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National and Global, United States

Monday, November 2, 2009

Do I Really Need a Website?

Is a web site really a necessity for a business owner? I'm not certain that the answer is 'yes'. We don't have one. Used to. It didn't do much for our business, since our practice is really one of relationships...not web presence. And we deal in technology issues, as part of our offering. In fact, about 60% of small business owners do not have a web site.

Are those small business owners as naive as some very smart and witty technologists believe? I don't think so. Why? Because millions of business owners may know something that we're not prepared to admit. Some people don't really need a Web site at all. Oh sure, if you're in the Internet porn business, or sell things online, then this is an entirely different story. Or if you're looking to replace all of your marketing materials and send prospects and customers online to learn in detail about your products and services, then it makes sense to a have a full-fledged site. Or if you're going to use your site to provide customer service, manuals, videos, and a knowledge base, you'll want a vehicle to do this. A Web site's great for you, too.

However, many of the business owners I know—those pathetic, dismal, wretched losers don't necessarily have those needs. They are like us, consultants, gas station owners, restaurateurs, insurance agents, shopkeepers. They're CPAs, architects, plumbers, and electricians. They're not selling books online or running auctions. They're not distributing software or hosting phone services. They're not complex. They are ok without a web site.

If I want gasoline, I don't check out the Shell Oil site. A sandwich? I just go there. Most people who get on the podium for web sites, are the ones who....well... create the sites. Web sites are not an absolute given for your business to succeed.
In fact, in some cases, it could even be a burden: the costs, the attention, the Flash!

I don't really want to be 'cool and hip' by having my own web site. I'd rather be successful. And I'm not so sure that a web site necessarily adds to that success.
Then again, maybe it does. The fact is, I conduct relatively sophisticated business consulting and Interim Management without a web site. And I'm still 'cool and hip'...maybe.

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