Net Gains: Advantages Of Business On the Internet

"The Internet provides worldwide access to hundreds of millions of potential clients and customers."

By David P. Kowal

Your business may have little or no Internet presence because you believe in the importance of “personal service.”

That’s fine – if you can be everywhere at once. Those of us who are not omniscient, though, should embrace the Web and its ever-evolving features for many reasons, including the following:

24-Hour-A-Day Access. Time is a crucial factor in distinguishing one service business from another. By having even a simple site on the World Wide Web, a company can be accessible to its clients 24-hours a day, regardless of the size of the firm. Think about life before e-mail. E-mail isn’t perfect, but it can eliminate telephone tag, transmit documents almost instantaneously, provide written documentation of your work and more.

E-Commerce. The Web is an ideal marketplace. Your customers can shop at their convenience, without leaving home – and you can sell 24 hours a day.

Promotion of Your Company. The Web has become popular because of its commercial potential. Establishing a site on the Web allows a firm to promote itself and its products or services electronically. A brochure for a firm can be established on a Web site for a lower cost than if the brochure were printed. An electronic brochure can be updated anytime and it can be linked to other Web sites.

Showing Products. Visiting a Web site can be as valuable for a potential buyer as visiting a retail store. Suppose a real estate agent is selling a home. The Web site may include not only relevant information about the property, but graphics and even floor plans. It can also be hyperlinked to sites that will tell the potential buyer about the community where the property is located.

Expanded Market. The Internet provides worldwide access to hundreds of millions of potential clients and customers.

A Democratic Marketplace. On the Internet, no one knows whether you’re a small firm or a large company. Size is irrelevant. A one-person firm with a properly developed Web site can attract as much attention – or more attention – than a larger firm. Having a Web site is like owning a television station – you can decide exactly what information you want to broadcast to your audience. Provide the right information and promote the site, and visitors will come.

An Affordable Medium. A basic Web site can be established for less than the cost of a brochure, since there are no printing costs. To be effective and to attract repeat visitors, the site should be updated regularly, but it is much easier and cheaper to update a Web site than it is to reprint a brochure.

These are just some of the most basic advantages of the Web. There are many more reasons why it has become the favored communication medium of almost every business. Why should your business be any different?

David P. Kowal is President of Kowal Communications, Inc. of Northboro, Mass.