Read the stories of successful small businesses - how they created their online presence and how they have found success in being online.
I registered my domain in 1999 after hearing a speaker discuss how realtors were using the Internet to help clients and market themselves. At that time, email was a top priority and having a unique domain made a branded email possible. Today, it is so important for businesses to have an online presence because people search online for everything these days and a business that does not have, or has a dated web presence, is not competitive. Over 90% of my business originates with my website from clients who found my site after using a search engine for research.
The market is becoming saturated with similar shops and new start-ups, so having a website has been crucial for maintaining business and setting ourselves apart since it enables our customers to easily learn more about us as people and understand what we are about. Our business has grown from the individual shopper to groups of friends who travel from far away to “make a day of it,” to interior designers and other companies that buy for their own retail businesses. In the past, these connections would have been word of mouth, but now they can easily read about us, get in touch with us, and shop with us online or in person.
Creating a website for my business was all about building my company’s credibility. There are so many outdoor boot camp businesses, and having a website allows me to show how mine is different than the rest. Credibility was also a reason I chose a .net. Since the .com was taken, the logical decision was to go with a .net. Having an online presence makes running my business easier for me and my clients, and has helped my business grow.
If you want to be taken seriously in any competitive client-based industry, you can't create any opportunities for prospects to question your commitment or professionalism. A strong first impression is critical for opening up your business to new customers and a company website is often the first place clients look. I elected to use a .net domain name for my website because it set me apart from other agencies. It also enabled me to use a more professional branded email address “@loosegrip.net” to reach out to my network. Many solo entrepreneurs start off with an unbranded email address which can come off as amateur to prospects.
We felt that the first impression someone is going to get of our company online is important; that it was indicative of who we are and the kind of company we are. It was important to be able to separate ourselves from the masses and control our own environment. Having a web presence with a .tv domain name allows for that; it allows us to really be free, do our own thing, and have our own creative space.