Most of above answers are correct. Ignorance, Time, Stubborn, Fear. The small business owners I talked too, know how to browse the Internet and check email. They have a perception, that "I got this far without the Internet, so why change now?" (Found this with 50-70 yr old owners)
However, many of are seeing tide changing to online ads and media. This is a great time to become an online business consultant.
Lacking of information is one of the reasons why small business owners haven’t tried online marketing in which in fact they can earn more in online marketing. The concerns are not just about the how to do online marketing. Doing business online should have a catchy product that is relevant to us. Videos nowadays grab more people’s attention. it helps to enhance your product visibility and more progressive. http://www.webmarketingquote.com/videos-for-business-online-advertisement-running-a-complete-online-video-marketing-campaign/ Click this link for more info/reasons why videos is more advisable to the business owners.
I would say that one of the main reasons is the following:
Online business requires a different approach in comparison to conducting business offline. John was completely right when he mentioned that establishing online presence is about educating prospects. And it is also about building a loyal and interested community around your business.
This requires setting a specific and integrated communication strategy and a proactive attitude of a business owner.
Small business owners feel uncertain and risky regarding such approach and don’t want to invest much time into this.
Based on my experience, small businesses don't really know the actual benefits of online communication. There are many that still think of online communication as inpersonal or time consuming process or money needing actions.
Online marketing, social media, SEO, email marketing, internet marketing or integrated marketing are terms that many small businesses are afraid to even look into. So, they don't care, they don't search for anything new and they prefer the traditional ways of marketing.
As a marketeer, I'm very fond of traditional marketing but nowadays we actually live at a digital era. We need to search new marketing strategies and of course, digital-online marketing is actually a need and an essential part of communication,regardless business activity or philosophy or culture and of course, regardless how big or small a business is.
I think that small businesses are obliged to look into new, digital era and try to understand how positive and how important online communication can be for their branding, their communication with their customers and their actual revenues.
Interesting question Dimitris: Answering from my own experience I can say that being online with my first business was not part of my initial launch and business strategy as at the time it sounded too complicated and expensive. Recently in my newest ventures I changed my strategy to include pre-launch stage online and add e-commerce later with the help of experts in the field.
Most of small business owners I helped in the past also did not consider having online presence initially but they have come aboard as they expanded their initial market.
Short answer to your question it may not be part of their initial strategy to operate business because they do not feel tangible benefits.
Hi Dimitris ~
I'm wondering how you've assessed the accuracy of this inquiry. There are no doubt millions of small businesses all over the globe doing business virtually, as well as many that are brick-and-mortar only. Clearly, a virtual business (e.g., a subscription-based ezine) needs online marketing to survive and thrive, while a bakery whose product can only be enjoyed in 3D may, as Philip points out, win more customers through service and word of mouth — not to mention an excellent product.
I've recently begun managing the social media presence for such an enterprise, which has their products in major retailers nationwide, ships throughout the U.S., and has never done any online marketing (though they do have a website and take orders online). Expanding their brand via social was my idea, though clearly the company has been doing fine without it. The owner has no interest, knowledge of, or time to deal with social media, so he was happy to let me handle it.
As most of the others state, the key factors to creating and committing to maintaining an online presence seem to be:
To my mind following are the main reasons for reluctance among small businesses to move online. My apologies in advance, as I haven't read all posts and if my points come across as repeat;
1. Lack of knowledge - Small business need guidance as they aren't that technically savvy to appreciate the technical terms in the online world
2. Reliable Partner - Small business can not do everything on their own. Moving to online world requires some planning and day to day managing.
3. Costs - Starting up online business means getting away with 3-5% of your revenue in transaction fees, payment gateway charges and other costs. Small business may not have the margin to part away precious 3-5%.
4. Perception - General believe that local business is for local community and boundary. So why bother.
5. (and I think most important) - Costs/Resources - To manage online business effectively, there are upfront investments and you need resources to respond to your visitors. All this costs time and money - which small business run by limited number of people find difficult to fulfill.
Hope this helps!
I have come up with a few business, those would first set in their hands for doing business online. Later, they fail to keep up the same due to some of the reasons. I guess these could be one among their preference:
1. Calculating their pennies - This remains to be a foremost thing for every business, even if its a larger concern. Unless, you are to hire for a service at affordable costs, businesses would no longer set their hands in.
2. Manpower and time - Number of employees persist to be the other dominating aspect. Utmost, a few business personals are found online and the remaining contributes their time on the other work. In such a case, customer support (or) other assistance seem to be hard to overcome.
Still such type of businesses should come to know the importance of being online :)
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I disagree with a lot of what has been said so far.
Nearly every person I've spoken to about using social media and developing an online presence misses the important point. The return on investment has to be greater than that of other types of marketing.
I have a brick and mortar business with a web presence, an online shop, Google page, facebook page, Twitter account etc.
However, I also use print media and have found that it gives me a better return for the investment of TIME and money. I invest my time developing copywriting and design skills rather than learning about how facebook has changed its policies (yet again).
Another point that is often missed by those espousing the benefits of online marketing is that it simply is not suitable for their product or service (or indeed their target market). Certainly there needs to be a presence of some kind and, yes, a well-managed presence will bring more business. The truth is, it DOES take a lot of time to get it right and it does need to be managed on a daily basis.
To say that those business owners who concentrate on off-line marketing are being complacent is perhaps a sign of complacency itself. Sometimes focusing on good old-fashioned service will win more business in referrals and word-of mouth, even more so now that everyone is being encouraged to turn their attention to online media (and thus ignoring that part of the market that doesn't use it)
Because I am able, I explore all kinds of marketing media. And because I have, I can say that sometimes the greater ROI (of time AND money) comes from offline marketing. Ignore it at your peril.