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Thread: Should every small business have a website?

  1. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by David Hunter View Post
    Every business should have a website. No reason not to!
    Websites aren't the answer for every business. Having a website just for the sake of it when NO ONE will ever need it, look for it, see it or miss it if there isn't one just doesn't make sense.

  2. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by Paul View Post
    Websites aren't the answer for every business. Having a website just for the sake of it when NO ONE will ever need it, look for it, see it or miss it if there isn't one just doesn't make sense.
    For many in my generation, if you're not online you don't exist, no matter how many word-of-mouth references or business cards we get, even from trusted peers. We don't call people without exerting our own small effort to find out more about them in the information age. We get handed a card - we go to the website and Google the person's name. Someone drops a name - we Google them. We're pretty blind to directory sites like YellowPages, Manta, and MerchantCircle.

    Of course, I have zero clue what business you're in or if your target market is expected to have easy Internet access.
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    I realize many use the internet for info and that it is an important marketing tool for many businesses. But, who would ever need to find the website for the gas station on the turnpike or the hamburger stand at the beach. Businesses with captive audiences or impulse retail in highly trafficked locations just don’t benefit from a web site.

    I use the internet constantly myself for info and almost every business I ever worked with had a website. However, some businesses, like mine, are tied into existing networks for referrals that don’t involve internet. I am a business “consultant” for specific longer term projects so I'm not seeking a constant flow of new clients from the internet. An unusual situation I suppose, but it is a case where a website is somewhat useless.

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    Sometimes I'd want to get the address/phone number of the local gas station. Or if I'm on a road trip and want to go to a gas station with a tim hortons in it because I want an ice cap.
    Or heck, what if I have to go to the bathroom super quick?! Googling the gas station could tell me if there is an available bathroom?

    Point is, I'd like to google you.

    What if I am selling a fish tank on kijiji and the closest "safe" place would probably be a gas station? I'd want to google that!

    The answer to my problems is usually and always the internet. When I'm sick? I google. When I have a question? I google. When I'm looking for something? I google. Shopping? I Google to compare prices. Going to a new office? I google and look at street view of the building (I'm a visual person so I'd rather "see" what the building looks like).

    And if you are a consultant like you mentioned, you damn right I 'd be googling you to find out who you are, what you've done, etc. If the information is available to me, I will then be able to create my own conclusion. I don't like mystery when I am hiring someone.
    Last edited by Wozcreative; 06-21-2014 at 09:44 AM.
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    On a road trip you can Google Tim Horton, but I don’t think you’d pass by the highway station if you need gas because it doesn’t have a site. Would you Google the hamburger stand while you are laying on the beach right in front of it? On a road trip you would likely use the internet to plan your trip but are you going to Google the ice cream or trinket shop that you are walking by on the boardwalk at a seaside resort? Some businesses just aren’t destination shops that attract customers online. Like I said, many businesses already have captive audiences or sufficient walk by traffic and don’t need a web site.

    Not all consulting or service type businesses are looking for clients from the web. It’s just not a useful way to attract clients for me, although In some cases I do use the internet to seek out potential clients proactively. I work almost exclusively with micro cap companies that are raising capital by going public and/or businesses that want to franchise or license their product or business model. Most of my referrals come from within that community through attorneys or marketing people who already have the client, not from clients who would Google me first. There are other reasons a web site is not beneficial for me but I won’t bore you further.

    There are other businesses like property appraisers or insurance adjusters who get their business from mortgage banks and insurance carriers that they are already affiliated with. Although they may have a web site it’s not likely to be an important part of their business.

    I LOVE THE INTERNET! I just don’t agree with the blanket statement that every business “needs” a web site.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Paul View Post
    Websites aren't the answer for every business. Having a website just for the sake of it when NO ONE will ever need it, look for it, see it or miss it if there isn't one just doesn't make sense.
    "If you build it, they will come" is wishful thinking. Just like your business cards don't magically jump out of your pocket and into people's hands, neither does your website.
    You argument is flawed. You make assumptions that it won't do you any good as an excuse for not doing it.

    Bottom line is, it's 2014. It's a digital, mobile world. Marketing has changed. Either you're in it, or your competition will capitalize on your resistance to embrace the tools that you have at your disposal and take the business you could have had.

    Now, if you are saying that you just don't know how to use a website to your advantage, I can respect that. But to not do it and then make excuses for not doing it like "no one will read it" means that you don't understand why you need it or what you can do with it. That's OK. But your reasoning for not having a website is flawed.

    I understand your argument about the road side stand that relies solely on walk in traffic. That may be an exception. But if it were my roadside stand, I'd be selling products online, reaching out to people traveling the area, and getting in travel guides....not just waiting for people to walk in the door.

