Facebook, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, and the World Bank launched a new source of data on small and medium-sized businesses. Called the Future of Business Survey, the survey looks at economic trends and provides insights that can help businesses grow. Conducted monthly, these surveys focus on current small business issues. They also look at how businesses can succeed in today’s digitally-connected economy. Reading the survey results, several important challenges repeat from month to month. This got me thinking about how a website helps a small business overcome these issues.

Maintaining Profitability

Half of the survey respondents (48%) reported that maintaining profitability is important. With rising wages, transportation costs, and utility bills, small businesses must look for ways to save on costs. A website helps businesses by making them more efficient. Yes, there are costs associated with running a website (domain name, website hosting, website creation, and ongoing support). But compared to other methods of staying profitable (increasing process, cutting employees, and outsourcing), having a website is very cost effective.

Increasing Revenue

Fifty-seven percent of those surveyed stated that they worry about increasing sales. Linked to maintaining profitability, owners are looking for ways to increase sales. A website helps provide information about your products and services. You can communicate directly with customers and suppliers through contact forms, online forums, and blogs. You can also operate an online chat system where you talk with customers. Many businesses use their websites as a platform for advertising to potential customers. Compared to other marketing platforms (radio, television, and print), a website helps a small business increase revenue.

Attracting Customers

Seventy-four percent of businesses surveyed said that the most important challenge is attracting customers. With Canadians spending an average of 45 hours online every month, it is no surprise that e-commerce is rising. Having a website that expands the reach of your company is a fantastic way to attract new customers. Think of your website as an extension of your sales machine that never sleeps.

Your Customers are Online

Not surprisingly, more Canadians rely on the web to research and compare products before they decide to purchase. Having your products and services listed on your website helps ensure that customers consider your business. Not having a website places your brand and reputation at risk. Also, it puts your business at a disadvantage. If customers can’t find your business online, then you simply don’t exist. In a recent survey, 63% of consumers reported that having a website makes a business more credible.

Put your small business online

Your customers are online. Put yourself in front of them. Having a website is crucial in today’s online economy. And it is not just for online businesses. A traditional brick-and-mortar shop can benefit from being online. A website helps a small business maintain profitability, increase revenue, and attracts customers.

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