As I write this, Deluxe Web is a fledgling chick. A shiny new local business fresh off the conveyor belt, and here I am writing content that is designed to help local businesses grow. I guess that everything we write about in this blog is a reflection of what we’re doing ourselves in order to grow our business. So if you’re subscribing to this content now, you’ll be putting our advice into practice at the same time we are.
Yes, Deluxe Web is hot off the press right now, but that’s not to say we’re green. Actually we’ve been providing web solutions with this very model since 2004 to churches and charities with good success, so it’s from experience that we write. The landscape has changed a lot since 2004 and we’ve had to change a lot over the years to stay relevant. We’ve learned many things, and among them is that it’s always best to play the long game. So I want to write a bit about what that means in relation to your business approach.
The web is a bewildering and vast place. To be honest, it’s made me rather skeptical over the years: I hate pop-ups, I’m suspicious of in-your-face advertising and I generally don’t click on anything that seems overtly designed to make me want to click on it! This is because there’s so many people out there trying to use the web to make a quick buck, and ever increasing competition. It can feel like a pretty desperate place sometimes. All the more reason to go against that flow.
What are people looking for on the Internet… you know, generally? I’d venture that:
- They want to find information that is helpful, concise and accurate, and they want to find it easily and quickly
- They want to find the best deal for a product that they want
- They want to connect with other people in some way that will feel real and fulfilling (conversation, discussion, social media interaction)
- They want to find a service from a company that they can trust to do quality work, not rip them off, and be reliable
To mention just a few things. I think it’s fair to say that most of us want those things from the Internet. So why aren’t there more people trying to provide those things?
I recently hired a company to do my driveway. I chose them from one of those trades websites that has ratings for each company. I chose someone with lots of highly-rated reviews. He came, did a really decent job, then (after I naively paid him before a few things were finished) he vanished and didn’t come back, as he had promised, to sort out some last jobs that were quite essential. He even left tools behind. He didn’t return my texts or calls. This is nuts! Rather than return to complete a few small jobs that would have taken him maybe 2 hours, he preferred to leave tools behind and risk getting a bad review that could severely affect his business’s reputation as well as generating negative word of mouth.
I am still mystified as to what happened there, but it seems likely that it’s sheer laziness and the desire to get paid and then get on to the next job.
When you find a tradesman or woman that you can trust, you hold on to them. You recommend them. They are like gold! It’s the same with any business. If you want to succeed and stay in business and grow, you need to play the long game. The game that is about making sure that every job is done right. That all of your responsibilities are fulfilled to the letter. That your workmanship is of a high quality and that you finish the job, every time. Perhaps this seems obvious, but judging by the amount of fraudulent get rich quick schemes on the Internet, and the amount of businesses that fail after 3 years, maybe it’s not!
The competitiveness of the web prompts the desire to stand out somehow. I would suggest that a really good way to do that is to be different simply by providing an amazing service with integrity. If you do this, you will have an advantage over most other businesses. You might not win all of the business, and go from zero to hero within a month of launching, but over time, things will change. People will trust you, and trust makes for loyalty, and loyalty makes for repeat business, positive word-of-mouth and growth.
We can’t persuade cold visitors to our website to trust us straight away. Those likely to buy our services are visitors who read our content, get to know our approach and begin to believe that we’ll genuinely be able to help. It takes time to build trust. So our encouragement to ourselves as well as to you is that we be the John Lewis of our field and play the long game!