How Small Businesses and Entrepreneurs Use the Internet
Companies put a lot of effort into internet marketing research because of its importance to the industry.
The internet is not going anywhere; in fact, it is going everywhere.
Any business owner who is yet to take their business online is missing out on many deals.
The internet portends many benefits, and it has been speculated that it will take over the business world in the nearest future.
70 to 80 percent is said to first check a business online on google or read reviews about the company on an online business directory like yelp before deciding whether to do business with it or not (Source: Bluecorona)
If that is the situation, we must find out how small businesses and entrepreneurs make use of the internet:
1. To build an online presence
This is the first reason most businesses make use of the internet.
They have succeeded in building a website and therefore need people to know that they are there.
These businesses announce their presence on Google Maps and other search engines.
They also use different social media like Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, etc., through the help of the internet to connect with more people.
Before, having an online presence was an edge for businesses that have one.
Today, the story is different – if your business is not online, you don’t exist to people.
2. Increased sales
There are some places small businesses cannot be present physically. The only way to cover those areas is to serve them online.
The internet has made it possible for entrepreneurs with e-commerce websites to ship their goods to countries with no physical business.
A good example is Amazon, eBay, Etsy, Alibaba, AliExpress, to mention a few.
What does that translate to? More sales, of course.
If small businesses who make use of blogs increase their sales by 126%, it means the internet is really helping them grow (Source: Wpforms)
3. Easy business transactions
The internet has allowed small businesses and entrepreneurs to conduct business transactions online.
With just a click of a button, businesses can have buyers and clients pay for goods and services without having to step out of their comfort zones.
The world is going cashless, and the only way for businesses to catch up with the trend is to use the internet.
Who wants to make payment in the bank when they can do that from their phones? And this is all thanks to the internet.
4. Automated business system
Many businesses now make use of automation to conduct their day-to-day activities.
We are talking about applications, robots, and web tools that have made it easier for businesses to attend to customers even after work hours.
Such automation like Mailchimp can analyze a company’s marketing campaign effectiveness automatically without human interference.
What about chatbots, online instructional videos? Businesses incorporate these on their website to help resolve issues their customers may encounter.
Cloud computing and artificial intelligence tools are other areas entrepreneurs are exploring for their businesses (Source: Klientsolutech)
All these wouldn’t be possible without the help of the internet.
5. Decreased costs
Some businesses operate strictly online. This saves them the money that would have gone into hiring a physical space for their business.
Additionally, when it comes to invoices, small businesses, with the help of the internet, can create and email invoices instantaneously without having to print them on paper.
Some entrepreneurs make use of freelancers instead of employing workers. That way, they only get to pay for the services of the freelancers when they need their help as against employees that would require a weekly or monthly paycheck.
Businesses can also carry out online surveys to get faster and more research results without physically handing out questionnaires to respondents.
All these save not only cost but also time. And the internet is what enables this to function.
6. For effective communication
Small businesses and entrepreneurs use the internet to communicate and build stronger relationships with their clients/customers.
Such communication has the capacity of turning into leads and repeated sales.
Online platforms such as YouTube, Facebook, websites and blog comments, e-books are some ways businesses use to reach out to potential and existing customers.
Some companies have very active social media handlers who attend to complaints and help resolve issues quicker than would have been possible without the internet.
Another great way businesses make use of the internet is to showcase their social responsibility projects online. This makes them popular and earns them some respect from their customers.
Some businesses predominantly use the internet solely for communication purposes (Source: Researchgate)
7. Lesser advertising cost and instant feedback
Newspapers, billboards, and other types of advertising channels can help and have been helping businesses grow their customer base, reach, and sales.
But you cannot compare their cost to the one the internet offers.
Besides, the internet offers both paid and free avenues that small businesses and entrepreneurs can leverage to project their businesses to the world.
Unlike the traditional media system targeting random people, the internet makes it possible for businesses to reach a precise audience (gender, age, tastes, preferences, demography).
With the help of targeted ads like Google Adwords, you can get your business in front of people searching for the kind of business you are into.
Online marketing has been proven to offer a faster and cheaper way for businesses to increase their brand awareness (Source: Scholarworks)
The opportunities that the internet offers to small businesses and entrepreneurs are massive.
Innovative businesses are taking advantage of it and reaping the rewards in leaps and bounds.
You shouldn’t be left behind.
While the internet has some disadvantages that could cost businesses a lot of money and the risk of going out of business (like when there is an issue of scam), the positives far outweigh the negatives.