With over 2.2 billion people online, the internet has revolutionized how we find and share information. The online world is moving at a rapid pace and doesn’t show any signs of slowing. For businesses, a web presence has become a fundamental part of success. But why is a presence on the web so important? How significant is the impact of being online? We’re glad you asked.
After several years with Fidelity Investments, in 1996 Richard Sexton decided to step away from the corporate world and follow his passion by opening Himal Home Gallery, a local home furnishings store in his hometown of North Carolina.
“I didn’t have any experience in running a retail operation. [The] learning curve had its fair share of mistakes,” Sexton said. “Going online early and choosing to use Google products were some of the better moves.”
During the ‘90s, no one knew for certain if there was a place for small businesses online or if they could find success there. But Sexton took the chance and launched a website for Himal Home Gallery. The online presence gave Sexton’s small business a great deal of attention and the small shop took off. In 2000, Sexton relaunched the furniture store as Carolina Rustica, focusing primarily on wrought-iron furniture, their best selling item.
“We started with a small 500 square-foot booth in an antique mall and now our gallery is almost 20,000 square feet,” Sexton said. “Through the web, we could reach a much larger audience, and we began to invest in marketing activities that could connect us with us potential customers. I am very happy with the results. Our sales have increased 50% year on year.”
Carolina Rustica is just one of the many small businesses that found great success establishing an online presence. But can their model apply to other business types? Can business that don’t sell products online still find a success with a website? Is having a business website really that important?
Never before has the world been able to connect across the globe and interact so easily. Think about the last time you needed to know something, anything — chances are you went to look it up online. The Internet has completely changed the way we live and how we gather information. Not only is it now our primary source of information, but it has revolutionized the way businesses operate and communicate with customers.
Websites and the online tools that promote them should be the focal point of all advertising and marketing for all businesses, big or small. Here’s why:
Because people are online. If you’re looking for an audience, more customers, or people to influence, the web is where your business needs to be. With over 78% of adult Americans using the Internet and an astounding 2.2 billion people online worldwide, it’s no surprise that small businesses with websites experience an average of 39% greater revenue per year than those without websites, according to the Small Business Administration.
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