I attend a networking group called Hot Pink Mamas and Red Hot Papas. I know, funny name, but the group is serious about providing networking opportunities for its members. While you'll find a number of multi-level marketing, independent business representatives & micro-businesses (not exactly my target audience), there are a number of quality folks within the group. You should find members of the group friendly and inviting, creating an atmosphere to gain knowledge and business contacts especially if you fall into any of those business categories. Once a month I attend their Summerlin networking roundtable at Marie Calendar's on West Sahara and Cimarron in Las Vegas. The networking group has several of these roundtables throughout the month in various parts of town. I find these networking roundtables to be the most valuable aspect of the organization as you get to interact with a small number, usually no more than a dozen people, on a more regular basis. In addition, there's no real pressure to bring leads for others at the roundtables or be forced to pay fines and adhere to ridiculous rules like a lot of networking groups. There is an attendance policy, but it's very flexible as you can send a substitute and only have to make every other meeting. Each month a different member has the opportunity to present to the group with a 5 to 10 minute speech regarding their business. Yesterday was my opportunity and I'll share what I shared with the group (courtesy of Brian Mell, our Marketing Coordinator):
Can You Afford a Professional Web Site? Yes You Can!
"Amazon.com, Inc. announced the 2008 holiday season finished as its best ever, with over 6.3 million items ordered worldwide on the peak day, Dec. 15, which is a record-breaking 72.9 items per second." - Business Wire
Though the economy has suffered continual setbacks these past 6 months, not all businesses are closing up shop. In fact, smart businesses are looking to the Internet to pull them through these tough economic times.
Recessions are good at cutting out the fat and getting down to the substance of a company's operations. Streamlining the process, making tasks easier to accomplish and minimizing staff requirements, a Web site can really be considered one of your employees; a "virtual employee" to be more precise. Let's look at the benefits that a fully functional Web site can offer:
A Web site can provide information. At its most basic, a Web site can answer almost every question a potential customer will have related to your business. from simple product descriptions to FAQs, training videos and interactive product demonstrations are just a few ways to effectively deliver your information.
A Web site can secure your information. In addition to providing information, data can be securely handled and stored, to be easily retrieved when needed. Many organizations rely on in-secure methods such as traditional email to send sensitive documents back and forth with clients. Using a Web site, you can encrypt these documents to be safely transfered back and forth without the potential for them to be intercepted in transit.
A Web site can provide customer service. Businesses are now realizing the power of giving the customer a voice. Whether it's concerning a problem, offering a solution, or providing feedback on a new product or service, your Web site can be a portal to your customers.
A Web site can promote your business. Most Web sites nowadays are dynamic, meaning content can be updated frequently (and if it isn't, you're doing your Web site AND your business a disservice). Promotions can be advertised and updated on a monthly, weekly or even daily basis. Downloadable coupons for print purposes can be added as well.
A Web site can sell your products and services. As evidenced by Amazon.com, people shop online. Existing systems can be integrated with an online E-Commerce system to keep better track of your inventory. Reduce costs by keeping best selling items in stock and increase sales by expanding your reach of potential customers.
As the Internet becomes more accessible, and as wireless access becomes as prevalent as the public pay phone once was, a Web site will become even more important to businesses. Going mobile is now a reality with Apple's iPhone and other Smart Phones. The question now is, "Can you really afford NOT to have a professional Web site?"
To make a professional Web Site a reality for most businesses, BannerView.com will be rolling out some very exciting programs over the next few months to make sophisticated, highly dynamic Web sites affordable to the majority of businesses. Stay tuned for more information as we announce these programs.
|About the author
Mark Cenicola is the president and CEO of BannerView.com, developers of BannerOS, the software that helps companies turn their websites into powerful business tools. Mark is also the author of the book "The Banner Brand – Small Business Success Comes from a Banner Brand – Build it on a Budget." Read Mark's full biography. You can find him tweeting on Twitter and starring in videos for the company's YouTube channel.
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