Why do small businesses need a website?

Why do small businesses need a websiteI can’t even count how many times I’ve been asked the simple question “Why does my small business need a website?”  Ironically, it’s a simple question to answer and it’s one of those types of questions that is most effectively answered with another question: “How do you choose which companies you do business with?”

After an individual answers this question, I encourage them to perform an exercise.  This exercise can be performed any time, any place but best done where they typically make decisions of this type.  I ask them to setup a camcorder and record the entire exercise so that we can review it together.

This exercise has absolutely no rules, no time limit and only a few simple steps:

  1. Identify 3 products or services that you will likely purchase in the next 1-3 months
  2. Using whatever resource you typically would, start your research today (e.g. phone, yellow pages, Internet, etc.)
  3. Once you are done narrowing down your options for these 3 products or services, document your decision

That’s it!  It really is that simple.  Go ahead and do the exercise now.  Document your results and compare them to ours.  You’ll see that they’ll be exactly the same.

So, what were our results? What did these individuals learn? Out of 11 individuals who performed this exercise, 29 of 33 decisions started with a simple search on the Internet.  Within mere minutes the majority of decisions were narrowed down to between 2 or 3 options and some decisions were even completed.  In more than half of these cases, the products or services that these individuals were seeking were not sold online, but, the information that they found was still absolutely vital in helping them to make their decisions.

Even if you don’t sell products or services online, it is where
the majority of customers decisions are initiated.

Furthermore we learnt how narrow our attention span is and how critical it is to be able to find answers to our questions quickly and efficiently.  Most decisions resulted in a handful of options within a few minutes and were quickly narrowed down to 1 or 2 options within a few minutes more.  Each site visited was given an average of 27.7 seconds of attention to make its sales pitch and then the decision makers moved on.  We also noticed that any website that was not visually appealing or easy to use gave us a bad first impression and was closed within 7 seconds or less in all scenarios.What did we learn from reviewing the camera footage together?   We quickly learnt that the majority of decisions, even our own are made online.  We are both privileged to witness how vital first impressions really are.  We’re all taught not to judge a book by its cover, not to make a snap judgment but we all do it.  The Internet is just too convenient to move onto the next option, because, well… there’s always another option.  Worst of all, a bad first impression lasts a lot l0nger than a good one… possibly forever.

It’s actually better to have no website at all than to
have one that makes your business look bad.

Finally, in 30 of 33 decisions we also learnt that we only really considered the options from the first page of search results.  Only in 3 scenarios were the results on subsequent pages even considered.

The truth is that by watching yourself perform your own decision making, a cataclysmic transformation in the way that you think will occur. You will no longer question why your business needs a website.  You will quite literally now be questioning why you were questioning it before.  Not only that,  you will also understand how absolutely critical it is that your website is built with quality, care and an understanding that practically everyone makes snap judgments which significantly influence where they will obtain the products and services that they require and you’ll take action today.

I can already visualize the paper in front of you, it’s got three action items on it:

  1. Get a website (get started)
  2. Make sure it’s visually appealing and quick and easy to find information (get started)
  3. Work towards getting on page 1 of search engine results (get started)

Good for you!  Now that you truly understand the power of the Internet and how it can quite literally be the difference between making a living and leading your industry, it’s time to get to work!  I don’t even need to say it because you’re already on your way to the start but in case you haven’t… get ready, get set, go!

Brent Mondoux
CEO, N-VisionIT Interactive

Ottawa web design

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