E-BUSINESS E-SSENTIAL FOR SMALL
By Frances McGuckin
e-commerce becomes the focus of
doing business, the question arises
as to just how e-ssential an e-
presence is for small businesses.
Should the local plumber or a horse
breeder have an Internet presence?
There is no doubt that having an
e-presence makes a difference as
to how potential clients view your
business. It seems that everyone
who is serious about their business
has a www.com address. Our new age
of fast communication has changed
the way we do business to a behind-the-desk,
keyboard, search-the-Web and answer
In fact, many people now request
that you correspond by e-mail rather
than by telephone. An e-mail can
be printed off and a record of the
contents kept on file, whereas messages
are often forgotten.
There are many benefits to having
a Web site and being e-connected,
but your first step is to identify
who your market is and whether a
Web site will draw in more business.
Otherwise, it can become an extremely
expensive e-toy. And you certainly
shouldn't blow your whole marketing
budget on a Web site. To reach your
market, you must use a mix of marketing
methods, including the print media.
There are also many business directory
sites, chamber of commerce sites
and a myriad of e-commerce sites
that will list your business. As
these sites receive high-volume
traffic, your chances of being found
could be greater than your own stand-alone
Having a Web site allows you to
silently market your business twenty-four-hour-seven.
You can use the Internet to research
potential clients, e-mail them with
a personal introductory e-letter,
asking them to look at your site.
Your site should contain corporate,
contact and user information, client
testimonials, and product or service
information. This allows the surfer
to research your company and make
their decision from there. It is
a cheap form of marketing to the
whole world-if that's who your market
Small service industries still rely
heavily on the Yellow Pages, and
rightly so. That's where the average
consumer looks for a plumber or
an electrician. But a horse breeder
could be wise to have an Internet
presence, as equine enthusiasts
will travel afar to find the right
E-business is here to stay, so carefully
assess the benefits versus the costs.
It could open up a whole new world
for your business-or eat a large
hole into your cash-flow.
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