As hundreds of dotcom companies ended up shutting down, more net
entrepreneurs are also looking for new opportunities. In this short
article, I’ll share my personal experience and knowledge with you
on how to minimize your risk in order to build a successful and
profitable Internet portal on the World Wide Web
1. First of all, determine your area of interest and a niche
market that has potentials. Choose an area that would utilize your
existing resources, knowledge and expertise.
2. Research and study scope of your market. If you serve
both domestic and international markets, your will have a stronger
chance for survive. If you only serve domestic, find out what
services would make your business more competitive.
3. Clarify the scope of your business and ask questions
before opening your checkbook. Do you have efficient resources
available to build a B2B or B2C portal from the scratch? Do you
need to leverage current website, customers and sales staff to
produce additional revenue? Do you want to do all IT functions
in house or should you out source? Do you have a sufficient
revenue-generating model? If you are running a one-person
operation, do you have enough time and technical skills?
4. Identify your clientele and need to come up with some
unique ways to attract your customers and keep them coming back.
Remember, content is king!
5. You are running a portal for profits. Identify and develop
some solid revenue models. In the past, it has been proven that
banner advertising model and transaction model may not be as
effective as expected.
6. Identify effective marketing and partnership strategy in
order to establish a strong Internet presence. Much failure of
startups occurred due to lack of step-by-step strategy and long
term plan on growing business. Much just hope someone will buy out
their site and make money quick. So how to differentiate your
portal from others is your vital task from day one. There are
hundreds of portals on the B2B and B2C fields. It is very critical
to think about what makes your portal stand out from others in
this competitive market.
7. Develop your portal site with free or low cost tools. Some
of web tools can be found at DollarTemplates.com. Hire a freelance
consultant or offshore consultant to work on your portal project.
It is much cheaper than hiring a full service consulting firm.
8. Develop your portal site structure and service offers. For
instance, a B2B portal should include Storefronts and optional
classifieds, auctions, and request for quotes (RFQ’s) serve their
needs. Community features should have online polls, mailing list
management, real-time news feed. They provide a highly profitable
and competitive offering in most vertical portals. User
personalization can also make your portal “sticky.”
9. Manage your finance efficiently. Forget about free
lunches or parties. Start with solid budget plans and spend
your money wisely and carefully. Market your portal site by
forming strategic alliances with other websites rather than
spending hard-earned cash.
10. Many startups fail because of their poor management.
If you want to start with low risk and low budget, consult
with freelance consultant rather than hiring a consulting firm.
Freelance consultants offer services and expertise at very
reasonable rates. If you think about seeking venture capital to
jump-start or strengthen your project, you may get a sample
plan “B2B DotCom Startup Company Business Plan and Executive
Summary” at the B2B Resources Center at
http://www.SmarTechLab.com/b2b.htm. However, it is very
difficult for a dotcom startup to get VC funding now.
11. Partner with other startups or businesses to strengthen
market presence. Many smaller portals are willing to team up
with other portal sites to create a network presence on the
World Wide Web. Simply ask other portals and it would not hurt
you at all!
In conclusion, it has never been easy to build a sound and
successful dotcom operation, but keep your dream alive by
working hard and working smart. Money will eventually be
Brian Su is a senior consultant of http://www.SmarTechLab.com – an
Illinois-based consulting firm that specializes in e-business
development and marketing strategy. He also manages a popular
microportal at www.DollarTemplates.com that provides pre-made
e-commerce and portal web templates to webmasters and net
entrepreneurs around the globe.