Entrepreneurs who believe E-commerce is a safer route to riches than traditional approaches to business are in for a shock, according to David Messinger, owner of Consult4U, a startup company specializing in homebased entrepreneurs.

“I expect to see an already high rate of startup failures increase due to the E-commerce trend and people thinking they can cut Internet corners,” says Messinger.

In this day and age of instant gratification and all kinds of online offers to get rich quick, he says, many well-intentioned people are playing with fire.

Sound business practices haven’t changed, he says, even in this high-tech age. Many seem to labor under the impression that business plans, marketing plans and practical research have gone the way of the great auk, he continues, but the fact is that the failure rate among startups and rate of startups being launched without concise business plans is remarkably similar.

It appears that even small firms already in business a year or more are bumbling along without a well-structured plan, Messinger says.

“I had an e-mail recently from a tech-consulting firm inquiring about a business plan,” he says. “This company has been in business a year and is consulting others on success with no structured plan. That’s scary.”

With the growth projections of E-commerce over the next two years being nothing short of staggering, says Messinger, you have to wonder where this is really going—and what the eventual damage report will be.

The simple truth is that things are moving too fast, he says.

“By the time we know the whole story, the ink will be dry,” says Messinger. “The loss of investment by small entrepreneurs and its overall effect on the economy may indeed have consequences on both a domestic and international scale.”

His advice to entrepreneurs: “There are a number of free resources that can help small business people on a limited budget. The SBA and SCORE are two great places to start. They are happy to help people put together plans and structure for their business dreams.”

The Internet is not a business in itself, he adds, it is a tool. Having an online business doesn’t preclude prudent business principles and practices. A good foundation is paramount to any business’s success—online or off, he says.—Business Wire