Senior executives in nearly 3,000 global businesses regret not taking action sooner on using new Internet technologies. According to researchers at McKinsey business leaders see the benefits of blogging, online networking and so on, but many of them wish they had started using such techniques earlier on. They clearly feel they have missed out by not getting involved sooner.

Business leaders often regret not acting sooner. They see their competition steal their market share if they don’t get involved at the outset. However, early adoption of any new technology or business process is risky and human beings are generally cautious of risk taking – it helps our survival as a species to avoid risk.

However, the major breakthroughs in business have come about because of the few people willing to take risks. For instance, we would not have the Internet as we now know it if Sir Tim Berners-Lee had not taken the “risk” to allow his idea for the World Wide Web to be free and non commercialised. Equally, we wouldn’t be able to fly from one side of the planet to the other if the Wright brothers had not risked their own lives to develop aircraft.

Most online business owners, though, do not take risks. They wait to see if the technology really works, they delay decisions to ensure that problems have been ironed out and they avoid getting involved until the costs have been reduced. Add to this mix the whole realm of “office politics” and you can see why most online businesses are not “early adopters” of technology.

Yet if you ask anyone running an online business about their decisions to delay getting involved, like the McKinsey study, you will find that a significant number regret delay. The costs of early adoption are usually less than the money you miss out on if you wait to use new Internet ideas. In other words, your profitability is usually greater if you are an early adopter.

Waiting “until tomorrow” to start your blog, create your pay-per-click ad campaign, set up your forum or revitalise your web site, is a day too long. Online business is about doing it now – not later.

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