If you do not have an online presence for your business, make 2017 the year you get that sorted.
A recent MYOB study showed that 46 per cent of small-to-medium businesses are now online.
There has been significant growth in this percentage over recent years, from less than a third five years ago.
But considering small businesses make up the vast majority of New Zealand firms - and Kiwis are becoming ever more dependent on their smartphones to guide them through every decision from which restaurant to choose to which shade to paint their house - there is still room for more.
Some businesses do not see the need to be online.
Maybe the bulk of their business is done locally, they have a loyal customer base and they think there's nothing wrong with their current operating model. Why change what isn't broken?
Or they are just busy and see it as something that is too much trouble and won't add value. If they aren't people who use the internet a lot themselves, they may struggle to see how a good online presence will help them.
But this ignores how quickly customer expectations are changing. Younger generations expect to be able to access information quickly online, and get answers to their questions when they want them.
They don't want to have to wait to phone at a time that suits.
If you expect them to hang on until 9am Monday to get in touch, they'll find someone else online in the meantime.
Businesses that stand out online will quickly corner the market and have a huge advantage over the competition.
People now put more store than ever in the experiences of others and the online world is a big conduit of that.
Your reputation can be made - and broken - very quickly with a couple of social media reviews.
People will seek recommendations from friends and family online in the same way they might have previously perused the Yellow Pages.
This means a well-managed social media presence can do wonders for your business - but being slack can cost you.
On the most simple level, a website gives would-be customers your contact details in the palm of their hands, when they do a web search for your products via their smartphones.
Getting online doesn't need to be expensive or difficult.
Get some advice on how to set up a good, useful website, a social media presence and perhaps an email newsletter to keep in touch with your regulars.
This is something that you cannot afford to be left behind on.
By Jeremy Tauri - Associate at Plus Chartered Accountants.
Phone: (09) 438 3322
Fax: 438 8455
134 Bank Street, Whangarei
If we had to sum up Brent and the team at Plus CA it would be - humorous, efficient, professional with a real focus on making your money work to its best ability for you...we will continue to deal with them even though we are moving overseas as we know they have our best interests at heart.
Jeremy thank you for your patience, assistance and general chit chat over the years. I would have absolutely no issue in recommending your services to everyone and anyone – in fact, I do.
We recently employed Jeremy Tauri of Plus Chartered Accountants and have been thrilled with the improved service we have received. Jeremy is really approachable and always available to answer queries. At his instigation we have set up quarterly meetings so that we are regularly reviewing our business and avoiding any ‘end of year surprises’.