Douglas E. Nevill is the CEO of pajezy.com, inc., a website development and content management system created specifically for small business owners and available only through pajezy.com authorized licensees.
An entrepreneur since 1977, Doug was sixteen years old when he began working as a freelance graphic artist and paid his way through college via various entrepreneurial endeavors.
In this second of a two-part series for BusinessOpportunity.com’s Entrepreneur Exchange, Doug offers his tips for start-up, marketing and sales, overcoming obstacles and much more…
What is the single strongest piece of advice you would have for someone just starting out in business for themselves?
Invest in the services of a competent business consultant and get the skinny on what owning a business will be like. You are more likely to be a part of the 71% “fail within ten years” group than the 29% that will succeed. A good consultant may tell you to forget about it, and if they do, you should listen.
You need to also consider how business ownership may change your social life and how it can potentially damage or even destroy relationships. In my opinion, relationships are more valuable than money.
If your consultant gives you a “green light” and if you still want to move forward, dig deeper or find another qualified consultant that has real-life experience and success in your chosen field or industry. If they know how to make your business succeed, their knowledge is worth a lot of money to you.
Knowledge is better than gold and knowing HOW to make money is worth more than the money itself.
I know how to make money, so I’m not too worried about having it. If I need more, I know how to make more. Find someone like me in your own field.
What would you say is the one thing that new business owners forget about or overlook when they’re just planning/starting out?
They either forget about themselves or don’t truly know themselves.
Are you just getting started in a new business or are you thinking about starting a new venture? I believe discovering who you are first is paramount.
Are you an entrepreneur? The literal etymology of the word is “to undertake” and comes from a French word. The universally accepted meaning is that an entrepreneur is an individual who develops and promotes a “new idea” and accepts most of the responsibility for the concept’s success.
You can be an “inventor” and sell your idea, but an inventor is NOT an entrepreneur. An entrepreneur also assumes the personal risk for the success of the new venture.
What I would like to add here is something altogether different from the literal rendering of the word or its associated extrapolations.
I believe entrepreneurs are born, not made. You’ve got to have the right “make-up” to “make it.” I enjoy a handsome, regular and casual (residual) income now from my business. But if I wasn’t a tough nut, I would have been made into butter long ago.
Telling me that I can’t do it or to just give up doesn’t discourage me, it fuels the fire that burns within me.
It takes GUTS to “gut it out.” Be sure that you’ve got ‘em.
I have talked to hundreds of would-be business owners that want to get to where I am today, but they never will because they are unwilling to do what it takes to get there.
My story? I worked 16- to 20-hour days routinely for five years to get to a place where I no longer have to work at all.
Your business may not demand that, but you need to have clear understanding about what it will demand and be prepared to pay the price.
What is it about the business/industry you are in that made it so attractive to you?
I had served as a bi-vocational pastor for twenty years for independent churches. I had worked very hard, both as a pastor and a “secular” employee at the same time. I had nothing. No savings. No retirement. I was looking for something that would reward me with casual (residual) income that was not dependent upon my time.
In my case, I also wanted something that was NOT MLM and provided a product/service that I could dispense at a great value to my customers while still yielding a compelling profit.
What marketing strategies have you found to be most successful in growing your business?
Marketing is everything and everything is marketing. The particulars about what I have done that has been most successful for me may not be the silver bullet for someone else.
The important thing is to realize that though you are an expert in your field, you are probably a novice when it comes to marketing. You need help, so go out and get it.
However you get your clients, they need to experience OVER THE TOP customer service. NEVER stop marketing to your existing clients.
Everyone will say that the best advertising is “word of mouth.” Well, only those people that are ECSTATIC about you will talk about you POSITIVELY. If you don’t get these types of referrals it is totally your own fault.
In my own experience, activities that put me personally in touch with my target are the most effective. Let’s start with direct mail as only one example of this concept. If direct mail is good, permission email is better. If permission email is good, a phone call is better. If a phone call is good, a personal contact (face to face) is best.
After the initial start-up phase in business, what obstacles do business owners face as they try to grow their business and remain successful? Any advice for how to overcome those obstacles?
