Yes, the Dow is down more than 25% this year, credit and housing markets are in turmoil, and the media is full of economic doom & gloom. Time to pack up and quit?
No! There are real problems in the economy overall but there are opportunities here for entrepreneurs and small businesses, too. This may be the BEST time to make your move online, especially if you look at the continued growth potential of e-commerce.
Yes, in times like these big companies pull back. Leveraged companies close their doors entirely. The Small Business Confidence Index was down 35% in the second quarter (the latest figures available). Can you imagine how bad those statistics look today?
But let's look at this glass as half full instead of half empty - Let's talk about Opportunities! The pull back of big companies opens opportunities for innovation, distribution, and new customer recruitment for YOUR business.
Now's the Time for Your E-Commerce Venture
I say it's a great time to get started with your own Internet business, or to expand your online operations. It's a great time to:
- start or expand your Web site business because overhead is low,
- increase your marketing to take market share from competitors,
- recruit talented employees at good rates,
- lock in long term deals on favorable terms,
- or even acquire assets that will help your business prosper.
How can I be so optimistic?
Because I know the numbers. Consider:
- There are almost 1.5 Billion people online now worldwide.
- The wealthiest consumers (those making $250k+/year) now spend 27.4 hours/week online.
- 30% of Internet users go online daily "just for fun" and for "no particular reason".
- Americans now spend more online on clothing than on computers.
- Average broadband users now spend almost 1/2 their free weekday time online.
- Despite all those trends, less than 10% of all advertising budgets are spent on online media.
These trends are your friends! They point to the continuing expansion of the Internet economy. The wealthiest, least price sensitive, and most trend-setting sectors of our society are choosing to spend more of their valuable time on the Internet than ever before. Anyone smart enough to be online can position themselves to profit from e-commerce product sales, online advertising growth, or both.
How to Benefit from the Declining US Dollar
E-commerce can also position you to benefit from the decline in the US dollar. In 2006 almost 29% of exports were from US businesses with fewer than 50 employees. That's $263 billion in sales. The Internet is a naturally international sales platform, so do you want to bet that a LOT of that is now moving online rapidly?
There are greater opportunities online than ever before precisely BECAUSE the economy is in such bad shape. Yes, you are going to need to be "leaner, focused, and profitable" as Jason Calacanis and Fred Wilson recently suggested. But that's the whole point of a small business that is not pumped up on venture capital. Start small, part-time, conserve your resources, and take your shot. Now's the time to make your move!
(If you haven't already, pick up a copy of my book, Internet Riches, to learn ways to turn your own hobbies and expertise into online businesses. Internet Riches can help anyone - including you - start or expand a business online - even if you have little capital or technical expertise.)
What do you think?
How is this crazy economy treating you and your business?