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Thread: Should every small business have a website?

  1. #91
    root Array Harold Mansfield's Avatar
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    I agree with the above. I don't care what kind of business it is, a website is the basics. If you can't even do the bare minimum to look legitimate and let me know something about you and your business, in my eyes you aren't really running a business you're just playing around with a hobby.

    Even worse when "business people" communicate with me using free email addresses. That's just too amateur for me. It makes me wonder what else will be unprofessional and I'm not risking my money with someone who can't even do the basics.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Harold Mansfield View Post
    I agree with the above. I don't care what kind of business it is, a website is the basics.
    I've got to disagree. The absolute bare minimum is a pair of running shoes (although I've seen a few people in bare feet) and a drive to do what needs to be done. I know of many long standing, reputable companies that don't have a website nor do they want a website.

    Quote Originally Posted by Harold Mansfield View Post
    If you can't even do the bare minimum to look legitimate and let me know something about you and your business, in my eyes you aren't really running a business you're just playing around with a hobby.
    Guess I've been running a hobby for the last 5 years. I don't know of many hobbies that can support 2 people at industry average wages.
    Brad Miedema
    Fulcrum Saw & Tool

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    root Array Harold Mansfield's Avatar
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    I'm just commenting on how I see a business that I can't look up anywhere and won't spend $12.99 for a branded email. I'm sure other people feel differently.

    For me, knowing how many scams and fly by nite business and people who are out there it makes me skeptical when someone refuses to put basic identification online and contacts me from an AOL, Yahoo or Gmail address. It says to me they haven't been in business long, even if that's not true. It's the perception being that I know nothing about this person. And at this point in the game, it is a refusal. It's not an oversight.

    Again, we're assuming I'm a stranger who doesn't know you personally. Even if it's a referral.

    When you have no presence you have no idea how much business or how many opportunities you are losing. Could be none. Could be millions. You don't know. No one is going to call you to tell you because they obviously can't.

    As a business owner I couldn't imagine not having a sales presence on the web. I just don't see how I compete if I'm not visible to the world. I can't possibly personally meet every possible customer in the world.

    As a possible customer if I can't find you anywhere, obviously I can't call you to give you my money.

    I'm not the only person who feels this way. It's how we do everything these days. Look it up online, look for reviews, examples of their work...something that says this is a real person and a real business that is likely not to disappear tomorrow.

    I can however fathom certain instances where someone could make a living on all handshakes and business cards.
    And if that's what works for you, Mazel Tov. Keep doing it.
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    Hence the problem when we apply the same brush and filters to all scenarios. Business type and target customer base will dictate what approach to take. 75% of my customers don't have internet while half of them don't have electricity. Really, all I ask is that you don't apply the "hobby" title just because one doesn't have a website.

    ... we're assuming I'm a stranger who doesn't know you personally. Even if it's a referral.
    Yet we're all strangers when we first make contact. Doesn't matter if it's online or if it's in person during a walk up cold call. I've got a mill that I can't get in to even though they've replaced their service guys twice in the last 2 months (banned one from the property) and I'm only 20 minutes away and know some of the same people who's word you can take to the bank. At the same time, another mill is contemplating a co-operative purchase of a machine to put on my floor even though I've only done $200 of work for them (and they haven't run the blades yet).

    When you have no presence you have no idea how much business or how many opportunities you are losing.
    At the same time, assuming a better than average case and that the business generates its revenue offline rather than from digital products/services, let's assume sales take off. Unless you have the financial capacity and access to the skilled workforce that is required, you've just shot yourself in both feet and broken both your kneecaps. I've seen more work permanently lost because of an inability to keep up due to poor scheduling and inadequate ordering of raw materials to out of control sales (not enough available cash/credit for machinery and raw material).

    As for losing business, I'm losing more work from a lack of capability (mechanical not personal) because I can't drop $200K on a machine (cash or financed).

    As a business owner I couldn't imagine not having a sales presence on the web. I just don't see how I compete if I'm not visible to the world. I can't possibly personally meet every possible customer in the world.
    Here is where our backgrounds and business experiences differ. 99% of my work comes from within 60 miles (100km) of where I'm located. I only need to be better than the 4 other shops like mine - one doesn't deliver, another focuses mostly on new production with some service thrown in, a third doesn't offer a full range of services, and the 4th advertises as much as I do and has quality issues. Currently, it doesn't matter if someone a province over can't find me.

    Your experience is mostly in the digital realm where physical location doesn't matter as much.

    With the above said, I will say that I'm probably the exception rather than the rule. If my business was product driven rather than service focused, a high powered e-commerce site would be top of the list as it can replace a commission based sales person or 3.
    Brad Miedema
    Fulcrum Saw & Tool

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    root Array Harold Mansfield's Avatar
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    Yes, you are an exception. I'm sure you aren't the only one. If your clientele doesn't have internet or electricity, and that is your entire target market then it makes sense that a website isn't at the top of your list. My clientele doesn't look at newspapers to find services like mine, so running newspaper ads makes no sense for me. I get it.

    However, generally and as it pertains to general advice given here...potential customers like to be able to find something out about a business when they don't personally know the owner.

    If anyone is in the same boat as you, I'm sure you could give great advice on how to market to people without electricity. I'd imagine there are a lot of areas around the country like that, and those people need products and services too.
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    Default Re: Should every small business have a website?

    Yes, of course. Every small or big business needs to be online as the number of people using the internet is increasing and there is a huge chance that your business will be missed if you are not available online.

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