Updated December 17, 2017

The internet has been around for over 15 years.  We can all agree that it has completely changed the way to do business. However,  the vast majority of smaller distributors still pay little attention to their online presence.  For the most part, they are aware they should, but they don’t know how to go about it. Some, deep down, don’t think it’s critical or worth the effort.

But industry sales reports show otherwise. Smaller distributors are losing ground year after year. Coincidentally, they don’t market their business online at all, therefore being invisible to their marketplace.

If you have not paid much attention to your online presence, it’s time you do. There is a new business reality and your business is not excluded from it.

Consider these facts about your clients and prospects:

• They are getting younger

•  They are tech savvy

• They check their social media profiles several times a day

• They prefer text to communicate with others

• They form an opinion about your business based on the information they find online – or the lack of it-

If you are serious about growing your business, you simply cannot afford to ignore the online world, just because you are not comfortable with it.

It’s time that you take your online presence seriously, if business growth is your goal in 2017. It’s time to make a bold move in your business.

Here are 4 bold move ideas for you:

1. Specialize. You’ve heard it before: Niches to Riches. People prefer to work with specialists, not with average providers. Narrow down your market to the segments you have more experience in, and also it’s more fun for you. And ditch the rest.

2. Upgrade your website. If you have a generic, cookie cutter site, your website is misrepresenting you. Time to get a custom professional website that conveys your style and point of view, and speaks directly to your ideal client, communicating the value you bring to the table.

3. Start a blog. This is the fastest way to position your expertise. Post about your completed projects, opinions about products, promotional products tips, trends, and other related info that your clients want to know.

4. Get active on social media. If this is not your thing, get over it. If you are a total newbie pick one platform to start with, LinkedIn is a good choice. Start by updating and optimizing your profile page so it describes what you do and who you do it for. Spend a few minutes every day exploring it and networking. It may feel awkward at first, but the more you do it the more you’ll learn to navigate it and the better you will get at spotting opportunities.  Be methodical. Connect with your clients. Read their posts, like, and comment when appropriate. Join the groups they’re in and participate. You will find more like them in those groups. Connect with potential prospects.  Start a sales conversation by offering to send them a “sample package”, for example.

If you are still outside the online space, it’s time to jump in. 

Implementing any of the ideas above – or any other bold move you decide on-  won’t be quick and easy. Break the project into smaller chunks and schedule a few tasks every week.   Before you know it you’ll start to see results and new opportunities come your way. If you don’t know where to start, get help.

No more “I don’t have time for that”. You must make the time to make your business visible online, and connect with your prospective clients, the way they prefer to interact.

It’s time to look at your business in a whole new way.

What will be your big bold move for 2018?