From the May 1999 issue of Entrepreneur

E-commerce just keeps getting bigger. Check out the following stats gleaned from the Emmerce Web site: In 1996, the average Web-head spent $16.19 on Net transactions; in 1998, that figure jumped to $43.20; and it's projected to hit $99 in 2000, according to an analysis by BancAmerica Robertson Stephens. Meanwhile, the number of Web users more than doubled from 1996 to 1998, growing from 28 million to 57 million.

This billion-dollar market becomes irresistible, which is why 53 percent of business Web sites report sales activity. What's selling? According to the BancAmerica Robertson Stephens analysis, the three hot areas are predicted to be computer hardware products (estimated Web-based sales: $5 billion in 2000); travel related transactions ($4.5 billion in 2000); and automobiles ($1.5 billion in 2000).

If you want additional e-commerce stats, check out the Emmerce site (http://www2.computerworld.com/home/Emmerce.nsf/All/stats), where you'll find a snapshot of all the relevant numbers.


To contact Robert McGarvey, visit his web site at http://members.aol.com/rjmcgarvey

For Members Only

You've heard about intranets--the in-house, Web-like sites erected by large companies to facilitate internal communications--but can a small company really afford one? Go to http://www.excite.com/communities , and you'll find out. Not only does Excite allow you to create an intranet for free, and you can impose entry restrictions (limiting access to employees, say).

What might you do in this space? Employees can use it for real-time chats about pressing issues, company-wide goals and progress can be listed on the site; a list of key phone numbers can be put up for easy access; or you might even allow workers to upload personal photos ("my summer vacation" or a family pet). The space can be restricted to business use or used to create a more personal community among your staff. The choice is yours--and at this price, you can't go wrong.

Check Points

You've heard the expression, but do you really know how to perform due diligence before entering into a partnership, strategic alliance, merger or acquisition? Get the whole story with consulting firm KPMG (http://www.kpmg.ca) Canada's article "An Overview to Acquisitions and Due Diligence." KPMG consultants command big bucks in the marketplace--usually far more than most entrepreneurial businesses can afford--but at this well-organized site, you'll get the full benefit of KPMG's experience about the how-to of due diligence, from when to start the process (the earlier the better, say experts at KPMG) to how much due diligence is enough. And you'll even get to see KPMG's four-stage model for acquisition due diligence.

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Tired of "news" sites that show you the same aging headlines throughout the day? Head over to NewsHub (http://www.newshub.com), a site that aggregates news from a variety of brand-name sources (such as CNN, Fox and The Industry Standard) and updates it's headlines every 15 minutes, 24 hours a day. NewsHub tracks financial, tech, and U.S. and world news. This site may prove such a satisfying way to get your news fix that you'll make it your start page - and NewsHub certainly refreshes much faster than the start pages provided by big portals like Yahoo! Or Excite. Check it out.