The Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English defines ‘’net-pre-neur’’ as someone who has started an Internet business. Hence coining the word ‘’Netpreneurship’’ with reference to entrepreneurship which is defined as (in Wikipedia) a process of identifying and starting a business venture, sourcing and organizing the required resources and taking both the risks and rewards associated with the venture.
Hence it is obvious now that we will discuss a process of identifying and starting a business on Internet (Internet Business) taking into consideration its risks and rewards.
Everyone knows by now Internet represents one of the biggest cultural shift; but it has been slow to recognize that it is the biggest shift in how we do business. Social media (networking sites like Facebook, YouTube, Flickr, Twitter etc.) give entrepreneurs and businesses a chance to engage their customers and communicate their message. It’s very simple – where the eyeballs are going, there is where business has to go.
Why Internet? The Internet in only fourteen years old; yet it had already made (or even crushed) many of the biggest communication platforms known to humankind, and it’s not done. Each ‘’like’’ by you on Facebook makes Mark Zuckerberg earn in dollars making him one of the richest person in the world. The Internet is as powerful as oxygen; but still we haven’t (maybe) seen its full capabilities. It’s got a long way to go, and it’s going to morph, change and reveal all kinds of surprises. We, as netpreneurs, have to be prepared, evolved and also adopt to these situations during this journey.
Distinguishing Characteristics of this New Economy:
We all are dazzled by the growth of the digital industries these days, those very noticeable people starting businesses in the new economy–the netpreneurs–the people who make or deliver products and services for and over digital networks.
So, what are the attributes of this Netpreneurs?
- Geography is History - Boundaries of all kinds disintegrates – between Countries, Industries, Organisations/Companies, Suppliers, Customers and Competitors.
- Introducing Virtual loyalty over Brand – driven by greater choice of vendors and the ease of switching among them–makes brand loyalty more difficult. Consumer expectations rise and a buyer’s tolerance for poor service and quality lessens.
- Multi-disciplinary – Companies are creating successful solutions in the New Economy by integrating diverse disciplines like technology, content, graphics, services, and relationships. The traditional business world calls these models hybrids, but they may well represent the norm for the New Economy.
- Collaboration – You can’t work alone, the Net enables you to engage and involve stakeholders every step of the way, from product conception through research and development, packaging, delivery, support, and the ongoing improvement process.
- People, not Technologies, the most valuable business assets - With changing markets and new technologies, visionary leaders become paramount.
- “Infomediaries,” – provide information about products and who locate the best choice or price, replace intermediaries, the traditional middlemen.
- Intellectual assets – information, objects, images, videos, movies, testimonials, stories–take on ever-increasing value in digital form.
Thriving as a Netpreneur
So if we want to flourish as a netpreneur in the current economic environment, what will it take?
Pace. With advances in computing, globalization, the changing expectations of stakeholders, and the emergence of the Internet, the speed of change is faster than ever. We have to be able to react and respond quickly.
Flexibility. The speed of change around the Net requires that a business be much more flexible and adaptive than ever before. We must be adept at reading and interpreting, and rapidly responding to changes wherever they occur–in technology, people and competition as well as in shifts in markets and buyer patterns.
Experimentation. The netpreneur must be willing to try out new ideas in the marketplace. We don’t have the time for traditional “market research” to evaluate an action. Experiment and be ready to move quickly to adapt to what the market tells you.
Constant Innovation. Today, getting the product to market is only the start of the journey. The competition’s unrelenting force and the market’s demand for improvement makes it imperative that businesses focus on innovation.
Co-opetition. Coined to describe cooperative competition. Coopetition occurs when companies interact, they cooperate with each other to reach a higher value creation if compared to the value created without interaction, and struggle to achieve competitive advantage.
Distribution Driven. The real challenge in today’s business world is distribution–the broadcsting of our brand and identity and of your products and services. Though, the Net lowers barriers to entry; yet to sustain success, businesses must build their brand and distribution channels, which is more involved and costly than many netpreneurs assume at the outset.
Niche Focused. The Net’s reach and distribution open up new market opportunities. Netpreneurs must focus on well-defined market sectors–niches –where they can achieve a dominant position or discover unserved or under-served markets. In fact, the really exciting opportunities lie in creating new ones and then focusing on the core competencies.
Are You a Netpreneur?
Self-Talk: “If the Internet disappeared tomorrow, would my business be significantly affected?”
If the answer is yes, chances are that you are a Netpreneur.
The New Economy may have made it easier to start a business than ever before, but the challenges you encounter as you move ahead will be more difficult, complex, and unpredictable than in the past–which makes the eventual reward even sweeter.
Abhay Ulhas Patil (firstname.lastname@example.org)