As we’ve recently heard, about 40% of small businesses in Ireland don’t have a website. This is a sobering statistic for a nation that is perceived to be at the vanguard of technology and innovation. So whats going on? We’ve met hundreds of small business owners in recent years – through business dealings, networking meetings and other routes. We’re always driven to find out what makes these people tick, so we can learn from them and improve. Most of the folks we interact with are very tech savvy and completely onboard with online promotion. We’ve spoken to some of the people who makeup the 40% and we’re seeing a number of different profiles within this demographic:
Never had a website. Always got on fine without. Doesn’t see any good reason to get one now. Often The Unbeliever will be the first to complain about hard times and the recession, but has difficulties adapting to new ideas and may be fearful of change, unless they can see how necessary change can boost their bottom line.
Uses e-mail sparingly and grudgingly, but prefers phone and mail. It can be scary, the rate at which technology changes. E-mail went from a rarity to near ubiquity in the space of a decade, and for the few who were left behind, picking up new skills can seem daunting. If The Technophobe can grasp the advantages that moderate information technology skills will bring, they’ll usually be open to learning.
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Watches all outgoings carefully, and defers non-essential purchases. While frugality is a necessity in the current economic climate, the old adage still holds true: “You need to speculate to accumulate”. Whether it’s stock, plant, or advertising, a wise investment will be recouped with interest in revenue, and a good website has never been more affordable.
Perpetually “Up the walls”.
Wants a website, but doesn’t have time to get one done. Presumably busy enough to hire someone as part of a time management policy, but too busy to recruit. The Toiler burns the candle at both ends, and needs to take a step back to re-evaluate before something goes badly wrong. A functional website can reduce workload, by giving customers important pre-sales and customer support information.
Every important business decision needs due consideration. The Procastinator takes it to the next level. Decisions are deferred for so long that the game plan has changed by the time the question is revisited. If considering a website, speak to a number of developers to arrive at a specification and a budget. Speak to your accountant, colleagues and friends about the return on investment. If the sums add up, then why wait?
Has been burnt in business, possibly even by a web developer. If The Sceptic is also a Technophobe, it may be very difficult for them to trust a web developer. The Sceptic should speak to a number of web developers, ask for references and look for a contract when commissioning a website. There are cowboys in every line of work, but you can take steps to protect yourself.
Believes that their niche is so specialised that a website will do them no good. The fact is, the world is a big place, and if you do something useful and unique, people will beat a path to your door. A niche specialty should guarantee you the #1 spot in Google.
Works in a common industry and believes that as a small fish in a big pond, a web presence will be useless. The fact is, every business is unique. There will be some combination of specialties, geographic location and other factors that make customers chose that business over other similar businesses. Otherwise the business would go bust. Use a website to capitalise on this uniqueness and recapture business that may otherwise go elsewhere.
For every good reason to decide against an online presence, there’s two reasons to decide in favour of one.
For more great insights check out Ivan’s blog over at spiralli.ie/blog