Designers Don’t Build A Web Business Part 1

Who makes your business?
Does the builder of your office make your business work? Does the sign company make your business work? We would never suggest that any business is successful except for the efforts of the owner/entrepreneur, but when it comes to web sites we think differently.

Why would we think that a web designer will build us an online business? Just because they say they will make your site stand out in a crowd? Just because they say they will drive traffic to your web site?

Maybe.

Maybe we believe the marketing hype because we want to, and we want to because we don’t have the technical know-how to make our own web site. Well, we don’t have the building skills to construct our own office either and that never stopped us from building our business.

The lack of technical know-how is no reason to hand over control to a web designer who knows nothing about our business or the market we serve. In fact it is downright dangerous and costly to follow a web designers ideas about building a web business.

What does a web designer know?
A web designer, having graduated from a college course in web design, knows how to build a web site. They do not know how to build a business. And this is where most of us get off track. We think that once the web site is designed then we are in business.

Compare this to buying an automotive repair shop with the hydraulic lifts and compressor, the work bench and office, and we would call this a working auto repair shop – but it is not an auto repair business until WE make it so.

We accept the recommendations of web designers and web marketing people and then believe that that is all there is to running a web business. The experts sold us a working web site, not a working web business. In fact, they didn’t sell us much of anything at all.

A custom web design in the digital virtual reality is something of a laugh because nobody starts from scratch, at least not for us small business guys. And that is not going to change, but maybe we will realize when we are paying too much for recycled ideas and copied code.

You are the business
After our web design has been built the biggest part of making it a business is yet to come. After the web experts have been paid all we have is a shell, just like the auto repair shop. Everything works and functions just fine, but there’s still no business for our new web site.

Unfortunately, if we had listened to the web designers we would have filled our web pages with filler and not real content. Filler is just a bunch of talk about our products or services and what a great business we are and why everyone should buy from us.

Who really believes what a company says about itself? Why would anyone, even in the market, care about filler that is very suspect?

We have been tricked
While we have been following the logic of web designers we have missed the shear genius of our own information. We have been tricked into thinking only about ourselves instead of thinking about our market. And it is not just the web industry that tricked us this way – it is old school offline marketing & advertising that tricked us first.

Putting the focus on our market is both the heart and brains of a business web site. We must first put our knowledge and experience for solving problems into the business and then we must talk to our web market as though we know them by name. And we do know them by name when we address them as a group of like minded people.

Standing apart
If we were to put our clients first and speak to them about their problems and how we can help to solve those problems then we would be one of the first small business web sites to do so. Our web content would be very different from any of our competitors. Our keywords would be more specific to the problems we solve. We would be giving our market what they really want and our web marketing costs would drop like a stone.

If we were to ignore all the experts in the web industry and paid full attention to our market there would be a big shift in how we did business. This much is pretty obvious and it’s hard for us to deny the value of communicating directly to our market with what they want to know. But, it’s hard not to shake with a little fear about wandering away from the comfort of doing what everyone else is doing.

2 Considerations
#1) If our web designer didn’t build us a web business, then they haven’t build anyone else a web business. What this means is that by being true to our business we have no competition.

#2) The risk in financial costs of attracting our real web market is tiny and the time it takes to build this into a business is less than the time we have already spent spinning our wheels and listening to others.

To make a web business happen we need to be engaged with our market and not expect anyone else to make it happen for us. We can look for help and learn from others, but if we expect designers to build our web business for us it will just another cookie cutter web site as they do what they have been trained to do.

To take control of our web business we need to know what our web market wants and what they need from us. This is not so difficult to do. To understand any web market, and our market specifically, you can find insights in the article in this series titled “Designers Don’t Build A Web Business Part 2”

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Look Out! Is Your Business on Auto-Pilot?

First there was the fax-on-demand…information received instantly by using a fax machine. Then the Internet evolved into the use of e-mail, producing email-on-demand with the use of autoresponders.

An autoresponder is just what the name implies. It is an auto response that is programmed to automatically deliver a specific message upon receiving the request.

Autoresponders allow your business to be operational around the clock 24 hours a day – 7days a week – 365 days a year. A good example is the Customer Service link provided on so many web sites.

Once you have sent your question or comment to the Customer Service link, you receive an auto-reply message acknowledging receipt of your message.

Autoresponder messages can by used in a variety of ways delivering your strategic information instantly to your targeted viewer /audience. Newsletters, sales information, free reports,
even ecourses, articles and tutorials are just a few of the ways autoresponders can be used effectively.

