A Brief Personal History & How The Company Came To Be
A long, long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away.... Wait! That's not it.
OK, let me start over....
"I was born a poor black child." That's not it either. OK, I'm not Steve Martin, nor a 'jerk.'
The real story
My intro is intended to bring a bit of humor into saying that I'm not going to go all the way back to the very beginning. I have lived a colorful life, with lots of crazy things having happened to me before I got into the high tech business. But we'll save those for another time, perhaps while we're at dinner toasting the amazing success of you business.
Where I'll start today is with my exit from a senior leadership role after the Dot.com boom became the Dot Bomb. I was out of work from a VP job in an industry that nobody was hiring for. I didn't even have a resume, in fact hadn't had one for almost 20 years at that point.
Becoming an executive recruiter & 9-11 After a not-too long and not-too difficult job search I landed a job as an executive recruiter in a franchised office of MRI (Management Recruiters International) in Atlanta, Ga. My first week in was marked by the 9/11 attacks, which promptly and dramatically reduced business, and thus hiring, in my chosen market niche. I went a good 6 months without making a single placement. To make a long story short, over the next 4 years, I became one of the largest producers in the company and built the largest (my niche) focused practice in all of MRI. It was time for me to become my own boss and a franchisee.
God must have had other plans, as the franchise deal dissolved and left me unemployed, with a new business and no support network. Why is that important? Well it's what I did next that helps build the foundation of why I'm here and typing this message for you.
Starting my own firm You see, without the backing of a big company like MRI and their franchise system, I was just some schmo. A Joe Recruiter on the phone trying to hard sell potential job seekers and companies into trusting me with their employment needs. I knew I needed an edge. And I figured out what that edge was... it was the Internet, the greatest equalizer ever built. You see, I figured if I built a big fancy website it would give me credibility and gravitas. It would make me look like a big player in my niche. Because when you look at a website, you're seeing a virtual representation of the business, not reality. That means that if my website looks better and more sophisticated than my competitors, I have a better chance of being trusted and hired. But the next thing I realized was the real key.
Figuring out the key to success So far you probably have a good understanding - GREAT Website = GREAT Impression with potential clients. However, if you have a great website and nobody sees it, then no one can be impressed. And if no one is impressed, then your phone isn't going to ring. So I did a bit of thinking and determined that I needed a one/two punch. I need a great website and I needed a lot of people to see it. In my research, I discovered that there are basically two really effective ways for people to find your website and visit it. One way is with paid search advertising. The other way is ranking highly in organic search results. The first way is can be very expensive, sometimes with businesses paying up to $50 for a single click of an ad. That's $50 just for clicking the ad, not calling, not filling out a form, not becoming a prospect, not buying... just a click. I realized that there was no way I could possibly afford the paid search ads method. So, I had to use the second method...
But there was just one little problem, I didn't know anything about organic search, about getting ranked, or about how to be found on the internet. What I discovered is there is a whole science, heck more of an art form, called Search Engine Optimization (SEO.) And the sole purpose of the practice of SEO is to get pages of a website ranked highly. The holy grail is the #1 listing on the SERP (search engine results page) for a valuable keyword phrase that matches your business and has a lot of search traffic. So I vowed to myself that I would learn everything there was to know about SEO. And that I would put that new found knowledge to work in getting my website ranked highly on the SERPs for multiple keywords. And that is just what I did.
Learning how to win the search wars I spent months and months, studying everything I could find on the internet. I learned about on-page SEO and off-page SEO. I learned about directory listings, forum posting, and guest blogging. I learned about the importance of images and alt tags. I learned about keyword stuffing, back link farms, and link syndicates. I learned about White Hat SEO and about Black Hat SEO. And as I was learning, I was putting what I learned into practice. But only the good stuff, no Black Hat for me. And after months of learning and work, I started ranking for very high traffic keywords connected to my industry. And my business took off. I had to hire additional recruiters to keep up. By the time I was done optimizing my website, I ranked #1, world wide, for dozens and dozens of search terms that brought in all kinds of business.
But a funny thing happened on the way to the Forum.
You see, I found out that I liked working with technology that was powering my business more than I liked actually doing the recruiting. So I decided to shift my focus to providing technology consulting for other executive recruiters. I built their websites. I connected their websites to their Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS.) I automated their resume intake and email exchange protocols. I even helped them choose phone systems. One of my customers had a one page website that was getting about 80 visits per month. I was able to get her website ranked #1 in all the world for "Medical Sales Recruiter" (and a number of related terms.) Her website traffic skyrocketed over 3,200%. She had to more than quadruple her staff of recruiters. A lot of people started noticing that my client's businesses were blowing up. And it become quite easy for me to charge $500 -$750/hr for consulting to help other people improve their business by improving their websites and their technology stack. Things were going great guns in my little market niche of tech consulting to executive recruiters. But, as with all good things, they come to an end. And this did too, with the great recession.
