Consumers have so many choices when it comes to choosing the right business for their needs. The first decision they must make is whether to go with a small or big business. Small businesses are able to focus on their mission and keep their fingers on the pulse of their customers. They are also able to offer more personal attention to their clients. But we have seen a dramatic decline in the number of small privately owned businesses these past few years.For smaller businesses today, an important point to consider is whether they should develop an online store or website. Many experts agree that an online presence is essential for most businesses, and that there are several reasons why consumers should select a small business over a big one.While many small companies see big companies as the enemy, their real competition is other small companies like themselves. Most big businesses already have a recognizable brand name. They also have a pretty loyal fan base. They are not worried about small operations knocking them down in sales. But other small shops must continue to fight their business counterparts to get an edge in today’s market.Why would people choose to go with a smaller business over a larger one? Many customers enjoy the more personal and face-to-face attention they get from a small business; they’re not just talking to a voice on the end of a phone. Some people like to think that the money they’re spending is going back into the local community. You need to remember these principles when developing your website or online store.It is increasingly straightforward for a small to medium business to establish an online presence nowadays. Successful online stores can really help small businesses increase their sales and steer their profits into the black. Before launching an online store, however, a small business first needs to learn how to make the most of its strengths.Some small sized businesses make the mistake of using their online image as a way to appear bigger. But that image may turn away the customers they would normally attract with their usual image. Building an online image that reflects the hallmarks of a small business is important. Having an email address and phone number on your website for customers to contact you is a good way help them feel more personally connected to your business. Also consider an instant chat option with customer service representatives for your customers to receive real-time responses.Also highlight how your small business benefits the local economy. Use your website to remind customers that you are a member of the community and that you care about it. Maybe highlight the employees to give them the “face” your customers want to see. That added personal touch is what brings in the types of people who are tired of big businesses and want better customer service.Too many small businesses try to go bigger and better when they establish their online store or website. They lose sight of their original mission and forget about the things that people value about small business. Make sure you make good use of your business’s characteristics when establishing your online presence and don’t discard your small business image. This will help your venture online be a success.