Building a Web Store on Shoestring Budget in less than Four Hours
Thursday, May 12, 2005
Effective Web Search with Google's "My Search History" Tool
Monday, April 25, 2005
Beware of Spyware
Thursday, April 7, 2005
How to Build a Business Website
Tuesday, March 22, 2005
Effective use of your online time
Saturday, March 5, 2005
|| Your Daily Dose of .NET From India
This is more like a Business Blog. Rusbiz.com is a B2B portal with features
that cover a wide range of online business activities. As the CEO of Rusbiz.com,
it is my obligation to be in touch with e-business related issues that concern
Rusbiz members. I am planning to write about some of these topics over here.
I hope that subjects that personally interest me will not go unattended either.
|5 hot Internet businesses for 2005
Tuesday, December 7, 2004
If you are planning to start a new business in 2005, you should seriously
consider one of the many Internet based businesses available today. The online
businesses have numerous inherent advantages in comparison to their brick
and mortar counterparts.
Investment is relatively small
The basic elements to start an online business are the followings: a good
product or service, an online presence, and a good marketing plan. All these
things can be done on a shoe-string budget. You won’t require more than US$
2000 to start any of the business described below. In most of the cases, the
investment can be even lower.
Quick to launch
Once you know, what products or services you are going to sell, you can,
basically, start your business within three to four weeks. Some of the online
businesses don’t even take more than two to three days to start.
Internet is big and it’s getting bigger! Whatever business you prefer to
start, Internet allows you to tap instantly into a huge number of potential
customers, which is, virtually, impossible to do with a brick and mortar enterprise.
Huge growth potential
With the Internet, sky is the limit! If you have a good product, service
or idea, you can create a dot com behemoth over night! Smart guys are doing
this! Internet success examples are abound.
Work from home
The best thing about online business is you can take care of it even while
you are on vacation. No office is necessary; you work from home, if that is
what you prefer.
Less paper work
Since starting for your quotation and purchase orders to the invoices and shipment
tracking, everything is done online; you hardly have to do any paper work. Check
out an example of how easy it is to manage your business processes online at
Flexible time schedule
No longer have you had to work nine to five! You set your own schedules.
Although, with any new business, initially, you have to work very hard, however,
the time flexibility allows you to do other important things whenever it’s
There is no limit to Internet business ideas. Savvy entrepreneurs are constantly
coming up with mind-boggling online projects and striking rich in no time.
Here I have chosen several of the online businesses with great upward potential
with proven success history.
If you are asked, what do you do on the Internet most of the time? The
answer, most probably, will be searching or retrieving information. You are
not alone! A survey conducted by Neilsen Media Research shows that Books and
Information Category tops the highest selling product and service on the Internet
with a significant margin in comparison to other categories. This makes information
a natural product for sale on the Internet.
Information sells online in the formats of e-books, articles, reports, data,
whitepapers etc. If you have expertise in any specific field, you may consider
selling your ideas in one of the mentioned format. Check out Clickbank’s marketplace
to get a good idea what people are selling. You will be truly amazed by the
scope of ideas!
According to Jupitar Research the U.S. online travel market has grown at
a fast pace over the last year, totaling $54 billion in 2004, or 23% of travel
purchased. The online market is projected to grow to $91 billion in 2009,
or 33% of travel purchased.
Apart from being a soaring market, travel agency is also highly rewarding
and satisfactory business. The interesting thing about this business is your
own network of acquaintances is also your potential customers.
The success of this business will depend on your target market and product
that you are going to sell. Choose a very niche product and focus on a specific
market segment. For example: Red Sea Rivera of Egypt is increasingly becoming
a primer destination for many sun worshippers. Try working with several of
the hotels from this area. Create package deals and offer to European customers.
eBay has grown into the largest online marketplace in the world. Entrepreneurs
are taking advantage of this. Opening a store on the eBay is fairly easy. However,
the competition is stiff! There are nearly half a million stores are selling
almost anything you can think off. In order to be successful you have to choose
your products very carefully. The best selling items on the auction marketplace
are collectibles, books, computer software and hardware, clothing, home and
garden supplies, business supplies, wholesale lots, DVDs, special events tickets
and even cars and real estates. If you don’t have your own products or
you don’t want to physically handle a product, you can consider selling
The main reason why you should mull over selling your products through eBay
is the sheer number of visitors eBay gets. By no means, an average website
can bring you so many customers.
If you find difficulties doing the auction sales yourself, you can also concentrate
on seeking out products and selling them through eBay drop off stores. You
can also come up with your own drop off store.
Web service firm
Services required by the Internet users and online businesses are increasing
enormously. The Internet service industry is evolving so fast that for their
various requirements, many companies, today, prefer outsourcing as oppose
to doing things by hiring employees.
Large and small companies started to realize that it’s more cost-effective
and time-saving to outsource sophisticated business related services, which
are not their core business.
This has created a flourishing industry, part of which did not even exist
several years ago.
To be successful in this market you have to know what’s the odds are. A rush
to provide complex solutions of vast range that fail to provide benefits at
reasonable costs for businesses will sure take you out of business very fast.
The services that you can provide may include:
Online security consulting
Export Import Business
Thanks to the Internet, getting into import export business has never been
easier. As the nations are accumulating wealth, their demand for foreign made
products is also swelling. You can be a part of this action too! Whether you
are planning to import or export, Internet resources can be of great help
too you. The trade leads site, B2B exchanges and various marketplaces have
made sourcing and selling products and services globally simple, effective
and inexpensive. You can also create your web store with many of the B2B exchanges
and run your business processes solely online.
|New MSN search engine: How good is it?
Tuesday, November 23, 2004
If you have an online business or you just use Internet as one of your marketing
tools, you know that how important are the search engines in your quest to get
more targeted visitors to your website. The changes in search engine field can
have unexpected outcome for your online endeavors. That’s why it is important
to be well-informed on impending progress in this sphere.
Microsoft has recently come out with the latest beta version of its much touted
search engine. Supported by 5 billion indexed pages, it is poised to become
one of the most powerful search engines in the market. Right now MSN is using
Yahoo provided search results for queries done through its search page, which
it’s planning to change somewhere in early next year with its own. You
can check out the search engine at http://beta.search.msn.com
Google’s immense success and profitable business model enticed Microsoft
and others to look into lucrative search engine market seriously. Amazon, for
example, has recently launched its web search site A9.com.
Today, Google carries out almost 50 percent of all searches on the Internet.
Yahoo with 24 percent of the market share is trailing in a distant second place.
MSN with 14 percent lags far behind from the competitors – a situation,
which won’t be very easy to change.
However, Microsoft has a long history of copying booming products; make their
replicas some times, arguably, better then the originals, and clinch larger
portion of the market shares. Microsoft has successfully done this to Borland’s
dominance of programming languages in the early days. The list of victims continued
with once utterly popular word processor –WordPerfect, market dominant
spreadsheet – Lotus 1-2-3, Novell’s Netware and finally Netscape.
Since 90 percents of all personal computers run on Windows, Microsoft gets an
extra edge against its competitors, which it’s capable of exploiting very
What is new in MSN search?
This version of MSN search incorporated several interesting features, which
other search engines are lacking at this moment.
Direct answers to plain language factual searches
Unlike Google or Yahoo, Askjeeves
has better ability to find answers to direct plain language searches. MSN search
has taken this one step further by adding Microsoft's Encarta reference tools
to its features. Ask, what is the capital of Russia? You will get the right
answer at the beginning of the result page. Questions like “What is the
size of a Blue whale?” also brings in exact answer. No doubt, students
will love this feature as it makes a lot easier for them to get specific answers
to the questions related to facts and figures.
Microsoft's new search engine includes a ''near me'' button that helps users
find websites for a given location. In this release, this works only in United
Once you press this button MSN search figures out where are you located using
your computer’s IP address. However, this can be easily superseded by
changing setting preferences. This is important if you are located in New York
and looking for something near Boston.
In other search engines, if you would like to customize your search you have
to use advance search options from a separate page. MSN search has made it a
lot easier for average users by adding the ability of customization right on
the search box.
Once you click on the Search Builder from the link right underneath of the
search box a drop down menu will open. Initially, the menu might look a little
confusing; with little patience you will be able to use available great features
The tool “search terms” allows you to add Boolean search options.
Site/ Domain tool is used for limiting a search to specific site or domain,
or excluding them from your query. “Links to” tool helps you make
your query within the sites linked to a specific site. Country/ region and language
options are required to make geography or language specific searches.
The best option from this group of features is the “Result Ranking”.
This option allows you to refine searches and give you a better control over
the search result by using a set of three bars. By sliding the bars up and down
you choose whether you want to see more of exact match or approximate match,
more popular or less popular, static or dynamic pages as search results. You
can generate an impressive range of results for a single query thanks to this
option. This could be very useful for some types of searches. For example: if
you are looking for news based pages, you might prefer to choose more dynamic
pages rather than static ones.
Most notable options on the setting page are “Safe Search” –
ability to filter out sexually explicit images and texts, and ability to fix
the number of results displayed from one particular site.
Many reviewers claim that if you compare the search results with Google, MSN
search engine “falls short” in relevancy. However, my results showed
I ran a search on the phrase “trade leads”. The results from both
the search engines were very relevant. The only difference in MSN I noticed
is our http://trade-leads.rusbiz.com
managed to turn up on the first page. But, a search on the word “e-catalog”
was brought better – more relevant – results on MSN then Google.
