Transcript of the live chat session that took place Thursday, October 22, 1998. These sessions are normally scheduled for 12 noon-1 PM Eastern Time every Thursday. Please note that the US is now on Standard Time. So in international terms, we are on at GMT -5.
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For an article on how to make "business chat" work (based on this experience), click here .
Since the chat itself happens at a rapid pace, it's often difficult to note interesting facts in particular URLs as they appear on-line. Here's a place to take a more leisurely look. I've rearranged some of the pieces to try to capture the various threads of discussion (which sometimes get lost in the rush of live chat).
Please send email with your follow-on questions and comments, and suggestions for topics we should focus on in future sessions. So long as the volume of email responses is manageable, I'll post the most pertinent ones here for all to see.
Ron Rothenberg -- I'm a writer and financial planner and independent consultant, with a history of being a real estate broker(10 years) and software developer (12 years)
Bob Zwick -- That's great. I've done some work for local Prudential offices and a few independent real estate offices. Mostly in the hardware network area.
Ron Rothenberg -- Hi Mike.
Mike Cosgrave -- Hello, Mike Cosgrave here, history lecturer and IT consultant (mostly VB).
Bob Zwick -- Hi Mike - VB ? have you done any ASP programming work ?
Mike Cosgrave -- no bob, just simple front ends to access or to sql server; although I'm supporting 100,000 lines of someone else's ActiveX objects right now..not fun!
Bob Zwick -- Mike - are you employed by a university and do consulting on the side ?
Mike Cosgrave -- Bob, yes..but I consult 9-5 and lecture evenings.. college don't mind, yet anyway
Miki Dzugan -- Hello, Bob, Mike & Ron. I'm Miki Dzugan, Internet marketing consultant. I'm here to try to figure out how to better market my own services.
Jeff Stenger -- Hello, I'm Jeff Stenger from Chicago. Sorry I'm a little late.
Bob Zwick -- Hello Jeff - what area of consulting are you involved in ?
Jeff Stenger -- Bob, I do software development - mostly intranet and internet.
Miki Dzugan -- Jeff, do you do database work at all?
Miki Dzugan -- Jeff, I will e-mail you after this discussion about a little project if you don't mind.
Lou -- Hello, folks. Lou Calatayud here - Diversity/Cross Cultural facilitator and Org Dev consultant. 20 years with the Dept of Defense. Transitioning to civilian life here soon.
Bob Zwick -- Welcome to the chat and civilian life, Lou.
Kevin Vincent -- Hello - Kevin Vincent - 36 year old retired newspaper owner/consultant - joining for the first time at terry Maugeri's invitation.
Barbara -- Bob, Richard just called. He asks that you please carry on and please capture the transcript and email it to him. Thanks.
Bob Zwick -- Will do Barbara.
Richard Seltzer (at 12:45) -- Finally connected. I'm at a hotel in Cambridge and somehow couldn't get my laptop to connect. I suspect it was a bad phone line. I'm now using a borrowed computer in another room. Sorry I've missed so much.
Bob Zwick-- Thank you Barbara, I was just getting ready to call Richard LD to see if he was having troubles. Which brings up a good point. If your business depends on the Internet it's is imperative that you have multiple ISPs or connectivity.
Miki Dzugan -- Bob, as we say in Minnesota, you betcha. Even having multiple ISPs doesn't help if your computer goes down. I have two computers, two connections and was still off-line for a couple of hours this a.m.
Ron Rothenberg -- have you tried a premium internet service - more cost for more reliability?
Miki Dzugan -- Ron, I have DSL line from our local phone company. They are new to providing that service and sometimes are down.
Miki Dzugan -- Bob, that is a difficult question to answer. I have business experience in businesses from computer software development to commercial real estate and hospitality. My clients include book authors, manufacturers, a University and chambers of commerce.
Bob Zwick -- Miki - if you are trying to provide services to businesses that help them market their products on the Internet, I would think that conventional medium would be more appropriate to gain new business with companies that have no web presence. I find that once a company has a presence they think they can handle the operation internally.
Miki Dzugan -- Bob, you have a very good point. My primary market for Web site development is local. I use personal networking and mailing.
Bob Zwick -- Miki - that's the way I approach new business too. I have also found that radio air time, especially in a market just outside of a major market is very reasonable. ie $90/mo for a 15sec spot 5 mornings a week.