Follow up is critical to keeping your name, service or product in front of your prospects and clients. Autoresponders allow you to deliver your follow up messages automatically, specifically, and most importantly….timely, to your target audience!

Most all of us are familiar with signing up to receive news about impending sales or discounted items automatically from retail stores. Our e-mail address is entered into their mailing list and the requested information is automatically sent right back using an autoresponder.

But are you aware you also can send pre-determined messages with specific information related to your business, to your prospects and /or clients at pre-set intervals?

For example, let’s say a prospect, client or customer visited your web site and responds to a link on your site to receive more information on your services or products.

Immediately your first autoresponse message goes out thanking them for expressing an interest and giving them the basics on your services or products and any other information in their initial request.

A couple of days later your 2nd message automatically goes out. This is the perfect time to let them know about who you are, your experience, and what you do….your credentials and area of expertise.

A few days later (don’t wait too long), your 3rd message automatically goes out. This could be testimonials and feedback from clients or customers stating the positive experiences they have had as a result of doing business with you. This will associate value with your services.

A couple of days later your 4th message goes out with maybe a free offer, a free bonus, article, special report, or specific tips related to your services or products. If you have an online newsletter (ezine) this is an excellent time to offer a link to your free subscribe area.

Your 5th message could be your final (pitch) response message. Offer any additional products or services you may have that would be of benefit (solve their problem) to your client or customer. Usually by about the 4th or 5th message you have a new client or customer.

The number of messages sent is entirely up to you based on the information you are delivering. If you are offering a tutorial or an e-course for example there could be message for up to 6 weeks or longer. I recently subscribed to receive 89 messages (one a day for 89 days) on a specific subject.

A good impression to ending your response messages, and one more time your name being is front of your audience, is a short survey asking for feedback on your services or your products. This is an excellent way to receive testimonies for use on your web site or other marketing materials.

Using the above example, you can see how autoresponders keep your name and your specific information in front of your targeted prospects, clients, and customers making the critical follow up as easy as (message) 1, 2, 3.

For those of you interested in creating the autoresponder messages yourself for your business, here are the addresses of a few of the most widely used autoresponders:

As you can see, having your business on auto pilot using an autoresponder means your time can be better spent marketing your business, creating new services or products (increasing your revenue), or enjoying more quality time with family and friends.

Autoresponders allow you to conduct this critical follow up part of your business to your targeted audience continuously and automatically with little upkeep on your part….allowing you to say, yes, your business IS on Auto-Pilot!

Can I Start a Mobile Detailing Or Mobile Oil Change Business Part-Time?

Due to the recession many people many folks have been laid off and have been forced to take jobs under their skill levels and previous pay. We call these individuals “under-employed” and it is amazing how many people are in this category. One recent survey by the Pew Institute claimed it was one in five people in our current working force, this on top of the one in six, seven, or eight that is unemployed in your area. Think about that for a second.

It is for this reason that many folks have decided to start small companies, very small, on the side. Not long ago, we got a call in asking if we thought that someone could start Mobile Detailing or Mobile Oil Change Business Part-time? So, let’s talk about this shall we?

1.) Can I start doing the auto detailing and oil changing part time without any business set up?

Yes, some people do, although buying a van for mobile oil changing is expensive and so, I wouldn’t advise it. But I wouldn’t advise quitting your job until the business gets going either. So, that’s kind of a catch-22, it’s a hard business to get going because your customers only need you every 3-months as oil intervals are high. Fleet oil changing is a better business model, but you ought to check the areas competition first. For mobile detailing it would be easier to set this up part time doing services for friends and clients. In either case you’ll need to get a business license most likely, I wouldn’t go around breaking the business licensing rules.

2.) For example, like just doing it on the side to start to make sure I want to do this?

Right, so, I can totally appreciate your smart thinking here. Why invest if you don’t like the business? Well, if you are a “motor head” type and like people, you will like the business. You could go work for Wal-Mart in one of their service bays for a while for the oil changing, or Jiffy Lube. For Auto detailing, well just start doing your own car, which you probably already do, and friend’s cars and see if you like it.

Most likely you will, it’s a fun thing to do. Since, you already have experience none of this may be necessary, mostly it appears you are a little scared of biting the bullet and going for it in your own business. Actually, you should be scared, it will keep you from making foolish mistakes, so it’s all good. Having experience and running a business are two-different things of course.

Indeed, I’ve had similar questions and discussions with many franchise buyers before I retired, it’s a choice you are going to have to make a some point, and that choice will have to be yours after a bit of soul searching. These are both good questions, things you must answer for yourself if you are going to start a business of your own.