By Jim Blasingame, Small Business Network, Inc.
Somewhere in America a small-business owner just experienced an anxiety attack, breaking out in a cold sweat, because she just discovered that half the prospects and customers in her market cannot find her business.
Pretty scary, huh? Glad that's not your nightmare, right? Well, hold on to that thought as you digest the following information.
Currently, about 100 million Americans use smartphones, with numbers growing exponentially. And U.S. tablet users are expected to surpass 54 million by the end of 2012. So what do all those people do on the oh-so-portable screens of these magic devices? Besides making calls, texting and sending emails, they:
- Browse online, making decisions about what they want and who to buy it from.
- Navigate to businesses found while browsing or conducting local searches.
- Buy stuff, using PayPal or credit cards.
If you want mobile users to browse, navigate to and buy from your business, get mobile-ready. That means making all of your business information and resources compatible with mobile technology in at least two ways:
- Optimizing your online information for mobile search, especially local search.
- Making your website accessible and functional for mobile users.
By now you get the picture that the anxiety attack of the small-business owner mentioned earlier is because her business isn't ready for mobile prime time. So how dry is your forehead right now?
In The Age of the Customer, where being relevant trumps being competitive, a small business must become fully accessible and highly functional in any venue the prospect or customer wants to connect with it. And more and more customers prefer a connection that fits in the palm of their hand.
This will be on the test: Not all small businesses need a mobile app, but all need a mobile-friendly website.
Write this on a rock: Is my business ready for mobile prime time?
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Jim Blasingame is one of the world's leading experts on small business and entrepreneurship. He is the creator and host of the weekday radio program "The Small Business Advocate Show." Jim is also a speaker, a syndicated newspaper columnist, and the author of "Small Business is Like a Bunch of Bananas" and "Three Minutes to Success."
The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of FedEx.