Getting Your Business Online — Taking That First Step

As we’ve seen earlier, the majority of people are searching online to find, and quite often discover, businesses and their goods and services. Not being online simply means that your business is losing out big time on this flood of interested and targetted prospects. Meanwhile, your competitors are smiling, at your expense…

Where Is Your Business Now?

(Image credits: Staircase – 123RF Stock Photos; Composite image: Sublime Success Pte. Ltd.)

Staircase showing first steps to getting to the clouds (Web)

All the benefits of being online can only be realized when your business has web presence. For a start, is your company online? If it is, are people able to find it? Are you providing good info and value-add when they interact with your online properties?

If you stumble to answer these simple questions, perhaps this is a timely reminder to review where your business stands in Internet space. And if you have not ventured into the ‘Net, we recommend that you do so with utmost urgency and focus your initial effort on the following aspects:

  • Business website
  • Corporate Email
  • Social Media

These items represent the minimum you should invest in to get your business online. Each plays a significant part in helping you establish meaningful web presence, as explained below.

Note: We have assumed that the small biz owner isn’t quite savvy about these aspects of the Web, preferring to spend time tending to business operations. If you are already in the know, do take our notes as a quick refresher.

Have A Business Website

Websites provide a permanent avenue for businesses to communicate with their audience. They can keep and display pertinent info on goods and services; assist customers; even let them purchase online; and much more. They act as the place to visit when consumers want to keep abreast with your business, especially when they are on the go.

More than that advertisement or listing in traditional media, a website can grow and change as your business evolves. You get to keep things current and relevant, informing your client base of the latest and greatest about your business and how they can benefit. And spring surprises too, so that visitors are engaged and keep returning.

Without a second thought, setting up a business website is a key part in the first step to bringing your business online. Choose a good and relevant domain name to give your site that unique identity which relates strongly to your business. And start telling everyone about your website and get the visitor numbers rolling.

Use Your Corporate Email

Email as a means of communication between people is ubiquitous, convenient and very acceptable. However, there is a distinction between personal Email accounts — free ones like Gmail and Hotmail — and corporate ones which are attached to businesses. Free accounts carry the impression of being casual and aren’t business-like.

Corporate Email projects a different sense of purpose and identity: it speaks of business. It is not unreasonable for people to expect your company to have contact points such as after-sales support (think “support@yourdomain.com”), help lines (help@) and others. Having these communicate your care for customers, that you are accessible to them.

Since any proper biz website will require a domain name and web hosting, make sure you utilize these to create and host your corporate Email accounts. Most times, you get this benefit for free; any incremental cost is likely to be trivial. But the gain for your business is consistency across marketing which serves to promote web presence as well as brand.

Interact With Social Media

As a fun and direct way to stay in touch with your business audience, consider setting up a Facebook Page to market your goods and services. Doing this allows you to strengthen your web presence by reaching more people and earning social proof. We recommend that small businesses do this first.

Of course, if budget permits, get on YouTube and Twitter too. YouTube provides a natural channel to show off your products and also provide training and instructions. As people enjoy watching videos, your business can gain more exposure when you produce and share meaningful content.

Twitter is good if your business provides frequent updates and needs to communicate with users in a timely fashion. Since tweets can get displaced quickly for busy Twitter users, your business may not enjoy much prominence with the occasional broadcast. Out of the three here, Twitter may be least important; plus it’s harder to keep up.

Now, Take That First Step

There you have it, a simplified but very actionable approach to get your business online. It doesn’t get easier than that: Website + Email + Facebook. Plus the outlay is quite low and affordable. And while this may be the initial step, it will go a long way to keep your biz online existence healthy and lasting.

More importantly, this is the crucial step that will help you create web presence if you haven’t already begun to do so. We hope we have made it very clear to you and removed any big obstacle which may have hindered you previously. Now you know what you didn’t know!

Get started without further delay — that’s all we ask of you.