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The New Year can be a chance for small business owners to take a breath, and step back; to evaluate where they are and where they want to be. For some, this focus is on expanding their business reach, leading many to the decision of creating and developing a strong online presence. The internet acts as an online directory, somewhere that prospective customers use to discover and compare organisations that are ready to fulfil their requirements. Failing to be online – no matter the size of your business – carries a high risk of losing potential customers to competitors.

As of 2015, small businesses make up 99.3% of all businesses in the UK, yet a staggering 60% of businesses with five employees or less do not exist online in any form.

This is astounding when you look at this in the context of the online world. Retail sales were up in December 2015, but the high street is losing to online. Additionally, a recent report by McKinsey showed that companies using the internet with a high-intensity grow twice as a fast as those with low-web-intensity.

So why is there such hesitancy from some small business owners to promote their trade online?

Perhaps some people assume that launching a website requires them to possess experienced technical prowess. Maybe there are so many other things to think about when managing a business that creating a website gets pushed to the bottom of the to-do list.

Thanks to the availability of hundreds of domain name extensions and an array of easy-to-use tools to launch a website, it’s possible to give your business a distinct and customisable identity online. With an even greater choice of domain names available than ever before, the first step is to think about how you want your business to be perceived in the long-term. For example, opting for the geographically descriptive .LONDON literally puts your business on the map, no matter where you are based, while .PHOTOGRAPHY sets expectations about what you provide. Domain names are an excellent way of implying a professionalism that your business deserves to be recognised for.

The next step is creating your website. There are many services which continually work to be there to support this process, at any hour of any day. Available assistance means that you have a team of technical experts at your disposal to help you meet your needs and work through questions you may have along the way.

Ultimately, being online can be another way of generating business. Your business – however big or small – should not be hidden from the world. Sales opportunities arise from people seeking a service; if they can’t find you, they won’t be able to engage with you.

You work too hard for your business to be invisible.

By Stefano Maruzzi, VP of EMEA at GoDaddy