Monday, May 05, 2008

“The dirty secret is that most businesses hate the Internet”

My column in today’s Financial Post is a must-read. Not because of any brilliance on my part, but because of the rant – er, crusade, by a fomer CBC comedian turned web guru.

Paul Chato is one of The Frantics (second from right), a young, edgy comedy troupe about 25 years ago. (Now they're back, but they're not so young. But then, who is?) His company, Electramedia, sells an easy-to-use website platform to companies such as Mercedes-Benz. But he also sells web services to small business, and it’s driving him crazy.

“The dirty secret is that most small businesses hate the Internet and don't know what to do with it,” he says. “The only reason they have a site is because their competition has one. They have no idea how to make it work because it requires money and attention.”

He also says (and this didn't make it into the column), that business people hate the Web because it involves two commodities that they don't understand: technology and content. He claims 60% of businesses in Canada do not have websites, and “the ones who do have terrible sites.”

And it’s all because “Canadian companies view websites as an expense rather than an investment.”

Chaot says that a successful small business website isn't just about “your stupid product,” but about what the company stands for. He sees websites as the absolute centrepiece of marketing and brand management. Your site should reflect who you are and what you value – not just what you do.

His handy formula: “Show. Do. Tell.”

I've told you enough. You can read the rest of the story here.

No comments: