I’m not passionate about a lot of things, but I’m really passionate about business – specifically small business. I’m not going to fluff this piece with too many facts. In fact, I don’t know all the details about Net Neutrality. But what I do know that to repeal Net Neutrality would be devastating for small businesses. But hey, if you want to read more about it feel free to do your own research and formulate your own opinion. Today, I’m just going to tell you a story about how the internet was practically responsible for changing my business, and therefore, helped change my life.
I read this article from Entrepreneur.com titled “Net Neutrality is an Assault on Entrepreneurship.” If you want to get the gist, I highly recommend reading it for yourself. It convicted me to speak out and share how the internet has played a major role in all the businesses I own.
Since the first business I started in 2005 until this day, Internet traffic was the number 1 source of new business. No matter which industry I owned a business, my first priority was a professional and presentable website. In 2008, my family started a business called Ninong’s Pastries & Cafe. We tried all kinds of advertising: print, trade shows, word of mouth, and online. At the time, Yelp and Google listings were relatively new but I decided to create an account. Despite how much we paid for print advertising and participating in trade shows what really turned it around for us was our website and the online listings I created. The fact that all the businesses in the area had the same opportunity to be found helped us, a small family-owned-no-reputation eatery could be found on the same page as a big business restaurant with tons of locations all over the country. In time, our business doubled, tripled, and so on. Thanks to our internet traffic, more people were able to see we existed.
Tomorrow, the FCC will vote to repeal Net Neutrality. Let me tell you what I do know about this:
- If you don’t think it will change your life in any way because you’re not a business owner think again. Your Internet provider will own you. They will decide what you see and how you experience the internet from now on, and they’ll be able to charge you an arm and a leg for internet access if they want to.
- In an age where cellular data and internet is a huge part of our lives and how we communicate, it’s become a basic necessity in the 21st century. Imagine your world without the internet because you simply can’t afford it. That’s not progress.
- Ok, what you’re an entrepreneur but you’re not into politics? This isn’t just about politics, this is about your business’s future. If you have a competitor in your industry that is a big business, imagine a World Wide Web where you have to pay your internet service provider a premium for your website to even load. With the larger budgets of a big business vs. the non-existent budget of small business, small businesses will lose almost every time. 😪
We have 1 more day to make our voices heard, sign a petition to save Net Neutrality, go to the protest in DC, write and make calls to Congress, or use John Oliver’s www.goFCCyourself.com which takes you directly to the FCC’s public comments area.
As citizens, we need to be worried about this. Not just entrepreneurs but everyone. We have the most to lose in this situation.