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How to use your website for business?

Anita Lowe - Tuesday, April 19, 2011
A friend of mine called me at the close of business yesterday to ask a favor.  He was responsible for managing the local Rotary Club meeting and needed to line up a quest speaker for an upcoming luncheon because his scheduled speaker had a conflict come up and couldn't make it.

The call went something like this...:
"Hey Joey, this is Wayne.  I've got a problem I need your help with."
 "Sure Wayne, what's up?"
"Have you ever given a speech in front of crowd before?"
"Uhhh, yeah!  Why?"
"Can you give a 15-20 minute speech to the Rotary Club?  My scheduled speaker canceled."

Now I know that Wayne would only make this request if he was truly in a pinch so I said sure.  Why not?  I asked Wayne when and where and he replied "Tomorrow, the steakhouse." (We live in a small town and there's only the one real steakhouse.)  Nothing like a little end of the day stress on a Monday afternoon, right?

So today is the day and I draft out a quick 5 minute speech and head over to the steakhouse at the appointed time.  I figured I could I speak for 5 minutes and then take questions.  About 30 minutes before the event, Wayne calls me and tells me that he can't make it because he has to handle a business situation.  Always, the optimist (wait, that's another club right), I take it all in stride and wait and watch.

Now, I want to assure my readers that the meeting went well.  The food was wonderful and the club members were the perfect hosts.  I felt right at home and it didn't hurt that many of the members had been to my home before.  So what does all of this have to do with using a website for a business?

The thing about most business websites is that they aren't really set up for business.  Yes, they look pretty and yes they tell visitors about what you do and where you are located.  Some of the more fancy sites even allow you to purchase services and products right online.  But when it comes to actually complimenting your business, most websites miss the mark.

It's far better to spend some time on the front end of things working out your systems.  For instance, as a business owner, what would you want a site visitor to do when they come to your site?  How are you going to accomplish that?  Then what?  I guess my point is that if you want to use a website for business, you had better come up with a viable reason as to why it will work for you.  Oh and the caveat is that if you do figure this out, you will be farther along than most of your competitors.

So what does all of this have to do with Wayne and my speaking at the Rotary Club?  Well for starters, I've recognized the importance of having a website that compliments my business so I was able to adjust my schedule on short notice to help a friend in need without doing my clients a disservice.  In fact, I bet my clients didn't even notice I was gone.
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