Teaching business to suck eggs

If there's anything we should have learned over the years, it's that a website is good for business.
Written by Darren Greenwood, Contributor

If there's anything we should have learned over the years, it's that a website is good for business.

Even now, when a website, namely Trade Me, is one of New Zealand's most successful businesses, you'd think that people might have got the message. It's almost Business 101, but many bosses really do need to be taught how to suck eggs.

I was somewhat shocked last week to hear that only one third of New Zealand businesses have a website.

Respected pollster Colmar Brunton carried out the survey for software company MYOB, and its findings could not be any clearer about the benefits of websites for businesses, be they intended for e-commerce or just brochureware.

MYOB New Zealand general manager Julian Wilson rattled off a load of stats to back up the survey:

  • 42 per cent of those with an online presence enjoyed growing revenues over the past year, compared to only 29 per cent of those without a website enjoying sales growth
  • Of those suffering revenue declines, 28 per cent had a website and 38 per cent did not
  • 51 per cent of those with websites expect growth this year, compared to 37 per cent who have no website
  • 44 per cent of those with a website have more work than normal currently, compared to just 28 per cent without a website.

The MYOB Business Monitor also reported that 35 per cent of those with websites saw better customer interaction, 30 per cent enjoyed higher revenue, 43 per cent reported more customer leads, 35 per cent claimed a better conversion rate for sales leads, 35 per cent said a website made them more competitive and 25 per cent were able to export thanks to having a website.

I am sure that the benefits of websites have been touted in surveys before, but nothing seems as thorough and comprehensive as MYOB in its Business Monitor.

Yet, just a third of Kiwi firms have websites. It's not as if they cost the earth, either. Just the other day, I saw custom-made websites advertised for a few hundred dollars.

And in my career of interviewing computer services companies, how do I find and select them? Through Google, which typically meant that they needed a website! Yes, their benefits cannot be any clearer.

I guess if there is one comfort from this, it is that the numbers of Kiwi firms with websites are bound to grow. Those that do not have one are more likely to fail, and won't be around forever!

Let us hope that those without websites get this simple message.

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