Not quite long ago I sent out web design proposals to a few small business owners (beauty shop owners, photographers, shoes and beads designers, etc.). The feedback from most of them was that they ran a local and completely offline businesses and so investing in an online promotion or presence of any kind would be a complete waste. A few others didn’t see the need for a website simply because they could hardly use a computer not to mention using it to manage a website.
What they gave as reasons are mere misconceptions – misconceptions that could be costly in this age. Many SMEs in Africa are refusing growth not because of the unfavourable business environment that plagues most Africa nations but because they are led by heads that believe because they don’t use a computer, neither do their potential clients. They are quite oblivion (or pretend to be) of the fact that IT solution is no longer just a necessity but an investment. Even more unfortunately is that most are not aware of the digital transformation sweeping across every sector worldwide. It’s like they are also not awake to the fact that a potential client would rather just visit the FAQ page of a business website than embark on a journey to a physical office location for a simple inquiry.
A business is local and completely offline does not take away the fact that potential clients could learn about that business and its services online. Even as a popcorn maker, you need some sort of online presence for your popcorn business. You may not need the internet to produce your popcorn but there are tons of potential clients who still go online to find the best popcorn makers in town or nearest or cheapest popcorn makers.
WHY SMALL BUSINESSES NEED A WEBSITE
If you still cannot get a hold why you should give your small business an effective online presence, then have a look at these reasons:
- Showcase your products and service: I consider this the least benefit you can get from having a website for your business. This is also an avenue to demonstrate your business uniqueness.
- Expand market and break boundaries: So you started by selling to family members and friends; then you rented a place and now you are known locally. A website is what you need now to get a global community of clients.
- Hawk worldwide: A website will help your small business break boundaries and get your products and services on the faces of potential clients anywhere in the world and even while you are asleep.
- Look credible: Consumers and potential clients find businesses and brands with a website more credible and established. You do too.
- Communication tool: a website will afford your customers an avenue to quickly and easily contact you, give feedback on your products or make inquiry.
- Stay connected: Just in case you change your location, your existing clients can find you. Another benefit this brings is that your existing customers can refer you to new clients through your business website.
As a small business owner (on a budget) you may probably think you can’t afford a professional website for your website, but the truth is you cannot afford not to. You really don’t have to break a bank to have a business website that works. You could a get decent 3 -5 page website for as little as N50, 000 (that’s less than $200) a year. You also don’t need to be tech-savvy to upload contents to your business that runs on a user friend content managing system.