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Established in a business? Unsure if the Web is the best way to go?….

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Any business no matter how well established will require business planning. It’s the way you look at how you can achieve growth and stability. The basic concept is to look at the business and ask yourself three simple questions:

  • Where are we now?
  • Where would we like to be?
  • How do we get there?

Although the questions may appear simple, they can involve complex answers. Get a piece of paper and write down your answers. You could for example say that you’ve got a steady trade, but would like to expand by say 20% per annum, how you achieve it is say expand sales force, get suppliers to give better discounts, etc.

In order to answer the third question more thought is required. You have to look at what your competitors are doing, are they selling on the web? If so, are they doing well?

Get another piece of paper and write down all the things you consider are your business strengths and weaknesses, then, carry out the same logic and apply it to your competitors.

This should give you some idea as to where you want your business to be, with a lot more strengths than weaknesses. You should now be able identify what is termed ‘Critical Success Factor’ areas where you wish your business to enter into base them on the strengths you’d like to have. Try thinking of say 4 or 5 key factors you want your business to excel in, then out of say 100 award these factors a number you think is right.  This will show you the key areas you need to concentrate on.

From looking at you critical success factors you should now be in a position to start tackling the issue of actually achieving growth. No-ones going to know more about your business than yourself, but achieving growth by looking at where you would like to be is something we all too often forget to do. We all have ideas, which we think our business should pursue, but until they are formulated into a proper plan we will never be able to achieve them.

Going on the web and establishing a market presence may be the way forward for your business, or it may not.

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Find out how many people are already in the same market, visit as many web-sites as possible and enter in your business description for example ornamental gardens (your area) UK and see what the search engine results are. You should see several listed under the search engine results. This should give you an idea of how many competitors are on the web.

Try to visit different as many different search engines as possible.                

Type in your business area, you don’t need to specify your region if you wish to simply sell your products globally. Make a note of which search engines have the biggest results (you’ll find this as the comment search result 1 of xxxx). It may prove valuable later on when launch your own web site, because you’ll have an inkling of which engines have the most/least competitor links.

Visit the sites the search engines show details about, these companies are your competitors, see what they are like, making notes as to what you liked and dis-liked. Keep a note of which sites had the most hits – you can usually find this on a counter, this will show you which sites are the most popular. Keep this in a file, it will prove useful when designing your own web-site.  

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One of the first things we would advise any business to do, before it sets up a web-site is to see if can have a domain name. In essence your domain name is your electronic address on the world wide web. You may have an email address, which is rather similar in nature, except a domain name is the way all your potential customers can find your website.

The problem you may find is that your business name may un-available on the net, which is why we would advise registering your domain name before making any further progress.

The table below shows the different domain name options and what they mean. Use ‘.xx.uk’ if you want to target a UK audience, or .com for a global audience.




Academic Centre like Universities in UK


Commercial Business - Global Web


A British Company


American Educational Establishment


Government Department


Private Limited Company




Ministry Of Defence


A Internet Service Provider (ISP)


Usually a Non-Commercial Organisation

If your name is unavailable then try adjusting the title by adding a dash. Most search engines have a domain search facility.  

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Having decided that your business needs a web-site, the next step would be to decide if you are going to get a web designer in or, build the web-site yourself.

If you have little spare time to spare, it would be advisable against building your own web site, it would prove more prudent to ask a web design company, the information for which can be attained from most internet magazines. From having carried out your market research on the web, you should be in a strong position to get the correct web-site designed for you. Give the consultants the information you researched.

Should have the spare time, and enjoy using a PC it would be advisable to build your own web-site.

If you think you are ready to build your own web-site, please return to the home page and view the web strategy section.  

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