This time too I was happy to see http://e-catalog.rusbiz.com
on the first page of MSN search results.
If you consider all the new features of MSN that Google does not have yet,
its ability to cover natural language queries, quality level and relevance of
results, ability to refine searches, there is no doubt that MSN search engine
is as good as Google.
|Drop-shipping - a great way of making money online
Friday, November 5, 2004
Using the Internet to sell products and services to ever increasing number
of net users is a good way to start your own business. If you are not taking
advantage of this great opportunity you are just missing the boat! Consider
this: e-commerce, contrary to popular believe, is thriving and increasing
at a double digit growth rate. According to Jupiter Research, Online sales
during this holiday season in United States are expected to reach $21.6 billion,
a 19 percent increase over the same period last year. Jupiter also predicts
in the report that 86 million U.S. residents will make holiday purchases online
this year compared to 73 million last year, which is an 18 percent increase.
No doubt that this is the right time to get into online business. Building
a website for selling products or services is no longer that difficult. You
can make your own website by using available sophisticated but easy-to-learn-and-use
programs like Macromedia Dreamweaver, Microsoft Frontpage, Adobe Go live,
etc. There also exist various online web store builders similar to Rusbiz.com,
which allow you to create powerful web stores using simple editors and numerous
templates. You can also setup a store with E-bay and sell products through
it. Finally, you can hire professional web designers to develop your website.
So, the important question is not how to get online, but what to sell on the
In one of my articles – What
to sell on the Internet? – I wrote about selling information products.
Although this is an interesting concept, you might think that this is not your
cup of tea; and you still prefer to work with some tangible products. In ideal
scenario, probably, you want to sell a product of your choice but don’t
want to carry your own stock and don’t want to handle the shipping. Is
there a way of doing this? Yes, there is! It’s called “Drop-shipping”.
What is drop-shipping?
When a manufacturer, wholesaler, distributor or importer, after receiving
an order from their retailers, individually pack and deliver the product to
the customer of the retailer with retailers address as shipper, this selling
technique is called drop-shipping.
The advantages of drop-shipping include:
- You do not have any inventory. So, there is no stock
carrying expense involved.
- You pay for the item only when it is sold and you
got paid from your customer. You don’t need to invest money in buying
- You can sell just one item at a time. No minimum quantity
- Your drop-shipper will supply you with necessary product
image and specification. You don’t have to spend money on creating
- You fix your own selling price of the product. Convenient,
when you know your niche market well.
- You can offer various products on your web store from
Select a product to sell
Once you decided to go with drop-shipping you need to find products to sell
and find drop-shipping suppliers for those products. According to the same
report from Jupiter following are the most favorite categories for online
shoppers: Books – by far the most popular category, after that comes
clothing and shoes, music, toys, video tapes and DVDs, gift certificates,
consumer electronics, accessories, videogames, bed and related items, and
bath items. You should also consider that this year, total Internet
sales of consumer electronics are expected to rise 32 percent to $7.5 billion,
making it the fastest growing group among all retail sales categories online.
The market research wizard developed by Worldwide Brand Inc. is a great tool,
which shows in a probability scale whether it is worthy trying to sell your
selected product online or not.
You can find it over
Locate drop-shipping companies
After selecting the product the next step is to find a reliable drop-shipper
for it. This might not be an easy task! The things that you should look into
a drop-shipper are the followings:
- A reputable supplier with drop-shipping experience
- Ready to ship one item at a time
- Do not ask for any membership payment
- Will use your name as shipper
- Will enclose blank invoice or invoice from you
- On the packaging there will be no indication that
they are the supplier.
You might think that the easiest way of finding a drop-shipper is just to
buy one of the numerous lists on the Internet for sale. I won’t recommend
you to use them for number of reasons. Often, these lists are outdated or
carry wrong information. Even if you find the companies through the lists,
since many people use these lists, you get into fierce competition for market
share not even starting to sell.
Use the following approach instead:
The first step is, naturally, to use the search engines. Using various combinations
of the keywords of your product with words: manufacturer, wholesaler, drop-shipper,
dealer, see if you can find the original source of the product.
If several online retailers are already selling this product, do some detective
works! Check out the sites thoroughly. May be, you can find a clue, which
will help you track down the supplier.
If it is an imported product go to the sites like Alibaba, ecplaza, Rusbiz,
trade-india. Locate the manufacturer and get in touch with them to find who
you should contact in your country to retail sell their products. If the product
is manufactured in North America, the best source to find them is Thomas register.
You should definitely attend the trade shows related to your category of
products. This is an easy way to find a number of suppliers, who might be
willing to work with you.
Trade journals and publications are also a good resource for finding suppliers
of your products. Although, you might have to go through a sizable quantity
of them before you stumble on the right supplier.
Drop-shipping has some inherent drawbacks too. The biggest of them is you
have to totally rely on the drop-shipper to fulfill your order and get the
product to your customer on time. The others are: you don’t have any
control over the price or availability of the product. However, a good drop-shipper
cares for his reputation since his business depends on retailers like you.
That’s why you have to be very careful in choosing the right drop-shipper.
|How to search your PC with Google Desktop
Wednesday, October 20, 2004
In this era of Internet, most people are frequent users of computers. Many of us use computers
through out the day, accumulating morasses of information in various formats,
which include email, digital photo, word document, spreadsheet, presentation
file, ebook, article, other downloaded files, music, visited web pages, and many
others. We stuff them in multiple folders in our PC. Before we know it, our hard
drives become a storeroom of misplaced items. As a result, finding a needed file
of information some times become a daunting task!
The search function
integrated to Microsoft Windows is not a big help either. It requires you to
know, albeit vaguely, where the file could possibly be located. If your data
storage is significant and you made a search on your whole hard disk, it might
take ages to get search results and, then again, there is no guarantee that you
will find the right file. Frustrating? Thanks to new Google Desktop Search
this is about to change!
What is Google Desktop Search?
Search is a free downloadable small program, which will quickly and easily find
your files no matter where in your hard disk they are stored. The great thing
about this program is by making your computer searchable, this program frees you
from having to manually organize and sort your files, emails, and downloads. You
no more have to mull over where in your PC the information you are looking for
is residing – in your email, files or web pages that you browsed
At present Google
Desktop Search works only with the full text in Outlook and Outlook Express
email, text, HTML, Word, Excel and PowerPoint files, AOL chat, and Web pages
viewed through Internet Explorer. Other files like PDF will be probably added in
How it works?
Search is fairly easy to download and set up. The address for downloading
the program is http://desktop.google.com. Once you
installed the program, it begins initial indexing process of your hard disks.
This may take several hours for an average size disk. The one-time
indexing process only works when the computer has been idle for more than thirty
seconds. Indexing for Google Desktop Search is an ongoing process, new files and
emails get updated automatically. The search index created by the program
resides on your own computer.
On your system tray
you will see a swirled icon in Google colors, by clicking on it you will open
the regular Google search page with the addition of Desktop along side with
other search areas. Once the indexing is done, files are searched in under a
second and the results are impressively precise. The top bar shows quantities of
files found under the four categories, which include emails, files, chat and Web
history. The results are shown in much the same way as regular Google interface.
You can choose to see relevant results from all or any of the categories. You
can also sort results by relevance or by date. By clicking on any result you
open the file in respective application software.
The email query
results are the best! No longer have you had to remember in which folder you
stored the email written to John in reference to Peter. By searching for Peter
or John, you will find all relevant emails and related correspondence. You can
read and answer to any of the discovered email from the thread. This really
saves time when you need to follow up to a large numbers of emails each
There are two more text buttons
next to the search field. One is Desktop Preferences and other is Remove Items.
Desktop preferences allow you to choose the types of files you would like the
program to include in its index out of available ones. You can also point out
not to index specific folders from your hard disk. If you share your PC with
others, it’s a good idea to eliminate your private folders from the Desktop
index. You can also specify not to index certain websites from your cached web
history as well. The Remove items button allow you to eliminate selected results
from the index.
The advance search option allows
you to search by phrase by putting the phrase within quotation marks, to
eliminate a word from search by putting a minus sign in front of the word, to
search by file type, and to search within a web URL. A neat feature is to
integrate your desktop search with your web search. This is very handy if you
have already done an extensive search for some information and after a few days
doing search for similar information once
By default, Google Desktop Search
collects a limited amount of non-personal information from your computer and
sends it to Google. This includes summary information, such as the number of
searches you do and the time it takes for you to see your results, etc. You can
opt out of sending this information during the installation process or from the
identifying information, such as your name or address, will be sent to Google
without your explicit prior permission.
What is missing?
I bemoan not having PDF files in
the search process as yet. I have dozens of e-books and PDF whitepapers residing
in my PC, and I really would prefer to have them indexed. That way, I’d have
been able to read materials, when I needed them most.
The other thing I want to see is
clustered result of my query, which shows organized search results into
meaningful hierarchical folders similar to the way Vivisimo
search engine works. This
clustering is particularly helpful for desktop search, as this allows us to see
other relevant documents connected to the searched
Due to Google’s immense
popularity as a search engine, it’s logical that most users will prefer Google’s
desktop search program as oppose to other similar programs, such as Copernic and Hotbot. Finally you can search your very
own computer with similar ease and preciseness as you have been searching the
Internet for quite some
|Attracting traffic with banner ads
Thursday, September 30, 2004
Internet is an ever evolving business platform. Doing business on the Internet
differs in a number of ways from every day brick and mortar business. Change here
is more frequent, more dramatic and may have greater impact than in a conventional
business. Success in this climate can only come from quick response to the changes.
