MONEY & ENTERTAINMENT
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Launching the business on the internet
I can imagine what feels someone that knows nothing about the internet when it comes to "buying" a site or to create a "net presentation": what I feel when it comes to buying a car. Because donít know much about this field, the most intelligent question that I can ask a seller is "What color does it have?", but that after I cleared the most important point: "How much does it cost?" It is mostly like that with the entrepreneurs or managers who want to bring their business on the internet but do not know anything about it. One feels, in fact, truly embarrassed.
You would like to be informed, to sound smart and make a decision in an informed choice but the truth is, sometimes, the knowledge you have are so "thin" in a field in which you do not even know what questions to ask. In such situations, most of us start with the question: how much? This is the first question that most consultants and web firms get from their potential clients. And most often the answer is unsatisfactory: either "it depends ", or the amount that seems too high in the eyes of the potential customer. Just like me when I watch the cars and I marvel why Dodge second-hand cars are so expensive. Of course, price is important and if you have a budget over which you do not want to go, you know in advance about which numbers around the problem spins.
But you have to define very well what you need: a brochure site (several pages to describe the business and to make the customers call you), a site that will sell services (over 10 pages to describe in detail the services you provide and to add that the newspaper articles written about you, references from former clients, etc..), a site that will sell products (may be several hundred pages and services, may require programming databases, electronic shopping cart etc..) or a combination of everything. Maybe you will need a monthly newsletter. Maybe you want to buy advertising on the Internet, such as banner campaigns or even a campaign with Google Ad Words.
The price you will receive will vary depending on these requirements. Like with me and a car: I want a SUV, a sports car, a convertible or a more modest new car or a luxury second-hand, but I want to know how much gas it needs, how many cylinders has the engine, etc... Not to mention that after all the technical details are clarified I may finally get to my favorite question: What color does it have? Maybe you need the services of a designer to create a logo and a web page interface. Like any other field, success in creating a presentation on the Internet begins with knowing very well what you want.
To go ahead with the analogy of purchasing of a car, letís say that like I had to start by asking myself what I need to ask the appropriate questions to the vendors, you too will have to make two sets of questions: one for you to define your needs and desires, the other for the consultants - in this order. Here are my suggestions for both, with the mention that the list is not exhaustive, but is meant only to give you a starting point:
Questions to define your needs / wishes
2. Do I want people to know about me / us the Internet and then to contact me/ us by phone for more information or do I want the transaction to be consumed wholly on the Internet?
3. Will I send confidential information (credit cards, home addresses, etc.) on the Internet, in which case I will need increased security (meaning something expensive)?
4. Am I/ are we willing to invest in an advertising campaign on the Internet? How much can I spend each month?
5. Will I need the services of a designer or will I use a designer from the company?
6. I know that the following are different fields with consultants and professionals who practice different trades:
8. Who will maintain the site after it is done (adding new products, information, etc.)? Will you hire someone or will you use the services of a consultant on a contract?
9. Am I aware that I will need the services of a marketer because there are millions of sites on the Internet and if I want to be discovered I have to "promote" myself?
10. Do I want the site to be a direct source of profit? Two ways: selling products or selling advertising. If I want to sell advertising on my site, what will provide new and interesting articles? If you answer all these questions - and I advise you to do it with pen and paper Ė you should have a list of needs and desires on the website or the company, which can lead to a consultant or more (better!). You may receive several proposals on your project.
Do not forget to include questions specific for working with consultants:
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