What would you think of a business offering an important service or product, but did not have a website? Your first thought might be, why don’t they have a website? You may even suspect that they are unprofessional. Unfortunately many small business owners offering quality services and products lose credibility, and clients, as a result of neglecting to represent their businesses through the Internet. GoodAccountants.com wants to underscore the importance of having a website and, through its $25,000 Business Plan Contest, will award $25,000 to a small business owner or entrepreneur who decides to create one.
In order to fully qualify for the contest a small business owner or entrepreneur has to purchase a website from as low as $149 and submit a 1 to 2 page “executive summary” describing an idea for a new start-up business or for expanding or improving an existing one. Business owners can still qualify even if they already have a website, by making a purchase of any one of several other designated services or products such as obtaining high speed internet for their business or home or obtaining payroll services for their employees. They may also qualify by incorporating a business entity for as little as $99.
Without Internet Presence For Your Business Who Are You?
Ten years ago a business “may” have gotten away with not having a website. However, Electronic Commerce has exploded the old paradigm and most if not all conglomerates are represented on the Internet. And for good reason. In just a few years, the Internet has changed the way we communicate and do business. It’s a way to quickly find what we need and provide information. Most consumers expect businesses to have an Internet presence. Discovering that your business doesn’t have one could rightly or wrongly leave potential clients wondering who you are; they may ultimately decide to expunge any doubts by shopping elsewhere.
Why Don’t You Have a Website Already?
The highly esteemed American economist Theodore Levitt presciently coined the term “globalization” and provided deep insight that said, “the purpose of a business is to create and keep customers.” Even with the current recession, there is no better time to leverage the power of the Internet to do just that, especially for small business owners. Having a website can afford the business owner a level playing field when it comes to competing with larger companies. Someone doing research could find that the smaller company has exactly what they’re looking for. Having a website means being available at all times, even on holidays. It could represent the virtual handshake and the “pre-sell” of a product or service before a single word is spoken between client and business owner.
One of the biggest challenges for small business owners is getting their story out to the public. A website address can appear on almost anything. Adding a website address to flyers and business cards can encourage potential clients to explore the website, generating interest that could result in follow-up action. All products and services can be listed on a website, allowing for greater description and possible changes, while incurring far less costs as opposed to maintaining printed catalogs or pamphlets.
In our ever-changing world, we all are looking to do things faster, as well as more efficiently and conveniently. A website takes into consideration the incredible demands that work, family and friends have on people’s lives. The fact that a website is available at any time creates the potential for continuous sales from anywhere in the world. In addition, while offices are closed, a website allows potential clients to contact the business through e-mail or subscribe to a newsletter. Adding a “testimonial” page provides references and reassurance to potential clients, and could mean the difference to completing a sale. With the right website, there are unlimited ways a business owner can generate clients and revenue.
Why You Must Have a Professional-Looking Website to Succeed
It may sound like common sense, but many small business owners don’t understand what goes into creating a professional website. As the Internet continues to evolve and more people realize the potential for monetization, thousands of websites are popping up every day. Many of these sites are basically carbon copies shuffled off to unsuspecting business owners who are counting on the successful launch of their business. Except for a few color scheme changes, nothing screams “amateur!” more than a website that is exactly the same as the one a prospective client may have just left. As people become savvier, they are spotting these copy-cat sites with greater proficiency, and a small business owner can be blacklisted if caught with one of these paltry concoctions.
Sending your customers to an undeveloped or partially developed website can prove worst than not having a website at all. Having an undeveloped or partially developed website can make a potential customer conclude your business is still in its start-up stage and is not yet fully established. It can also mean the difference between closing the deal and losing a sale if your customers conclude your business is struggling to get off the ground.
“Many entrepreneurs or business owners sometimes are so anxious to get going and begin making sales they often make the mistake of putting up a single web page with a ‘Currently Under Construction’ sign on it which really does not help them,” says Norman Deane, Director of Marketing for GoodAccountants.com. “Many of the accountants we work with have websites that we literally dread sending a prospective client to because we know it will be the ‘kiss of death’ for our referral.”
A poorly designed website can cause irreparable damage to a business owner’s credibility. In the customer’s mind, he’s thinking: shoddy website…they can’t possibly have anything of value to offer me. Your website may very well be the first impression a potential customer experiences and can torpedo a thoughtful, well-spoken sales pitch.
Website development and hosting has become so affordable today that the proposition of conducting business without the benefit of Internet presence is inexcusable. Websites are now available through GoodAccountants.com for as low as $149 with monthly hosting plans beginning as low as $9.99 per month.
Keeping Sight of the Big Picture
While GoodAccountants.com is a huge proponent of Internet presence and the creation of quality websites for all business owners, it is an even a bigger advocate for the overall success of the small business owner and entrepreneur, especially during this season of economic uncertainty. If some business owners are not ready to create a website, or willing to modify or upgrade an existing one, they can still qualify for the $25,000 prize by ordering payroll services or incorporating a business or by obtaining high speed internet services for their business or home. The official contest details can be found here.
According to Peter Drucker, the father of modern management, who long ago saw the trends in business development which still resonate today, “Wherever you see a successful business, someone once made a courageous decision.” Whether deciding to get a website, or opting for payroll services, or incorporation or none of the above, the choice to become a business owner or entrepreneur is courageous in its own right. And the $25,000 Business Plan Contest, if nothing more is a supportive nod to that courage.
This article was written by Omar Reed, a freelance business writer and financial analyst