Can your Business be Repaired?

Are you a small business owner or professional who is struggling in one or more areas of your business that has to do with sales and marketing?

If you answered yes, then this post might be for you. Skip the next sentence and read on.

If you answered no, then this post probably won’t help you much. Keep digging around here, you’ll hopefully find something that rings true and can help you in your business.

Onto Today’s Message:

Small Business can be tough. That’s why such a high percentage of small businesses never make it past the five-year mark.

I know, I know, I’m preaching to the choir. You have lots of experience in your business and you’ve weathered the storm or maybe a typhoon and yet the doors are still open and you’re still going strong.

Believe it or not, some business owners have smoother rides than others.

One thing is for sure and that is this…along the way every small business owner has challenges and issues. Some are big, some are small and some are just like a splinter that is imbedded and won’t leave without some serious digging. 
Editor note: please excuse the writer’s grammar and punctuation.

But what happens when sales are in the toilet? Do you ask the ad agency to come in and fix it with new branding and image ads? Do you bring in the accountant and lawyer who knows best and can bring back all those customers that went elsewhere? Orrrrrr…maybe you talk to your networking group and they have all the answers?  (so you know I work with all of the above- except and ad agency and they all have their place and provide great service to us)

I mean really, where do you go? Who do you turn to when it comes to issues pertaining to your sales and marketing? Topics like converting more prospects into clients, marketing that is measurable and shows proven ROI, and how do we drive more quality leads to our email, phones, website and front door?

Who do you call? BTW- if you have someone already- my hats off to you and whoever it is that’s guiding you through.

Well, I’m not sure what is causing the problems in your business right now?

Maybe it’s you and you don’t even know it or care to know it?

Might even be something out of your control or worse, in your control?

The bottom line is that if anything I wrote in the last 339 words, or the first sentence of this post, hit a chord or resonated at all, then I might have something that interests you.

Want to know more?

Want to fix and repair whatever is ailing your sales and marketing?

If so, go to this site, opt-in and check it out. No hype. No BdS. Just tell you like it is.

Dave Krygier
Publisher

PS – If you are hesitating…click the back button and keep searching otherwise go here now, opt-in and get a good nights sleep.

Tales of Click – Marketing Beyond Alaska

Back in the beginning or what I refer to as the early years of the web, we experienced a huge influx of business, partly because of being early adopters.

This journey we talk about and share was somewhat adventurous and brings to the forefront that one of the main reasons we ventured onto the web was the simple fact of being able to market to our prospects and existing clients in the State of Alaska.

Up until this point the farthest reach we had was Alaska and had yet to penetrate all the tiny markets in this huge region.

With this transition also brought the reality that it would take a few years for many of these communities to come online and be able to find us on the web.

Technology was slow, sluggish and very frustrating at times. On two occasions a tech spent half a day working to get my Mac connected to the ISP. Now a days we connect automatically or in less than minute.

In one city we moved to they had to send three service techs out to install and setup a 115k ISDN modem. I later learned that we were the first residential customer to receive this ‘fast connection’.

This was a time of adventure and I will readily admit, it was just that and more. DoubleClick was charging rates for banner ads that were up in the stratosphere. Google was just birthed but in its infancy, and pay-per-click was still a child.

And we were still maintaining top positions on all the search engines. Being early adopters we built and built and built, to the point that our site had over 250 pages of content on it.

We went through three webmasters, which I’m sure is a small number compared to what many businesses had to deal with. One thing was for sure…we knew we had the cat by the tail and weren’t going to let go. The wild ride was just beginning and continued for six more years.

For more on how the pioneers ventured through the land of clicks, modems, html and email, go to Secrets of the Tiny Store and find out the rest of the story.

To your success,

Dave Krygier
Publisher

How to Save Money on Your Yellow Page Advertising

Do you own or run a small business that still utilizes the offline physical directories that have yellow pages in them? Do you still place ads or listings in these physical books.

If so, this article will most likely be of interest to you.

Here’s a recent story that hit home…

Just recently when I was getting my haircut – I happened to pick up a local magazine focused and aimed towards women.

This particular magazine happened to be built mostly of quarter page ads, like the one that said, ‘we are honest and fair’  – Coming from a used car dealer, this was quite the interesting sub-headline.

So I asked the gal who cuts my hair what she thought of this ad and another one and this led to the topic of the yellow pages.

