Cut Your Yellow Pages Ad and
Boost Your Bottom Line in 2013

  • Comments: 0
  • Written on: November 25th, 2012

It is no secret that businesses will be entering an uncertain year in 2013. No one rally knows what the tax rates will be, how much health insurance will really cost, or how it will impact consumer spending on everything else.

Smart businesses will get as lean as they can before this period of uncertainty becomes a period of certainty and it is too late to adapt quickly. One of the things you can cut in 2013 that will save you a bundle of money is your old, outdated Yellow Pages advertising.

Where is Your Phone Book?

Ask yourself a question… Where is your most recent phone book? Do you have it? Do you use it for anything other than a booster seat at Thanksgiving dinner?

If you do have a recent phone book, when is the last time you genuinely used it to find anything important?

The truth is that the Internet is so widely available on such a wide assortment of devices it is actually faster to Google your local Pizza Hut on your smartphone, tablet, or laptop than it is to locate the phone book and look them up.

Like the buggy whip, the typewriter, the floppy disk and the Polaroid camera, the Yellow Pages was huge in its time, but is now nothing more than a novelty that collects dust somewhere or ends up in a landfill.

As fewer and fewer people with disposable income use the phone book, its benefit to your organization decreases dramatically – more than likely past the point where it makes fiscal sense to pay to play.

What Does Disposable Income Have to Do With Yellow Pages Advertising?

Demographics and disposable income are the two most important statistics in Yellow Page advertising.

Lets start with demographics. Who is using the yellow pages and who prefers the web? According to the Local Search Association, a yellow pages trade organization, 56% to 68% of those surveyed indicated they had used either the print yellow pages OR the internet yellow pages (like how they lumped the two together?)

A second statistic that might be more useful from the same survey indicated that 70% to 84% of those age 54 or younger use the search engines FIRST. They may end up on a yellow pages website eventually, but they start their search with Google and not yellow pages.com more than 75% of the time.

The only demographic who used the search engines less were those ages 55+. Usage of search engines drops to an average of about 42% while the use of the printed book or direct links to the yellow page website held steady. Assuming that these customers were adverse to using the search engines, it is safe to assume if you are looking to reach customers aged 55+ who do not have a relationship with an existing top-of-mind vendor you might get some traction with the printed yellow pages in your area, depending on industry.

With that said, that doesn’t mean that the yellow pages is a lock for reaching those 55 and older (who coincidentally are responsible for 55% of all package purchases and have 75% of the nation’s wealth (source).

Consider these facts about these cash-rich 55+ customers:

89% of those 65 or older have a personal email account (so they do use technology)
1/3 of all web users are over 50
36% have a smartphone and half of those use it to check email once a day
The Internet is the most important source of info for those 55+ before making a durable goods purchase
The top four online websites for people over 60 are Google, Facebook, Yahoo and YouTube
72% of those 55+ shop online

By themselves these numbers indicate that retiring Baby Boomers are using technology to get information and that necessarily means they are using the printed yellow pages less and less.

The most shocking fact that should have yellow page sales reps quaking in their boots is the rate of Internet adoption by boomers. Consider the fact that from 2004 to 2009 the number of 65+ internet users increased 55%. The web is only going to get more popular and that necessarily means the printed yellow pages will become less and less popular.

A Case Study in Failure

In 2011 Schrock Innovations Computer Company took out a yellow pages advertisement in the Dex phone book in Omaha, NE. The advertising bill came in at $1,600 per month.

We asked for a metered phone number so we could track the results of our ad through Telemetrics.

At the end of the year our final Telemetrics report indicated that we had received 24 phone calls for the entire year. Assuming that the same person did not call twice, that breaks down to a cost of $800 PER LEAD!!

Those were not confirmed customers – those were just leads. For all I know they could have been wrong-number hang-ups.

You ad could be performing just as bad as our ad did, but how would you ever know? Without a metered number you simply can’t track yellow pages leads.

Business owners who can’t track results desperately want to believe that $1,600 a month was not wasted. There must have been SOME results that helped our company, right?

The answer is probably not. We would have probably gotten more use out of our $19,200 if we stacked $20 bills in our bathroom and used them for toilet paper. Sad but true. Don’t make the same mistake I did.

How to Replace Yellow Pages Results

Although Schrock’s experience would indicate the yellow pages are a bad bet, there are areas where the yellow pages are more effective than in others.

