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Smith: Face the facts — Internet commerce is here to stay

POSTED: January 20, 2008 5:04 a.m.

We as human beings don't always embrace new concepts too quickly. You might say that we can be a bit skeptical. Like Thomas, the disciple, we may demand proof positive before we truly believe.

History offers us many illustrations of our suspicious nature. Why was Noah building an ark? More than one person thought that Benjamin Franklin was bizarre to fly a kite in a storm. Crazy Wilbur and Orville Wright are at it again. Edison and Bell marched to different drummers. More than one person believed that Neil Armstrong walked on a Hollywood set and not the moon.

As a business owner, how many times have you found it hard to believe a fact? How much undeniable truth has to be set before you in order for you to become a believer?

Listed below are a number of illustrations that I have heard from business owners over the years that you might find humorous. You may think that these are impossible to believe, but each was a true statement.

The Internet is a fad. If the Internet is a fad, then so was the automobile, television and Elvis Presley.
My business is just fine without a Web site. Your business is just fine without a security system as well. How much money are you willing to lose with a Web site?

Computers are a luxury. If computers are a luxury item, then there are countless people living the good life. According to the Computer Almanac Inc., it is almost impossible to determine how many computers are in existence today. The computer is a necessary business tool.

A Web site is solely for acquiring new customers. Perhaps you have heard of the business axiom that getting new customers is good; keeping them as customers to shop with you in repetition is critical.
All of your business is local. If all of your business is local, then you must be living on an island.

Today's business world is global in scope. Your competition is around the world. Hence, the Internet uses "www" which stands for World Wide Web.

It costs too much to have a nice Web site. Not necessarily. There are numerous resources available to assist you in your Web site design. Determine what your budget is and shop around.

Designing a Web site is like throwing darts in the dark. Turn the light on friend. First, determine what the purpose of your Web site will be. Second, gather your information, such as who are you wanting to attract. Third, choose a suitable Web site building option. Are you going to hire someone to create the site for you or are you going to do it yourself?

J.C. Smith is a consultant for the Gainesville district office of the University of Georgia Small Business Development Center, 770-531-5681. His column appears Tuesdays and at gainesvilletimes.com. Originally published Jan. 8, 2008.



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