Power Networking Business News: All small businesses can benefit from being on the Net by Kelvin Brown

Friday, April 15, 2005

All small businesses can benefit from being on the Net by Kelvin Brown

All small businesses can benefit from being on the Net by Kelvin BrownCopyright Kelvin Brown 2001 when I mention to a business owner the importance of being on the Internet, I usually get one of three responses (and sometimes all three):

1 I can't afford it.

2 My clients are not on the Net.

3 I can't even use or don't own a computer. Let none of these reasons stand in your way. Your business really should be on the Net.

Please share article this with friends/associates who are business owners, especially those who do not have Net access. So, lets talk about the first reason: I can't afford it. It should be, I can't afford not to be on the Net.

Most of the time when I hear this and probe further, this thought comes from having read or heard about large companies losing millions of dollars. Why? Because that seems to be big news, you just don't often hear about how small companies use the Net successfully, unless they suddenly boost profits by 1,000 percent.

I would like for you to listen in on one of my presentations. Business Person: Okay, Kelvin, so how much will it cost to get started on the Internet? Kelvin: Well, Mr. /Ms. Business Person, it is actually possible to start for no money down and just an hour or so of your time. Business Person: No way. I heard it costs thousands of dollars. Kelvin: Well, it can cost thousands. But you could start by placing free ads on many existing websites, such as Yahoo Classifieds or free listings in web-based directories, such as Google.com, Looksmart.com or Yahoo.com. Kelvin:

You could also place paid ads in Internet directories and newsletters like the www.AfricanAmericanBusinessDirectory.com and www.shopDCmetro.com, for as little as $10. Business Person: Well, Kelvin, you said that I should really have my own website. So, tell me, how much is it really going to cost? Kelvin: Okay Mr. /Ms. Business Person, let’s talk about how you would use the web, and what your budget might be. Is your business service or product oriented? Business Person: Well, it's a little of both; I sell and service heating and air conditioning units.

Kelvin: What is your budget for the Internet? Keep in mind that most of your start-up costs will be in design and setup. After that, your monthly costs will usually just be for hosting, about $40 or less depending on your needs. Business Person: Like I said, my clients aren't even on the Net, so I don't want to spend lot money - Maybe $400 to start and $30 a month. Kelvin is thinking; hmm. This is a test. I know he can afford more, but he is still not sure about this Net thing. So I am going to set his mind at ease.

Kelvin: Mr. /Ms. Business Person, what is your skill level with a computer and on the Internet? Business Person: Like I said, I can barely turn a computer on. When I need something from a computer I usually ask my teenage daughter to help me. Kelvin: Mr. /Ms. Business Person, I have good news; you can still get started for the price range I mentioned earlier. Your daughter should be able to help you with simple updates or changes.

Kelvin: Do you have any idea how you would use the website? Business Person: So I can tell people about my business. What I sell, service and how to find me? Kelvin: Mr. /Ms. Business Person, we are working with a small budget, but we can establish an Internet presence for you by the end of the week. Business Person: You're kidding! Really? And you can do this for $400? Show me.

Kelvin: First, let's review what you already use for print ads: fliers, brochures, newspaper ads, etc. We are going to use your existing materials to make a three-page site for you. The first page will be about what you sell, service and where you are located. The second page will be a little history about you and the business, and the third page will be a FAQ (frequently asked questions) page, with a feedback form.

(Wow! This article is getting longer than I intended. I hope you're still reading. We are almost done.) Business Person: Tell me more about this; what did you call it, FAQ. Kelvin: The FAQ could be your most valuable page.

It could answer current customers’ questions without having to contact you, personally. This saves you phone time and possibly, even, on-site visits. Kelvin: Okay, now we need to talk about registering a domain name for your business, you know a dot com name. I'll choose the name, collect at least 50% of the money up front and deliver the website as promised. Remember the daughter? I asked to have her email me, so that I could verify that she could check email and report it to on a daily basis.

Two weeks later: Business Person: Hey Kelvin, I did as you said and added my website address to my service contracts and voicemail system. I hardly ever get a call about how to change a filter, now. And my daughter added me to a several lists. But, I just wanted to say thanks, and you should be getting calls from a couple of my friends. (End of presentation.) I have had actual presentations like the one you just read. Some businesses have less than $400 to work with. But usually after they become aware of the benefits of being on the Net, they find ways to increase their start-up money. If you have been trying to convince yourself or your friends to get a business website, I hope this helps. Kelvin Brown http://www.blackwebhost.com?newschannel


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