Navigating the Pros + Cons of Expanding Online as a Small Business
Nowadays, it’s hard to think about a business not having some kind of digital presence. Often, the first thing people do when they want to know more about a business — even a local one — is to look for a website or social media pages. If your small business doesn’t have an online presence, or your digital footprint is very small, it’s important to consider some of the pros and cons associated with expanding.
At first glance, you might not think there are any “cons” to boosting your online presence. However, as a small business, there can be some dangers involved in having a digital presence, and it’s important to know how to mitigate those risks. Chances are, you got into your business out of love for the product or service you provide, not to establish yourself online.
So, how can you make the most of expanding your business online? Should you put in the time and effort, or is it really even worth it? Let’s focus on the pros and cons, and what you should do with your local business.
Finding Your Place in the Digital Age
If you’ve been looking for a reason to expand online, look no further than today’s digital trends. Whether you’re just starting a small local business or you’ve been established for a while, there’s no denying that we’re living in a digital age. If businesses don’t keep up, they could become obsolete.
You need a business strategy for the digital age, and if yours doesn’t fit, your marketing efforts could fall on deaf ears.
Thankfully, there are plenty of tools and techniques that can help you find your place in the digital age, from Des Moines all the way across the globe. Some of the best ways to grow your online presence include:
Social media platforms
- A strong website
- Google My Business
- Email marketing
When you choose to immerse your business in the digital world, you’ll experience the benefits that come with it. For starters, your business will be seen as more accessible. You’ll also reach a larger audience. Even if you’re a local business focused on marketing to a small community, there’s always room for growth. Plus, it’s easier to build your brand and establish trust when your audience can look up information about you quickly, and when your social media efforts are transparent and engaging.
What Are the Risks?
When it comes to the cons of expanding online, it’s all about safety and security. You’re never going to be able to 100% protect your business from cyber threats. One data breach could wreak havoc on your entire operation and could compromise your customers’ information, too.
However, there are things you can do to reduce those risks and make your digital presence as safe as possible.
One of the best ways to prevent a data breach is to understand the threats. Malware, for example, is commonly used by scammers in the form of computer worms or viruses and allows hackers to access information almost immediately. You can protect yourself by making sure your anti-virus software is always up-to-date and that you’re always utilizing security patches and updates. It’s also essential to educate your entire staff on how to properly collect and store data, so it isn’t misplaced or widely available for anyone to “steal.”
You might also have to deal with SPAM. If you have a personal email account, you probably get messages from time to time from companies you don’t follow or from bots posing as people. While having an online presence makes it easier for customers to reach you, it also makes it easier for spammers to post on your Facebook profile, your website and to send you emails.
If you’re willing to be proactive and careful with your online presence, it’s fair to argue there are more pros than cons. Make sure you have someone dedicated to your digital presence, and an IT professional you trust. With the right precautions in place, having a presence online will help your business reach new heights in Des Moines and beyond!
Looking for tools to help grow your startup or small business? Visit the Small Business Resources Hub to find the information you need or sign up for Mentor Connection to build relationships with a trusted group of mentors.