SCORE

If you were told that you’d have to compete in the Olympics tomorrow, would you be ready? For most people, the answer to that question is no. Being one of the best in the world doesn’t happen overnight. Athletes spend years perfecting their performance. No one starts at the top. Greatness begins in the gym.

Building your business website is a lot like working out. Of course, you want a website that’s the best in the world – what business owner wouldn’t? But the odds are that you’re starting your company with a limited budget. It may not be possible to have every website feature and function you’d like to have. Add to that the fact that technology advances so quickly that some of the web features your customers will absolutely expect you to have five years from now may not even exist today.

Get Ready to Hit the Gym: Building Your Business Website

Think of building your business website the same way an athlete approaches training. You have to start somewhere. If you haven’t launched your business website yet, work with your SCORE mentor to ensure that your design includes all of the essential elements today’s customer will expect it to have – this list will vary depending on what type of business you’re in, but all business websites need to be mobile friendly. More than 60% of all searches take place on a smartphone or other mobile device.

After you’ve launched the first version of your website, you can start preparing to upgrade it. Pay attention to how your website is working for you and make note of any issues or concerns that come up over time. It’s also a good idea to stay aware of how other businesses – especially those in your industry or that are important to your customer base – are marketing themselves online. Keep track of features you’d like to have.

Focus on Continuous Improvement

When an athlete is training for an event, they focus on improving their performance. When you identify an issue that’s impacting your business’ performance, and you have the resources and ability to address it, do so. Some website upgrades can be done without making major changes to your site. This is a normal part of doing business, and you should, as much as possible, plan for it ahead of time.

Remember that an athlete focuses their workouts. They may work on their strength during one session and their speed the next. You can take the same approach with your website upgrades. Areas of focus include your website functionality – how well does it work - as well as search, which determines how easy it will be for your customers to find you. Website security, e-commerce, and branding issues also need regular attention.

The goal of working out is to make small, incremental progress. Continual improvement at the gym results in stronger bodies and healthier, happier people. Continual improvement on your business website will result in more traffic to your website, a better customer experience, and data you can use to better understand your customer and build your business.

The athlete who wins the competition doesn’t have to be the best in the world. They just have to be better than everyone else who’s playing against them. Your website doesn’t have to be world-class to get the job done. You just have to be able to outplay the competition. That means paying attention to what your customer wants and needs from your website and steadily making the necessary upgrades and improvements to ensure those expectations are met.

Working Out Alone, With Your Buddies & With a Coach

When you’re starting a business, you don’t necessarily have a lot of money to invest in upgrading your website. You’re just like the athlete who can’t afford private training facilities or a personal trainer to up their game: you’re going to have to do the work yourself.

Luckily, you have resources available to you to make this easier. SCORE Westchester offers several workshops throughout the year focused on websites for small business. Your SCORE mentor can help you determine what you need to do to grow your business and which website upgrades make sense. They’ll also help you determine when it’s time to work with a professional and launch the next version of your website – an exciting time for any business and proof that you’re actively growing your company!

Jennifer Shaheen