Adjusting the Numbers for a New Medium

For you, as a business owner or manager, the Web is a new means to meet your goals, not an end itself. You can hire professionals to take care of the technical and marketing details, but no one knows — or cares — as much about your business and your audience as you do.

The Web offers an unprecedented opportunity to reach very narrow, niche markets with customized, sometimes individualized, products and services. Think imaginatively about the big picture. What are your long-term strategies for growing your business? Can you take advantage of Web technology to help your company prosper by

  • Supporting your current customers more cost-effectively
  • Expanding to new markets
  • Expanding your list of products or services

Rid yourself of one myth right now. The truth is that marketing on the Web is not free. You can spend a lot of money, a lot of time, or some combination of the two, but you can’t get away without an investment of some sort. Before you go online, think hard about the numbers. As a good businessperson, consider these key benchmarks, which are described in the sections that follow:

  • The cost of customer acquisition
  • The break-even point
  • Return on investment (ROI)

Don’t call a Web developer about money! If you’re not sure how to compute these numbers, ask your bookkeeper or CPA for help. Or go to one of the many Small Business Development Centers around the country for free assistance. (Go to Small Business Development Centers to find a center in your area.)

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