for your company, refferals to other companies for business development and marketing opportunities, etc. Not everyone that you'll get to know will help you themselves, but they can put in in touch with the right lawyers, venture capitalists, and industry contacts who will be able to help get your idea off of the ground (if it's a good one).
What I am seeing now are too many people thinking that they can build a site, put some advertisements on the pages and the $$ will just start rolling in....in that respect, overload of sites is inevitable.
Just look at the same banners that appear on sites now...nothing original. Look at many of the sites themselves...nothing original.
Success came early for those that were lucky to be at the right place at the right time, but realize business success does not come overnight!
Think long term...whether web design or web content. You will want a web site that keeps up to date with current technology, expands and has the ability to merge to another level - such as 'Matt and Friends' have done
And especially begin contacting those in the business and increase your professional contacts...I couldn't emphasize the importance of contacts for assistance and support.
WebKat's PawPrints "Let's keep Ethics on the Web"
i belive that unless you have the funding or the contact that you are basically playing russian roulette when it comes to success. except imagine your hold a .50 calb. machine gun with a whole supply truck full of linked shells but only one of then is loaded.....
if you are lucky to fire that live round you'll be happy but you might also get discouraged before you get there.
my advice is work many angles, met many people, never be afraid to tell people you design websites or that you have tons of ideas (we're not all like that guy from "blast from the past").
Take a look at me. i started this stuff years ago. i haven't done a thing and that's all my fault. BUT i'm working on 3 differant sites and i have one successful site in my portfolio. I'm also approaching this as the "hey i just want to have fun, if somebody will pay me to do this great!" attitude.
peristance and patience. these are the keys to any good business idea.
knowing who to pitcht he idea to and when to pitch are the keys to a great business venture.
Eric Jones - WR Moderator / Administrator
Right now I am doing a term report on Customer Service on the Internet. During my reserarch I found that it is NOT WHAT YOU SELL BUT HOW YOU SELL IT, that really matters on the Internet. The greatest barriers to online success are Internet security (obviously) and that fact that customers like personal attention (especially when parting with their money) which they do not get as the Internet is more typical of a self servce enviornment. Real time customer representative chat rooms are being established so some one will be at the site to say hello and smile upon your entry. Just like Wal-Mart. wluke is correct when he says that this is just the beginning, there are currently 275 million people on the net world wide and by the end of the year there will be 475 million. with the greatest numbers in the U.S. and Canada. These statistics were taken from an anugus Reid poll conducted in february this year.
If you are selling a product or service that has real value to consumers and you do it in an innovative, entertaining and efficient manner. You will have the formula for a successful business. You may start small, but in MicroSoft had to start somewhere. And as for warez and porno....a more reputable business idea has a better chance for expansion due to a less limited target market. A good business person knows you can make more money with brain than butts.
I like to thank you all for the advise.
Wayne is right that a lot has to be done on the Internet. But I have a few questions. Have everybody who have replied to this topic all or some of the contacts Matt was talking about?
Can things also be done without them and be successfull?
I haven't had time to write my originally planned response. I will post it tomorrow, a little late but I will still post it.
EMB: If you persevere you will succeed. Probably not on the first idea or concept but eventually you will succeed. Not everyone's success will be measured by having a great website. You might find a job with another company. Get in your niche and develop marketable patents for them while earning stock options and benefits. It is all a matter of perspective. Just nevere give up hope.
Internet Media Provider
EMB said, "The real problem is in my opinion that it is very hard to come with a brand new idea..." FYI - did you know that there serious consideration in the 1830's to shut down the U.S. Patent Office. Proponets said that there weren't any new ideas or inventions to come up with.
From my point of view, I am seriousily rethinking my approach to starting a company. I had had a few ideas and threw together a web site. I've been so side tracked in the last fews months that I haven't had time develop it any further. I plan to start fresh this summer. To put together a business plan first and really focus on what my goals are and how I am going to reach them instead of going off half-cocked.
