Small businesses are a crucial component of Trinidad and Tobago's economy, as they contribute to the stimulation of the economy and may employ several marginalized groups. In a country where the rapid embrace of social media and the internet has reshaped the business landscape, companies of all sizes find themselves navigating the vast online domain. There have been astronomical strides with respect to technology in 2023, and if you haven’t launched the basic digital platforms for your small business. It’s never too late to start.
For small businesses, this digital shift offers a golden opportunity. It allows them to extend their reach beyond local horizons and connect with larger audiences. Social media has emerged as the primary arena for local small businesses to engage with their audience, but it has raised questions about the necessity of investing in a website among small business owners.
However, as the country’s digital transformation unfolds, and as businesses increasingly cater to a younger, socially conscious, tech-savvy audience, the question arises of whether a website is essential.
In today’s blog, we'll delve into the reasons why, even in this age of social media dominance, having a website is a vital asset for the success and growth of small businesses in Trinidad and Tobago.
Should Your Small Businesses Have a Website in Trinidad and Tobago?
1. Con: Cost
One of the major cons many local businesses have against websites is the cost and time required to get them up and running. On average a website for a business will cost between TT$10,000-TT$15,000, based on the varying needs of the end-user.
It can also take time to migrate certain processes. Such as, stock keeping for both digital and physical sales, photography of products etc.
There is no disputing these two factors however, businesses can often benefit in the long run from their time, effort and investment.
For example, digital stock management will only benefit a small business and also digitally process their stock management task, once the website is set up with proper SEO it also gives the business more visibility on Search Engines thus more affordable advertising.
2. Pro: Credibility and Trust
There have been many instances of fraudulent social media businesses stealing money or even robbing local customers. This has made many local customers hesitant to buy online, especially from new companies. This places a larger emphasis on small businesses to prove that they can be trusted. Social media has limitations to this, thus, a website ensures a company can show that they have trustworthy payment options. More importantly, it helps them prove their credibility by providing more information about their selection of goods, delivery options and general information about their businesses.
3. Con: A lot of maintenance
Websites require regular attention. Mainly to ensure that all the data, products and information are up to date for new customers. However, this also extends to general check-ins to ensure it's running efficiently and that there are no viruses.
For small business owners, this can feel like an additional task to their unending to-do list. However, it's important for businesses to set up a maintenance component within their contract with the website company. This should include how frequently the company will check the back end for them and be available for any problems that may arise.
This ensures that you are covered and not left in the dark should anything occur.
4. Pro: Adaptability
Having a website makes your company more adaptable to any changes that may occur during operations. For starters, your business has the ability to be “open” 24/7 when you have a website, meaning that your customers always have access to your business and have the ability to purchase anytime.
However, recently, we saw how adaptable local businesses were when they had a website during the height of lockdowns.
It ensures that your business can run despite any physical limitations.
5. Pro: Sales Data and Expansion
A website will expand your sales capabilities. Not only because it allows you to reach more customers online but also because it captures a lot of data about your visitors such as:
- How long do people spend on your website
- Your best sellers
- Your worst sellers
- The products that gain the most attention
- Where users dropped off on your website
This provides valuable insights that will help you make more data-driven business decisions and improve overall sales.