What would you say to tradesmen who don’t worry about online business?
I think that’s a very short sighted view to be honest. I think in this day and age, the first place people look when they want any kind of service is Google, and they search online for it. So if you are a tradesman or any other kind of small business, if you want to be found by those potential customers, you need to make sure that your website is one of the ones that come up on Google when they’re searching for those kinds of things.
Why would I want a website, I already have enough work?
My own view, speaking as business owner myself, is that you can have enough work coming in but it’s always nice to have more. And also just because you’re busy now, doesn’t mean that you always will be. So I think it’s much better to have a website and be able to turn work down, or subcontract it to other people, rather than to be sat there without enough enquiries or business coming in.
Can sole traders compete online with larger national companies?
Yes, sole-traders can compete with the bigger companies online. In fact, in the talk I’m about to give there is an example of a small business who successfully used Google AdWords to take on larger companies and got a fantastic return on investment. It’s all about knowing that these things exist and knowing they’re out there as potential marketing methods and then knowing how to use them properly.
How does the FSB support businesses expanding online?
The FSB offers all sorts of support to businesses, not just specifically around digital stuff. We’ve got a legal advice line, that provides advice 24/7 support on kinds of legal issues, and of course that could include things like how to start trading online and provide template documents for things like terms and conditions for your website, because that kind of thing is very important if you’re trading online. Our new FSB website, which is launching in the next few days, is going to have a resources library which will have information on all sorts of things including digital marketing. On a local level a lot of the regional networking events that we organise, we have speakers along who are experts in digital marketing and social media and they share their knowledge and tips with the audience. So there’s quite a few ways in which FSB can help businesses expand both online and offline.