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An informal, stream-of-consciousness reflection on business ideas, events and issues in modern business, modern life and with some specifics to the web-software industry by Paul Tomori, Internet Entrepreneur

How To Run An Internet Business In Hard Times
may even work for other businesses too (hint: big car makers get your pencils ready!)

By Paul Tomori
Wednesday, April 22, 2009 at 07:11:20 (EDT)

I recently attended a couple of events, one in which the officers of a fortune 500 company outlined how they are coping (successfully) with the poor economy. I thought their words were quite applicable for my own internet enterprises. Here's what I learned:

That to succeed in business, a company must sell products or services that people want to buy.


Seriously, that was the crux of the message.... The simplicity of the notion was a breath of fresh air.

To achieve success, they elaborated, a company must have a long-term vision and LOTS of focus. They cannot hop from tactic to tactic. They described how many companies have abandoned their focus due to 3 compelling distractions:

a) dealing with cash flow problems has forced them to spend their days "hunkering down" and looking for ways to cut costs
b) dealing with bank covenants (i.e. because these companies carry HUGE debt loads and must maintain certain levels of revenue, earnings and cash on hand)
c) dealing with sheer survival by spending their days strategizing NOT on how to grow, but on how to just survive

Companies who are NOT stricken with the above distractions are better poised to take advantage of the current market crisis and to advance their enterprises.

In another meeting, there were similar sentiments and one of the speakers said that businesses get it wrong when they start to believe the following 3 myths:

a) that you can just spend spend spend and throw money at projects to make them work, regardless of whether the projects flow logically from a larger strategic vision
b) that being busy on a daily basis is an antidote against failure (i.e. being busy on the wrong stuff is futile)
c) that there is a silver bullet to succeeding... I have written on this myth in previous blog posts... anyone who looks for a silver bullet solution to problems is lost.... it is better to set a long-term vision, and just keep pushing the fly-wheel everyday to accelerate that vision into reality... over time, there will be momentum

Wise words for our internet businesses... or any businesses for that matter.

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