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Taking Your Business to the Internet The Internet is one of the fastest growing mediums for businesses today, yet most businesses are not yet taking advantage of it. Advantages Increased Exposure More people can find you What you do Who you are Advantages Increased revenue potential

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The Internet is one of the fastest growing mediums for businesses today, yet most businesses are not yet taking advantage of it.
  • Increased Exposure
  • More people can find you
  • What you do
  • Who you are
  • Increased revenue potential
    • Larger coverage area
    • Larger customer base
    • Reduced cost (customer service)
  • Customer Service
    • Provide directions to your brick and mortar store
    • Information about products
    • Customer convenience
    • Parts and service
    • Appointment scheduling
not technically savvy
Not technically savvy
  • Does not know where to start
  • Knows nothing about computers
  • Knows even less about the Internet
  • Intimidated
no staff
No staff
  • No one to maintain a web site
  • No one available to handle shipping, etc.
too costly
Too Costly
  • Technology can be expensive
  • May not be able to justify ROI
do you have a product that can be easily sold over the internet
Do you have a product that can be easily sold over the internet?
  • Too Big?
  • Too Small?
  • Intangible?
  • Is it shippable?
do you have a supporting product that could be sold over the internet
Do you have a supporting product that could be sold over the Internet?
  • Parts?
  • Repair depot?
  • Accessories?
can you benefit from a non profitable internet presence
Can you benefit from a non-profitable Internet presence?
  • Appointments or reservations?
  • Provide customer information
  • Other services that could reducethe number of routine phone calls that could free up staff for sales?
expand to new geographical areas
Expand to new geographical areas
  • Other states?
  • Other cities?
  • International?
improve customer service
Improve customer service
  • Quicker response
  • Improve convenience
  • Reduce cost
expansion in the local area
Expansion in the local area
  • Making more people aware of your presence.
is it going to be a profit center
Is it going to be a profit center?
  • Do you expect your website to return a profit?
  • Can it reduce costs?
what is the competition doing
What is the competition doing?
  • Do they have an Internet presence?
calculate your cost
Calculate your cost

Resources you will need

someone to do the work
Someone to do the work
  • Staff
  • Contractors
  • Do it yourself
domain name
Domain Name
  • What are you going to call it?
    • Should be short
    • Easy to remember
    • Easy to type
if you are going to be selling merchandise
If you are going to be selling merchandise
  • Credit Card merchant account
  • Secure web services (certificate)
  • Shopping cart
  • Advertising
staff or contracting
Staff or contracting
  • Staff person $30k – $50k
  • Contracting $25 - $50/hour
    • Consider requesting bids on a job basis
    • Pay per hour only for support services or consider a monthly contract price
  • The hidden cost of doing it yourself
domain registration
Domain Registration
  • $15.00/year on average
hosting services
Hosting services
  • Cost
    • $4.95 - $19.95
  • What to look for
    • References
    • Bandwidth limitations…do they have additional charges or over use?
What other services are available?
    • How much disk space is provided
    • Up time guarantees
    • Support options
      • What will they do
      • What will they not do (or charge extra for)
credit card merchant accounts
Credit card merchant accounts
  • If you already have a brick and mortar business you probably already have one.
    • Make sure it supports internet sales – some don’t
    • Do they have a web interface that you can link to or is it POS only
Check for any exclusions for internet sales or extra charges
    • Internet sales usually have a larger percentage charge and a higher transaction fee
  • There may be additional gateway charges
If you don’t have one – you will have to get one
    • Sign up fees
    • Minimum monthly fees
    • Discount rates
      • 2.17% and up
Transaction fees
    • 25% - 30%
  • Gateway processing fees (a gateway may or may not be required)
    • Around $30.00/monthly
secure website certificate
Secure website certificate
  • You must have a secure certificate for accepting orders over the internet.
    • Must be 128-bit encryption
    • Various vendors supply them
      • Verisign
      • Thawte
    • Renewed on a yearly basis
      • $70 - $400/year fees

If you are selling products where you want to encourage users to purchase more than one item per visit, you will need to have a shopping cart system.

There are a number on the market
    • Free (open source) to $300 or more
    • Make sure they provide interfaces to various merchant account vendors
    • Are they customizable?
    • Can you maintain them, or do you need someone else to do that?
Some hosting services provide them
    • May not be customizable
    • May be extra charage
Like any business model, you have to build in promotional costs
  • The truth about search engines
    • Most now have a fee based inclusion model
      • Paid inclusions run $30 - $100+ per year
    • You have to submit your site to search engines.
    • Free search engine listings can take up to 6 months for inclusions.
    • Getting a good listing, requires an effort.
Free Advertising
    • Letterheads
    • Business Cards
    • Flyers
    • Newsletters
    • Subject matter lists
    • Word of mouth
first things first
First things first
  • Define your business model and expectations (including budget)
  • Select a domain name…make sure it is available
Review hosting options
    • What do they cost
    • What do they support (languages, etc)
    • What support do they provide
  • Resolve any credit card issues
  • Select software and who is going to maintain it
Select a hosting service
  • Install secure services
  • Build the site
  • Promote the site
  • Periodically score card the site