Research has shown that for the most part, small businesses are not maximising the benefit of an online presence but the good news is that those that are, are seeing great results! The question then remains as to why these small businesses are not making use of this (for the most part) more affordable way of marketing your business and connecting with potential clients.
Let’s face the facts, running a small/medium enterprise is hard work. Sometimes, our focus is so heavily on just keeping the lights on that we simply don’t have the time or mental energy to do anything more.
For some, computer technology and the internet are complex and frustrating and they simply do not want to waste what little ‘down time’ they have trying to figure it all out.
A recent study called The Benefits And Barriers Of Bringing A Small Business Online: Perspectives From Global Small Businesses helped to shed some light on why most small businesses are not harnessing the full power of the internet. The study measured the responses of 1,050 businesses with 1 to 49 employees. The demographics were as follows: 150 each from China, France, Germany, India, Turkey, the United States and the United Kingdom. All of the respondents were from the commercial sector (i.e., not educational, governmental, military, or non-profit) and they had to have an online presence of some sort (either a website, social media account, e-commerce site, local review site, or blog).
What was discovered was quite interesting, while most understood the importance of a well-designed and user-friendly website, many simply opted for social media instead.
Most of the perceived barriers related to technical know-how, ongoing maintenance, cost, investment of time and security. Most, if not all of these barriers can be overcome with a little bit of knowledge, planning and an open mind.
So the original question was, is your online presence helping your business? The answer -it should be. Remember, knowledge is power. Your online presence should not overwhelm you and if it is, it is not helping your business. It should not be a financial burden either. If it is, it is not helping your business!
What can we learn from this study and our discussion?
- You don’t need to do everything at once. Start with your domain and domain email (branded email). You can then develop your website in time.
- Getting your Small Business online allows you to compete with larger competitors. What is unique about your business? Market that. Your personalised service will be appreciated.
- Make sure you are taking care of your online presence, in particular, make sure that you are connecting with your customers in the right way so that they feel valued and appreciated.
- …and Finally, let me repeat it. Knowledge is power!
Are you having success with your business online? Tell us what has helped you below.