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Little guy in a Big Business World

Discussion in 'Offline Marketing' started by bhspiderz, Apr 17, 2012.

  1. bhspiderz

    bhspiderz Registered Member

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    (Shout out to the offline section - You guys 100% Rock)

    I am going today to fill out the paper work for my LLC. I certainly feel the nerves are on edge because I see the huge task ahead of me. I believe it was Taktical?s thread($15,000 a month with offline work) that kicked things off for me. I totally could see the need for something like this. Well after several months of research/learning/gathering I am taking that step.

    Currently:
    Graduated last October of 2011 with software engineering degree. Been working a Technical helpdesk position for 11 years(with no room for growth). Current Day job is winding down and due to past ?life learning lessons? will be a bit harder to find another job. Need to support wife and 2 kids no matter what and they are my driving force. Currently Pre-tax I gross 50k. After bills/needs/medical insurance/house payment.... there is not a lot left over. I want better than this not for me but for my kids!

    Goal:
    I have spent the last month building up to opening my own business. The business will be geared towards offline local business marketing. That means Google Places/Review Management/Website/Social media. I am currently surrounded by 4 major cities and I sit in a major college town with plenty of business. My goal is to build this business so that I can transition from my day job to my Business full time.

    Plan:
    Over the past month I have built up a business website with a custom client backend. This allows me to build a potential client base and provide Unique offers to the clients. This will work in tandem with the Information packets that will be sent out. Customer reads packet get hyped up from numbers. They go to offer page and contact me. Even if they don?t I will follow up with everyone that I send packets out too.

    Packet:
    The packets will be a combination from threads in the offline section of BHW. Mainly the point is to show the customer people out there looking for what they offer and looking in such a way that indicates they are ready to spend money. Every time I tell someone I get excited (I have sold myself on this service). I will be more detailed later on with pics and such once things are more in the final stages.

    Offer page:
    Each and every client will have their own client login area where they can view and reports of their online presence or review offers. The offer page will contain working points that need to be addressed in order to get them in front of those paying customers as discussed in the packet. I will be addressing 4 categories GP Listing/Business website/Review Management/Social Network. In each of these categories I have work points that will show only if they need them to be addressed. The customer will see the work needed and Prices. The prices will show a struck through regular price/Discount percent/New price.
    The offer page will not contain a buy now button. While that may hurt in some heat sales I want to promote my business as a more personal Business relation. With contact or follow up phone or face to face meeting is where the close will be.

    Tools:

    Since it will be asked the tools that I have currently that will help me in this venture are as follows:

    • SEO Powersuite (Enterprise) ? Reporting, Reporting, Reporting! I feel it is a must have and I am in love with the product but the cost was a very tough pill to swallow for being a start up.
    • Places Scout ? Man this software is a time saver for leads and places competition. Sure you could gather the info manually but with citations hidden and other data shuffled around I am glad I have this.
    • ZennoPoster ? Build my own back linking structure. Would love to have SENuke but cost and over usage worries me. Would rather learn ZennoPoster and mix in my C#/PHP coding to have my own stuff.
    • ScrapeBox ? Really just a must have even if you don?t know what SEO is lol.

    Hurdles:
    The biggest hurdle right now is myself. I have not tasted success yet(something big) and in the past I have been my own downfall. Thankfully I am older and can see my own pitfalls. I have the feeling of going up the first drop on a rollercoaster in my stomach.
    I have seen some competition locally but they pretty much came up and burned out quickly. Not even sure they were a formed LLC or not. I am not too worried about out of area competition yet since I firmly believe I have the upper hand locally. I will stand out locally because I will be putting a face to the service.
    Lack of references is another concern. I have some friends and family that I could do some work for some being in small towns and at least one in a capital city that is a photograph with a big flash website doing nothing in google. There is enough work among them to cover all my services and show improvement. Hopefully that will get my foundation set to bring in outside clients.

    Updating:
    This is not an update once a day thread. I don?t know that I can do enough to warrant daily updates. However I will come back from time to time with progress. Hopefully that will help others out there that need the extra push.
     
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  2. poweronics

    poweronics Jr. VIP Jr. VIP Premium Member

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    Well hope you get a good luck in this buddy.
    Will be looking forward to your updates.
     
  3. bluematter

    bluematter Jr. VIP Jr. VIP Premium Member

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  4. squidkai1

    squidkai1 Junior Member

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    Good luck sir! Your feeling about references are correct as I have had a couple of potential clients wanting to contact previous references for experiences. I'm not sure if this is the norm or not but always helps to have some on hand.
     
