The Internet means anyone with Internet access can sell to the world from their lounge room- If you have a computer that is connected to the internet then you are able to set up your own website. If you can set up a website you should be starting your own business. You can sell to customers throughout the world. The Internet knows no boundaries.
Social Networking has changed how businesses can interact with customers- The first revolution was the Internet. Then we had Search Engines and now we have social networking. Facebook has over 500 million register accounts and people, on average, spend more time on Facebook then they do on Search Engines like Google. Social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter become another cheap avenue that you can utilise in order to interact with your potential customers. They can also be useful for market research and finding out what your customers think. I know of businesses that have found customers through Twitter by maintaining searches on their competitors. When someone expresses dissatisfaction with a competitor on Twitter they contact these Twitterers to see if they can help. Brilliant!
Smart phones and netbooks mean the Internet has gone on the road- I struggle to remember what life was like before I got my iPhone. It has changed everything- it has changed the way that I live my life and business. I access email, the Internet, twitter and Facebook from my phone. I can take photos and upload them directly to my social networks. Your customers have these abilities too. You should consider looking at developing a mobile compatible website so that visitors can easily navigate your website from their phone.
If you are starting your own business you need to embrace new technology. It is going to change everything (it is already changing everything) and you don't want to be left behind especially considering that you are just starting out.
and my personal favorite Permission Marketing : Turning Strangers Into Friends And Friends Into Customers
, speaks how Social Networking is valuable to a business. Enjoy watching and learn.