Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

How Small Businesses Are Using the Internet to Expand

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

How Small Businesses Are Using the Internet to Expand

Article excerpt

Business success on the Internet. Oh, sure -- it's easy if you have a few million dollars to spread around.

Take Amazon.com, for example.

An average 34 percent jump in monthly sales propelled the "Earth's Largest Bookstore," with a catalog of 1.1 million books, from its humble beginnings in CEO Jeff Bezos' garage to a downtown Seattle office with 110 employees. Along the way, Amazon.com became the model for any small business seeking success on the Internet. All for a paltry investment of $8 million. In reality, for those without a wad of cash, the expanding number of Web sites means it's no longer feasible to make a profit on the Net -- right? Wrong, say Oklahoma analysts. "When people say making profit on the Internet is laughable, I have two stories for them," said Ashley Perkins, marketing manager for the Rock Island Group. The two are: * Dakota Electric, from Fargo, N.D. * Pennwell Publishing Corp. of Tulsa. Dakota Electric, http://www.dakotaelec.com, is a full-line electrical and telecommunications distributor, using state-of-the- art technology to reach its goals. Its Web site, an on-line catalog of electrical and communication supplies which Rock Island designed, has proven very successful, with one order totaling $30,000. Pennwell produces oil, gas and energy publications, including maps, phone directories, statistics and data surveys. Its Web site -- also designed by Rock Island -- is self-sustaining, meaning it makes enough money to support itself and then some. "The average nice catalog that we do is around $14,000, but it really depends on what you want to do," Perkins said of Web start- up fees. "How many products you have, transactions, all factor into the price. Obviously the more you have, the more robust your site is." Without a catalog, the average Web site costs anywhere from $5,000 to $7,000, Perkins said. Another success story comes from Oklahoma-born Realtor Robert David. His 1996 ad campaign earned Keller-Williams' National Overall Best Marketing Campaign award. And David wove that campaign through the Internet and his Web page: http://www. …

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