In Business? 10 Reasons Why You Need a Website -- Now!

1) Word of Mouth
The single most powerful form of new business creation is word of mouth. Your past customers, friends, acquaintances and staff aren't likely to carry your brochure or even your business card everywhere they go. The can however carry your domain name, in their heads! Every time they have a conversation that leads to your kind of business they just quote your simple domain name. You've chosen a simple domain name of course, easily remembered, easily spelt and requiring no explanation. For that reason avoid hyphenated names.

2) Cost Effective
Have you ever produced a colour printed brochure or other printed promotional material? expensive isn't it? When you have a web site created you may consider that expensive too. Hang on, make the comparison. A web site is a full colour brochure for your business. Unlike a printed brochure it never gets lost or put in the bin and you never have to go to your printer and pay for more. If things change or you are able to offer new products or services alterations to your web site can be made instantly and relatively cheaply too. You wed site is available in pristine condition, 24 hours a day to anyone in the world. You can even replace your printed brochure with a CD of your web site.

3) Lower Advertising Costs
Any honest advertising expert will tell you that small and often is better than big and seldom. Would you spend your advertising budget on one big ad published once? Of course not because that approach just doesn't work. So how do you communicate all of your key benefits "small and often". When you have a web site it's a lot easier. Reduce column inches and air time by using just one effective message and promoting your wed site address for more details.

4) Interactivity
You web site is alive! It can do so many things that printed materials simply can't. Above all your customers and potential customers can communicate at their convenience, even while you are asleep or your business premises are closed. You return to hot enquiries. Your site can also be set for you to see who's online in real time. You can even offer live help online to visitors who are in your site.

5) Customer Retention
You can maintain customer relationships efficiently as your site acquires subscribers and customers who opt in to be informed of developments, new products and services available, special offers and industry news. You grow a database of customers and potential customers and communicate with them quickly and directly. You database becomes an integral part of your business helping you to build strong, loyal customer relationships and repeat business.

6) Catchment Reach
Without the internet you find you business constrained to your locality either by it's physical location or the prohibitive costs of reaching a wider audience or both. These constraints are broken by the internet. You may be based in London and there may well be potential customers in Edinburgh, Manchester, Birmingham or even Milan, New York and Shanghai. How else can your messages reach them cost effectively? With your web site you call the tune. You can target locally, regionally, nationally or globally regardless of your physical location. The chains are finally broken.

7) Easy Customer Entry
Potential customers aren't always too confident about stepping over the threshold of a shop let alone knocking on your office door. Your web site removes any anxiety that potential customers may feel. They aren't going to face their perceived demons on your web site, no possibility of over bearing sales staff, no risk of embarrassment and no feelings of guilt if you don't have what they want and they have to leave. Your web site helps you to focus on genuinely interested customers that you are able to help.

8) Reduced Stock Holding
If you have a shop or any business supplying physical product you know that in general you can't sell what you don't have. The internet offers a big difference. If you are in the kind of business where your suppliers can deliver goods to you quickly you can leave the stock holding to them. Equally you may be in a business where a delivery period is the expected norm, say fitted kitchens or sofas. Again your site can show your wares virtually and you needn't have these costly items actually in stock, just available in a reasonable time.

9) Level Paying Field
You have a credible business with great products and services and a passion for customer service but you're small. Nothing wrong with that but customer perception is important. You know you can do as good a job or better than the big boys but your shop is on a back street or your office is on the 7th floor is a small provincial town. None of this is an issue on the internet. Your web site can be as sophisticated as any competitor and can project your true business image rather than the image that your surroundings may suggest. Your web site can communicate who you really are or who you truly aspire to be.

10) Passive Income
You're only human. You can't be ready to do business 24/7. You have to eat, sleep, relax and do other things too. Your web site doesn't. Your web site is actively selling and growing your business every minute of every day. If you sell goods directly from your site your balance is growing whilst you're asleep. You wake up to orders in the book and cash in the bank.

Malcolm Cooper is a UK web designer based in Gloucestershire. Malcolm also owns and operates one of the largest online jewellry stores in the UK and applies that knowledge and experience in providing web services to other small and medium sized businesses.

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