Roger Bannister broke the “four-minute-mile” record 55 years ago this very day. At a relatively unknown Oxfordshire athletics track he collapsed after his determined efforts to smash the record. Every decade since then, athletes have continued to try to run faster and faster. Today, the mile is run almost 20 seconds faster than the speed Bannister achieved.
Speed appears to dominate human life. We want to run faster, we want ever-faster cars and, in these electronic days, we want faster and faster web sites. Broadband companies compete to offer us rapid access; even mobile phone companies are planning speedier mobile Internet connections.
A couple of years back, search engine experts would offer you the opportunity to get your web site to the top of the search engines within a “few weeks”. Nowadays, they claim to be able to do this within hours, sometimes even within minutes. Ten years ago, we were happy if our web sites were indexed within six months…!
There are all sorts of theories as to why we all want things faster and faster. However, the key thing to remember if you are running a business online is that the speed with which you did things last year is no longer acceptable to your customers. If you responded to emails within 24 hours, they will now want your replies within 12 hours. If your product delivery was within five days, your customers will now expect it within 24 hours. If your web site took 20 seconds to load, your visitors will now expect it in 10 seconds.
Every aspect of your online business needs to offer increased speed beyond what it achieved a year ago. If your business does not review its speeds – in a variety of areas – you could well lose out to competitors who offer something faster. After all, if Roger Bannister had not run the mile in less than four minutes, some other athlete would have claimed the record. Like him, don’t let your competitors steal your prize; ensure that everything you do is faster than it was in the past – because that’s what your customers expect.