The greatest businesses of the modern age are dominated by the computer and its offspring — the internet. The names that have sprung from that box on just about every desk and inside most briefcases are unforgettable giants of business.

We’re talking about Gates and Microsoft, IBM, Steve Jobs and Apple, Michael Dell and of course the killer monsters of Google, and Yahoo!.

The big, new names are exploding when you think of YouTube and Facebook. And locally we have and — it is a new world with a new business model for an online world.

Of course, the battleground or marketplace is different but the old ground rules of a great business apply. There has to be a quality product marketed brilliantly supported by professional systems and highly motivated people led by a passionate entrepreneur.

However, even with these attributes, there seems to be some key lessons about the online world that can make or break an e-business.

So what are these lessons?

Well, first, manage everyone’s expectations carefully. Be conservative in setting goals. In fact, too much growth can be a downfall, especially in start-up mode.

Second, keep your eye on market developments. Even subtle changes in the market or in technology can put you out of business very quickly if you don’t adapt.

Also, be wary of the ‘first to market advantage’. If you’re a small entrepreneur with limited capital, protect your intellectual property first to avoid a wealthy competitor coming along and wiping you out.

Finally, the old maxim applies — seek objective observations by experts in their field so you can make the best decisions but test out their advice. The successful entrepreneurs learn to balance great advice and their very instinctive guts.

If you’re looking to work on your business rather than being stuck in it, book in for a complimentary business assessment today with Switzer Business Coaching.

Important information: This content has been prepared without taking account of the objectives, financial situation or needs of any particular individual. It does not constitute formal advice. For this reason, any individual should, before acting, consider the appropriateness of the information, having regard to the individual’s objectives, financial situation and needs and, if necessary, seek appropriate professional advice.