SEO might not be for everyone, it’s true. If you have a business which conducts transactions solely offline, in an industry which relies on only word of mouth and signage for exposure, selling goods which are very highly specialised and limited in supply or highly generalised, plus, you’re happy with the current growth rate and don’t feel the need to market to customers outside your local operating area then you can probably get by without some basic level of search optimisation. Your site will be nothing but a statement of who you are and what you do, and you don’t need potential customers from search engines to find you to stay afloat. An example of this would be a local grocery store or small newsagents, or a highly specialised supplier of products with very limited supply and high demand. Yes, you can certainly help to improve your bottom line by implementing SEO and online marketing, but it isn’t necessary for your business to survive.
In my opinion, however, I believe that if you have a site, no matter how little faith you have in gaining exposure through it, not to mention direct sales, you should spend some time on search optimisation.
If one person finds your site though a SE, buys something and then goes on to recommend your business to friends, family and work colleagues, surely the effort would have paid for itself. Consider the vast benefits of such an event and how this situation would snowball with the right optimisation techniques, combined with other online marketing techniques such as remarketing, using social media and targeted paid ads. This is how you build a brand online, and without SEO, you can’t hope to succeed or grow.