Lessons Learned from the Downfall of Dot-Coms

Written by Nach Maravilla

Business headlines today are filled with stories of high-profile dot-coms that crashed and burned, despite allrepparttar venture capital funding, hype and publicity received. This turn of events show that success online is not directly proportional torepparttar 117958 amount of capital a business has. Here’s how small businesses can thrive in e-commerce, and with some chutzpah, fight side-by-side withrepparttar 117959 well-oiled dot-coms.

By Nach Maravilla Power HomeBiz Guides

Every online entrepreneur must understandrepparttar 117960 simple rule of doing business onrepparttar 117961 Internet: customers rule!

Consumer power drive today’s economy. With a simple click ofrepparttar 117962 mouse,repparttar 117963 customer can decide whether your business deserves his dollars or not. A recent Bain and Company study finds that over 2,000 customers in three retail segments -- apparel, groceries, and consumer electronics/appliances -- suggest that 10 percent of customers cite better service asrepparttar 117964 reason they shop online. Withrepparttar 117965 information explosion onrepparttar 117966 Internet,repparttar 117967 balance of power has shifted fromrepparttar 117968 manufacturer torepparttar 117969 retailer, and now down torepparttar 117970 consumer, as consumers become more jaded, cynical and savvy about marketing.

Many dot-coms have crashed and burned because they thought thatrepparttar 117971 basic principle of satisfying customers is now passe inrepparttar 117972 “new economy.” Takerepparttar 117973 now-classic case of Boo.com, a well-oiled and much-hyped luxury goods e-tailer. The demise of Boo.com was a result of its focus on technologies that, while innovative and ahead of its time, were too cumbersome and complicated for customers. It mistakenly thought thatrepparttar 117974 warning on its homepage: “This site is designed for 56K modems and above” could appease potential customers of its slow-loading graphics. There was too much style over substance, that for many, it was more trouble than it was worth to actually buy something. After only six months and burning nearly $200 million, Boo.com,repparttar 117975 poster child of Internet excess, had to say goodbye.

There is one clear lesson that is emerging fromrepparttar 117976 recent shake-up inrepparttar 117977 dot-com world: onlyrepparttar 117978 businesses, whether big or small, that serves their customers right will be left standing. The key driver of online success (or failure) isrepparttar 117979 customer experience. Asrepparttar 117980 novelty of online shopping wears off, online customers will place more focus onrepparttar 117981 quality of service. Despite allrepparttar 117982 venture capital financing received,repparttar 117983 big dot-coms will fail if it does not serve its customers correctly.

Small businesses should take heed ­ you have a fighting chance if you treat your customers right! You may not haverepparttar 117984 huge capital,repparttar 117985 best technology orrepparttar 117986 hype and publicity of these well-oiled dot-coms; others do not even have staffs! However, you can still compete effectively online by focusing on your customers, figuring out what they want and need and making life easier for them. Focus on gettingrepparttar 117987 basics right: superior service leads to satisfied customers; satisfied customers lead to referrals and referrals arerepparttar 117988 most effective way to build a wide customer base.

The crucial thing is to learn to integrate customer experience in your business strategy. Here arerepparttar 117989 three steps:

1. Identify your customer’s goals and your goals.

The first step is to identify your best customer segment and understand their needs precisely. Not all customers are profitable, so tailor your offer to your best customers. To do so, you need to get clear answers to questions like:

* Who are your target customers? Knowrepparttar 117990 demographics of your visitors. Demographics are a powerful information to help you better respond to your customer needs. With this information, you can set out your site to your target market by clearly defining your site’s business plan and marketing goals.

Six of One, Half a Dozen of the Other

Written by Elena Fawkner

You've read many articles I'm sure aboutrepparttar advantages and disadvantages of working for yourself from your own home. Many of them I've written myself, in fact. But how many articles have you read that give equal time torepparttar 117957 advantages of working for someone else compared to working for yourself?

This article seeks to redressrepparttar 117958 imbalance by comparing and contrastingrepparttar 117959 respective pros and cons of running your own home-based business and working for someone else.


When you work for yourself from home, your commute is, at most, a few steps from one end ofrepparttar 117960 house torepparttar 117961 other. When you work in a traditional paid "job" your commute may be a five minute drive or it may be an hour and a half or worse. Both ways. That can add up to a substantial chunk of time overrepparttar 117962 course of a week, a month or a year.


