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Now's the Time to Build Something Great

  |  April 24, 2000   |  Comments

It's been predicted by industry pundits that thousands of dot-com companies will crash and burn over the coming months. But these folks aren't the ones taking the risks to build a remarkable new economy. If you're building an online business, don't listen to the journalists, pundits and analysts as they spread doom and gloom among investors. If you want to listen to anyone, listen to the folks who are really driving the Internet economy online customers.

Sometimes I feel the need for a short rant. This is one of those times.

If we are approaching a significant fall-out of online companies, I sincerely wish everyone the very best of luck.

Building an online business takes a lot of hard work, nerve, courage and passion. If, as is predicted by industry pundits, thousands of dot-com companies are to crash and burn over the months to come, I take no pleasure in that news.

Others do. But the folks who rub their hands with glee every time a highly touted dot-com hits hard times are not the people who are taking the risks to build a remarkable new economy.

If you're building an online business, don't listen to the journalists, pundits and analysts as they spread doom and gloom among investors.

What the heck do they know? Half the time they're just regurgitating the ill-informed views of their own colleagues.

If you want to listen to anyone, listen to online customers the folks who are really driving the Internet economy.

The Nasdaq may fall hundreds of points in a day. But public use of the Internet isn't falling. People are still buying, reading, organizing and downloading online.

It's not the Internet that's suffering a correction. The heat is being felt by some of the greedier folks who are riding the growth of this new economy.

So if you're building something new online, hold your nerve and build something great.

And don't let that business plan be dictated by ridiculous terms like B2B, B2C, B2B2C, B2E, B2G and so on.

These terms are driven by VC players and investors who are looking to build a great upswing, not a great business.

When it comes to the litmus test of building a business online, you may want to listen to someone who's done it, not just talked about it. Like Jeff Bezos.

Here's a great question he posed in the Foreword to StrikingItRich.com by Jaclyn Easton.

"Does the Website harness the unique characteristics of the Internet to create a strong value proposition for customers, one that could not be easily duplicated in the physical world?"

Great question. And there are plenty of opportunities to build businesses that survive this question well within any B2Whatever model you can imagine.

And if you want to be a little smarter than even Jeff Bezos (with the benefit of hindsight), think M-A-R-G-I-N.

Whatever the product or service you're thinking about selling, make sure you have a big, fat margin built in.

Margins create the potential for profits sometime in the not too distant future.

And big margins provide the potential for profit even after you've invested a ton of cash in doing a lot better than your competitors in the following areas: timely delivery and much improved customer service.

I'm rambling a bit. But I guess what I'm trying to say is this. The Internet economy is something entirely and wonderfully new and, with its ups and downs, will grow for a long time to come.

So don't be distracted by talk of doom and gloom and the latest in trendy "e-speak."

Just build a great business with your customers in mind.

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Nick Usborne

Nick Usborne speaks, writes, and consults on strategic copy issues for business online. For Web sites, e-mails and newsletters, he crafts messages that drive results. He is the author of the critically acclaimed bookNet Words - Creating High-Impact Online Copy.

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