This is the compilation of all chapters from Jay Conrad Levinson's book America At Work.

Chapter 1: The Unfair Advantage
Chapter 2: The Virtual Guerrilla
Chapter 3: Marketing Your Small Business
Chapter 4: The Business of Customers
Chapter 5: Zero to Sixty in Thirty Days
Chapter 6: Saving Money by Saving Time
Chapter 7: The Benefits Of Collaboration
Chapter 8: Mining the Treasures Of The Internet
Chapter 9: Ten technologies that can deliver high returns
Chapter 10: Guerilla Marketing With a Secret Weapon

Chapter 1: The Unfair Advantage

In this chapter:

What the heck is easy-tech?
So much is coming down the pike!
Do-it-yourself guerrilla marketing
The weapons of technology
There's a person at each end
Does high technology mean high anxiety?
The upside to downsizing
Just what is guerrilla marketing?
The rules are changing and that's not all
About Jay Conrad Levinson
Chapter 1 Reader Q&A
Today, success as an entrepreneur is easier to achieve than ever. Americans by the millions have discovered why. They've discovered that almost everything in small business has changed during the past ten years, leaving the little guy with a secret weapon that gives him-and her-an unfair advantage.

Easy-to-use, easy-to-afford technology enables the little guys to appear as large, as expert and as important as the big guys, to market with the power and dazzle of the titans. Small business can now wow their prospects and customers with full-color brochures, visually-exciting newsletters, animated web sites, and the list is growing. The technology to produce those marketing weapons was traditionally reserved for the big spenders. But now, without the need to spend big, it is in the domain of the guerrilla marketer. Truth is, it's the guerrilla's secret weapon.

With absolutely zero background in technology, it is now possible for an entrepreneur to enter new arenas, once off limits due to high cost, and win business and profits with effective marketing weapons borne of technology - online focus groups, international marketing partners, data-laden customer lists, and lots more. They're now accessible at the clicking of a mouse or the pressing of a return key.

What the heck is easy-tech?

The name for this technology is "easy-tech," because although it produces results usually associated with the highest of the high tech, it may be mastered and used with incredible skill even by low-tech business owners. I ought to know. I am one of the lowest.

I've word-processed with a computer since l983, sold my books in over 50 nations through the Internet on my own web site, published a newsletter since l984, hosted a myriad of online conferences and chat sessions, written an online marketing column for three years, co-authored four books online only, even co-authored two books about cyberspace, but I've still never peered into a computer manual, taken a computer course or received instruction on what makes my computer work. I don't even care why it works. I only care that it's easy for me.

There is no question that I certainly would have opted for instruction I needed if my immense ignorance stopped me. But it never did. So I never did get instruction in things technical. Hey, I don't know why my car works either, but I can drive it.

So much is coming down the pike!

There are many new technologies coming down the pike these days, so many that it's easy to be overwhelmed and decide to resist all of them. Bad idea. For the rest of your life, change will be rapid and prices will drop. Many technology companies have four different product cycles throughout the year, each of which makes the past one outdated. Still, eventually, you're going to have to dive into the potent flow of advancement if you're to succeed in your own business. The sooner, the better. Wait too long and the waters will truly be over your head. v This book isn't going to examine all the technologies that are blossoming today, only those that can be of immediate use to small business owners. Guerrillas are rarely as interested in the distant horizon technologies as they are in the here and now technologies. They are always fascinated by ways to eliminate errors, increase speed, pick up their efficiency, add to their effectiveness, generate new profits for their business, and allow for more balance in their lives.

They do not view technology as an end in itself, though much of the technology is remarkably enticing. Instead, they see it as the means to an end -- the end of enjoying their work so much that the journey becomes the goal. Most of them would also readily admit that deep down, using thetechnology is a blast in itself.

Do-it-yourself guerrilla marketing New and continuing advancements in technology, especially computer technology, permit small business owners to engage in do-it-yourself guerrilla marketing with a wide array of marketing weapons, all simple enough to develop in a small-office or home-office environment, yet capable of generating profits once associated only with big business.

Never before in history has small business been provided with so many tools to flourish and prosper. Technology allows them to compete with big businesses on equal terms. It lets them produce for themselves marketing materials that once required high-paid outsiders. It enables them to master the art of the possible.

With absolutely no fear of being labeled computer geeks or techno-nerds, they are able to use technology as their ticket for admission to profit alliances, almost limitless data, an office connected to a network of offices electronically, the Internet, information-sharing, warm customer relationships, state-of-the-moment convenience, and comforting profits.

