Starting a business, what are the benefits of developing a website?


Recently I was talking to a friend (Robert) who started his own business in Oxnard, CA and as we talked about an online presence for his new business, he asked me very interesting questions that are common to many new business owners. 

Robert said "I have never had a site or domain, and only use the Internet for informant search and some shopping(personal).

I really haven't explored the use of the net for more than that.  

My business is a DBA right now, but my goal is to grow into a reputable pool service business focusing on weekly maintenance and minor repairs.

I would like to know What are the benefit you see or thing that would help me in the pool service by developing a website?"

Robert like thousands of Small Business Owner (SBO) find themselves asking the same question, on top of hundred other questions and decisions they have to take in the frst months of starting a business.

So let me get to the point...

There is NO benefit for developing a website.

There IS a benefit in engaging and informing your customers.

Many business owners jump into "developing" a website, and resort to use self-services like wix, webs, weebly and other similar sites that offer free website builders. SBO would spend hours and days learning how to use the site, and some become experts and awesome developers of sites, but is it worth it? Well generally NO, SBO's first objective is to get their business on the right track and time spent on "developing" a site is time taken away from putting the business on the right track.  And you now what happens when the SBO finishes "developing" the website? They realize that the tools they need for attracting leads are not there, require a new set of learning and time, so eventually will drop out of trying!!

A good "website" as it is commonly called, and to which I prefer to call "presence", should mirror your business, and of course has information about you and your business, where it is, what it offers, etc.. (minus the flaming logo from 1990's) it should be mobile and social media ready, but it also has tools that you need now to build your customer base, acquire leads and much more.

Your business also needs tools that go with that presence, you will need a place for your customers to post their reviews and testimonials, you need a way to communicate to your customers via social media, sms and email, you need to list products and services, and the list goes on...  Your goal should be on engaging and informing you customers, and combining your digital with print media to create a buzz about your service that generate feedback and leads.

But wait a minute! This is too much to ask from an SBO to absrob and become competent in, on top of their goal to drum up sales, which leads us back to the original question. How do I benefit from all of this, and will the benefits be worth my investment in time and money?

As SBO you will reap the benefit of online presence, but that does not happen overnight and it should not be on the expense of your time. Seek  help and let experts do the work for you, it is not time to be super hero and learn everthing, because the Internet changes at higher rates than you can consume information, while your business needs your attention now. On the other hand, by not engaging customers, you are left behind struggling to get ahead, so start early but do not do it all yourself.  Stay focused on on your business, have experts help on a budget that you can afford.

Adonis El Fakih is CEO of Ayna Corporation, a company that helps business owners use digital tools to maximize the value for their business by managing its online presence, social media communication and reputation. Ayna also provides training and eduction for SBO so eventually they take over the management of their digital business if they wish to do so.


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