Are you among those 56% of Small Businesses?

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Are you among those 56% of small businesses who are giving away their business to the other 44%?

According to a recent research* 63% of customers and small business owners turn to the internet first for information about local companies and 82% of them use search engines to do so, however, only 44% of small businesses have a website and 50% of those spend less than 10% of their marketing budget online.

The survey found that search engines were the most popular source for finding local information and the list of top sources was:

  • 82% use search engines (such as Google, Yahoo, or MSN).
  • 57% use Yellow Pages directories.
  • 53% use local newspapers.
  • 49% use Internet Yellow Pages (such as yellowpages.com or superpages.com)
  • 49% use TV.
  • 38% use direct mail.
  • 32% White Pages directories

Of those surveyed, 50% said search engines (such as Google, Yahoo, or MSN) were the first place they looked when seeking a local business, while 24% chose the Yellow Pages directories. 92% of those say they are happy with the results they get when using search engines, despite the fact that 39% report regularly not being able to locate a particular known business.

What does this tell us?

In simple terms, it tells us:

A. Search engines are now the #1 resource for people looking for local products or services because 82 out of your 100 potential customers use internet to find you and your business and obviously if you are not found, they go to your competitor…

B. 56 out of every 100 business are NOT found on internet because they do not have a website or any other form of web presence, so the customer looking for information and possibly making a decision to buy obviously goes to the other 44 who do…

C. 92 out of every 100 customers who were looking for information are happy with what they get out of search engine and hence go with who and what they see on there…

In a nutshell, small businesses are not leveraging the power of internet to its full potential.  

Question is: Why?

It could be lack of information and education or it could be wrong point of view or it could very well be both…

If its lack of information, or fear of not knowing anything about websites, that’s easy as it’s just a matter of few clicks and minutes and you’ll learn all the basics of web presence, what’s a website, how much does it cost, how to get one, free tools and resources to build a website, simply Google these phrases and you’ll see an ocean of information, if you don’t want to do that, how about asking a friend or other business owner who has a website or recently got one… In fact, if you’re reading this article you’re already doing what I’m suggesting… How about sending enquiries to some web designers with your ideas and expectations and asking for quotes to see if it’s really going to break your bank or your assumptions were not quite correct… You see, web presence is not that difficult to create and maintain as most of us think and I would highly suggest you to read these very brief and informative article Web Presence 101 and So, how much does a website cost?to get more info on how to develop a solid web presence with a little investment of time money and efforts…

The other reason why, could be a mistaken point of view, I see website owners approach the cost of having a Web site as an expense when they should be looking at these expenditures as an investment. I tell them, if buying a piece of software to make their life easier and save time on accounting is an investment, if buying a new computer to save time and perform better is an investment then along the same definition of being an investment, a website is also an investment. A well designed and optimized website is a lead generation and conversion system by itself. It’s your own salesman online. It saves you so much of your time if you direct your customers to your website for more information, instead of answering the same question hundreds of times on phone or email… Here’s another suggested read: Website – Investment or Expense, a jargon free article to help you get a fresh point of view about your business’ website.

To put it simple, your business just can NOT afford to have what I call "ZERO Web Presence". With a little bit of each - time, money and efforts investment you can build a pretty decent web presence in a short period of time, that makes sure that your customers find you when they are looking for you and more importantly they find what they were looking for and like what they see...

* Data/ Statistics Source: Webvisible and Nielsen.

Devesh Dwivedi is a successful Management Consultant, Entrepreneur, with a diverse professional background, consulted and worked for a wide range of businesses from start-ups to Fortune 50. One of the all time Top Experts in Small Business & Startup category on Linkedin and an open networker available to help entrepreneurs and businesses. For more information please visit www.idea2inception.com

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