Year In Review: Top Ten Internet Businesses 2004

The internet boom hit a high mark in 2004. With old
standbys and new emergences, the top ten internet
businesses 2004 show a variety of companies all with one
thing in common: they have adapted well to the World Wide
Web. Many companies have difficulties and struggle amidst
the huge ocean of the internet, especially since it is
quite difficult to maintain a personal face. The
companies in the top ten have not only succeeded in the
business sense, they have invaded out daily life and have
become a household name. From meagre beginnings, these
top ten entrepreneur companies have mastered this new
medium and are an inspirational to any budding
entrepreneur interested in starting an internet based
business.

The Internet search engine Google was the top internet
business of 2004. The world’s largest search engine
receives over 200 million hits a day. Businesses pay
Google to have an ad for their website appear to the
right side of the user’s search. The paid advertising
targets consumers seeking information. Google’s initial
public offering gave it a market capitalisation of over $23
billion dollars, placing it between Yahoo and Amazon.com.
In addition to becoming an economic success, the company’s
name has invaded our language. The verb “google” entered
the dictionary with a definition meaning “to look someone
or something up on the internet.” The essence of a truly
successful business is not only one that makes money but
also serves its clients to the utmost potential.

The online auction site eBay.com continued to expand its
services and customer base throughout 2004. As the industry
leader it boasts over tens and millions of members and has
websites in over 17 countries. eBay.com generated over $3
billion in revenues off of a record $34 billion dollars in
Gross Merchandise Volume.

Amazon.com continues to be the world’s number one internet
retailer with 2004 sales in excess of $6.9 billion dollars.
The retailer continues to expand its offerings and
partnerships with other retailers. Recently Amazon.com
rolled out a9.com, which provides consumers with expanded
search options to find merchandise on Amazon.com’s website.
As part of the Tsunami relief effort and in conjunction
with the American Red Cross, Amazon.com set-up an online
donation channel, which raised over $13 million dollars.

Yahoo Inc. provides comprehensive global internet services.
It remains the most visited website with over 3 billion
page views per day. Yahoo launched its own search engine
technology after dropping Google-powered results. Boasting
free and paid email accounts and website complete with
design tools, many pleased clients are using Yahoo.

Expedia, the Washington-based travel company has
revolutionized the entire travel industry. Allowing
individuals to serve as their own travel agents and search
a database of airfares, rental cars, and hotel rooms,
Expedia has allowed everyone to gain access to the
phenomenal travel deals that would previously be
reserved for insiders.

Technology giant Microsoft launched the Microsoft to serve
a variety of needs for a consumer. Boasting email, news,
chat software, and website hosting, MSN is one of the most
visited websites on the internet.

America Online has found a great deal of competition with
companies like MSN and Yahoo! but is still one of the most
popular internet service providers out there. Boasting an
entire network of satisfied customers, AOL goes beyond the
service of other providers. Many individuals new to the
internet choose to use AOL due to its ease of use and
availability all over the globe.

Netflix has become an increasingly popular option for many
movie-renting customers. Instead of having to travel to
your local movie store, the movies are shipped directly to
your home. You have an unlimited number of rentals and
pay a nominal monthly fee for the service. By lowering its
fees in the middle of the year to compete with lower
competitor prices, Netflix drastically increased its
clientele.

With the popularity of burning audio and video files to
create your own CDs, many copyright issues have taken
center court. Instead of illegally trading music for free
using person to person programs; Real.com has a wide array
of songs available for legal download for a nominal fee.
Additionally, Real.com offers a variety of free and pay
media players so individuals can play MP3s, CDs, DVDs, and
any other type of media file directly on their computer.

The last internet company in the top ten is online retailer
and technology giant Apple. Their website Apple.com boasts
an amazing number of customers each month, as it provides a
forum to purchase Apple products along with different
programs necessary for maintaining your Apple computer,
iPod, or any other electronic product sold by the company.

eCommerce Website Integration with Microsoft Dynamics GP – Overview for Developer

When you are facing e-commerce transactions volume growth – typical solution is to remap backoffice ERP system to more scalable. In this small article we consider the case, when you remap eCommerce to Microsoft Great Plains Dynamics GP. If you make your homework and search the internet to understand your options, you will see that several out of the box solutions are out there, however it is typically not what you are looking for: you would like to keep your existing ecommerce solution with shopping cart, checkout and credit card processing. In this case – you way is eCommerce integration to Microsoft Dynamics GP

o Remapping technology. Let’s assume that you had something like SAP Business One, where you deployed SAP B1 SDK and programmed eCommerce to SB1 integration in Microsoft Visual Studio C# project. When you remap to GP – you also use MS Visual Studio and C# programming language and GP integration tools, described in the next section

