The future is almost here. No, really. In a few days it will be 2010. That's the future.
As of late, I've been writing a lot about business. Specifically, how the digital world changes what it means to be "in business". A catch phrase I've been using over the last year is this: Doing business online means more than just having a first-class website. And while I believe that is true, I wonder if the statement goes far enough? I wonder if, instead, I believe this:
It is possible to do business online without having your own website.
Heretical? Not really. And not all that ground-breaking. I first heard about eBay from a neighbor almost a decade ago. A significant portion of his income came from trading baseball cards on the site. He didn't have his own website until the last few years. I've ran a digital media consulting practice for the last two years without a site for said practice, though I'll concede that this site helps and that I used prior connections to secure clients.
The web of today provides smart businesses many chances to make connections without having a dedicated website. So yes, it's possible to do business without one. I'm not advocating you abandon your website. But I do challenge you to consider the role your site plays today. Think of where your customers or prospects are and be there. Spend at least as much time building and maintaining your presence out there as you do on your own site.