Look at web advertisement! Just in a few short years, we have seen rise and fall
of banner advertisement, email marketing, pop-ups, pop-unders and number of other
Consider banner advertisement. In the beginning of Internet era, banner advertisement
was one of the primer methods of online marketing. There were not many quality
sites in those days. In search of good feature and content filled websites visitors
were clicking through banners aggressively. Today, things are totally different!
Over using of banners on the web pages forced to train our eyes not to notice
banners any more. Visitors tend to avoid clicking through the banners unless there
is a very compelling reason to do so. Does that mean the banner advertisement
is dead? Not so soon!
Although, banner click through rate is quite low in comparison to what it used
to be, depending on your objectives banner advertisement can still be very effective.
Banner ads are used today, either for creating brand recognition or for bringing
in more traffic to the website and consequently generating more sales.
As an overall brand awareness campaign, companies place banners on targeted websites.
Banners of products with mass appeal are frequently posted on high traffic portals.
If your goal is to make any of your products or services popular to certain niche
market, you should find websites catering this particular audience and post banner
ads. When visitors see your banners, whether they click on it or not – same like
traditional bill boards and TV advertisements – it helps you building consciousness
to your brand.
According to a recent study, online banner ads can be as effective as television
advertising as far as brand recognition is concerned. A survey was conducted among
members of American Online who saw an ad of a product as a banner on the website
and on TV commercial. The result indicated that 40 percent of the audience remembers
the static banners and 41 percent remembers the TV commercial at the time of the
poll conducted a few days later.
Forester Research claims that you can get similar brand recognition effect from
online ad campaign in comparison to traditional forms of advertisements for around
60 percent less cost. However, same like offline ads, in order to create a sustainable
brand recognition, your online advertisement campaign also needs to run for a
prolong period of time.
Banner ads could be a good source of high quality traffic for your website if
you manage your banner ad campaign wisely. If your main purpose of the campaign
is to generate more sales by attracting traffic - which is any way should be the
main goal of any e-commerce site – you have to select sites to post banners where
you target audience frequently visit. Pay per click search engines like Overture
or Google Adwords are good options for your textual banner ads. Since the visitors
are already looking for a website like yours by searching for the keyword that
you have selected to place your ad, you get highly targeted traffic from this.
There are no fixed rules of effective banner ads campaign. You have to learn the
program works best for you by trial and error. The principal idea behind any advertisement
is to grab viewers’ attention, ignite their curiosity and motivate them to act.
For banner ads it is no different!
Do's and don't's of banner ads
The following tips should help you getting better result from your banner advertisement
- Choose an attention grabbing content. Space is so limited in a banner – same
like newspaper headlines – you have to come up with something that really gets
viewer’s attention. Since you have to do it in one or two sentences, try using
something funny, outrageous but intriguing. You can also use pictures, which deliver
- Call to an action. Many people like to be guided. Tell them what to do such
as “Click here” or “Go to the website”.
- Focus on one offer. Your banner ad should carry one single message. By including
several offers in one ad, chances are you will confuse viewers rather than intrigue.
- Make it readable. Even a greatly designed banner will fail to motivate a viewer
if the text on it is not readable.
- Avoid information overload. Too many pictures, colors and texts make banners
look clumsy. Viewers tend to ignore this type of banners. Animated banners should
have less than four frames.
- Don’t use heavy banners. Make sure that your banner file size is less than
5K. Bigger files take longer time to load.
- Test your banners before publishing. Check how your banners will look with
different browsers. Verify that the banner link URL is correct and linked to the
right page on your website. Whenever, you make changes to your website, make sure
to double check your banner ads.
Recent practice shows that a banner, which looks like a text has 4 times more
click through rate than a conventional banner. So use text banners to increase
efficiency of your banner ad program.
Since advertisement is the main source of income for many websites banner ads
are here to stay. Although, there is no doubt that their look and use will constantly
|How to implement e-business solutions successfully
Thursday, September 9, 2004
Getting your business processes online is not an easy job! According to Gartner
Group, a renowned research firm, a full 75 percent of all e-business projects
fail due to poor planning and unrealistic expectations of new technology. The
productivity gains and cost savings promised by e-business solutions are often
lost not because of the technology itself but because of improper management
of their implementation. In most of the cases, when a massive e-business solution
installation goes wrong, the management of the business is to blame. Failure
to understand the scale of the project, oversimplification of the project, inappropriate
expectations and lack of resource commitment are few of the mistakes made by
management that debilitate the implementation and use of the systems.
Pitfalls of E-business solutions installation process
A large distribution company has decided to use a new online supply chain management
solution. The people – those who were supposed to use the system – were quite
skeptic about the ability of the system, as they did not have enough knowledge
and had very little or no training in using a similar system. As a result, it
took over a year for the company to bring the solution to its full operation.
Productivity suffered severely. The final implementation cost came out to be
several times more than initial budget. A large number of companies are
reporting to face similar difficulties with the implementation of their e-business
The problems that occur while a company tries to implement e-business solutions,
most likely, include:
- Senior managers do not spend enough time and efforts to learn and understand
the solutions. As a result, they have no idea how their workers will adapt
to this new solution; and fail to set forth quantifiable objectives for them
in terms of efficiency and productivity.
- The end users do not receive required training. As a result, treat the new
solution as an added burden rather than a tool to increase efficiency and
- In many cases, IT infrastructure is not up-to-date enough and lacks power
to support the new solution.
- Due to inadequate understanding by the management of the e-business solutions
that they plan to adopt, often, the time and money allocated to the project
are far less than required.
- Often the advanced Internet based e-business solutions require to be integrated
with portion of old systems that the company is presently using, which in
turn, sometimes generates software and system incompatibility.
How to avoid pitfalls
E-business solutions are sophisticated systems that encompass significant areas
of the company and its relationship with customers. That’s why implementation
of these projects should be carried out according to detailed plans.
Create a well developed scope. In creating the scope involve all end-users
of the solution, not only the technical and business model experts. Get answers
to the questions like:
- What is the single most important goal that the company is planning to reach
thanks to this solution?
- What critical problems the solution is meant to solve?
- Are the time and money spent justifies its implementation?
- What are the implementation milestones?
- How you will know that you have reached those milestones?
Once you got all the relevant people of the company involved in the process,
choose an implementation taskforce of experts from all required sections. This
team should be responsible for developing the implementation plan. According
to this plan assign resources and deadlines. Upon completion of each stage of
implementation get senior management involved in order to review the progress.
Education and Training
Education should cover the “why” side of the solution and training the “how”
- Identify the people that required getting trained and educated.
- Define objectives
- Define training and education criteria and select syllabus
- Set the evaluation method
- Conduct the actual learning process
- Assess their progress
Implementation of the solution should take place according to the strict predefined
Upon completion of each stage of implementation get senior management involved
in reviewing progress. Conduct reality check!
- How does the solution meet your expectations so far?
- Is it doing what it’s supposed to do?
- Do you need to revise any of your priorities?
Once the implementation is over, set up a thorough post implementation meeting
with the taskforce and the relevant end-users. The important thing here is to
identify if everybody involved with the project is satisfied with the result
In order to successfully implement e-business solutions, it is very important
that you fully understand the technologies behind it. If require hire a consultant
and work closely with her. In the long run, this might save you substantial
time and money.
Here are other things to remember:
- E-business solutions are mere tools. Don’t expect them to radically change
everything that you learnt about business processes.
- E-business solution implementations like any other project require strict
step by step project management.
- Before considering an e-business solution, make sure that there is a sound
business need to get it. E-marketplace, Private exchange, Business portal
are few of the e-business solutions that help you attracting new customers
and markets. These solutions also allow streamlining many of the vital business
processes. In your e-business strategy these solutions should be at the top
of the list.
- Keep track of the new technologies and keep an eye to your competitors’
e-business strategies. E-business is an extremely fast moving segment; you
should be ready for changes and embrace them whenever it’s necessary.
|Rules for Achieving Online Success
Friday, August 13, 2004
The Internet brought a great deal of benefits to our life. Access to a lot
of free and useful information is, probably, one of the most important out of
them. However, this abandon of free information has also become a problem to
some extent. You started to spend a little too much time on the Internet. For
you emails, chat rooms, messenger services along with aimless web browsing dominate
substantial portion of your workdays. As a result you feel that you are loosing
control of your working hours, your productivity is decreasing and you are accomplishing
far less in a day than you are capable of. This makes you frustrated, miserable
and negative. What to do? How to get out of this mess?
According to Brian Tracey, a renowned self-help guru, Principle of control
is one of the most important factors of life. This principle ascertains that
you feel positive about yourself to the degree to which you feel you are in
control of your life. The same way, you feel negative about yourself to the
degree to which you feel that you are controlled by external forces.
The thing is if you don’t feel positive about yourself, it would be impossible
for you to become successful. This means to become happy and successful you
need to regain control of your life. The following suggestions will help
you achieve this:
Goals are like road maps. If you are planning to visit a new place and don’t
grab a road map of the place with you, most certainly, you will have difficulties
in finding the place. A written goal will give you a clear idea of what exactly
you would like to achieve. Goals also give you a sense of control over your
Goal should be Specific: I would like to become a better online businessman
is not a goal. It’s a mere statement! Goals should have clear, substantiated
and detailed target!
