I paused and thought about it for a moment and understood where he was coming from – after all, most of our business comes by referral, too. It’s the happy situation that many BNI members find themselves in. So, I took a deep breath and uttered a sentence that would make me a heretic in parts of the web development world.
“Well, not everyone needs a website. If you’re making all the money you need, you feel that your stream of customers is secure, and your customers don’t expect you to have a web presence – then you’re in an enviable position and maybe you don’t need one. Or maybe you just need to buy your domain name and put up a splash page with your contact info, in case your customer ever loses your card.
“But,” I clarified, “most people aren’t in your situation. Most people haven’t had a couple of decades to establish themselves as the provider for their area. Most businesses would appreciate the extra stream of business that can come from a good site or the torrent that can come from a well-marketed site.”
He agreed (he’s a pleasant fellow, in any case) and I moved on to explain that a website can do more than bring in business. I explained that we use the BNR Branding site to engage with the community and educate our customers (this here blog), demonstrate and test new technologies (if we install a component on your site, it was tested here first), and support our current clients (the support ticket system), in addition to capturing a stream of new prospects. Other companies use their sites to offer unique online-only services to their clients – the example I use is our partner Joe Bergmann’s IT Support company, Tech-Eez. Joe provides not only a support ticket system, but an online app that lets clients connect to him for remote service of their computers. And this doesn’t even scratch the productivity and community engagement that we’ve been able to bring to McKinney Academy through the JomSocial extension.
The point I’m driving at is that, though a website may not be right for everyone (and we’ll gladly inform you if we think that’s the case), the scope of what a site can achieve for your business is much broader than most business people of the old school might assume. The fact is that your clients live much of their lives online – the essential question then becomes, ‘what can you do to help them while they’re online?’ If you don’t know the answer, then your competition probably does.