How to Become a Dot Com Millionaire (Part 1)

Written By: Jim Barrington

The news is full of bright young things earning instant fortunes from the Internet.
Virtual businesses are not just the domain of the young. In this 2-part article, James
Barrington of Netsightuk.com shows you how to join the growing ranks of successful
e-entrepreneurs and get wired for success.

Firstly, it is important to remember that over 80% of existing Internet firms will
dissolve within the next year without making a single penny in profit. Stories about
instant fortunes made from the Internet are often hugely inflated and, whilst founded
in fact, the money is often invisible and has not been converted to cash in the owners
bank account. The title “Internet Millionaire” is not simultaneous with profit or hard
cash. For every successful Internet business, there are hundreds still trying to attract
the attention of investors, and many will simply not succeed. It is expensive and very
hard work to start a long-lasting and profitable Internet venture. This is reality and it
is fickle. Still want to proceed? Read on.

>From the very beginning you need to understand the Internet will take you in front of
a worldwide audience of potential customers. An understanding of how the Internet
works is desirable but not essential. You only need to know that one computer
containing your information can communicate with others on a global scale and this
can be used for selling your services using the Internet as the road network. Similar to
the way you would stop at a motorway shopping mall to make a purchase on your
journey, people also stop at your virtual shop (website) to browse around and buy
your products. The rest is all mechanics and if you have no wish to be technically
literate, then leave it up to the programmers and designers, as this will be their job.

Rules for Success
Setting up an Internet business is not the same as setting up a venture in the physical
world, however the same basic tenets of business apply. They are: -
(a) Research
(b) Planning
(c) Positioning
(d) Forecasting
(e) Market Testing

Broadly speaking this covers the following research areas: -
1) Viability – Is there a need for your concept, products and services?
2) Market – How big is it? Who are the competitors, customers, and suppliers?
3) Trends – What are the buying habits and market influences?
4) Triggers – What turns people on to make their purchases?
5) Positioning – What will make your venture different from others?
6) Costs – How much will it cost for you to service/supply to the market?
7) Revenue – How will you generate revenue in order to achieve profits?
8) Profitability – How much profit can you make over a given time period?
9) Growth – How will the venture grow and evolve in a controlled way?

Thorough research is the first and most crucial stage of setting up a successful dot-
com venture. The 80% of dot-com firms who will fail in future will do so simply
because they do not understand their market and customers and hence cannot survive
in the long term, due to lack of planning and research. Do not make the same mistake.

Stage 2
Once you have a clear idea and evidence your concepts will work as a business venture, it is time to call in the technical expertise to build a working model. At this stage, all of the research and knowledge of your marketplace is critical to success. You will need to convey your ideas across to people who may never have been in business and have no grasp of business fundamentals. As they will probably be responsible for the design of complex programs to ensure seamless operation of your services and transactions, it is crucial you make them understand your goals. Specialist consultants who design projects specifically for the Internet can help here, however demand for their expertise is high and they are certainly not cheap.

Have a Written Project Plan
Most designers and programmers will thank you for a simple project prospectus, summarising what the website intends to achieve in the short and long term. This is known as the project plan (similar to a business plan). From there they can draw up a technical specification for the website prior to any work being performed, listing all of the functions and explaining how each program will work to achieve your goals. Only when you understand the workings and are happy with how things will work, should you proceed on to the next stage of designing the technology.

Things to look out for: -
(a) Will the systems be robust and capable of handling large traffic volumes?
(b) Are the e-commerce and transaction sections secure and reliable?
(c) What administration systems will you require in the real world?
(d) Can the systems be enhanced and improved for future growth?
(e) How fast will they operate? – Surprisingly important on the Internet.

About the Author

Jim Barrington is the founder and Managing Director of The Barrington Group, The ASB and Netsightuk.com an Internet strategy and design company.
E-mail:- James.Barrington@btinternet.com
URL:- http://www.netsightuk.com

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