In a word, the Internet is INCREDIBLE. Never in history has information been so readily available, easily accessed, broad in scope, and much of it, free. From a business owner’s perspective, we have access to free software: Open Office suite, templates for a variety of business programs and processes, creative tools such as Gimp (an open source version of Photoshop), Picasa (Google’s photo editing software), and even computer operating systems, notably Linux. Granted, the learning curve of some is a little steep, but the price – FREE – and compatibility with existing hardware and software easily outweighs the downsides.
Aside from the free and valuable information available, other tools such as Instant Messenger – AOL, Yahoo, Google, et al. – chatrooms, discussion boards, and various business oriented groups scattered across the cyber universe is wonderful. Want opinions about a new product or service? Try to conduct a free poll on www.SurveyMonkey.com. Questions about writing a business plan? Try the small business administration at www.sba.gov. Need a helping hand with marketing or stuck in a rut? The volunteers (retired business owners) at www.score.org are often willing to give an opinion.
The Internet has opened the global marketplace to all producers and providers. Do business from anywhere, at any time, to people and other organizations across the planet. Embrace the technology, learn the terms and trends, educate yourself, and discover the hidden wonders that lie in wait.