To change is to make different. The Internet has definitely changed the way business is done. Business is no longer a 9 to 5 operation. Blue laws have been virtually erased from the books. Holidays are now optional. Like all change, some aspects of change are better; some aspects are worse. Where will the Internet ultimately lead businesses and society in general? To a whole new world!
Commercial businesses have had new doors open up for them. Small shops, including "mom and pop" shops, are now able to compete with larger companies. To sell tangible goods, one must have a place from which to vend. Before, everyone needed a storefront. With a storefront came electric bills, phone bills, heat bills, trash bills, water bills plus the rent or mortgage! In addition to those expenses, there was also stock, employees and advertising. The Internet has also opened up the floodgates -- forget doors -- for thousands of people to have a side business out of their basement or garage. Various magazines for women tell stories of women who make a comfortable living selling things on eBay. Ebay even allows people and small businesses to advertise their link off the auction site.
Forty percent of small businesses have their own Web sites, up from just over a quarter last year, and that 70% now have Internet access, up from 57% last year, according to the 19th annual Dun & Bradstreet Small-Business Survey, which was conducted in early 2000.
The D&B survey also shows that small businesses owned by women were more likely to have Internet access than their male-owned counterparts (67% vs. 63%). Another interesting item the survey found was that minority-owned businesses also use the Web to conduct business research more often than do other businesses (64% vs. 54%).
These statistics at first glance indicate that corporate America still remains the old white boys club. Women and minorities function better online because they get shut out on the street. Online selling is not quite as personal.
Corporate business used to have to wait for the U.S. Postal Service or a courier to deliver documents from one location to another. Today, we simply email the document back and forth!
Not only does this save time and money but also earth's resources. For example, the insurance markets in London, cut their office costs by ten percent. Even more amazingly, they cut their paper processes by over 30%.
Corporations are also finding that the Internet provides easy fast access to their employees worldwide. Email has become the new form of communication. Instead of playing phone tag, we now "e" each other.
Business decisions are made over the web. A recent study, based on a survey of about 1,000 business decision-makers, found that a majority -- 60% -- said the Web is the best way for advertisers to reach them. Magazines and newspapers followed at 55% and 45% respectively, while television came in just about 30%.
The production end of business is reaping the benefits as well. Timex Corporation is now using a web-based collaboration tool and has seen positive results. The corporation has managed to cut their product development cycles by up to 40%.
Over half of the respondents said they have increased their web usage this past year.
Companies involved with various research projects can share documentation via the web. Through email and shared documents or networks, researchers in two different parts of the world could actually work together on one single project.
One reason business on the Internet has jumped is simply the obvious. Individual usage has increased. Individuals do more business on the Internet than ever imagined. We shop on the Internet. We bank on the Internet. We play the stock market on the Internet. The Internet has everything anyone could ever want from anywhere. Almost makes it sound like a poem by e. e. cummings!
This summer alone, online purchases raised 14%, according to comSource Networks, Inc.
Gian Fulgoni, comSources' chairman, estimates that online spending this year will total about $85 billion. That figure does include travel expenses, for those consumers who like to purchase e-tickets.
Ebay and Amazon.com made online shopping popular. Eventually even traditional retailers began to use the Internet to hawk their goods in addition to the more traditional forms…