Instant access

I love the Internet. There is probably nothing that you can’t get on it or get access to. It is on rare occasions that I get my dictionary to look up a word if my computer is on. After all, that is what the Thesaurus in Word is for or Google.

Then there are so many documents available it is staggering. This week my son wanted an example of how to write a personal letter and I just Googled it and viola! When I needed to know how to write a query letter for my book, I simply went to the Internet and downloaded free sample letters. It’s wonderful.

The Internet has made us expect to be able to get everything right away and that is especially true of companies like Amazon that encourage you to buy something and get it the next day or download and read a book in under a minute. So that’s how we’ve been trained to expect things to work offline as well. Unfortunately that is not always the case.

This week I was trying to get some quotations for advertising using different media and I called two companies and our television station. Now the private sector companies had their rates already prepared and e-mailed the information to me right away. In fact before I even got back to my computer from using the telephone in the kitchen, the information was waiting in my inbox in one case.

Not so with the TV station. First of all I had to leave a voice mail for a sales representative and up till now I have not had my call returned. I called again and was asked to send my request via e-mail which I did and five hours later I got a response. Needless to say if I had any other options I would have exercised them.

Instant access and instant response are the reasons companies like Amazon are doing phenomenally well, especially with their digital products. Last year Kindle books outsold paper backs and hard backs combined. I believe that’s not only because they’re generally cheaper, but because there is virtually no waiting period to access them. You may be up in the middle of the night, unable to sleep for some reason and you can simply log onto Amazon, find a book, download it and be reading it literally in a minute. That kind of access is very appealing and habit forming. If you’re an avid reader like me, you no longer have to wait for a book you heard about or want to read right away. The only restraint really is the credit card statement at the end of the month.

So how can we in Barbados tap into meeting the demands of this instant access culture that we’re in? How well are our businesses positioned to provide feedback immediately? How easy is it to acquire our products and services or at least to make an order? Do all businesses even have a presence on the web? If you’re not out there no-one can find you. Of course you may be out there and still not be able to be found, which is why it so important to use every means necessary to promote your product or service.

A few weeks ago I wrote about a Barbados app which is on the horizon and which will make Barbados accessible to the world of iDevice users in a totally new way. Having seen the demonstration of this app I am extremely excited at the possibilities it creates for all businesses in Barbados.

But while the app can open the doors to the world that we may not be able to open on our own, we have to be in a position to capitalise on those opportunities by having excellent products and services ready for the market so that when there is a demand for something, we can supply it on a timely basis.

Similarly, if we are providing a product and service that people will experience when they come to Barbados we must meet and exceed the expectations that will be built up by what they view in the app. We can have wonderful looking ads in the app or on our website but we must ensure that what they see is what they get.

I believe that Barbados has the potential to explode onto the world stage, not just through artists like Rihanna and Cover Drive, but through ordinary people working together to create extraordinary goods and services that are made in Barbados for the world to enjoy and marketed to them via the Internet and mobile devices. All we have to do is supply them.

Donna Every is a motivational speaker and trainer. She is the author of four books including her debut novel, The Merger Mogul.

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