Once upon a time, running a small business required hard work, determination, and more than a little sacrifice. Mom-and-pop enterprises chasing the American dream hoped to find a niche in their neighborhoods — and if they were lucky, in their communities — that would draw customers and keep the cash registers ringing. Anything more than word-of-mouth marketing was an afterthought for many and a luxury for most.
Sounds like a story set in the dark ages, right?
If only. Although our increasingly global economy has today’s entrepreneurs targeting customers outside their ZIP code, a startling number of them still remain focused on managing day-to-day operations rather than sharing information about their products and services with the world.
Case in point: Almost half of small businesses in the United States did not have websites in 2014, according to data released in December by SCORE, a Virginia-based association that provides workshops, counseling, and mentoring for would-be entrepreneurs.
Yes, in today’s ultra-competitive marketplace, which practically demands that all businesses do anything possible to get customers’ attention, 49 percent of small firms haven’t bothered to create an online presence — despite the fact that 97 percent of consumers search online for products and services.
The money left on the table (or more likely, handed over to competitors) is mind-boggling. It’s little wonder only half of new businesses survive five years or longer.
Of course, running a small business is no less demanding now than it was before the Internet made everything instantly accessible. But you can’t win if you don’t play, and experts like The Web Guys are here to get you in the game.
Although big companies with big budgets will always be able to outspend the little guys, the Internet can be a great equalizer. A well-designed website with clear, concise content and a strong marketing strategy will produce results, regardless of the size of the business behind it.
Not just any website will succeed, however, and SCORE’s research suggests that most existing small-business sites still have room to improve. Its findings, culled from several sources, include some surprising statistics:
- 93 percent of sites are not mobile friendly.
- 70 percent don’t have a call to action.
- 27 percent don’t provide a telephone number.
The fact of the matter is, you can have the best-run business with the most loyal group of completely satisfied customers possible, but you still have to spread the word if you want to grow.
And in this day and age, that means having a website. You can’t afford not to.
For help building a site that will succeed, contact us at (317) 805-4933. The Web Guys provides digital marketing and Web design to help businesses of all sizes get noticed online.