Why We Should Let Businesses Who Suck At Using The Internet Fail

Aaron Schiff points out some troubling statistics that highlight how many NZ businesses aren’t using the internet.

I’m not too concerned about this. Creative destruction is an essential part of a healthy economy, and the luddites are underperforming themselves all the way towards appointing a liquidator or having one appointed for them.

They don’t have a website, they don’t accept online payment or they don’t respond promptly to email inquiries when you want to give them money. That’s the funniest – when you email a firm asking for a quote and they either don’t get back to you or take weeks.

In 2013, if you aren’t at getting back to every potential customer promptly, you suck. Because a lot of firms with email addresses do suck at prompt quotes, you can gain a lot of business simply by responding promptly with a professional quote. I’ve even had people tell me “I’m not good with computers and that” when I’m evaluating them for a professional service or product!

These businesses are the luddites, and they deserve to be let alone to fail quietly. It is mindblowing how arrogant, narcissistic and conceited you would have to be to ignore how the internet has changed everything when it comes to commercial activity.

Why should we let them fail quietly? Because they have had at least 10 years to sort their business model out and get with it. There thousands of sites offering solid, free, reliable advice on how to do things like email marketing or set up a store on the back of something like Shopify.

There are also dozens of high quality web design firms in New Zealand that will hold your hand throughout the whole process! Capital investment includes building a complete internet operation that ranges from email marketing to online order fulfilment.

Most businesses are owned and operated by people over the age of 50. Despite the fact that computers won World War Two – before these people were born – this generation has been resistant to change and this is a key reason why so many struggle to find work to tide them over until they hit 65.

Because younger people have less access to capital, they’ve been forced to be really innovative. Necessity is the mother of invention – this is why a lot of the tech entrepreneurs making good money are young.

The starting point for doing business in 2013 is a website. If your strategy involves “physical stuff” you better have access to a lot of capital, because 3D printers aren’t good enough for small product manufacturing runs yet.

It is amazing that if you have something valuable to offer the world, you can set up a website with hosting for a year with less expense than an hour of your accountant’s time. There are a lot of people who are able to make a living with their only capital investment being a laptop and time to learn using free info.

The businesses that don’t have a website by now are probably not worth saving. They’ll end up in the “Business For Sale” listings on TradeMe – utterly worthless, non-scalable SMEs that have no enterprise value but the sale to a “greater fool” will bail out the owner’s failed attempt to pay for his or her retirement.

To my generation, if you’re a firm and you don’t have a website and the ability to accept online payment, you might as well forget about my demographic. We talk about this stuff and ruthlessly mock businesses that do it wrong!

Word of mouth is still the biggest marketing campaign your business can run and it starts with getting everything you do in relation to positioning your business on the internet perfectly. There is no excuse in 2013 to not have everything ticking over nicely when it comes to internet commerce.

We should let businesses who suck at using the internet fail because the capital employed in their operation is almost guaranteed to have a more profitable deployment somewhere else in the New Zealand economy.