For the past few months, I’ve been facilitating a Small Business Online workshop. Small Business Online is an Australian government initiative to help small business owners create web presence for their business and get business online.
The material is excellent and provide a solid foundation for working with online marketing specialists and web developers. For people who are in IT and want to build their own site (or one for their wife’s business), the course provided many opportunities to gain perspective from experienced consultants and even have their specific sites reviewed.
The main messages of the workshops were:
- Small business owners can’t focus on too many things. Therefore, they should do what they do best and engage professionals. So we gave the participants some great advice on how to select and get the best out of their Internet professionals
- Small business owners are typically action-oriented and want to do things, but getting business from the Internet requires setting business goals, developing strategies and measuring results. So we tied every technical decision area back to business objectives
- Small business owners are familiar with every little aspect of their own business, but they are often blind to the bigger picture. For example, they may know their clients on a personal level, but they have no idea how the people who don’t buy from them think, so they can’t attract them. So we showed them ways to find out “where the wind is blowing”
- Small business owners often apply offline, local thinking to their online venture and can’t see the true potential of the global web.
In the last session, Phil Hoffman (the program organizer) and I were talking (again) about why the participants should hire professional Internet consultants to help them and at some stage, I said, “You don’t know what you don’t know”. That’s because professionals keep their knowledge up to date and small business operators have no hope in Hell of doing that while running a business, so they are very likely to miss important stuff.
But then I thought about something else – “You don’t know what you DO know”. That’s because whenever I look at a client’s business with my Internet Vision, I see potential products they could sell worldwide, ways to engage their market and incentives they could use to inspire action and they just go, “Wow! I could never think of THAT”.
And that’s the point, folks. You don’t know what you don’t know, but you also don’t know what you DO know that somebody else may want to pay you for. After years of doing something, you think it’s easy, but it’s not easy for everyone.
Brokers in any market add value to their clients by being able to find and match products and services. It may not seem like much, but to a client in dire need who can’t find what he needs, the value is incredible.
Great web developers, graphic designers, copy writers and online marketing specialists add value to their clients by making their sites more robust, faster, more appealing, more compelling and generating more profits than the clients could do on their own. In most cases, the cost is incurred ONCE and the benefits are ONGOING.
If you live in Queensland, I invite you to register on the Small Business Online site and plan to attend the upcoming webinars. I’ll be there too.
Talk to you soon,