How to get on my radar screen, a short case study

This is rather a fun way to demonstrate one way that, for an investment of $4.50, this group of entrepreneurs has not only gotten on my proverbial radar screen, but have learned a bit about how to pitch effectively too.
It started with them buying me a cup of chai via my Ask Dave Taylor tech support site, and including this note:

Message:Hi Dave,
Love your site. It’s got a lot of great Info that the everyday person can actually use!:). Check out our struggling new startup at http://www.oklandcomp.com. We have “Everyday items for everyday people at exceptional prices” and we want everyone to know it! …
We’d love a plug! Enjoy your chai.

Just like in dating, when you’re pitching your company, it’s very important that you always speak positively about it, so here was my response:

Thanks. Instead of buying me a chai, though, try this pitch again. Tell me what’s unique and interesting about your business, how you got into it, how you’re growing it and why my readers would care. 🙂 Oh, and don’t tell me that you’re struggling. Tell me that you’re excited about your growth curve or something. 🙂

Luckily, they took my response in the spirit of assistance it was sent, and their response was a nice example of a positive, enthusiastic writeup of their business and how they got into it:

Well actually Dave, my partner and I are very excited about the website. It is allowing us to work on something together that allows us to spend more time with our families doing something we all really enjoy. Hopefully some day allowing me to walk away from the cube farm! My dad operated his own business in our back yard so I guess I have the entrepreneurial spirit in me. So while the store may be “struggling” at this point, we’re not hungry yet…yet.
It all started out as a couple of Ebay stores that went reasonably well and my partner being downsized from IBM. Ebay just became a big rat race with the only real winner being Ebay! Now almost completely disillutioned with Ebay, we know we can do better for our customer on price and overall shopping experience.
Passing all those savings onto our customers – and yes a bit more to us as well, feels a lot better than handing it to a multi national bohemoth who constantly wants more. They’ve just gone waaay to far to increase their insatiable greed at the expense of the buyers! However, I digress. I still plan to operate on Ebay more as a secondary venue to promote the store. The exposure with Ebay obviously cannot be overlooked.
And to be honest, more so than the money generated, I get as much or more enjoyment from being able to provide our quality products (and they really are top of the line) to our customers delivered to their door, sometimes cheaper than they can buy them at big box retail outlet. The responses back from our customers to date has been fantastic. Our slogan – everyday items for everyday people at exceptional prices really is what drives us. We’re not big box, We’re not distant shareholders. We’re grassroots, back to the mom and pop taking advantage of technology of the day.
Seeing tangible results of our efforts, slow as they may be, is also an incredibly satisfying. slowly increasing traffic, watching Google analytics 10 times a day to see if it is better than yesterday, tweaking of google ads and incorporation of Amazon referrals. It’s all pretty amazing in a geeky sort of way.
So now that we have an operational site up and running (yes, admitedly there is much, much left to do on that front) we are focusing now on spreading the word – weighing pay per click advertising, trying to get a newsletter going and “sucking up” for back links 🙂
All sucking up aside, your site really has been one of the best resources I have found for succinct, to the point tips without printing hundreds of pages of a pdf to get a few good tips elsewhere. I only recently found your blog and think it’s great! While reading your SEO, ad click and articles of the like I find myself bookmarking many of them to go back and re read as I work on that topic.
So do you really blog from a Starbucks? Cool! maybe someday I’ll move my cube to Starbucks and sell HD multi directional Antennas, Foodsavers and laptop sleeves from the back corner table! HA!
Robert Collins

I don’t write this to get tons of people to buy me a chai, needless to say, but hopefully to illustrate the importance of putting your best foot forward and presenting your business well, whatever the venue. It’s the mythical “elevator pitch” and it really is important that you can positively state your business goal or mission, buzzword free, in sixty seconds or less.

2 comments on “How to get on my radar screen, a short case study

  1. Well, besides the chumming for lattes part, I think this is a relevant post to those people who are looking for more understanding about how to attract the attention of those in the business of startups and entrepreneurship.

  2. Good comment about putting your best foot forward — I’ve come to realize how important my profile is on a few of my blogs and how I need to take time to rewrite them and update them.
    A sloppy profile can work against you as you realize there are real people actually stopping to read the posts and opinions.

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