The weapons of technology It allows them to market and interact with the weapons of newsletters, brochures, fliers, web sites, catalogs, faxes, direct mail, research questionnaires, and signs. It lets them climb effortlessly and confidently from technical and marketing innocence to technical and marketing excellence.

Where geography once limited them to their own community, the Internet allows them to compete in the global community. Where once they had to deal with the time demands and perils of commuting, their home office has cut their commute down to a stroll in their slippers, changed their attire from conventional to comfy. They're spending more time with their families. They're spending less time at work.

The technology that is happening all around us is not as much a revolution as it is a permanent condition. So it's not going to go away. It's only going to get better. Prices will drop lower. No matter how long you wait, there will still be something more advanced and less costly coming up in an instant. During that instant, there are many customers to be attracted, generous profits to be earned. If you don't attract and earn them, somebody else will. And they'll use technology to do it.

There's a person at each end Guerrillas have learned, to their delight, that technology has far less to do with machines than it does with people. When you're communicating online with someone, you're not connecting with a machine; you're connecting with a person. You're only using a machine to do it. Keep in mind that telephones aren't all about electricity. They're all about people. Few of us can explain how telephones work, but all of us can make a phone call.

Okay, I admit that I was once a serious techno-phobe, scared to death of things technical. Why do you suppose I never cracked the cover of a computer user manual? I thought I'd get a migraine by the second page. And you know something? I was probably right. I didn't need a techno-shrink. I merely needed easier technology. And now I have it. You do, too. The doors to profits and free time have been opened for you not as much by technology as much as by easy-to-use technology - easy-tech, as I mentioned. If you've resisted technology, as I did, you'll now find it irresistible, as I did. And a lot of fun, as I do. I just love it, and I never thought I would ever say that out in the open.

Easy-tech lets you replace your fears with self-confidence. It lets you do in 30 minutes what used to take 30 hours. Ever think you, personally, could design a spiffy-looking newsletter in just half an hour? Well, you can. All by yourself. Ever think you could create your own web site from scratch? No? Think again. Easy-tech lets low-tech people utilize high-tech guerrilla marketing weapons.

Is that fair? Darned right it's fair! Small businesses have long been prohibited from taking on the Goliaths due to the high price of admission to the competitive fray. But technology is to small business as the slingshot was to David when he took on his Goliath. It's about time something came along to level out the playing field. And that's just what technology does.

Does high technology mean high anxiety? As complex as computers used to be when they took up an entire room, that's how simple they are today, when they take up an entire lap. High technology no longer means high anxiety. But technology itself doesn't do the trick. It never does. A guerrilla is needed to breathe life into what technology can do. Guerrillas, such as those you'll read of in this book during the upcoming months, are using technology to shape their destinies, redefine their limits, extend their boundaries, achieve and surpass their goals.

America is working in a new way. Small business is not only growing at a faster pace than ever, with more than two million start-ups predicted for l996, it is also succeeding at a higher rate than ever.

Home-based businesses are skyrocketing! Full-time and part-time home-based businesses are up to 24.3 million, up 2.1 million from l995. Link Resources reports that 95% of these businesses will survive. That's no typo. That's reality, l996 style. Only 5% of these home-based enterprises have bitten the dust each year for the past three years. The success rate is far higher than that of non home-based businesses. Every 11 seconds, another home-based biz starts up. Average income: $50,250. U.S. average income: $26,000.

The upside to downsizing The massive downsizing that destroyed the dreams of so many families had an upside. It forced many people into forming businesses of their own, discovering that new technology was simpler than they thought, less expensive than they thought, that it put success within their grasp.

Lest you think technology is your guarantee of success, you're reading me wrong. Running your own business requires self-discipline. It requires a sense of organization. It demands determination. And it's not for everybody. You don't have a boss to keep you on track. You must keep all the promises you make to yourself. If you can live with those parameters, then technology can help ease your way. It can help save you from that dread affliction of the self-employed -- workaholism, by saving your time. The key is to keep it as your tool and not as your master.

The cost for all the technology I've been referring to will run you less than $4,000. That covers the cost of a good computer to serve as your techno-centerpiece, a speedy modem to transport you throughout cyberspace and also enable you to send and receive faxes, a laser printer so that your documents have credibility, a scanner so that you can add graphic touches to your communications, and a phone line dedicated solely to your business technology. And finally, you'll want the computer software to give wings to your dreams. Want to invest more than $4,000 in your bright future? Okay, but you don't have to.

Of course, if you're reading this online, you already have most of this technology and are already thinking about upgrading to more speed, more memory, more power. I fully agree with the person who said you can't be too rich, too thin, or have too much processing power. Still, I know some of you are reading this in book form, seriously contemplating the plunge into technology. Well, here I am, gently pushing you into the pool while assuring you that you can swim, that the water's fine, and that marketing is a whole lot easier if you're a guerrilla.

