Starting a Business in Canada

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No nonsense information on small business.

Sep 1, 2011 - 3 minute read - Comments - websites

Your Business Must Have A Website

In 2011 if your business doesn’t have a website, it doesn’t really exist. Millions of Canadians who search for products and services on the internet, aren’t going to take the time to look you up in the yellow pages if you don’t show up in Google. They will just move on to your competitors, who took the time to market themselves online.

You might think that most Canadian small businesses have a website. I know I did, but according to Google’s research 55% of Canadian small businesses do not have a website. They also found that 68% of Canadians are active online. Looking at this these two statistics, there is an obvious disconnect. Why wouldn’t more businesses want to be where there customers are? I think there are two main reasons for this.

  1. Some business owners just don’t feel a website is important.
  2. Websites are a complicated, costly, messy thing that small business owners would rather not think about.

I can assure you that the assumption underlying the first reason is false. A website is important. I haven’t opened the Yellow Pages in at least a year. I know many people who haven’t either. If I want to know your location, your hours of operation, your menu or what products or services you have for sale, I’ll be asking in Google or Bing. If you don’t show up, that’s ok. I’m sure one of your competitors does.

The second reason has some merit. Websites can be complex and costly to set up. A custom designed website by a professional designer can easily run $5,000 or more. I think professional designers bring a lot of value that you aren’t going to get when you hire your neighbour’s kid to do it for you but that’s a discussion for anther time.

The march of technological development has brought costs down and made the creation of a website easy. It is now possible for people with average computers skills to build and launch their own websites. Creating a website with some of the new services is no more difficult that creating a flyer or a brochure in Word. When it’s this easy, there is really no reason for not having a website. Costs have come down as well. A site like this will cost you less per year than your Chamber of Commerce membership.

I’d prefer to see business owners have professionally designed sites but I believe that it is better to have a website that maybe isn’t quite as well designed or quite as useable than to not have one at all. If you still don’t have a website for your business, the time to act is now.