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The Internet as a Business Tool
by:   Mark S. Deion
Deion Associates & Strategies, Inc.

There are many debates about whether or not the internet has been developed enough to be used as a business tool. New technologies are often subject to constant changes and revisions and the internet is no exception. Despite this technological turmoil, here are some basic features of the internet which can be utilized to make your company more effective and efficient. Some of these features will require the creation of a web site on the internet, while others merely require that you have access to the internet and a valid E-mail account.

An E-mail account allows you to send/receive messages to/from almost anyone. Recent software developments actually allow you to send messages to people who only have fax machines. There are no: long distance telephone charges, letters written on expensive company stationery, mail delivery schedules, voice mail/answering machine "phone tag" games, etc. You can also "attach" computer files to your E-mail messages, allowing you to transmit lengthy messages and/or data.

You can send a message to 1 person as easily as sending the same message to 1,000 people. You can accomplish this with some of the standard browser software, or by using one of the many bulk E-mail programs. Just imagine, no more bulk mail handling, printing, stuffing, sorting, delivery to the post office!

The ability to reduce existing communication costs is significant. Global communication, bulk communication, all are possible at a fraction of the cost. If you spend a great deal of time and money communicating via: telephone, fax, mail; you might find that an E-mail account allows you to communicate to a greater number of people at a fraction of the cost. Response time to your communication is also significantly reduced.

Access to the internet allows you to "check out" potential or existing customers and competitors by reviewing their web sites, or, information about them on other sites. This critical information should allow you to make more timely and informed decisions. You can also use this research information to support the services/products which your company is offering. Access to "real time" news and company information is made relatively easy via the many internet search engines which have been developed.

You can use the internet to market your products/services via E-mail. You can also market this information by creating a web site which allows people to actually view information about your company. The ability to provide definitive information about your company without having to actually "talk" to someone, or mail out collateral material is a significant cost savings in many areas. Additionally, traditional methods of marketing require that you "go after" your target market. A web site on the internet allows them to "come after" you! Just imagine receiving numerous requests for information from previously unknown pre-qualified leads. There is no other way to globally market your company as inexpensively as on the internet.

These are just some of the benefits available by utilizing the internet. While it is a rapidly changing technology, there is no excuse to not take advantage of these cost saving features. A reduction of operating expenses should enhance the bottom line! Increased marketing capability should increase revenues. The internet has been designed to be as easy as "point and click"! Why not "point and click" your way to increased business and enhanced performance!

But remember, every tool is only as good as the person that uses it. Do your homework, research the options, and constantly re-evaluate your internet program. You'll be surprised at what you can do with a well developed internet program!

**Portions of this article were reprinted in the Greater Providence Chamber of Commerce Progress Report October 1997. Their web site can be accessed at: http://www.provchamber.com

Mark S. Deion is the President and owner of DEION ASSOCIATES & STRATEGIES, INC. a consulting firm which provides numerous services related to business development, internet development, and business representation in the US and in the Former Soviet Union. He has written numerous articles on business, and has presented business seminars to various companies, colleges and universities both in the US and in the Former Soviet Union.

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Deion Associates & Strategies, Inc.
Mark S.Deion

15 Sackett Street
Warwick, RI 02886-2333 USA
Tel: (401) 732-0457 • Fax: (401) 732-8767
E-mail: marks@deionassociates.com
URL: http://www.deionassociates.com

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