Just what is guerrilla marketing? Guerrilla marketing is the kind of marketing where you don't have to invest your money as much as your time, energy and imagination. It asks that you base your performance on profits, not sales. It suggests that you to establish your goals by the number of relationships you make, not the number of dollars you take in. It encourages you to snuggle up to technology now more than ever because it can help you make your way through a business environment that is more competitive than ever. With two million new businesses this year alone, customers of today and of the future are more demanding than ever. They want speed and convenience. Technology lets you offer it to them Or else.

Guerrilla marketing advocates that instead of being tuned in to competition and wanting to obliterate your competitors, you should be oriented to cooperation and wanting to co-market with other businesses. Technology makes it easier to spot them, easier to communicate with them, easier to work with them. Upcoming chapters of this book will investigate them and how to spot the best ones for potential alliances.

The rules are changing and that's not all Small business is changing because the rules are changing. The sophistication of the consumer is changing. The way people buy is changing. Communications are changing. Expectations are changing. And the emphasis put on time is changing. Time is more important now than ever and will only continue to increase in importance. People today know for certain that time is not money, that it is far more important than money, and that the prime purpose of technology is to save that precious time.

Many of the advantages granted by easy-tech were never before available to small business. Saving time, reaching new markets, marketing globally, competing with giants, customizing their marketing, dazzling their customers with service and caring, and making quantum leaps in efficiency weren't really options to the one-man bands of yesteryear. But the easy-tech of today puts them within the reach of most small businesses. Some will ignore new technology and hope it disappears. Others will use it before their competitors do to thrive and flourish in a changed world.

America at work used to conjure up sounds of people grunting, wagonwheels rolling, machines clanging, and factory-whistles blaring. Now, America at work is the sound of people gabbing at their local coffeehouse, the sound of computers crunching, modems clicking, and the sound of music playing in the background of the home office.


Chapter 2: The Virtual Guerrilla

All my dictionaries seem to agree that the definition of virtual is "existing in essence or effect though not in actual fact." Funny that I had to look it up, because I've been a virtual guerrilla for over a quarter of century. That means I've been working from my own office, even when that office was taking a 20-day drive from Chicago to San Francisco, even when it was high in the wintry mountains of Montana overlooking the ski slopes, even when it went to Rio on a delightful cruise.

The reality is that virtual these days means connected. Guerrillas, wherever they toil, stay connected to their customers, their bosses, their employees, their suppliers and to other guerrillas. They're also more connected to their families, their friends, their communities, to the best that is in themselves.

All those guerrillas realize that we're not really moving toward the 21st century. It's moving towards us. And we've got to be ready for it or it will sweep over us, leaving the unprepared in its wake.

Virtual is a state of mind

As that 21st century looms on the near horizon, we see that virtual really is a word that refers to a workstyle, a lifestyle, a state of mind. It puts people more in control of their lives than they are in a non-virtual setting. It offers a glorious sense of freedom, the ability to offer remarkable flexibility to employees and customers, and perhaps most winning of all, it permits you to commute in your slippers. In most cases, that means a stroll from your bedroom to your home office, unless you've set it up in your bedroom. In that case, you've got the shortest of all possible commutes.

The first virtual office may have been the one set up in 1877 by a bank president who put up a phone line between his office in Boston and his home in Somerville. He used technology. He was connected. He had the right idea.

Today, a burgeoning 23% of the working population in the United States have that same idea, are mobile workers, users of technology, connected. In the nineties alone, over 12 million people have decided to work from home. The total number now enjoying the lush benefits of working where they live is up to 39 million, according to IDC/Link, a marketing research firm. In my part of the planet in Northern California, one out of six people has a home-based business.

That seems to prove that the virtual office isn't far away in the future, a figment of science fiction. It's here with us right this very moment, all over the place, a bright and shining reality.

Many big organizations are now encouraging employees to set up virtual offices because of global opportunities, the chance to render 24-hour service and employees wanting the freedom of virtuality. Experts say that an employee who works at home two days a week saves a company $12,000 a year.

Consider what is termed "yield management." Says one worker from a virtual office, "I am positive every dollar I earn for the company yields more profit because I cost the company less than my co-workers. A trend for the future will most likely be going after gaining the highest yield for every dollar earned-and spent-and placing people in more remote, untapped market places."

Because of the economic and humanitarian benefits, the number of virtual offices in the U.S. is expected to grow by 20% each year through the year 2000. Technology is improving by getting easier and more affordable. Batteries are getting smaller and more powerful. The Internet is flourishing, yet still in its infancy. The wireless age is dawning, proving that you don't need wires to be wired.

