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To Begin the Beguine

Confession time:  Yes, we really do care about our clients…and our potential customers. We try to learn about them and give them the dignity due their individual lives.  We greet them wholeheartedly, offer toys to their children and grandchildren and listen to the events of their lives.  We know online presence and technology is about people – it’s the Millennium Group’s tagline, after all.

Yet, we get frustrated with many of the business clients we work with who do not try and build an online presence or have never had a website, a blog, email newsletter, or anything that requires more than opening an email.  They’re all small business owners.

Typically they tell us that they’ve been doing fine without it.

They’re right, but they are ignoring the obvious.  Many of them have built thriving businesses and are doing quite well financially.  As a tech company, we do converse about technology and the virtual world and have a difficult time imagining how a business could ever manage without it.

We have a difficult time telling our clients that they need to engage with their audience and try to tell their story.  Most of them look at us with questioning eyes and inform us they don’t even want to tell a story (much less theirs) – they only want to sell their product or service.

Yet it is not haughty to state that these individuals really do need technology and the internet.

Before we try to entice them into honoring their stories, creating content and engaging with the customers, we simply remind them of simple blatant truths.

Your Online Presence Matters Because People Don’t Use Phone Books Anymore

If a phone book is delivered to our office or home, I admit I throw them out or use them to kindle our fireplace.  People use their computers or mobile phones to seek out everything from restaurants to pet cemeteries.  Life has gone completely mobile for most of the world and only those too old or fearful to use technology would thumb through the Yellow Pages to find a plumber, much less a therapist.

If You’re Not Online, People Won’t Find You

Every business needs a website.  The best auto mechanic may live a block away from you but unless you met him personally, you wouldn’t know it.  Since the majority of searches for new businesses, especially local businesses, take place online, you would never find the guy that can unravel the mystery of the strange noise in your engine if he doesn’t have a website, online reviews and doesn’t show up on Google Maps.

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The Universe- Instant & Accessible

Instantaneous is not even fast enough for our times.  We are not about to hop into a car or a bus to discover a service or product we might need.  We want to see a website that shows us pictures. We want to learn about the company and be able to find reviews. We want to know about the people we’re going to hire services from.  Most of us would never call to ask questions.  We want it given to us…now and wherever we are.

It doesn’t take much of our energy to do an internet search.   Searching the internet is free and requires so little effort we can still drink our coffee or beer, watch TV and tell our kids to take a bath –all at the same time.  We want to make our choices of what to buy and who to buy from our cozy little corners.  We’ll even admit we’re lazy.

We want it now.  We want it 24/7 and we want it in the privacy of our own home or the local hangout were we meet our friends.

Websites Create Credibility

Not having a website doesn’t mean that you don’t have a professional business, but that’s the assumption most people will make.

Not having a website has almost become a joke.  And the joke goes even farther.  You have to do more than putting up a website with your basic company business and contact information.  You need to create (and constantly re-create) a virtual version of your business, with an engaging, informative website, a Facebook page and Twitter account. Ignoring this important potential marketing platform is akin to saying, “I don’t need to live in today’s world.”

Please don’t think for one minute that the website you built 6 years ago is any good today.  It isn’t.  People change.  Aesthetics change…and technology changes.  Every small business needs to continually reinvent itself online.  Yesterday’s goods on the internet are just that – yesterday’s goods.

And these simple truths are only the beginning.

About the Author

Jinx is our story teller, our wordsmith, and our office Mama Bear. She draws from a richly creative lifetime of professional work including writing, theater and teaching. Her day to day experiences in the world of technology, combined with her own experiences as a small business owner, grant her a unique and compelling view on business, the arts, technology, and life in our rapidly changing world.

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