If a business pulls out of the yellow pages and does not do something else to replace the lost leads that business may be more profitable, but revenues will go down. Revenue is cash flow and in a tough economic year falling cash-flow can be a problem.

The answer is to shift your marketing dollars away from yellow pages and then refocus a much smaller spend to get better results using the new medium that everyone is rapidly adopting. Go where the eyes are – go online.

Don’t get me wrong, Google AdWords is expensive and doesn’t really work for every industry. That’s why we recommend avoiding any ad or placement buying scheme that guarantees your ad will be seen. First of all, it is just as expensive as the print yellow pages if you add up the overall costs of maintaining the ad. Secondly, why pay for something that you can get for free?

By using basic, white-hat SEO (search engine optimization) techniques, most businesses can easily dominate LOCAL searches for their products or services. There are tons of articles online about how to get your web pages to rank, so I won’t rehash that here. The important thing to remember is that is you have good content, a winning sales model that has a compelling hook and upsale opportunities you can’t go wrong.

Save your money and ditch the Yellow Pages. Trust me, I am glad I did. Monthly budget for two phone books back in our bank account = $33,600 annually.

Schrock Innovations Wins 1st Place in the Best of Omaha Competition

  • Comments: 0
  • Written on: January 4th, 2012

Schrock Innovations Best Omaha Computer RepairI am proud to announce that thanks to the votes of our satisfied customers, Schrock Innovations won first place in the Best of Omaha Competition for computer repair.

The Best of Omaha is a competition sponsored by Omaha Magazine, KMTV Channel 3, and Valpack where consumers log into the Best of Omaha website and vote for their favorite local companies in every imaginable category.

Voters’ accounts are confirmed by both IP address and email address to prevent automated voting or ballot stuffing.

Open for a Year and Already Best of Omaha

Schrock has won Best of Lincoln every year since 2001 in Lincoln, so we are familiar with the “Best of” awards and the weight they carry with consumers.

The voting for this year’s Best of Omaha happened in the fall of 2011 – right about the same time as the one-year anniversary of our new Omaha Service Center at Village Pointe South.

When I do the weekly radio shows and explain to my listeners that Schrock is different because we do care about our customers. We are thrilled when they are thrilled and if a customer is not happy with our work we do everything we can to make them thrilled.

Winning this Best of Omaha Award is a validation of our efforts, and we will continue to work hard to earn your votes again in 2012!

Hard Drives Going into Extreme Shortage – Wholesale Prices Double in 3 Days

  • Comments: 0
  • Written on: November 1st, 2011

Just in time for the holiday season the recent Thailand monsoon is threatening the stability of notebook and laptop prices.

Some parts of Thailand received as much as 140% of their seasonal Monsoon rainfall in a matter of hours. 40% of the world’s hard drives are produced in Thailand, and the massive flooding conditions are making this spring’s Missouri river flooding look like a kiddie pool. Think Katrina only across an entire country.

Extreme Shortages Coming

Analysts expect hard drives to go into extreme shortage almost immediately. Western Digital will bear the brunt of the blow. Company executives are reporting they expect a 60% decline in their sales due to producti0n shortages. All of their Thailand factories were flooded.

Seagate’s factories were spared, but their component supplies were not.

Online retailer Tiger Direct currently has no hard drives at all available for order at any price. Their competitor, Newegg has remaining inventory thanks in large part to establishing strict quantity limitations of one drive per customer per 48 hour period.

Computer Makers to Run Out of Drives by end of November

Even PC maker Asusteq is reporting that it will run out of desktop and laptop hard drives entirely by the end of November.

This situation is posing a unique challenge for OEM computer makers, including Schrock Innovations.

In fact, Schrock Innovations is incurring strict quantity limitations and lack of availability on many hard drives used in our Modular computers.

In response we have been buying every hard drive we can get our hands on as news pours in that shortages will be with us through at least March of 2012 and as long as December of 2012.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Product Innovation is Key to Extending a Product’s Lifecycle

  • Comments: 6
  • Written on: August 22nd, 2011

It’s been over a month since my last post – inexcusable in the world of blogging. I feel a little guilty about the extended absence so I wanted to write a post that explains the work that has kept me away from the keyboard.

Businesses make profits by selling products and services. Over time, customers’ needs change and products and services that applied at one time become stale if they do not adapt.

