Can Internet Business Thrive During Difficult Times?

Succeeding in the Web Industry

by Gina Badalaty © 2001-2004

After the events of September 11th, 2001 I wondered: Is it realistic to expect that a new internet business in the Web industry can still grow and survive?

For a recent research paper I wrote on starting up a small Internet business during times of crisis, I interviewed Chris Maddox of Leapfrog Digital Design, Brett Rabideau of Periwinkle Communications LLC and Lisa Martin of Leapfrog Solutions, Inc.

I realized that the current economic conditions are going to affect any business, but they need not mean disaster. Thoughtful planning, creative marketing, and keeping both long and short-term goals in mind help a business run through good times and bad. Below I have outlined the key points of those interviews.

Run a lean company. All of these entrepreneurs ran their businesses out of pocket, without taking loans or grants, putting money where it was important. Lisa Martin created a costly but successful five-color marketing brochure, which helped her land the MacWorld Expo. Chris Maddox makes sure to consolidate her business excursions to save on transportation expenses.Know what you want.

None of these entrepreneurs had a formal business plan. What was essential to these women was to have a clear vision their goals and their corporate missions. Their confidence in that vision has helped them succeed.

Networking, community interaction and good help build a strong business. All three businesses were launched on word-of-mouth marketing. Each generated client relationships through their altruistic efforts. Therefore, building strong personal and community relationships is key to building a business. As Brett commented, You have to be willing to HELP others.

Use a tried and true business model. These business owners considered customer relationships to be their primary concern, rather than acquiring the largest client base, or the latest technology. This has allowed them to earn repeat business, increased referrals, and competitive pricing rates.Persistence and determination are necessary. Each of these women incorporated a philosophy of never surrender.

For Brett, it was important to discover the real issue behind every difficulty. Lisa is increasing her current sales and marketing efforts until, I get more clients or run out of money. Chris said that her determination not to work for someone else again helped. She says, I thought, I can do this and I can make it happen.

These Web entrepreneurs felt that one effect of the September 11th tragedy would be to grow different areas of the Internet industry, although investors will be more cautious about investing and funding.

I, too, believe that the Web industry is going to become an even more vital marketing tool for any company in business in the near future. People want to be closer to their homes and families when working. This will lead to increased business in Internet security, telecommuting, E-commerce, video conferencing, and related fields.

The next boom in the Internet industry, I believe, is on the horizon. The successful entrepreneurs will need to run leaner, smarter companies based on business models which have withstood the tests of time and crisis.


Visit Gina Badalaty at Art By Tech


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