A little help from your friends

Those who confine their commuting to a virtual office are known as telecommuters. Whether they rent or own where they live, they have opted not for a life of independence, which you may associate with a virtual office, but instead, for a life of interdependence, knowing that they get by with a little help from their friends - a lot of friends, in the guise of independent contractors, really interdependent contractors, each helping each other.

Some have their virtual offices at home while others have them in their car, their van, their RV, their boat. Even their Harley? Yep, even there. If you're connected, you're connected. Some work alone while others share offices. And all of them are connected to each other.

My virtual office connects me to pretty much the same people and places I was connected when I was in a real office. Only it connects me from a better place than ever before-my home. And I get to take my office with me, for the most part. If I want.

At first, my virtual office consisted of a phone, desk and typewriter. If you looked at it, you'd easily mistake it for a dining room. Now, in a different city, a different state and a different setting, it still looks a lot like our family dining room-and sometime poker parlor - than it does an office.

What's in a virtual office? These days, my virtual office consists of a phone, desk, fax modem, computer, printer, copier, car phone and a subscription to a couple of online services so I can benefit from the delightful speed and unreal convenience of e-mail - as well as access the information superlibrary. An important part of my office is my charge account with Federal Express.

When I'm even more virtual, my office may boast a laptop computer, a cell phone and a pager, possibly even a digital notepad or a wireless PDA (personal digital assistant). I might opt for a scanner so I can manipulate graphics. For now, my office does a dandy job of connecting me to information, people and services - almost anywhere in the world and any time I want.

The key point here is "any time I want." When I'm in my car, I never get calls on my car phone because nobody knows my number. I don't want to take calls while I'm driving. If I want to be reached, I can be simply by giving my number, though I never have. If I want to be cut off from the universe, I can be. The joy of a virtual office is that it can be up and running whenever you want and it can be disconnected from the world whenever you want. As a virtual guerrilla, you've got the option.

As soon as I started working from my virtual office, the first thing I had to do was to explain to my wife and daughter that even though I was at home, I was working. Even though I may have been clad in Levi's and a tee-shirt, I was accomplishing tasks that would bring in the money to pay the bills. If we all hadn't become perfectly clear about that, my working from home would have gone awry. But my wife learned to ignore me during my working hours and my daughter and her friends learned to keep down the racket during that same time.

Another virtual worker says, "I have four children a live-in nanny and work at home. At first I would get interrupted often (thought I was back in the office) and I had to get tough about my space and respect of it with family members. My husband is also virtually officed and we found out very quickly that we could not be office mates." It's interesting how close life mates don't necessarily become close office mates.

The benefits of a virtual office I study the benefits of running a virtual office and I see that every single one of them is true for my life. Increased revenue? It's more than twice what is was before I was virtual. Increased productivity? I can now accomplish in three days what used to take five. In fact, I've been working a three-day week from my virtual office since l971. Better customer service? Ask my clients and publishers. Increased revenue opportunities? No question about it, especially since I've began surfing in cyberspace. Improved morale? Ask my wife and daughter. Ask me. The answer is yes.

You can even ask the virtual office worker who says, "I am so much more productive at home. Less interruptions. I am a better mother. Although it may not seem like much to my children, the 10 minutes I take to pick them up at the bus stop and chat really is valuable to all of us. Even with an ill child I am able to get my work done. I cost the company less in sick leave. I never have those days where I don't want to be in the office. I am more fit. I often use my lunch time for exercise or a walk - there are no more excuses." She adds, "And what about if you need a plumber or home repair? I can schedule this and keep on working while they complete their job. I save a tremendous amount on dry cleaning and pantyhose."

Being virtual to me means I can work the hours I want, the days I want, wear what I want, and work from wherever I want, though I must admit that working from home is my favorite place. Even though I know I can pop my cellular phone in my attach‚ case and work from the beach, I find it hard to work from there. Ditto for working from the places where I take holidays. But it's nice to know that I can if I want.

Not all virtual office workers have as much flexibility. Says one, "I am virtually officed and I must stick to a schedule like all of my co-workers. Many large corporations have virtual workers that must work like me as well." These people may not have the complete flexibility that an individual entrepreneur enjoys, but they have a lot more than those who toil in offices far from their homes.

The downside of going virtual You often hear that the downside of a home office is loneliness. Not me. I get all the socializing I need during the days when I'm not in my virtual office. One of my favorite facts of the nineties is that home office growth is paralleled in its rapid increase by only one other industry: coffeehouses. It seems that people who work in virtual settings do long for face-to-face contact and they get it at their neighborhood coffeehouse.