Goal should be measurable: I would like to get 100 thousand new visitors
to my site within six months is a specific and measurable goal.
Goal should be realistic: I want my site to
become like Yahoo! within one year is probably a unrealistic
and impossible goal. If your goal is too easy to achieve
or an impossible one to reach, you will soon loose interest
in it. Make sure that your goal is high but attainable.
Set a deadline: Each of your goals should have specific deadlines for
Create a detail plan of action: List every action you have to take in
order to achieve a certain goal.
List obstacles: Write down all the obstacles that you might encounter
on your way to reach this goal. Each time you overcome an obstacle from your
list, you will feel good about yourself. This will work as a motivation for
you to continue.
While developing your plan of actions for your goals, make two basic lists,
a comprehensive master list and a more specific daily
to do list.
The master list is a single ongoing list of all things that you plan to do
in order to achieve your goals. It does not matter whether it is a major goal
achieving work with a year long continuation or a small urgent task you need
to finish today. Whenever you have come up with a task that you have to do,
you add it to your master list.
Each evening create a specific daily to do list for
the next work day. Make sure that this list is not too
long; and all tasks of this list can be finished within
the next working day. If some of the tasks, however,
remain untouched at the end of the day, just roll them
over to the next day’s list.
To use this list effectively you have to distribute your tasks according to
Since it is impossible to predict whether you will be able to finish all the
tasks from your list in one day, and since some of the tasks are more important
than others; you should prioritized the tasks according to their importance
in achieving your goals.
To develop a priority-based to do list, write all the tasks you are planning
to carry out the next day. Go through the list carefully and mark each of them
according to their priority: A to be the most important and D to be the least
important tasks of the list. Reconstruct the list according to the assigned
Start working form the task number one from you list and go down accordingly.
This priority-based to do list will be able to guarantee the followings:
- You will know which tasks should be carried out
- You will always have a comprehensive to do list,
allowing you to focus on the things that you need to.
However, make sure that you don’t have more than three tasks with highest priority.
As too many high priority tasks will keep you under stress and will constantly
distract you from the job at hand.
Focus on One Thing
To be successful in any field you need to have many qualities. The ability
to focus on the tasks of highest priority and continue working on them until
you bring them to their logical end is one of the vital skills of success. Many
people of mediocre abilities achieved great success thanks to just this one
Once you made your to do list and prioritized it, concentrate on one task at
a time. No matter what we do, our mind can concentrate in one thing at a time
only. If you try to do several things simultaneously, this will only distract
you and slower your pace in accomplishing the task with highest priority.
These simple and well-known rules can really do miracles to your life! Try
them, you won’t be disappointed!
|Be Aware of Phishing Scams!
Sunday, June 20, 2004
If you use emails actively in your communication, you
must have received various messages claiming to be from
Ebay, Paypal and a number of banks. A recent email as
if from U.S. Bank Corporation that I received contains
the subject “U.S. Bank Fraud Verification Process”
and in the body of the mail it says “We recently
reviewed your account, and suspect that your U.S. Bank
Internet Banking account may have been accessed by an
unauthorized third party. Protecting the security of your
account and of the U.S. Bank network is our primary concern.
Therefore, as a preventative measure, we have temporarily
limited access to sensitive account features. To restore
your account access, please take the following steps to
ensure that your account has not been compromised:”.
It continues with a link to a webpage, which looks very
similar to original web page of the bank.
The misleading web site appears authentic with familiar graphics and logos.
The wordings are professional right down to the legal disclaimer at the bottom
of the page.
If you happened to be holding an account of the claimed bank, followed the
instructions of the email and input your account, pin, password, etc. you are
doomed. You just have handed over access to your account to a con artist, who,
in a matter of days, will drain off all the money available in that account.
This new scam, which is proliferating in a very rapid pace, is called “Phishing”.
Phishing is a form of identity theft, where a con artist with the help of official
looking email containing link to phony web pages capable of harvesting information,
tricks an unsuspecting victim into divulging sensitive personal data. Scammers
use these data to bilk victims out of their savings.
One of the most common phishing campaigns being waged has targeted users of
Web auction giant eBay and its PayPal division with financial services giant
Citibank serving as another popular target. However, recently, every major bank
has been hit with this scam. Crooks send out huge amounts of emails with an
expectation that some of these email address owners may have online access to
their accounts at the bank.
The term “Phishing” is a deviation of the word “Fishing”.
In hackers’ lexicon, in many words, “F” becomes “Ph”.
The term derives from the fact that scammers use sophisticated bait as they
“fish” for users’ personal information.
According to Gartner, a research firm, illegal access to checking accounts
gained via phishing has become into the fastest growing type of consumer theft
in the United States. Roughly 1.98 million people reported that their checking
account was breached in one way or another during the last year and US$ 2.4
billion were defrauded from the victims!
Gartner also estimated that 57 million U.S. Internet users have received phishing
emails and 3 percent of them may have fooled into revealing their personal sensitive
The Anti-Phishing Working Group has also spotted a dramatic increase in reports
of phishing attacks in recent months. Since November, 2003 phishing scams increase
by about 110 percent each month. In April alone, the group identified 1125 unique
phishing scams, a sharp lift of 178 percent from the previous month.
MessageLabs, a company that watches phishing scams closely, has noted an even
more dramatic increase in number of phishing emails. It claims to see phishing
messages jump from just 279 in September, 2003 to a staggering 215,643 in March
The scammers also started to use more sophisticated technologies in recent
months. The latest generation of phishing scammers uses several methods to trick
users, including pop-up graphics to mast the true web URL of the phishing site
and the installation of Spywares and Trojans on victim’s computer. The
perpetrators also take advantage of security bugs in web browsers, in which
the URL in the address bar appears to be for one site but is, in fact, a link
to a totally different site.
A new Windows worm under the name “Korgo” is able to infiltrate
into victim’s system with a key logging Trojan, steal information that
the victim input in web forms and secretly transmit to designated server. There
are a number of variants of this worm and they are spreading rapidly. However,
Microsoft in April came up with a patch to seal this glitch. Many computers
without the patch are still vulnerable to this potentially dangerous worm.
A U.S. Treasury report provides consumers with steps to prevent and report
- Do not respond to or open any e-mail that warns that an account is
about to be closed. Contact the company directly by phone and inquire of this
- Do not submit financial information unless there is a symbol for a
locked padlock on the browser's status bar. Also look for the https:// at the
beginning of the Web address. If both of these signs are absent, the Web site
is not secure.
- Always review your bank statement and credit card statements immediately
- Verify the domestic telephone number listed on the Web site through
directory assistance or other reliable sources and call the number. Many phishing
attacks have originated outside the U.S. and don´t have a domestic number.
- Report suspicious activity or if you have been defrauded to the FTC
and the FBI.
- Phishing e-mails can be forwarded to email@example.com.
Complaints can be filed at www.ftc.gov.
Phishing attacks can also be reported to the Internet
Fraud Complaint Center at www.ifccfbi.gov.
Other cautionary measures you should take in order to protect yourself are:
- Since most of the phishing emails come through spam, get a spam filter
and install on your computer.
- If you suspect a phishing attempt, report immediately to the bank.
Every bank web site has a link or a toll-free number to report scams. Don't
be ashamed if you were tricked into divulging account information. If you report
it immediately, your account will be protected until you receive a new PIN.
- Change your password and PINs regularly. Banks advise that you use
separate PINs and passwords for different accounts, that way if one gets compromised,
your entire financial life won’t be revealed.
- If you are a frequent user of EBay, download its Web browser toolbar,
a small program that runs with a user's Web browser. It flashes red when the
user visits a possible spoof site. The toolbar uses a database of spoof site
URLs, submitted by customers and is updated quite often.
- Check your computer frequently for possible Trojan virus.
|Why Suppliers should use B2B exchanges
Saturday, June 5, 2004
Business to business e-commerce is on the rise! Worldwide
B2B e-commerce revenues are estimated to reach around
US$ 2 trillion in 2004. This is a significant leap from
last year’s US$ 1.4 trillion. However, according
to a recent survey, although, more than 70% of companies
have already used Internet as a purchasing channel, a
mere ten percent of their overall spending is directed
via the Internet! Contrary to popular believe, this means,
B2B e-commerce has still large potential to grow.
Internet has the capacity of changing the conventional
way of doing business. Today, you can not only buy and
sell your products and services on the Internet, you
can, virtually, shift all your business processes to
online solutions as well. If you take advantages of
new Internet based technologies, the outcome would be
tremendously beneficial to your business. How to do
this without spending a fortune and not putting a huge
pressure on scarce corporate resources? The possible
answer could be B2B exchanges!
A B2B exchange is an online marketplace, where buyers,
sellers and intermediaries form communities, exchange
views, offer products and services, and conduct business
By becoming a member of a B2B exchange you can benefit
in both cost-saving and revenue increase – two
primary requirements of productivity increase.
New sales channel
By becoming a member of a B2B exchange, you open a low
cost, highly functional and easy-to-use sales channel
for your company. You expose your company to a new targeted
audience that otherwise would have been untapped. Prospective
customers can buy products and services from you, using
various venues and features of the B2B exchange, where
you are a member.
Marketplace: All B2B exchanges include a marketplace,
where suppliers can post sales offer of their products
and services. Buyers, looking for specific products,
can easily find best suppliers that suit them from the
marketplace. A populated marketplace can easily become
a good sales channel for a supplier.
