Microsoft Office Live Small Business helps Canadian small businesses create a professional online presence for free
MISSISSAUGA, ON — October 2, 2008 — While 43 per cent of Canada’s one million small businesses use the Internet to learn more about a company they want to work with, almost half (48 per cent) don’t have a website of their own, according to the results of a Harris-Decima survey released today by Microsoft Canada Co.
Lack of time was cited as the number one reason for not having a website, with almost one-quarter of respondents saying they don’t have the time to create one. One-in-five respondents feel that it would be too difficult to create on their own. As well, one-in-six respondents point to the cost of maintaining a Web site as an inhibitor to growing their business online.
“In today’s competitive small business world, having a professional web presence is just as important as having a phone number,” says Evan Carmichael, Small Business Internet Technology Consultant. “Being able to conduct business professionally on the web removes the barriers of size and allows small businesses to compete more easily with big-name brands. If done effectively, in the virtual world, size doesn’t matter.”
Canadian small business owners feel a website is important for a variety of reasons:
• The majority of survey respondents indicate that a website is important to make them appear professional (91 per cent), and to attract customers (82 per cent)
• Almost two-thirds also feel a website is critical in order to be competitive
• More than half feel they would use the web to assist with customer retention
“The survey reveals that many small businesses have been unable to take full advantage of online marketing due to a variety of reasons. Among those who already have a website, 60 per cent of respondents report they are concerned about enhancing their site and keeping content fresh and almost 40 per cent feel they simply don’t have the time or expertise to update the site themselves,” says Jason Brommet, Senior Product Manager, Microsoft Office. “We want to help Canadian small businesses use technology to extend their reach to existing and prospective customers who wish to do business online. That is why today Microsoft is providing Microsoft Office Live Small Business to allow small businesses to take, promote and manage their business online easily and at no-cost.”
Available in Canada today, Microsoft Office Live Small Business is an online, one-stop shop for Canadian small businesses that provides a complete, affordable set of easy-to-use Internet-based tools that help small-business owners get online, attract customers and manage their business. With this newest addition to Microsoft’s software + service offering, customers sign up for free and receive the essentials for establishing a professional Web presence, including a domain name, Web hosting and business-branded e-mail and multiple business applications. Customers can then tailor the service to meet their needs by adding low-cost sales and marketing features.
Key free features include:
• Fourth level domain name registration with 100 business email accounts
• Free hosting and web site creation tools to allow small businesses to easily create or transfer over an existing website
• Collaboration via Office Live Workspaces enabling small businesses to easily share and transfer documents with free 500MB storage
Better manage and track customers by integrating with Contact Manager, unified analytics, and easy to use document sharing, along with virtually seamless and flexible integration with Microsoft Office
Optional and affordable features include:
• Email marketing
• Custom domain name registration
With these solutions, Microsoft is helping to make the leap into the virtual marketplace a simple and cost-effective process for small businesses. In addition Microsoft provides a variety of Do-It-Yourself tools available as part of the solution, to ensure that small business owners don’t spend a lot of time getting online.
For more information on Microsoft Office Live Small Business, please visit: http://smallbusiness.officelive.ca