After Covid-19, this is now a rhetorical question for small business owners with brick and mortar stores.
I started writing this post before the start of the Covid-19 pandemic but could not seem to finish it. Revisiting it this week, some six weeks after the declaration of a national emergency and the beginning of shelter in place, it is in my mind, a rhetorical question. Virtually every existing business, large and small, has had to pivot to use the internet to connect with and inform their customers.
If you thought that your brick and mortar business did not need a website before this crisis, you will need to rethink your position?
If you are not prepared to pivot, adapt, reach, and touch your customer or clients, your business will get increasingly difficult? The reality is that all the work you have done to build your business may be sitting on shaky ground because your customers cannot reach you. That’s tough to accept.
Just the same, this is not the time to lament or get down on yourself. It is time, however, to think about and plan for the next dramatic change in the business or economic climate of our world. And if the recent events have not brought it home to you, it is time to think about getting your business online and creating a platform that reflects your brand. The reasons why have not changed, they are just more urgent in 2020 as we unwind from the most dramatic change that the business community and this country have seen in the last 60 years.
Why does my brick and mortar business need a website? Here are the key reasons to consider:
- Your customers and potential customers can find you. They were looking for you during the crisis, and you were nowhere to be found.
- It makes you look real – credible, modern, and maybe even the substantial business you are or want to be.
- You can tell the world why you are good at what you do and why you are qualified to ask for their business.
- You get to showcase the best of you and what you offer.
- It’s an investment in your business that will pay multiple dividends in the next few years.
- Here is the bad news for the real diehards. Consumers don’t use the printed yellow pages to find your type of business anymore. According to recent studies by Salesforce, over eighty-seven percent of today’s consumers search on the internet for the products and services they need. And, they are connecting with those businesses. And increasingly, that includes B2B business purchases.
- And yes, even though you may have all the business you need today, you need to talk to your customers regularly, so they will be there during good and bad times in the future. And, it should happen in a forum like your website that you control. Social media posts are great and have a place in your business marketing. Still, they should not be “your” business marketing. You need a platform where you can control the message and the branding of that message without unwanted advertising interruptions.
So what’s next?
- Decide that it is time to move your business and marketing online.
- Determine your level of commitment. Are you most comfortable trading for time or money. You can decide on the DYI role. I will save money and use my time and build it myself. Or, find a Web Designer that will help you to get your website up and running. Yes, this option costs money, but it could save you loads of time that you can apply to expand your business and talk to your new customers.
- Research to find an option that works well for your organization. Some options that are easier and less costly to implement include platforms such as WordPress (we can help here) or Squarespace (or here). Take a look around at websites that appeal to you and identify the best way to showcase your business online.
- Decide to start.
- Get started.
- Stay with it. Don’t stop until your website has been built and is helping you to grow your business online and offline.
These six steps seem like a simple plan. And it is. The reality for most of us is that our best intentions are stuck on the treadmill of procrastination. Whether we are developing a new idea or striking out in a new direction, it never gets off the ground simply because we don’t get started. So, begin. Today. Start with Step 1.