Ya Know?

Feel like you could concentrate better on business if those tech kids would just stop it with all the innovation all the time? Welcome to the industry where you really do have to learn something new every day.

In the quickly evolving e-business world, one of the most important tasks facing netpreneurs is education. Despite a 24/7 work schedule, business owners who want to keep up with the latest trends must carve out time to learn how to stay competitive. A single idea can make a business. A missed opportunity-well, that could turn a thriving Web site into another dotcom disaster.

As far as e-commerce goes, the entire business changes every day. And when you ask founders of dotcoms to prioritize the areas where they strive to keep learning, you'll find things like marketing trends, the latest changes in technology, evolving business models and the structure of financing deals make the list. They need to keep tabs not only on competitors, but on everyone in e-commerce. Sources of information include the informal and formal) the actual and virtual. They all agree that keeping up is not a choice-it's a requirement for survival.

"People ask how I can possibly do all this reading, but I can't not do it," says Shelly Spiegel, founder and president of Search Communications , an online clearinghouse for college admissions videos in Philadelphia. Spiegel, 41, fits it into her busy schedule, reading 40 publications every month, no matter what.

Cynthia Harrington is an Austin, Texas, freelance writer specializing in business issues. Her work appears in Bloomberg Wealth Manager and Profit magazines. She teaches online courses about investing and Internet start-ups for notharvard.com.

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