- Internet Strategies for the Small Business Investor: 7 New Rules of Play
- Rule #2: Test the market, then capitalize on findings
- Rule #3: Develop just enough to achieve your goals
- Rule #4: Develop iteratively, testing and refining between iterations
- Rule #5: Use what's at hand, before investing in new tools
- Rule #6: Develop partners, allies, and networks
- Rule #7: Take advantage of the unique strengths of the medium
As the name of this rule implies, it's a good idea to define your goals for your web site. Figure out what matters most to you in this endeavor. Decide on what you want the web site to say, to be, and to do. Define your visionwhy you wanted to build this site in the first placeand return to it often. Think through your motives: Are they strictly business, or do you have other agendas as well? Perhaps you want to build a community, help non-marketers learn to market themselves, connect those in need of services with service-providers, or enable social or political reform. These decisions and choices will determine the content of your web site, its look and feel, and the market, partners, and sponsors you choose to target. Time spent in the early stages, defining and refining your vision, will pay off when you get to the design stage of your project. It will give you a basis for making all the technical and design decisions that you will face.
As you begin to lay out and understand your goals for this venture, now is the time to set priorities for achieving them. Prioritization alone will practically guarantee the fulfillment of the first 50% of your goals, because you're focusing your energies and organizing your time around what you really want. Try brainstorming a list of all the goals you want to accomplish, then start putting numbers beside them. 1 is top priority, 2 is near-term, 3 is long-term. Using just those three numbers, decide where each goal belongs, and assign its priority. If you get all 1s, you're not thinking big enough, or else not allowing yourself to assign true value. If you get all 3s, you may need to be more willing to experiment, remembering that you are making decisions for today, not forever. Play around with the numbers until you have a balance of 1s, 2s, and 3s.
The way to stay focused at this point is to develop just enough to deliver your goals. Resist the temptation to continually expand the scope of your efforts, adding one "neat idea" after another to the design without going ahead and implementing any of the ideas. Now is the time to cut away the extraneous, decide what's really most important to do first, and go for it.