Adapt or Die

For example, Arm and Hammer Baking Soda has been around for over 100 years. 100 years ago people did a LOT more baking than they do today. 100 years ago if you wanted bread, you baked it. Baked goods requie baking soda in many cases, and a LOT of boxes of baking soda were sold as a result.

But in the last 100 years the living standard in the US has increased so sharply that people now buy most of their baked goods at the grocery store. Most people who still make their own bread do so with pre-packaged mixes and bread machines. There is not a lot of call these days the use of baking soda for baking.

Yet Arm and Hammer baking soda can be found in every supermarket isle and if you looked in your house, you will probably have a box somewhere. Their product is still alive today because they INNOVATED and found new applications for baking soda in a modern lifestyle.

Arm and Hammer realized that baking soda absorbed foul odors in the ice boxes and refrigerators. As a result, more than 100 years later they are selling just as many boxes and you probably have one in your house today.

Changing, improving and finding more applications for your products is critical if you want to remain relevant in a changing world.

Computer Repair Transitioning to the Digital World

Schrock Innovations’ products and services are no different. Over the past 2 years we have worked to keep our products relevant to our customers’ changing needs.

We introduced the Schrock Desk Remote Online Support Service
We retooled our Preventative Maintenance Checkup to predicts and minimize repair costs
We offered new electronics recycling services to help our customers dispose of their old computers
We brought our Website Development division in-house to lay the groundwork for new digital products
Schrock started compartmentalizing product responsibilities to specific teams to improve service levels

Meanwhile, we have seen two of our competitors close their doors in an economy that only promises to become more challenging.

The driving motivation for Schrock Innovations over the next 2 years will be to increase the VALUE we are passing to our customers without increasing prices unnecessarily.

This is not a drive that is unique to Schrock Innovations. For example, while many of Netflix’s customers are upset about a price increase in their service, if you look into the business mechanics of why they did what they did you will see that that price increase will allow them to deliver more than 2x the content they deliver right now at FASTER streaming speeds. If Google+ is the Facebook killer, Netflix wants to become the cable TV killer.

The Next Generation of Schrock Innovations

With all of that said, Schrock is going to leverage what we are good at – local service and support – and apply our competitive advantage to new products and services. Our customers are primarily concerned with:

Keeping their technology running properly
Staying malware and virus free
Preventing data loss
Buying computers for their VALUE rather than their specifications

The reason Schrock is doing well while some of our competitors are not boils down to one simple difference – innovation. If a computer repair company’s objective is to fix computers that break or become infected they might do well for a while, but eventually there are only so many broken computers to fix. Consumers NEED their computer repair company to create new solutions that solve – or prevent – problems.

I have been quiet for a while for a couple reasons: First, I can’t keep my mouth shut when I am excited about a new product or service. Second, the amount of planning and execution required to do what Schrock is planning on doing has soaked a TON of my time.

Over the next couple weeks I will let you know what is going on. Our customers will LOVE it and our competitors will probably hate it 🙂

Yellow Page Strategies for 2011 and 2012
Get a Local Sales Rep & Build a Relationship

  • Comments: 7
  • Written on: April 17th, 2011

Yellow Pages Advertising StrategiesA couple years ago I wrote a post about how to get the best possible deal from your Yellow Pages sales representative.

As the Internet gains more and more influence at the expense of the Yellow Pages, I thought it would be a good idea to revise my old post with the latest and greatest strategies to maximize your Yellow Pages investment.

Go Yellow, Go Web, or Both?

Before the days of the Internet and Google people turned to the yellow pages when a service provider was not top-of-mind. Over the past 10 years use of the yellow pages has been declining as people using laptops, smart phones and computers have turned to online searches for real-time directions, reviews, and pricing – things the Yellow Pages can never offer.

As a general rule (that is becoming less and less applicable after each passing day) there is a generational gap between people who use the Yellow Pages and people who use the Internet when they are looking for a business. Generally speaking, people 40 and younger will turn to the Internet first for information while those over the age of 40 tend to look toward the yellow pages instead.

As a general rule if your target customer is under the age of 40 your advertising dollars might be better spent on a digital medium such as Google or Facebook ads.

Likewise, if your target demographic is over 40 years of age the Yellow Pages can still bring new customers through the door, although the book’s days of dominance are in their sunset years.