But not everybody finds a downside to being virtual. In fact, one tells me, "I can't come up with any downsides. Sometimes I feel a little anti-social. I don't always put my make-up on and fix my hair first thing in the morning anymore. When I do need to leave later in the day for appointments, I then need to get ready and find myself wishing I did not have to leave my home. I have heard my co-workers make snide remarks about being remotely based. Things like remotes don't "really" work as hard as they do. These are the same people that work from home when they really need to get some work done. I think it is vital to work on your own PR campaign when you are virtual. It's easy for others to not know what you do when you are affiliated with a large organization, so it is vital to run your own PR campaign."

The virtual office does not have a glass ceiling. It provides a higher quality of life because it offers more opportunities for true balance and less hours commuting. It does not require a high overhead. But it does require an enormous discipline. Without a boss or an associate reminding you of an impending deadline, you've got to remind yourself of it, then meet it. A virtual guerrilla adds, "Discipline is key. Forget the laundry, dishes, dusting-work is work. I don't let myself get pulled away by distractions." She speaks the truth.

I do three things to keep myself disciplined: * I write tasks on my daily calendar, knowing they are promises I make to myself and that I don't ever want lie to myself. * I am powerfully motivated to keep these promises because the carrot at the end of the stick is a four-day weekend and I know it. If I don't keep the promises, my weekend is shorter. * I get immense joy from crossing tasks off my calendar, feeling a sense of bliss when they're all crossed off. I've learned that behaving virtually isn't an event, but a habit. Meeting and beating deadlines is a way of life for me.

After all, a goal is only a dream with a deadline. And working from your own home, calling your own shots, certainly is a dream existence for many. The promise of being able to work from home is one of the ways that many guerrilla enterprises are attracting superb employees.

If you're tempted, be careful If you're tempted to go virtual yourself, be sure you don't run afoul of any zoning laws, landlords or neighbors. Make certain that you've got enough electrical power to support your computer, fax modem, copier and other virtual gadgets. You never want to make a copy that ends up turning off the power in your whole neighborhood. Don't laugh. It has happened.

To have a virtual office, you've got to have the proper space for it. You need a practical desk and a comfortable chair, along with decent lighting. You've also got to have at least a modicum of privacy. Other than that, it seems to come down to the three "w's" - water, wits and being wired. To those, you might also add the three "d's" that are required for success in a virtual office - discipline, determination and details. You've got to keep those promises you make to yourself. You've got to realize that success means being knocked down 15 times and getting back to your feet 16 times. And you must have a sense of organization that prohibits you from overlooking anything. As the wise person said, "God is in the details."

The measurements of a virtual office The better you are at being virtual, the more streamlined you are. That translates into saving time. That translates into generating profits. In fact, the measurements of your venture into virtuality are your effectiveness, profits, speed and morale. That includes the morale of your customers.

Your network of fellow guerrillas should be made up of people who are virtual already. Their familiarity with the terrain can help you. You probably won't find all that you need in your community, but you'll probably find a lot more than you need scattered around the world. I've teamed up on major projects, working from my virtual office and using my modem, fax and phone, with guerrillas in San Francisco, Sedona, Denver, New York, Boston and Jakarta. I met those teammates face-to-face no more than once during the sometimes year-long projects. The only reason we did meet was because we wanted to, not because we had to.

The more technology, the more you're connected As you're beginning to glean, being virtual means using technology. The more technology, the more connected you are. A Coopers & Lybrand survey of fast-growing small businesses revealed that revenue per employee is two and a half times higher for companies that are using today's technology than those ignoring it, hoping it might go away.

That technology helps keep you organized, puts all of your work in one place no matter where you happen to be and contributes mightily to your overall efficiency. The result is more productivity, better service and increased profitability for your business. Technology makes you more desirable as a partner to your fellow guerrillas and as a supplier to your customers.

But technology isn't the only secret weapon of guerrillas who dwell in virtual offices. They've discovered that it's only half the secret. You can have all the latest technology in the world and still fall on your virtual keister if you aren't armed with the proper attitudes for succeeding in a virtual way. Not too surprisingly, the attitudes necessary for victory on this battlefield are the same as those necessary for success at guerrilla marketing.