Electronic catalog: As a member of the B2B exchange,
you are allowed to add all your products or services
to the consolidated online repository of the exchange.
Adding your products to the repository helps to create
online standardize electronic version of your product
specification – if you don’t have that before
– and use the same catalog with other electronic
sales systems – even with other B2B exchanges
using XML interface.
You can publish sales offer of your entire catalog
to the marketplace, eliminating a need for other web
presence. You can add products or services to the repository
one by one or you can use XML interface to upload your
whole electronic catalog.
Web Store: Some B2B exchanges allow you to convert
or integrate your website to their exchange. This helps
you to handle sales conveniently from your website and
the marketplace of the exchange seamlessly. You can
make a web store from scratch with the help of integrated
website builder of the B2B exchange as well.
Auctions: One of the great features of many
B2B exchange is their auction systems. As we all know
from the immense success of Ebay, auctioning is a great
way of selling products online. Some exchanges boast
reverse auction system, where suppliers bid for a deal
posted by a buyer.
As a supplier, you can participate in those tenders
without any extra cost involved.
Low customer acquisition cost
Your mere presence in the B2B exchange might bring you
new customers! Since the buyers come to the exchange
themselves; your cost of getting customers through this
channel is relatively low in comparison to other traditional
channels. You can even increase your visibility by advertising
in the key places of the exchange, where your prospective
buyers frequently visit. Being highly targeted, these
ads produce incredible results.
Improve customer service
Ability to have constant interaction through the B2B
exchange allows you to serve your customers better.
You can track the whole ordering process from payment
to delivery and bring greater efficiency in customer
service. The integrated functions of an exchange such
as sales management, internal messaging service, lead
management, etc. also help you managing customers service
Efficient information sharing method
When needed, you can instantly update your catalog and
inform customers about changes. Whether you are launching
a new product or having a web seminar, through the B2B
exchange you can share the information more efficiently.
Some B2B Exchanges use sophisticated knowledge management
systems to create, capture, reprocess and reutilize
information intended for specific group of audience.
These contents or information can be displayed on demand
or in time to a member – when needed.
Business processes management
One of the primary objectives of using B2B exchanges
for you should be their ability to handle, run and administer
various business processes. These solutions assist you
to streamline your business, reduce overhead costs and
reduce documentary errors.
Using technologies in a bid to streamline business
processes like supply chain is nothing new. Companies
have been using various solutions to support product
development, customer service, procurement and other
integral processes for many years. Before the Internet
era, many companies have invested enormous amount of
money in infrastructure building to automate supply
chain process. Today, thanks to the Internet, even small
companies have opportunity to use highly sophisticated
supply chain solutions for a small cost. Many B2B exchanges,
such as Rusbiz.com, allow small companies to use supply
chain management solution for a small fee. The major
benefits of using supply chain solutions include:
1. Reduced sales time
2. Better inventory control
3. Lower overhead
4. Reduced manufacturing cycle time
5. Reduced cost of goods
Business to business e-commerce is evolving very fast.
The fact is, at one point, most of all business transactions
will take place via the Internet. B2B exchanges are
a way of building cost-effective e-business environment
on the Internet, which is capable of producing concrete
and quantifiable business benefits to the participants.
|Doing business online — Private B2B Exchanges
Saturday, May 15, 2004
Business processes are the building blocks of an enterprise. If one of these
processes fails to live up to its expectation, business starts to flounder.
How to minimize the risks, get a better monitoring of the processes and, at
the same time, reduce costs involved? The answer is – business process
Although, automated business processes based on online
technologies can create incredible value to existing
business, many companies are slow to adopt technological
innovations and reap benefits from them. However, lately,
things have started to change! According to a recent
poll conducted among mid size companies shows 52 percent
of respondents plan to spend over a million dollar on
business process automation. Large companies –
early adopters of online business processes –
have been immensely profiting from the value created
by process automation. Intel recently announced that
it saved one billion dollar last year alone thanks to
online business process management.
In broader sense, business process management technology delivers solutions
to understand, analyze and simulate business process models. Companies adopt
this technology to streamline their business operations, lower overhead expenses,
reduce maverick buying, reduce paper-based – mistake prone – transactions
and get better control. The ultimate goal is to make the corporation a fully
process-managed enterprise, transformed through strategy, design, realization
and actual operations.
Companies require streamlining their business processes
to help solve various crucial but specific problems,
Although, business processes are wide in range; and there are many complex
issues that require meticulous work, automation of some basic processes may
bring notable result for virtually any company. These processes include supply
chain, procurement, logistics, inventory control, etc. By adopting an online
business to business exchange companies can streamline most of these business
processes bringing added value to their operations.
- An electronic supplier, in order to stay competitive, requires reducing order
fulfillment cost aggressively.
- A merchant needs to reduce shipping time by better monitoring his inbound shipping.
- A manufacturer needs to cut production cost by reducing manufacturing time of
a key product.
- A bank needs to develop and market a financial product faster than its competitors.
- A large distributor needs to consolidate buyers and suppliers to bring efficiency
to its business.
A B2B exchange is a unified online platform, where
buyers and sellers login to communicate, collaborate
and make business transactions. A private B2B exchange,
mostly, consolidates suppliers and buyers of a specific
company, which owns and operates the exchange.
There are two ways of integrating B2B exchange to automate business processes.
A company can participate in existing B2B exchange or create its own private
While for small companies, it is more viable to participate in a major B2B
exchange that has required components, larger companies should consider creating
their own B2B exchange.
The profits companies can reap from joining an existing B2B exchange or creating
their own private one could be enormous.
Customer Base Development
A supplier, once registers with a B2B exchange, gets immediate access to a large
community of prospective buyers of his products or services.
Increase Revenue from Existing Customers
Business process automation allows companies develop products faster, buyers
get faster and easier access to product information, receive quicker response
to their requests, get better customer support and may buy products online.
These turn into more sales.
Add Profit from Value Added Services
Once the exchange is set as primary sales channel, available free resources
can be used to create more value added services for clients. Some of the services
that the exchange may offer also can be used to generate more value.
Reduce Order Processing Cost
The supply chain solutions of a B2B exchange may allow sellers to reduce order
processing cost significantly. Studies show that cost of processing a purchase
order can be reduced from US$ 70 down to US$ 6 only.
Sales and support costs
By automating sales and customer support processes companies can reduce over
head costs over 25-30% easily.
Inventory keeping costs
Clearer visibility and forecasting ability allow companies considerably reduce
inventory keeping costs.
Since an existing B2B exchange may not have all the necessary features and
functions, a good option is to build a private exchange based on one’s
own specific business process automation need. This exchange, at its minimum,
should be able to cover major portion of supply chain and inventory control.
The following elements should be integrated to create
substantial value to a private B2B exchange:
Supply chain management is the core solution of an
exchange and can deliver great values to existing systems.
Implementation of this solution will help achieve incredibly
high return on investment. Business process automation
in this component of the exchange includes both supplier
and buyer–side quotation, requisition, purchase
order and invoice.
This is the venue where the exchange owner company will post their products
for sale. A shopping cart should be integrated to the electronic marketplace
in order to automate the buying process. The offered-for-sale products will
be directly related to inventory control management component of the exchange.
Electronic auction system can use both English and Dutch auction methods. For
convenience the auction component can be integrated to the electronic marketplace.
Online auction helps liquidate surplus goods easily.
This solution allows automate electronic procurement,
where suppliers compete for a business deal real time
The participants of the Private Exchange – both buyers and sellers of
the exchange owner company get a Storefront that reflects profile of the company,
their products and other information.
A Forum or Discussion Board is an organized, on-line interactive message board
where participants conduct discussion on a set of topics by posting questions,
comments and responses.
Directory of Companies
This is a listing of all registered participants – buyers and sellers
of the exchange owner company – either by business category or by alphabetical
order. An advanced search engine tool can be incorporated in order to find a
company based on data provided.
E–catalog is a hierarchy of product and service categories. All products
and services handled by the exchange owner company should be consolidated in
Private B2B exchange is a powerful concept, which engulfs a fairly big portion
of business processes requiring automation. This is more like a business ecosystem
that has an ability to change the way companies think and do business and create
tremendous value to their owners.
Tuesday, April 20, 2004
Thanks to a unique algorithm that produces most relevant results
to any given query, Google has become, indisputably, the best search
engine on the Internet. On the last count, Google has indexed over
4 billion pages and tackles around 200 million searches a day! A
cluster of 100 thousand servers are used to store, crunch and spew
out the query results with lightning speed that you are so accustomed
This phenomenal growth has made Google from a garage startup to an Internet behemoth faster than any company has done before. The prodigies behind this unique search engine, Larry Page and Sergey Brin in the process already got enlisted themselves in billionaire club.
Google is no longer a mere search engine! It is increasingly broadening its offerings to include great new services and excellent tools. Among these services, most notables are News - a news aggregation and searching service, Blogger - an online journal-keeping solution, Froogle - a marketplace for comparison shopping, Groups - online discussion groups, Answers - a place to get hard-to-find information for a price, etc.
Google also recently unveiled two more programs. Orkut - a social networking service and Gmail - a free web mail service. Orkut is an online community, where a person can participate in it by invitation from a member only.
