Internet use is increasing rapidly and is revolutionizing the way business is done. New businesses and business models are emerging, customer behavior and expectations are changing, and more customers, suppliers and competitors are going online.
This presents substantial challenges and opportunities for all businesses. To survive and prosper in this global and competitive environment, businesses must embrace the Internet and use it to transform their business.
The Internet can be used in many areas of a business to increase revenue, reduce costs and improve productivity. The Internet is not just about sending and receiving email and setting up a website. There is so much more and the capabilities increase every day.
Businesses should be using the Internet to:
The Internet enables businesses to connect people, businesses and systems, quickly, easily and cheaply. This makes it cheaper and easier to transact and provide information. This improves customer service, lowers operating costs and delivers efficiencies through automation, self-service, collaboration, communication and access to online services and on-demand software.
The Internet enables business to transact online. For sellers the Internet provides the ability to sell online, automatically process online sales and accept payments online. For purchasers the Internet provides the ability to research, purchase and make payments online. This provides significant benefits to both sellers and buyers.
The Internet has made outsourcing easier, cheaper and more accessible for small and medium businesses by providing a mechanism to integrate and access systems, transfer data, share and access information, communicate and collaborate. The benefits of outsourcing are large, including lower costs, access to specialist skills and services and more time to focus on core business activities.
The Internet enables businesses to transfer and access digital information quicker, cheaper and more efficiently than paper documents. This reduces paper flows, lowers operating costs, speeds up business process, improves customer service and makes it easier to store and search for information.
The Internet provides multiple ways for a business to communicate more cheaply, effectively and efficiently. These include email, online fax services, instant messaging, blogs, webcasts and podcasts.
The Internet enables information and documents to be stored in a central location and then shared, accessed and updated by multiple users from anywhere in the world with an Internet connection. This improves and reduces information flow and improves teamwork, productivity and security.
The Internet enables businesses to provide different types and levels of information to a wide variety of stakeholders at a low cost. This improves customer service, enables self-service, is easy to update and is cheaper and more efficient than printing and posting out information.
The Internet provides access to a large volume of useful information, from many different sources and from broad to niche. In addition, the Internet provides access to online tools that can quickly and efficiently search through information or gather information and present it in an easy to use format.
The Internet enables businesses to automate business processes by providing a mechanism for low cost and efficient integration of business systems and by providing access to online services and on-demand software. This lowers operating costs, improves productivity, speeds up the business process and improves customer service.
The Internet enables staff to access business systems, information and communications while out of the office. This improves customer service, speeds up business process, improves response times and provides greater flexibility to staff.
To survive and prosper in the 21st Century, businesses must embrace the Internet and use it to transform their business. Using the Internet throughout your business can be the differentiator between success and failure. Make sure you are aware of all the ways that you can use the Internet in your business and then implement those as quickly as you can.
Des Odell helps small and medium businesses to use the Internet to increase profits and improve productivity. He has recently written a book called Doing Business in the 21st Century, which outlines 100 ways for a small or medium business to use the Internet. For more information about the book, or to subscribe to his newsletter, please visit http://www.IncreaseProfitsSaveTime.com .
2006 Desmond Odell. All rights reserved. This article may be freely distributed if this resource box stays attached.