Robert Landes, co-chairman of Guidance Solutions Inc., an e-business "enabler" that provides resources and consulting services to e-businesses, gives this advice to aspiring e-entrepreneurs about choosing and working with a Web developer or "e-business partner":

  • An e-business partner must know your industry and your brand identity intimately. Getting that knowledge involves meeting with your executives and employees, immersing themselves in your corporate culture, querying your strategic partners and customers, shopping in your stores, and polling newsgroups to see how your brand is perceived at the grassroots level.
  • Plan for the future. Be sure your Internet business partner understands your long-term needs and designs a site that is easily scalable as your business grows and can handle increased traffic during peak user periods such as the holidays.
  • First impressions last. Testing your site thoroughly before launching is crucial. Be sure you have all the tools necessary to simulate high-volume, real-world usage.
  • Incorporate a personal angle. Never lose sight of the fact that people like interacting with people, not technology.

Aliza Sherman is an entrepreneur and author of Cybergrrl: A Woman's Guide to the World Wide Web (Ballantine Books). She is currently working on her next book and new company.