Time for another change I'm nothing but a champion of change, and this was just one more opportunity to excel. What happened to the recruiting industry during the great recession was a huge contraction. No longer were people searching on the Internet trying to find recruiters who could get star-quality candidates. No businesses were looking for lots of new employees. Now the supply side of jobs 'a plenty' and scarce jobseekers had flipped. Now it was tons of jobseekers, looking for jobs that were few and far between. Looking at the landscape, I determined that what I needed to do was to pivot. I needed to move to the jobseeker side, to try to help those many looking for work out-compete others and get hired. So that's what I did. I found a great partner and created a business that served jobseekers. We trained them to do things differently in their job search than they ever have before. We taught them how to be head and shoulders above their competition and get their dream job. We helped more than 28,000 jobseekers in 92 countries around the world find new and better jobs with our PAID content. With our free content, we've helped million of people learn new techniques for more effective job search. We did all that for almost 10 years. But you know what I said before... all good things come to an end.
With the advent of the incredible expansion of our economy. The lowest unemployment that we had in this country in decades, you can imagine that now, the supply of jobseekers is fairly low. To paraphrase Tarek El Moussa...
Time to find another business to flip.
With declining revenues and the cyclical nature of the employment industry, I decided that I should do some research into what niche I should go into. I wanted to do something that would utilize my talents in search engine optimization and technology. Also, it was important that I do something that bettered my customers, my employees, and the community. I was also intent of finding something that would be lasting and less volatile. After doing a bunch of research, I came upon the idea of specializing in local business lead generation. More on that later.
With local business lead generation as my focus, I get to use my inventory of Internet talents to help local small business owners. They get to experience incredible revenue growth without many, in fact most, of the downsides of other business generation tactics.
Traditional advertising drawbacks Consider things like Groupon, where you have to dramatically slash your regular prices and then give a huge share of the sale to Groupon itself. In fact it is so tough to make any net profit on these kind of schemes, that more than a few businesses have gone bankrupt. Then take look at regular media advertising, like TV, radio, newspaper, and magazine. It's often a crap shoot. You really don't know who will see or hear your ad and you have a super hard time figuring out if they have been effective. Plus, it is expensive as all get out. Most local business owners are already predisposed to know that regular media advertising is too expensive. But there is also the online paid search advertising. Remember what I told you before, though. Depending upon your market segment, paid search ads can be incredibly expensive.
New wave, online network advertising drawbacks There is also one other, fairly recent ad channel/lead sources that a few big players have created. Think Angie's List, Home Advisor, Thumbtack, and Yelp. These guys basically create a huge directory of providers of all kinds of services, and charge these providers for leads. There are a few downsides for the small business owner when they participate in these networks. First, the leads are not exclusive. The business owner is forced to compete with however many other businesses the network decides to share the lead with. Second, you as the business owner don't get to control the information that is collected. The forms and what info is gathered from the prospect is controlled by the network. Third, because it isn't an exclusive lead, you are put into a position where you have to be price competitive with any number of other 'bidders.' Fourth, since you don't control the ads that are placed by the network, you can't really control how your brand is presented. And a fifth thing, if you do decide to join on of these big provider directory networks, your online efforts are actually having to compete with yourself, by proxy, on the provider network.
Local business lead generation... what is it?
There is one thing that drives all businesses, especially local, small business - that's leads. Leads are prospective customers. They are people that are looking to buy something, either a product or a service. They are looking on the Internet, using search engines. And guess what, they are most all of the time, looking to buy right now. So my job now, my company's main focus it to funnel those leads to a local business that has the thing that they need and capacity to service them.
Building websites that gather leads for local businesses creates a win on all sides.
There's a win for the customer, who finds a great provider of whatever they are searching for
There's a win for the business owner, who gets a new customer and makes a sale
There's a win for the community because the economic activity is staying local
And there's a win for my team because we get to share in a small piece of the economic benefits to the local business
Why I like local business lead generation Local business lead generation is practically the perfect choice for small business owners to use in terms of advertising and creating a renewing source of new customers. What makes it so perfect? Let me list a few of the advantages the way we do it for you:
You are exclusive business that is getting all the leads generated in your market
You aren't paying per click, or shooting in the dark and hoping, you pay only for leads
You aren't competing against yourself with advertising, whatever you do, you control it
As long as you have the capacity to take care of new customers, we will keep sending you leads
And the best, you don't have to learn how to do anything new at all, just answer the phone and make a new customer
So, I've told you how I got here, and why I'm doing what I'm doing. I hope you found my story interesting, informative, and entertaining. If you liked what you heard, and you are looking for someone with my skill set, or if you are interested in exploring lead generation for your local business, give me a call. I'd love to discuss how we can work together.
If you haven't already, you might want to visit the 'about' page where you can find out more about our company's vision, mission, values, and principles. Thanks for spending the time to read our history.