The Internet has proven itself a great tool for small- and home-business owners to reach global markets.

But what about people in industries that rely on local clients?

It is unlikely that your average grocery store in Chicago is going to ship to a client in France (although some boutique specialty food stores do ship worldwide for special products). Can a hairdresser cut your hair over the Internet? (Maybe in the future, with a special helmet that goes over your head and plugs into your computer….)

Huge amounts of people use the Internet, and they ALL live and work somewhere! In my own region, studies have shown that 75% of residents use the Internet.

In January 2004, almost 146,000 people searched for the phrase “auto repair” through MSN and its affiliates. It is safe to assume that almost everyone is looking for a local auto repair shop.

“Weather” is almost always among the top 50 keywords searched for on the Internet. Unless you're traveling, chances are you are using the Internet to find out local weather.

When buying a car, many people use the Internet to check out pricing and features—then go to the local dealership to buy.

People are using the Internet to find local hairdressers, auto repair shops, schools, stores and other products and services. How can you connect with them?

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Garland Coulson is the proprietor of The E-Business Tutor Web site at