BUILDING A WEBSITE ISN'T A BUSINESS PLAN
No, you don't need a website. At least not now. What you need is a plan. What you need is a business that's viable. What you need it time to hash out your ideas. And no, I don't recommend "putting something up," and changing it later.
Too often, I've seen businesses get swept up in the excitement of a new website build, without fully understanding where the business is going, and why they're redesigning the website in the first place. And I'm totally fine with "ugly" being a reason to redo a website. However, simply being outdated is not THE reason a business decides to redo a website—even if they think it is. How do I know this? Because their website has been outdated for years.
Outdated and ugly may be the impetus to want a new site, but it's not what pushes you over the edge. Which is why I ask clients, "Why now?"
Typically, I've found that the answer to this question has little to do with the website, and everything to do with the business. Sales are down, or an opportunity is on the horizon, investors will be looking at the site, or they're looking to go in a new direction. And because they know a new website will inevitably be required, it's an easy starting point.
People can rally behind a new website because it's flashy, progressive, and you'll immediately have something to show for all your work. But if design comes before content, then $10k, $20k, even $30k+ later, all you've done is made a more attractive website that doesn't support your business goals. Looking to launch a website before hashing out all your ideas, is like driving a car with no clue where you're going. You may feel like you're making progress, but all you're doing is wasting gas.
No, building a website is not a business plan. And a new website will not automatically lead to increased profits. Before making a prettier website with outdated content, businesses should ask themselves three questions:
Do I know my audience and does my content reflect it?
If someone is on my website, what do I want that person to do, know, or feel? Is my business also supporting that same message offline?
Where are we going as a business in the next year?
If the answer to any of these questions is unclear, then making a website is not your next step. The best websites are supported by clear messaging and work in tandem with offline efforts to push a business forward.