“For which one of you, when he wants to build a tower, does not first sit down and calculate the cost, to see if he has enough to complete it?” - Luke 14:28
Business is once again thriving in the online scene. It has successfully rebounded from the tragedy of the dotcom bubble burst during the millennium’s turn. This renaissance of promising opportunities has lured many souls to pursue their dreams of electronic prominence by setting sail on the vast seas of cyberspace. They fear neither the turbulent waters nor the ferocious sharks. They have goals to fulfill, and they feel that this desire is enough to make them prosper in this brave new world.
Or so they believe.
Doing business online requires more than just passion and courage. It requires more than savvy smarts and quick wits as well. Mere bravado would only spell doom, and unfounded confidence would be an insolence that courts disaster. More than anything else, doing business online, and eventually being successful at it, requires a mastery of the basics.
There are fundamental rules in online commerce that are often neglected by those who are overzealous to cash in on the latest trends. The early bird may catch the worm, but it is the wise bird that will be able to know when to strike at any given time. A review of these rules is necessary to arm us with the tools that could serve a lifetime of flourishing trade.
Your business may hide behind the veil of a corporation, a partnership, or an anonymous cyber company, but it will still be you who will ultimately call the shots. The decisions you will make are the ones that would steer the course of your business’ fate.
It goes without saying that knowledge about the trade is of utmost essence. You cannot dabble in technical fields without the necessary familiarity with the intricacies of information technology. You may hire learned people, of course, but they will merely help you operate the business. Ownership is yours, and it is your choices that will spell the difference between failure and conquest.
Your love for the particular trade should also be considered. There will be trying times when all would seem hopeless, and your dedication will be called to step up to the plate to determine salvation or surrender.
If you do not know yourself, then you will not know how you will be able to handle your endeavor. How would you know which strength to exploit? How would you know which weakness to complement? How would you be able to foresee the outcome of most eventualities? There is no greater risk than the uncertainties that you yourself would cause.
KNOW THY MARKET
It all starts with a question: what do people need? The idea is formulated with another query: what am I capable of providing? The business is conceptualized by yet another thought: how could it benefit me?
By knowing all the answers to the foregoing, you would have consequently determined your market, or that group of people you want to cater to. Establishing who they are is one of the primary considerations in conceiving a solid business plan.
Garnering their attention is the domain of marketing. There are various strategies that can be employed to achieve this. It is important to choose the right kind that would play to your strong points and would be appropriate to your target market.
Once you have gathered them, your focus should shift to means on how to keep them. Maintain their interest. Devise ways that would assure them of beneficial rewards for their continued patronage. Generosity can play a big part in this area. Offering clients with bona fide discounts, for example, would create product loyalty, and you will end up with guaranteed returns for the long run.
KNOW THY BUDGET
The bottom line of every business is profit. If a business ceases to be profitable, then its existence is better left abandoned. Your budget is an integral consideration in deciding what trade you should establish. Certainly, you wouldn’t want to embark on something that is bigger than what you could afford. You’ll just end up in a pile of rising debts, if that were the case.
A cliché in business goes like this: start small.
It has become a cliché because it has been recited over and over through the years. The reason for its incessant proclamations is because the maxim is true. Starting small would be safest and most prudent route to take. Aside from a minimal financial investment, you will be able to learn about the trade from the ground up.
You also have to manage your resources well. This would ensure optimal performance and a stable cash flow. A sustainable balance between expenses and income is necessary. A surplus of income over expenses is ideal and should be made the goal.
Lastly, think long and hard before expanding. There are many instances when keeping the business small makes it more profitable. Remember, it’s not the size of the undertaking that counts, rather, it is how much it earns that ultimately matters.
Gunnar Berglund has been a “internet- hardworker" for the last five years He publishes The meonit Gazette http://gazette.meonit.com and runs http://www.meonit.com and http://www.grabinternetprofits.com