Archive for September, 2011

Preliminary Research (Draft)

With good reason, small business owners might be reluctant to advertise their business on the internet. As research and opinions have stated, many people don’t know how to go about developing a website, others might be concerned about the overall cost and time, many might be weary with security, and others just plane want to keep their business local. Despite the challenges and the necessity to do it in the right way, small businesses have an advantage when they put their business out on the world wide web. Even with the doubts, sources support online marketing.

Advertising has changed through the years and businesses have looked to many sources to put their name into the market. Advertising now-a-days can be anything from word of mouth, to newspaper ads, to radio, to the TV, to the internet. Brad Stone, in Newsweek, states that even less than a decade ago many technical experts would not have banked on the internet as being a huge source for consumers until online users came into the picture. Stone also explains many of the benefits of advertising on the internet because of social networks, blogs, lower costs etc. (Stone, “Hi-Tech’s New Day”). As a young consumer, I look to the web and other technological sources to find the products and services I need. The world is gearing towards computers, easy access, quick information, global markets, and much more. I agree with Stone on that web offers my advantages to advertising.

When a company is going to put themselves out on the web, there are many different approaches. These approaches might include contact information on a related website, a website with information about the company, e-Commerce, online catalogs, blogs, social networks or a combination of a few. Noor Azuan Hashim looks at many of these aspects of small businesses in Malaysia that have gone online in his research study. He argues that it is assumed that internet marketing is always a good idea for companies but that his research shows that it is not always a valuable option. He tries to understand what managers think about using the internet in their businesses. Like I stated before about how research and opinions show that some small businesses have mixed feelings about going on the web, managers in his study group want internet presence to promote their company but at the same time there is reluctance to dive fully into the web (Hashim, “E-commerce and SMEs—The Need for Caution”). I agree with the opinion that going on the web with a small business isn’t “always” the best option, but I think if managers are careful, and can put a little money and time into it, a viable web presence can be very supportive to their business.

An article from the Marketing Management Journal, focuses on how a local store’s image may be effected by their web presence which ties into the results of Noor’s work. The article suggests that there are many factors that tie into a store’s overall image. These include the “brick and mortar,” store, previous customer experiences, quality expectations, overall web presence quality, etc. Their research shows that a company that has a good physical image needs a good web image for customers to come back to their website and stop in at the store more often (Moore, Kinard, Moore. “THE CARRY-OVER EFFECTS OF A PHYSICAL STORE’S IMAGE ON ITS ECOMMERCE DISTRIBUTION CHANNEL”). I absolutely agree that a company that is planning on going on the web must invest in having a good presence or it might backfire and lower the company’s overall image.

Most small businesses should get their business advertised on the world wide web. Many research studies and opinions support the viability of web integration of small businesses to increase business. A web presence is very important in our developing world but it should be approached in a controlled and smart manner. If a company fails to address their web integration in the right manner, it could come back to to degrade their image.
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Works Cited

Hashim, Noor Azuan. “E-commerce and SMEs—The Need for Caution.” Prometheus 27.2 (2009): 125-140. Academic Search Premier. EBSCO. Web. 8 Sept. 2011.

Moore, Robert S., Brian R. Kinard, and Melissa L. Moore. “THE CARRY-OVER EFFECTS OF A PHYSICAL STORE’S IMAGE ON ITS ECOMMERCE DISTRIBUTION CHANNEL.” Marketing Management Journal 15.1 (2005): 59-68. Business Source Premier. EBSCO. Web. 13 Sept. 2011.

Stone, Brad. “Hi-Tech’s New Day.” Newsweek 145.15 (2005): 60-64. Academic Search Premier. EBSCO. Web. 8 Sept. 2011.

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Welcome!

The SBO (small businesses online) Project is a blog to host my research on the subject of small businesses going into the internet marketing realm. Many small businesses are putting their products and services on the internet for the world to see. Some small business websites are made solely to advertise their services and provide a way for consumers/clients to find them; other businesses go as far as putting all of their services or products online. I would like to create an argument directed towards small businesses owners to persuade them to put their businesses out on the web but in a manner best suited for their business.

Every business is different and has a place in the free market. Obviously one type of web presence will not work for every business. For example: A construction business probably doesn’t have any use for an e-commerce type website, but it would benefit from a website showcasing their projects to show the public their work. A local clothing store on the other hand might benefit from a small e-commerce website to boost sales from people who live far away.

In a nutshell, I am doing research to help out the small business owner who may or may not be thinking about stepping into the digital world of the World Wide Web.

I hope to gather more information on this subject and get your feedback to add valuable information to this site to finally put together a research paper.  In addition to this paper, I would like to have the start of an information database on this blog for business owners to find the right solution for getting their business online.  Please stay tuned for updates, surveys, interviews from experts in the field, and more.

-Clinton Buchanan

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