If you constantly frown over limited space of your hotmail or Yahoo accounts because they get filled up with junk mails and force you to delete old messages frequently, you will love Gmail with its 1 GB of storage capacity. There are several great features available in Gmail system too. One of them, dubbed as Conversations, allow you to view all exchange mails with somebody, once you select one of the mails. Sorting and searching emails also become much easier with Gmail. The only catch is Gmail displays relevant ads - based on the keywords found in your email - on the right side of the screen when you view an email, much like Google displays ads when you view search results.
Although, Google is constantly adding new and extremely useful features, most of us unfortunately do not use all the capacities of the search engine itself. The following tips will make your Internet browsing more effective if even you are an avid net user.
Choose most specific search words
Google returns web pages that contain all the words in your query. If you would like to see the most relevant pages on the first page of your search result, be very specific with your choice of words. For example: if you would like to research on former NHL hockey player Makarov, you should start your search with Makarov not hockey player. Even better if you search for the words: hockey player Makarov. Because just the word Makarov will show web pages on "Makarov" a Russian-made handgun and numerous other people and products with the name Makarov. Refining your query in Google means adding more specific words to your initial search. In this example you will hit the right web pages if your search contains: NHL hockey player Makarov.
Sets - a new feature
What if you are looking for a pair of Valentino designer jeans but can't recall the name of the designer? Query on Italian designer jeans may bring you the right result; however, there is a better tool that Google is planning to implement soon, called "Sets".
Fill up the names of some designers that you remember in the given form such as Levis, Wrangler, Versace and click either of the two buttons and voila! You will get a list of designers name and probably, Valentino will be there. But bear in mind that this feature is still at Beta stage.
The other day, I was sitting in a colleague's office.
She needed to calculate some basic stuffs and looking
for her calculator on her desk. Much to her dismay,
she could not find the calculator and started to fumble
through her computer programs in her attempt to find
Microsoft calculator. I noticed that she was online
and the browser was open. I, politely, asked her whether
she knew that Google could actually calculate most common
mathematical expressions. It came out to be, she did
not! She was just amazed after trying it herself. Google
is even capable of unit conversion! Give it a try!
If you are looking for a definition of a particular word or a phrase, Google is the best place to get it. In Google search box, write "define: the word or phrase" without the quotation marks and click search button. If there is a definition available for your search term you will, most certainly, get it. It's a very useful feature for students and people, those who write research papers.
You may think that search engines are too dumb to show query results of the synonyms of your search term. It's not so! At least, in the case of Google! If you use tilde "~" in front of a keyword in your search term, Google will bring results on the synonyms of that word as well.
Searching within a website
Another great feature of Google search engine allows you to make your query within a specific website. First you write your search term in the Google search box and then write "site: the website or domain name". For example: if you are looking for word "Microsoft" within the website www.micromedia.com you will write: Microsoft site: micromedia.com.
Check backward links to your website
If you have a website, Google search engine also has a nice feature to show you which web pages are linking to yours. In the search box, write: Link: you website address.
Other important tips to remember are:
- There is no need to use "AND". Google
always relate all the words in a search term with
- However, if you would like to make your query for
two words - one or another - you can use "OR".
You have to write "or" in capital letters
to give it Boolean value.
- Google is not case sensitive. You can write your
search terms either in capital or in small letters.
You can even mix them up.
- Google omits most of the very common words, such
as the, in, etc. If you, indeed, need to add a specific
word forcefully, use plus (+) sign in front of that
particular word. Same way, you can exclude a word
from your search expression by putting minus (-) sign
in front it.
- If you would like to make a search on an exact phrase
or expression, put the words within quotation marks.
That way, your search result will show only those
pages where the exact expression was found. In order
to search the phrase: For whom the bell tolls, write
"For whom the bell tolls" in the search
I'll also suggest you to download the Google Toolbar. Apart from the search box and its ability to block pop-ups, Google Toolbar also shows the pagerank of the website you are visiting now. Pagerank is a system of evaluating web pages - developed by Google founders and used as the core of Google's search engine algorithm. The Toolbar also includes feature with the ability to fill up online forms from stored information automatically. You can also keep your daily journal or blog right from the toolbar.
Much to net users delight, Google, in accordance with its ambitious mission
statement to organize world's information and make it universally useful
and accessible, so far doing a great job by providing us the best search engine
and extremely handy features and services. We can only hope that the flow
of innovative ideas from Google will not slow down in future, when it becomes
a public company.
|Seven Key Qualities of Successful Entrepreneurs
Monday, April 5, 2004
A recent poll conducted by Forbes magazine shows that majority of its readers
would prefer to become a billionaire rather than a Nobel peace prize winner, a
great scientist or a famous athlete. There is no secret that most of the average
people dream about getting rich albeit very few makes any real effort to become
According to statistics, more than 100 thousand people become millionaires
each year in the United States alone! Overwhelming majority out of them is self-made
and owners of business. This means, if you would like to pursue your goal of
becoming rich, you have to start your own venture.
Becoming an entrepreneur is not an easy task! There are certain qualities that
are absolutely necessary if you would like to become successful in your business
ventures. Some of these qualities are built-in parts of your inherent personality,
and some of them get developed over time. Knowing these characteristics and
identifying your weak ones - those, which need strengthening - will, eventually,
help you become a successful entrepreneur.
1. Common Sense
Studies show that most successful businessmen consider common sense as the
foundation of their success. Common sense is defined as an ability to make sound
judgments on the issues, which you encounter in everyday situations.
Good judgment depends on acquired knowledge and past experience. The combination
of these two creates necessary prerequisites in developing common sense in a
person. Common sense allows you to understand complex issues in simpler terms
and get into the core of a problem.
2. Specialized Knowledge of your field
It is easier to start a successful business, if you have deep knowledge of
the business field that you decide to pursue. About half of all home-based start-ups
are launched by people who decide to use the knowledge, which they gained from
their previous work experience of a particular niche area.
Philip Green, a billionaire, who made his fortune in garments retailing, claims
that corner stone of his success is his knowledge of rag trade. He, presumably,
can price a fabric simply by rubbing it between his fingers. Just by looking
at a rack of coats he can predict which ones won't sell next season. That's
the kind of knowledge required in order to become successful in entrepreneurship.
Around 45 percent of all start-ups fail to survive more than two years. One
of the main reasons is many entrepreneurs do not accumulate needed industry
knowledge before jumping into business world.
Self confidence is a key entrepreneurial skill for success. It is easy to become
demoralized, frustrated and resentful if you lack self-confidence.
Self-confidence is concerned with how a person feels about his ability. A successful
entrepreneur believes in his abilities. He is not scared to explore un-chartered
territories, take risk and take difficult decisions.
Self-confidence, however, is not a personal trait that either you have or you
don't. A person can have high self-confidence in one situation and totally lack
in another. This is one of those skills that can be developed by training.
4. Ability to get things done
Successful entrepreneurs are persistent and hardworking. They master self-discipline
to such extent that if a work is important and related to their goals, they
will, eventually, complete it.
Getting things done is the vital link between motivations and their outcome.
At times, entrepreneurs force themselves to choose work over fun, a boring job
against a pleasant one, working on tax papers rather than reading a glamour
magazine. This requires a self-control that many people simply fail to develop
Creativity is the ability to use your insights and come up with new solutions
to old problems, get things done in a different way or find a totally different
approach for conventional things to work together. Entrepreneurs need creative
thinking ability virtually in everything. Each new product, each new marketing
method, each business decision - all these are fertile ground for creative thinking.
Often, entrepreneurs become immensely successful thanks to one single creative
6. Ability to lead
Successful entrepreneurs are capable of leading people and get work done by
them. They use a combination of various methods - effective motivation, planning,
coaching and evaluation - to lead people. They are concerned about the wellbeing
of others and easily get along with people.
7. Self reliance
Successful entrepreneurs try to take full responsibility for their actions.
They know that what they are today, and what they are going to be tomorrow,
depend solely on themselves, as it is the outcome of their own choices and decisions.
They are proactive people, who set goals, walk an extra mile to achieve them
and rely, primarily, on their own resources and abilities.
If you would like to check out if your personality fits the typical entrepreneurial
profile, the following site has questionnaire that will help you asses your
If, even, you have all these great qualities and you feel quite confident about
yourself, you will never know how good an entrepreneur you are, unless you give
it a try! So, the best way to prove your abilities, is to jump start a new venture!
|How to start a successful import business using the Internet – Part II
Monday, March 15, 2004
The Internet has opened up a whole new era of business opportunities. Falling
trade barriers combining with easy access to trade information thanks to the Internet
have created dramatic possibilities and sparked the growth of global online trade
in virtually every area.
Many companies are taking advantage of electronic media quite aggressively
by making new contacts, tapping into new markets and reducing costs with the
help of online technologies.
Whether you are starting a new import business or planning to expand your existing
business, you too can use the Internet as your primary channel for getting information,
sourcing products or services, finding suppliers and doing your marketing.
Before the Internet era, finding a viable product for importing was not an
easy job! Trade shows and traveling to foreign lands were the two best options
available for getting hands on information on a product and its supplier. Today,
required information on any conceivable product from virtually any market is
available at your finger tips.
Finding a product
If you know what you are planning to import, a substantial work is already
done! Otherwise, your first step is to choose a feasible product or service
to import. Whether you are planning to import a general merchandize or an industry-specific
product, do your homework right.
