Welcome to OOB Thinking

During a recent exchange of emails with a colleague of mine, he mentioned "out of the box thinking." His comments came along at an opportune time since we were preparing for an event in the fall. Some of his ideas will hopefully be implemented as they are out of the box and really great. “Out of the box” (OOB) pretty much sums up what I did with one of my small businesses for many years

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Tales of Click – Part II

I’ll always remember the call I received while we were early adopters on the web. It was from a scientist stationed in Antarctica, and he was inquiring about purchasing a foosball table when he returned from his stint down on the faraway frozen continent.

We received many calls from people all over the world during the six years we operated both online and offline ventures. It was the wild, wild, west, and I was right in the middle of it all. My friend, Jack, worked with us for a while in the late 1990’s, and he reminded me of working with a TV executive in Australia that purchased a certain product from us.

This gentleman lived over 6000 miles from us but decided to make his purchase with us since our pricing was significantly better than he could find in the land down under. We would eventually ship him the product plus oversee all the logistics. You see, being located in the Seattle area, we had worked with Alaskans for almost 10 years when the internet crossed our path in the summer of 1995.

We had the catalog business up and running, albeit it was a small part of our business. This led to an online catalog with no ecommerce but increased our sales, market share, and visibility throughout the Western United States, Alaska, and International markets.

Our site grew from 20 or so pages to over 200 pages within a few years. All done with SEO on a wing and a prayer. No classes, no seminars, or webinars or fancy courses to lead us by the hand. It was all new and a lot of work.

As far as technology was concerned, we were on 56K dialup from 1995 to 2001 but I did get my hands on the first residential ISDN in the area where we lived at the time. This made a huge difference, even though the speed was only about 115K. Technology has changed so much in the last decade that sometimes I have a difficult time keeping up with it.

Still to this day, staying up to date and current on technology is a chore. Most of the time it’s reading a tech magazine when I’m in the airport and/or catching updates online. Many of the business owners I’ve come across the past 12 years have still yet to embrace email marketing, let alone utilize the internet to market their businesses.

One owner I know of doesn’t even have a cell phone, and another owner I know really dislikes the computer and has only responded to a few select emails in the eight years I’ve known him. Why is this?? I have come to the conclusion that it’s because they grew up in the 50’s and 60’s when there was little or no change in personal technology. The biggest change was from radio to black and white TV in the 1950’s.

All of these business owners are still embracing old technology and methodologies. Very few are using email and internet marketing. The ones that are getting results with email and the web are seeing success but utilizing static techniques instead of current methods.

Now you’d think that business owners in this day and age would do everything they could to drive more traffic and increase sales? You all know the saying “old habits die hard”. Hopefully you’re one of the many business owners who have taken advantage of advancing technology and the benefits of email marketing.

  • Are you embracing technology and doing everything you can to implement online marketing into your business? If not, why!?
  • Are you reading, learning, and staying up-to-date on current technology and what’s coming down the pike? If you’re not, then I want to encourage you to make a change and check out online and offline resources that will keep you up to date.
  • Are you surveying and catering to your clients needs by finding out how they communicate? One thing you might consider is looking into email marketing services like AWeber.

If you’re not already using an auto-responder email service like AWeber then check it out. These are powerful digital tools that can help to increase your conversions and sales when it comes to online marketing.

Using these services will enhance your business by communicating more effectively with prospects and clients.

Do you want to learn how to increase your sales, develop more business and work less?
If so, I suggest you go here and Download My New Guide Now!

Dave K
Publisher

Business Development 101

In all my years of being involved and around sales, marketing, and advertising, it surprises me how many small business owners don’t have someone working on business development.

Many an owner and manager I’ve met should be the biz dev person but they just don’t have the desire or truly understand what to do. I think this comes back to a couple of things and those are sales and social interaction.

I seemed to fall into the sales position when I was a little kid and it stuck with me all my life. If there was business to be had I was the one to go get it. That still stands true to this day. Some people are not wired this way but are very socially adept and can be referred to as a people person. They thrive in large or small social gatherings and settings.

Recently I was listening to a CD by Guy Kawasaki and he mentioned that part of what he does while he’s on his computer all day is Tweet. Now this really got my attention since he has been an extremely successful accomplished author, writer, and businessman.

