Doug Richard: What the f**k does your website do for you?

And far far too many do not let you purchase when, where and how you want to purchase the goods you want. Too many, do not even let you get the information you want on your way to the purchase.

One of the first things I like to do when I invite a small company on-stage at a School for Startups event is to call their website on screen. After all, a website is fast becoming the front door to every business in the world, local or distant.
It makes no difference whether you are a restaurant, a dry cleaner, a cutting edge web service or a high tech manufacturer: your website and your affiliated presence across the web is your identity not just a signpost to it.
And yet, when the websites flash up on the 30 foot screen behind my head, it is all too often a cringeworthy moment. So many business-to-business sites are bland, undirected hoardings spouting corporate vagaries. So many consumer sites are bewildering, amateurish and confusing.
And far far too many do not let you purchase when, where and how you want to purchase the goods you want. Too many, do not even let you get the information you want on your way to the purchase.
And of course, many companies are only a website; they are difficult to find in the first place. They don't exist outside the confines of their site, as though sitting behind their little front page waiting for someone to knock, or call is adequate in this time of change.
How many people with static websites don't even realise they are isolated from real commerce and real opportunities because they are not within the gated walls of the truly important players such as Amazon, Ebay, Etsy or Alibaba? How many local businesses understand the tectonic importance of Google Local or Google Product or Google Vendor Pages?
The answer is all too many, of course. And that sad part of all this is it unnecessary. There is a logical and learnable path from understanding your actual unique selling proposition to how you optimise your site, how you use pay-per-click to what other sites you should be leveraging.
There are wonderful, effortless ways to create a straight forward user experience on your site. There are clear simple tools to know what your customers think and act upon it.
There are excellent and fun ways to let people know that you are in business, that you have special offers, that you do something different or unique.
You can engage directly with the market, you can set yourself apart from your competitors, you can delight your customers unexpectedly and confound your opponents.
You can leap buildings in a single bound and see through walls. And it is all because of the web.
But you don't. And I believe profoundly that it is because no one shows you how. The entire mission of School for Startups has been and continues to be helping people start and grow successful businesses.
In 2010 that means making the most of the world that we live in today and that world is one that is increasingly meshed with the internet. It is not just the front page of your site. It is how you and your business engage with people across your entire organisation: it's sourcing, distribution, marketing, purchasing, customer service and sales. It's everything.
I have spent the last six months working with some of the top people involved in small business and the web creating a course for small businesses who want to catch up and get ahead.
I believe that I can take any small business, local or global, product or service, and, in 48 hours, change it forever. So I am holding a bootcamp over two days in Sheffield, called 'Made in 48 Hours'. And in that course I hope to show what I know and teach you that your business can b

And of course, many companies are only a website; they are difficult to find in the first place. They don't exist outside the confines of their site, as though sitting behind their little front page waiting for someone to knock, or call is adequate in this time of change.

How many people with static websites don't even realise they are isolated from real commerce and real opportunities because they are not within the gated walls of the truly important players such as Amazon, Ebay, Etsy or Alibaba? How many local businesses understand the tectonic importance of Google Local or Google Product or Google Vendor Pages?

The answer is all too many, of course. And that sad part of all this is it unnecessary. There is a logical and learnable path from understanding your actual unique selling proposition to how you optimise your site, how you use pay-per-click to what other sites you should be leveraging.

There are wonderful, effortless ways to create a straight forward user experience on your site. There are clear simple tools to know what your customers think and act upon it.

There are excellent and fun ways to let people know that you are in business, that you have special offers, that you do something different or unique.

You can engage directly with the market, you can set yourself apart from your competitors, you can delight your customers unexpectedly and confound your opponents.

You can leap buildings in a single bound and see through walls. And it is all because of the web.

But you don't. And I believe profoundly that it is because no one shows you how. The entire mission of School for Startups has been and continues to be helping people start and grow successful businesses.

In 2010 that means making the most of the world that we live in today and that world is one that is increasingly meshed with the internet. It is not just the front page of your site. It is how you and your business engage with people across your entire organisation: it's sourcing, distribution, marketing, purchasing, customer service and sales. It's everything.

I have spent the last six months working with some of the top people involved in small business and the web creating a course for small businesses who want to catch up and get ahead.

I believe that I can take any small business, local or global, product or service, and, in 48 hours, change it forever. So I am holding a bootcamp over two days in Sheffield, called 'Made in 48 Hours'. And in that course I hope to show what I know and teach you that your business can be changed forever.

 

Find out more about Made in 48 hours:

http://www.schoolforstartups.co.uk/made-in-48-hours-sheffield/

Enter Smarta's competition to win a free ticket worth £375.

 

 

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