Get a web site!

Some professions remain largely ignorant of the potential of the internet.  It is true that not every business has the ability to have an on-line store. Service providers are an obvious example of where the business is constrained to the physical world.  Sometimes a business may need to come to you – as in the case of plumbers, electricians and so forth.  At other times, you may need to travel to them – such as mechanics or engineering works.

Arguably, you could provide an on-line booking system for these service providers, but for most businesses, this is probably not worth the expense or effort.  Traditional service providers can benefit from the advertising potential of their own web site.  For many businesses, a static web site and an e-mail entry form for allowing enquiries will go a long way to providing cost-effective advertising. 

These days most potential customers are far more web-savvy.  A few well-chosen keywords in a search-engine should be enough to find your business.  However, finding a business is rarely enough these days.  Like it or not, there is a percentage of the population that would rather perform enquiries via e-mail.  Responding to these people in a timely manner is important.  Whilst “timely” is difficult to define, 48 hours seems entirely reasonable in most cases.  After all, if the enquiry was not urgent enough for a phone call, it is hardly likely to be “highly time critical”.  

Once you have reached this level of on-line presence, your potential customer base has a commonly accepted means of contacting you.  Theoretically, your web site is advertising.  If it is kept simple (read “fairly static”), then the expense should be well within your advertising budget.   So, if you are a small business service provider without a web-site, what are you waiting for?