If I hear of another website business idea in Vietnam for foreigners without a valid business plan or revenue model I'm gonna spit! Because I should be making good money helping people write plans for things like this. Or at least getting paid for recommending they NOT do silly things. The most recent is from VietnamOnline and they're already on the web. It's a nice enough site but they have no advertising and not really any content that you can't already find. Also, their use of Google Maps is unfortunate (Google Maps don't work in Vietnam). Yes, it's a website about Vietnam tourism, but unfortunately other sites like TripAdvisor do an adequate and profitable job already. The question about this site or any other proposed is, "But how are they going to make any money?" My introduction to VietnamOnline came through a job advertisement they had posted on VietnamWorks. They were looking for full-time writers and editors. I sent my samples and credentials and received the following reply:
Thank you for your interest in our company. While you are an outstanding applicant we are unable to offer you a position with our organization at this time.
With your permission, we would like to keep your resume on file in the event that another position that could match with your ability as well as offer your expected salary becomes available.
We sincerely appreciate your interest in our position and hope that you continue to come back and read Vietnam Online often.
We wish you success in your career endeavors in Vietnam.
Translation: "We don't have enough money to pay you." And probably don't have enough to pay anyone else either - not anyone who can really help them. So companies tend to look for cheap, or college kids, or Viet Kieu who are supported from home or anyone who thinks writing is glamourous and will do it for free. Good luck. To many, websites seem to look like the holy grail until you work out a business plan and hire a sales team to work on income, because writers and content alone, won't make you any money. But a business plan might.
And that would be the same for any business. Unfortunately, I've seen this a lot in Vietnam. From design schools to consulting enterprises to who knows what. What is it that get's people to launch business ideas with no plan whatsoever? Only delusion, possibly. I covered this two years ago in a post called Big Dreams, Big Plans, Small Money, No Commitment: How Not to Market in Asia III. Guess a few people still haven't read that one yet.