Arming yourself with the attitudes These ten attitudes are every bit as important to your virtual existence as the speed and efficiency you'll enjoy from the machines you add to your arsenal: * You operate according to a plan. Your plan is brief, clear and able to guide your business as well as your marketing. You base most of your decisions upon this plan, review it regularly and create it with your goals in mind. Everyone who works with you should read and understand the plan. Ideally, they even helped you formulate it at the outset. Your plan even lists the ways you will become more and more virtual with time. * You grow your business by a calendar. It's a calendar that you have created, outlining your marketing plans for the next year, week by week. This makes decision-making a simpler process. It helps you see into the future. It encourages you to be proactive rather than reactive. At the end of the year, you see how the marketing activities on your calendar affected your profits, and you make a better calendar for the next year. * You are the essence of flexibility. You know that customer service is anything that the customer wants it to be. Nobody has to tell you that quality is the price of admission to small business success and that flexibility is a competitive advantage upon which you may hang your hat. In an era of increasingly sophisticated customers, if you can't bend, you'll break. You've learned that the more technology you embrace, the more flexibility you can offer. * You are a giver and not a taker. You are known to give valuable things away for free. You offer free consultations, demonstrations, samples. You may give seminars or clinics. You provide free information, brochures, newsletters. You give gifts to customers and often to prospects who request more data. You may write a column or an for a local paper or an Internet service -- at no charge. You give speeches about your industry to local groups. No wonder people are attracted to your business. You know that we're smack dab in the middle of The Information Age, and you've learned that the Internet is brimming with information your customers would love. You mine the Internet for data and freely share it. * Your business has credibility. Everything connected to your business looks professional and inspires confidence in you. Your stationery, business cards, brochures, flyers, even your business forms show that you've got substance and style, that you can be trusted. Your phone is answered in a way that makes callers feel good. Your office may be virtual, but your excellence is real. * You embrace the spirit of competitiveness. You realize deep in your bones that no matter what business others may think you're in, you're really in the marketing business. That means you tingle at the very idea of launching a guerrilla marketing attack with a myriad of weapons, many of them able to be created right there in your virtual office. * You are at ease with technology. You know that it's all simpler to use than ever, that it no longer is a luxury but is now an absolute necessity. The newest of the new doesn't intimidate you because you're learning that technology is adapting to users by being so friendly, it's almost cordial. Whoever thought you'd be a desktop publisher? I did. And you are. * You are alert for fusion opportunities. As a guerrilla, you are as alert to cooperation as you are to competition. You keep your entrepreneurial radar attuned to fusion opportunities in marketing, services, data, technology, even office space. The idea of collaboration continues to prove itself to you as a brilliant idea in a world of interdependent guerrillas. The concept of "I'll scratch your back if you scratch mine," keeps you itch-free as you begin to network your virtual office with others. * You are the very soul of follow-up. "Relationships" is your middle name. You prove it by the way you're in consistent touch with your customers and prospects by e-mail, snail mail, faxes and phone calls. You stay in contact with them with newsletters, flyers, postcards, letters. They know you're also easy to contact, and their loyalty to you is as real as you are virtual. * You feel passion about your work. That passion fuels your desire to learn about your customers, please them, surpass their expectations. It is a passion that extends to those who work with you, to your suppliers, to your fusion partners. It is readily apparent in the way you run your virtual office, embracing the speed and economy it offers you as a business as well as the freedom and achievement it offers you as a person.

Although it's certainly not for everybody, the virtual office is rapidly becoming the office of today as well as the office of tomorrow. Your most precious resources are your time, your freedom and your potential. A virtual office can contribute to your ability to save, use and invest your time wisely, to gain more precious freedom to do anything you want, and to get closer in touch with your true potential.


Chapter 3: Marketing Your Small Business

Regardless of the business you're in, you're really in the marketing business. If you produce a first-rate product or render a blue-ribbon service, your quality will exist in a vacuum if you don't market your offerings with the skill and aplomb of a guerrilla.

Guerrillas seek conventional goals using unconventional methods. They invest their own time, energy imagination into the marketing process if they don't have the funds, which they usually don't. They understand how marketing works, and that it's a process rather than an event. They know that time is the ally of the guerrilla and not the enemy. A well-crafted marketing plan seems to improve over time, but most small business owners lack the patience to invest that time.

What marketing really is

Smart marketers recognize what marketing really is -- every single contact that any member or part of your company makes with anyone else. Marketing includes how your phone is answered, the stationery you use, your willingness to follow up, your hours and days of business, the neatness of your premises, and a myriad of details that most people just don't consider to be marketing. Once you do, you'll have a head start over these people.

The big boon to small business

Technology is easily the biggest boon to small business marketing in history. It gives you added firepower when using the traditional marketing weapons such as newsletters, brochures, flyers, business cards, proposals, signs, gift certificates, flip charts and catalogs -- because it allows you to produce them professionally, yet easily. That gives you the credibility that all small and new businesses need.

