NEW MEDIA: Opinion - Dot-coms now need solid business sense

Oh no, I've done it. I've taken the plunge and left my comfortable

ad agency job. The sin of all sins. I have launched a dot-com

business.



But why would any sane fellow do this? With the credibility of the

average dot-com now comparable to Peter Mandelson's career, why do

dot-commers still insist that their products will improve the way the

world does business?



The answer? Because it's true. But as in any industry, it is true for

some and not for others. People ask 'what makes a good dot-com?' And the

answer is the same as for 'what makes a good business?' Just because we

are on the Internet does not mean we obey different rules to terrestrial

businesses.



The only successful dot-coms (ie, the ones still around in a couple of

years) will be those that adhere to good business principles.



For business-to-business dot-coms, it is not about raising £40

million, visiting clients in your new Ferrari and jetting off to that

board meeting in the Bahamas.



The new breed of dot-coms have to be lean, marketing-driven,

customer-focused businesses. The product needs to be unique, of high

quality and offer great value for money. Sites need stickiness - a

reason to stay on and a reason to come back. Long gone are the days when

you can start a site and expect to make money just from links and banner

advertising.



The net needs to give fast access to information, saving busy people

time and money and offering a cost-effective sales and marketing

platform.



The web is a powerful new marketing medium that runs alongside printed

media. And just as there are good and bad magazines, there are good and

bad web sites. Who decides whether they are good or bad? The customers

of course.



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