Tag Archives: marketing

4 obvious rules many new entrepreneurs ignore

4 rules entrepreneurs often ignore | Roger Scime | Critical Journalism BlogWhen I started my website design company in the mid-90s in Las Vegas, most of my clients were small-to-medium sized entrepreneurs who had little or no experience in the business world. They believed the then-new Internet mantra that: If you build it they will come. Few of them had had any experience working for, much less running, or even managing, a business. Worse, some of them were so certain of their so-called “business ideas” that they had a great deal of difficulty considering the simplest business concepts.

Because a successful website-based business would be the best testimonial for my services, I had a stake in their success. Accordingly, I offered a free 1-hour consultation to anybody who was kind enough to express interest.

I noted the 4 most egregious (bull-headed) mistakes that these “entrepreneurs” were bound-and-determined—by God!—to make. I then turned them around and created the following set of rules that  hung in my office until I moved to Reno, 10 years later. The examples are of clients (and potential clients) In no instance did they accept my advice.

NOTE: This is my very first attempt at creating this type of blog post (“The List”). Although The Rules actually exist, the anecdotal examples are drawn from my (admittedly) foggy memory. But, here goes anyway:

Make it as easy as possible . . .

  1. . . .  for customers to do business with you. Client A [1995]  wanted to start an online newsletter offering subscribers “inside information” on which casinos offered the best slot machines, the best odds on craps, etc. He had registered a moderately descriptive domain name (albeit long and plagued with hyphens), and believed that having this domain  would insure him enough visits to make his business a success. However, he had no idea what other marketing channels he might employ, offered no way for people to contact him (other than via an AOL email account), and would only accept checks as payment.
  2. . . . customers to find you. An additional note regarding Client A: This client thought that he could rely entirely on his domain name to pull customers into his website and nothing I suggested to him could change his mind. When I started The Internet ADvantage™ in early 1995, the web was something new (Netscape was still in beta), but that there was a buzz going around about the so-called “digital revolution (as Wired called it).” So, the first thing I did was to work a trade-out for desk space with a graphics-design company that worked out of storefront in a busy part of town. This, whenever any of his business clients came to discuss their display ads, I was right there to pitch them on adding a website to their mix. Initially, I priced my services low enough that I converted enough of his customers that I was able to set up my own offices. I selected the location of my first office very carefully: It was at the intersection of two busy streets that had an annoyingly long stop light, and, rather than list “The Internet ADvantage” on the outside billboard, I had it list merely “Website Design” and my phone number. So, as people sat and waited for the light to change, they would be forced to look at my billboard, the service I offered, and how to contact me. Plus the location had the obvious advantage of being easy to find when given directions over the phone.
  3. . . . give you money (buy your product). Client B [1995]  wanted to sell a niche product online. As with Client A, he would only accept checks as payment. I suggested that he also set up a Merchant Account with his bank so that he could accept credit cards, or at least work with a credit card service bureau—both of which suggestions, he ignored.
  4. . . . give you the money and resources needed to run and/or increase your business. Client C [1997] had an existing website that he wished to expand, but had very money with which to do so. I knew very little about her market; however, I knew several people who might be interested in investing in her venture, either with capital or with manpower. I spoke with my contact (who expressed interest) and gave the potential client the contact information. Checking back a week later, my contact told me that C had never contacted him. When I called C, she told me that she had not contacted the investor, because she had “other things to do.” The upshot was that C never did contact my friend and subsequently dropped the idea of expansion due to “lack of resources.

Reading back over this post, I realize that a great deal of editing and formatting are needed; however, I unexpectedly discovered the Rules I had written down almost 10 years ago, and was compelled share them immediately.

Sometime in the very near future, I plan to return to this, edit it, tighten it up, and let you know.

What is this blog’s purpose—and why should you read it?

This blog will cover the:

  • ruminations,
  • ideas,
  • observations,
  • questions (and answers),
  • suggestions,
  • discussions,
  • recommendations,
  • etc., etc., etc.,

of me . . . Roger Scimé (note the acute accent over the é—that’s not part of the domain name, only because ICANN, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names And Numbers, won’t allow things like accents, ampersands, underscores, umlauts, etc., etc., etc., in domain names. Go figure.

Back to the point:  In my many years on this sad and sorry planet, I’ve been a

  • professional musician,
  • loan officer,
  • repo man,
  • delivery courier,
  • journalist,
  • short story writer,
  • Internet entrepreneur,
  • restaurant critic,
  • editor,
  • college professor,
  • videographer,
  • marketing, PR, social media, and mar-comm specialist
  • search engine optimizer and consultant,
  • critical thinker,
  • candidate for public office,
  • political lobbyist,
  • researcher,
  • online and offline content creator,
  • and a whole bunch of other things. Continue reading What is this blog’s purpose—and why should you read it?