The World Wide Web Was Born in 1989, 25 Years On Where Would SME Business Be Without It? By Jo Haigh

 

October 1989; the month and year I started my business. I was unaware at the time that another new
born was the World Wide Web, I was also unaware of the impact this creation would have on my life,
both business and personal.
In 1989 promoting a new SME profile was all about meetings, networking and press coverage, not to
mention “who you knew”. Easy and immediate access to prospects and the wider network was a thing
of wishes and dreams.
Today though many a business is born and raised to childhood, sometimes event to adulthood,
digitally. Take for example online clothing boutiques run out of people’s bedrooms, for these
businesses a physical presence has become the thing of hopes and wishes, even if appropriate and
desirable.
A fine example of a business born from the web, or more specifically social media, is sb.tv. Jamal
Edwards was a teenager in London making amateur films of rap freestyles on a hand held camera
and uploading them to YouTube. Now sb.tv is valued at £8m and Jamal himself is number 39 on the
annual list of Britain’s young wealthy (2013).
This is clearly a business that wouldn’t have succeeded before 1989, in a world without the World
Wide Web, but then Jamal himself was nothing more than a twinkle in his mother’s eye back when I
was starting out on my own…the less said about that the better!
However it’s not just the internet that has helped these young entrepreneurs, yes without it their
dreams and aspirations might have taken a bit longer to bear fruit, but drive and commitment are traits
all entrepreneurs and business owners need in abundance.
In 1989 I made sure my new business venture was covered in every avenue of local and national
press possible, paper press mind you not digital. I put my name out there using any means available
to me and made use of some very key contacts.
I got my first website in 2007 some 18 years after the web itself came into being, that website was
extremely basic and was very quickly replaced by my social media minded then PA (now Director of
Marketing) started working for me the following year. Since then we have undergone a complete
brand re-vamp and the newest iteration of our website is just six months old.
I’ll admit I was slow to the online and social media game but, after some convincing, I now have a fully
functioning, aesthetically pleasing, mobile friendly, social media ready website that, going forward, will
hopefully become another avenue for attracting new business. As a services company e-commerce is
not something I have had to invest in but I know having a presence in the digital world is essential.
Now we have three twitter accounts (one for each aspect of the business) everyone in the office is on
LinkedIn and our gallery has its own Facebook page.
Personally the internet and social media allows my family, currently spread across the globe, feels
closer than ever before. I am just a click away from pictures and videos that leave me smiling for the
rest of the day.

 

 

Working solely with SME’s I still come across businesses whose online presence is woeful and it is
one of the first things I try to rectify if I can.

 

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