  5. Execute

    Execute Supreme Member

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    Good luck in your new business venture!
     
  6. SuperNoobInc

    SuperNoobInc Regular Member

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    Glad to hear another person here starting his own local business. Good luck!

    Just a question; I am wondering why you (and many of you) decide to offer a 'complete solution' rather than 'specialization'?
    I mean.. all these social media/reputation management/places/business web-development, sure. they do have some ties to each other, but i wouldnt say its 'that close'. Wouldnt specializing in let say "ORM' makes you more professional in this field?
     
  7. Dollwin

    Dollwin Registered Member

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    Hey OP, all the best for you.

    I'm in a similar boat, wishing to provide SEO/ORM/Social Media/GP, under a blanket term of something like ORM or Corporate Branding Specialist or something in that favor. How have you set up your site? I have no web design skills so I was looking for someone, perhaps in the BST area to make one for me. Will describing your customer backend page be enough for a designer to make all that for me?

    I also have limited SEO knowledge, but was looking to outsource all my services. Do others think that a service from BST or some of the more well known firms like Hubshot and Ebrandz would be better for just completely taking care of the technical end so I can focus on pure sales? Anyone have good reviews for those firms as well?

    I have the same excitement as you (selling to ourselves leaves a huge grin on our faces doesn't it?) so I wish good luck to us both.
     
  8. NikosX

    NikosX Power Member

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    come on! really?
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    In a VPS far far away...
    I wish you good luck OP, I hope to hear a success story from you soon enough!
     
  9. 75INZ

    75INZ Regular Member

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    Good luck. I'm in a similar boat but was lucky to have 3 clients before even starting a proper business. Now I'm going to go full steam ahead and expand on it.
     
  10. bhspiderz

    bhspiderz Registered Member

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    That is certainly a valid question and one that I will try to answer for you. Keep in mind this is different with everyones business model.

    I struggled with this decision for a good bit of time once I made towards my business. While you may see me offering 4 individual services I am strongly pushing 2 of them GP/Website. ORM and Social are more upsale items. I STRONGLY believe that as the local business marketing expands the local business website will be the anchor, the foundation for everything else you do. While I will offer just a GP I do so pushing the business website hard.

    The second point is that I am not setting myself up very well business wise to be a master of one thing. Yes you can become profecient and excel in that one thing. However it is still only one thing. How many times on these forums do you see people telling everyone don't put you eggs in one basket. If I focused on being the very best at GP and it goes away one day..... If I excel at website design/website SEO and a company with money backing takes all my work.... I am really trying to give myself some buffer room.

    My business model is built on reoccurring income. I have spent many many many hours building my model and every twist and turn comes back to reoccurring income. I will (not: If I) provide a service that makes my customers happy and happy customers are paying customers. These upsale items come with monthly reoccurring income. Having these 4 services gives me an extra 300% more chance of landing a customer with something that catches their eye. Compare to only having one listed service that I am very good at but they may not want.

    It can be argued everyway under the sun, but at the end of the day the business owner(me) makes the best decision with the information that he has and go balls to the walls with that decision.
     
  11. SuperNoobInc

    SuperNoobInc Regular Member

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    Thanks for responding to my question above.
    I see what you mean. I have been struggling with this decision for awhile as well (and have also opened a thread on BHW asking similiar question).
    And I couldnt agree with you more, recurring payments seem to work best in every aspect.


    But to be honest, I am still struggling with the PRO/CONS on each side. As I mentioned on another thread; I am kindda leaning more towards
    to niche-specific rather than 'complete solution'. Because I see how this will give me more 'control' and better focus on a particular service I offer.


    At the same time, I see what you are concerned of; and that is limiting yourself to 'one service' - being hard to expand in the future.


    I do not have an experienced business mind; but here is what I think;


    I broke down the type of services I can offer to clients;
    SEO
    PPC
    Google Places
    Online Reputation Management
    Social Media
    Web Development
    Mobile Web Development


    Instead of offering all services under the same website/company name;
    I broke them down into 3 main categories;


    Company #1 - Online Reputation Management (main)
    Google Places (Secondary)
    Social Media (Secondary)
    *This focus on companies that are already established but with bad online reputation (or with no online reputation)


    Company #2 - Local Seo/PPC (main)
    Google Places (secondary)
    *This focus on companies that already have a website and want to increase their online presence.


    Company #3 - Lite Web Development (main)
    Mobile web development
    Social Media development (fan pages / youtube channel etc.) (secondary)
    SEO (secondary)
    *This focus on companies with zero online presence, building up from ground zero.