Three Ways to Get the Most From the Yellow Pages

If you decide to add the yellow pages to your marketing mix, there are three iron-clad tips you need to know before you sign on the dotted line.

1. Use Your Sales Representative

In some cases your Yellow Pages sales representative is a regional traveler that you will never see again who is only interested in the immediate sale. If your sales representative is a temporary transplant, don’t plan on a lasting relationship.

On the other hand, Yellow Page companies like Dex are beginning to realize that their sales representatives need deeper relationships with individual business owners to maximize annual sales results.

If you are lucky enough to have a local rep, they are probably one person in an office of three or four people. This is an ideal situation for the small business owner. In a small office, a sales representative can negotiate special deals, arrange bonuses and genuinely look out for the best interest of your business.

For example, I recently signed a contract with my DEX sales representative, (Joy Brummer) for my computer repair service center in Omaha, NE. We purchased a full-page advertisement that ensures we will be placed at the very beginning of the computer section of the book.

Joy and I really hit it off. We met a second time for lunch, traded stories about our industries & clients, and Joy really got to know what makes Schrock Innovations’ business engine tick.

Joy felt Dex’s online tools would really benefit our business, but I wasn’t terribly interested. We already dominate the Google search results in Omaha, we will soon have the most prominent advertisement in the phone book. After talking about it for a bit she made me an offer I could not refuse.

She was so convinced that the Dex online product was right for us that she offered us $900 per month of free advertising in DEX’s online yellow pages listings. She said if we like the results, buy it next year. Now that is faith in your product!

It pays to be nice to your sales representative. If you have a local rep, don’t start off your conversation like you are hard-ball negotiating at Kris’ Used Car Sales.

Your gruff and domineering attitude will deeply offend your sales rep. Sales people have a stable of incentives and bonuses they can offer – or withhold – at their discretion.

If you act like a jerk who needs an anger management class she will not give you any of the bonuses she can – even the ones she pays for like a gift card to the local Indian restaurant.

2. Ask for First Time Advertiser Status – Even if you are not one

Yellow pages representatives usually have 2 fee structures. One is designed for new advertisers and the other is designed for repeat customers. Repeat customers actually get charged more, so you want the same rate schedule the new guy gets whenever possible.

Yellow Page sales representatives typically can’t lower the pricing structure unless they are against the deadline with unsold inventory. However, in some cases that can adjust which rate schedule you are given.

For example, Schrock Innovations has been in Omaha, NE since 2003 and we did have a yellow page ad in 2004. Technically we were not a new customer. However, because of the great relationship I have with Joy, she was able to convince her sales manager to give us first time advertiser status.

3. Pay your bills on time.

When you do not pay your Yellow Pages invoices on time it creates a massive obstacle for your sales representative.

“Deadbeat” businesses (those who pay 90-days or more late) and businesses who consistently show they are having trouble paying for their obligations don’t get the best deals from their ales representatives.

Why would a sales manager give a sweetheart deal to a business who is already showing they can’t meet their obligations?

Asking your sales rep to go to her manager for a special deal when you are behind in your payments is asking her to do the impossible.

The bottom line is that playing hardball works when you have a regional representative who doesn’t care about you or your business.

If you are lucky enough to have a local sales representative in a small office treat her with respect. If you don’t you not only poison the well with her, but you also poison the whole sales office. Local people talk, and a local sales office is a breeding ground for “you won’t believe this guy” kind of stories. If you treat one rep badly, getting anything from anyone is the office will be a challenge.

 

Clear Channel Radio Advertising Strategies

  • Comments: 3
  • Written on: March 23rd, 2011

I am a big believer in radio advertising.  If you have a business on a tight budget, or if you just want to get the best marketing deal around, radio can get your message out there quickly at a cost that is much lower than television or print media. If you decide to use radio […]

Nebraska LB626 is a “Job Creation” Bill That Will Do Anything but Create Jobs

  • Comments: 1
  • Written on: March 9th, 2011

There is going to be a hearing at the Nebraska Capital Building today at 1:30 regarding LB626 the “Electronics Recycling and Job Creation Act.”

This bill will not create any net jobs, will collect up to $1.5M in taxes from local companies, and will burden individual citizens and businesses alike with new rules and regulations.

What Does LB626 Do?

