The Ant and the Grasshopper have both found success on the web. The Ant owns a local moving company. He has a nice website and a steady flow of business. The Grasshopper sells sporting apparel online. He’s been able to utilize his social media pages to get his customer excited about his latest products which produces sales on a daily basis. Both know that even though they have a steady flow of income, there are changes that need to be made in order to remain competitive and take their businesses to the next level.
The Ant’s business is listed on the local results of search engines, and his website looks nice and prominently displays his contact information. He’s installed Google Analytics, so he has some good information about his website traffic. Analyzing his analytics information, he sees that a lot of people are visiting his website during non-business hours. Many of the people that visit his site go to a page he has set up with tips and suggestions for packing and preparing for a move. The Ant thinks that starting a company Facebook page would be an excellent way to get his name out. What better place to display some of these great insider-tricks on packing and moving? He also considers that his business may have lost potential clients by not being around to answer the phone when some of this off-hours visitors are looking for a quote. It would be great if these visitors could fill out a form and get a rough estimate that he could then follow up on.
The Grasshopper’s Facebook page is extremely popular. Every day he posts a featured item, which generates hundreds of likes, comments & sales. The Grasshopper does a great job marketing but his website really isn’t built for the kind of traffic it receives from Facebook. The shopping cart functionality is old, looks horrible on mobile devices and his product descriptions and images are not the best. The Grasshopper is constantly answering e-mails and phone calls from customers that are interested in purchasing something, but are having trouble doing so. He also wants to put together a mailing list to make sure his customers aren’t missing anything due to Facebook’s limited reach.
The Ant’s company page is up and running, but what a lot of work! After spending an entire day managing his business and moving things for his clients, the last thing the Ant feels like doing is writing content for his page. Videos are going to go great on his company page, but it can be such a hassle to set up the materials for his demonstration and then find somebody to help him film. His simple form to calculate an estimate is more complicated than he had originally thought. After getting bids from several web developers, the Ant has resigned himself to the fact that this form is going to cost a little more than he had wanted. Rather than be overwhelmed, the Ant knows how important all of this is, so every day he does what he has to do. After a long day of work, he diligently sets aside time to write his content, respond to his fans, put together videos and manage his finances to make sure he has the budget to get his form developed.
The Grasshopper is also realizing the amount of work that is ahead of him. His shopping cart requires a bit of custom programming in order to offer the features he wants, and requires a responsive design to accommodate mobile devices. Getting a site to meet his needs is going to cost a bit more money than he had hoped. Updating the content of his website is also taking quite a bit of time. He bought a nice camera and lighting rig for the pictures of his products, so his pictures look nice, but it is so time consuming to set up the products, take and edit the pictures. The Grasshopper has dozens of products, so his new product descriptions require a lot of thought and editing. If that weren’t enough, he still has to entice people to sign up for a mailing list, and write extra content just for the few people that have signed up. After a long day of helping customers place their orders and shipping everything out, he needs some down time! More and more he’s finding himself sitting in front of a video game or going out to dinner and a movie with his friends rather than budgeting for his website upgrade and performing the ancillary tasks that will eventually boost sales.
A few months later, the Ant’s Facebook page has done its job. He can’t believe how many people “like” his posts and videos. The Facebook traffic has turned into legitimate website traffic. Regardless of the time of day the potential client went to his site, his form was able to capture their information and produce a nice stream of leads. Writing content for his Facebook page isn’t too much of a problem anymore, especially since he’s hired more employees to help keep up with the influx of business. The Grasshopper’s sporting apparel is struggling because of new competitors that came into the marketplace. Their websites are modern, easy-to-use, and have great photos and content. The Grasshopper is finding it more expensive to run ads on his social networking sites, so less and less of his fans are seeing what he has to offer, a newsletter would have certainly helped keep his customers engaged. The Grasshopper is also having to cut his spending to a bare minimum in an attempt to get his website up as soon as possible in order to even compete with the new companies in the market place.
The moral of the story is: Don’t put off until tomorrow what your business needs done today! It’s hard to find the time and money to keep a small business moving forward, but things move pretty fast, especially on the web! Keep finding excuses to put off your goals and you may find that many opportunities have passed you by.