Understanding the Internet’s potential for your business
— Sure, the Internet has been over-hyped. But behind all the hype, organizations
are using the Internet, right now, to do real business. And, while it’s
natural to feel overwhelmed by the endless flood of new technology and
information, an Internet presence can be as simple and straightforward
as plain old phone service — and a lot more productive. What potential
does the Internet really holdfor your business? There are several ways
to find out. Look at how your competition is using the Internet and, if
possible, calculate benefit-to-cost relationships. Tap into resources available
from business associations (e.g. http://www.cfib.ca), business publications,
Internet help sites. Ask your employees (you may be amazed at how much
they know) and your colleagues. Businesses typically benefit from the Internet
in five key areas:
- Improved communications. For communications with customers, partners, suppliers, and even
intra-company communications, locally or around the world, e-mail is faster, more effective, and far
less expensive than regular mail, delivery services, or telephone. Documents and files can arrive
anywhere in the world within minutes rather than hours or days. And because e-mail is so easy to
respond to, it’s likely to get an immediate response, instead of gathering dust or getting lost.
- Better access to information. Getting faster access to more comprehensive information can be a
major competitive advantage — and the Internet is the easiest and most efficient way ever created
to gather information. It provides immediate access to resources that would otherwise be accessible
only by expending a great deal of time, effort, and money. From your computer, you can instantly
retrieve company information, databanks, news services, newspapers and magazines, libraries and
museums, and much more.
- Cost-effective marketing and sales. With the Internet, a small company can create the same
marketing presence as the largest corporation, and attract customers from all over the globe —
without contingent marketing and advertising costs. The Internet is a flexible, immediate, dynamic,
and highly cost-effective medium for disseminating information about products and services or
company news. And unlike other marketing media, the Internet allows interested customers or
prospects to respond immediately, with just the click of a mouse.
- Improved customer support. You can provide product information and answers to frequently-asked
questions, enabling your customers to get at the information they need, whenever they need it. You
can offer 7-day-a-week, 24-hour-a-day electronic customer support, at a fraction of the cost of
- Recruiting. Many businesses use the Internet to post job openings and solicit resumes. The Internet
provides access to a wider labor pool than would normally be reached by advertising in local papers,
at a lower cost. E-mail response helps you fill positions more quickly, so your business can move
There’s no need to wait for the “kinks” to be worked out. Any technological system will always
continue evolving over time, but the Internet is working for business now, and your investment in it
can produce real returns.
Ron Close is president of Toronto-based Netcom Canada, one of Canada’s largest national Internet
Service Providers (ISPs).
From NewsCanada with permission
I wanted to post this article here to remind us that there are numerous ways for your business to profit using the net. Sales is one obvious way. Are we so wrapped up in trying to make a sale that we are overlooking other potential advantages?
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