Why You Need a Website For Your Small Business

Starting a business, even a small one, can be daunting. There is a business plan to write, market surveys to complete, supplies and stock to order, and legal issues to address. You may even have clients to serve before you even really get everything done. So, with many new business owners, a website may seem to be one additional cost and project that you just don’t have the time or money to do.

Think again.

Here are five common reasons that small business owners give for not having a professional website, and why these reasons will contribute to lost clients:

“I don’t use the internet”

That may be so, but the majority of your clients most certainly do. Chances are, they’ve had a peek on the internet to see which local businesses have the products and services that you offer – and that’s before they’ve even showered for their Saturday morning shopping excursion! If you don’t have a website, your business won’t be on their itinerary – your competitors who have a website, will be.

“My clients don’t look on the internet for my products/services”

Are you sure? Think about the demographic of your clientele – generation “Y”, the generation that has never known a world without the internet, cell phones and text messaging, are currently entering their 30s and will be the largest income earning consumer group for at least the next 20 years. This generation expects instant gratification, with information at their fingers tips, which is provided by the internet on mobile devices (think iPhones). Even if your target client isn’t from this generation, you can be sure that they will be researching and shopping for products and services for their parents who are.

“It’s not in my budget”

Yes, a website does need an initial investment. But it is possible to get a simple, professional website for $5000 or less. If a typical website has a 5 year lifespan (a periodic makeover is recommended) , that’s $1000 per year or $83/month. Far less than your typical radio, newspaper, TV, or yellow pages ad and more effective. Recent statistics have shown that use of print media and TV are decreasing, and use of the internet for news and entertainment is increasing. Plus, your clients can really take the time to connect with your business through the website;  they can come back and visit anytime they want; and they can be anywhere in the world when they do.

“I don’t sell over the internet”

You don’t need to sell products or services through your website (although it warrants some consideration), but you do need to let people know you exist and to communicate what you can do for potential clients so that they will want to see you. If the client comes in knowing something about your services/products, what your business mission and client commitments are, your location and your hours, then you have already gotten halfway to closing a sale. If you have items on the website that are currently in the store, even better! This way the client comes in already knowing that you have what they want.

“My niece/son/cousin can build a site for me”

Having a home-made website for your business was fairly common in the 1990s, but things have changed. Now, your online presence needs to reflect the same caliber and professionalism that you want people to feel when they walk into your place of business. If your website looks like it was created by an amateur, then that is how your business will be perceived by your potential clients. Studies have shown that a website that makes a good first impression is more likely to influence visitors to visit the site again and become loyal customers.