What is e-business?
Electronic business (or e-business) is more than having a website. It is using Internet technology to facilitate doing business. Sometimes the term e-commerce is used interchangeably with e-business. E-commerce refers to the process of buying and selling online, while e-business is a broader term used to describe a range of electronic activities.
There are three key reasons why e-business could be right for you.
It can help you to:
- Organize your internal business and communication processes.
- Market your business to existing and potential customers.
- Facilitate interactions with other businesses.
Are you ready for e-business?
You can use the following assessment to help you decide if you are ready for e-business.
- Assess your company
- Look at your customers and potential customers.
- Are your customers comfortable with the Internet?
- Are your customers asking if you have a website?
- Can you attract new customers through e-business?
- What is the potential market for your products and services?
- Look at your suppliers.
- Do your suppliers have websites? Are your suppliers asking if you have a website?
- Look at your products or services.
- How easy would it be to describe your products or services on the Internet?
- How easy would it be to advertise your products and services online?
- Could you sell your products or services on the Internet?
- Assess different e-business options
- Assess what you know about e-business.
- Do you understand the different types of options available to you?
- Consult with your local business community about e-business.
- Look at e-business options typically used by similar businesses. You may want to consult with a business or industry association representative.
- Look at websites of small businesses to see what e-business options they have used.
- Assess the pricing models and costs of various e-business options.
- Assess your competition
- Go to your competitors’ websites.
- Consider how your website could provide you with a competitive advantage over your competitors.
- Assess how e-business could improve your business
- Consider what you want e-business to do for your business (e.g. expand your company beyond the local market, increase efficiencies, reduce costs, provide better customer service, facilitate business dealings with other businesses, advertise your products, etc.).
- Weigh the potential benefits with the costs of suitable e-business options.
- Decide on an e-business option or set of options. Consider starting in small steps with a flexible solution that can be built upon as you go.
- Adopting E-business
- Do you have Internet access?
- Do you have an e-mail account and a domain name?
- If you are considering an e-commerce solution, consider delivery methods, shipping costs and scheduling.
- If you are trying to attract customers beyond your local market area consider export requirements such as permits, insurance and tariffs.
- Consider your marketing strategies for attracting people to your website.
- Evaluate whether you and your staff have enough knowledge to adopt your e-business solution.
- Does your staff require additional training?
- Do you have enough staff?
- Assess whether you have the right equipment (i.e. computer hardware and software) in place.
- Consider privacy and security issues.
- Do you have a system in place to back-up your information and protect you from computer viruses?