Strange as it may seem in the digital age, most small businesses don’t even have a website, let alone other online resources such as social media presence or a blog. It’s easy to say a business “needs” to have one tech-centric feature or another, but in fact different businesses (and industries) have different needs.
You also need to take into account your market in geographic terms, its size, and what the competition looks like. If you’re the only yoga studio within 50 miles of a fairly rural town, people will probably find you even when you don’t have much of a web presence.
Now that we live in a mobile-read world, though, it’s time for most businesses to get with the program. In 2014, more people use mobile devices than desktop, and the majority of people research businesses online before they make a purchase.
If you’re not matching your tech needs to your business, as well as taking into account the general digital landscape, you’re not doing the best you can. This could mean you’re effectively choosing to give up easy revenue.
Taking an assessment
Almost every single business could benefit from a stronger web presence. Whether you’re offering physical therapy in a farming community or dishing up vegan treats at a food cart, at least some of your potential customers want to find you online.
They want to engage, and find out what your services or products are all about — and online is often where they’ll make the choice to learn about your business and choose to come to you in person … or not. You won’t know what you’re missing out on, because there’s no way to track that kind of missed traffic.
If you’re a small business owner that either isn’t tech-savvy or believe you have no time to focus on your online presence, you’ve got the option of outsourcing. Chances are, you’re not equipped to handle the high-tech facet of your business anyway.
It takes years of experience, constantly keeping up with search engine optimization best practices, and a knack for technology. As a business owner who may be focused on a niche market, your skills are elsewhere.
The triage approach
If possible, work with a reputable tech contractor and create a list of your online disparities. This might include a website (or a quality one), responsive design, social media engagement with proven results, geo-targeting your SEO, or creating your own app, to name just a few.
Choose the most pressing issues, while also taking the cost and pace of getting them done under consideration.
These should be your points of attention, but don’t neglect the items at the bottom of the totem pole. Business tech needs are an ever-evolving job that will never be completed.