The E-Business Book: A Step-by-Step Guide to E-Commerce and Beyond

Overview

Join the e-business revolution and do it right with the help of "The E-Business Book." Written in a fast-paced style, this title by a professor of management guides readers through a 12-step process that leads to e-commerce success.

Join the e-business revolution and do it right with the help of "The E-Business Book". Written in a fast-paced style, this title by a professor of management guides readers through a 12-step process ...

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Overview

Join the e-business revolution and do it right with the help of "The E-Business Book." Written in a fast-paced style, this title by a professor of management guides readers through a 12-step process that leads to e-commerce success.

Join the e-business revolution and do it right with the help of "The E-Business Book". Written in a fast-paced style, this title by a professor of management guides readers through a 12-step process that leads to e-commerce success.

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Editorial Reviews

Bill Blase
Easy to follow, well organized, and grounded in realism— this is quite a book.
Heather L. McFarlane
A practical guide for those entering the Internet world for the first time or for those who didn't get it right the first time around.
Steve Westly
Smith's e-business book is an essential, hands-on primer for any Internet executive.
From The Critics
Dayle Smith's The E-Business Book: A Step-By-Step Guide To E-Commerce And Beyond is the ideal "how to" introduction to setting up and conducting g an effective, efficient and profitable business on the Internet. Organized into twelve methodical steps, The E-Business Book shows how to analyze the successes and failures of companies in your particular industry; how to investigate the competition (including what information to seek and how to find it); how to develop a solid, comprehensive business plan and then testing it to work out any unforseen problems; how to navigate the constantly evolving legal and security issues respecting Internet transactions; exploring new marketing opportunities that Internet alliances can afford; and building in flexibility and readiness to stay on the cutting edge of Internet innovations and developments. If you are planning an Internet-based venture, or expanding your already existing Internet business activities, then give Dayle Smith's The E-Business Book a very careful, very profitable reading!
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781576600481
  • Publisher: Bloomberg Press
  • Publication date: 1/28/2001
  • Series: Bloomberg Small Business Series
  • Edition description: 1 ED
  • Pages: 340
  • Product dimensions: 5.49 (w) x 8.99 (h) x 0.74 (d)

Meet the Author

Smith has published many business books and is associate professor of management at the McLaren School of Business, University of San Francisco.

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Read an Excerpt

Marketing Techniques Beyond Banner Advertising

Before relying primarily on banner advertising to spread the word about your excellent products or services, give thought to using most or all of the following advertising approaches. You will find that they cost far less than banners and usually bring superior results. You will also find that these approaches take more sustained effort on your part— which probably explains why they are not as popular as placing banner ads.

Barter an exchange of advertising links with associated (but not directly competitive) companies.

Say you sell collectible plates and another Web site sells display cabinets. It's in both of your interests to let customers know about both your businesses. To get the process started, e-mail the business owner with a sincere, fully developed description of who you are and what your business is. Emphasize what your site could provide to link customers to the other person's business, and then suggest what similar links you would request in return. You may want to suggest a short trial period— thirty days is typical— to determine if both parties are happy with the arrangement. Usually no money changes hands in this quid pro quo advertising arrangement. In establishing such partnerships, you will often find many other businesses that can be brought into your shared advertising arrangement. Someone, for example, makes hardware such as drawer pulls and hinges for the display cabinets. Another business may provide you with preferential packing and shipping charges. All these merchants, service providers, or manufacturers are good candidates for advertising exchanges that cost you nothing more than your time.

Become involved in a link exchange.

The concept works like this: every entrepreneur or small- to medium-sized-business owner faces the dilemma of placing ads on a limited budget. If all these owners got together and agreed to allow one another to advertise on each other's Web sites without charge, a "win-win" situation would emerge from what otherwise was a total loss. Several organizations have arisen to provide just this linkage. The most prominent of these is www.linkexchange.com, which claims to have about 200,000 businesses exchanging advertising space on a gratis basis. Check it out.

Become known within a newsgroup.

Note that I did not say advertise to a newsgroup (a self-organized set of Internet users, who often resent outside intrusion). Many of these special interest groups have a powerful bias against unsolicited advertising— so powerful, in fact, that you may find your e-mail jammed for weeks if you offend a newsgroup by cramming your advertisements into its cyberspace. Better to join the newsgroup and let it emerge naturally that you are "in the business" and can provide excellent prices for desirable products and services. You'll find that many others within the newsgroup are also there for the potential business, not just for chat. As with many aspects of advertising, timing and presentation are all. Don't step into the territory of an established newsgroup in a clumsy way. Enter politely through the front door as a new member and become acquainted before you sell your wares.

There are now well over 300,000 newsgroups of all types and purposes on the Internet. Surely more than one fits your customer profile (and if not, you may want to examine your profile!). The best way to locate newsgroups in line with your business interests is to scan the list (the long list) at www.reference.com, which at this writing included information on more than 150,000 newsgroups.

Solicit business on a one-to-one basis through well-placed e-mail messages. Promotional e-mail messages no doubt arrive on your screen almost every day, as they do on mine. As a general rule, the ones we delete without reading even a single word are those that appear impersonal, insincere, overhyped, overly familiar, or flimflammish ("Buy a house without spending a dime!" and so on). If you choose to pursue an e-mail promotional campaign, keep four guidelines in mind when constructing your messages:

Get right to the point about what your business offers from the customer's point of view. Do you offer name-brand fishing equipment at 25 percent off typical prices in sports stores? Say so up front! Can you provide watch repair on a 48-hour turnaround instead of the weeks most watch repair shops require? Let your customer know right away. This customer-focused "hook" is infinitely more successful in producing sales than hucksterish come-ons and attempts at humor.

