Category Archives: e-business

This article is extracted from Uncle Ralph's, "Don't Do It the Hard Way". Read the book.

The Evolution of e-Business Challenges

Good management principles still apply

Internet-WWWEarly e-business challenges for small-business owners started with the arrival of e-mail and websites in the early 1990’s. Today we are trying to understand the implications of the rapidly expanding world of social media and mobile applications.

Perceptive entrepreneurs continuously ask: What does it mean for my business? Are competitors getting ahead of us? What are the risks of ignoring the new technologies? What are the new opportunities to be pursued?

In the early days, my advice for entrepreneurs was to turn the WWW upside down and remember the important principles of MMM: Management, Measurement and Marketing to successfully adopt new technologies. Every new initiative requires Management of the process, Measuring of results to monitor performance and effective Marketing to achieve visibility.

The internet and applications are continuously evolving and the online audience has grown from a few million to several billion around the globe over the past twenty years. But we still have the same challenges and questions.

The challenges remain the same: how to avoid the risks and seize the opportunities.

A successful e-business strategy requires sound management principles to be applied. First learn about the relevant technologies, then assess your justification for applying time and resources to adopting them. Do not start just because it’s cool, or your ego or your kids are pushing you. Or your competitors do it and your customers are asking about it.

It will be difficult and expensive, so be sure your initiative is justified by the expected impact on increasing sales, reducing costs, improving customer service, or enhancing competitive advantage. (Like every other business investment.)

Much has changed over the past twenty years, but the advice has not:

  • Your online initiatives must be an integral part of your business plan.
  • Thorough preparation and good project management are essential to meeting your objectives. .
  • Continuous monitoring of feedback and analytics will allow you to review, respond and revise your plans for improved results.

Start with a diagnostic of your current online performance, check the competitive environment and then come up with a plan to do better.

Don’t forget to enjoy the learning experience and prepare to cautiously avoid the risks and aggressively seize the opportunities.

Your Uncle Ralph, Del Chatterson

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In the early days of e-business consulting most of us doing the e-missionary circuit were preaching the message of "Catch the wave or be drowned by it". Every business was being told to get on the Internet and get rich quick or stand back while the "new economy" took over their industry. Hype and hysteria were used to persuade entrepreneurs and investors to put large amounts of money into their e-business initiatives. They were motivated by either fear or greed.

Then the "old economy" rules hit the ventures and the bubble burst. Many investments ended badly. Some could be written off as an expensive learning experience. The hype and hysteria died and many businesses decided they could go back to business as usual. They were wrong.

The Internet revolution continues, albeit more quietly. The hype now focuses on Web 2.0 with highly interactive web sites and user generated content. Huge values are being placed on high traffic sites as they are acquired by Google, Microsoft, or the media moguls.

But businesses that are leveraging the Internet to their advantage are those that simply make the best use of Web marketing to attract business and online services to reduce costs and to build strong loyal customer relationships. Those are the e-business opportunities not to be neglected.

Much has changed on the Internet, but neglecting e-business is not an option. Remember fear and greed still apply.