Jumping on the Web 2.0 Bandwagon

Are you chasing a fad that will end up being a waste of time, or are you pursuing a business opportunity that will contribute value? Do you know how to tell the difference?

These and other questions are raised by Mike Myatt at the N2 Growth blog.

Mike goes on to give a list of 15 points to consider when evaluating whether to jump on the bandwagon with a trend. Among them:

“6. Just because an idea sounds good doesn’t mean it is… You should endeavor to validate proof of concept based upon detailed, credible research.”

How simple, yet powerful a point.

Remember the DotCom Boom days? Lots of things sounded like good ideas because a few early leaders had success (sometimes elusive, short-lived success as it later turned out — just ask the sock puppet from Pets.com).

The lesson can be applied to today’s Web 2.0 companies.

Today there is a whole new crop of Internet businesses with no visible means of support, i.e., they are free services without significant advertising income or other sources of revenue. It’s hard to imagine those being long-lived businesses.

Some of the early ones have been/will be snapped up by large corporations. But here’s the thing: for those early startups, often the business model amounted to “grow big enough to attract attention and get acquired.” For the founders of those companies, who became instant millionaires when the deal closed, that turned out to be an excellent business model.

But not all businesses can hope to be acquired, especially if the ardor of large players to dive into the Web 2.0 space cools down.

So, ask yourself: if the “be acquired” strategy falls through, how will your startup make it? Have you done that credible research Mike talks about, or are you just jumping on the bandwagon without thinking it through?

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Anita Campbell Anita Campbell is the Founder, CEO and Publisher of Small Business Trends and has been following trends in small businesses since 2003. She is the owner of BizSugar, a social media site for small businesses.

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