Posted on January 25, 2000
by Phil Clelland
The Internet has undeniably been the saving grace for the economy particularly for small business. This new environment we know as the World Wide Web is responsible for creating more Millionaires faster and easier than anything that came before it.
I am fortunate to have the opportunity to speak with many successful Internet business owners and have learned a great deal from them. I want to bring to your attention something that seems to be a recurring thought behind these successful sites.
Fulfill An Unmet Need.
It makes perfect sense to try to avoid competition. If you are the first, or the only one fulfilling a need then your chances of success are much better. Developing a web site is no different than developing a product. Would you sell a product no one wants..NO. Why then would someone develop a site that no one is interested in.
A great piece of advice given to me from a very successful web master who made over 3 million last year selling tools on the internet was this. "Identify a need within a niche that is not currently being fulfilled or is being fulfilled very poorly. I would try to figure out how to fulfill that need better than anyone else. I would then decide if I could make any money at it".
A good example of this is Ray Owens from JokeaDay.com. Starting with very little capital Ray had a vision to create a humor mailing list that has now grown to over 300,000 making it the largest in the world.
Ray, powered by his sense of humor met a need that was virtually wide open. He then found a way to make money by selling ad space in his popular zine and web site. Ray now enjoys a lifestyle that many of us may only dream of.
Another excellent example of fulfilling a unmet need comes from Steve Loyola from BestWebBuys.com. Steve designed a site that enabled people looking to buy books and music CD's online to search for a title of a book and then display all the online stores that sell that book listing them in order of least expensive to most expensive.
Online book and music stores are not new to the web but Steve saw a need with in a niche that was not being met...so he met it. Steve figured out a way to meet this need and make money from it by signing up as an affiliate with the sites he lists. He simply provides a search tool to help people find the best deal and by doing so his site has now become more popular than some of them he lists.
I want to share with you one last example that you may find helpful when it comes to developing your own business online. Bob Bingham and Jeff Swearingen saw a need in a highly competitive market that was not being met. These two entrepreneurs designed TheGift.com to be a benefit to the gift buyer by helping them choose the right gift.
Giving a gift is a very personal thing and it can be somewhat frustrating so Jeff and Bob made this process much easier by designing their site in a way that actually assists the gift buyer. You can easily select a gift by using their handy GiftFinder tool, or shop by department, relationship or occasion.
I asked Jeff his thoughts as to why his site has become so popular, he simply replied.
"It's an unmet need. Most e-commerce sites are like a department store, which is a lousy way to select and send a gift".
When developing your business online you might want to
ask yourself if you are meeting the needs of those who
are visiting your site. You may not be the first one
to meet this need but you may be able to do it better
than anyone else.
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