The Internet and the Web in particular has changed business as we know it. Experts are suggesting that tried and true business practices need to be revised or eliminated entirely. Many companies are starting out as internet only companies, no offices only a web page. You have built a few sites for your friends and family and now you want to get into it full time. What is the best method and how do you guarantee success?
The only guarantee of success is a mixture of sweat and patience. You might have 100 different ideas that don't make it but the 101st gem takes you all the way. As far as the best method, there isn't one. Everyone works differently. What works for one idea or business won't necessarily work for yours. There are steps to take to give you an advantage over those will unplanned or poorly planned business ideas.
The first thing you need to do is write your idea down. You don't need a fully developed business plan at this point but if you don't write your idea down when you have it, you will either forget it or it will become twisted in your memory. Writing it down makes it permanent. Once it is written down refine it and share it. Talk about your idea with friends and family or the people at work. They might be able to suggest improvements. Be careful on who you share it with though. Some people may take it and develop it on their own, so don't run to the IT guys down the hall unless they are close friends, even friends might steal a good idea though. While your doing this research your idea. You can use the Web to look for potential competitors or other ways to improve. While your researching start gathering your information. Gather about ten times as much as you think you will need because you will end up throwing a lot of it away.
Once you have done your research and refined your idea you can start designing your business. This includes the mundane stuff like a solid business plan, legal research, consulting your C.P.A. and building the first initial website. A solid business plan is a must. This will prove to potential investors that your plan is solid and allow you to get financing. A properly written business plan will serve as a blueprint for your new company.
Once you have your business plan, finances and initial site in order you can start promoting your business. You need to promote your business before you try to get financing. This is because gathering financing is just another way of promoting your business. If you can't sell your business to the financers then it won't last very long.
The best way to start promoting your business is to network. The involves meeting people. Join your local chamber of commerce. The amount of information you can get from these organizations is more than worth the couple hundred dollars it takes to join. Get business cards made. Try to make them stand out. Choose a bright but unobtrusive color. Take these business cards to every meeting. Don't leave until everyone at the meeting has one of your cards. Hand these cards out to everyone, even people who will never be your customer. Everyone you meet might be that link to a person who will finance you or help with your idea. Business cards are cheap and are one of the easiest ways to promote a new business.
If your selling products or services then you will need to start gathering clients. The same people that have your business cards are your first potential clients. So is everyone you meet on the bus, train or subway. The lady standing behind you in line at the supermarket is also one. The man reading the paper at the newsstand is another. Network with all these people and give them your card. Give your friends your card and tell them you will give them a referral fee of 10% for every new customer. If you put your card in the hands of a thousand people that is a thousand potential customers, partners or means of financing.
Your index page of your website is your online business card. Make sure its linked in as many similar places as possible. Get your website address on everything as well. Put it in your email signature, On your voice mail message. Put it everywhere.
With a little hard work the customers will start coming in. Your job isn't over with that though. You need to keep your customers and gather new ones. In fact the hard work is just beginning. Most businesses fail within the first year so you need to have patience. You might also go through this process many times until the right idea takes off.
For more information contact your local Chamber of Commerce and set up a meeting with SCORE. SCORE is made up of retired business people from your city and they have a lot of advise to give newcomers.
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Something cought my eye in the national papers(UK)this week.. and that is a young(ish)couple.. who bought a house that needed lots of work on it for around £100,000.. then set up a webcam and started to decorate live.. they were getting hits in tens of thaousands everynight.. the traffic was unbelievable.. so.. businesses started to ask them if they could put advertisments for them on their site.. to cut a long story short.. they ended up spending another £100,000 worth of materials (FREE from the advertisers).. and their house is now worth well over £350,000.. guess what their next move is.. yes.. to sell.. and start another venture.. the motto of all this? in my opinion it's originality.. oh.. and a little bit of luck too..
[This message has been edited by Jaz (edited April 01, 2000).]