Are you one of the 40% of small businesses that do not use email for business?
A recent survey of the 1.6 million businesses in Australia with less than 20 employees found that 40 percent did not use the internet or email for business.
Australia has been credited with the highest level of internet use of any country (with 80% saying they regularly use the internet) it seems those businesses not using email will need to re-think there strategy much sooner than later.
Chances are your competitors have created a competitive advantage over you and are picking up new customers that don’t even know you exist because you don’t have an internet or email presence.
Email has become so incredibly popular for business and personal use that it is assumed that everyone is a proficient user. However there is clearly many small businesses (those usually without technical support) that find it confusing or at least aspects of it.
Messages are generally sent instantaneously – much quicker that letters or faxes Some benefits of email:
- The quality is superior to letters & faxes
- An audit trail exists via inbox & your sent box
- No additional cost for sending an extra email
- The same email can be sent to multiple recipients (can be customised in an email merge – in some cases)
- Attachments can be sent with emails e.g. spreadsheets, forms, pictures etc
- Sync with your smart phone for access to emails while on the run
- Can be used as a marketing tool and much more
- More environmentally friendly – can save the need to print documents
So you now want to know to set up an email account and start reaping the benefits? If so here are the steps:
- Decide what the main purpose is and who within your organisation needs it. Is it solely to allow customers to reach you easier? Provide better internal communication etc
- Are you happy to have a free email account like gmail, hotmail, yahoo etc or do you need your own branded email address e.g. firstname.lastname@example.org. Note: A domain name is an additional charge and needs to be renewed every 1 to 2 years.
- Do you need a robust internal email system using Microsoft Exchange server and Microsoft Outlook.
- Email is sent via the internet so research what type of internet plan suits your needs. There are a number of options so pick a few ISPs (Internet Service Providers) and compare their offers e.g. monthly cost, download limits, speed, restrictions on downloads if limit exceeded.
- One of the downsides of email is viruses so invest in a reputable anti-virus package or service provider.
- Once you have completed the above steps you are ready to start emailing (Some setup and personalisation will be required but in most cases is relatively straight forward).
If the DIY approach sounds a bit too hard then consider one of the many email hosting services available.
Richard Kemp – Watts Price Accountants
The advice provided on this Article is general advice only. It has been prepared without taking into account your objectives, financial situation or needs.