by James Runkle
Consultant, Dummond St. Strategy
“I’ve had my own small business for 11 years but I never put up a website. I know I need one but I’ve always been very fluid in my business offerings so I worry that if I launch a website, it will limit how flexible my business can seem to potential customers.
– Meghan C.
Meghan, this is a very common problem and you are not alone! Many small business owners start out with passion but without a fully formed plan. Take me, for instance, the “Accidental Entrepreneur”. When I started working for myself, the work built up rather suddenly and I had to solidify my business plan from there.
So you’ve come to the right place for advice. Let’s dive in.
Trying to be all things to all people can seem like a good idea but, in reality, it’s harmful to your business. Why? Because that lack of definition makes it very hard for people to know who you are and where your true talents lie.
I get it—putting a stake in the ground and saying “this is what my business does” can be scary. It can feel limiting and, as a small business, you never want to limit your potential for getting clients and income.
But here’s the thing: you already KNOW what your business does. You’re doing it right now. So, creating a website doesn’t limit you, it clarifies what you do for potential clients.
More importantly, it tells prospective clients what you DON’T do. Why waste time (yours and theirs) talking to someone who you aren’t able to help? Your website will help that person select into—or out of—the process.
Your website is round-the-clock advertising for your business. As hard as you want to work, you still have to sleep, but your website never does! The overwhelming majority of searches start with Google so if you can’t be found, you are losing out on business.
Your website also adds legitimacy. If you can’t be found, not only are you losing out on business, but it also leaves people wondering if you have something to hide. You’re proud of your business–tell people about it!
Increasingly, it’s not even about people finding your website—it’s all about the bots. Creating a website with great Search Engine Optimization will bring leads to you without you requiring you to spend any time on cultivation.
And here’s the best part – it doesn’t have to be expensive. Services like Flywheel or Squarespace offer smart, beautiful templates you can use to create your website in a few minutes for as little as eight dollars a month.
If you reach a point when you feel you need a more robust website, then it’s time to work with an agency. From information architecture, to user experience, to custom design and optimized content – a professional agency has the expertise to manage complexities that an average person cannot. I work with a lot of clients to build large, multi-functional sites but, for a small site there isn’t a need to spend the budget.
Lastly the best advice I can give is to just get started. You may never feel 100% ready, but that’s OK! Putting up a website is a very small investment that will deliver great returns.
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