Oh, and keep an eye out for Pat & Mike
By Pat Dane & Mike Walter
Pat and Mike know about small business. In fact, one business we ran was so small we shared a beeper. Which wasn't so bad, except that we live in two different states.
When we started our TuneUp business just two short years ago, everybody was proclaiming and announcing and predicting that the World Wide Web was going to become the marketplace of the future. Like many others we rushed in eager to find a good location for our business in the marketplace of the future. Pretty soon our websites got hits. 500 hits, 1000 hits, 100,000 hits! Nobody bought anything but, hoo boy, did they hit us!
In those days, there were few, if any, rules and literally no guidelines other than: "The media is the message." This was a very fine guideline except no one had any idea what it meant!
So what can you learn from all of this? Not much. Well, maybe a little. After all, if the Kings of All Cyberspace can't help you open a small business on the Net, then who can, Smokey Robinson?
Well, here are the basics:
Let's take a look at a couple of companies that made a successful transition to the Web, and how they did it.
Then they figured out that old paper towels were not the best materials with which to build pools and hot tubs. And business got better.
Then, in 1994, they opened a Web site that sells pool covers, chemicals, pump replacement parts, and hundreds of other items that pool and hot tub owners need.
Proprietor Dan Harrison says that the key to his success is the fact that the profile of people who use the Web conveniently matches the profile of people who own pools and hot tubs. Go figure.
Then the Web appeared. John instantly recognized the opportunity it presented and gave up his lucrative position as a sports announcer to start something called Coastal GolfAway, now one of the leading golf vacation sites in the Carolinas.
John's key success element was to move his business to the Web when the timing was right, and to target a niche market that had opportunity for growth. Of course, it didn't hurt that his aunt died and left him seven hundred and fifty-six million dollars.
It's a candy store, but they'll come get us.
To hear Pat & Mike's weekly radio show, visit AudioNet. The show is broadcast live every Saturday and features The Last Word by our very own E Business editor.