How did we manage without…The Internet?

In case you haven’t heard yet The Training Pack is 21 years old this month and I’m reflecting back over some of the changes that have impacted our working lives in that time. Today is the Internet. How ever did we manage without it?

English: Graph of internet users per 100 inhab...

English: Graph of internet users per 100 inhabitants between 1997 and 2007 by International Telecommunication Union (ITU) recreated in OpenOffice Calc, source: http://www.itu.int/ITU-D/ict/statistics/ict/graphs/internet.jpg) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It hardly seems believable but the Internet only became a commercial tool in 1995 and it took a couple of years before very much happened, then we got the dotcom bubble. Fortunes were made by those who were able to take the opportunities. The Internet has allowed us to take our businesses global if that is what we wish. This blog is read in the UK, USA, Australia, Canada, Indonesia, Thailand, Korea, India, Germany, Taiwan, Vietnam and many more places. I couldn’t have imagined that when I started out in 1992.

Was there life before Google?

Do you remember life before Google? Can you even imagine it? Yet as recently as late 1998 Google was a start up company operating from a garage in California!

Our lives have been transformed by the Internet and especially by the search engines. Before it existed, if we wanted to know something, we had to spend hours sifting through books and journals in the library or we had to pay researchers to do the work for us. Now we can find out all sorts of information in seconds.

What did you do before online shopping? Did you lose precious working time queuing in the supermarket for the weekly groceries? Did you have to take a couple of days off to do the Christmas shopping?

Managing Finance

Before the Internet the only way to do our banking was in person. We spent hours queuing up to pay in our takings or to withdraw cash. Now we type in a few numbers, use a fancy widget to protect our identity, and we can move money around, pay bills, check client payments instantly.

I use Kashflow to manage my business finances. It sends invoices, calculates my VAT return, shows me average time from invoice to payment, tracks sources of business and lots more. I can access the information anywhere. It even integrates with other cloud systems I use such as MailChimp and Dropbox. I am now so much better informed about my business’ progress. (if you want to know more, visit www.kashflow.com and if you use my affiliate code, AFTRAININGPACK, it will save you money). I’m a big fan, I wouldn’t promote it if I wasn’t even though I do make a small amount if you buy using my code (just want to be transparent here).

Marketing

In 1992, if we wanted to find new customers, we had to advertise, buy mailing lists, cold call or send masses of direct mail. Most of it was costly and time consuming. Of course these are still options but now we can build relationships on social media, upload helpful videos to YouTube and Vimeo, share presentations via Slideshare and others, and publish articles and blogs. We can sell direct from our websites and advertise to highly targeted customers on Google and Facebook. We can send newsletters and invitations via email and see who opens what.

and the disadvantages…

Of course there are disadvantages. The Internet is a gift to the prevaricator who can always find an excuse to research a bit more, have another conversation on Facebook or read another blog post. Our privacy is under greater threat than ever before and we have to take care to make sure that the information we find is accurate and up to date.

Would I go back to life without the Internet? Certainly not!  What about you? What for you is the biggest advantage of Internet? To what extent has the Internet transformed your business? I’d love you to share your experiences in the comments here.

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