Online Services for Offline businesses

13 replies
We have a lot of work to do if we as the IM community are going to get traditional businesses to provide online services. I'm speaking more of small business. WalMart is getting the idea. One can upload photos and have them printed at the store. Banks have for the most part gotten a big handle on online transactions.

Since I do everything online that I can, I would love to be able to schedule an appointment with my hair stylist, massage person, and pre-order by pickup lunch at the local sandwich shoppe. Here that is not possible yet.

Having some family in the restaurant business is eye opening. They do their best to market, but spend most of the time actually operating the business, dealing with employees, cleaning, ordering product, cooking, etc. Marketing is done when all that other stuff is done and there is very little energy left for it. A website is a luxury and online ordering or communication is off limits because of lack of time.

Things will be more and more connected and online, but there is still a big gap between what is possible and what is.
#businesses #offline #online #services
  • Profile picture of the author JayXtreme
    Originally Posted by Scott Ames View Post

    We have a lot of work to do if we as the IM community are going to get traditional businesses to provide online services. I'm speaking more of small business. WalMart is getting the idea. One can upload photos and have them printed at the store. Banks have for the most part gotten a big handle on online transactions.

    Since I do everything online that I can, I would love to be able to schedule an appointment with my hair stylist, massage person, and pre-order by pickup lunch at the local sandwich shoppe. Here that is not possible yet.

    Having some family in the restaurant business is eye opening. They do their best to market, but spend most of the time actually operating the business, dealing with employees, cleaning, ordering product, cooking, etc. Marketing is done when all that other stuff is done and there is very little energy left for it. A website is a luxury and online ordering or communication is off limits because of lack of time.

    Things will be more and more connected and online, but there is still a big gap between what is possible and what is.

    You'd be surprised how many "small" businesses are looking for an online presence.. ranging from basic to fully integrated shopping carts and ordering system for home delivery...

    Get out and do some market research with those hair stylists and massage folks..

    I was blown away by how many wanted more info, and also they appreciate having to pay the right price for such a valuable service that we as tech type people can provide...

    Peace

    Jay
    Signature

    Bare Murkage.........

    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[184290].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author Chris Lockwood
    Originally Posted by Scott Ames View Post

    We have a lot of work to do if we as the IM community are going to get traditional businesses to provide online services.
    It's those offline businesses that need to do the work, not us (unless you are doing it for hire).

    It's not my job to teach the world how to run their businesses, unless I'm hired to do that.

    There is an amazing gadget called the phone that's very useful if you need to make an appointment.
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[184460].message }}
    • Profile picture of the author Sean A McAlister
      Have you checked out

      Keith Boisvert's

      www.localbizbuilders.com


      Great forum that discusses this exactly! Really good stuff there.
      Signature
      New Product Launches, Affiliate Marketplace

      Need More Sales? More Affiliates? LaunchBoards.com
      {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[184466].message }}
    • Profile picture of the author Pete Egeler
      Originally Posted by Chris Lockwood View Post

      It's those offline businesses that need to do the work, not us (unless you are doing it for hire).

      It's not my job to teach the world how to run their businesses, unless I'm hired to do that.

      There is an amazing gadget called the phone that's very useful if you need to make an appointment.

      Maybe you need to look at the income possibilities here in stead of blowing the idea off, Chris.

      When you help a local business take care of their issues, you ARE "for hire". DUH.

      Pete
      {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[184486].message }}
    • Profile picture of the author affiliateppc
      Originally Posted by Chris Lockwood View Post

      It's those offline businesses that need to do the work, not us (unless you are doing it for hire).

      It's not my job to teach the world how to run their businesses, unless I'm hired to do that.

      There is an amazing gadget called the phone that's very useful if you need to make an appointment.
      Chirs,

      I agree with Pete that you might miss the point here. If you can show these businesses how to do the online thing, you can earn good money. What we as an online community consider to be outdated is actually ground breaking stuff to the offline small business world.

      The "Offline Gold" reports have great information. Though this business model is not my style (I am a "professional affiliate") it has merit and good earnings potential.

      AffiliatePPC
      Signature

      Do You Want a FREE Copy Of My Latest eBook Where I Show You Step By Step How I Average $500 Per Day Promoting Earth4Energy? It's Easy, All You Have To Do Is Follow Me On Twitter http://twitter.com/freddieonline

