Dear M & M: Do I even need a website for my business? – Dan

Dear Dan: In the late 1800’s the telephone was a disrupting technology. By 1930, if you weren’t in the Yellow Pages you didn’t exist.

Then came the internet. By 2011, 70 percent of all consumers rarely or never used the old printed phone directories. I am certain a few readers are saying phone book, Yellow Pages what?

Today, as high as 97 percent of all consumers go online to find out everything.

Bottom line; if you don’t have a lead-catching, brand-differentiating, sales-increasing web presence, you are not in business or won’t be for long. Recent surveys conducted show 30 percent of consumers won’t even consider a company without a website. Americans on average spend 23 hours online per week and another five hours per day on mobile devices.

Remember, 97 percent of people go online to search for a local business. It is reported that there are almost 4 billion searches on Google per day.

Chances are, there is someone in your area searching for your exact service right now. Guess who is getting their business? If you don’t have a website or a web presence, how are they going to find you? Never put up a closed for business sign again. No one wants to work 24 hours a day, seven days a week anymore.

How about trying a website with a shopping cart? Even a psychologist offering hourly counseling services can sell their latest book worldwide with the right digital presence.

ASK M&M is prepared and submitted by Mark Schmitt, director of the Small Business Development Center at Cochise College; and Mignonne Hollis, executive director at the Arizona Economic Development Foundation. To ask your questions: Call the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) at Cochise College (520) 515-5478 or email schmittm@cochise.edu or contact the Arizona Regional’ Economic Development Foundation at (520) 458-6948 or email hollism@aredf.org; www.aredf.org.

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