Okay, so you have planned for months, maybe even years and finally you are in control of your own destiny.
You have your service offering, your target market and enough confidence to start trading on your own but where do you find customers?
In the age of mobile applications, search engines and tablets it is highly likely that your potential customers will be looking for your services by searching on-line. According to accounting software giant MYOB, this time last year (August 2011) only 39% of Australian businesses used a website for their business. Now if you don’t have any competition within your industry then not being on-line may not be an issue as you have already cornered the marketplace. However, for those of you with competitors, by having a website your potential customers may actually be able to find your business by the mere fact that you are on-line. For example, there may be 10 businesses which offer the same services as you and by having a website, you could appear ahead of more than half of your competition – even if they have been operating for 15 years. Not bad for a new business!
I’m not guaranteeing that a website will bring you paying customers, but being on-line will allow you the opportunity to showcase your business to potential customers and increase your chances of generating revenue.
The MYOB report also indicated that businesses with a website had an increased revenue (32%) opposed to those businesses without a website (22%). To me, this doesn’t necessarily reflect a greater bottom line as website creation, hosting and management does definitely come at a cost. In some cases, a full-featured website with custom design, including logo and graphics, content writing and several of the common add-ons can take a month or more in development and could typically cost between $2,000 and $5,000. Not to mention any further design changes or additional programming which could easily double or triple this fee. Its definitely not an easy business decision to make before you have paying customers.
For many new business owners, converting their new service or widget into money can be very frustrating and challenging. There are so many options to try and attract new customers (on-line, direct mail, cold calling, referrers, radio, videos or television) it becomes very difficult and confusing what is the best marketing strategy for your business.