Keep your message very brief, with a click-through option if the reader would like more information. Bear in mind, however, that the popular browsers handle hypertext URLs within e-mail messages quite differently. Your reader may not be able to click on your URL within your message simply because the reader's browser does not present it as hypertext. It's important, therefore, to give a brief URL (www.watches.com versus www.wesellwatcheswholesale.com) in case your reader ends up having to key it in.

Make sure your message contains a specific statement of what you would like the reader to do. Virtually all research on direct mail and e-mail solicitation shows that readers tend to do what they are specifically told to do. Do you want your reader to contact you for a free sample? Tell exactly how the reader should do so. Do you want to give the reader a bid of some kind? Tell precisely what specifications or other information you will require for an accurate bid.

Finally, conclude your message with friendly reassurance about your business policies and general attitude. The reader, after all, does not know you from Adam or Eve. Such phrases as "We stand behind our work," "We provide a one-year customer satisfaction guarantee," "We are known for expert, honest work," and so forth build the reader's confidence in doing business with you. If you have space within your short message, you may also want to include testimonials from satisfied customers and/or company names on your client list. (Be sure to get permission, of course, before using such testimonials or names in your advertising.)

You can gain access to mailing lists from many Web companies (use the search words "mailing list" to see dozens of these). One highly regarded company of this sort is www.liszt.com, which has available more than 100,000 mailing lists. Remember, however, that e-mail advertising flows not only from you to the potential customer but from the customer to you as well. Gear up for handling a potentially massive response from your extensive e-mail marketing campaign. Those who contact you are understandably unwilling to wait several days to hear back from you.

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Table of Contents

Foreword


Acknowledgments
Introduction
Step 1: Learn what it means to join the e-business revolution
Look before you leap by surveying the successes and failures of companies in your industry or market sector.
Examining Our Internet Assumptions
A Crowded Playing Field
Five Great Reasons for Developing a Real E-Business for Real People
Summing Up Step 1
Step 2: Find your unique place in the e-business crowd
Understand and build on your competitive advantage as you position your e-business on the Web.
Do You Need to Be Unique?
Finding What's Special
Your Unique Pricing: Can They Get It for Less Elsewhere?
An Open Market Where Knowledge Is King
Visiting the Mall
When Banners Go Bust
Summing Up Step 2
Step 3: Shape your e-business idea
Think through the architecture of your e-business from the point of view of the owner/manager as well as that of the customer.
The Small E-Business Project: A Mom-and-Pop Shop
The Medium-Sized E-Business Project: An "Infomediary" Niche
The Large-Scale E-Business Project: A Manufacturing Operation
Thinking through the Basic Purposes of Your E-Business Concept
Summing Up Step 3
Step 4: Investigate your e-business competition
Learn from your competition to augment your strategies for success.
Ten Ways to Get to Know Your Competitors
Watching for Special Situations and Turmoil in Your Competition
Summing Up Step 4
Step 5: Formalize and conceptually test your business idea
Develop a clear, succinct business plan that communicates your e-business idea to employees and investors.
Example of a Working Plan
Using Your Working Plan
From Working Plan to Business Plan
Summing Up Step 5
Step 6: Protect your e-business concept
Discover ways to protect the trademarks, copyright, and other intellectual property of your e-business.
The Flap over E-Business Patents
Evaluating Your Need for Patents and Copyrights
A Controversial Case Involving Intellectual Property
Obtaining a Trademark
Protecting Your Business and Your Customers: E-Business Security
Internet Scams
Insuring Yourself against Disaster and Fraud
Summing Up Step 6
Step 7: Build a fast, functional web site
Make wise decisions about what portion of Web site development you undertake yourself and what portion you outsource to experts.
You're Not Late to the Game
The Components of a Great E-Business Web Site
The Big Decision: To Outsource Site Development or Do It Yourself
The Other Side of the Street: Hiring a Professional Web Site Designer
Finding the Right Host for Your Web Site
Summing Up Step 7
Step 8: Market your e-business
Create a marketing plan geared to the needs and shopping habits of your target audience.
Looking beyond Banner Ads
Ten Marketing Techniques beyond Banner Advertising
Thinking outside the Box
Keeping Your Chin up
Summing Up Step 8
Step 9: Find a Trading Community to Support your e-business
Consider joining an e-business community, including business-to-consumer malls and business-to-business trading groups to increase traffic to your Web site and benefit from mutually helpful alliances.
What the Landlord Does
Business-to-Business Communities
An Example of B2B E-Business up Close
Summing Up Step 9
Step 10: Build your e-business team
Learn how to recruit, hire, train, and retain the right employees for your e-business.
Consumer Management Pitfalls
Recruiting and Hiring the Right People— in the Right Way
Melding a Diversity of Talents into a Single Team
The Hiring Scene
How to Position Your Company for Later Sale
Summing Up Step 10
Step 11: Manage your e-business team
Practice proven ways to motivate your team and monitor customer satisfaction.
The Shrinking Power of Money as a Motivator
Managing the Integrity of Your E-Business Staff
Managing the Security and Growth of Knowledge in Your E-Business
Summing Up Step 11
Step 12: Evaluate and enhance your business model and web site design
Commit to continuous improvement in all aspects of your e-business.
Evaluating Your Web Site
Evaluating Your People
Setting Ambitious but Attainable Targets— Then Celebrating Your Success
Tracking Customer Satisfaction and Responding to Customer Problems
Keeping Your Site Fresh
Stepping On
Appendix A: Entrepreneur magazine's Best Web Sites for your Business
Appendix B: E-mail contacts to help you reach global markets
U.S. embassies abroad
Appendix C: Emerging guidelines for web site compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
Index

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