“ Far too many people think entrepreneurship is like an attendance award, where you can win just by showing up.”
There is a great article in the Jan/Feb 2009 issue of Inc. Magazine:
Markus Frind works one hour a day and brings in $10 million a year. How does he do it? He keeps things simple.
By: Max Chafkin
The message I get from the article is “keep things simple“.
Frind has kept things simple on his site plentyoffish.com:
No one has used this ecosystem as effectively as Markus Frind, who has stayed simple, cheap, and lean even as his revenue and profits have grown well beyond those of a typical one-person company. Plenty of Fish is a designer’s nightmare; at once minimalist and inelegant, it looks like something your nephew could have made in an afternoon. There’s the color scheme that seems cribbed from a high school yearbook and the curious fondness for bold text and CAPITAL LETTERS. When searching for a prospective mate, one is inundated with pictures that are not cropped or properly resized. Instead, headshots are either comically squished or creepily elongated, a carnivalesque effect that makes it difficult to quickly size up potential mates.
Frind is aware of his site’s flaws but isn’t eager to fix them. “There’s no point in making trivial adjustments,” he says. Frind’s approach — and the reason he spends so little time actually working — is to do no harm. This has two virtues: First, you can’t waste money if you are not doing anything. And second, on a site this big and this complex, it is impossible to predict how even the smallest changes might affect the bottom line. Fixing the wonky images, for instance, might actually hurt Plenty of Fish. Right now, users are compelled to click on people’s profiles in order to get to the next screen and view proper headshots. That causes people to view more profiles and allows Frind, who gets paid by the page view, to serve more ads. “The site works,” he says. “Why should I change what works?”
Frind goes it alone for the most part (he has 3 employees handling customer service).
His situation is similar to many hunting entrepreneurs.
Many businesses start out and continue as one-person operations.
Frind is able to continue his one-person operation because he keeps it simple and remains focused.
Whether you’re just starting to think about launching your hunting business Website or if you’re looking to make improvements to your hunting Website, the idea of keeping it simple should be your main focus.
Here are a few things you can do to have a simple hunting Website
Focus on the one important aspect of your hunting business
The biggest difficulty of starting a business and a Website is keeping focused on what’s important. Entrepreneurs (myself included) often overwhelm themselves by focusing on prettying up their product by adding features.
Most times, these features are not necessary for the customer.
Markus Frind knew his site and his customers wouldn’t benefit from a ton of new features. Plenty of Fish focuses on each person’s habits and movements on the site works to create connections and relationships based on these habits.
No bells. No whistles.
If you’re an outfitter for trophy deer in Buffalo County Wisconsin, your new customers are looking for proof that you can produce trophy bucks for a competitive price.
Post some photos with short testimonials. People will listen to their peers more than they will listen to you.
Do you want people to be enticed by your site and to give you a call for more information?
You’ll probably want to leave out your price in this situation. You’ll want to give your customer just enough information to get them interested, but not enough so they have to call and discuss.
Read, research, participate, and implement
Frind did his research before launching his successful venture.
So many entrepreneurs skip the prep work.
Every moment you have available, study and research your hunting business. If you’re starting a hunting Website, study how to create a cost efficient and functional site that fits your specific needs.
Read success stories on how to promote the site and how to properly use the Web.
Visit many different Websites.
Which ones do you like?
Which ones don’t you like?
Think about your favorites and write down why they appeal to you.
Think about if they’re functional and if you tend to visit these sites often during the day.
Then think about what the purposes of the sites are. What is the site trying to accomplish? What is the site trying to get you to do?
Figure out what makes sites successful at their specific goals.
Then think about what will make your hunting site successful for your own specific goal.
Participate in blogs and forums. Learn how to make valuable connections on the Web. Participating is a great way to learn and make connections. These connections may prove valuable for you in the future.
Implement your hunting Website. Hopefully you’ll be lucky like Markus Frind and your hunting Website will be able to “run itself”.
Successful entrepreneurs make running their businesses seem easy. This is why most people are envious of entrepreneurs. It seems easy.
The truth is most people don’t understand the difficult work that comes before the success.
The prep work for you hunting Website is difficult, time consuming and often comes without reward for a long time.
This is why people don’t become successful entrepreneurs.
They can’t handle the early letdowns.
Stay Competitive and be willing to recognize when to change (before it’s necessary)
Markus Frind is a competitive person. He enjoys playing board games and plays to win. He runs his business the same way. He chose his enemies early on and was determined to take them down before he even started his business.
It’s imperative stay hungry and stay informed on what your competitors are doing.
Stay up to date on what’s going on in your industry. Stay ahead of your competitors. Keep track of what they’re doing.
Be ready to change if necessary and make necessary changes before your competition.
Necessary changes are the changes that improve your business’ focus.
You’re an outfitter. The focus of your Website is to get customers to call you so you can create a deeper relationship and connection on the phone.
What if there are potential customers who are shy of the phone, but still might want to use your outfitting service? Maybe a potential customer is at work on their computer and can’t call you right away. They might forget about you if they leave your site.
A valuable and necessary change for you site might be to add a live chat feature where you make yourself available for an hour each day to chat with potential customers. You could hold multiple conversations at once if necessary.
Markus Frind makes running his business seem easy.
The truth is he put in a lot of hard work and preparation in order to make it seem easy.
His site and business are efficient and serve his customer effectively.
He doesn’t make unnecessary changes, but he stays ahead of his competition.
Your hunting Website should function the same way.
Focus on the one important aspect of your business. Do your prep work for you hunting business and Website. And stay competitive so you’re always ahead of your competition.
Make changes only when necessary.
And most important: keep it simple.
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