Some small businesses didn’t always have to compete against giant corporations. At one time, they were the main hub for products in town. For instance, during the days of black and white television and phonographs (before the cassette players for music), Bob’s Butcher Shop was the only place in the neighborhood to get fresh cuts of steak and pork chops. Small businesses were the heartbeat of the neighborhood. Who could forget about Papa Lucci’s Pizza on 4th street or the burgers and fries by the jukebox at the Miller’s Malt Shop? Small business challenges back then could have been keeping up with the demands of consumers. However, as time went on and the business world changed, the growing shadow of challenges became the competition. Big huge corporations and franchise chains became the big boys on the block. In current times, Papa Lucci must compete with Papa John’s and Pizza Hut. Bob’s Butcher Shop must compete with Walmart and other supermarket chains.
This doesn’t mean doom and gloom for the business. It is just a challenge. Thanks to the age of the internet, small businesses can take advantage of a leveled playing field. It doesn’t require an extra business degree or special college-level certifications and licenses. A person who owns a small business doesn’t even need a physical building these days. With the presence of the internet, Mary who owns a specialty cards business can work completely out of her home office if she prefers. Anyone who has a small budget can start a business and gradually grow it into an empire whether or not they choose to have a staff. In some cases and depending on the niche and creative vision of the entrepreneur, there are opportunities available to start a business with zero capital, no help and no experience with nothing more than a simple blog. All of the examples in the opening of this document and the claims in this paragraph are in support of the most exciting truth that anyone can apply and capitalize on. It is the fact that every small business should have a website. With a website, they can harness the potential to see limitless success thanks. It doesn’t need to (and certainly cannot) be guaranteed. Besides, the performance of a website is affected differently by different design constructs (Auger 2005). It only needs to be possible. Why? The possibilities are endless.
There are many reasons why a small business should have a website. The reasons correspond to exactly what the benefits are. Aside from the most obvious stump of competition, small businesses have geographical limitations. As an example, Nina’s Hair Salon on 18th street may only be able to get clients from people who live on that side of town. Most of her clients will likely come from friends and family members of satisfied clients. She might be doing well in year six of her business. The nearest competitor might be the JCPenny hair salon at the mall 10 minutes away. That is perfectly fine because her target audience might be the African American community who regularly come to her business for braids, extensions and perms. She plays the music they like and all is wonderful in Nina’s land. What are her limitations? There are two. First, Nina doesn’t have a website and she is missing out on extra profit potential. Secondly, if Nina doesn’t open her hair salon due to a snow storm, she doesn’t bring in earnings for the day or week of being closed. If she had a website, it would be operating 365 days per year and ready to pull in extra cash, new subscribers and start social buzz. Social networks will play a key role in the future of marketing (Harris 2009) and should not be overlooked.
Small businesses have to simply think big if they want bigger income than what is typically considered to be small business profits. This is not to assume that all small businesses are struggling, slouching with low profits or are unsuccessful. This is only expressing a clear point that small businesses should have a website for every reason that medium and large companies have a website. There is no reason why a business with only one owner and 2 employees cannot earn six or seven extra figures each year. Size essentially doesn’t need to matter with the dawn of the internet. An imposing weather is not the only reason why a small business should have a website. Having a website allows for reaching, obtaining and serving customers from distant locations with a simple video or free ebook. Using Nina’s hair salon as an example, people in her neighborhood can share her website address with family members who live out of town. People in New York who are a 3 hour flight away from Nina, can view the video of her braiding session and watch her use a special cream in the client’s hair. They can see the resulting shine and beautiful style. Next, they can click on the words Organic Olive Oil Cream in the small paragraph right under the video and be taken right over to the website to purchase that cream for their own hair. This generates a commission for Nina because she became an affiliate with that product. New Yorker’s might visit Nina’s hair salon. Yet, they can buy that cream which worked so well in the video on Nina’s website and generate limitless commissions for her business.
In conclusion, all of this means that ‘small’ in small business no longer means small impact, small reach or small sales. Today most order taking and sales functions can be automated through a simple website shopping cart that will track inventory too (Fox 2008). This means potential to make sales on products that complement all services. Through affiliations with companies like Amazon.com and Google.com, Nina’s website can earn money from ads placed next to her articles or hair care books and hair dryers sold through Amazon. The secret is in first understanding the fundamentals of marketing (Chia 2008). It is also a good idea to give away something for free, like an ebook. In fact, Dr. R. Wilson said it best when he explained, “Free attracts eyeballs. Eyeballs then see other desirable things that you are selling, and, presto! You earn money”( 2005). After generating consistent traffic, the sky is the limit. A website can turn on a faucet of exposure and additional profit potential.
Auger, P, (April 2005), "The Impact of Interactivity and Design Sophistication on the Performance of Commercial Websites for Small Businesses", Journal of Small Business Management, vol. 43. 2, pp.119-137.
Chia, E, (2008), How I Made My First Million on The Internet and How You Can Too!, Morgan James Publishing LLC.,New York.
Fox, S, (2008), Click Millionaires: Work Less, Live More with an Internet Business You Love, Edition of book, Morgan James Publishing LLC.,New York.
Harris, L. Rae, A. (2009), "Social networks: the future of marketing for small business", Journal of Business Strategy, vol. 30. 5, pp.24-31.
Wilson, Dr., R, (2005), The Six Simple Principles of Viral Marketing , Web Marketing Today. Available from: , : http://library.softgenx.com/Children/marketing/ViralMarketing.pdf [Accessed: Dec 9, 2013].