Browse through Catalog repositories, B2B exchanges, electronic trade boards,
trade journals and virtual trade shows to find a product. If you know the manufacturing
country from where the product is possible to source, check out the country
specific portals and exchanges. Here is a list of high quality electronic trade
For China made products: www.alibaba.com
Sourcing from India: www.trade-india.com
For Russian Products: www.rusbiz.com
Products from Europe: www.europages.com
From South Korea: www.ec21.com
For other country-specific or industry-specific B2B
exchanges check out this list: http://dmoz.org/Business/E-Commerce/Marketplaces/
Your criteria for choosing a product for importing
- Your prior knowledge of the product you intend
to import and its industry. Your possibility of
success increases considerably if you know the product
- Access to required quantity of this product.
If you spend time and effort in developing a local
market for a product and unable to deliver, you
will loose business and reputation.
- Quality of the product. This is a crucial aspect
for developing a market for any product. Quality
of the product should be consistent with market
- High profit margin. As import incurs many expenses
that are specific to this type of business only,
prior to import anything, you should carefully calculate
all required expenses and see that you still make
handsome profits. You can check out the sites of
your prospective competitors and make a price comparison
to get initial idea on your products present market
Once you know – what you are planning to import – your next step is to find
a reliable supplier for this product.
Emarketplace or B2B exchange
B2B exchanges can be a good help in getting suppliers of the products you are
planning to import.
The possible steps, you have to take to find a supplier from a B2B exchange,
are listed below. As an example www.rusbiz.com is used.
Register your company. Often this service is free!
Go to “Advanced Search”
Write your product name in the relevant box
Select required criteria and click on “Search”
You will find a list of companies.
Check out each of them until you find a suitable one.
Chamber of Commerce
Another option is to contact Chambers of Commerce to find a supplier. A Chamber
of Commerce is an association of companies that protects and promotes business
interests of its members.
For a complete list of Chambers of Commerce from various countries check out
this page: http://www.worldchambers.com/CCII/index1.htm.
If other methods did not bring any fruitful result, you can consider posting
classified ads in a range of trade boards. There are many trade boards available
on the Internet. While posting trade leads make sure that you specify your requirement
precisely. A well-written ad will bring much better result. Post your trade
leads frequently until you find a good supplier for your product.
Once you found a supplier that suits you, check him out thoroughly. Your supplier
should meet the following criteria:
- The supplier company must carry the product for
a substantial period of time.
- It should have experience in export – preferably
to your country.
- It should have readily available export references.
- It should be a reputable company in its country.
If the company meets the above criteria get Dun
and Bradstreet report of the company to verify its financial background.
Selling imported products
Before even thinking about importing a product or service, you should know
exactly who your customers are and how you are going to sell your products to
them. Although, there are numerous ways of selling a product, selling through
the Internet is gaining ground fast.
Selling through your own website
Considering the growth of e-commerce, today, any consumer-oriented product is
viable to sell through the Internet. Your success will largely depend on your
ability to market your website appropriately. Your website should have the following
qualities among others: appealing design, well described product specification
with clear pictures, great content, fast connection, easy-to-use shopping cart
and a good merchant account.
As a drop ship distributor, you carry the inventory and your joint venture partners
make the sales. Once a product is sold you get the payment from your partner
but ship out the product directly to the end customer.
Selling through distributors
Selling through resellers with expertise in your field lowers marketing and
selling costs. If you sell products through a number of distributors and each
of these distributors use diversified marketing method, your sales potential
get multiplied without spending extra on marketing.
An E-marketplace is a business community, where you can expect to see a large
number of buyers and sellers. For a seller it is a low cost, highly functional
and easy-to-use sales channel.
Benefits of selling products through emarketplace also include:
Entrepreneurs who want to get serious about importing have to acquire substantial
knowledge of the process. Many of the information needed to carry out an import
export business is available on the Internet. Anybody with enough enthusiasm
to learn can easily find them and use to build a profitable and interesting
- Low customer acquisition cost
- Improve customer service
- Efficient information sharing method
- Reduce supply chain cost
|Promote your website using articles
Wednesday, February 25, 2004
Internet is all about information! At any given time, majority of web users surf
the Internet in search of some kind of information. That’s why it is only natural
that marketing with the help of providing sought after information to web surfers
should be a key method in your online marketing strategy. There are various ways
of exploiting this effective and low-cost method of web marketing. One of them
is to write articles related to your business field and distribute them for free!
There are numerous inherent benefits in this fairly simple and innovative way
of promoting your website and your products.
You can establish yourself as an expert in your field
People trust and tend to buy products from somebody they consider to be an
expert. Once you start writing articles and if these articles provide valuable
information, it won’t take long for you to get accepted as an authority in your
Augment your own knowledge
If you write articles, apart from the knowledge that you already have, you
still have to do some home works on the relevant materials – gathering and culling
information, data, surveys, etc. This process eventually improves your own grasp
of the subject as well.
Get targeted traffic to your site
As far as web marketing is concerned this is the main reason why you should
consider writing articles. Each of your articles that you allow others to republish
should carry a resource box which includes a short description of you as an
author and a link to your website. If readers like your articles, they will
visit your site to check out what else you have to offer.
Increase link popularity of your website
All your articles published in other websites with a backward link to your
website will help boosting your link popularity. Link popularity indicates the
number of web pages that link to your website. Many search engines use it as
one of the main factors in their algorithm which determines the search engine
ranking of a certain website.
If you are a novice writer and would like to pursue this unique method of promoting
your website, you don’t have to worry about where to start. There's a load of
information available on the Internet about writing. However, before even you
start writing your first article, no matter how good you are in your chosen
subject matter, you still have to do some extra research to seek out an interesting
topic, gather relevant materials on the topic, evaluate gathered information,
organize your thoughts and plan your article.
While writing an article, maximum time and effort, probably, you will spend
on preparation rather then the physical process of writing itself.
Here are five steps for novice writers to jump start their website promotion
through article writing.
Step I: Choose a topic
If you feel this method of web marketing suits you, the first step from here
is to choose topics for the articles you plan to write. While choosing topics,
if your purpose is to attract targeted traffic, make sure that you stick to
the subjects relevant to your business field.
From the broad base of your business field try narrowing down several subjects
that could be interesting to your prospective readers. Use those subjects and
related materials as your article topics.
Step II: Gather materials
Once you have a topic to write about and ideas to focus on, brainstorm surrounding
it and find several key phrases relevant to this topic. All of the information
needed for you to explore your ideas and illustrate your points you can get
from the Internet.
Here is the process of retrieving information from the Internet:
- Use Google and other search engines to find information
on the search terms you identified. One of the best
search engines for this purpose is www.vivisimo.com.
Vivisimo’s clustering and meta-search method
will help you finding many relevant information
that you might not have thought of.
- Browse through directories to find relevant websites
and get required information from there.
- Seek out specialized repositories of related
are two wonderful resources if you are doing research
on business technology. If you are looking for articles
on a topic, try Looksmart’s www.findarticles.com
- Once you collected enough information, now is
the time for you to jot down your ideas and related
points. Note down you thoughts using some structuring
systems like mind mapping, listing, etc.
Step III: Make an outline
Spend sometime on planning your article and develop an outline of the article.
Process of making an outline of your article will help you visualize your finished
product. An outline is a visual and conceptual list of your ideas and their
place in the article. It should reflect your logical thinking process – the
way you want your readers to see it, a beginning and a culminating point.
Step IV: Write the article
Write your article addressing your readers in second person. Try starting your
article with something that will spur interest in your readers. Your article
should consist of words within the range of 600 to 900. This size for articles
became a standard for ezines and, therefore, many ezine publishers simply don’t
accept larger articles.
Step V: Edit your article
After finishing, read the article loud. Work on the sentences that don’t sound
quite right. Stack the article aside and come back to it in a day or two. Revise
it. You will find many ways to improve it this time. Your friends and co-workers
can help you too. Let them read the article and make their suggestions.
Writing articles is a skill like any other you develop by practicing. Why not
start doing it now, and at the same time get targeted traffics to your website?
|"MyDoom" virus and how to protect your computer from it
Tuesday, January 27, 2004
Remember the Sobig viruses of last year that wreaked havoc and caused significant
financial damage to corporation world? Well, the first major virus of this year
has potential to beat those attacks easily.
What is MyDoom?
The new virus, which is actually a more virulent variation of “Mimail” virus,
is dubbed MyDoom by antivirus software maker Network Associates Inc. and "Novarg"
by rival Symantec Corp.
The virus, first detected around 4PM EST Monday January 26, 2004, immediately
started to create a mail storm through out the Internet. According to experts,
MyDoom virus is capable of generating up to 8 million infected e-mails in the
first 24 hours if it is not slowed down. This is twice as much as the amount
produced by the Sobig.F virus, which at its peak last year generated around
3.5 million e-mails on the third day of its outbreak.
Within one hour of its first attack Network Associates itself received 19,500
e-mails bearing the virus from 3,400 unique Internet addresses.
How does it work?
MyDoom spreads itself similarly as any other email-borne virus. Unsuspected
user after receiving infected email activates the virus by opening the attached
file. As always the virus infiltrates only into Windows based PC. The attached
file can be of any of these extensions: ".exe," ".scr,"
".cmd" or ".pif".
Randomized subject line of the infected message can have the following texts
among others: Mail Delivery system, Test, Server report, Hello, etc.
