since primary school days, "business man" has always been my top choice of career.
during my high school days it has "evolved" from "business man" to a more canggih word "entrepreneur".
from a dreamer, to a student, to an analyst to a banker, the desire to run my own business has never really subside.
in fact, it has gone bigger and larger.
a couple of years ago, it would be great if i can start an online business, but i am glad i didn't because, the very reason of not starting it at the first place was the "sustainability" issue.
doing an online business is just like writing a blog:
"You gotta give your customer (reader) a darn good reason to keep coming back"
it was a good idea as it involves almost zero* cost (*terms and conditions apply) maintaining it and pretty much, with a well-known brand name, sales revenue will almost equate 80-90% of the net profit.
with that sort of profit margin, it enables you to control cost more efficiently and increase your flexibility for capex and advertising, which are key for survival.
but again, in the internet world, customers are more demanding. instead of one, they want you to give them multiple reasons to keep coming back.
firstly, a nice and smooth layout of the webpage, aka the Interface. no one would like to surf a lousy website using only html programming (for xxx website, maybe... but i doubt so too...)
secondly, an attraction or a Reason. for instance, cheap goods? nice graphics? informative? entertaining? and for whatever reason it is, it has to be on a marginal and comparative basis.
it must be cheaper than other website, it must be nicer, less bias and more entertaining. if not, there will be a huge question about the sustainability of the website. That's because the Opportunity cost for an online customer to "switch" is very low, about the usage of million nano micro joule of energy to click away from your website.
Both Obama and McCain have 11months to campaign, while your website only has 1 sec to sell.
thirdly, professionalism. your website must give the impression that the website is not an empty shell nor a hoax. it must be real or appear to be real. the act to instil confidence in viewers' mindset could be one of the most difficult thing to do. But good word-of-mouth can help.
what else. oh ya, low barrier-of-entry equates to High Competition. so, in order to sustain, you must have a solid fundamental. it's hard to survive in this business world if your e-business relies solely on "internet activities".
The sustainability of an online business can be enhanced if 1) internet is just a mean of marketing tool and 2) the underlying "goods" or "services" which you are selling has a secondary market other than virtual world. ;)
my two cents worth... so time to brainstorm for what to sell now!