Our friend Shashi Bellamkonda is back with another guest post of a small business story.
“Did you really find me on the Internet?” Small Business owner to me
By Shashi Bellamkonda
A few weekends ago on a Saturday morning, I went out to my car to begin my weekend errands and saw that I had a flat tire. Saturday mornings are not the best for flat tires. Since I have membership of AAA, I called them and a local towing company arrived and changed the wheel for me to my spare tire. Next step was to find a gas station that could plug the leak in the tire for me. I went down to a couple of them, and they told me that the Autoshop is closed on Saturday.
The choice at that moment for me was not to run to the Yellow pages and leaf through and call all the Autoshops in the vicinity, but to take my phone out and look up Google maps for the nearest service Station. The station that came up was:
Shady Grove BP Auto Care 240 601 6983
16210 Frederick Rd
Gaithersburg, MD 20877
I went to this store and got excellent service, and friendly folks worked on my tire. Since the service was good, I actually took my wife’s car back the next week to replace a mirror. During all this time, the technology this small business used was a billing anf invoicing system on a IBM laptop. They did not have a website and no email address on the card. When I told the owner that I found their auto shop on the internet, he was pleasantly surprised and said I was the first customer who has told him that. He said a major chunk of his business is from repeat customers and referrals from existing customers.
What should this small business be doing to improve their online presence? Do they need one? Does this show the importance of online local directories and being included in online maps? What do you think?
[Disclosure: Network Solutions sponsored our Small Business Ideas for Small Towns booklet.]