By Joe Selzler

It has been five years since my last series of articles about on-line business.  In that time a great deal has changed in the way on-line businesses are run, and the number who have started on-line businesses has increased steadily. 

Let’s look at some statistics and see how Internet usage has changed in the last five years.

The Internet World Statistics web site, ( shows that there are nearly 1.5 billion users world wide, about 22% of the total world population, representing a 305% increase from 2000 – 2008.

Worldwide the number of new users has increased from tens of millions per year to hundreds of millions per year.  For example, between April of 2002 and March of 2003 the number of new users grew by approximately 50 million.  In the period from December 2006 and December of 2007 the number of users grew by 226 million, many of them Chinese.

In 2002, 25 % of all homes in Western Europe had an Internet connection. By June 30th, 2008 more than 48% of all homes in Western Europe had an Internet connection.

It’s hard to find exact estimates for the growth in sales since 2002, but it is now into the Trillion-dollar range.  Another statistic, on-line advertising, is expected to reach 65 billion in 2008, nearly 10% of the advertising budget across all media.

   As you can see, the Internet Business Model is here to stay.  In fact, it is still on the increase and that trend, although it is showing some signs of slowing, seems set to continue for some time to come. 

   So, is it time for you to take your business on-line?

   Let’s consider three factors in answering that question. 

What You Can Expect From This Series

   This series is for three groups of people: 1) those who have not yet begun to take their business on-line, 2) those who have just begun, and 3) those who want to start an on-line only business.  Each segment of the series will include three phases -- identifying the problem, locating the solution, and getting the tools.  There will be one bonus feature of the series as well.  Look for a small section called Tech Tip.  It will look like this: .  This will be one easy and very short technical tip related to the topic of the article, which you can implement on your web site if you find it useful. The structure of the series will use a fictitious on-line business called Hockmyer’s, a mens clothing store, while building on the principles discussed. 

   Behind the whole structure of the series will be the principle that taking your business on-line will be fun and rewarding.  You will also learn the principles and core purpose that underpin all business.  And because creating an on-line business requires you to define who you are and what you do to a whole new market, you will have the opportunity to look afresh at the goals and purposes for which your business was founded.  This undoubtedly will inspire you and rekindle the entrepreneurial flame that has made you current business successful.   You may even decide to give your business a face-lift, reworking your store logo, colours and even the stock you carry to reflect the more diverse market place you are sure to encounter on the Internet.  In the end, you could find talents you never knew you had.

Resources: for the complete report of Internet Usage World Wide.

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