Assumption is your enemy when it comes to online business

People often assume things about the Internet, yet frequently those assumptions turn out to be incorrect. For instance, many business owners I meet assume, it seems, that email marketing is dead. Yet, despite the problems caused by spam, email marketing is still the most successful method of selling online. Another assumption appears to be that banning certain web sites at work will increase productivity, yet the reverse is true.

Today, though, I realised there was another set of assumptions being made that prevent organisations from benefiting from the power of the Internet. I was speaking at a conference of communications managers in the NHS. During the question and answer session at the end of my talk it became apparent that the NHS was being held back by assumptions that managers were making.

For instance, they thought that some of the suggestions I was making, such as using blogs to help communicate, were a great idea, but only usable in organisation with lots of money. They had assumed there was a cost involved – yet blogging can be free of charge. Similarly, they told me that some of the changes I was proposing for the way the NHS could use the Internet would never happen because Chief Executives in NHS Trusts wouldn’t allow them. This was an assumption – as to was the notion that the minds of Chief Executives could not be changed.

In other words, these talented and hard working communications managers were holding back on their ability to gain from the Internet because of some assumptions and associated negative thinking. If you truly want to benefit from the Internet and get your message across, it’s best to have an open mind. Don’t assume, for instance, that Facebook is only for teenagers – it isn’t; or that having multiple web sites is costly – it can be cheaper than hosting one web site. Assumptions like these are holding businesses back.

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