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Why have a website for your business?


A website is important to your business.

It can attract new customers, improve your business recognition, and create easier and alternative ways to communicate with existing customers and them with you.

The dotcom boom is long over; The words dot com sound more like dot con. You wonder to yourself: "Was the Internet ever a valuable tool for businesses, or just a lot of hype?"

Well, when it comes to small businesses online, the show isn't over yet. Small businesses do not have to invest thousands in creating a website which sells their products online. Many of them sell services or even take-aways the old fashioned way - through a physical shop front ("How revolutionary!", you exclaim). Yes, yes we all know that this old fashioned way of buying still works.

Consider what happened to a local takeaway place recently when their old fashioned method of taking orders over the phone came to a grinding halt.

A local Chinese takeaway shop makes great Chinese food. A customer having suffered the pangs of hunger (and laziness) one cold Friday night, decided to order one their delicious meals. He called them only to be notified that their telephone number was unavailable. "Weird," He thought - "I hope they have not gone out of business." Well, that night he ended up calling another Chinese take-away, their competitor a few streets away.
A few days later he stopped by his favourite take-away and was happy to see that they were in fact still in business. He asked them if their number had changed. "No .." they replied, going on to explain that their phone company had abruptly terminated the service one evening.

My first thought on hearing this scenario (being the owner of a web design company) was: "If only they had a website ...". If they did have a website their customers knew about - it would have been easy for them to accept orders through an alternate route, while informing their customers of the temporary phone disruption.

The moral of the story: a website can provide alternate or easier ways to communicate with existing customers. A website can bring you closer to your customers - and keep an alternate channel of communication open. If your main channel suddenly slams shut, your business won't. Remember that most homes in the UK now have computers and a large proportion of them, internet access.

The web channel of communication, not just for Chinese take-aways, but for any business, has other benefits too: orders submitted via a website to an email account can be faster, and cheaper (less employee time on the phone). In the end, having an alternate communication route could mean more business through new customers, at a lower cost. And the final benefit that a website can have: increased product awareness among tech-savvy customers.

Large organisations have failed in trying to build a million pound delivery website. Your company does not have to fail in its website attempts too: because you will be spending less (a couple of hundred pounds, certainly not a million), and because you will be driving more customers to an established business with a physical presence. How revolutionary is that!


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