* throughout the world. It lets you use your telephone or fax machine as a marketing tool even when you're not around. Technology makes it possible for you to provide the speed and responsiveness that customers of today demand.

For instance, a Web page is a great opportunity for you to build a prospective client database. Adding a e-mail response to a Web page will allow you to capture the e-mail address of people who are interested in your product or service. In turn, it is a very inexpensive way to send marketing materials to the people who have already expressed interest in your company. The fact that e-mail is somewhat more personal and a newer technology also nets a bit more attention from the recipient as well.

Just one century ago, few small businesses realized the impact of the telephone. They just couldn't imagine how it could help them achieve profits. Today, most businesses would be lost in space if they weren't connected to others by that phone. The same thing is true about computers and the Internet. Short-sighted business owners, unable to comprehend how technology can help them, adopt a wait-and-see attitude. But while they're waiting, their competitors are seeing the benefits bestowed by their computers and the growing enormity of the online marketplace. Those competitors are snapping up customers and niches, profits and name awareness while the laggards fade away further and further in the distance. Guerrillas are using marketing weapons once reserved for only well-heeled companies, and they're romping all over the playing field now that technology has leveled the surface

But all the advanced technology on the planet can't produce profits all by itself. Unless that technology is backed by a solid working knowledge of marketing and what makes it successful, all that technical support goes for naught. Technology opens the door to a vast array of weaponry, but unless you know how to aim and fire those weapons, they could end up backfiring.

The principles of guerrilla marketing

Before delving into the weapons of marketing available to guerrillas, it's a good idea first to understand the 12 principles that all guerrillas know about marketing. If you understand 11 of the principles, you're going to be up against the wall if you compete against businesses that understand and run their businesses by all 12 of them. The idea is to commit all 12 words to memory, then to run your business as though these concepts are part of your DNA. Here's a memory crutch for you: All 12 words end in the letters "ent."

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------- * to practice repetition if you don't commit to your marketing plan, if you abandon ship before it has a chance to set sail.

Many brilliant marketing plans have been discarded merely because they didn't generate instant results. But marketing rarely does produce the results you want in a short time. People aren't paying that much attention to marketing so it takes quite a while for yours to have much of an impact over them. Just realize that Marlboro, one of the best-marketed brands in history, didn't enjoy sales gains the first year after it switched to using cowboys as their symbol. But today, Marlboro is the number one seller. The reason: commitment to a marketing plan. I do not love telling you this about marketing, but mediocre marketing with commitment works a whole lot better than brilliant marketing without commitment. Don't say you haven't been alerted to this very real truth. And don't embark upon a marketing program unless you're prepared to commit to it.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------- * The best investment in America. Putting out money for marketing isn't an expense as much as it is an investment. When you are marketing properly, and these 12 words will tell you how to do it properly, you'll find that it's the best investment available in America today. It rewards your investment more richly than a lending institution and carries with it less risk than a brokerage house. Once you view any money put into marketing as an investment, you'll be less tempted to walk away from it after a short while.

You'd never buy shares of stock in a company, then dump them if the stock dropped a few points. But many small business owners invest in marketing, then dump their plans because the marketing didn't generate results fast enough. Wise investments don't always pay off in a hurry, and marketing, one of the wisest you can make, pays off slowly but surely. That happens only if you stick with it and think of it as an investment more than an expense or a way to get a quick buck. Guerrilla marketing is all about investing in your future and not about instant results. It's not a get-rich-quick strategy as much as a get-rich-eventually strategy.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------- * times you put out the word, people will be paying attention only one of those times. That means establishing yourself in the minds of your prospects will probably take 27 exposures.

If you change your marketing thrust during this time, the people who are just getting to know you will not know exactly who you are or what you stand for. Restraint will be your best friend. You may be bored with your marketing, but always remember that your prospects are just getting to know you. The more consistent you are, the more they'll know they can rely upon you.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------- * Making people confident in you. People patronize businesses in which they are confident. Research has proven that price is the fifth most important factor in choosing a business to patronize. Selection is fourth. Service is third. Quality, which you might think would rank number one, really ranks number two. The overwhelming winner in this research was confidence. People say they tend to patronize businesses in which they are confident.

Your commitment to your program will make them confident. Your treating of your marketing as a long-term investment and not walking away from it prematurely will make them confident. Your consistency will make them confident. And if they're confident, they'll most likely become customers. Everything you do with your marketing should be designed to increase this confidence they must have in your business.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------- * The patient guerrilla. The most successful marketing is accomplished by people who are patient. Of all the personality traits present in people who direct profitable marketing programs, patience is the most visible. Only patient people can practice commitment. Only patient people can view their marketing costs as investments. Only patient people can hang in there and be consistent enough to win the battle for the customer's mind. Only patient people can market to a point that they have earned the confidence of their prospects. Once these prospect are confident, they become customers.