A few years back a similar bill was introduced in the unicameral that I testified against. This bill is very similar to that one and I believe it represents a hidden tax on consumers in Nebraska.

Here is a link where you can read LB626.

LB 626 does a lot in a mere 20 pages. The bill proposes:

  1. If you make your own house brand computers you WILL pay a tax to the state between $1250 and $10,000+ annually
  2. If you do not pay this fee, you are prohibited from selling computers in Nebraska
  3. You are REQUIRED to provide FREE recycling to your customers and you are REQUIRED to pay the cost of recycling collected equipment
  4. If you resell Dell, HP, Gateway or any other national brand that is not participating in the state’s program, you pay the taxes described above
  5. This bill imposes a landfill ban for all consumers and schools and requires recycles to accept goods form consumers and schools at no cost
  6. This bill collects between $1M and 1.5M a year from local manufacturers, and the amounts collected per company operate on a sliding scale. The bill states NE WILL collect $1M – $1.5M annually, regardless of the number of manufacturers. If NE loses manufacturers individual manufacturers pay more.
  7. Although this bill collects ALL of its revenue from Computer manufacturers and recyclers, it promises grants of up to $1M to small towns and villages to demolish old buildings. If the bill collects $1M to $1.5M a year, how can they operate the bureaucracy, grant the million, and “create recycling jobs”?

In my opinion, this bill represents a hidden tax on the Nebraska consumers who patronize our local businesses.

The costs of this bill will be eventually paid by the consumers in Nebraska at a time when Social Security cost of living increases are non-existent, wages in Nebraska are not rising fast enough to keep up with food and energy price inflation, and our state, cities, and counties are running budget deficits.

This is a bill that will reduce consumer choice in Nebraska as businesses choose not to sell PCs in the state, increase the costs of electronic goods, create time and energy burdens on individual citizens, and will kill more jobs than it creates.

The State does not create jobs. Only businesses can do that.

This is a bill that costs EVERYONE involved form the consumer to the manufacturer more money and duplicates many services that the private sector is already providing to consumers at little or no cost.

I know this is VERY short notice, but I will be present to testify against this bill this afternoon in the legislature. Three years ago I was able to kill a similar recycling bill with my testimony, but this is a different scenario. New players and new rules. If there is any possible way you can make it down to the capital today at 1:30 in Room 1525 please make an effort to do so.

Schrock Innovations Bets on Lincoln’s Digital Recovery

  • Comments: 6
  • Written on: March 29th, 2010

This morning Schrock Innovations issued a press release about what the company is doing to help businesses use their websites to weather the Great Recession.

Here is the text of the release:

Schrock Bets on Lincoln’s Digital Recovery With Hire

With the prospect of a double-dip recession looming, Schrock Innovations is betting Lincoln’s businesses will turn to the web

Lincoln, NE, March 29, 2010: Although Lincoln’s economy is the nation’s second best for its size, that doesn’t mean local businesses are escaping the pinch of the Great Recession.

Schrock Innovations, a local Lincoln computer company, has hired Brian Augenstein to captain the company’s Web Development Division as demand for their local web-based services grow in the face of a recessionary business environment.

Thor Schrock owns Schrock Innovations and he believes that businesses are turning to the web because, when used properly, it is less expensive to generate leads, sales, and profits online. Schrock has been buying media in Lincoln for 11 years and he is seeing the signs of a business environment that is scared to take chances.

“When I can buy commercials during the NCAA Final Four for $10 per spot, that speaks toward the business climate,” Schrock said. “Couple advertising cuts with layoffs, outsourcing, and rising taxes and the result is a timid business environment that is fearful for the future.”

For what it would normally cost to run a single television commercial, Schrock Innovations is redesigning websites to make them more efficient at delivering information, generating leads, and bringing shoppers through the doors of Lincoln businesses.

“For many businesses, their website is an afterthought in the marketing budget. With marketing dollars becoming scarce, tweaking a company’s web presence is becoming more attractive because local businesses see immediate returns that go on over time without continued investment.”

Schrock points out that many businesses have all of the information they need right now to boost sales and profitability through their websites, but simply don’t know how to do it. Rather than designing a website for a client and walking away, Schrock Innovations helps its clients see the potential in the present and the future.

“In the past it was enough to know who your customers were,” Schrock said. “In today’s web world you need to know who they are, where they are coming from, how to reach them, and what they want. If you use your website to get that information, sales and profits are a natural conclusion.”