    Which is exactly what Tim Horton's does. They don't just sit back and wait for people to come to them anymore like it's the 50's.
    Last edited by Harold Mansfield; 06-21-2014 at 01:03 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Harold Mansfield View Post
    "If you build it, they will come" is wishful thinking. Just like your business cards don't magically jump out of your pocket and into people's hands, neither does your website.
    You argument is flawed. You make assumptions that it won't do you any good as an excuse for not doing it.

    Bottom line is, it's 2014. It's a digital, mobile world. Marketing has changed. Either you're in it, or your competition will capitalize on your resistance to embrace the tools that you have at your disposal and take the business you could have had.

    Now, if you are saying that you just don't know how to use a website to your advantage, I can respect that. But to not do it and then make excuses for not doing it like "no one will read it" means that you don't understand why you need it or what you can do with it. That's OK. But your reasoning for not having a website is flawed.

    I understand your argument about the road side stand that relies solely on walk in traffic. That may be an exception. But if it were my roadside stand, I'd be selling products online, reaching out to people traveling the area, and getting in travel guides....not just waiting for people to walk in the door.

    Which is exactly what Tim Horton's does. They don't just sit back and wait for people to come to them anymore like it's the 50's.
    I appreciate your passion for the internet marketing and knowledge of web sites , but you should not assume I donít use a web site because I donít know how!

    The internet is a great tool for many purposes, I love it and I use it extensively for research and communications. Iím not arguing against it, I am just not agreeing with the notion that every business ďneedsĒ a web site. You assume that every business depends on an online presence. Itís just not true.

    The internet is very important to the operation of my business and critical for the fulfillment of my jobs, but my clientele and business does NOT come from the internet. My market niche is very narrow and specific within particular industries. A web site would not attract quality clients for me from within that niche.

    As for competition capitalizing on my lack of a web site, honestly the Internet is not my marketing battle ground. My marketing is based primarily on my relationships and reputation within an existing business community. Those relationships are developed through personal networking and the reputation is based on performance and results, not on a web site.

    This isnít about what I do, but its one example of a business that doesnít ďneedĒ a web site.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Paul View Post
    The internet is a great tool for many purposes, I love it and I use it extensively for research and communications. I’m not arguing against it, I am just not agreeing with the notion that every business “needs” a web site. You assume that every business depends on an online presence. It’s just not true.
    Look, you can try really hard and I'm sure you'll come up with some obscure business niche and situation where a website isn't going to do a lot of good. So if that's what you are doing, then you win. We don't need to go back and forth just to prove there's an exception to every rule.

    This thread didn't ask "Does this particular business situation need a website?", it asks in general "Should every business have a website" and the answer in general is "yes".

    But honestly, you don't NEED anything. You don't need a name, business cards, an email address or any marketing what so ever.
    If that's how you want to run it, more power to you. It's your business and your choice. Run it how you want to.
    Last edited by Harold Mansfield; 06-21-2014 at 04:41 PM.

  9. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Harold Mansfield View Post
    This thread didn't ask "Does this particular business situation need a website?", it asks in general "Should every business have a website"........".
    .
    Exactly my point,it didn't ask if most should, to that i would agree. It asked if every business should, for me the answer is clearly no.

    A relatively useless discussion but fun nevertheless Harold!

  10. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by Paul View Post
    But, who would ever need to find the website for the gas station on the turnpike or the hamburger stand at the beach.
    Typically when we hit about 1/4 tank, we start looking up gas stations within our refueling window. The ones who we can see their current price will probably get top priority. We only buy from certain fuel providers, and try not to purchase fuel that contains ethanol unless the price spread is enough that the fuel is actually less expensive (which is rare even with current government blending subsidies). We also look for food in the general area to see what there is to eat.

    The only people I've ever traveled with that don't do that when traveling outside of familiar territory are my parents.

    Quote Originally Posted by Paul View Post
    However, some businesses, like mine, are tied into existing networks for referrals that don’t involve internet. I am a business “consultant” for specific longer term projects so I'm not seeking a constant flow of new clients from the internet. An unusual situation I suppose, but it is a case where a website is somewhat useless.
    I'll tell you straight up that I personally won't hire you without one, no matter who referred me to you. I like to do my own research on what a person does on my own time. If one highly trusted source told me to call you, and another less trusted source told me to call another guy, if the other guy has an informative website I'm going to hire the other guy because I didn't have to waste time asking what it was exactly that you could do for me. For me to call someone to just find out what they can do for me requires me to clear 20-30 minutes from my schedule just to attempt the call. I can check the other guy's website while I'm in the bathroom, waiting on a meal, pumping gas, waiting at the bank, and know whether or not those 20-30 minutes for a call will have some sort of positive return.
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