Well, all of a sudden we were going back and forth and I started to share how I had at one time put the ole’ offline directory companies to the test and did a lot of testing, surveying and tracking.

Why – because I couldn’t stand paying the prices they charged us to be listed right next to my #1 competitor! After all, we were a small business and at that time all the physical books were still a big part of our marketing and outreach to bring in new business, or so we thought.

Our conversation continued and then I asked her if she would be open to a test and she said yes. So for a full week she conducted a survey to see how many people used the paper dinosaur directory and you want to know something – the number was low. More about this in a future article- so stay tuned.

So how does this story pertain to you and your business?

Here are a few steps you might consider taking if the physical directory books (and print for that matter) are still a part of your offline marketing mix.

1. Survey your prospects and clients to see where they came from and how they found you.

2. Ask your physical directory book(yellow pages) account rep to provide substantial, documented research that states what kind of response and return on investment businesses receive from their physical books.

3. Use the survey information to better position your business to find targeted, quality traffic and leads.

4. Create Ads that are response oriented and use the web to capture to the lead.

In closing…

Most small business owners don’t understand how easy it is to research.

Or it’s just not important enough that they can be bothered to do the work.

I believe this is a tragedy because physical directories and print advertising are not what they used to be in years past.

With most small businesses placing ‘image ads’ instead of ‘response driven’ ads, money is being wasted which could otherwise be put to good use bringing in new leads and clients.

Oh and by the way – have you checked out Secrets of the Tiny Store ?

Tales of Click – In the Beginning

In the summer of 1995 my wife and I attended a street fair held in a little known city located east of Seattle. It was an annual event and one I normally didn’t even bother to put in the calendar.

But this year would be life changing, because of a man and his computer on the side- walk.

As we strolled through the booths and exhibits we came across this gentleman who was demonstrating how businesses could show their products and services on what he called the World Wide Web.

This was very intriguing to us as we were marketing to Alaska and maybe, just maybe, we could use what he was talking about to develop more business in this region.

Little did I know how much this man and his demonstration would change our world and the course of our businesses forever.

This introduction to the land of clicks, modems, and html was the beginning of our journey on the Internet.

What began as a simple way to market to Alaskans turned into a feverish race to stay on top of the search engines at that time. Search Engines like Web Crawler, Lycos, Excite, Infoseek, and Yahoo!

I imagine it could be compared to the early days of computer technology coming on the scene during the 1950’s.

Anyway you look at it, we had a hold of a tiger and boy was it a wild ride that kept me on my toes, on the phone and typing emails like a man with his hair on fire.

Those were the days and the beginnings of click for the little known company located just north of the Big M and Big B.

There’s more to come as we continue with the Tales of Click. Much, much more…

Do you want to learn how this tiny store flourished and grew leaps and bounds?               Go to:  www.secretsofthetinystore.com

Band-Aid Marketing

When it comes to small business marketing you might be surprised how many business owners implement what I refer to as ‘band-aid marketing’ and yet they wonder why sales are lack luster and traffic is ho-hum.

This all goes back to the ole’ strengths and weaknesses talk. Check out my previous articles on this subject if you are curious.

So it comes down to this…

Most small business owners I’ve encountered over the years are not strong marketers.

At best they are mediocre to average, with most below average. They might be great at selling and maybe one other area of their business but marketing is the weak point that constantly rears its head.

I have found that their lack of understanding in this critical area tends to be a sore subject or one that you just don’t bring up, unless you want an argument to follow.

Note: If you are the rare individual who is good to great at marketing, this article is obviously not about you, so bear with me.

So as I dig into this topic today, here’s a story from yesteryear:

I once had a string of clients who were all what I call Band-Aid Marketers.

It was a time when I was working in a very narrow niche and each one of these small business owners needed help generating business.

One understood that to reach his audience he had to advertise in the right mediums and with the right messages. So he did and his results were solid.

Two other owners were sales guys who could talk a good talk, but had not a clue how to market or merchandise.

These two were covered with band-aids and didn’t even know it! All they wanted to do was sell and sell they did.

So both owners allowed us to produce jingles and radio commercials for a short run on local radio stations. This was their way of testing us to see if we could pull off what we proposed.

The ads pulled and generated sales, but after the short run was completed, they decided to go it alone, without our help. After all, they had the jingle and radio package to work with, along with our strategy and ideas, right?

They figured they could do it better and cheaper!

When it came to marketing they weren’t going to admit their lack of understanding.