The body of the email shows one of the several texts, such as: "The message
cannot be represented in 7-bit ASCII encoding and has been sent as a binary
attachment,"; "The message contains Unicode characters and has been
sent as a binary attachment."; and "Mail transaction failed. Partial
message is available." The idea here is to trick users into opening the
attachment. The opened attachment looks like a simple Notepad text file, which
most of the people believe to be safe and incapable of carrying viruses.
Once a computer gets contaminated with MyDoom, the virus along with the Trojan
embedded in it does the following things:
The virus resends itself using a built-in mailing program to e-mail addresses
from the address book of the infected computer. It is capable to send out 100
infected email messages in 30 seconds to addresses stored in the computer. It
also fakes the sender’s address and shows one of the e-mails randomly selected
from the computer's address book. So it appears that the virus came from someone
other than the person whose computer produced this email.
The virus also copies itself to the Kazaa download directory of the infected
computer, on which the file-sharing program is loaded. The virus camouflages
itself, using one of seven file names, including Winamp5, RootkitXP, Officecrack
and Nuke2004. Kazaa is a file sharing program widely used by teens to share
music among peers.
MyDoom also uses the domains of the emails addresses it finds in the infected
computer to make up numerous email addresses in an attempt to spread itself.
This tactic is commonly used by spammers and called “Dictionary Attack”.
Some experts claim that this virus also drops a file onto infected computer
systems, collecting sensitive data such as passwords, user names and credit
The infected e-mails are also programmed to start a denial of service attack
on SCO, the controversial software group which claims that important components
of the Linux open-source operating system violate its Unix copyrights. A Denial
of Service Attack means in an attempt to shut down a server, thousands of emails
are sent to one single address. The attack clogs the bandwidth and cripples
the whole mailing system of the company and forces them to either turn off the
server or change the domain name.
Finally, the virus also opens up communication ports of the infected computer,
allowing a hacker to manipulate the machine remotely.
One hack of a virus, isn’t it?
What to do?
If you take the following steps, your computer will be virtually safe from
any similar virus attacks:
- Get an Antivirus program and install it in your computer.
- Regularly update your Antivirus program.
- Get a firewall and install it. A great free firewall
that you can download and install is Zonealarm.
You can download it from http://www.zonelabs.com/store/content/home.jsp
- Regularly get patches for your version of Windows
- Use email filters similar to Eprompter. It gives
you the ability to delete unwanted spam or suspicious
looking mail, which might contain viruses. Get it
free from http://www.eprompter.com
- Scan your computer for viruses regularly. A great
free tool that scans your computer remotely for
viruses and eliminates them you can find at
No doubt that Microsoft has to do a better job to protect
us from this on going slaughter. However, until this
happens, Windows users have to be more vigilant and
do everything possible to protect their machines.
|Protect your computer from the new virus "Beagle"
Tuesday, January 20, 2004
If you received an email from somebody you know with the subject “hi” and the
word test in the message body recently, welcome to the never ending world of computer
viruses. You have just encountered the first virus unleashed in this year. The
virus is named as “Beagle” or “Bagle” and spreading rapidly all over the world.
Users in the United Stated will see the real outbreak on Tuesday, January 20,
2004 as on Monday US was closed in observance of the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday.
The attached to the email .exe file with a random name, which uses the same
icon as the Windows calculator, is the culprit! Once executed it runs an email
harvesting program, which searches for emails in every single file on your computer
and the computers connected to yours via internal network. The codes of the
worm also contain invisible email proxy server program, which allows your computer
to be put into action as a spam relay center. When opened the attached exe file,
it runs the Windows calculator in an attempt to confuse the user.
The body of the virus email looks as follows:
(string of random characters)
It appears the worm is also programmed to send details about all infected computers
to website addresses in Germany. Although till now these sites are not yet set
up on the Internet.
The harvested emails will most certainly be used for spamming and selling to
other spammers. This suggests that the Beagle virus is a creation of email spammers.
Similar to Sobig virus, this one too embedded with an expiry date. The virus
is set to deactivate on 28 January. Many experts believe this means a more virulent
version may come out after this date.
Network Associates has raised its alert rating for the program from "low"
to "medium" because an increasing number of personal computers are
becoming infected. After severe virus attacks of last year most of the companies
have updated and protected themselves from this type of viruses. However, home
users are at risk, as many still did not install any kind of antivirus software
or do not update them regularly.
Computer virus attacks cost global businesses an estimated US$55 billion in
damages in 2003. Companies lost roughly US$20 billion to US$30 billion in 2002
from the virus attacks, up from about US$13 billion in 2001, according to various
It looks like financial harm caused by various virus attacks will increase
significantly in 2004.
Here are some tips to protect your computer from Beagle and other viruses:
Don’t ever open an email that looks suspicious! The success of viruses that
spread through emails totally depends on the ignorance and curiosity of unsuspected
Download the latest security patches for the version of Windows you use and
Install Antivirus Software
If you still don’t have an Antivirus Software, install one! It’s worth the money
Update your Antivirus Software
Antivirus Software companies constantly add new modules to their software in
order to enhance abilities. You must update your software to ensure that you
have the latest version capable of fighting the new virus unleashed.
If you feel that your computer is already infected, find the file bbeagle.exe
on your computer. The file disguises itself with Microsoft calculator icon.
Delete the file immediately!
|Developing your export import business using Internet - Part I
Saturday, January 10, 2004
Since most of the businesses throughout the world have access to the Internet,
many astute entrepreneurs and trading companies are using the Internet as one
of the primary means for developing their import and export businesses.
Already a big slice of global trades are taking place through the Internet.
According to Forrester Research, a major marketing research company, worldwide
online exports will escalate to US $1.4 trillion in 2004, and cross-border e-marketplace
trade will exceed US $400 billion in this year alone.
However, cross-border trading will create a division between the companies
that actively import and export using the Internet and those that don't. Companies
that are slow in adopting the Internet will loose competitive edge to the more
proactive Internet-savvy counter parts.
If you are already involved in international trade or planning to either import
or export products, Internet could be your primary source of gathering data,
researching prospective market, finding clients and, may be even, for doing
your entire business online.
First, let’s look into the export side of the international trade. Like any
other business, exporting requires proper planning. Well-documented and clearly
written export marketing plan will work as your road map to success. The following
steps are essential for any export endeavor.
Identifying products for export
Although, in any given time you may find numerous products that qualify as
exportable one, your chance for success will increase substantially if your
chosen product met the following criteria:
• You have been handling this product for local market for several years
• You have full confidence in the quality of the product
• The value of the product matches or exceeds the imported similar ones
• You have guaranteed availability of this product for export
If you don’t have a product to export yet, and you are serious about export
oriented business, consider checking out your local trade shows to seek out
an exportable product.
Local online marketplaces are good options for finding products for export
Identifying potential export markets for your products
To identify an export market you have to spend sometimes on gathering necessary
You will need export statistics of your country to see which markets are presently
buying products similar to yours. This will give an idea which markets are viable
for you to target. Apart from checking the statistics from you own country,
you also should verify export statistics from several other countries that manufacture
and export similar products.
After analyzing this information, choose couple of markets for further assessment.
This time you will need more in depth information on these markets.
Doing market research
Market research is imperative in order to identify export potential of a product
in a targeted country. There are two ways you can research your targeted market.
By getting first-hand information from the targeted market
This can be done by hiring a research company from the targeted market, participating
in trade shows, contacting prospective customers, visiting the market personally,
etc. Although, this method has a great advantage since you can get exact information
tailored to your need. However, this might be very expensive and time consuming
for most of the first time exporters.
Getting information from the Internet and other sources
Thanks to the Internet you can get almost all the needed information from various
online sources. This includes: trade data statistics, country profile, demography
and other market related data, list of prospective customers, etc.
To take an informative decision while selecting a market you will need answers
to the following questions:
• How big is the demand for your product or similar products in the targeted
• What is the ratio between domestic production and import?
• Who are the main competitors in this market?
• What is the growth potential of the market?
• How strong are they in comparison to you?
• What is the import duty structure for your product?
• Is there any incentive available to you from your country for exporting this
Answers to these questions will give you enough facts to compare the markets
you have chosen for assessment. While taking final decision on export market,
don’t forget to study the business and social cultures of the specific country.
This could be an important issue in selecting the right market for you.
Selling your products
Once you targeted the market you would like to pursue, you next step is to
start selling your products to that market.
There are several marketing options avai`lable for you to choose from:
Hire an export trading house from your country
The advantage, if you find right export trading house, is the experience and
knowledge the company may have. The draw back is they might not be interested
in your products, and if they do, you have to pay a major share from your sales
to them as their commission.
Find a distributor in the targeted market to sell your products
This is, no doubt, a very good option. However, finding a good distributor for
a product which does not have a proven track record of sale in the market won’t
be that easy.
Sell products to customers from targeted market directly
Initially, you might have to stick to this option only. B2B exchanges and emarketplaces
from the targeted market can be a good place to start your venture.
Here are the steps you need to take if you would like to sell your products
1. Seek out the largest emarketplace for the country of your choice.You should
consider both vertical and horizontal marketplaces.
2. Register with them.
3. Create a Web Site, if you don’t have yet, in the local language.
4. Add your products to the e-catalog of the emarketplaces.
5. Post your products for sale to the marketplace.
6. Post frequent sell trade leads.
7. Search for companies interested to by products similar to yours and contact
International trade business, same like any other business requires months,
sometimes even several years, to bring anticipated profit. Aggressive use of
the Internet will help you achieve your goal with lesser investment and faster