Do You Need A Website?
I work with people in radically different industries, businesses of all shapes and sizes. I’ve run into some people who don’t have websites – which is totally counter-cultural here in the second decade of the 21st century. The conventional wisdom is that without a website, your business can’t even exist.
But some businesses thrive anyway. How can this be?
Here’s why you DO need a website:
- You need new customers to find you.
- Customers want to find out more about your products, services, or company, and want to conveniently compare you to your competition.
- You want to build an aura of stability, credibility, and professionalism.
- You’d like to maintain relationships with your customers, suppliers or partners in between your regular contacts.
- You need to reach a younger population who go to their phone and the internet as first resources for everything they do.
- You want to keep people updated with new information in an engaging way.
It almost seems as if this includes every business. But here are some great examples of companies that thrive in an off-line world:
I go to a small-town barber, whose advertising consists entirely of a downtown location and word-of-mouth. I’m not even sure that he has voice mail on his wall phone. The business isn’t growing, and that’s just fine with him. He’s having fun, keeping long term relationships, and doing great work.
You run across street vendors – like food trucks and hot dog carts – which are advertised merely by their physical presence. Sure, some now have websites because it’s become quite competitive, but many just live by their wits, talent, and creativity.
I talked with a guy who runs a machine shop which services some of the largest government suppliers in the country. His relationships are developed over many decades of personal interactions, responding to RFPs, and going to the right kinds of industry events. He’s using processes which have been developed over the last century, and it’s only strange outsiders like business coaches who would bother looking him up on a website.
Similarly, I had a great discussion with a gentleman who runs a service which delivers information to airline pilots. Because pilots don’t tend to have internet access while they’re doing their job, his products are based on printing and distributing paper. But we had some great discussion about how those customers rely on their smart phones when they’re on the ground! More and more, cockpits are becoming paperless environments.
I know truck drivers who are independent owner-operators, so they’re one-person businesses. They rely on others to schedule jobs and make contracts with customers, so it’s not important for them to provide a website presence outside that.
I’m not poking fun at these examples – in fact, they’re very real and can be incredibly successful. So here’s some reasons why a website might NOT be valuable for you:
- You’re entirely based on physical presence, and people wouldn’t particularly think to check you out online.
- Your industry has mature and well-established ways of interacting, and doesn’t want to be more open or efficient.
- Your customers are isolated from the internet, or don’t care about it.
- You can 100% rely on key partners to supply your marketing presence.
That said, the number of examples is gradually declining. When your competition finds a way to use websites, social media and smartphone technology to do a better job than you, watch out!
Small Fish Business Coach Fort Collins