I hope you feel better. I just want to add some insight on a few points....
And that by being a small provider I am in some way inadequate or
less desirable to do business with than the next guy. And that as a
Small guy I am a liabilty, not an asset. It doesn't matter what side
of the fense I sit. If I'm the customer, the provider doesn't want to
take the risk, If I'm the provider, the customer doesn't want to take
Being small isn't the problem. Acting small might be. (I'm not directing
this at anyone, BTW).
There is a phenomenon in sales whereby businesses mainly do business
with companies their own size.
It is a growth and perception problem. (I think Gerber rambles on about
in E-Myth Mastery).
> You bring the argument up, "its hard to hire sales people", well I
have the same problem, I have to find a way to do it to > succeed. Does
that mean I turn away $50 residential subs when I'm searching for the
big $800 a month subs?
Hiring salespeople is especially hard for small businesses. It's cyclic.
How do you pay a salesperson with small margins?
Well, one way is to chase bigger elephants.
An aside to this is if that isn't a skill you possess, outsource it or
hire a consultant to perform the skill.
Positioning is the image consumers have of you and your "brand". There
is only room in a consumers mind for one position. So if you are
positioned as the small, home-grown WISP, you can't get big projects.
When you market yourself as a world-class, best-of-breed, technology
shop, Microsoft Gold Partner, Goldmine Authorized, Linux Certified,
CCNA, blah, blah, blah.
On your next project: Shout about it. Tell everyone what a breeze it
was; quote the client as pleased and happy; talk about it like it was an
Want to get $800 accounts? Show the value. Plan for it. And execute. If
you are closing $800 accounts, it isn't the market.
Back to perception: A guy owns a 25 person biz; he has your Resi
connection for $50. You call him up to sell him an $800 connection at
his office. How do explain the difference? What is the Value presented?
What is the STORY you tell him about the Productivity he will get from
your service? He is having the same issues as you: he can't hire a sales
guy; he can't afford a full-time IT guy; his copier is on the fritz; can
he meet payroll.
I'm probably not wording this perfectly, but I hope the message is at
Marketing requires a clear, concise, simple message to be put in front
of a target audience.
It is about Positioning, Perception, Branding and Storytelling.
Marketing Basics 2: Differences between Marketing and Selling
There is so much potential in the small WISP market, if it was only
You need to get away from "small" and "WISP". Selling the Invisible with
connotations like small and WISP is hard.
The market is unfamiliar with "ISP", let alone WISP. Give them a phrase
that they can understand and wrap their head around. Wireless Broadband
Service Provider is close. Maybe Wireless Broadband Network Provider.
Perception is all.
What do you do when your own governement says "Come Earthlink, Come
AOL, Come Verizon, you are our only hope, we need your money?"
I will mention it one more time: Perception. These companies are thought
of as successful, big, moneyed, publicly traded enterprises. They have
systems and processes in place. They can scale. They can "handle it".
We are living in a society that wants little risk. (That's why we do not
see or hear the wounded from the Mideast.)
To mitigate the risk, people go with what they know; what their friends
use; what they perceive as best.
In my experience, most small businesses in Tampa Bay have not heard of
the independent ISPs in town.
Hence, why Remarkable, Sneezers, Guerrilla Marketing and WOMA are so
important to competitors.
[Side note: But there is a rule that small biz has to get a percentage
of funds granted to large biz for any project. Check with the SBA.]
Small Business is NOT a bad word. Small businesses should be helping
small businesses succeed.
Most small businesses shop at Sam's and Wal-Mart. No one is helping the
small business. He has to help himself.
Let me tell you a quick story:
We have a convenience store 4 blocks from my house, next to a small bar,
a pizza joint and a Latin restaurant.
This convenience store looks stale. Dreary. He sells subs. I think he
spends more time and effort trying to sell pre-prepared food than on
milk (often out of date), coffee (hardly ever fresh), snacks (no
selection), and ice. The 2 owners are often sitting outside reading the
paper. They are maybe 500 feet from a Walgreens (24-hours) and a
Kash'n'Karry (supermarket chain). I like to give the convenience store
my money, but he does nothing to earn it. Out of date milk on 2 out of 3
In a supermarket, they false front every aisle every night, so the
shelves always look full.
If you want to compete against the chains, you have to put your best,
professional image forward.
To do that, you probably need to get honest feedback from others - your
clients, vendors, partners.
I apologize for the wordiness. If I was Tom Peters, I would have used
slides. If I was Seth Godin, I would have summed it up in a paragraph.
But I'm not them, I'm Peter from RAD-INFO. But I do a good impression of
both of them ;)
As Gerber says, you need to work ON your business, not just IN it.
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