I’ve spoken at length about the myriad of ways that a novice entrepreneur might leverage the internet to further their goals. It was a major focus of my business when I was just starting out and it remains a huge part of my efforts into the present day. I want to dedicate some time, however, to exploring this idea further for business at large. That’s because I truly believe that the internet is not just the purview of fledgling entrepreneurs, but rather it’s a critical aspect of business for commerce in general. Read on for my take on some of the ways in which the internet has established itself as a critical part of modern business.
Access to Information
For starters, I want to touch on the manner in which business is directed by information. Since the field is primarily about solving problems for consumers, it’s critical that a business professional knows not only what those problems are, but also the potential solutions for those problems. This base of knowledge can be difficult to amass but it can truly make all the difference for business leaders, both just starting out and at a more advanced stage of their career.
To this end, the internet has established itself as a powerhouse because it is a central repository for information the likes of which the world has ever seen. Never before has an individual in the confines of their home been able to access such life-changing insights. Online educational tools have become widespread and it’s exceedingly common for individuals to accelerate career growth or shift business objectives based on courses they’ve taken online. This has profoundly shaped the face of modern business by informing the business approaches of entire organizations and also the effectiveness of the individuals who run them.
I’ve spoken about the importance of education in my own professional history quite a bit. I’ve noted how I launched my entrepreneurial career by reading a huge range of materials from prominent business minds of the present and past. While I still stand by the power of books to give us an in-depth look at a subject, it would be foolhardy to not also acknowledge the impact the internet can make in this area.
Interacting With Customers
In addition to access to static information, the internet also provides business professionals with an unprecedented level of access to the shifting dynamics of their customer bases. Never before have companies had such a clear line of communication and insight connecting them to their clientele. While feedback in the past was often limited to focus groups, surveys, and broad analyses of buying patterns, the modern business can look to a wide range of channels to get real-time insights about what motivates their customers.
Perhaps the chief source of these insights at present is social media, which can act as a central hub where information shifts and evolves at a moment’s notice. These outlets can serve as a lightning rod for public opinion and serve to highlight how sentiment on a variety of issues changes over time.
Due to its interactive nature, social media can also be a great resource for talking directly to customers. I’ve found this to be a great way to gauge interest in new ideas and receive feedback on products I’m currently developing. When a new product strikes a chord, it can often be readily and immediately apparent on social media. If it fails to elicit a pronounced response, it can be an indication that my efforts are better spent elsewhere.
Another truly revolutionary aspect of the internet is the manner in which it provides access to data on consumer preferences. This has become a central part of how modern companies do business. Beyond what a consumer may be saying on social media, they’ll often be providing a wealth of additional data just from the manner in which they interact with the internet. Perhaps the simplest example of this again comes from social media, where just the amount of time an individual lingers on a video or the way in which they dole out their “likes” can provide tons of information about their preferences.
Novice entrepreneurs and established business professionals alike would do well to heed the importance of this concept. This data is a direct line to the likes and dislikes of consumers. By listening to what they’re saying here, we can provide them with products that are more highly attuned to their desires and ultimately help them solve some of the most pressing issues in their lives.
Sourcing New Ideas
Lastly, I’d be remiss if I didn’t touch on the ability of the internet to serve as inspiration for novel innovation in the business field. I’ve talked previously about my process for sourcing new business ideas, one aspect of which is simply spending time on search engines seeing what the existing players in a space are doing. This is one of the ways I worked on building out my concept for my vehicle history report websites.
For those who haven’t seen me talk about this already, a big part of the idea generation phase of those sites came from search engines and other internet resources that helped me understand how people tend to purchase preowned vehicles. What I found is that vehicle history reports are a major part of this process, however, they were often prohibitively expensive. I used that information to create a new network of sites that can provide these reports free of charge through advertising and sponsorship-based revenue models. The result has been an improved way for consumers to gain vehicle histories without paying high fees.
While it’s apparent that the internet is here to stay when it comes to the world of business, many people still underestimate the various ways in which the technology can inform aspects of this field. Above, I’ve highlighted some of the key contributions the internet can make to the work of business professionals, including increasing access to information, expanding interactions with customers, and providing more data through which business decisions can be made. By focusing on these elements, business professionals and entrepreneurs alike can work to improve their offerings and generally serve their customers in a more efficient and innovative fashion.