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Old November 19, 2000, 09:04 PM
sandy
 
Posts: n/a
Default Article on resistance of small businesses

>In my post below I meant to share an
article about some of the apprehensions
of small businesses to getting a website
and note also the comment about websites
and local business development..
this is the article:
http://cyberatlas.internet.com/markets/smallbiz/article/0,1323,10098_243871,00.html

Hi Sandy!

> If there's one thing I do enjoy, it's a good
> discussion like this one... which is my way
> of saying thanks for posting. : )

> The first part of your question is almost
> two questions, or perhaps two answers, so
> I've divided it in half..

> In a sense, the root of the problem (in my
> humble opinion) is the same thing that's the
> root of the problem for many things. Money.
> You would think that with the proliferation
> of ecommerce companies out there, that there
> would be an abundance of information to help
> the business owner, right? Not so. You see,
> the ecommerce companies want to make
> "their" sale.. and often at the
> cost of the bottom line to the consumer.

> Here's a prime example. I had a design
> client come to me because his site
> "didn't work." He wasn't making
> sales. The first thing I did was test run
> his ecommerce system by making a
> "dummy" purchase using a test
> credit card number. The cart was slow, took
> over 5 clicks to get to the point where a
> purchase could be made, and was hard to
> navigate. I asked him if he was open to
> changing to a new shopping cart. He replied
> that after signing up for his merchant
> account, he was told that "this"
> was the only shopping cart that was
> compatable with his merchant gateway.

> I know of at least two merchant account
> companies that pull this garbage. They make
> it "easy" to qualify... sign up
> the client for a 6-12 month term - and
> *then* comes the fun. "Oh.. you need a
> shopping cart? We didn't realize that. Well,
> we do have one that works with our gateway.
> It's *x* number of dollars to purchase
> outright or "y" number of dollars
> to lease per month.

> It's pretty scummy... but it happens all the
> time. And - while it makes the sale for the
> ecommerce company, it sure doesn't educate
> the business owner very well. In addition,
> it puts the business owner in the mindset of
> "once burned, twice shy".

> I wish I coulc tell you that most designers
> educate their customers. Sadly, it's not
> true.
> You see, with the arrival of html tools, a
> lot of "designers," armed with
> their software, have hung their shingle out
> without having the first clue about how to
> develop a business.. which, in essence, is
> what we do when we develop a website.

> I had a lawyer email me in a panic one day.
> She'd paid handsomely to have her site
> developed and was ecstatic with it. Until a
> client told her that the page had huge white
> (blank) spaces in it - and was missing
> information when loaded in the
> "other" browser.

> Then there's the story of the company who
> bought a series of ads in a huge publication
> (with over 22 thousand subscribers) ..
> blissfully unaware that their site loaded in
> only ONE version of ONE browser.

> Then there is the website design company
> that contacted me for consultation about why
> no one was signing up for their newsletter.
> I went to check it out and asked "what
> newsletter?" The designer replied
> "You know... the one in the popup that
> loads when you load the main page"
> Turns out the popup only worked in Netscape
> 4.x.
> Considering that 75% of the net is now using
> some version of IE, and some of the
> remaining Netscape users are using 6.0 - is
> it any wonder?

> I could go on and on.. but the sad fact is
> that finding a website developer that knows
> how to build a business (not just design a
> site) and also knows what "works"
> on the internet is as rare as the proverbial
> needle in a haystack.

> *smiling* It tells me that we humans still
> like and need entertainment... that a smile
> is still a welcome addition to every day and
> that laughter is good for the soul. Heaven
> forbid that should ever change. Even when we
> "work" we need to be able to feel
> good about it and have something to laugh
> about.

> Do you know what I really think, Sandy? Your
> comments about your co-workers reminded me
> of a situation that happened about 20 years
> ago when I was working in the corporate
> jungle. Being in management in Canada's
> largest retail chain, it was often my
> responsibility to oversee staff training or
> assigning someone to handle relevant
> training. We brought in computerized cash
> registers... one of the first stores in town
> to get them. I remember one sweet little
> lady.. she was about mid 40's then .. coming
> to me and asking me if I would demote her
> and assign her a position in the store
> cafeteria cleaning tables or washing dishes.
> I was stunned and asked her why. She said
> she did not want to learn to use the cash
> registers. I promised her that it would be
> just fine and she would learn them along
> with everyone else. No, no, she insisted,
> she did not want to. I took the lady for
> coffee and we had a heart to heart. She was
> crying as she told me that she was sure she
> was going to make a mistake and mess up and
> wreck the machine. Then - she got to the
> heart of the matter... and told me that she
> was afraid she would find out that she was
> too stupid to learn it, and that it was
> better not to try.

> I made the lady a promise. I told her I'd
> personally train her myself and stand by her
> side until she told me she didn't need me
> there if only she would try it. She did. I
> don't know which of us was prouder when she
> told me she didn't need me to stand there
> anymore.

> I really think that a lot of people are
> intimidated by this "new" medium.
> They don't know if it's "safe" and
> they don't know what to think of
> "privacy" issues... they are out
> of their element in a sense, so they revert
> to familiar ground... the telephone.

> That's why they "dont want to get
> it.." - we humans, as a whole, have a
> tendency to gravitate to the familiar. It's
> the rare few that embrace change with
> excitement.

> As for the media, I don't know that they
> have failed to inform the public so much as
> perhaps many of them aren't any more sure of
> it than many of your co workers. There are a
> couple of media people that have great
> knowledge about the Internet and I see their
> articles regularly at Salon Magazine and
> Clickz... but on the whole, I think a lot of
> the media "doesn't get it" either.

> Then again, perhaps it's deeper than that.
> Perhaps it's that the media is writing for
> their target audience, and their target
> audience "doesn't get it" so they
> write at a comprehension level that the
> public can and will understand. You know, I
> think I might put that question out to some
> media contacts. : )

> I agree. In a sense, it boils down to the
> same situation as the ecommerce companies.
> Every portal site wants the numbers.. they
> need them to get the advertisers. Their
> concept is good.. their follow through isn't
> so good. In a sense, many of them are
> learning what works as they implement it.
> Trial and error.. and the small business
> that follows the advice given during the
> trial and error phase ends up paying the
> price.

> In a sense, yes. Not intentionally. I don't
> think anyone can learn "how" it
> works without actually doing it. A tarde
> journalist isn't depending on their website
> to provide their income. They are relying on
> information provided by third party
> resources... by interviewing this person or
> that. If the information they are given
> isn't accurate, they don't know that because
> their paycheck does not depend on it.

> The person being interviewed often wants the
> publicity, so they say what they say for
> their own reasons.

> The sheer number of "marketing
> gurus" that spew garbage amazes me..
> and journalists print it.. and people read
> it and follow it.. and who pays the price?
> The small business person that followed
> erroneous advice because they thought it was
> the right thing to do.

> (I think I need to start a thread on good
> advice versus bad advice... *laughing*)

> You're very welcome... and thanks again for
> posting..

> Sincerely,
> Linda Caroll
 


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