(How to avoid becoming roadkill)
(Written in 1994 - the 55 mph law was repealed in 1995)
The Internet is becoming an
important business resource. Soon it will be indispensable. Can you do business
without a FAX machine? Did you have one in 1980? This same phenomenon is now
happening with electronic mail (e-mail) and the World Wide Web. With terms like
Browser, Winsock, and URL flying around, it can be very confusing. You may not
know how your car works, but you do know how to drive on the freeway. With that
in mind, here's what every business can do today:
domain name is like your personalized license plate on the information highway. Ours is fougere.com.
Others you might recognize are yahoo.com, microsoft.com, and netscape.com.
Over 1000 domain names are being registered every day. If you wait till next
year you may get stuck with 2yap005.com. People will think you're my vintage BMW!
Once you have a domain name, you can create electronic
mailboxes for everyone in your company with names like firstname.lastname@example.org. If you
have an in-house e-mail system, you can use an access server to link your e-mail
to the rest of the Internet. There are great e-mail programs such as Pegasus
Mail (which we use) that are free! With e-mail, communication improves
dramatically! It is possible to realize significant savings compared to snail
mail (post office).
At a minimum, a Web site is your storefront to the world. All
companies look the same size on the Web. Web sites are used for everything from
tracking hurricanes, to the stock market, to on-line catalogs, to customer
support. Publishing a complex site can be costly. Start small, keep it
fresh and interesting, and let your site grow with you as you reach ever higher
speeds on the information highway. A great source of ideas is to go out and
cruise the web yourself. See what you like, see what your competition is up
This is done
using e-mail and databases. Many Web sites allow you to personalize your visit and experiences. Combining a database with the Web has the synergistic
effect of making your site dynamic. Use it to develop sales leads, provide
product support, or even to run a contest! More sophisticated Web sites can give
you information about who, how many, and where your visitors are coming from. An
dynamic site can demonstrate to your customers and prospects just how
responsive your organization can be. Today, people want things now. Doesn't it
make sense to give them what they want?
Web site with all the major search engines such as Yahoo and Google. Put
your URL and e-mail addresses on business cards, letterheads, envelopes,
brochures, etc. You may have seen them on billboards and signs as you drive up
You are now a
licensed driver on the information highway. Remember how fast 55 mph seemed the
first time you drove?