Reviewing Your Internet Presence

Have you noticed how many adverts on TV include a link to a Facebook page? Cell phone companies are advertising 4G speed devices and tablets. Century Link, Vonage, and Comcast are promoting packages to get you online.  Google, Microsoft, and Amazon have cloud solutions. How can you determine what you need to do to make the Internet work for your business?

Three principles to consider are:

  1. It’s about the customer
  2. Keep it simple
  3. People, not tools, make the best decisions

How can you apply those principles as you review, or think about, your online presence?

To learn how to apply these principles go to

Think Like A Customer

Your online presence is about attracting new customers and retaining existing customers. Some of the questions that your online presence should be able to answer are:

  • What problem does a customer have that I am best able to solve?
  • Why am I able to solve the customer’s problem?
  • When will a customer know that their problem has been solved?
  • Where will a customer go to get your help?
  • Who are my customers?

Use the answers to these questions to draw a map of how customers interact with you. Sometimes having a one page web site is all that you need. Start out with what you know, and improve over time.

Improve Over Time

Your business changes over time, as you respond to customer, market, economic and other conditions. Take the time, each quarter, to take a look at your business, and write down:

  • What do I think is currently my biggest problem?
  • How well does a customer think I am doing?
  • Where do I collect information to tell me if I am being successful?

Use the answers to these questions to plan out the change that you want to make over the next quarter. You don’t need to solve everything all at once. For the information gaps, look at what tools you might need to collect or provide the information.

Make Best Use of Tools

Tools should help you run your business more efficiently, so that you can spend more time doing business. Tools that help you do business should also make it easier to run your business.

  • How do I collect information about a customer and my business?
  • What information does a customer expect me to provide?
  • Where and when does a customer expect to find the information?

Use the answers to these questions to determine if there are better ways to collect and provide information. Having an online inquiry form allows you to easily collect information without asking the customer to commit to an order. Think like the customer, and how they do business with you.

Please let me know if you have any questions, or need more information

Setting up your online presence

Getting started online typically involves three elements: Domain Name, Email Address, and a Web Presence. The most common ways of setting these up are

  1. Setting up your own site, by registering with, GoDaddy, Network Solutions, or another full service company
  2. Using Facebook, Google,, or another social media platform.
  3. Working with a service such as Weebly,1&1 Web Hosting, 10x Hosting, or others.

Consider each of these options in terms of  how you want your business to grow. If you have any questions, or need more information, please do let me know. I will be happy to help.

A domain name is the “” name that is used for a web site and email address. My recommendation is that you purchase this separately from everything else, and don’t bundle. This gives you flexibility if you want to change or move your online business.

Picking a Name and Tagline for your Online Business

In addition to naming your business, having a tag line provides your customers with additional information about who you are what you do. Here are three examples, along with some thoughts about how and why each might work for you

  • : Servicing Widgets since 1987
    • This highlights your name and reputation, and emphasises the individual level of service that you provide.
  • : For all your Widget needs
    • This shows that there is a team of people available to help your customers, and that you are a one-stop-shop.
  • : The best Widgets in the Pacific Northwest
    • This showcases the affinity to the brand, and the implied quality of the product, as well as the geographic region that you cover.

These are just some of the choices and options. Choosing a name and a tagline is an important decision, so take your time.

If you have any questions, or need additional information, please do let me know. I would be happy to assist.


The Importance of Having a Good Backup Strategy


Your customers, and their information, is your most business asset. You need to have a realistic plan for backing up this information, and for recovering this information in the event of a loss.

Information about your customers can be stored in several files on different systems. Make sure that you back up each system and file in a way that you can recover and rebuild.

Some thoughts about setting the right balance of what get backed up, and how frequently:

How often do you update information about a customer, does this change depending upon how active the customer is ? Consider frequently backing up only the information that has changed, and having a longer period between full backups.

Can you afford to be out of contact with your customers for one day, one week, or one month ? It may be possible to set up a recovery process that quickly recovers key information and then brings back the rest over a short period of time.

Wikipedia has some great background reading on  planning for disaster recovery.

As always, if you have any questions or comments, please do let me know. I will be happy to help.

Going Online ties together your web site, social media and messaging

getonlinev2-300x203With the explosion of social media, you can easily get sucked into the mind-set of needing to be online everywhere.

You need to plan your online presence to meet the needs of your customers. How are they most likely to be looking to find you online? Where are they most likely to look ? What is it that you want them to know about you ? One they have found you, how do you want them to stay in touch?

Think about how you use, and interact, with the Internet. Your customers are probably just like you.

Wikipedia has some great background reading. Check out What is Web2.0.

As always, if you have any questions or comments, please do let me know. I would be happy to help.

Thinking about going Mobile or Virtual ?

Everywhere you turn it is cloud this, virtual that, and 4G everywhere. There seems to be a confusing, and always expanding, set of services and offerings available.

Keeping it Simple, let’s go back to the basics. These are tools that you use to support the way that you run and do business. Here are some thoughts to help you decide what tools you might need.

When considering a phone number for your business, compare having a bundled package from Comcast, Frontier, etc., to having a cell phone, or a service from Skype, Google Voice, Vonage, etc.

Microsoft, Google, and others offer services that allow you to put quotes, proposals, etc. online that can be read and shared with others. Being on the road allows you to update the files and review tem with the customer. Stay tuned for blogs that discuss clouds, and online shopping carts for when you want to sell online.

Tablets and laptops can have wireless cards, so you may not actually need to have a fully loaded cell phone; but you will need to have a data plan.

Remember to always back stuff up, ideally with some form of regular backups.

Wikipedia has some great background reading on comparing the different Voice over IP services

As always, if you have any questions or comments, please do let me know. I would be happy to help.

Retaining existing customers is just as important as getting new ones

getting-customers-150x150Having gone to the expense of acquiring a new customer, think about ways you can do more business with them. It is much cheaper to sell to an existing customer.

Do you have a product of services that goes with what they have just bought from you.

Do a follow-up with the customer, invite them to friend you on Facebook. Let them know about any discounts or incentives you offer for referrals.

Wikipedia has some great some background reading on Customer Lifetime Value.

As always, if you have any questions or comments, please do let me know. I would be happy to help.

Being more efficient does not mean making a drastic change

Plan-for-change-300x220Don’t confuse running a business with doing business. Always look at ways for how you can be more effective at running your business, to give you more time to do business. Don’t just make any business deal, be aware the impact each deal makes on the profitable operation of your business. Sometimes you do need to have ‘lost leaders’ to bring customers onboard.

The market, economy, competition, and your customer needs are always in a state of flux. Seasonal changes to your business need to be planned for. It is so easy to get distracted and randomized by what is going on.

Set aside time, at least every quarter, to take a fresh look at your business. Make no assumptions as there are going to be new opportunities, and problems, that come up; and you need to figure out how (or if) you should respond.

To learn more, Wikipedia has some great background reading on Kaizen.

As always, if you have any questions or comments, please do let me know. I would be happy to help.