What is an Internet business? Some look at a web site and call that an Internet business. But that isn’t correct. A web site is an asset of a business just like an office chair is an asset of a business that has an office.
Some look at the legal documentation and say, “That’s the business.” That seems true because that is what you turn over to the new owner when you sell an Internet business. For a corporation, the stock certificates and board meeting minutes are also assets of an Internet business. Ownership of stock certificates denotes a partial ownership of the business, but still isn’t the Internet business itself.
Is it the accounting books? The monthly income statement is an important measure of the value of an Internet business. But the accounting books are just records of what the business has achieved in the past. They, too, are not the business itself.
Is it the people? That may seem to be the case because the employees make everything happen. But, assume you are the head of an Internet business. If you sell it, you will disappear from the organization and yet it will still go on. The same is true of each employee, contractor, and vendor. They will come and go, and yet the business can have a continuing existence.
An Internet business (like any business) is the sum of its systems. It is the procedures that the owners, executives, employees, and contractors follow to make the business function.
If you have no procedures, you have no system and you have no business.
If you have procedures and a system for everything you do, then you have an Internet business. A business is really a collection of step-by-step procedures that are performed by employees and, contractors (and even computers) to perform tasks that earn income for the business.
An Internet business is a system. If you aren’t building, documenting, testing, and improving your business system, then you don’t have a fully fledged Internet business.
If you have a complete business system that can function even when employees, contractors, vendors, and even the owners (e.g., YOU) are changed, then you have a true Internet business.
That is why it is so important to build, document, test, and improve every procedure that forms your business. Those procedures ARE your business. Improving them is what it means to grow your business!