05/07/11

By Steven Foster, Managing Director

In order to run a successful business you have to lose your inhibitions, this is especially so for the small business.

You have to overcome that fear of failure. That’s how I got to where I am today with my group of successful small businesses and working with people like Duncan Bannatyne to set up Bannatyne Digital. This venture also highlighted how essential it is for an SMB to get a web presence and these are the things you need to consider:

1.Go digital

The future of business is digital, that’s where business exists. The high street as we know it is disappearing. People don’t use yellow pages to find businesses they ‘Google’ it so you need to be found on Google. If you’re not digital you’re losing ground, you’ll fail before you’ve begun

2.Competing with the big boys

On the web you are a business that can compete with large corporates. First impressions count and if your website looks as slick and professional as a big corporate, a visitor to your site will not know if you’re a big multinational or a one-man-band. So back to basics, invest in your online image.

3.Create a blog

Make yourself an expert in your field. If people see you talking about things and being quoted by others they will trust you more and be more easily persuaded to do business with you.

4.Know where your company is headed

Have an image of what you want to achieve with your business and go for it. If you don’t have an end goal in sight you can’t measure your success or alter course if it seems not to be working. This works on and offline.

5.Don’t get a mate to build your site

A mate may make it look pretty but not technically work for you. The site needs to be optimised, you need to get the web space right and you need to get the messaging right. If any of this sounds like I’m talking in a different language then you definitely need to speak to an expert. The big companies do and if you want to compete with them you should too and it doesn’t have to be a huge investment.

6.Stand out from the crowd

Be unique find your voice and be outside the noise of everyone else in your space. This will help with Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) as when people search using words that describe your uniqueness you will come top of the list on Google.

7.Make your site talk to the customer

Identify your company’s personality and bring it to the site. If you don’t tell them who you are and what you’re about visitors coming to the site won’t understand what you do.

8.Create stickiness on your site

If you’re site doesn’t resonate with the visitor instantly they’ll be gone in a flash (an average of 2 seconds!) Givers get back in life. Make your site a giver, fill it with resources, useful information or if appropriate fun things to do. Pack it with stuff so that a visitor wants to explore and read more and therefore stay on the site for longer.

9.Create multiple access points

Business can be done from any satellite point as long as you have access to the Internet and a mobile phone. You don’t need an office. If you have products you may need storage but if you’re clever you’ll go direct from the supplier to the customer with no storage requirements. Use Social media, texts, apps etc. to communicate with your target audience.

10.Instantly International

Don’t forget once you have a digital presence you are global. This can make your potential target audience huge. Make this work for you and present yourself effectively to reach as many international markets as you desire. So be local but act global.