It’s Small Business, Stupid

A good friend of mine sent me a link to an article by Jeremy Mims the other day. The article, The Web’s Final Frontier, says in part:

Most people eventually understand all the personal reasons to be on the web.

My grandfather has a a Facebook account and knows how to check his stock portfolio. My other grandfather compulsively checks e-mail, reads the Wall Street Journal, and looks at his dubiously factual “news” sites to share conspiracies with the family.

Lloyd’s four-year-old daughter took to his iPad like she’d been born to use it. Once she learned how to use “The Big iPhone” and snuck a peek at his iTunes password, she promptly downloaded every application related to princesses and unicorns.

But small businesses are still behind. Way behind.

I agree. To say that small and mid-sized businesses don’t realize they need to be on the web may be an understatement. I’ve approached numerous shop owners who legitimately sell tangible goods and they don’t want a website. They want nothing to do with it and I’m baffled to think how they do much of anything at all. I know I might be in the minority (for now), but who doesn’t go online to find something they want first?

Even the small businesses, the ones that sell tangible goods at least, that do want websites don’t want to sell anything on them and then everyone scratches their head wondering why their website isn’t doing anything for them. Or they don’t want to publish prices or contact information. Would you go to Amazon.com just to look at pictures and manufacturer’s descriptions of products knowing you couldn’t buy anything from them? Of course not, so why do you think you can buck the trend?

The article goes on to say that businesses are only starting to realize the web’s importance because of services like Yelp, which is a great service. They’re noticing because Yelp is destroying some businesses with bad reviews. I used Yelp to find a hair salon near Beech Grove, Indiana the other day with fair prices. A lot of salons had MySpace pages as their websites, which to me seems tacky and unprofessional — not the kind of place I want to trust my hair to. MySpace and Facebook pages are not websites, nor should they be construed as such.

Getting and maintaing a website doesn’t have to be hard, that’s why we’re here and if you’ll take our advice to heart, you can be remarkable, too.

2 Comments

  1. Really enjoying reading your iOS journey, Justin, and eager to hear how you’re making out. I’m in exactly the same boat as you — no Objective C knowledge, trying to grind through with a book and the Stanford course. Like you, I keep getting hugely frustrated, and I’m close to biting the bullet and trying to teach myself C before I get any more confused. Did you ever crack open the book off Amazon? Helpful?

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