Small Business Q & A: What Does Your Website Say About Your Business?


Q: My business is very small, just me and two employees, and our
product really can’t be sold online. Do I really need a website?
— Robin C.

A: Congratulations, Robin, you are the one millionth person to
ask me that question. Smile for the cameras, brush the streamers
and confetti from your hair and listen closely, because
I’m about
to answer for the millionth time what has become one of the most
important and often-asked questions of the digital business age.

Before I answer, however, let’s flash back to the very first time
I was asked this question. It was circa 1998, during the toddler
years of the Internet, just after Al Gore laid claim to having
given birth to the concept a few short years before.

I was giving a speech on the impact of the Internet on small
business at an association luncheon in Montgomery, Alabama. My
motto then was: Feed me and I will speak. I have the same motto
today, but I now expect dessert to be included in exchange for
the sharing of my vast wisdom.

In 1998, which was decades ago in Internet years, the future of
electronic commerce or “ecommerce” as it’s come to be known, was
anybody’s guess, but even the most negative futurists agreed that
all the signs indicated that a large portion of future business
revenues would be derived from online transactions, or from
offline transactions that were the result of online marketing

So, Robin, should your business have a website,

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