The late comedian, George Gobel, once joked that he felt like the whole world was a tuxedo and he was a pair of brown shoes. Some small businesses may be starting to relate due to their uncompetitive Internet capability.
Not too long ago, a national survey indicated that half of small businesses don’t have a website. This number is difficult to believe, but it’s probably pretty accurate. Some business owners still don’t understand that a website is not just for selling things online, the way Amazon does. More often than not, customers just want to find out who you are, what you sell, why they should care and how to contact you.
Recently, when we asked our audience about their websites in an online poll, six of 10 of our respondents said their website is a critical part of their business. And a little more than a third said they have a website, but it was just an online brochure. Even the five percent who don’t have a website said they intend to get one.
So why do our findings differ so much from the research mentioned first? Clearly, members of my audience, by definition, are smarter and higher adopters of technology than the average small business owner. After all, how could you hang around with me for very long without succumbing to the pressure, guilt and shame I lay on anyone who is not taking advantage of the Internet? To paraphrase Erich Segal, tough love means never having to say you’re sorry.
But while it’s difficult to believe that 50% of small businesses do not have a website, our 95% adoption number likely indicates that those who don’t have a website won’t admit it, even anonymously. It might seem like twisted logic, but it’s a good thing to be self-conscience, if not embarrassed, about not having something so essential to 21st century business success.
Your world of customers and competitors is proceeding to dress itself up with the online capability equivalent of a tuxedo. If you’re inadequate Internet capability has you feeling uncomfortable about being uncompetitive or, worse, irrelevant, congratulations; not because you showed up at a formal event in a pair of brown shoes, but because being aware of the deficiency is the first step of many toward getting your business properly dressed for success.
If you have a Web presence, keep improving and upgrading it. If you don’t, get one.
Recently on The Small Business Advocate Show, I talked about the importance of having a web presence with Anita Rosen, author of several books, including E-Commerce a Question and Answer Book, and e-Learning 2.0. Anita is also president of ReadyGo.com and a valued member of my Brain Trust. Click on one of the links below to listen to our conversation, and, as always, leave your comments.
How difficult is it for prospects to find your business online? with Anita Rosen
How does your website serve prospects and customers? with Anita Rosen