The importance of a website when running a business.
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Why is it important for any business to have a web site? No one needed web site in past and many businesses today are still run successfully and profitable without having or needing a web site? So what is the big talk all about?
While the above statement still stands true for majority of it and having the web site is not a life or death matter when it comes to any business, times are changing and having the web site is pretty much becoming the essential component of any business just as same as having the phone or fax number where customers can reach you.
WHY YOU NEED A WEB SITE
Here are some reasons why you want to have a web site for your business.
Web site operates and is visible 24 hours a day 365 days a year. A web site does not need to close off at the end of the business day, take a weekend off, ask for vacation or take a sick day. So to be to the point, a web site is an advertising tool that will bring your business in front of potential customer's eyes regardless if your store is open or not.
- Convenience for Your Clients
A web site is convenient way for existing or potential client to explore and gather the information on products they need without need to visit the physical premises of the business.
Many people like this convenience since it saves them time. A potential customer can visit ten, twenty or fifty web sites, do their research and make decision where to buy without ever needing to get out of their chair. They can search for the more specific product to suit their needs, compare multiple vendors for same product, research alternatives and more. A purchase research and fact finding project that would take days had the customer had to visit each physical location, can now be easily accomplished in matter of hours.
Some people dislike direct pressure they perceive of being target of when they visit brick and mortar store. They have to talk to a sales person and may be pressured into purchasing something or may feel guilty of taking to much time from the sales person helping them. The would be buyer however is still not ready to purchase and needs more time to do their research without the pressure from the sales person or the guilt of wasting the salesperson's time without purchasing anything.
Many people work or are occupied during the regular business hours and cannot afford to visit the physical store or business they are considering buying the product or service from. A web site will allow them to research for the product and service they need when it is convenient for them. After hours, during the lunch break, etc. a potential customer can do their research and explore your products and services without the inconvenience of having to work around the store hours (being there when the store is open.
One of the constraints of the typical brick and mortar business model (physical business presence) is that the business is localized and constrained of serving customers in a restricted geographical area. With the addition of the web site a business is capable of serving clients and delivering their product information to a potential client regardless the physical distance between the potential client from the business itself. Your product and service is visible globally and it will not cost you an arm and leg to establish the global presence.
Opening a brick and mortar business in past required a considerable investment. You had to buy, lease or rent a physical location for your business, hire staff to operate your business, pay utilities and other expenses. In order to open a business a person in the past had to spend the fair amount of money up front and the cost to operate and maintain the business was considerable as well. Such expenses made the idea of opening a business out of picture for anyone who did not have or did not want to tie larger sum of money to open their business. Additionally the cost of maintaining the brick and mortar business process had to be recovered from the final price of the product and service offered so a small business typically could never be competitive to a large business enterprises competing for the same customer.
With the introduction of e-business the cost of reaching the customer had decreased dramatically. In fact many businesses selling products or services are run from home or without the traditional brick and mortar store front entirely. The brick and mortar business model too has benefitted from e-business by eliminating the physical constraint of having to stock and showcase all products in the store (many businesses will carry core products while drop shipping or special ordering the larger bulk of their inventory). However not having the product on the shelf in front of the potential customer's eyes is no longer a problem for such business either. A web site will offer the potential customer or buyer the idea of what the business carry, how the product looks like, what it would cost to buy the product, potential alternatives and more.
Having the web site can do lots for your business. A web site will quickly pay for itself by extending the reach of your business and adding the convenience for your clients to shop and research about their purchase on their own time and in their own peace. You can better showcase what you have to offer, educate potential buyers of benefits of buying the specific product from you and more. And most important, all of the above and more that web site can offer to a business is very affordable comparing to what the same level of gain and expansion would cost you had you used the traditional means of advertising or running your business as a brick and mortar business exclusively.
However, some caution must also be exercised when planning on launching web site. You can make your web site look great without having to spend lots of money but you will need to spend some money to make it great.
- Do not cut too many corners.
You can quickly type some information in your favorite word processing application and save it as HTML. Publishing such on the web will in theory make a functional web site but it will not be a very good web site. People visiting it will quickly discover and judge the quality of your web site and the quality and look will be a factor to their decision to buy from you or not. You do not run your business from the tent that you pitched on the corner of the busy intersection. You take pride in the image your business projects, so make sure your web site projects the same image.
- You have the web site so tell people about it.
Many business owners quickly forget their web site thinking it was waste of time. They do not see any new business generated from it and they quickly conclude they do not need it. This is one of major mistakes for any business having or considering building a web site.
People will not know about your web site unless you tell them about it. Building the traffic through search engine takes lots of time and money and your first step should not be do sit and wait for search engine to deliver the traffic. You should take an active part of it. Brand your business with the web site address, make sure any business cards you give, letters you send etc., contain your web site address. And most importantly be patient with your web site growth. Building the web site and publishing it on line is the larger part of the project but is not and should not be seen as an end of your involvement with the process. You will still need to invest some effort and money to advertise your web site and if you do so people will eventually associate your business with your web site and use it for their and your benefit.
Having the web site for your business will help you grow your business.