I speak to a lot of small business owners.
It’s very common to see a small business have a very limited online presence. If they do have a website, it’s completely outdated and looks like state-of-the-art 1990.
It’s almost as if the Internet doesn’t exist.
But what’s funny, at the same time I see the same business owners using their phones to look for any type of question or information.
Think about how you are currently using the Internet. You have a phone, you probably have a tablet and on average you own a computer. When do you use those devices? All throughout the day. Have a question but don’t know the answer? Grab your phone. Don’t know where to go to eat tonight? Directions to the nearest gas station? I could go on and on. And really, this isn’t news. Not even for an eight-year-old. But what’s strange, is that I’m running into business owners whose businesses are barely online. And if they are online, it’s a pretty embarrassing show of it.
Now, often these businesses are good businesses. They’ve been in business for a while.
Most people have heard the term practice makes perfect. You practice something over and over and you get better at it. My wife and I purchased a bicycle for our son a couple years ago. He’s now four years old. Recently, we were at a gathering with other parents and children. As anyone that has children understands, when you go somewhere and you are going to be there for a while, you had better have something for those children to do. So we usually bring his bike along.
Throughout the gathering our son asks for his bike and I get it out of the truck. No other kids brought a bike and now my son is a celebrity. All the kids are gathered around him. He zips around like second nature. He goes up to a hill, and races down it. No problem. Eventually the other kids want a ride and so my son lets them ride it. One by one each kid gets on the bicycle and is barely able to handle them self. They are shaky and have to keep their feet on the ground. None of them will be able to go down the hill. It’s pretty clear that my son has a lot more experience on a bicycle than they do. The odd thing is most of the kids are older than my son. Now, it’s not that my son is more naturally gifted at riding a bicycle. It’s that he has a lot of experience compared to these kids. An online presence is similar.
The kids that didn’t know how to ride a bike might be extremely gifted and athletic. Given the chance, they may be the most gifted bicycle rider in the world. But, if they never have a bicycle in front of them, they won’t be able to get any better than they are right now.
A business’ online presence is similar.
You could have a good company with zero online presence. No website, nothing.
Meanwhile, a newer mediocre company has an online presence. They have a great looking website they have a presence on every social media network. They just seem to be everywhere. Great reviews, everything.
Who do you think is going to get the opportunity with a prospective customer?
This new mediocre company is going to get every visitor who looks up their particular service or product online. Every time. The good company that has zero online presence is nowhere. How could the prospective customer even find them? The only chance, is by referral. And even then, what happens when that person who was referred decides to look them up online? Instead, he finds this new mediocre company, and they look good. He might just forget about the referral and try out the new company. Either way, the good old company has everything against them in this scenario.
Over time, the new mediocre company could take the good company out of business with a slow drip. The good company might not feel it yet, but the new mediocre company is going to keep coming. Cash flow will improve, they’ll hire better employees and be knocking on their door.
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