o eConnect. The core logic of eConnect is realized as a set of SQL stored procedures and you can manipulate such GP objects as Customer, Sales Invoice (or Order if you plan to transfer order to invoice later on)

o Automatic Posting dilemma. Looking back to SAP Business One – there when you create Invoice – it is already “posted”. In the case of Great Plains – Invoice is created in so-called “work” status, then typically placed into the batch for approval and posting by GP operator. eConnect does allow you to create Sales Inovice, but it doesn’t allow you to post it automatically from eCommerce application. This is natural restriction of Great Plains Dexterity architecture

o Posting Server. This solution is available for purchase and it uses Microsoft Dexterity posting engine. What you need to do as eCommerce developer is to place the batch into the table, and so approving it for posting. Posting Server checks the approved batches table every five seconds and posts the content of the table. Alba Spectrum Posting Server requires GP workstation running on separate computer – expect one additional user license

o Excurse to Microsoft Dynamics GP Dexterity. It was designed as a shell, written in C programming language to resolve DB and OS dependency. Dex.exe is the application and it launches dictionaries, such as DYNAMICS.DIC. you can find Dex dictionaries, listed in Dynamics.set file. Programming Dexterity should be left to professionals, as it proprietary and pretty unique scripting language: sanscript – plus dex programmer should be familiar with dex architecture and tables structure. Dexterity enables various customizations, integrations, modifications to existing GP business logic.

Working From Home – The Three Keys to Success

There are several trends that are driving forward the popularity of working from home. The main trend is the improvement of communication technology, mainly the Internet. The Internet allows people to access information and communicate with people all over the world in an instant. For employed people, this often means accessing company databases remotely and for the self-employed, this means marketing products, services or an opportunity online.

Another trend that is driving the popularity of working from home is people’s quest for a different lifestyle. People no longer want to work 40 or 50 hours a week for a boss, just to pay the bills. People are generally seeking more control of where and how they work and whom they work with. This brings us on to another trend…

A much improved scale and efficiency of logistics. People now expect to order something online or on the phone and receive their goods within a day or two. This has created new distribution channels for manufacturers and wholesalers and new income opportunities for people who can help those companies find new customers. These new distribution opportunities are usually in the form of Direct Sales / Network Marketing or eCommerce websites. The Work From Home era is truly here.

My Background

I first got involved in working from home on a part-time basis 7 years ago, with a British Direct Sales and Network Marketing company called Kleeneze. Their business model uses commission based, self-employed distributors who distribute their home shopping catalogues to households and then take orders and deliver products. The company takes advantage of the growing home shopping trend, improved goods distribution and people’s quest for a better lifestyle. Kleeneze are basically a goods warehouse that uses a catalogue distribution methodology, combined with a network marketing incentive structure to take their products to market. It’s a strong model.

Over the past several years, I have built up a team of distributors, whose sales contribute to my group turnover, which the company pays me a percentage on every month. This gives me a passive income that allows me to free up time to focus on other activities such as helping a selected team members, developing ideas and exploring new opportunities.

More recently, I have become involved in financial services. I am an appointed representative for a financial services practice and a consumer credit compensation company, both on a part-time basis. This means I am running 3 businesses on a part-time basis, all of which compliment each other quite well. In one role I am helping people earn a substantial extra income. In another role I am helping people with protection, insurance and mortgages. In another role, I am helping people to significantly reduce debt. I try and help people improve their lifestyle and finances in one form or another. The skills I’ve learned along the way include selling, public speaking, coaching, web design and Internet marketing.

Why Work From Home?

People will want to work from home for many different reasons and in many different ways. For example, the schoolteacher working from home marking exam papers is very different from an entrepreneur working from home trying to build a successful enterprise. For the purpose of this article, I will endeavour to give some useful advice for people who are looking to work from home to either earn an extra income, or build a business for the longer term. This will usually be a network marketing or eCommerce business.

The idea of working from home can be very attractive. Being at home for your family. Flexibility of hours. Home comforts and more. These are all real advantages but as with everything in life, there are two sides to the coin. Positive and negative. With children or other family members can come distraction. Flexibility can be hard to discipline, so time can easily be wasted and time wasted can never be gotten back. Home comforts can again distract your focus from important tasks that need to be carried out.

The Three Keys To Success

There are 3 things you need to be successful. Willingness, ability and a good opportunity. The good news is they’re all down to you. Willingness (motivation) is down to you. Ability (acquiring the skills, knowledge and attitudes necessary for success) is down to you by how much you’re willing to learn. Finding a good opportunity is also down to you – research as many opportunities as you can and don’t just go for something because it’s initially appealing.

