A Small Business' Need for a Website
The question many small businesses face is whether they need a website or not. A recent study (Dec. 2003) of US small businesses with websites by Interland, a web-hosting firm for small- and mid-sized businesses, states that 78 percent of small businesses think their company benefits from having a website.
In that same study, between 20 and 30 percent of small businesses stated that:
they rely heavily on their website for sales purposes;
their website provides them with a critical building block for developing products to sell; and
their website helps them reduce other marketing costs.
Does your small business need a website? Perhaps this exercise might help make the decision. Do you see a need to:
- Compete with other companies? The Internet has become an online Yellow Pages book. And the online public expects to find information about your company on the Internet. It's become the resource of choice. If you aren't on the Internet, the consumer may have no alternative but to buy from your competitor.
- Enhance your image? With a well designed website you can create an image of a well-established company. You can compete with companies of all sizes and grow your business one sale at a time.
- Expand the market reach of your product or service? You may be a local company marketing to the surrounding area. But with a website consumers across the country can find you and your product or service. People love to comparison shop. With a website you can sell them on all the reasons why your company is better than your competitor's.
- Provide technical information about your product to current or potential customers? Having often requested information such as technical charts, manuals, or how to troubleshoot your product gives your customers access 24/7. How's that for good customer service? Plus a website can get you leads without the cost of additional staff time. And the information you provide on the website can separate out people who don't really need your product or service. This saves you time.
- Advertise? Advertising in local papers and magazines is expensive and limiting. With a website you are virtually unlimited in space, so you can provide detailed information about your product or service - provide photos, prices, and information that can sell your product or service. And advertising on a website can reach beyond the readership of your local newspaper or trade magazine.
There are 150 million active online users of the Internet in the US as of February 2004. These consumers are searching for information. Having a website allows consumers to find you, your product, your service. If your potential customer were online right now looking for your product or service, would they find you?
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