When widespread internet access became available in the 1990s, our ability to use it for improvement was limited. Bandwidth (speed) was poor; you had to be a software (programming) expert to build anything. It took a long time, and it cost a lot of money.
At first, many established companies sat on the sidelines while fast, nimble new entrants came forward with hundreds of new ideas. The investment community got carried away, and the seeds for the dot com bust in 2000 were sown. For a while, it seemed like anyone with an idea could get money even if a badly flawed business model were underlying the idea - so long as it was "online," it was attractive.
THE LAST 20 YEARS - WHAT'S HAPPENED?
Large established companies slowly took note and started (in many cases) to deploy standalone "internet" strategies in a defensive "just-in-case" approach. The thinking for fully integrated solutions, taking existing business models, and improving them through capabilities was not advanced then.
The sophistication of thinking rushed, and organizations invested large sums of money into website development. Small businesses could not make comparable investments, and the big guys enhanced their competitive clout by sweeping up attractive domain names and investing significant sums to generate site traffic. For site traffic building in those early days, organizations were able to take advantage of the less sophisticated search engine capabilities that the advanced Google algorithms deployed today will permit.
However, fast forward to the current landscape, and we believe small businesses can deploy state-of-the-art websites, product catalogs, and inbound marketing campaigns to match that of any site or marketing campaign of a nationally or internationally recognized brand. Engaging in small business social media marketing can develop high-quality organic web traffic for e-commerce and become the foundation to underlie a complete business transformation.
For small and medium-sized businesses, the Internet has become the most excellent "leveler of playing fields" of all time, so long as the business owner has a strategy for embracing it.
However, the opportunity cannot be taken advantage of without using sophisticated software tools and knowing how to use them. Fortunately, these software programs exist, and access to them will not break the bank. With them, it's possible to implement an effective strategy for social media in small businesses and to develop organic web traffic. Without them, trim business options are limited to paying for traffic or maintaining a site without traffic.
By implementing an integrated information technology platform, small and medium size businesses can place themselves on a level playing field from a technology perspective.
Once on a level "technology" playing field, then the small business can leverage what it does best and the big guys do worst - namely, utilize those years of hard-won personal relationships in their local communities while taking advantage of their competitive edge to provide their customers with a superior experience.