Yes, some can operate without a website but likely it is not a great idea. A website not only helps in the success but it helps in the sale of your business. Businesses without websites are not valued as highly as those with. Websites are often a primary means people use of VALIDATING that the business is a reality.
Not too long ago, I was selling a small marketing company. It is an unusual marketing company in this day and age as it has no web presence, yet, seemingly, it did not need one. Or did it? One potential buyer was a 30-something New Yorker. (Note that 50 percent of my buyers come from out of state, often places more haute than New Mexico.)
This buyer, with disdain, said ‘No website. It is the emperor without clothes and not a business.’ While the business was vibrant, bringing in money, priced well, it was not, in her eyes, a business.
In our world of Internet everything, it is important, perhaps mandatory, to have a website as a marketing tool for the business at hand and the sale of the business in the future. This discussion is not to suggest that I know much at all about how websites are created, what amount of other e-stuff is necessary for any business, but, I do know that business buyers want to see what their are buying, how advanced the company is.
As a shopper (I do love to shop) while I shop almost exclusively locally, the store’s website is often one of the stops I make before I actually go in and buy. For Chris, a jeweler friend, his local and tourist buyers often want more after they have already bought, and he should have a website to allow them easy access to more. More means money.
Some say that the competition on the Internet makes it almost impossible for the small business to capture a share of new buyers. But, losing the share of existing clients is easy, if you do not have a presence.
For more, ask a professional e-marketer. Ask me for names of local e-marketers.
Note: Obviously a website does not necessarily confirm reality but people believe it does. What people believe does matter.