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  • #966990
    Chris Bates
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    I’d love to hear peoples stories about how the Internet has changed their business.

    Especially those that have recently embraced the Internet, to help bring customers to their offline shop or sell their service, etc.

    What was your ROI?
    % of business you get from the Internet?
    Do you use social media?
    Email marketing?
    Just a website?
    Yada Yada…

    Cheers

    #1022473
    Burgo
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    I dont know if I should answer this being retired and all that, but the internet using just my basic website gives me 100% and more of my new business. Why did I say more, well I get more jobs than I can attend to so I pass them on to other qualified members of our association and one outsider.

    I have always recommended using theinternet to promote what you do 24/7. It is cheep effective and I wish it had been around 50 years ago.

    The internet is one of the fastest growing communications networking mediums, better than the telephone or the radio and even TV.

    Every small business should have a website whether they believe no one will visit them or they are too expensive to set up.

    OK Ill let someone else say what they believe.

    #1022474
    TizzBizz
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    Without wanting to get to off topic, it is also interesting to think on the many new business sectors which have grown out of the ever-growing popularity of the Internet. If you look past retail stores that have added the online world to their store front, the Internet has been a huge employer.

    #1022475
    Chris Bates
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    Yes it certainly is, the Internet was birth to many great things!

    The reason for asking, is I would just like to get more of an insiders view of the success and failures of the Internet. I think it would help me better relate to customers.

    A response like Burgo’s is really the most common I find. I spoke to a tiler the other day who said 98% of his work comes from his website!

    I also don’t get a lot of people when they say “I don’t want more work”. Sure there’s certain situations, like Burgo in semi-retirement. But to meet a mid 30’s business owner, who works his ass off, and tells me he “doesn’t want more work” – I think to myself “why bother running a business, work for someone else and save the effort”.

    We are in business to GROW. We are in business to MAKE MONEY. We are in business to MAKE OUR OWN RULES. How long do you want to slave day in and day out, 60+ hour weeks, just for the “freedom” of owning your own business.

    OK – That got off topic… Others? How has the Internet changed your business (for better or worse)?

    #1022476
    Steve_Minshall
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    The competitive focus is now on-line. I compete with other businesses as much on capturing web traffic as on what the business actually does.
    I get far more visitors to my website than walking thro the door of the shop. Therefore my virtual shopfront is far more important in terms of building reputation and an image than my bricks and mortar shopfront. Customers generally come to the shop to confirm a choice or to continue a transaction that started on-line. People seem to like to know that the physical shop exists and like to visit it, but the decision to buy from us is usually made while browsing. We just help them in the store with what specifically suits their needs.

    I am located on a mainroad with thousands of cars passing each day. But my web presence is still more important in generating customers. If I lost my web presence my business would be dead in the water. If I physically moved to a low traffic area my business would survive. I would say 5 years ago a good physical location and prominent yellow pages ad would have been more important.

    #1022477
    avallach
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    Chris Bates, post: 26482 wrote:
    I also don’t get a lot of people when they say “I don’t want more work”.

    Quote:
    We are in business to GROW. We are in business to MAKE MONEY. We are in business to MAKE OUR OWN RULES. How long do you want to slave day in and day out, 60+ hour weeks, just for the “freedom” of owning your own business.

    I know it’s off-topic, however… anyone who’s read any of the Rich Dad stuff will certainly spot the 2 types of business owner in that “mini-rant” :)

    If someone’s saying “I don’t want/need more work” they are in the “S” quadrant mentally. Those who see the chance to grow, are either “B’ thinkers, or have a strategy to work eevry hour available for 10 years, then retire (to a mental institute) lol.

    As for the Internet… the way it is now a part of everyday life means there are lots of small businesses who should be online and don’t think they can afford the time or money. I guess it’s fair to say that helped determine the direction I am heading.

    #1022478
    Chris Bates
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    I would be interested to read some of this ‘Rich Dad’. The better I understand them, the easier I can talk them around ;)

    In my head, a business can’t afford the TIME to build a web presence, not the MONEY. Money is an excuse, not a reason. Every move in a business costs money and carries a risk.

    I think you’re better off paying someone to spend 10 hours on your web presence, rather then spend 60 hours trying to do it yourself (and ending up with something sub par).

    #1022479
    peppie
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    Unless of course, it becomes a case of wasting more time than it IS worth just to find a decent website builder/designer who can create a decent site without a huge run around and almost complete waste of time – which HAS been my case. It then becomes much cheaper and easier to learn how to do it myself!!

    OK now you are going to go and look at my site to see if I can do it better, but I am still learning.

    I think the other side of your coin is that not everyone who puts up that shingle actually understands how to do what the present market needs. And it can be a problem just trying to find the ones who do. Just my rant!!!

    #1022480
    Chris Bates
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    Hey Paul,

    I don’t presume that everyone knows the difference between a DIY website and a professional once. Especially when most professionals don’t know the difference between a pretty website and a website that performs its goals well.

    My argument, in regards to the Time vs Money is pretty simple… in logic.

    For example, you charge out on average at $50/hr. If you want to DIY, and spend 60 hours doing it, that’s $3000 worth of income you’ve sacrificed for a (and I don’t mean to offend, but it’s fact) web presence that doesn’t perform anywhere near as well as it should.