Miki Dzugan -- Bob, I had not thought about radio. The only advertising I buy at this time is local yellow pages. Have had some response to that.
Kevin Vincent -- My advice to those using radio is to make print advertising the foundation of your campaigns. back it up with radio. radio ads always say "see your newspaper for details"
Miki Dzugan -- My objective for this year is to get into larger clients. My current clients are small and very cost conscious.
Bob Zwick -- In my 11 yrs in business, I have never used the yellow pages. I think they are overpriced. Networking has been my main source of new work.
Ron Rothenberg -- yellow pages is good if people know you, want you, but forgot where to find you.
Kevin Vincent -- The thing about advertising is it needs to be steady and long-term. the minute you decide to stop your ad - is the moment a potential new customer goes looking.
Miki Dzugan -- Bob, the only reason I took a listing in the yellow pages is that people check there for credibility sometimes. I have only a few lines and was surprised to get business from it.
Bob Zwick -- Miki - larger
clients require more pre-sales work, but have a good return on your investment.
I thrive on the small business by offering economy, turnkey packages which most of the time result in repeat business and larger contracts.
Miki Dzugan -- Bob, the longer sales cycle was part of my problem with larger business when starting. I had a lot of small business contacts and it is a quicker sell.
Carol Snyder -- RE: Yellow Pages--I've advertised in them for
2 years now, and have only had a few calls.
My consulting leads come more from BigYellow.com
Jeff Stenger -- Snyder, do you have to pay for BigYellow?
Carol Snyder -- RE: Yellow pages--I've found that it's hard to compete with the bigger companies when it comes to the color and full size ads. Anyone having luck with yellow pages? BigYellow.com wants $$ too, and, you have to pay extra to get a link to your URL. I've found it to be a good place to advertise, though.
Miki Dzugan -- Snyder, I'm surprised. I heard that not many people use online yellow pages, but maybe they think it is a good place to look for local Web developers.
Kevin Vincent -- Snyder. Personal contact will win out over big color ads every time.
Ron Rothenberg -- yellow pages are necessary - but as advertising alone, it doesn't work. Your expectations should not be that the yellow ad itself will get you business.
Carol Snyder -- How true! re: personal contact....but who really "likes" and "enjoys" cold calls, etc. Networking is one thing, but just calling up a potential target audience is another.
Kevin Vincent -- For those of you worried about the cost of advertising, look at what your campaign costs and determine how many new customers it would take to break even on your expenditure.
Mike Cosgrave -- From what some of you are saying, it sounds like things are very different here in Ireland (and the UK) -- we dont market much; most contracting here comes through the IT agencies. We also have much better online listings in Ireland and the UK - I can't find any US contracts/jobs listing online that offers the coverage of infolive in ireland or Jobs online in the UK
Bob Zwick -- Mike - I think
that agencies here are more cut-throat and don't advertise their openings
If you are looking for European jobs at companies here in the US I would recommend you go directly to major consulting firms like Coopers and Lybrand, etc.
Ron Rothenberg -- people see your other ads and then look you up in the yellow pages. unless you sell auto glass or emergency plumbing services. then 90% of your biz comes from yellow pages. but not in personal services.
Bob Zwick -- How about a quick poll ? How did your last contract come to you? advertising, networking, web site, etc...
Jeff Stenger -- Bob, last contract - networking, former co-worker is now an MIS director :-)
Miki Dzugan -- Last contract. Personal contact. Most of my business comes that way.
Jeff Stenger -- Bob, I haven't used any media advertising (other than a web site).
Carol Snyder -- Last contract: Word of mouth from previous client
Bob Zwick -- My last contract - referral from a competitor who lacked resources.
Ron Rothenberg -- i ran a financial planning and buyer real estate brokerage service for 10 years, and we always discussed the same thing. most of our business eventually came from former clients. Keep in touch!!! we had client appreciation nights twice per year. took everyone to a restaurant or circus-- had them invite their friends. got more contracts as the result of that than anything else. keep in touch.
Jeff Stenger -- Ron, great idea.
Jeff Stenger -- One person warned me that a yellow page ad can result in lots of telephone spam. Has anyone had that experience?
Ron Rothenberg -- yes -- yellow pages will make the phone ring. not always who you want, but that is true with any ad.
Bob Zwick -- Jeff, have you ever used the yellow pages or newspaper to canvas for new business? I have and I think that you have to expect the same (spam) from others.
