November 2, 2011 13:25
As we all know business models and service strategies can evolve over time, and at the end of the day is it about the almighty dollar or the greater good?
You can swing to the almighty dollar and service begins to stink. Or you can focus on the greater good and not making any money. I think there is a middle ground and to be successful you have to find it and stick with it.
InteractRV, the rv website design company I co-founded in 2003, has used Rackspace.com as their hosting partner for years. In the beginning they were a smaller, privately held company bending over backwards to make sure things were right and easy to use. Then a couple of years ago they went public and they just didn't focus on the fantastic service any longer. The account managers began treating us as a number and their product/service offerings began evolving into a one-size fits all approach.
I'm not sure if they did it for the dollar, but my gut tells me as much. What the whole process did do for me was open my eyes to make sure that as InteractRV grows servicing more customers that we are sure to maintain our premier level of service.
We will learn lessons and products/services will continue to evolve. Some may make sense and we'll continue and some may not. But at the end of the day we need to be available, listen to our customers, and help each one be successful in the best way for them.
July 28, 2011 13:29
InteractRV, the company I co-founded in 2001, does alot of search engine optimization and other Internet marketing strategies/tactics to help clients improve. We also run a handful of consumer facing websites like www.RVingPlanet.com and www.UsedRVsForSale.com. RvingPlanet focus on rv sales and reviews of new RVs while UsedRVsForSale focuses on just used rvs.
Back in February the traffic on RVP took a nose dive ... it was a panda slap. Google had updated its search algorythmn in an attempt to get better quality site rankings. Unfortunately, it also affected good quality sites. We are following their suggestions for getting our site whitelisted and I'm confident we will achieve that.
What good came out of the whole thing is that there now is a list existing of what a site needs to do not to get panda slapped. The better side to the list is alll the things to do to get ranked better by search engines.
If interested you can read all about in this great article here. Best of luck!
August 18, 2011 Update
Another great article here
June 28, 2011 14:23
For a few months now we've been searching for a new graphic/web designer to join our team. When we hire folks we have a process we go through to identify road blocks at any given point. We recently had a gal who made it almost through the entire process, but in the end we didn't feel she was a fit for our needs/style. She had a fantastic atittude and communicated very effectively. She would have been a great fit from a company culture standpoint. But as we were going through the process there was one thing that kept rearing its ugly head.
Big picture she seemed to 'get our style', but in the fit and finish the 'snap' just wasn't there. We probably gave more chances than we should have because she was such a great cultural fit for us. However, we also need skills and abilities that align well with the detail and style that we demand of ourselves.
It was a hard decision to make, but trying to fit an oval into even a round hole usually doesn't work out. So after hours of interviewing, money spent on sample projects, we are back to the drawing board, but confident we made the right decision and that is one of the hardest things to do.
March 12, 2011 22:16
I don't get up in the morning excited to start my day so that I can make money. It's not the money itself; it's the freedom it gives. The freedom to choose when I work and how hard I work. The freedom provides the engine for the passion that comes from developing something new or making something better for other people. At the end of the day however; making money provides the opportunity to get more people on your team to make a larger impact.
In a recent blog post Jason Fried co-founder of 37Signals.com tells his story of how he learned to make money. You can read it here:http://www.inc.com/magazine/20110301/making-money-small-business-advice-from-jason-fried.html
Then a summary below for a quick reference later...
Understanding what people really want to know—and how that differs from what you want to tell them—is a fundamental tenet of sales. And you can't get good at making money unless you get good at selling.
Sell only things you'd want to buy for yourself.
People are happy to pay for things that work well. Never be afraid to put a price on something. If you pour your heart into something and make it great, sell it. For real money. Even if there are free options, even if the market is flooded with free. People will pay for things they love.
Charging for something makes you want to make it better. I've found this to be really important. It's a great lesson if you want to learn how to make money. When you put a price on something, you get really honest feedback from customers.
Remove the fear, and people will be more willing to pay you. People don't like uncertainty—especially when they have to pay for it.
Whether you're starting your first business or your next one, my advice is to bootstrap it. Bootstrapping forces you to think about making money on Day One. Anyone can spend money. Making it is the hard part, and being forced to do it early is one of the best ways to get better at it later.
It's all about practice. Whether you're playing drums or building a business, you're going to be pretty bad at something the first time you try it. The second time isn't much better. Over time, and after a lot of practice, you begin to get there.
November 18, 2010 15:29
As you can tell from a previous post InteractRV, a RV dealer website design company I co-founded in 2001, was taking a thrashing from a competitor. After taking some time to think it through we on the Leadership Team decided that it was in our best interest just to keep our heads down and stick to the stuff that we do for our clients.
One of our folks was doing some training with a new client this morning and the conversation came up regarding why they ultimately chose to use our services vs a particular competitor. It was encouraging to hear that our core values and unique selling proposition to our clients made it through the vetting process and others did not. They had been down the 'too good to be true' road before and it didn't make sense to them when every time they spoke with the competitor everything was 'free' and over time so many things had been promised the competitor couldn't keep it all straight.
As always, the challenge for us is to be true to our core values and USP. Maybe sometime I'll share all what they are but I will tell you they keep us in line with our decision making, with our communication and promises to our clients, and they don't come wiithout sacrifice.
At our annual fall company meeting last week it was great to review and plan with a committed, talented group of team members. All sharing the same values and dedication to being true to who we are and what we do ... provide products products that get results and back it up with the best service we can.