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A new kind of gravy train

This story appears in the February 2000 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Research firm GartnerGroup recently released a report with a frightening headline: "An E-Commerce Web Site Costs $1 Million to Build." The report's findings indicate average cost is expected to rise 25 percent annually through the second quarter of 2001 and labor accounts for 79 percent of the total cost. Time to pack up youre-dreams and open something more affordable like, say, a McDonald's? Not so fast. If you're considering opening your own e-commerce store, you're not too late. You're just in time.

There's still plenty of affordable Web room to go around, according to Juanita Ellis and Steffano Korper, co-authors of The E-Commerce Book: Building the E-Empire (Academic Press) and creators of The E-Commerce Program certification courses at Southern Methodist University in Dallas and the University of California, Los Angeles. "Small businesses can actually pay a CSP [commerce service provider] to build as well as host their solution for a fairly low start-up cost," Ellis points out. "Other entrepreneurs are going in and linking into malls. If they're just selling a few products, they can purchase malls that complement their particular product, which means an even lower start-up cost."

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