Carol Snyder -- Jeff: Yes! Telephone spam--comes from other businesses trying to sell us things we don't want! (e.g. calendars for our clients, pens, cups, big computer systems)
Carol Snyder -- How many people are advertising in the trade journals or other magazines? Any luck?
Jeff Stenger -- Miki - I have been able to (sort of) get in with some bigger clients by subcontracting to a smaller, well-established business that has a number of large clients. Any potential for that with you?
Miki Dzugan -- Jeff, that's an excellent point. I am in fact working with an Ad agency who has larger Web clients to help with promotion. In this case I am concerned that I will be the ghost consultant.
Jeff Stenger -- Miki, touche. Although, if your getting a steady stream of work, it might not matter. Also, you can still use the larger client's name when verbally name-dropping.
Miki Dzugan -- Jeff, that's a great point on the name dropping.
Jeff Stenger -- Barbara, I found that to be the case especially when I started about a year ago. Now that I am somewhat established, the work is easier to come by.
Lou -- I have found that it takes a long "process" to close a sale. In reality it is never really "closed", only the steps along the way. I have found it takes from 8 to 18 months to develop a client.
Ron Rothenberg -- there are some fundamentals to closing and selling -- good book: something like "sales for non-salespersons." Get the client to say yes to something easy, then escalate the stakes.
Ron Rothenberg -- it is merciful to help clients make good decisions quickly. that's sales.
Ron Rothenberg -- our local newspapers with good web sites just started offering web design and hosting services (by them) directly. now they are in competition with independent web developers.
Bob Zwick -- Ron - that has been the direction of the newspapers for some time now. The only way an independent web host can compete is to give more services for less than the newspapers. More personal interaction, but NOT nuisance hard sells.
Kevin Vincent -- Newspapers have a HUGE advanatge over web developers. They have an active sales force in constant contact with their clients. they have the vehicle to promote their sites. they have the contacts in communities to "organize" the web business in their areas. And they have credibility (for the most part). If you have a web site, offer to exchange banners with your local newspaper.
Carol Snyder -- Ron: Even Inc. magazine has a new service where small businesses can advertise (and Inc. magazine will provide web design and space for you!) Finding work on the Internet requires patience and persistence.
Ron Rothenberg -- but will newspapers that develop web sites allow you to promote your service on their online site?
Kevin Vincent -- yes they will - this is new territory for most papers.
Bob Zwick -- I was involved in introducing the Internet to the Ft. Worth Star Telegram, getting their site and ISP service up and running smoothly and on a non-fee basis. Since then they have hired me for contract work and sent client to me that they couldn't handle. Business today has to be CO-operation and not competition.
Carol Snyder -- Miki: Good point about consulting! I saw something last week about be sure to "take the "con" out of consulting". Perhaps, we all need to change our titles. :-)
Ron Rothenberg -- oops. someone has already registered http://www.prosultant.com
Miki Dzugan -- Ron, that's cute.
Ron Rothenberg -- yes, trust is important. you need to build it. speaking and writing do help a lot. so do online chats.
Carol Snyder -- Ron has a good point! re: writing and speaking. Think of the "famous" Internet people you know or have heard of. (e.g. Laura LeMay, Lynda Weinman, Daniel Dern, Richard Seltzer) They are constantly invited to conferences to speak, and they write a lot of GOOD quality articles (and books) plus contribute to magazine columns and other on-line ventures.
Richard Seltzer -- Carol, thanks for including me a list of the "famous" :-)
Ron Rothenberg -- richard, you are famous because we all know you.
Richard Seltzer -- I'm trying to put the pieces together to operate an an "independent", after working for 19 years for Digital, then Compaq. I feel that the mix has to include writing, speaking and consulting, because those activities all seem inter-related -- just different ways of packaging and delivering the same basic content. (But then again, I'm non-technical, so the "consulting" I'd do would not be hands on implementation.
Bob Zwick -- Richard - writing, speaking and consulting lead to and are synonymous with training. Have you considered a seminar tour?
Miki Dzugan -- Richard, I am looking for pointers to growing beyond the small business client to larger. It sounds as though I need to write a book. Know any good ghosts?
Richard Seltzer -- Miki -- I'd suggest hiring a "co-author" rather than a "ghost". There's an interesting article in the latest issue of Wired about the problems of ever being a "ghost." If someone is really going to add to the content of the book and not just be an editor, that person should get equal billing as co-author.
Ron Rothenberg -- good ghosts get paid more than co-authors.
