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Why Every Small Business Needs a Website
Weíve all heard the excuses:
The truth is that all small businesses should have a website. It doesnít need to
be large; and, it doesnít need to cost you thousands of dollars to create and
maintain. A small simple yet professional website is all that is needed to get
your name out there and provide general information to potential customers.
- Iím a small business
- Iím a home based business
- A website will cost me thousands of dollars
- I donít think Iíll get any business from a website
- All of my customers are local, they can find me in the phone directory
Operating a small business today is more competitive than itís ever been.
Even with your niche market, there will always be strong competitors in your
immediate area. By having a website, you open up your business to a huge
For example, over 6 million Canadian households use the Internet
(CBC News, June 12, 2002). Thatís works out to a minimum of 12 million people,
just in Canada who would have access to information about your product or
service via a website. Now, imagine the number of people worldwide who would
have access to information about your product or service if you had a website.
Now consider this, our demographics are changing. The teenagers of the 90s are
now in their twenties and have disposable income. These are really the first
generation who have grown up with the Internet. Now they are making the purchasing
decisions for their households. Where do they look first for information about
products? The Internet!!
Using the Internet to do preliminary research on a product or service is now
the norm. As such, 79% of Internet users and 38% of nonusers expect a business
will have a Web site that gives them information about a product they are
(Advanced Technology and Libraries, February 2003)
In fact, 47% of all Internet users say that if a store provides product information
online, even if it doesnít sell goods at its Web site, they are more likely
to go to the physical store to buy the product
Technology and Libraries, February 2003).
This is where a website can set you apart from your competition. Your customers
can now find out about you day and night, whether your physical store is open or
not! You can let them know when you are open, provide them with directions, and
answer some of your most commonly asked questions, all without putting a strain
on your staffing resources.
More importantly, a website provides a way for your customers to interact with
your company without necessarily having to interact with a person. For example,
customers can fill out a feedback form on your product or service via your
website. They can sign up for a newsletter or contest. Or, they can place an
order online from anywhere in the world! Your customers are happier because
they arenít limited to normal business hours to interact with your business.
Still not convinced? Have a look at some of these quick facts:
In light of everything mentioned in this article and the fact that the number
of Internet users and online purchases will rise in the coming years, ask
yourself... can your business really afford not to have a website?
- 1.7 million Canadian households report that they use the Internet to browse
online catalogues to help narrow their purchasing decisions, but do not place
orders or make purchases
Canada, The Daily Dec. 11, 2003
- In 2002, almost 65% of households in the Kitchener-Waterloo-Cambridge area
have at least one regular Internet
Canada, CANSIM table 358-0002
- Web sales for the 2003 holiday season was $18.5 billion, up 35% over
2002.--CNN Money.com, Jan. 6, 2004
- 2 out of every 3 Canadian households (65%) using the Internet from home
reported spending 20 or more hours each month
The Daily September 18, 2003
- About 37% of firms made purchases online in 2003, up from 32% last year
and more than double the proportion that did so in
Canada, The Daily April 19, 2004
"Why every small business needs a Web site" was submitted by:
Sari Heiber-McLenaghan of
© 2004 S.Heiber-McLenaghan
"...because a website is a terrible thing to waste"
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