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Entrepreneurship and content, commerce and community by Michael Dell

If you want to be an entrepreneur, who better to study than Michael Dell? It is an inspiration for entrepreneurs around the world. Starting off building computers in his college dorm, his understanding of business has made him an icon of success in the tech business arena.

In two keynote speeches delivered nearly a decade ago, Michael Dell defined three principles or concepts for successful Internet businesses. Much of what you suggested is now standard practice and in some cases has been pushed beyond what you probably imagined.

These principles are sometimes called the 3C’s. They are content, commerce, and community. Careful study of these three principles can help entrepreneurs, home-based businesses, and network marketers.

The first of the 3 C’s is content.

How did Michael Dell define content? Listen to the words he used to define it for the Detroit Economic Club on November 1, 1999: “The first stage of content means providing compelling information. This is how we started our online operations in 1993, when we put our technical databases online. for customers to access. It was a relatively simple start, but it showed us tremendous interest from our customers. “

In his keynote address at the Southwest Government Technology Conference in 2000, he made suggestions similar to those he made earlier at that Detroit meeting.

He suggested the following: “By content, we mean putting information online. As long as you have a form, manual or document, put it online. This is the foundation of any Internet strategy. Once we provide information online, It became clear to us where the opportunities were in the world of transactions: simple things like order status and trading, and we have added more complex things over time. The key, again, is that it is experiential and learn by doing “.

If you want to be an entrepreneur, what content do you already have, what content do you need to develop?

Looking at your present or future business from a content perspective? Define your content. Learn from those who have created that type of content. Do what they did to create it.

You need products or services to offer to customers. Make a list of the content they will need to explain, troubleshoot, access, or learn about your goods and services. Starting a viable business requires content tied to real-world products or services.

The second of the 3 Cs is trade.

Read how Mr. Dell defined it in Detroit: “The next stage is commerce, which should be seen as all transactions, not just buying things on the web. In fact, our first activity in this area had nothing to do with it. with purchases. It was just the order status. “

A few months later, at the conference in the Southwest, he reiterated: “The second stage is trading. You should think of this as any kind of transaction. Our first experiment with transactions really had nothing to do with the” trading “tool. order status. We knew we were on to something when, in the first week, 5,000 customers used this tool, and we didn’t even announce it was available. This formed the basis of our online sales effort. “

He continued: “Our ultimate goal is to deepen customer relationships by providing greater convenience, efficiency and cost savings, and a broader range of services. The Internet creates an opportunity to move these key transactions online and drive transaction costs to almost zero. “

Does your trading process resonate with Michael Dell’s suggestion? Think about the last date. “The ultimate goal is to deepen relationships.” Business aspects can reduce costs and increase efficiency, but with a purpose. The end goal is C # 3, which is community.

How important is the community, the third C?

According to Mr. Dell, “The final stage is the development of an online community. We are building two-way relationships through the web with both our customers and our suppliers.” – Detroit Economic Club.

He went on to express the goal of “establishing communities of providers and end users that share common interests.”

At the subsequent conference in the Southwest, he ended by observing: “In short, the Internet is changing the face of the entire economic and social fabric not just in this country but in the entire world, and governments have a great opportunity to embrace it. See a transition. from traditional government to online government. The benefits will include things like speed, efficiency and a better customer experience. “

The internet has matured since Michael Dell first spoke about the 3Cs, but as a model they still make sense. If anything, the community has become even more important. They are not a shopping list to choose one to keep and one to leave.

Today, the community is so important that it has ushered in a web marketing renaissance, often called Web 2.0. It depends on social marketing, blogging, myspace, and other elements to build that community. Both content and commerce serve the final C of the community. It is in the community that loyalties, relationships and trust are built.

Where there is a community there are regular customers. Community building is a vital skill that you must have if you want to be an entrepreneur.

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