There are a couple of routes for you to take when starting your new Internet business.
First, you could try to become the first mover in a whole new category and become a billionaire.
This is tempting. This is the route that we hear so much about in the media. It’s in. It’s hot.
Trouble is, the media covers news. And to be newsworthy, something has got to be unusual. And the creation of mega-wealth in twelve months is very unusual.
First, it takes an original idea. (Exercise: In the next thirty seconds, list five truly original ideas that you’ve seen created online in the last six months.)
Second, it takes a smart leader supported by an experienced team of people to actually execute the idea at great speed.
Third, it takes huge gobs of cash.
Finally, it takes incredible good fortune and blind luck to be able to pull together the first three points, all at the same time and at exactly the right time.
Yes, it happens. But not often.
However, there is another way to grow rich online.
You could try to build a business that has a longer-term plan, makes money and could be worth a few million in three or four years’ time.
You won’t make the front page of The New York Times. You won’t be the darling of every Internet schmoozefest. You’ll be behind the hype-curve, under the media radar screen, and probably unattractive to most of the top venture capital groups.
But who cares? Behind the bleeding edge there lie hundreds of great opportunities to become comfortably wealthy.
And the best part is, you can take your time. You don’t have to be the category-killer. You don’t have to compete with ridiculously over-funded competitors.
Just move ahead at a healthy pace and build a business that makes money.
A couple of areas that have fallen behind the hype-curve are content providers and the whole area of business to consumer.
Being a site that provides content was hot eighteen months ago. Being in the B2C space was hot nine months ago.
But not any more.
So study these categories. Take a look at what the smart players did and are still doing. Check out the models and sites that work the best.
Then look for the gaps and the opportunities for improvements.
What do I mean by that? If you look at a category that was hot 12 months back, a lot has changed since then. If you become a student of what models were built back then, you may see some neat ways to improve on them today. Or you may see gaps that were never even taken advantage of.
And remember, just because the media and VC folks aren’t hot for these areas right now doesn’t mean that there’s no value there.
The media want great stories. The VC folks want outrageous returns.
Forget them. You don’t need to be at the leading edge in order to build a decent company online.