(5/4/11) - The Vermont Small Business Development Center (VtSBDC) employs an e-Vermont business advisor to work one on one with businesses interested in improving their use of the Internet. One important first step is designing your business’ web presence. Small funds are made available through VtSBDC for businesses starting or improving a website. One of the first recipients was Gallup Brook Fencing. Owners Jessica and Troy Steel describe their primary goals this way:
By having an online presence we hope to increase our sales, and be the authority on all types of fences in Northern Vermont. We hope that this increased business will justify the need for at least one new employee this year as well. We feel that this website gives a potential new customer confidence in our services and experience. It also creates a more reputable impression than our portfolio that we have used for the past 6 years.
Some obstacles that previously prevented them from improving their web presence in the past were:
We never had a website before now. The lack of money to create one was the main reason for not prioritizing it before now. . . Other than the money, the other challenge in creating a new website for us was the time it takes to collect all of the text and the photos that you need to represent your business well. We run a small farm (Waiora Valley Farm) and we also both work full time off the farm, as well as have 2 young children. Spare time is spread thin most of the year.
In addition to working on individual websites, the Small Business Development Center provides workshops for all interested businesses in an e-Vermont town. Check out their presentation on social media marketing for ideas on how you can get started with this low- to no-cost marketing option. [http://www.vtsbdc.org/assets/files/socialmediapresentation%5B1%5D.pdf]