Schrock’s team of internet marketers and designers evaluate a company’s web presence based on three criteria. If a client is missing any of the three, Schrock shows them how to claim the business they are missing out on:

  1. You don’t know how many of your customers or clients come from your website. There are numerous free online tools that allow you to track how many customers search for you, find your website, and then what they look at before they leave.
  2. Your website has few visitors. Many of the websites designed between the late 1990’s and the mid 2000’s were designed as an online brochure rather than a marketing piece designed to attract visitors and convert them into paying customers. If you didn’t own the company, what is the #1 reason you would go to your website?
  3. Your website is not reflective of what you do. Companies are necessarily focused on the day-to-day activities of running a business. Over time, businesses can evolve to offer new products, services, and even change their look. Does your website represent where your brand is today, or where it was 5 years ago?

“If a company’s website has traffic, tracking, and conversion that means they are making money. A website is more than a billboard. It should work for your company day and night. If it is not, your business is missing an opportunity to make money in the toughest of economic times.”

How to Start an Online Business –
Basic Questions Answered

  • Comments: 12
  • Written on: March 11th, 2010

There are a million posts about how to start an online business on the Internet, but they all have an angle of some kind. They are all pushing a product either directly or indirectly.

I received an email a couple days ago from a woman who had seen me in Next Internet Millionaire and wanted some advice on starting her own home based internet business.

Like many online entrepreneurs she was looking into buying the packages and the programs that promise fast results. She wanted my advice on how to build a real online business that would make money.

I have purposely refrained from posting links to affiliate programs in this post or recommending specific products.

I am also withholding the emailer’s last name so she does not get deluged with offers from TONS of people out there with programs to offer.

With that said, if you genuinely want to help this person, make a comment below and let her know how to get in touch with you. Here is her email:

Hi There Thor,

I found you via multiple internet clicks that ultimately landed me on the Next Internet Millionaire.

I watched a little of one of the episodes and you seemed to me to be the most genuine of the lot. That’s all interesting but you’re probably wondering why I’m writing to you.

I’m not looking to recruit you into any screwball thing, I guess mostly I’m looking for some advise / insight. I have my own home based business and I see lots of internet marketing, attraction marketing, magnetic marketing programs online and they all say they are the best.

They all say they have the “secret”. In fact one of your fellow contestants on the show Steve Shuitt along with a guy named Ryan Dunn are selling a “MLM Biz Builder Course”.

Even the show you were on is selling (and I see posted on your blog a contest to win) “The Secret Classroom” program.

I have purchased some of Tim Sales products and on Facebook I see lots of MLM’ers promoting themselves as ‘experts’ but in reality most of them don’t know any more than I do.

I do like Tim Sales approach and his products but other than just being friendly with strangers I’m not sure of the best way to get people who are looking for and open to a real work from home business in front of my product/opportunity.

Essentially how to drive traffic to a website and if there really is a tried and true way to do it on a budget.

I appreciate your feedback and wish you well.

Warm Regards,

Lanelle -Last Name Withheld-

This is what I told her:

Thanks for your email. Your question sounds easy enough, and if there was an easy answer I would give it to you right here. Unfortunately there is not.

Sometimes people online get so focused on pushing traffic to a site that they are willing do do anything, pay anyone, and believe anything to make it happen.

Most of the programs you buy are simply study at home courses that package and present information that is freely available on the Internet anyway. Don’t get me wrong, these packages can greatly speed up the deployment of your product and even increase its chances of a successful launch, but they are not a silver bullet.

There are three things that every business needs – Time, Money, and Differentiation. If you have any 2 of these in great supply, starting your work-from-home business is a snap. If you don’t have time, you can use money to buy other people’s time. If you don’t have money, you can use your own time. If you have differentiation your product is better than all of its competitors and you have either the time or money to let others know about it.

What happens a lot of time is that people get off the Time, Money, Differentiation track and get focuses on buying tools that allow them to get more Time, Money, or Differentiation. Time and Money spent on tools directly takes away from time and money that can be spent promoting your product.

While many people don’t believe it, there is no silver bullet shortcut to getting traffic. It takes time, content, and sometimes money to get your message out there.

With that said, the situation most new online entrepreneurs find themselves in is that they have little or no money, need to make money quickly, and they have an untested or unknown product.

