From Ant Farm To SuccessWritten by Karen LaVoy
Tom Harpointner, a founder of AIS Media, told us a story one day that struck me as containing qualities that have been a huge part of Tom's success in Internet business. Our story begins with 10 year old Tom's ant farm. He'd always had ant farms in buckets and boxes and so forth. One day his neighbor tossed out an aquarium in excellent shape, except for a cracked bottom. While clearly not appropriate receptacle for fish, Tom, even at that early age, had a vision.
Where others saw merely a flawed vessel, a used, discarded, aged box, Thomas Harpointner saw past all that to essence: this item would be perfect as a state of art ant condominium. Yes, his ants would live in comfort and luxury for rest of their antly lives. And not only did he provide a wonderful community for ants, he spread word and marketed those ants to everyone who would hear him. Sure, other kids laughed- what kind of doofus geek keeps an ant farm? Tom invited nay-sayers and non-believers to witness great wonder. It didn't take long for word to spread that Tom had something cool going on in a glass tank outside his house. Tom would explain to his audience how ants, once introduced to their new environment, worked together to create their own communication and travel system. By depositing foreign objects like orange peels and other bugs into tank, he demonstrated how his favorite insects worked together to achieve a goal.
Successful Internet entrepreneurs share these characteristics- "I have a dream" vision, persistence to work through any obstacles blocking making dream a reality, and passion to communicate this vision to everyone in a manner that instills passion in those who hear about it.
If you are excited about product or service you are providing on your website, you are already sharing a quality of entrepreneurship. Your excitement will inspire those working with you on your website, or those customers and prospective customers you talk with. Business owners who are constantly thinking about their business, and next thing to do or to add or to accomplish are going to be successful because they have a vision and are working to become successful through everything having to do with their business. Just keeping an open mind will open doors for you. You never know when you'll stumble across your own cracked aquarium.
The eBay Home Biz Acid TesWritten by Rob Spiegel
For those thinking of starting an Internet-based business, you're lucky to live in an age and country of immense possibility. You can launch from home with little capital. You can even test your idea part-time before quitting your day job. The task of launching will require some imagination, research and willingness to adapt to a market, but it doesn't require nearly risk business start-ups required in recent past.
Launching a business used to be a monster task. When I started a publishing business in mid-1980s, launching an enterprise involved raising capital, finding investors, buying equipment, leasing office space, hiring employees, developing a marketing plan, creating and implementing sales strategies, developing fulfillment operations and filling out tons and tons of paperwork. If you did everything right and ran into a streak of good luck, you had about a one in four chances for success.
The 1980s were a good time for business start-ups compared to earlier periods when prospects for small business success were dim indeed. There was a point in early 1970s when business academics predicted end of small business. With development of chain retailers and with mass manufacturing of consumer and industrial goods firmly in hands of large corporations, there was little room in American economy for a small company.
Then came niche market. Whether it was gourmet food products, natural fabric clothes, or special interest magazines, consumers showed a willingness to buy highly specialized products that fell into corners too small for large manufacturing and distribution. Enterprising niche marketers were able to identify and serve specialized groups of fly fishers, hot sauce collectors and heirloom-seed gardeners who were willing to pay a premium for specialized products. An explosion of small niche companies sprang up to serve these high-end consumers.
The key to niche marketing was highly specific expertise. In most cases, proprietors of niche businesses were fellow enthusiasts who were part of niche community. These entrepreneurs knew how to find their customers and knew how to serve them because they were one of them. Yet these small companies still had burden of creating catalogs and building shipping operations, not to mention investing heavily in direct mail lists and postage.