A lot of time when we think about wired businesses, we think about Web sites and all the things you can do from a Web site. However, the real hero in online business may not be the Web at all, but might just be plain old email.
In my own writing business, I use email as my primary form of communication. I have found work through email, delivered a finished product through email, participated in a team project completed entirely through email, and I’ve submitted invoices through email. I haven’t figured out a way to accept payment that way yet, but maybe someday! To find out how other businesses use email, I posted a question to my businesswomen’s mailing list. (Sorry, guys. I’ll post your responses as soon as you send me some!) Here’s some of the feedback I received:
Helen Raczuk and her business partner live in distant cities. Helen writes,” As the owner of an educational publishing company called U-Otter-Read-It (), we use email daily. When we first started, we used fax, courier, special delivery mail, etc. The cost was ridiculous and the time loss was sometimes devastating. We have a program that handles file transfers so we wrote our second book entirely by transferring files back and forth. We depend entirely on email.”
Fiona Fars operates a word processing business (). She found her major client through participating in an online email list, and depends on email to exchange work with her clients. “Without email I wouldn’t say business would be impossible, but it would be costly! I use email to send files to my geographically distant clients. These files contain the work I have done, usually from their faxed originals. My clients print up the work at their end. The alternative would be to use couriers, which would increase my costs and rates, and then I wouldn’t be competitively priced to distant clients. I also have clients who travel on business. If they fax me a report to produce from their hotel room in Tokyo, I can email it back to them and they can have it printed at the hotel, or using their laptop and portable printer.”
Marilyn Strong, http://www.icq.com). After that, we communicated completely through ICQ and e-mail.”
There are some “cons” to the use of email, of course. For one thing, email is not secure so you won’t want to send confidential or private information through that medium. Secondly, email sometimes gets lost, although the rate of non- delivery is probably no more than you’ll find with postal mail or faxed transmissions. There’s also a limit to the size of a file that you can or should send as a file attachment. Large files (as in large word processing documents or multimedia files) may not make it safely through the email system and may not be greatly appreciated by the recipient who is faced with a long download.
Want a free email account? Check out:
There are also a number of specialized ways you can benefit from email – including the use of autoresponders, mailing lists, newsletters, surveys, forms, contests and targeted email marketing.
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