So they put on one more band-aid, trudged forward, struggled, and one owner even went out of business.

The other owner still doesn’t have a website that I could find and it’s been almost ten years!

Band-aid marketing. Get the picture? I sure hope so.

When it comes down to it, you either like marketing or you don’t.

If marketing isn’t your thing, then hire it out to seasoned professionals and let them do what they do best. You work in your strengths and areas you enjoy.

If your strength area is marketing, then study, research and grow, so you can improve upon what is working.

If you are a solo-preneur and need to do it all…make it a goal to outsource and hire qualified people to do the tasks and work that you least enjoy.

This way you can be more productive, happier and have a business that is headed in the right direction.

Band-aid marketing will cost you time, money and probably quite a few headaches. Take it from me, it’s not worth it and you’ll end up with a whole lot of cuts and bruises that you could have avoided in the first place.

BTW- if you want to learn how we rocked the search engines for 6 years straight, stumped the competition and kept our vendors guessing, check out secretsofthetinystore.com .

Dave Krygier
Publisher

Communication Breakdowns – Part I

Over 40 years ago a famous rock group released a song about communication break down and it seems that no matter how far advanced technology has brought us, we still have to deal with this challenge.

From the home front to the offices of our businesses to the school room, it makes no difference; we have to communicate; yet many people I come across have not learned the basics? Is it the simple fact that society has made such a fast change or is it as simple as people not knowing how to use and adapt to new communication methods?

Going back to 1995 when I first started using email, most of the people communicating with me were business oriented. In my case, our prospects and some clients used email to search and inquire about our products and services. This was new to me and I needed to adapt fairly quickly. So I learned, tested, failed, grew and finally figured it out, but still have to work on it to this day.

In one case I remember a scientist working in Antarctica called me on a satellite phone instead of emailing because he had specific questions and didn’t want to mess around with email. Plus I think he liked the contact with the outside world and it turned out to be fascinating for me, as I had never spoken to anyone like this before.

One lady I know of prefers texting to all other forms of communication and she’s pretty good at it, but she’ll still pick up the phone when necessary.

On the other hand, I now see more and more people using email and text with their smart phones assuming that the recipient will get back to them immediately with an answer. Instead of picking up the phone and making the call to communicate, they stress out for hours until the person answers or they send another text or email.

Today, I still see people fire off emails without thinking twice and yet they wonder why the responses they receive are so short and razor sharp, if you know what I mean. I believe part of it has to do with laziness and the other half is just plain ignorance and not caring at all what the outcome might be.

With so many ways to communicate today, are you stuck in your shell and locked into one or two methods, or are you embracing and testing new forms of communication?

Have you let the ‘ole’ tele go by the wayside and opted for typing to avoid human interaction, conflict or even accountability? I’ve personally seen this time and time again and wonder if these individuals understand what they are doing?

Maybe it’s time we really evaluate what communication methods work for us and which ones don’t. Remember to test, test and test some more and then you can make quality decisions that will hopefully help your business and personal life.

Communication breakdowns will always be around, no matter how far advanced we human’s get. Let’s do our part as professionals to eliminate as many communication breakdowns as possible and make it easier on those we work and associate with everyday.

 

 

 

Tales of Mortar Part I

Years ago before the dotcom boom there was a small niche business located in the backyard of ‘The Big M’ in Redmond, Washington. What started out as a brick mortar model with one full time employee, one phone line and one product, bloomed into a thriving diverse enterprise. This small business had its ups and downs just like all businesses that get started on a shoestring. Eventually things started to gel and opportunities opened up that the local competition didn’t see or care to see. When most startups are starting to falter and fade, this one started to pickup steam and capture new customers.

Over the years this little brick and mortar business grew and grew along with the surrounding community until the arrival of the web in August of 1995. Thus they entered the world of click and mortar and started on a new journey that would increase sales and over all revenues. The Internet brought on a totally new dimension that enabled the little enterprise to expand its horizons and reach out to the far corners of the globe. With clients from all over the world, calls and emails would make their way from far away places like Australia, The Netherlands, and even a research outpost in Antarctica.

And so business continued on until the fall of 2001 when it finally changed hands. Some will say that the timing was impeccable and I’d have to agree. But what really made this small business a success were the people that worked there and their dedication and hard work.

Tales like these are abundant in the land of small business and we’ll be sharing more as time goes on.

Dave Krygier
Publisher