John Paul Getty famously replied to a question about the secret of becoming rich with the following advice: “Rise early, work late – and strike oil!” But for those of those who might be less inclined to strike oil in their back yards, is there a modern equivalent to mining for riches or drilling for black gold? The surprising answer might well be found in the Internet.
On-line businesses are one of the fastest growing means for creating wealth and, if the examples of Google, Amazon, Facebook and Twitter don’t prove the case, a quick glance at the way that the Internet has provided access to the global marketplace should convince even the most sceptical observer that people are making fortunes these days with little more than a laptop, a measure of enthusiasm and a good idea.
Today it’s possible to set up a website that provides goods or services to the rest of the planet – but without the need for seed capital, costly overheads, salaries, premises or even a stock of goods. This is a super-streamlined way of doing business and it’s really quite remarkable. The system can be so efficient that people are running lucrative on-line businesses in their spare time whilst holding down their regular day jobs. The secrets to success are perhaps less surprising: offering great value, providing great service, posting free advice wherever possible and taking care of the customers’ needs, making the whole experience as easy and enjoyable as possible. Business is still about people. That hasn’t changed. But ease of access to the world’s seven billion potential consumers is the truly remarkable aspect of the new on-line business model and this is where the market is heading.
It’s so much easier to shop for goods or services from the comfort of your own home and the Internet is fully engaged with this exciting phenomenon, levelling the field to make it easier than ever for more and more people to participate as suppliers as well as consumers.
It’s the future. And it’s happening right now.
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