Based on a very non-scientific poll of small business people that I've come into contact with over the past year, I am convinced that far too many small business owners are living in a fog when it comes to building a business with the help of the Internet.
I shouldn't be stunned...but I am.
Over the past several months our agency has been contacted by four business owners who have called us about building for them...a website. We always follow up. However, none of these projects have moved forward. They are, weeks and months later, still "thinking about it".
It gets worse.
I know of at least three family owned business ventures here in Des Moines that are failing or close to failing. In each instance, I have gone to them and offered our help. Each of these three companies have been in business for years but none have a web presence..and what is worse...each of them have products they could sell on-line and ship easily. But they resist and find every excuse under the sun not to move forward.
So, I've come to the conclusion that for as many of us who "get it" when it comes to buying and selling using the Internet there are hundreds of companies that fail to see the reality in on-line sales and marketing.
So, what can we do?
Small business owners are, for the most part, struggling just to keep up with the day-to-day operation. Getting into social media, websites and e-commerce seems like too much work and too much "witchcraft". Who can educate them? Who can tell them it's safe? Who can show them and share with them how to become better, attract more customers and connect with their current consumer base?
Their trade organizations, the local Chamber of Commerce, those of us in advertising and marketing. Members of organizations want and need more than a ribbon cutting. Those organizations need to put off fund raising for themselves and offer their small business members education in web-development, social media and building relationships. And, I'm talking about a coordinated approach, a commitment of time that exceeds a one hour presentation that does more to confuse people than enlighten them.
So, are you up for it? I fear that if not...your small business member will cease to exist and that only hurts everybody.