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.

“But I don’t use a computer!”

All too often, a business owner makes the mistake of assuming that, because (s)he does not use a computer, a website is not a good way to market his/her company.  Of all the concerns I hear when calling on small and medium sized businesses to dicuss their internet marketing and web solution needs, this is one of the most common among companies that have been around for a while.  Let’s face it…fifteen years ago, they probably did not need a computer to run their business, and they did not need a website to market their business either, right?  But what we must also face is that the world is changing.  As Thomas Friedman would say, “The World is Flat,” and computers and technology have put instant information at our fingertips while also making it AS easy to make a purchase from the store down the street as it is to make a purchase from the store on the other side of the globe.  And as more and more people use computers, companies make the daily discovery that these people are their customers.  So, business owners are forced to ask themselves, “Does it MATTER if I use a computer, when so many of my customers do?”  And, of course, the answer is no…it doesn’t.  As I always say, “If you aren’t selling where your customers are buying, then they are buying from someone else.”  Frankly, your web-savvy customers could care LESS whether you use a computer or not.  What they DO care about is finding the product, service, or information they want as quickly as possible.  And if you aren’t there to give them what they want, they will get it elsewhere.

So you don’t use a computer?  No problem.  POTW not only will assist you in developing and designing your web site, but as part of our web solution services, we also offer discounted rates for preferred customers to continually maintain and update your site without breaking your pocketbook.  And as part of every website we develop, we commit tutorial hours to educating the interested and willing customer on how to use POTW’s extremely user-friendly web design interface software.  In a matter of a few brief hours, we will have you tech-savvy….at least when it comes to your website.