Traditionally it was assumed that a company without a physical presence and a phone wasn’t “real”. Although these are no longer mandatory, there is still enormous value in having at least the appearance of stability which is implied by these factors. A phone number and website are critical. Unless you run a business which doesn’t want or need a public profile, you must have both an email address and a phone number. These days a physical presence is less important. The prime example of that is perhaps Amazon. Even they are opening physical locations, so apparently even Jeff Bezos sees value in bricks and mortar. Consider the following options:
- A virtual phone system such as grasshopper.com gives you an inexpensive way of having local or toll-free numbers which can ring through to either a landline or cell phones. The caller just uses your published number – they don’t need to know you are answering it from the cottage!
- Getting a website set up is simple these days, with providers such as WordPress. For e-commerce sites, one of the best options is Shopify.com. The problem isn’t the website, it’s getting a short and memorable URL!
- Getting a short and memorable URL is critical, but increasingly difficult. First, determine if you really need a “.com”, or if a different TLD (Top Level Domain) will serve your long-term purposes. With country domains such as “.ca” it is easier to get what you want. Registrars such as EasyDNS.com make it simple.
- Email is still critical. Your email addresses should be within your URL domain. Address such as “email@example.com” don’t have the same value as “firstname.lastname@example.org”. Your Domain Registrar will often supply a few email addresses as part of the registration package.
- Consider setting up Twitter and Facebook accounts for your business. Please keep in mind that you will have to keep them current – a stale Twitter or Facebook account isn’t just useless, it can damage your public appearance.
Once you have these basics in place you are playing in the same “perception league” as anyone else. Your website should (and hopefully will) grow over time. Your social media accounts will, with proper management, drive business to the website. In the end, these are all just tools to make it easier to do what you really need to do: sell!