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A question about the viability of the 'offline' business model

Discussion in 'Offline Marketing' started by edc, Apr 10, 2013.

  1. edc

    edc Regular Member

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    I've decided that there is an opportunity to help local businesses better engage customers and potential customers via technology, and have put together an offering and have some warm leads - mainly local businesspeople that I have relationships with. I'm starting to do the math, and am wondering how scalable this model is. I figure that I can offer the usual - mobile sites / apps, sms campaigns, campaigns through customer engagement with social media, etc. When it comes to pricing, though, my assumptions are leading me to believe that I'll be working very hard for the money that I bring in. Assuming that I can bring enough value to the table to justify a $100/mo bill for each customer, that's 10K a month. While I'm sure that sounds great to a lot of people, that's only barely a sustainable business and there is a lot of opportunity cost for me to do this (I decided to leave a career as a developer and development manager to do my own thing, with no regrets). I can do the sales for a while, but at some point would like to have additional sales and support, and not have them working out of my house. Additionally, I don't want to turn into a consulting and professional services shop - if I wanted this I would be in a much more lucrative (but less fulfilling) vertical.

    I'm very interested in how people are creating value on a monthly basis for their customers, and how they are billing / charging for this. Thanks!

    -e-
     
  2. Alinea

    Alinea Junior Member

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    Are you charging enough? What are you charging for $100/month?

    Most people offer SEO monthly... for me it's too much work/too much of a hassle to deal with so I stay away from that. However, you can do Google+ Local SEO which is easier. A lot of people just offer it as a one time thing, but you could additionally charge them monthly to maintain and keep up with competitors. You can offer valuable upsells as well. I'm always finding new ideas or things I could offer on forums. Promotional videos can be had for less than $15 and you can sell them for a few hundred. They look great and clients easily acknowledge their value.
     
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  3. LakeForest

    LakeForest Supreme Member

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    You decided there was an opportunity? The rest of your post suggests some doubt.

    Opportunity cost refers to the next best alternative. If you do not have an alternative, considering you already made the choice to switch career paths, you do not have opportunity cost, you only have opportunity(read: you need to get to work, now).

    What's stopping you from putting something together and going from there instead of speculating?
     
  4. edc

    edc Regular Member

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    @Alinea - That's just a rough estimate. I would be doing mobile apps, hosting, making sites mobile-friendly, putting together specials/deals for their customers via sms/twitter/FB, etc. My goal was to have a menu of items, and find out what they would like to do to drive customers and/or customer loyalty. I know very little about SEO but could white label and outsource. Your comment about videos was a good one, thanks.

    @LakeForest - Nothing in your response in any way answers my question, but since you took the time to respond, I'll try to answer. Monday it sounded like a good idea, but once I started putting some effort into it [offering services and attracting customers], I'm finding out that this can easily turn into hundreds of mini-consulting gigs. I don't want to burn myself into a pile of dust for 100k/year; I can whore myself out for 3-4 times that amount on an hourly basis building software / embedded systems for the financial vertical. Trust me there's no fun in that.

    There is opportunity cost, in that I can probably make 100K a year building redwood planter boxes and selling them at the swap meet. No need to be in a hurry to do that - fortunately I can take my time in making a decision.

    In three days of talking to decision makers at businesses I discovered that this might truly be a service business (where I am trading my time for money), not a scalable one. Frankly I don't want to do anything where I trade time for money in a linear fashion.
     
  5. Paul Myers

    Paul Myers Newbie

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    It, like most businesses, is a people-managing business. There are lots of people who can do SEO, make apps, make websites responsive, etc. and lots who can close deals with offline clients. But there are few that can bring these people together and manage them effectively under a brand. When people make big money from the offline marketing business model it's because they are good at managing people and taking a fat percentage, rather than actually doing the tedious dirty work. If you change you focus to reflect the above there is plenty of money to be made in this arena.
     
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  6. edc

    edc Regular Member

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    @Paul - thanks. I'll add to this thread when I get some traction (or not). -e-