Those who have created successful nische services and innovative networking concepts for small businesses say that using the Web cuts costs and increases efficiency. They can find fellow networkers to act as Web developers for far less than the cost of hiring a professional. With orders coming in through the Web site, they avoid having to staff telephone lines, and there is no storefront to maintain.
We have estimated that hundreds of Nylands arts and crafts people and designers are running small businesses of various sorts, at least half with a Web presence. The risk of failure is low, as most home-run businesses start out as simple part-time enterprises requiring less than € 3,000 - 5,000 to get off the ground.
The Internet has been an integral part of the up-starts from the start. Orders by phone are accepted, but most come in through the Web site. For certain items the anonymity afforded by ordering online may have added appeal.
At first, the Internet didn't play a big part in their businesses, but now we believe that without a Web presence the micro size companies wouldn't survive. Internet orders make up 30 percent of the total orders for some of the most successful ones, but we expect they will increase.