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Modernism. Post-modernism. 21st century has proved that even when we know that the real is not the virtual, they’re both pretty close to each other, mostly when it comes to small businesses and its development. I just used the word “Mostly” without exaggerating.
A small business is conceived as a strong, not-so-big tower that has to grow brighter –as bright as it can– when it shows itself to the rest of the world. It must have an actual face not to look shady in front of its possible customers. This actual face is an effective website and an e-mail address, at least, but it’s not enough. To get a wider outreach online, a small business needs to have a presence in every single part of social media. That’s the way it really can interact with the people that might turn into its consumers. Placing a small business online with accuracy is the first big step to success. I’m not just recommending something: online presence is a necessary, basic skill that a small business must deal with.
Some time ago, back in college, I met two girls who started a small business selling handmade necklaces and earrings. They didn’t have a Facebook account or any other social media account, but they had two e-mail addresses. They went on by sending pictures of the necklaces and the earrings together with a lovely message related to Valentine’s Day. During a couple of weeks they sold around 200 necklaces and 150 earrings, and it only took them 50 messages sent by e-mail. Was it easy? No, it wasn’t. They had to craft more items than they owned in the first place, and they spent many nights making agreements online with customers abroad. Eventually, they found success. Short success, actually. They finished their career at college and never went back to their small business because they wanted to pursue their professional careers, which had nothing to do with business. Anyway, I’m giving this example as an explanation of how you can get help from online presence without making huge efforts. Those two girls only had two e-mail addresses and they found success. What if they had used other social media to promote their small business? The answer is easy: they’d have been even more successful.
Online search engines like Google or Yahoo are helpful, too. If a small business has just arranged a new website, it obviously has many more chances to be found by potential customers. This happens because, as you already know, nowadays customers feel more comfortable buying while lying on their beds or on their couches. What if they could find you online 24/7? What if you could keep track of each person who visits your website? It’s easier and more useful than you think.
Being a person and not using social media to interact with other people is understandable. It’s a common behavior. But having a business is an entirely different kind of situation.
If you can’t afford an office in a building, that’s ok. At first, your website becomes your own office and you don’t even need to be there all of the time.
When you have an actual face online to show your small business to other people, it makes potential customers think of you as a real, up-to-date business, which is willing and able. So, put your small business online because that’s the first place where it should be.