By Joshua Lucas
Issue # 2
Wednesday, March 11, 1998
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Last week, we looked at the evolution of business on-line; from
the early days when only the largest company could afford the budget for a
presence on-line to the current day where anyone who wants to be on the Web
can do so without much effort. This drop in the overhead has been a great
development for small businesses since it allows them to play on the same
field as the largest corporations.
Even though big business will always
have a larger budget for consultants and web designers, it shouldn't
discourage the small business. A joke about the Internet says that on the
Internet, no one knows you are a dog. When this is applied to the small
business, it should give great comfort. If you can put together a
site which brings in customers, no one has to know that the business only
has one employee and its headquarters are in a garage!
Just because the overhead is low doesn't mean that there isn't
a danger in going on-line. Specifically, the danger lies in the fact that a site can be put up
without the thought and the commitment it deserves. This can cause great
harm and discourage both the business and the customer.
Does this mean
that a small business has to go into debt trying to compete with a large
company? Of course not! Many places will host the equivalent of a yellow
pages ad for a small business. On it, things like directions, store hours,
and an email address can be displayed.
This can be a perfect start for a small
business but wouldn't work for a company like Microsoft, because the customer's expectations for Microsoft are much higher based on their brand name and high profile.
It all revolves
around what the customer's expectations will be for your on-line presence.
No matter how cost-effective a one-page site is, serious thought should be
given to how expansion on-line can strengthen the relationship a business
has with its customer.
"Lucas, Joshua Lucas". . .writes for a living. By day he writes software, and by night he weaves words. Josh has coded in Java, C, C++, and Perl for some of the hippest and most recognizable companies in the US, including The Gap, Starbucks, Nike, and Nordstroms. Josh's rich experience, coupled with his diligent daily research, places him as close to the "cutting edge" as you can get without falling off. He and his wife recently moved from Los Angeles, CA to Boston, MA.
Time has to
be given to finding out what's new on the Web. Bookmark these and check them once a day! It will do wonders for your basic Internet knowledge.
News.com - http://www.news.com
Wired News - http://www.wired.com
TechWeb - http://www.techweb.com
ZDNet - http://www.zdnet.com
Mecklermedia's Internet.com - http://www.internet.com
And don't forget to keep sending me topics you'd like to learn more about!
Still, few people question the fact that for a large company, a
small or poorly thought out web site can be worse than no site at all!
not thinking things through, a business can alienate the customers who are
excited about the business being on-line. It will most likely burn bridges
which cannot be repaired even if the business put more emphasis on it
presence on the Web. The two sides of the "Netizen" is that while they can
have short fuses and long memories, then can also be some of the most
helpful people out there.
This is the challenge facing the small business owner who wants to
be on the Web. A poorly thought out site can be disaster on the
relationship with the customer but a site which has tons of bells and
whistles could very easily put the business in great debt. In the
coming weeks, we'll explore solutions for the business owner who
wants to be on the Web without breaking the bank.
NEXT WEEK: Knowledge is Power
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