Not all college students are the stereotypical procrastinating partiers that movies like “Neighbors” and “Van Wilder” would have you believe; many are ambitious future small business owners pursuing their dream to start their own business. For this reason, we decided to launch a Scholarship Essay Contest asking future entrepreneurs an important question: Should all small businesses have websites? The response we got was more than we expected.
College students from universities all around the country submitted insightful answers, so much so that it was difficult for our team to choose one winner. While we ultimately did select a recipient of the $1,000 scholarship, so many of the submissions we received were noteworthy that we’ve decided to share snippets of some of our top picks with you right here on the MaxFilings blog!
What most interested us was that we found most students believed having a high performing website was essential in today’s world, especially for small businesses. Many thought that websites offered small businesses a way to fight back against corporate domination and stay competitive in the modern world.
So without further ado, here are a few of our favorite responses…
Should all small businesses have websites?
“Websites can be a hassle: domains are expensive, updating inventory and information is time-consuming, and failure to keep the site relevant is more damning than being off the map entirely. Not every businessperson is a techy, and contracting out web designers or social media managers can be tough to squeeze into an already-tight budget. Websites that are outdated, inefficient or phony can deter customers, rather than bring them in… But shunning an online presence isn’t the answer, either. People like me – the Googlers – will completely ignore the unknown if we can’t research it online first. Small businesses in the smartphone era won’t stand much of a chance without a digital footprint.”
Shawnassy Aranda, Texas A&M University – Kingsville:
“Websites allow business owners direct control over the message they are trying to convey to their customers—which is a huge step in the right direction…a website offers a place for investors to go to see what the company is about, and to see what potential future prospects look like, helping them make the decision to invest in that small business that they think has a shot at making it big. Websites are a big deal. They are important.”
Sara Neuman, Lone Star College:
“There is a difference between maintaining an online presence and actually connecting with your potential customers, and in order to be successful you have to do the latter. That’s because…In a world where massive corporations are rapidly consuming so much of the market, the only way for small businesses to make a comeback is for them to be everything that these sprawling empires aren’t. You’re unlikely to win when fighting them on prices or convenience—they’ll beat you every time. You have to use what you have that they don’t, and that’s your soul… Maintain an online presence, and use it to show the world that your business is better where it matters.”
In a world where massive corporations are rapidly consuming so much of the market, the only way for small businesses to make a comeback is for them to be everything that these sprawling empires aren’t.
Kathryn Sutherland, Washington State University:
“Small businesses-owners cannot control the actions of large corporations. What they can do is take control of the conversation surrounding their business with a website… Small businesses are beloved establishments in our communities. They bring us together and make us feel more connected to each other. Despite the size of these businesses, they have great power that can be amplified with a website. Potential consumers don’t need a state-of-the-art website to be convinced to support a business. In fact, sometimes a simple website with a heartfelt welcome message and a peek into the lives of the owners can influence people far more than a streamlined website created by a team of marketing experts. Small businesses should capitalize on our affinity for a personal touch with websites of their own. It is truly the simplest marketing tool available today and can be the difference between success and failure for small businesses.”
Potential consumers don’t need a state-of-the-art website to be convinced to support a business. In fact, sometimes a simple website with a heartfelt welcome message and a peek into the lives of the owners can influence people far more than a streamlined website created by a team of marketing experts.
Chaad Bhola, Hudson County Community College:
“As the internet becomes increasingly involved in the world economy, many small businesses seeking to get the upper-hand are tempted to create a website… For many small businesses a website is a worthwhile investment, allowing for a sizable increase in exposure and sales; for other businesses, the creation and maintenance of a website would not make any significant gains for the business. For establishments that sell unique and specialized products and services, as well as those in a market where reviews are held sacrosanct, websites are highly beneficial. However businesses that do not meet these conditions simply should not invest in a website.”
Yu Ying Mei, St. John’s University:
“Without a website, small businesses are virtually invisible to consumers because such businesses will unfortunately never even enter consumers’ thought process if the store don’t exist on the Internet…. Small businesses should have websites because it is so beneficial to the business in the long-term as it is the best way of advertising. If owners don’t have the budget to pay for online advertisement utilizing social media venues, they can start off with learning how to use keywords so customers can find their business on search engines such as Google. Therefore, small business owners should save up and invest in creating a website as it can open up so many doors.”
If owners don’t have the budget to pay for online advertisement utilizing social media venues, they can start off with learning how to use keywords so customers can find their business on search engines such as Google.
And there you have it. This is just a small taste of what future small business owners think about the role websites play in the small business world.
Thanks to everyone who applied!
Want to win a $1,000 scholarship? Be sure to visit our Scholarship page soon to apply for our next essay contest.
Here at MaxFilings, we’re in the game of turning dreams into reality by helping people achieve success, whether you’re a student or an entrepreneur. We make business incorporation fast, easy and affordable for everyone.