Project Hometown is a challenge to local businesses: Get your products and services online

Welcome to the Being Found Show, if your company and your products aren’t being found, whose is? The answer to that question is Amazon.

Joe: Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos just became not only the richest man in the world again, but he’s the richest man that ever existed. On the news the other night they came out with some statistics about holiday shopping. News anchor Lester Holt stated a staggering 82 percent of the online purchases from this past holiday shopping season were at Amazon.

Well, this is a good segue to Project Hometown. A year ago or so I was asked how can local companies compete with Amazon. As one company you probably can’t but a whole community could. So imagine if Project Hometown came to fruition which is the idea that everyone and every business in Shasta County have their products online being sold the way people want to buy.

Let’s imagine local websites with not just a “contact us” page, telephone number and address and how cool would it be if all of Shasta County businesses had their products online and even show if they have them in stock. As a customer I could see your inventory, I could see your price, I can compare them, and I can see if it’s something I could come pick up at your store.

The goal of Project Hometown is to get all 17,000 registered businesses in Shasta County to have their products online, and I think if we could do that we’d become pretty competitive against Amazon as a community.

How cool would that be if Lester Holt says a year from now that Amazon sold 72 percent, and Shasta County sold the other 10 percent? That amount of money would probably change most lives in Redding. I don’t know that we all see as a company how much business we don’t get because frankly, we’re not living up to our customers’ expectations.

The other day I was shopping and wanted to find a knife sharpening stone, couldn’t find one locally online and wasn’t able to find them in local stores. Those businesses didn’t live up to very basic expectations and lost my purchase. Had just one business put up their inventory online, I wouldn’t have wasted the hours I did searching locally only to resort to buying off of Amazon. I wanted to buy locally.

Chauncey: Happens to me quite often with my creative pursuits and hobbies which is kind of what you’re doing there. I wanted to buy a silk screen for my home, and I just couldn’t manage to track one down locally.

For whatever reason, I don’t shop very much, or if I do, I must go straight to Amazon, and I think I don’t shop very much because it’s too frustrating and takes too long.

Joe: Project Hometown is a challenge to local businesses: To get the products or services of every business in our community online, being found the way customers want to shop. We want to invite high school students to take part in Project Hometown. We’ve got a class coming out which is FREE for high school students in Shasta County.

It’s already paid for and it’s an initiative we’re working on with Reach Higher Shasta. The idea is that we’re going to take high school kids through the process of building a website in this class.

The goal is to come together as a community, to shift the impact the Internet has on our community. Customers are going online at an incredible rate. We have never seen anything like this. The “find X near me” phenomenon, just for starters, is an unprecedented opportunity.

So if you’ve got a teen and you’re in Shasta County and you think that he or she would like to learn how to website or would like to learn real-world tech skills, you can reach us here at our contact page on www.cloudwiseacademy.com.

 

Amazon, Google, and other big Internet sites are sucking the air out of our local community. It is true that no single local business can compete. But what happens to their stranglehold on our businesses, when 8000 of us stand up and take our town back?