Business entrepreneurs, be the best entrepreneur you can be in business or become a wealthy or one of the richest entrepreneurs on the internet.
Most successful business entrepreneurs have harnessed the power of the internet in one form or another. In fact, some of the richest entrepreneurs have made their fortunes solely through using the internet as a business medium.
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Q. Why is the internet not the level playing field everybody thinks it is?
David: One of the great things about the internet is that it is open to everyone. But that also means that any business entrepreneur with new website will be competing against a huge range of other business - from the part-time businesses run from a spare bedroom up to the huge corporations with their teams of web developers and massive marketing budgets.
Ian: When in life is anything fair - there are those that wait for things to happen and those that make things happen - the internet is no different. If you
are planning on starting a business where you will be competing against large competitors with deep pockets, you need the backing of serious
Paul: To succeed on the internet takes investment in time, energy and money and you need an abundance of the latter. Of course there are exceptions, but few business entrepreneurs succeed on the internet because they don't understand what is involved. All small terrestrial businesses are competing against their local supermarkets or other larger competitors, so they have to offer something different or superior and make people aware of these facts in order to survive. The moment they enter the internet as a competitive arena, they are no longer competing against local competition, or against national competitors, they are competing globally in a world wide market place. With more than 4 billion internet sites all competing for business, it takes a lot of investment, time and luck to become an internet success.
Q. What should a business entrepreneur focus on when starting a new internet business?
David: Finding the right partners and suppliers who have the skills necessary to help turn their ideas into a success - innovative designers, skilled programmers, and the best search engine optimizers.
Ian: Start with the end in mind - what is the purpose of the venture? What are buyers for the service or product looking for and will this satisfy their needs? Is their a genuine demand or is it just perceived? Have they done their market research? How big is the market place? How much of the market would one expect to capture? Is the business plan and financial projections realistic?
Paul: Prospecting for business and keeping the overheads down. Every business, new or old should be managed by its cash flow. You can be the worst sales person in the world but if you talk to enough people, you will make sales. You should set daily activity targets to prospect for business and keep records so that you know how many people you need to speak to in order to make those sales. If you need to make 2 sales a day and know you have to speak to an average of 10 people to make that sale, then you know you have to speak to 20 people per day. You can then focus on improving your sales skills. It is no good being the best sales person in the world, if you never make the sales calls. Keeping your overheads to a minimum is also important. Don't rent office space if you can mange with a spare bedroom to begin with. If you have a laptop and a cell phone, you can be in business 18 hours a day, anywhere and everywhere. All the time you are not speaking to potential clients or making sales, you are losing money.
Q. What are the three most important components of a successful internet business?
David: A product or service that fulfills a genuine need, a properly structured internet marketing campaign, and a website that is well designed, highly usable and which inspires trust.
Ian: Energy - planning - thinking outside the box. Be prepared to invest a lot of time and energy in the business. Write a sensible business plan with realistic targets and monitor your results on a daily, weekly and monthly basis. Then make the necessary adjustments to ensure you are making a profit. The bankruptcy courts are full of entrepreneurs who went into business to make money, not understanding that all business are in business for profit. They are not the same thing. You should also be aware of everything that is going on in the business world that could affect your own market place. Anything, positive or negative that affects the markets is a business opportunity.
Paul: People - Ideas - Marketing strategies. I surround myself with people who have the skills and abilities I lack. People who are as committed and prepared to work as hard as me. That way, I can concentrate on the things I do best and know that I have highly skilled and experienced business partners concentrating on the business areas where my abilities are poor or I don't have a thorough understanding. No successful entrepreneur does everything themselves, they have accountants, financiers, administrators, web designers, bankers and business partners guiding them, advising them and handling the day to day running of their business. Keep developing new ideas, look at ways of improving them, making them more profitable and bolting on additional profit making benefits. Plan your marketing strategies, monitor their success and keep the marketing message simple and targeted.
Q. Why do you think you have succeeded where so many entrepreneurs have failed?
David: Careful planning and a willingness to consider any new idea or opportunity, however strange it may at first appear.
Ian: We set clearly defined goals. We planned our approach and were flexible in adapting to rapid changes in market conditions - allowing us to respond to opportunities in the marketplace quickly and efficiently.
Paul: I follow my own advice and work ethic. I get up every day with the intention of doing business. I don't go to bed until I have done what I set out to do. Much of my success is down to the people around me. I'm never satisfied, no matter how well we are doing. I'm constantly looking for new business, new business ideas and new business partners that we can help and who I believe can help us. Business excites me, I love making deals but as soon as the deal is done, I am looking for the next adrenalin rush.
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