12 Reasons Why Your Business should be an Internet Business

Monday 4th May, 2015

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How startups and small businesses can leverage the Internet to flourish and thrive…

With the Internet offering so many new opportunities to start-ups & small businesses, to most it has become increasingly complex and confusing when attempting to establish a new business.

Aside from being a fantastic opportunity for business, the Internet also provides an immense source of information. The amount of IP (Internet Protocol) data that is transferred annually across the Internet’s optical networks is in the several hundred Exabyte range. By 2016, this is projected to exceed 1 Zettabyte or 1000 Billion Gigabytes (Cisco Systems, 2012)

Storage Company, EMC, have attempted to put this barely imaginable data volume into simple terms.

This amount of data is roughly the equivalent of a printed A4 or Letter page document that has so many pages that if you laid out these pages end to end, they would reach to Pluto and back…SIXTEEN times!!

Is it any wonder that even with a tiny fraction of this enormous quantity of information all being readily accessible to you, that you may be feeling overwhelmed?

Yet, if this is how you feel, then now is the time to step back from being overwhelmed and see the big picture.


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Whatever your line of business, and no matter how basic or progressive it is in terms of Information Technology & Internet adoption, NOW is the point at which you absolutely MUST tailor your business to be not only Internet-enabled but able to fully exploit everything the Internet has to offer. Whether your business’s sector is at the leading or trailing edge of technology adoption, it’s critical to adopt Internet technologies right now.

If your sector is at the leading edge of technology adoption and you’re not using the Internet to its full advantage, then you are already trailing your competitors & in order to compete effectively you must both catch up and find a way to differentiate how you use these technologies to improve your business. Contrastingly, if your sector is late adopting Internet technologies, then you have an amazing opportunity to steal a march on your competitors.

Most small businesses understand the need for a website, and have done so for many years. Many also understand that social media is a good means to access your marketplace. However, no matter your business type, and even if you don’t believe you need a website, one thing’s for sure, you must leverage the internet, in order to survive.

For many small local businesses, what is less properly understood is that the Internet is not just an online advertising hoarding any longer. It is a thriving marketplace with phenomenal growth, where you can directly support and grow your customer base.

At the other end of the spectrum, Internet-focussed businesses fully understand this, and it is no coincidence that the fastest growing companies globally are those who are providing products & services for & on the Internet environment. These companies, such as Google, Facebook, Amazon, Linked In, Twitter & are in fact completely redefining the way we communicate, interact, and ultimately do business.

So as a small business entrepreneur or business owner, you may understand the benefits of selling in the Internet marketplace, & even know the additional benefits the global Internet provides though you may not yet fully understand how, or have the confidence to incorporate these benefits into your business.

Have you ever asked yourself:

How do I get new customers?

How do I differentiate myself more clearly from my competitors?

How do I keep costs under control AND grow my business?

Taking advantage right now, of what the Internet has to offer your business, will give you a competitive advantage and letting these opportunities pass will give you otherwise.

Many small companies have very quickly become highly successful using the power of the Internet, making their owners billionaires in the process. Very few if any companies have achieved this entirely offline, and certainly not in comparable time frames.

Just look at the example of the behemoths of Google and Facebook, who have grown from startups into 2 of the largest companies in the world, Google since 1998, and Facebook since 2004! The latter is phenomenal. Just imagine, becoming a multi-billionaire in a decade or less!

So, below, we summarise the key business opportunities that can be realised through appropriate application of Internet technologies.

1.  Be More Agile

As a small business, your advantage is that you are significantly more agile and therefore able to adjust more rapidly to changes in the market place in order to remain competitive. You can exploit new strategic market opportunities quicker than large corporates, maximising profits long before the market becomes commoditised. The impact of this agility is significantly enhanced when using internet technologies, as it combines with all of the factors below to give a superior impression to your customers.

If you want your customers to see you as agile and flexible to support their needs, then the best way to do this is through your online message, products and services, and an Internet-tailored operational model.

2.  Improve Customer Service

With the use of the various social media platforms, you can be much more proactive & personal in interacting with your customers; rapidly creating new products and services to accommodate their requirements and buying habits.

3.  Refined Brand Image

With the Internet advantage you can create the impression of being an established player, having a professional brand & the appearance of a full customer service set-up, without the prohibitive costs that a traditional business would have to shoulder to create this organisation. Additionally, to help add to the impression of increased size and stability, there are many platforms and services that exist in the Internet designed exactly to help small businesses create a seamless appearance and impression of being a larger player.

4.  Reputation Awareness and Management


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One of the risks of going online is a much more accessible picture of your reputation. While this can be seen negatively, most businesses see this as a positive opportunity.

