There is almost universal agreement that the future of the United State’s economic recovery hinges on small businesses growth, a large part of which is dependent on SMBs’ ability to produce new eCommerce sales via websites deployed on affordable hosting packages.
Currently the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) estimates that 23 million small businesses in America account for 54% of all U.S. sales. Since 1982 the number of small businesses has increased by over 50% and added over 8 million new jobs to the economy in roughly the same period.
But, curiously, there are still a number of SMBs, which are not yet online, or neglecting their online presence, either due to ignorance, offline considerations or a fear of alerting their competition to product features which give them the edge in the marketplace.
The SBA is urging SMBs to get their businesses online, citing Forrester Research Inc. findings that estimate that 47 million households in America have online access and about 44% have browsed online. Of this at least 65% have made a purchase online.
By 2014, online retail sales are expected to grow to $250 billion, up from $155 billion in 2009.
And, cost should no longer be a factor deterring SMBs from establishing an online presence.
“Until recently, developing an eCommerce website meant dealing with multiple companies: one to develop the website, one for eCommerce integration, one to host the site, and yet another provider for secure payment processing. Newer technologies, however, are making it easier for business owners to get their online sites up and running,” said the SBA.
This extends to affordable, professional “turnkey” web hosting services that are available for as little as $4 per month on a Westhost shared platform.
“By hosting on a shared web server, you are able to cover all your hosting needs while keeping monthly fees as low as possible. This is achieved by hosting your website on a server that is shared with other website owners,” said Westhost.
In this scenario, business customers receive free setup and 50GB of disk space. They also receive up to 100 free email accounts, which are protected by leading-edge anti-spam software such as SpamAssasin.
Small businesses should also note they can use free tools including WordPress and Joomla to deploy new websites using wizard-driven interfaces.
Additional free eCommerce tools are available including Zen Cart, OsCommerce and Cube Cart.
By establishing an online presence for less than $5 per month on powerful reliable web hosting platforms, small businesses can find new lead generation avenues and increase ROI over the course of 2012.