Since there is no silver bullet, the best thing you can do as an entrepreneur is arrange the circumstances to give you the best possible chances of success. There are no guarantees, and the odds are 75% against you – but you know that going into it.

Here are the steps that I would do to get a product up and running as quickly as possible with little or no money:

1. You must have a good product. No amount of traffic, money or time can make up for a flawed product. To be a good, your product must fulfill a gaping need that the public has – whether they know they have it or not. Start with a specific problem that your product will resolve and then focus everything around your product from your marketing, design, videos, audio clips, and imagery toward showing people how your product solves their problem. If you find that your product doesn’t really solve a problem, or its a stretch at best to say it does, save your time and look for another problem to solve.

2. Get something online. Anything. Content first, beauty last. Now that you have a product that solves a real problem, start getting ranked in the search results. Use video, audio, images, local business center listings, press releases, blog posts, tweets, facebook posts, MSN spaces blog posts – anything you can do to get your message and backlinks out there without spamming.

As time goes on your talents and abilities will increase with every post, and every video you upload. You will learn the lessons you could have bought in some of the products you have looked into in the school of hard knocks. As your skills increase, your ability to communicate how it solves the specific problem will increase as well.

Traffic is a function of time because the more content you create the more traffic you will get. As time passes, your older content will gain traction and you will begin to see exponential results. Most online entrepreneurs pump out the content and then fizzle out. Those who keep going are the ones who succeed.

3. Stay Open to Opportunity. Best laid plans rarely work. Businesses are all run by people, and people who run successful businesses adapt to changing circumstances. You could build a year of content only to find that search engines changed a math formula and now all of your content has disappeared from search results. Some people faced with this would quit. Others would look back on their old content, revise it, and re-purpose it into new applications.

Time is never wasted. Old spent time can be used again and again to get results in the present. You just have to be loose enough to realize that things are changing so you can get back on top of the game again – and continue solving problems.

4. Look for Force Multipliers. Never stop talking to other people – especially within your industry. The more you stay involved with others the more you will learn about what they need to make their own projects succeed. You may even find that you can provide a resource to them that they need to help reach their goals. Likewise, the odds they can help you are good as well. By working together you can use all of their old time to push your current efforts while leasing your old time to push theirs.

Imagine how much more quickly you would get your product off the ground if you had three friends who instantly would help you by giving you access to their old time?

I hope this helps in some small way. Good luck!

Schrock Radio Recruitment Advertisement Seeks Computer Repair Technician

  • Comments: 11
  • Written on: March 10th, 2010

Schrock Innovations successfully hired a new Web Development Director last week thanks to a radio recruitment advertisement we ran on KIBZ-FM, The Blaze.

Brian Augenstein was hired away from Phoenix Computers in Beatrice, NE to head the company’s Web Development Division. Brian is a very promising employee who is laying important groundwork for Schrock’s future expansion into website development, hosting, and application development.

Normally if we would have advertised that position in the paper we would have had to search for the proverbial needle among dozens of applications from unqualified people.

Let’s Do it Again!

The radio recruitment ad worked so well that we decidied to run a second one seeking a Computer Repair Technician. For some inexplicable reason experienced computer break / fix technicians are hard to find in Lincoln Nebraska.

We have had a post up on Craig’s List for weeks, only to get applications from people ranging from auto mechanics to fry cooks. We can’t hire a poorly skilled technician to work on our customers’ computers, so the next step was to drop an ad in the paper – or try the radio again.

I decided to give radio another try.

What Schrock is Looking For

You can listen to the radio recruitment ad we are running the week here.

In the ad we describe the kind of person we are looking for. Schrock technicians are never allowed to give up on a problem. At times this leads us to work directly with developers and engineers at companies like Microsoft or Kingston to resolve problems on the bleeding edge of technical support.

When a Schrock technician is confronted with an un-patched problem, they don’t quit and wait for a patch. They become the catalyst that gets the patch created.

In fact, Schrock is so selective about the kind of person we employ that two of our senior technicians have been courted by Google.

This position pays up-to $30,000 annually plus benefits.

How Can I Apply?

If you are a technician who wants to take the next step in your career, fill out an application on Schrock’s website. Its nice to be part of an award-winning team that will challenge you to rise to the next level of performance.

We will not contact your current employer unless you allow us to do so and we will arrange an interview around your work schedule.

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