Launching a Business on the Internet

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CHAPTER 16

LAUNCHING A BUSINESS ON THE INTERNET

CHAPTER OVERVIEW

Electronic business is no longer an alternative; it is becoming an imperative. The most important first step in launching an e-business is planning, understanding the target customer, marketing the business, and choosing the right products and services to offer. The next step is deciding on the software and hardware to build the Web site and the mechanics that will handle payments, fulfillments, etc. Choosing an ISP is also important, because speed, accountability, and availability of traffic statistics are critical for ensuring Web site performance.

REVIEW QUESTIONS

1. Is there a difference between vision and mission? Elaborate. How do they relate to starting an online business? Be specific.

Vision is what your business is trying to achieve and how the goals will be met. It also involves how the Web site will help fulfill these goals and how the company will measure success. In contrast, mission follows vision, in that it represents the company wide statement of what the company is all about, its commitments, responsibilities, and obligations within the framework of the vision of its leaders.

A visionary usually starts an online business by explaining how he foresees the product or the service to become years down the road. Once accepted, the newly formed company states its mission with a focus on online business via technology, etc.

2. Identify the key steps of the Internet business life cycle. What step is the most critical? Why?

a. Business planning
b. Technology infrastructure
c. Design
d. Marketing
e. Fulfillment
f. Maintenance/enhancement

No specific step is necessarily more critical than the others. Like the value chain concept, where each chain has to carry its weight to assure total strength, in the Internet business life cycle, each phase is there for a reason and must do its homework in line with the guidelines and the mission of the firm.

3. When you hear someone talking about strategic planning, what is the person focusing on? In terms of e-commerce, what questions does an online merchant consider when strategizing? Explain.

Strategizing means evaluating a company’s position and its competition, setting a course for the years ahead, and figuring out how to achieve the goals. This process is especially important in e-commerce. In e-commerce, any strategic plans are likely to be good for only short periods of time.

The questions an online merchant considers when strategizing are: a. Who will buy the product?
b. How familiar the business is with the Internet? c. Is the business planning to be a short-termer or a long-termer? d. Who are the competitors?
e. How good will the product(s) look?
f. How will the business present the product offers? g. How will one manage and process transactions?
h. How will the product be shipped?
i. How will the business handle unexpected change? j. How will one get and use feedback? See text, pp. 68-69

4. The chapter brings up specific goals that a merchant should consider when planning e-business. Elaborate on the key goals.

There are specific goals to consider when planning an e-business: a. Create and maintain a competitive edge
b. Reduce operational costs
c. Improve employee communication and satisfaction d. Find new markets for products or services
e. Improve relationships with partners who provide the goods f. Create distinct distribution channels
g. Ensure customer satisfaction
h. Improve supply-chain management.
5. Elaborate on the distinctive types of hardware and software necessary to launch a business on the Internet....
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