If you work from home, you can be around for your kids. If you work outsiderepparttar 117963 home, you may be spending a fortune on childcare if your kids are too young for school and worrying about what they're up to betweenrepparttar 117964 end ofrepparttar 117965 school day and when you get home if they're not.

Onrepparttar 117966 other hand, having kids around while trying to run a professional business from home can be a major distraction and constant source of interruption. You may find you need to use childminding services occasionally to take care of business undisturbed.


When you work for yourself, you callrepparttar 117967 shots, you makerepparttar 117968 decisions and you do it without anyone looking over your shoulder and breathing down your neck. When you work outsiderepparttar 117969 home, you are subject torepparttar 117970 decisions (good and bad), whims and control of your boss. Your boss dictates your regimen.

Onrepparttar 117971 other hand, along with decision-making autonomy comes an awful burden. If you get it wrong, you may not make any money this week.


When you work for yourself, you can set your own hours - bothrepparttar 117972 actual hours you work andrepparttar 117973 number. When you work for a boss, you work when and for how long you're told (within limits, obviously).

Although setting your own hours may sound like freedom to you, all too often working your own hours translates into working all hours so you need to be able to set limits for yourself.

Also, when your boss dictates your hours, that may or may not fit in with your body clock. One ofrepparttar 117974 real advantages of working for yourself is that you can choose to work during your peak concentration time and not at all during your sluggish times ofrepparttar 117975 day. If your peak time is 5:00 am through to 10:00 am, you can work those hours and another couple sometime inrepparttar 117976 afternoon catching up on brainless type tasks. If you work for someone else, you work when you're told and if that doesn't work with your body clock, too bad.


If you're a professional inrepparttar 117977 paid workforce, you may enjoy a certain status and prestige, if that's important to you. On repparttar 117978 other hand, working for yourself you may find it difficult to be taken seriously at all. Again, whether that's a relevant factor depends on how important things like "status", "image" etc. are to you. If they are important, take this seriously. Although it may sound shallow, if it's going to be a thorn in your side, give it some serious thought.


When you work for someone else, you have a ready-made structure. There is a time for work, and there is a time to go home. When you work for yourself, these boundaries can become blurred over time, so much so that you may find you have difficulty turning work off since you are, after all, living in your work environment and vice versa.


If you're a personally disciplined person, working from home will probably suit you very well. But if you find it difficult to motivate yourself to do what has to be done and you find yourself procrastinating over starting a particular work- related task, you may findrepparttar 117979 distractions of being at home particularly difficult to resist. If you find yourself doing laundry and gardening when you should be working, this may be a problem for you.


This is one ofrepparttar 117980 biggies. THE big advantage of working for someone else is that you have a regular paycheck coming in. Leaving aside any worry of downsizing, assuming you do your job competently, you can reasonably expect to receive a certain, known amount of money at regular intervals. When you work for yourself, however,repparttar 117981 amount of money you make and when you receive it can be, at best, spasmodic.

Onrepparttar 117982 other hand,repparttar 117983 money you make from working from someone else is limited to your salary. When you work for yourself,repparttar 117984 sky'srepparttar 117985 limit provided you are successful at what you do.


When you work for someone else, your boss is responsible for capital expenditure and day to day expenses and you don't have to worry about it or even think about it, for that matter. When you work for yourself, however, you're responsible for buying your capital equipment (computer, photocopier, fax machine) and paying for repairs as needed. You're responsible for paying your own electricity and phone bills, printing costs and advertising expenses ... you name it, it falls on you.


Similarly, when you work for someone else you get to participate in your employer's pension plan, you get paid health insurance and vacations as well as numerous other benefits. When you work for yourself, to get any of these things you have to pay for them out of your own pocket.


Your employer pays for various insurances to protectrepparttar 117986 business unit from risk. The types of insurance taken out will depend onrepparttar 117987 nature ofrepparttar 117988 business but will include, at a minimum, products liability, business interruption andrepparttar 117989 like. Again, as a home business owner, you must footrepparttar 117990 bill for this expenditure.


Your employer is responsible for ensuring thatrepparttar 117991 business obtains and maintains all necessary business licenses. If you'rerepparttar 117992 boss, this is your responsibility.


When you're an employee, you get paid vacations. When you're self-employed you don't. And even if you decide to take a couple of weeks off, who's going to runrepparttar 117993 business in your absence? Can you really just walk away for two weeks? In reality, when you work for yourself, true vacations are a thing ofrepparttar 117994 past.

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