Small businesses need to be online

Small businesses need to be online

RESEARCH has shown that more than half of Australia’s small and medium businesses do not have a website, yet a similar percentage of consumers will refuse to use a company that does not have an online presence.

The simple conclusion to be drawn from this is that any small enterprise looking to thrive in today’s interconnected world should have, or at least consider getting, a business website.

The Telstra Small Business Intelligence Report found that of the 2.1 million small and medium businesses in Australia, 58 per cent still do not have a website.

When you consider that the same findings stated that 48 per cent of customers won’t consider buying from a business unless they have an online presence, the case for a website becomes compelling.

First, there’s the need to be found online.

The ability to deliver a quality service is of limited use if prospective customers cannot find the business.

A well-designed website, complemented by a presence on relevant social media platforms, increases the prospects of attracting clientele as well as presenting a professional image.

The absence of a business website can raise unwelcome questions.

Does your business struggle with technology?

Is the business so new it doesn’t have a website or a proven track record?

Or are you so cash-strapped that you can’t afford a website?

While there is a cost to set up a website, it compares favourably to the ongoing expenses involved in other traditional marketing techniques.

Print and broadcast media, flyers, advertising signage, and online advertising are all beneficial but can be expensive recurring expenses out of reach of many small businesses.

Last year, Australians spent almost $29 billion on online shopping, with this figure expected to exceed $35 billion by 2021.

As of February 2019, 81 per cent of people in Australia were shopping online.

For most small businesses, this growing market is too big to ignore.

While not every business can or does sell their services or products directly online, most can find, capture and nurture prospective customers online and then convert them offline.

As a minimum, a business website should outline the available products and services; include content and images that are engaging and relevant to the target audience; have a clear call to action; and provide contact details.

The Small Business Development Corporation offers a range of online and in-person services to help small business owners unlock their potential through marketing.

Online and printed resources provide step-by-step guidance, while separate workshops cover the introductory and more advanced aspects of online marketing.

Visit smallbusiness.wa.gov.au/business-advice/small-business-workshops for more information.