Once you've completed the Identity steps, it's time to start thinking about your online presence. Even if you're running a storefront business, it's still pretty important to have this. There are many different options, so let's try to narrow it down a bit.
Everybody uses social media these days, and it's pretty easy to set up either personal or business profiles on most of the popular platforms. But social media can be time-consuming, and most small business owners don't have countless hours to spend on something that isn't their core business.
It's important to identify which platforms can be most effective, so it's helpful to develop a social media strategy. Here are some links with ideas to help get you started:
Here's a rundown of some of the most popular places to create a business social media presence:
A business website is like a 24/7 online business card. Many small businesses rely only on social media, but this means that content is owned by that platform, not by the business. It also means that small changes in a chosen platform may have major ramifications to your business.
For this reason, it's always recommended to have your own website, with links to/from any social media platforms.
There are many different ways to get a website nowadays, and they can range in price from free to many thousands of dollars. The differences can be confusing! Here is a brief rundown:
Free website builders. There are many of these but two of the most popular are:
Be aware that in many cases, the word "free" can be misleading. These sites still take time to create and learn, generally have links to the provider that cannot be removed, and do not offer a lot in terms of functionality.
If price is your primary focus then these free site-builders may be a good option.
A Content Management System (CMS) website. Again, there are many of these but some of the most popular are:
These CMS website packages are open source, which means they are free to download and are developed by large communities. Again, they take time to create and learn, and require a certain level of knowledge to develop. However, they are able to be fully modified and enhanced as time goes on, so they are an attractive option for small organisations.
Generally it is recommended to have one of these sites built by a developer that specialises in the platform. Content updates and routine maintenance can then be easily carried out by site owners.
A CMS is a good "middle" option that is fairly cost-effective in the long term.
A custom-coded website. Unless you already know how to code, you will need to pay a website developer to create this for you. Depending on your knowledge and the type of website that is delivered, you may also need the website developer to manage the website in an ongoing manner.
With a custom-built website, you will generally get exactly what you want. However, this is usually the mostly costly option.
If you've followed all the steps so far, your business is probably becoming pretty well established - well done! But how do you juggle all this with family time?