Another business acquaintance that I made earlier this year has hundreds of thousands of people following him on Twitter and this was very exciting news!

Whether your business is online or offline, business development should be an integral part of your sales and marketing plans.

So what can you do to enhance your business development skills?

1) Learn the art of cultivating relationships. Read books and/or listen to audios on the subject. Take what you learn and polish your people skills.

2) Get involved in the industry, not just the companies you are looking to engage with. If you are tuned in, the opportunities might come your way. If you’re tuned out then they’ll pass you by.

3) When an opportunity comes your way, take action immediately.

4) Learn and engage in online social media outlets.

5) Plan the work and work the business development plan on a daily and weekly basis.

The bottom line with business development is that it starts with you. So start where you are, make a plan, take action and stay focused on a daily and weekly basis.

Do you want to learn how to develop more business and increase your sales? Then I suggest you Check out my New Guide now.

If you want to find out more information about business development, this article might help: Secrets to Business Development

To your continued Success,

Dave Krygier
Publisher

 

Integrity and the Underground Economy

I am sure you had a few choice words for companies such as Lehman Bros., AIG and others (just as I did) as we saw our IRAs, 401Ks, and other investments shrink considerably. We complained of the corruption and excesses exposed at these highest levels, but are we doing any better? The dollars may be smaller, but are we an example of integrity in our own business community?
Consider God’s checklist for us as business owners. The Lord wants us to:
1. Be completely honest. – Leviticus 19:11
2. Keep our contractual agreements no matter the cost. – Ecclesiastes 5:4-6
3. Avoid areas where we have a conflict of interest. – Philippians 2:3-4
4. Exercise truth in advertising. – Proverbs 12:22
5. Stay away from the “underground economy.” – Romans 13, 1 Peter 2

Given our political and economic environment number five is becoming a larger issue. Some economists estimate the underground economy in the U. S. at $2.25 trillion dollars a year. This sector of the economy includes evil businesses, such as drug dealing and prostitution. The problem is that this sector of the economy also includes practices that many consider a normal part of doing business, such as providing “off-the-books ” services for cash, or the underreporting of wages and income to evade taxes.
With the government’s insatiable appetite for taxes, the burden on businesses will grow exponentially over the next few years. As the burden grows we can quickly fall into resenting the government taking more and more of our hard earned money.
We need to review these verses: Psalm 24:1, Psalm 50:10-11, and Deuteronomy 8:17-18. It is all God’s stuff, and He is the one who provides the ability to produce wealth. Are you going to obey the tax laws, which will testify that you trust God, or are you just going to give lip service to the concept?

Evaluating Business Expansion

“Is Business Expansion for You?”
Is business expansion for you?

How do we hold on to our good employees during this economic down turn? We have spent time and energy training them. More importantly they have become part of our business family and we care about them.
Developing new ventures can be a good option, which brings to mind a conversation I had with a friend a couple of weeks ago. This friend owns an equipment dealership. He is still doing some repair work, but sales are dead.
When my friend evaluated his community he recognized a couple of unmet needs that he could address with his business, which would mean extra work for employees. The friend and his wife took the ideas to the Lord and asked for wisdom. The couple received quick confirmation on one, but were still unsure about the other, which prompted the call to me.
As we discussed this new business venture we reviewed the biblical benchmarks for starting and growing a business.

  1. The business meets a valid need.
  2. The expansion will allow you to keep your priorities in order:
    God – Spouse – Family – Business & Ministry
  3. The expansion will not cause you to violate biblical principles.
  4. You and your spouse agree it is a good idea.
  5. Do we have what it takes to expand:
    Finances – Processes – People – Time

As we ended our discussion I was reminded of another critical element. I asked if he had a passion for this new business. The answer was no, which still didn’t rule out the new business venture, but raised a caution flag. If we don’t have a passion for the business, it can quickly become a drudgery. Most of us could grit it out for a couple of years to help make ends meet, but for the long run this will not be a viable business. Understanding this dynamic should help us use caution in putting too much capital into such a venture. Exiting a venture can be a very expensive and time consuming event, and we need to count the cost before we proceed.