Saturday, August 30, 2008

Getting Your Business Online

Many small businesses are struggling to catch up with the wave of changes that have affected the way we do business - specifically engaging in ecommerce. Many business owners are intimidated by the new technologies they see and some may not fully comprehend the benefits of taking their business online. There are many benefits for getting your business online and I will detail a few benefits, as well as how to get started, below.

Business owners create websites for their businesses for many different reasons. And the reasons you should get your business online will depend on the type of business you operate the industry in which you operate in. Many businesses are looking for general awareness, while others are strictly trying to sell goods or services through their website. Some of the benefits that come by getting your business online include establishing a corporate presence on the Internet, being able to sell goods or services over the Internet, gathering data for potential customers on your website, and having an online location for your customers to be able to go to in order to get information about your products or services.

So if your business in not online yet, the question is how do you get started? Getting your business online is not as difficult or costly as you may think, if you know where to go. The general steps include designing and building your website, creating a web hosting account, and getting your site live. Most of these steps involve contracting with specialists to complete each item. For example, you will need to locate a knowledgeable and reliable web designer/programmer to design and build your website. The programmer you select will most likely be the one who will update and maintain your website as you have new information to post on your website. Most designers/programmers provide their services at an hourly rate of between $50 - $100 per hour. Most designers/programmers also can provide valuable services such as search engine optimization.

Creating a web hosting account is very easy and extremely affordable. In simple terms, web hosting is basically renting space from a company that has servers directly connected to the Internet. For your customers and potential customers to be able to find your website, your website must be located on a computer that has a direct connection to the Internet. You can generally get a web hosting account with a top provider for as little as $5 per month. For a list of the best web hosting companies, there are many web hosting directories that evaluate and rate the numerous hosting companies.

Once your website is built and you have signed up for a web hosting account with the host of your choice, your programmer can upload the files to your web host's server and your website will be live for the whole world to see.

As a small business owner myself, I understand why many business owners are slow to change and catch up with the online world. However, I have also come to realize the benefits and necessities of getting my businesses online. I hope that all other business owners can embrace the latest web technologies and help propel their business to even greater success.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Blogging and Politics

It is interesting how much of an impact bloggers have on the news we read each day. The main stream media has embraced blogging, but they use it as another tool to influence their readers rather than to have open dialogue on issues affecting their readers. I believe that independent bloggers are having a much larger influence than the main stream media on our news because of their desire to bring to light the true story of what's happening behind the scenes of a news story.

For example, in discussing his frustration with misinformation regarding an issue that came before the Utah Legislature, Representative Steve Urquhart specifically points out bloggers (along with special interest groups and big media) as having an impact on the information that filtered down to the public.

The beauty of blogging is it gives ordinary citizens, like me, a voice on issues that are important to me. I can share my thoughts and feelings about issues from my own unique perspective. The point - don't underestimate the power of the blog.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Utah's Struggling Housing Market

Since reaching its peak, in terms of average sales price and units sold, the housing market in Utah has gradually fallen off its highs of a couple of years ago. In light of this slowdown, it's quite remarkable how home prices have held up even as the slowdown worsens. However, according to Mark Knold, a senior economist for the Utah Department of Workforce Services, stated that Utah's housing market may still be in for the worst.

In noting that Utah trailed behind much of the country in the housing run up, Mr. Knold believes that Utah is trailing much of the country in feeling the effects of the housing crisis. I concur with Mr. Knold's analysis and also believe that Utah's residential real estate market won't stabilize until home prices fall an additional 10-15%. Although I am no expert on real estate, I would venture to say that the stabilization won't occur until late 2009. Noticeable growth in the housing sector will probably follow in 2010.

According to Mr. Knold, one positive for Utah's housing sector is the fact that Utah does not have mounds of finished, unoccupied homes, like many other cities and States across the U.S. Because there is not a glut of inventory, Utah should be quick to recover when the stabilization occurs.

I think I can speak collectively for all business owners in saying that the housing crisis cannot come to an end soon enough. The impact of the housing crisis is felt through almost every sector of our economy. Obviously, a large part of the construction industry lives and dies by the success or demise of the housing market. When the construction industry is suffering, retailers, restaurants, and trucking companies also feel the effects.

Even though it may seem like the sky is falling down all around us, Mr. Knold offers some hope that the Utah housing market will rebound in coming months. We should all be optimistic and hopeful that we will see improved economic growth by next year.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Business, Finance and Politics

For all of you who may have stumbled onto my blog, you can tell that I am new to this blogging thing. I figured that I would start a blog to give myself a forum to discuss business and political issues important to me.

The issues I will focus most on will be small business finance, business development, politics and occasionally I will mix in a few personal or funny items to entertain. Although I will discuss national and international business developments, my blog will slant toward local and state issues affecting the businesses in the great state of Utah.

I am a certified public accountant specializing in taxation as well as a small business owner. As a result, I have a great interest in and a desire to share my thoughts about the areas of finance and the politics affecting the business community.

So if you are interested in the opinions of one small business owner when it comes to issues relating to the business environment in Utah and around the U.S., please stop by often and see what I have to say.