      {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[184576].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author artwebster
    Yes, there is a lot of scope to help local businesses but the tales of walking out with a $1500 cheque are pure fantasy.
    The major problem everybody has in small, local businesses is finding ways for the local community to find their online presence.
    If you build them a web site, you will have to keep on top of it to keep up with the changes in the business - and most web site builders are only after that lucrative 'one hit' payment. Some do offer an updating service but it is way too infrequent AND expensive to enable the small local businessman to justify the cost.
    I am surrounded by small villages (3,000 to 11,000 inhabitants) with small businesses. Some of these villages have installed free wi-fi so anybody with a lap top can access the internet but the lap tops are being used to find commodities outside the village - even now, with high fuel costs - or are being used for research and entertainment.
    When I look at the disasters that some web site builders pass of as 'state of the art', I am shocked at the poor levels of business needs comprehension that they display.
    Local customers want web sites to be informative and easy to navigate.
    They are not impressed with header graphics that rotate or flap about. Navigation buttons that hiss or chime don't impress them either. As for things floating across the screen (and I don't mean pop ups)! These are all distractions that they don't get in the local free newspapers - so that is where they still look for classified sales type adverts - and they are not things that keep them on Paco's web site if they can't find the page they are looking for.
    It is almost impossible for a local business to get anywhere near the first page of search engine reults because of the time, effort and expense necessary and PPC is a waste of space because the search terms people use seldom include the village name (even though that will be one of the keywords).
    There is a lot of hand holding involved in helping a local business launch a web presence - unfortunately, it is all too often, lacking.
    Signature

    You might not like what I say - but I believe it.
    Build it, make money, then build some more
    Some old school smarts would help - and here's to Rob Toth for his help. Bloody good stuff, even the freebies!

    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[185695].message }}
    • Profile picture of the author rosetrees
      Originally Posted by artwebster View Post

      Yes, there is a lot of scope to help local businesses but the tales of walking out with a $1500 cheque are pure fantasy.
      The major problem everybody has in small, local businesses is finding ways for the local community to find their online presence.
      If you build them a web site, you will have to keep on top of it to keep up with the changes in the business - and most web site builders are only after that lucrative 'one hit' payment. Some do offer an updating service but it is way too infrequent AND expensive to enable the small local businessman to justify the cost.
      That's exactly the direction my offline business is taking without me promoting it at all. I've never claimed to be a web designer. But like you also say, most people don't want whirling graphics etc. I keep it simple. I've been recommending Worpress so my customers can maintain their own sites. The most recent one I've done was in Serif WebPlus. The client bought that too - approx £50 - so they can maintain the site themselves.

      Next week I'm off to see a small bed and breakfast business. They want a one page site. They've been quoted £550. I quoted £100 for a one page Wordpress site they can update themselves. Guess who's got the job.

      Originally Posted by artwebster View Post

      There is a lot of hand holding involved in helping a local business launch a web presence - unfortunately, it is all too often, lacking.
      This is "what I do" - as a teacher it's my stock in trade so to speak
      {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[185720].message }}
    • Profile picture of the author David Neale
      Originally Posted by artwebster View Post

      It is almost impossible for a local business to get anywhere near the first page of search engine reults because of the time, effort and expense necessary and PPC is a waste of space because the search terms people use seldom include the village name (even though that will be one of the keywords).
      There is a lot of hand holding involved in helping a local business launch a web presence - unfortunately, it is all too often, lacking.
      First page of Google in natural results can be very easy if the the village name is used as a modifier "village name tax accountant" in your targeted keyword phrase.

      PPC can be set to only show ads to a people within a geographic area. So you would still buy a broad term like "tax accountant" but choose to only display it to people within say 30-50 miles (or whatever is appropriate for the type of business) of the business you are working with.
      Signature

      David Neale

      {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[185803].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author Markus Wahlgren
    Help your local business create One really irresistable offer. Even a loss leader if needed. Everything else is secondary. But once you have that offer, tell them how to build a list right from the start. And to communicate with their (repeat) customers.
    Signature

    Note; I am back.

    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[187147].message }}
    • Profile picture of the author David Neale
      Great idea Markus. You immediately become their "partner" rather than just another salesperson. Great psychology.

      Originally Posted by Markus Wahlgren View Post

      Help your local business create One really irresistable offer. Even a loss leader if needed. Everything else is secondary. But once you have that offer, tell them how to build a list right from the start. And to communicate with their (repeat) customers.
      Signature

      David Neale

      {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[187169].message }}
      • Profile picture of the author AndrewCavanagh
        Brilliant observations and some of the wording in your post is really amazing for reasons you won't know about for a few months (but it will be BIG).

        The biggest thing you need to understand is that most business owners are very eager to use the power of the internet to increase their sales, profits and the efficient running of their businesses.

        But small business owners are also VERY busy...they simply don't have the time to work out what to do let alone taking the time and getting over that huge learning curve doing it themselves.

        That's where you come in.

        You can make an exceptional income helping small business owners implement some of the internet marketing strategies that are just obvious and common place to you (but revelations to them!)

        This is probably the most lucrative niche in the marketing world.

        Small business accounts for over half the business turnover in the western world.

        That gives you more potential clients than you could ever reach in a dozen lifetimes.

        Kindest regards,
        Andrew Cavanagh
        {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[187198].message }}

Trending Topics