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
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
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,
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
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!