    Eventually, most people will cave in and seek professional help, and still pay $1500+ for a website, and think they’ve got it right. Eventually, they discover SEO, SEM, Copy, Goal-orientated Design, Social Media, etc etc – and spend another $3000+ paying professionals to do it all.

    End cost when they have a web presence that scores goals: $7500 and 12 months.

    From word dot, if you accept that you’re better off paying a professional, and you get the RIGHT professional (that’s the tricky part), you can pull it off for $3000 – $4000 and 1-2 months.

    As I said, I can’t expect everyone to know the best path – and I am of course bias!

    And just to beat you to the punch “but I’m a startup – I have 60 hours I can spare! :)“.

    Sure, but can you REALLY afford not to have a powerful web presence drawing you customers from word dot?

    OK – Keep the stories coming, thanks everyone! :D

    #1022481
    King
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    well my businesses are all on the web, so 100%!

    But more importantly it means I have been able to CREATE businesses that previously would have been impossible.

    I now have workers scattered around the globe, servicing customers who are also around the globe.

    —off topic—
    on the topic of DIY websites, a long discussion on a webmaster forum and some testing showed that a very ugly, obviously home made website outperformed itself when the only thing that was changed was the look and feel of the site to make it look more professional and ‘pretty’. All words, meta, and relevant positioning of code (before some come in with a technical argument) was the same. To me, a business owner is well off knowing how to build a website and maintain it, no matter how simple, ugly etc. The important part is having that web presence. Oh, and $50hr to do your own site, had that argument as well – many don’t earn $50hr, and many others do it ‘out of business hours’.

    —-

    #1022482
    peppie
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    Chris

    I had better say straight away I do not mean in any way to try to change your business philosophy. I would say exactly the same thing about my sort of work. And if what I said gave the wrong impression I do apologise – it was my rant and mine only and about my own situation, only.

    I guess I am beast of a different colour though to the one you are painting. I would consider myself technically capable, but I did at ONE point decide I would rather not try to do web design myself. However, and this is really where the story starts, after 2 years of getting very little anywhere and not being able to get across the concept in my mind (and after much soul searching! deciding it really was not me that was the problem) to the people I was trying to work with (who assured me they knew what was needed) I decided I was better off doing it myself.

    The reality is that I did loose a huge amount on the process. My approach now is to do what I CAN do (aka according to my present skills) and look for people who I can trust to do the parts I can’t do. I also have in mind future development of my business which will require good skills and careful thinking.

    So, all this to say that I am probably the exception. You ask how the Internet has changed my business? It has forced me to learn much wider skills than I thought I wanted to, it has forced me to open my eyes to the opportunity and possibilities IF I am willing to be open to it all and jump in with both feet.

    Not bad hey for a 59 year old oldie who should be thinking about retirement. I intend to be around in this business for a long time yet!

    #1022483
    Chris Bates
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    Hey Paul,

    No need to apologise! I didn’t take offence or anything, I actually thank you for your input! I rant a lot too, haha, like all my posts in this thread.

    King: I think that’s a bit of a grey area if you ask me. I’ve seen some DIY websites that completely put me off of doing business with them. Not because I’m a biased web developer, but because the image they give me is of a business I don’t want to deal with.

    I do agree, to a point, that a business owner should have knowledge of their web presence and how it helps. I think this is very important, which is why I explain (in non-geek ways) to my clients every part of what I do. To blindly put your faith and a lot of money in someone elses hands is silly, you NEED to understand it to be sure of it.

    A web presence is important, I’m sure that we all agree on. There are many reasons why people DIY – whether they have in interest (like Paul), or the time (outside of hours, or a startup), or they literally don’t have the money. People will always DIY, like people will always attempt to build their own pagoala. Or they’ll service their own cars.

    I know I can’t change human nature – to attempt things yourself – but I will always rant about it I’m sure. All of this is really to understand how people think, so I do really welcome all of these opinions.

    Paul: You’ve done well for a 59 yo! If there were more great minds like yours and Burgos, it would be a very interesting world! :D

    #1022484
    Burgo
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    The only reason I ended up doing my own website was out of frustration. Just could not communicate with the designer, but that was long before I came across so many dedicated people here on the forum.

    Just have a look around we have heeps and I bet bthere is one near you who only be too happy to help/design your website at a reasonable fee because you are a memeber of this forum.

    I feel that if your in business and are trying to build that business a website is VITAL.

    There are members of our association that feel they dont need a website, how do you getthrough to them how important a website becomes in brining you new customers

    #1022485
    Chris Bates
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    As with any industry – there’s a lot of cowboys around. Human nature is to look for the cheapest price, then you meet one of these cowboys, think he’s a moron and get put off of paying someone to do it for you.

    A lot of professionals also forget how to communicate. One thing I work really hard on is talking at a level the client understands, it’s important to me that they know what I’m talking about. Because it’s only with that knowledge, that they are going to see the true value in what I’m offering.

    Burgo, I would put you on a pole and wave you around like a flag. You are a role model for business owners young and old. It’s on my to-do list to fly to Sydney and have a beer with you.

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