Whatever you call it, a small business is one of the great American dreams. Who doesn’t love being their own boss, setting their own schedule and building something with your name on the door?
Sure, there’s risk involved, but let’s face it. Crossing the street is a risk. Venturing outside during flu season is a risk. Life is basically a never-ending game of risk-reward. And one of the biggest rewards of starting a company is the ability to turn your passion into your job. Why be an accountant with a passion for gardening, when you can start a landscaping business, right?
If only it was that simple. Building a business takes passion, but it also takes other things. Like web sites, web hosting, email marketing and that little thing called social media. And for a person who loves petunias but fears pixels, it can be well, paralyzing.
But fear not, great-American-small-business-dream-chaser. The best thing you can do for your company’s digital presence…is to not do it alone. Every hour you spend learning how to code a web site or dealing with domain registration is an hour you could be spending mastering your passion. Which is where your company’s potential truly lies. So focus on what you do best, and hand off the reigns of your digital presence to people who do it best. Even better, find a partner who sees the digital world as their passion. See how that works?
A true digital partner will not only get your business online, but they will help it thrive. So here are a few things to consider when picking a partner to manage your company’s digital ecosystem:
HOLISTIC DIGITAL SERVICES
A great web site is just the first step. After all, fancy design and a catchy URL won’t do much if it’s not seamlessly connected to your entire business, including billing, scheduling, customer retention and more. Make sure your partner has the capability to not only build and host your site, but to build in the connectivity your site will need to fuel your company’s growth.
If your site goes down, your business goes down with it. Make sure your site is built rock-solid for increased traffic, and hosted by reputable partners so that you never have to turn away customers. Because when customers have a bad experience, they usually become former customers.
Most importantly, look for a digital partner that will have your back when it counts. Who do you call when you need help? When are they available? If you have to call some other country only to deal with someone reading off a script who then shuffles you off into customer service no-man’s land, that’s not good enough. Your small business will be built on a foundation of personal connections and reputation, so demand the same from your digital partner. You need a digital concierge, not just an “IT guy.” They should know your name, and what keeps you up at night. If they don’t, find a partner who does.
If you are starting a small business, I applaud you, because you are truly the engine that drives this country. Of course, you will no doubt feel overwhelmed at times with all the hats you have to wear, so do yourself a favor. Hand off that big, shiny digital hat to a trusted partner who will look after your digital ecosystem. That way, you can focus on turning that passion into a thriving, rewarding business.
Mayumi Nakamura is President and CEO of Dreamersi, a full-service firm who builds and maintains stress-free digital ecosystems for small businesses.