> covers

Business on a Shoestring

Business on a Shoestring

ISBN 9780713675450 658.872

Antoin O Lachtnain, Google scholar and Irish entrepreneur, knows how to create websites that really work. He's devised hundreds of them during the past decade and now he puts his ideas into a book that fits into my pants pocket.

He writes clearly, using a style that is very friendly and accessible. I've read his sage advice on discussion fora throughout the years, so I already knew what he was going to say about developing online strategies, setting up the basics of a web domain, creating payment systems, marketing through search engine placement, affiliate marketing and building a lasting rapport.

Business on a shoestring starts with “creating an effective internet strategy” and one way to translate those words into action involves understanding brand identity, improving contact with customers, leveraging competitive advantage, and cutting the best deals. These business fundamentals need to be part and parcel of every shop, online or not.

In my opinion, the chapter on “the basics” is most informative. And the most valuable checklist in the entire book appears when reading about the “basics of a domain name.” Each of the seven tips offered for choosing a domain name appears in some fashion on e-business discussion lists frequented by power users like O Lachtnain. While requiring this chapter as essential reading for college students enrolled in an entrepreneurship course in Ireland, I expanded his section on credit card payments to include direct case studies from Realex Payments, a trustworthy system that most online shopping carts have found increases their turnover.

Those new to effective marketing techniques online should commit most of the third chapter to memory. Effective online marketing means writing for the web, setting up an Adwords campaign and sorting out potential affiliates.

I have worked with the author for more than seven years and clearly saw his perspective emerge in the chapter on “building the back end of your internet business.” The coverage here extends into thoughts related to an established business and the discussion sounds like advice one would receive from a well-seasoned project manager, reflecting the author’s pedigree.

Although I was able to finish reading “Making an Impact Online” during the course of a mainline train journey in Ireland, I do not consider this valuable little primer to be a throwaway. Instead, I’m using tactics suggested in making “your business more efficient” when relaunching an online learning programme. The strategies suggested by O Lachtnain will certainly help me in this regard and they should be considered by all businesses when auditing their existing web presence.

I recommend buying the book, and subscribing to Antoin's blog.