As the chasm of technology separating small businesses widens it will be VERY clear to you which small businesses are evolving in their adoption of online technology (some refer to it as Web 2.0 – especially the social networking aspects).
This evolution is important for two reasons:
1. It makes the lives of your customers easier and they demand it.
For example, my car mechanic. I would LOVE to be able to see a history of repairs for my car at my local car mechanic, to know when my car was ready to be picked up and be able to schedule service for my car online. Many car mechanics don’t offer this.
Fortunately for them there is no HUGE demand for it and I’m not sure if many local customers would want to pay for it. However, in other industries I’m sure competitors are offering these services while some of the businesses are getting left behind and not offering these types of customer centric web services.
2. Your competitors are offering these services.
Maybe your an interior designer. You have binders and binders of books that you must schlep from customer to customer, while your competitor is able to display design renditions online or maybe on a CD they give to customers. They are able to even show a mock up of your home and let you see “before” and “after” images and even dynamically change the look!
If you’re an interior designer, competing with an interior designer offering these services who has the upper hand?
Duct Tape Marketing writer Georgia Patrick gives a list of ways to know if you have arrived at being a Web 2.0 company. Some of her points include:
– You use the web as a platform for delivering technical services.
– You consume software services, not packaged software.
– Tools and applications scale in a cost-effective way for the way you run your business.
– Your experience and your customers’ experience (where you give them access and client areas for collaborating with you and other clients) is of paramount importance.
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