If results from a recent survey by MYOB are anything to go by, small business owners are missing out on online opportunities to enhance their business. The survey results, released on 31 March 2009, show more than half (60%) of small business owners surveyed don’t have a business website.
“Use of the internet is high among Australians and, importantly, among consumers. Small business owners are missing valuable opportunities to use the web to promote their business and build their customer base,” explains Tim Reed, CEO of MYOB.
“The web is a critical information and communication platform, an important tool for small businesses, particularly now with the current economic turbulence,” continues Mr Reed.
En Pointe Business Communications Specialist Paul Hurkmans believes that two of the reasons businesses are put off developing a website is costs and confusion.
“Some websites can cost a lot of money to develop but many small businesses don’t need to invest this heavily,” Paul says. “Even a relatively simple business website can make a big impression and help a business promote themselves and win new clients.”
Paul adds that many small business owners also don’t know where to start. “People are put off by jargon and technical details they don’t understand. Details such as HTML, SEO, pay-per-click and keyword analysis might be common language for some people but not for many.
“My advice to small business owners in this situation is to contact a web design company that will speak your language. Also, look for a company that won’t try to sell you a website that costs thousands of dollars and is full of features you don’t need. Web designers should be matching a website to the needs of the business and, most importantly, the needs of the target customers.
MYOB CEO Tim Reed adds, “With the current economic climate, small business owners should be jumping at the cost-effective and scalable opportunities the web offers their business,” says Mr Reed. “The web presents countless sales, marketing and promotional opportunities for small businesses. It is a chance for a small business to create a whole new online ‘face’ for their business,” explains Mr Reed.
“Business owners are incredibly hard working but a website can work even harder. It’s open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and can serve many customers at once. A website is a tireless worker that doesn’t expect overtime.”
Small business owners can use the internet for business advice and tools, their own website, e-commerce (selling online, placing and tracking orders, etc), interacting with customers, managing customer relationships, e-marketing, blogs and forums.
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