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Old 14th January 2012, 07:27 AM   #1
canadian1000's Avatar

Join Date: Jan 2012
Posts: 3
Default Need As Much Advice And Feedback As Possible

Hi guys!

I am in the beginning stages of building a company here in Toronto, Canada, which is the largest city in the country as well as its center of finance.

My company is an online directory that focuses on one specific services related industry. Currently, there are several other online directories that offer the same service to users for free, but charge vendors to list with them. We plan to do the same, but to charge vendors a much, much smaller price of $25 dollars a month to list with us. With their membership, they'll receive many services that our competitors don't offer.

We are currently applying for entrepreneurial grants from the government which we plan to use for marketing and development. Our initial marketing strategy will include direct mailing advertisement post cards to about 10,000 businesses in the Greater Toronto Area (pop. 8m) as well as both email advertising and google advertising. If we are successful in Toronto, we hope to expand across the country and eventually south of the border.

What I was hoping I could get feedback on is whether or not this idea can be feasible, assuming that we offer vendors options that they can't get elsewhere, such as having their own detailed profile as well as ensuring that the website interface is user friendly and visually pleasing. Would 25 dollars per month be too expensive? Should I be feeling completely pessimistic knowing that there are a handful of competitors out there? Is our plan to send direct mail to targeted companies an idea that will produce results?

Please give me your feedback and opinions, as well as any advice that you can offer.

Thanks so much and good luck on all of your business endeavors!

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Old 19th January 2012, 03:18 PM   #2
Rachelz's Avatar

Join Date: Dec 2011
Posts: 16
Default Don't worry about competition

Hi Canadian,

DO NOT let competition deter you! Remember that it serves to benefit customers...and you have obviously put some thought to your competitive advantage so you can relay that to your potential clients.

In regards to your marketing, don't expect too much from Direct Mail Marketing. It generally has an awful success rate. I'd plan for 0.5-1% (return) of your total distribution. I don't want to bring you down...but I'd hate for you to give up because the marketing did not return the results you had hoped it would.

Because I don't know what 'specific services related industry' you're going into, it's hard to make alternate marketing recommendations. However industry specific websites or trade magazines may work. Initially you may even decide to 'hit the pavement' and go after new clients by making face-to-face appointments, as you said you want to grow the business locally. This may seem like a long and drawn out process, but in the early stages word of mouth is your best marketing tool. Building a relationship may provide you with much more than just the $300 a year you are asking for. Also, it's a very cheap way to market (if you don't get the gvmnt grant).

If I understand the nature of your business, your potential customers (listing in your directory) are going to be most concerned with 'how much exposure is this going to bring my business?' In this case, be prepared to answer questions about (a) how much traffic you already have (b) how much traffic you are aiming to have and (c) how you are going to get from (a) to (b) (i.e.: what marketing are you doing to promote the site to their customers?).

Hope this helps a bit, but just remember...if you are committed, almost any business idea can work!

Best of luck...

Business Epiphany
BIG System, Personalized Business Ideas, Motivation and Coaching
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Old 20th January 2012, 08:01 PM   #3

Join Date: Mar 2011
Posts: 2

Hi Canadian,

Well I always go back to the age ol' question that keeps you on track....

Why you and not the other guys??

Why not google?

What can i get from you the others don't have?

How will they know you're there??

The biggest issue with websites is traffic.

Now here's a BIG suggestion that would work awesome if you can figure out a way to do it.....

"See if you can build your database (listing) and Make it part of other sites that already have traffic. then link it, embed it, or however. This way you can start out with those traffic numbers. Can you offer your embedded version for a local online paper as their business department search engine.

You don't always have to be the WHOLE site these days.... Next thing you know you're building the same thing for 100 cities nationwide!! LOL

Isn't dreaming fun!


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Old 22nd January 2012, 07:44 AM   #4

Join Date: Nov 2011
Posts: 16
Default Fellow Canuck

If your wondering IF something will be accepted then TEST it. The best way to discover if what you THINK is a viable idea actually IS a viable idea is by testing it and doing so on those people or companies that you have identified as your "ideal" customers.

There is and always will be lots of competition - it makes you better - so also look at those competitors, identify their weaknesses and jump on them.

Go get 'em!!!

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