Business that are only offline may not even be aware of any customer’s concerns that lead to a poor reputation, and if they are, they still can’t directly address those affected.

Most people nowadays complain about their negative experiences online, and therefore this provides the businesses concerned a fantastic opportunity to address the issues, and demonstrate to all those watching that they want to provide excellent customer service by fixing the problems that do occasionally occur within any business.

5.  Leveraged Resources and Reduced Resource Costs

The ability to exploit qualified & skilled resources from around your own country as well as the globe at very competitive costs, means you can manage and expand your business for a lower cost than is achievable by traditional means. You can also quickly extract yourself from the business mechanism, giving you time to focus on the big picture of building your business.

Whether you do this through direct or contract recruitment to offshore locations, or with outsourcing of scoped projects, depends on your strategy. However, your ability to maximise use of lower-cost labour & resources further increases your competitiveness. You can even feel good about increasing the quality of life for your fortunate employees in both your own and, if you choose to do so, developing countries.

6.  Expanded Marketplace

Probably the greatest advantage of actively engaging in the online arena, is the fact that you are accessing a massively bigger marketplace.

Not only does your visibility increase, but correctly executed, you can target more & more potential customers. Let’s face it, the vast majority of people & businesses, when they are making a buying decision for key purchases will turn to the Internet and “Google” their options.

Search engines, and Google in particular are the new Yellow Pages, and have been for quite some time. If you’re not maximising your online profile, securing prospects & massaging your prospect & customer list, you are already losing out to your competitors that are.

7.  Highly Targeted and Cost Effective Advertising


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One of the huge advantages of online advertising, is how cost effective it is.

There are many options in terms of advertising platform, however, in general you only actually pay for prospects that actually click on your advert and visit your website.

Online, you have the distinct advantage that you can target specific demographics and interests or keywords that your potential prospects may be searching for. The level of targeting is pretty much limitless depending on the platform you choose to use.

There are also a multitude of techniques to get highly targeted traffic whilst driving down the cost, without compromising the traffic quality.

8.  Longer Opening Hours

The Internet runs 24 x 7, so therefore your business can too. Depending on your product or service, you can certainly be capturing new leads & prospects around the clock, and potentially even making sales whilst you sleep. Even the most unlikely of services can be tailored to take proper advantage of the online opportunity.

People are looking for your product, services & knowledge nationally and globally regardless of your local time zone, and if your business isn’t currently set-up to take advantage of this, perhaps it’s time to consider adapting. If you don’t move forward your competitors will, and eventually you will be left behind.

9.  Greater Automation, Less Work

In the Information Technology age, most small, medium & large businesses take advantage of computers, networks & the Internet, whether they are fully aware of it or not.

Your suppliers and business customers are likely to be using computer systems for finance, supply chain systems, & customer management at the very least. Increasingly, these are able to automatically link into other businesses to streamline invoicing, payment & other business processes, like stock control, ordering, payroll, customer service & technical support.

You can separate yourself from your competitors and create an innovative, dynamic & flexible business that takes advantage of cost savings through automation, whilst enabling you to spend more time on what matters – growing your business & looking after your customers.

10.  Low Cost Outsourcing


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Whilst outsourcing labour & fixed scope projects has been around for quite some time, for the last decade it has grown exponentially for small businesses who discovered that there was an accessible & inexpensive labour force located in several developing countries.

One of the major challenges for start-up & small businesses is access to qualified labour at a cost that doesn’t inhibit cash-flow & growth. Consequently this market has exploded and locations like India and The Philippines now have very well established outsource labour markets for the English-speaking marketplace, with both companies & individual contractors offering services ranging from Virtual Assistants to Software Development and Programming.

11.  Access to Innovative Funding

One of the major challenges to many business’s growth is securing funding. With the advent of crowd funding sites, new businesses can secure funding to help a launch or creation of a new product. There are a variety of vehicles for doing this from reward based funding through to equity based funding and loans. The beauty of the online environment, is that you have easier access to these facilities, and a significantly expanded choice when compared with the traditional funding environment.

12.  Improved Internal and Customer Collaboration & Networking

With a global community online, it has become possible to collaborate with almost anyone all over the world.

Many business provide online customer services and technical support in real-time via their websites, and in many cases this is outsourced, combining more than one benefit.

Furthermore, business advice & consultancy can be more readily accessed, ranging from basic advice in forums & chat rooms, to more structured & tailored training.

In summary, there are already many persuasive reasons to adopt the Internet advantage with both hands, yet by the time I’ve finished writing this article, I expect that there are already several other means from which your business would benefit from within the online environment, as the sector is developing so rapidly.

So what are you waiting for, start adapting your business now!


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