Why historical success says NOTHING about your need for a Website

If you are a small business owner, how many times have you said or thought this: “I have been successful for years without a website. I don’t need one.” As a website developer, I hear it several times every single day.

USA Today’s “Ask An Expert” Steve Strauss http://www.usatoday.com/money/smallbusiness/columnist/strauss/index.htm received this inquiry from a reader. “…I just don’t see the need for a [web]site. My business has been around forever, and we have done just fine without one. Am I wrong?”

You are not alone. But, if you think this way about your business, then I want to speak to you directly and bluntly. You can’t live in the past! It doesn’t work in any other area of life, why would it work in business? Do you still dial 555-1212 to reach directory assistance? How about area codes…remember when we only needed to dial those to call people really far away? Do you drive the same car you drove in 1970? Still watch the same no-remote tune-with-a-dial 12” black and white model TV with only 3 channels? Or pay the same amount for gas that you did five years ago? As times change, so do the things we buy, the way we buy them, and the way business owners must conduct and market our businesses to get our attention or even stay in the game.

And as the old saying goes, you are either moving forward or falling behind.

Are you still skeptical? Want some proof? Ask the next 25 people you talk to (friends, family, customers, or employees) if they bought anything online 15 years ago. Then ask the same people if they bought anything online in the last year. If you do not believe you need a website before this experiment, the results of your survey are going to shock you.

If you are still a “doubting Thomas,” take it one step further. Ask these survey participants about buying a car, planning vacations, finding a new doctor, shopping for homes…the subject matter isn’t nearly as relevant as the fact that people shop online, and they do research BEFORE they shop, and before they make just about any purchase.

Visit Steve Strauss’ exchange with Phil in its entirety. http://www.usatoday.com/money/smallbusiness/columnist/strauss/2008-02-11-getting-a-website_N.htm. It tells a story that I would do injustice to try and reiterate, but the message is clear. Marketing strategies are not the same as they used to be. Not having a website puts you at a significant disadvantage because times have changed. Everyday, more and more of your competition develops a website so, eventually, it will be the businesses without a website that are out of business.

The strategies that made you successful yesterday are not what will keep you successful tomorrow.


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4 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. This is so true. But it is hard for people to change like they say “I have been in business for a long time and business is good why do I need a website.” Some people just don’t like change.
    Good article!

  2. Good thought provoking article and the Strauss article has some good info as well. So Clem, how are you going to get these owners to see the light? In addition to writing solid articles like this of course. 🙂

    I am serious, what’s your strategy to reach the hardheads?

  3. Tom…

    Great question. As you said, writing posts that bring the problem to light is part of the solution, but I refer to it like a three-legged-stool. Creating the blog is only one leg. The second leg is getting this information in front of not only the specific business owners I am talking about, but also all the other business owners out there that may be doing the same injustices to their small business. I regularly engage the business owners I meet in a discussion about these topics and share the blog as a useful resource. This, along with all the other ways I work to expand the POTW blog’s sphere of influence will help to connect with more business owners. The web isn’t going anywhere, and I want to help people realize that through my message. The third leg of the stool is to actually deliver results for my clients specifically. The more successful I am able to help them become, the more small business owners there are that recognize the need for a web presence. It’s like a viral marketing approach to the aspect of expanding the blog’s message.

    Thanks for the comment!

  4. Some folks don’t want to change, until some act against their money makes them change.

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