Every business is different and will be met with a different set of challenges. However, there are some things that will always be obstacles for just about any business and overcoming them will be a must if you are to remain profitable.
Sometimes there is a comfortable and profitable ceiling for a small business and once that ceiling is reached, their business model and market will not allow them to grow further and maintain the same profit.
I have worked with many small businesses that were growing, while their own profit from the business was shrinking. That’s a problem. When the demands for more business require a growing labor force that the cash flow into the business won’t support―and the market is limited and therefore disallows profitable growth―they should cut back to the place that left them with the best profit margin.
Personnel can become a big problem. It is my conviction that our younger labor force is in especially sad condition. It is truly a challenge to find good help. When I was a young lad at my job, I knew that I took care of personal business on my breaks. Many young people today, in office environments in particular, really do think it’s fine to chat or take text messages or phone calls while they are working.
It has been my habit for years now to get a booth and take a poll of small business owners at our county fair. I always ask them what the biggest challenges are that they face and, in their own view, where they need the most help.
Up until 2007, “Finding good employees” was in about position 8 or 9. Last year, it was #2.
What on-line, software or other resources have helped you the most in managing all aspects of your company? Why and how have they been helpful?
Well, this one will force me to become self-promoting because my key business now is an online website generator and content management system, which is almost solely responsible for my success. It is called pajezy. That program, coupled with a few other related SEO/SEM programs that are also my intellectual property have no doubt been my greatest asset.
In addition to this, I suggest Quickbooks with a single reservation―the accounting software is vital to me, but they are competitors because they also market a website generator.
What process do you follow to successfully close on a lead and make the final sale? Any tips?
I never “close” a sale.
I do, however, make what I consider to be an honest and compelling presentation, which is a full disclosure of services and price. At the conclusion of the presentation, I simply ask, “Do you have any questions?” If they say “What does it take to get started?,” then they have closed themselves and I get them to sign the agreement or make a payment.
If they ask more questions, I answer them. Then I ask if they have any other questions. If they say no, I will leave them something―usually something I have written about marketing―and tell them to take all the time they want to consider the proposal, letting them know that I will check back with them.
I never push. I don’t like to be pushed. Do you?
I never rush people. I don’t like to be rushed. Do you? What do I do? I add in some limited-time offer with the proposal, giving them a bonus for acting soon, but NEVER for the same DAY. I typically make it a MONTH, but I follow up within a week to ask if they have questions and then email them something helpful.
I sell on a TRUST relationship. Trust relationships take time.
If you work from home, what are the greatest benefits to doing so? What are the drawbacks, and how do you manage them?
I work from home now. I used to have an office in town, but renovated the former garage at my home and put my servers and office in it.
The greatest benefit about working from home is, no doubt, the convenience. I walk out the door down the deck into my office.
Another great benefit is the savings. I now pay myself for the office space instead of someone else.
The potential drawbacks are signage restrictions (this doesn’t impact me, but it may you) and the potential distraction from your family life.
The way I handle this is although my business is truly home-based, my office is separate from my home and the office phone does not ring in my house. I have five main office phone lines. When the technicians were installing the lines, they repeatedly asked me if I wanted the lines into my home as well. I declined. They pressed me to do it, citing it would save me money to do so now (there was construction going on, too) and that I may change my mind later.
I said, “NO WAY.” When I go home, I am home.
What is/are your favorite motto and/or quote when it comes to business? Any final words of encouragement and/or inspiration for the budding entrepreneur?
1. Marketing is everything and everything is marketing.
2. Never make it hard for someone to give you their money.
3. Put God first, people second and your business last.
More about Doug and pajezy:
Doug began development on pajezy in 2003, and beta testing of version 1 began in 2004. In 2009, he began implementing a complex and powerful private-label licensing program for pajezy and started advertising the completed private label solution in January of this year. A web-based software application, pajezy enables private label, authorized licensees to develop and maintain professional websites for their own small-business clients.
Click here on pajezy.com for more information on this outstanding licensee opportunity! Secure your community today…the number of licenses is limited.