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        The Pendulum Swings Both Ways

        ?2014 Elena Fawkner

        The first quarter of 2001 has been a shocker for many, if not
        most, online businesses, particularly those that rely heavily
        on third party paid advertising on their websites and in their
        ezines.  It doesn't seem to matter who you are - the Wall
        Street Journal or one-person webfront operation.

        Hot on the heels of spiralling stock indexes and dot-com
        failures, many people are just plain leery of anything that
        has an "Internet" label.  As a result, many online business
        owners are shutting up shop, figuring that the returns just
        aren't worth the investment of time and money.

        But wait.  Let's take a deep breath and look at what's really
        going on here.  You should be encouraged.


        THE GOLDRUSH

        In the beginning the Internet was the new frontier.  With all
        those metaphors being bandied about all over the place - talk
        of gold rushes, pioneers, gold nuggets just lying there for the
        taking - "go west young man (or woman)", echoed in our
        ears, "stake your claim to your share of the Internet riches".

        And so every man and his dog and every woman and her
        cat slapped up a website and started publishing an ezine.
        After a while, our pioneer started making actual money charging
        for advertising on her website and in her ezine and selling the
        latest information product and business was plentiful.

        THE PLATEAU

        After a while, things started to level off.  No longer experiencing
        the heady rush of exponential growth on a weekly basis, things
        started to level out.  Business remained solid, however, and
        our pioneer, now thinking of himself as a capital E "Entrepreneur"
        figured, OK, this is the end of the first big growth phase.  It's
        time to start consolidating.  And so our entrepreneur started
        investing in already-formed relationships, concentrating on
        existing customers, developing his "List" of contacts and
        joint venturing like crazy to try and sustain momentum.

        THE SHAKE-OUT

        But then things started to go wrong in the promised land.
        All of a sudden the most promising, courageous and innovative
        Internet businesses started to, well, bomb.  All of a sudden,
        venture capitalists were demanding business plans that actually
        required the business to turn a profit.  No longer was it enough
        to be on the cutting edge of an emerging new economy.  Now
        all of a sudden the bankers started talking about "returns on
        investment", "time value of money", and (shudder), "profit"!

        Now Internet businesses were expected to come up with
        business plans that looked like those from the real world and
        which included real numbers, real timelines and real results. 
        No longer were bankers looking through rose-colored glasses. 
        That pink ink really WAS pink (or, more precisely, now that we
        look at it a little closer, more red than pink, actually).

        Suddenly money wasn't being thrown at Internet entrepreneurs'
        feet.  Suddenly loans were being called up and businesses
        shut down.  Suddenly investors were watching stock prices
        dwindle ever so inexorably, day by day.  Suddenly investors
        were losing life savings and vowing to never again invest in
        the new economy.

        REALIGNMENT

        After the big bang, the landscape was strewn with the
        carcasses of one-time high-flyers, brought down to earth
        by nothing more earth-shattering than simple gravity.

        But like blades of grass emerging from the scorched earth
        following a bushfire, the small, conservative, money-
        parched, lower case e entrepreneurs got to their feet.

        Unburdened by crippling debt and understanding all along
        that an Internet business is no different from any other
        business - revenues must always exceed expenses after
        all - their businesses survived the great Internet shake-out.

        For so long bemoaning to themselves, "How are we
        supposed to compete with the big guys?", suddenly a new
        realization ... "How are they supposed to compete with us?".
        How are the "big guys" able to target niche markets the
        way we can so effectively and yet generate the kinds of
        bucks necessary to fund their infrastructures; how can they
        possibly provide true customer service on a genuinely
        personal level, as opposed to employing an army of
        autobots?  How can they possibly be nimble enough to
        turn on a dime in response to changing dynamics that
        occur on a seemingly daily basis?  What their failure tells
        us is, quite simply, they can't.

        So, although we're all paying the price of the Internet
        backlash, over time new norms will be established.  The
        pendulum has now swung to both extremes - the goldrush
        arc and the backlash arc.  A pendulum, though, finally comes
        to rest dead center.

        So, hold your nerve, position yourself and your business in that
        center, where you've been all along, and you'll be ready to take
        your place in the NEW new economy which will soon emerge.

        _________________________

        Elena Fawkner is editor of A Home-Based Business Online ... practical ideas, resources and strategies for your home-based or online business. http://www.shelteredturtle.com

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