    I feel that niche-specific services will give clients a more professional feel.


    Otherwise, it will be like wal-mart; with no speciality (other than pricing - OK, this is at least what I think),
    in comparison to Bestbuy, who specializes in electronics. Anyone looking for a TV will probably check them out first.

    I guess another good example would be 'hosting companies'. Nowadays, I see a lot of hosting providers offer
    SEO services along with their 'hosting packages'. I would also 90% of them dont know what they are doing, because
    they just arent specialized in them afterall (or at least they dont give me the impression that they do). So to me, I think
    thats a little unprofessional in some sense.

    Any advice will be appreciated. Just giving my 2 cents.
     
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    Last edited: Apr 18, 2012
  12. bhspiderz

    bhspiderz Registered Member

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    Damn reply keeps getting lost......

    @SuperNoobInc
    Your examples of company to service is spot on what I will be doing. I offer 4 different things but will not push all 4 on them at one time. Before going to a client I will research them and know more about their online presence than they will care to admit. I will Know what they need and offer that to them. At the same time I will listen to their issues and concerns about their business which gives me ideas on upsells.

    The idea is to sell them what they need build the relationship and upsell things they could use to help them further. However if the customer wants to jump in head first with all 4 services I am not going to say NO.

    Overall I think you and I are on the same page but were reading each other's post differently. Your breakdown of the companies is the exact process I went through sum'ed up. Every business out there is different and we as marketers need to be flexible in providing for them independantly. If this local business online marketing was a cookie cutter process I would not be here. I love the diverse nature of this business.
     
  13. CEPI

    CEPI Power Member

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    Your post is exactly me about 8 years ago. I only do offline business. Reason I come here is because you need these valuable online methods to help offline business whether the actual income is generated online or not.

    Please feel free to PM if you have any questions or need a quick chat about anything you encounter.
     
  14. bhspiderz

    bhspiderz Registered Member

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    Hey Dollwin - I built my website with WordPress U-Design theme. Let me see if I can put in here what my customer system framework is like.

    There are 2 section to this: Admin and Client
    1. Admin - When I log in(This is a different login than the WP admin login) I can add new clients or build offers for clients. When I add a new client the system will go and create new folders on the web server for them and updates my seperate customer database.

    2. Client - When the client logs in (again seperate from WP) They are driven to a client page that lists their offers and reports. If they go to offers they are sent to a squeeze page that goes over the offer in more detail. They can accept or not. Accepting is not final until a conference call or meeting. The reports options is really just a drop down list of customer reports concerning their online presence. So there will be a feew to choose from. Since I have SEO Powersuites I custom build the reports through that which is automated to run and upload the report in pdf and html format. So they can look over the report in different ways.

    I am not sure that I could give you enough detail that would get you what you wanted from a Dev. I thought about releasing the backend but I really don't have the time to generalize it and support it.

    I am going to handle everything at first until I have it down. Then I will look at outsourcing. The only thing I am going to outsource at the start is articles and Citations for GP.
     
  15. 75INZ

    75INZ Regular Member

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    If you developed that on your own. it sounds like something you could sell. I know I'd love a whole admin/client backend side of things like that.

    Might be another stream of revenue for you, perhaps?
     
  16. bhspiderz

    bhspiderz Registered Member

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    Actually after talking with SuperNoobInc he pointed me to something better on CodeCanyon "Advanced Client Portal". So I took it upon myself to find a share and fix it so that it actually ran. The seller appears to be an ass and his response to question is to slow for me sooooo...... Anyway I am customizing that to accept my auto upload reports. So far it is just what I need and better than what I had. It will sit in any site as it is just a php script. If it is something you may be interested in just PM or skype "bhspiderz" and I will get put up somewhere for those that want it. Will be tomorrow evening CST before I do the upload though.
     
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  17. bhspiderz

    bhspiderz Registered Member

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  18. tycbn1

    tycbn1 Newbie

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    It has been a couple of months...how is your business doing? Any advice for a new IM?
     
  19. bhspiderz

    bhspiderz Registered Member

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    Things have slowed up a bit. For the most part I am getting packets out and getting interest but apparently my closing sucks big time. I am a tech geek and although I love talking to people I am struggling in that aspect. Taking a breather from packets and blown meetings for two weeks to enjoy coding some things. Not really a positive note but that is where I am at.
     
  20. tycbn1

    tycbn1 Newbie

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    Do you know anyone in sales? They could critique your pitch. Check out toastmasters, you can practice your presentations and they will give you pointers. Plus, you'll get leads from the other members.