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Does your small business need a website? In September 2014 the internet reached another milestone as over 1 billion websites are now recorded as active. From humble beginnings back in August 1991 when the World Wide Web Project kicked off, to just 10 websites in 1992, the number of websites has grown steadily until the massive increase in 2011 when the number grew by over 101% from 346 million to close on 700 million. Now with over 1 billion websites registered and rising it begs the question, “does my small business need a website?”

Yes! If you have a business then you should have a website no matter what product or service you sell. At a bare minimum you should have a presence on the web so that potential customers can find out about your business, what you offer, how to contact you and other important details that should be easily found. Don’t forget, this also applies to your current customers.

Google has published some interesting statistics over the past few years especially in relation to what they call the Zero Moment of Truth or ZMOT and it tracks how the web is an integral part of how modern consumers are searching for products and services. As Google puts it ‘Whether we’re shopping for corn flakes, concert tickets or a honeymoon in Paris, the Internet has changed how we decide what to buy.’ This simply demonstrates how important it is for small businesses to be online.

However, thread carefully, as it’s not as simple as throwing together a few words with some images. You are well advised to have no website at all than a poorly designed one. With so many potential customers searching online your website is an important consideration whether they will engage with you or simply press the back button and go to a competitor’s website. First impressions count so pay attention to the design of your website.

It may feel like a lifetime but in the space of 32 years the website has evolved to become an integral component of every smart modern enterprise. For those of you that have a website, pay particular attention to it; for those of that don’t, make it one of your priorities just like you do with VAT.

Marc O'Dwyer

After completing a Graduate program in Marketing, Marc’s impressive sales career began at Allied Irish Banks, Pitney Bowes and Panasonic where he received numerous Irish and European sales performance awards and consistently exceeded targets and expectations. In 1992, Marc’s entrepreneurial spirit led him to set up his own business, Irish International Sales (IIS). Initially, this company was a reseller for Take 5 Accounts and Payroll software. Within four years, IIS became the largest reseller of Take 5 in Ireland, acquiring four other Take 5 resellers. He also found time to set up two mobile phone shops under the Cellular World brand and a web design company offering website design services for small businesses. In 2001, he bought the majority share in a small Irish software business, Big Red Book. At that time, the company was losing money. The company became profitable within two months, and Marc then acquired a payroll company to compliment Big Red Books Accounting products. In 2003, IIS were appointed as Channel Partners with SAP for their new SME product, SAP Business One. Marc sold his Take 5 business and concentrated on developing this new market for SAP As a result, by 2007, IIS was recognised as the largest Channel Partner for SAP in EMEA (Europe Middle East and Africa). In 2008, the IIS Sales Manager bought the Company from Marc in an MBO. He launched Big red cloud in June 2012, the online version of big red book, to date the company successfully converts 59% of trials into sales and the number of customers is growing rapidly. Marc continues to run both Big Red Book and Big Red Cloud which now support 75,000 businesses. He is a very keen sportsman, having played rugby for 20 years, represented Leinster at under 16 and under 20 levels, and league squash with Fitzwilliam Lawn Tennis Club for 10 years. Marc has competed in 11 Marathons, including the London and Boston Marathons, and has completed several Triathlons and Half Ironman races. He has also completed six Ironman Races in Austria(x2), Frankfurt (Germany), Nice (France) , Mallorca (Spain) and Copenhagen (Denmark)

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