As unemployment levels remain high, more
people are looking for alternatives to finding a job or changing their
career. In her new book, "101 Internet Businesses You Can Start From Home,"
Internet marketing expert Susan Sweeney explains how you can improve your
opportunities by starting your own home-based e-business.
An e-business is defined in several ways: a Web site or e-mail portal
where customers place orders, request quotes or make reservations; a Web
site that allows customers to make orders and submit their credit card
payment online for manually processed goods and services; or a Web site that
allows secure orders and initiates a complete online process of verification
and delivery of goods and services. All three of these variations share a
common characteristic -- their compatibility to the home business
In her book, Sweeney describes how to select the best e-business model
for you, how to start the business and make it work, and how to promote the
e-business to ensure success. She has also collected 101 different
e-business models that can help you understand the e-business concept.
"Doing Business Online"
Starting an e-business at home requires careful planning. The key
decisions you have to make involve the storefront development options, the
storefront features, the payment processing method and the level of
e-business appropriate for you.
Every e-business should consider developing its own electronic
storefront. The storefront is "the interface that a customer sees when
purchasing goods or services on a Web site." This storefront can vary
depending on the operational option you choose. The three options are a
storefront from an application service provider, in which all of the
e-business and Web site services are licensed to you by another party;
purchasing storefront development software packages that help you develop
your own storefront; and writing your own programming to develop your
It is crucial that your storefront contains a variety of customer and
administrative features, including shopping carts, purchase notification,
inventory management, mail lists, searchable product database, product
images, e-mail notification, autoresponders, delivery options and technical
support. This preparation helps you integrate the right storefront into your
home e-business model.
According to Sweeney there are four distinct levels of the e-business
Level 1 allows interactive order-taking. At
this introductory level your business can accept orders and reservations
through e-mail or a Web site. This level features low startup costs,
lack of inventory and ease of operation. A bed and breakfast is a good
example: Visitors are encouraged to make reservations at the online
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Level 2, taking
electronic payment, allows you to accept payments online.
Businesses that sell goods or services at a set price with no
inventory to track are good examples of this model. Generally
the software that runs this storefront will manage the front end
(what the public sees) and the back end (the behind-the-scenes
support) of the e-business.
Level 3, with
storefront selection and payment automation, contains features
of levels 1 and 2. Its advanced features include a stand-alone
storefront and options for receiving payment online at the time
of purchase. Unlike the previously mentioned levels, inventory
control is essential to insure that you have adequate supply to
meet the customer‘s needs.
Level 4 is the total integration of the
online process. It contains all of the features of the other
three levels and gives you complete control over ordering,
inventory, customer accounts, special offers, accounts
receivable and marketing. The costs for this level can be steep,
but your returns can be significant since you can provide
optimum customer service and exercise efficient inventory
control and marketing strategies. Amazon.com is considered a
perfect example of an e-business at this level.
"101 Profiles of Top Internet Business Concepts"
The book‘s suggested profiles represent a broad diversity of
choices to a prospective entrepreneur. In each of the concepts
Sweeney gives an overview of the business, the skills needed, the
startup costs, the number of employees to start, its international
potential, the e-business model level, online marketing and some
genuine online examples of this e-business.
"101 Internet Businesses You Can Start From Home" is a
well-written book on a subject not always accessible to the general
public. Easy to understand yet comprehensive in nature, Sweeney‘s
book is convincing in its assertion that the Internet offers
entrepreneurs "the golden business opportunities of our lifetime"
and that "running your own e-business from home is the new American
dream." This book is recommended to anyone thinking about starting
their own business, creating their own employment or contemplating a
[Text from file received
from Richard Sumrall,
Lincoln Public Library District]