Carol Snyder -- Just for the record: Although speaking and writing (e.g. communicating) is often seen as the "key to success" in advertising a person's knowledge and experience with a topic, snyder's words of wisdom are the following: "To each a given a talent"...Find that talent and make good use of it.
Kevin Vincent -- Theory is good - we all need theory.
Barbara -- Richard would be interested in the resources you have for SPEAKING at conferences. Could you email him (email@example.com)? Thanks.
Ron Rothenberg -- yes, i already did.
Ron Rothenberg -- Richard, I sent you some resources for speakers -- do you know about Presentations magazine? they are mostly focused on hardware, software and technique, but occasionally cover audience and marketing.
Carol Snyder -- RE: free advice or paid advice--There has to
be a balance. You never know when the "free advice" you gave to someone
at a professional meeting or on the phone turns into a paid opportunity
down the road.
Barbara -- Although I've pretty much been just a lurker, except for a few updates on Richard, I've enjoyed this session. Thanks, Bye.
Ron Rothenberg -- Homebase@world.std.com
Jeff Stenger -- firstname.lastname@example.org http://www.dabble.com
Richard Seltzer -- All, I want to continue this topic next week. Please spread the word. Meanwhile, I post the edited transcript, as usual. Check at http://www.samizdat.com#chat And please send me your followup messages for inclusion with the transcript email@example.com
Richard Seltzer -- Thanks to all. (For those of you in the Boston area, I'll be speaking at the Boston ISIG meeting this evening at MIT.)
Carol Snyder -- Announcement: Boston Internet SIG TONIGHT MIT
4-370 7PM, Richard Seltzer and "Building Internet Communities--Web Chat"
Hope to see you there! Carol J. Snyder, snyderinfo (Boston)
Miki Dzugan -- firstname.lastname@example.org http://www.marketing-internet.com
Mike Cosgrave -- ok..next week.. email@example.com
Bob Zwick -- Richard - will do. glad you persevered and made it today.
seltzer -- Thanks very much, Bob. It's been a Murphy day.
3M has a presenters' resource site on their web site, and you may also want to look at
http://www.presentersuniversity.com That used to be a good site, but I haven't seen it for a while. It's sponsored by Proxima, but has info and products from many sources.
Be sure too see the improvements and new directions of the DE Chat Community at http://www.cottagemicro.com
Our "tentative" guest interviewee for next Tuesday is: John Tracy Clinic http://www.johntracyclinic.org Founded 1942 (1965/2002). Courses for parents of preschool deaf children and deaf-blind children. Also graduate level courses in child development and servicing children with special needs.
Darn, finally a topic I could contribute to and I've had to miss all of them! I'm sorry. I have an all-day meeting tomorrow. Oh well.
I have been going through the transcripts and wanted to share a couple of follow-on things from prior chats related to jobs and job searches on the Internet.
1. By far some of the best job search sites are (not surprisingly) local sources. Check local chapters/web sites of national associations like IABC (International Association of Business Communicators), PRSA (Public Relations Society of America), and specialized industry associations like NALFMA (National Association of Law Firm Marketing Administrators) or AAM (Association for Accounting Marketing). In New York just today I was pointed to what may be the very best resource I have yet found...it's called Siliconalleyjobs.com (http://www.siliconalleyjobs.com) SUPER resource, and the recruiters who were linked into it each had an impressive number of relevant job listings.
2. Software. I downloaded a very neat little free program months ago to check how it worked and just fell in love with it with its perkly little personality. It's called "Wanted Jobs", a Ziff-Davis product. (http://www.wantedjobs.com) You can structure a variety of key-word searches (depending on various talents you may have) and just run the search whenever you want. The software goes out and grabs the jobs that match your criteria from ALL the big job posting sites on the web...Monster Board, etc. The only caution I would give is that I am in New York, and could easily work in CT or NJ as well. I learned not to put all the locations in after the first search. If you put a location in, it tends to give you a LOT of extraneous jobs just because they have the location state in it. Maybe I'm just not using it properly, though! :)
3. Personal Assistants. I have come across several relevant sites that have personal assistants, and I have to agree with the person who said it's the only way to go! Here are some:
Hope that helps someone. I'm really interested to hear of more such things if anyone has any I've missed.
Kaye Vivian, ABC, proposals and web communications, firstname.lastname@example.org,http://www.cloud9.net/~kvivian
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