Let’s first look at finding a good opportunity. I will use the criteria I use when looking at an opportunity and these criteria should serve you well. Let’s assume you’re looking to join a Network Marketing company for example. Here are the questions to ask yourself:

  • Products / Services: Is there a good market for the products / services that the company provides. Are they priced to sell and priced for profit? Are they of acceptable quality? Are at least some of the products / services consumable, offering future repeat business? Can they easily be bought elsewhere more easily and cheaply? Is there a strong guarantee? Do the products / services satisfy a growing trend or need in the marketplace? Having all these criteria together is not critical, but the more you have, the bigger the advantage
  • Company: Does the company / supplier have a proven, successful track record? Does it have strong corporate and financial backing? Does the company have a positive public image, or if it’s a newer company, positive endorsements or testimonials? Does the company practice integrity?
  • Support: Does the company take support and training seriously? The vast majority of new distributors or representatives will probably need to learn specific skills, knowledge and attitudes to enable them to attain a certain level of success
  • Innovation: Does the company have the right people in place to help drive the development of the company through changing economic and market conditions? Change is the only constant in life and only those people and companies who adapt will survive and prosper in the long term.

My final advice when assessing a company is imagine you are preparing to invest a large loan that is secured against your house into the business. Do your due diligence and invest using your brain, not your emotions. Emotion can come later.

The second key to success is willingness. This means a willingness on your behalf to put the time and effort into learning the knowledge, skills and attitudes required and of course, quite simply getting down and doing the work. The only place success comes before work is in the dictionary. Before you commit time and effort into something, you need desire and belief and they are both closely linked. Desire comes through pain or pleasure. You’re either motivated by something you want to move towards, or motivated by pain to move away from something. Here’s something interesting: for the majority of people, pain is more of a powerful motivator than pleasure, especially in the shorter term. Here’s a few quick tips to develop consistent desire (motivation):

  • Allow yourself to dream about what you really want your life to be like (the pleasure principle). If you find this difficult, remind yourself of your dreams you had as a child, before disappointment and cynicism took over!
  • Surround yourself with positive people who will encourage you
  • Feed your mind with information that is conductive to helping you build the life you want. This includes books, audios and even refraining from watching trashy, negative TV!
  • Take yourself forward 5 years and imagine what your life will be like if you don’t follow your dreams (the pain principle). Now 10 years. Now 20. Now imagine yourself as an old man or woman looking back on your life. Are you proud of yourself or full of regret?
  • Set your goals and take immediate and sustained action!

Belief will come through being associated with the right company. By company I mean a physical company and of course people. If you did your due diligence before joining a company, then this shouldn’t be a problem. If this belief starts fade, then you need to ask why, because a lack of belief in what you’re doing or what you’re involved in will destroy your chances of success as fast as anything else. Here’s where having a good coach or mentor will help massively. Try and find a mentor or coach that you feel comfortable with and one who’s qualified to help i.e. one who’s done it or doing it.

Finally, I recommend you become a student of personal development, if you’re not already. Simply put, if you want to become successful, study success. If you want to become wealthy, study wealth. There’s a great range of personal development material on the Internet that you can explore.

The third and final key to success is ability. This simply means the ability to turn work into positive results. In other words, having the right knowledge, skills and attitudes (KSA’s). What might the KSA’s be?

  • Product / service knowledge
  • Selling and negotiating skills
  • Leadership skills
  • Marketing knowledge
  • A knowledge of human psychology
  • Specific technical knowledge / skills
  • A focused attitude
  • An attitude of courage – willingness to expand one’s comfort zone to do things they haven’t done before

How do you develop ability? If you’re involved with a company that takes support and training seriously, they will have a training programme that you can join. It should be structured and allow people to work through it at their own pace, with various competence standards along the way so you can measure your progress over time. A good training and development programme should:

  • Be clear and in easy to understand language
  • Be organised and structured
  • Have clear learning outcomes so the student can measure their progress against set competence benchmarks
  • Allow feedback between the student and teacher. The ”student’ is usually the distributor or representative and the ‘teacher’ would be the coach or mentor that has proven success by using the information that is being taught
  • Have a certain degree of flexibility so people of varying experience and timescales can work through it at their own pace
  • Use various media such is written text, audio, visual and ‘hands on’ practical activities
  • Include group learning and fun!

One quality that is often overlooked by companies and trainers is character. Although having the right skills and knowledge is really important, just as important is a person’s character. This includes qualities such as trustworthiness, empathy, good humour and discipline. Character is developed through the interaction of life’s experiences and one’s own fixed mental attitudes. A great way of helping people grow is through group activities, and not necessarily business orientated. The key is to create and fun and conductive environment for people.

What I have outlined in this article is a general blueprint for your success in running a business from home, without the specific details for your particular company. I hope you have found this article useful and I wish you all the best in your current and future ventures.