If you're not the patient sort, turn your marketing over to someone else who is. The marketing battlefields are littered with winning marketing plans that were left behind by impatient marketing directors. If you have everything else going right for you, your impatience can undermine your goals. Guerrillas are rarely in hurry.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------- * A winning assortment. The days of single-weapon marketing may be behind us. Many small businesses have learned, to their dismay, that advertising just doesn't work. Direct mail doesn't to the trick either. And neither does public relations and telemarketing. Not even marketing on the Internet. So what does do the trick? A wide assortment of weapons do it.

When you combine advertising with direct mail, then add public relations and telemarketing, and also market on the Internet, all the weapons work better. It's the combination of weapons that works. People see the ad for your enterprise, then they get your letter. Shortly after this, they read a story about your firm in their newspaper. Next, they receive a phone call. They're heard about you by this time. They're read about you. When they hear your voice, it is no longer the voice of a complete stranger. If you've got a Web site, they can check you out even more -- all of which makes it much simpler to eventually buy what you are selling. Did your ad do the job? No way. The assortment of weapons gets the credit. And you get it, too, because you knew that the days of single-weapon marketing have passed. A wide assortment is a winning assortment.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------- * don't have to be there; your telephone technology can be there for you. It means you offer extended hours of business, happily allow business transactions any day of the week. It means you've got a Web site so people can really get to know the details about your business and can ask you questions, knowing they'll get a rapid response. It means you take all credit cards, offer a variety of financing plans, and have abundant free information to send to those who request it.

You also offer convenience with your fax machine and your e-mail address. You don't buy into that old lie that time is money. You know it is far more important than money and that if you waste anybody's precious time, they'll find somebody else who respects it.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------- * Marketing subsequent to the sale. Guerrillas are well aware that marketing doesn't end with the sale. They know that's really when marketing begins. The truly big profits come to your company subsequent to the sale. All the hard work and effort you put into transforming a prospect into a customer doesn't always get paid off with the first sale.

The serious profits come after the sale -- with repeat purchases, with referrals, with loyalty that lasts for decades. It costs six times more to sell something to a new prospect than it does to an existing customer. As a result, guerrillas mine their customer lists for gold, and they find it with consistent follow-up, never ignoring a customer after a purchase. They know that nearly 70% of business lost in America is lost due to apathy after the sale has been consummated. Their assiduous follow-up replaces apathy with loyalty. Their marketing subsequent to the sale breeds a stable of loyal customers. Then, guerrillas market like crazy to those good people nestled in their database -- enthralled at how this increases their profits while decreasing their marketing budget.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------- * The amazement of you. There are many fascinating, even amazing things about your business that you may take for granted because you encounter them on a day-to-day basis. But if your prospects and customers knew of these details, they would be impressed. They would be interested not only with your marketing, but also with your company and your offerings. That's why guerrillas always seek to add an element of amazement to their marketing.

This element makes their marketing interesting, and guerrillas know in their hearts that people don't pay much attention to marketing, but they pay rapt attention to things that interest them and even more attention to things that amaze them.

You traveled to Europe and Asia to obtain goods for sale? Amazing! You've got two people whose only job for you is quality control? Amazing! You spent three years developing and testing your software? Amazing? More than 1,500 people in your community have purchased from you during the past three months? Amazing. There are many details about your business that are astonishing and remarkable. Many of them deliver highly-desired benefits to your prospects and customers. Tell the world about the details and the benefits. Amaze the world!

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------- * Treasuring measurement. Pay close attention here because this is where you can actually double your profits. This may be the least glamorous part of marketing, but it ranks high on the scale of importance. I'm talking about measurement.

weapons are going to hit the target right in the center of the bullseye. Good for you. Some of them are also going to miss the target completely. Bad for you. But are you going to know which is which? Will you know which weapons to continue firing and which should be relegated to the annals of history? You will if you do your measuring job. You will if you track the results of your marketing.

You've got to ask people where they heard of you and determine which of your marketing vehicles got through to them. Many people will say, "A friend told me about you," not mentioning the six ads they've seen, the two letters you mailed and your Web site at which they spent two hours the other day. People never like admitting that they were affected by marketing and so they'll usually credit their purchase to word-of-mouth.

You've got to dig deep and try and pin these people down. If they say they're buying because of a buddy's recommendation, ask if they've seen your ads in the Daily Gazette, in the local magazine, or heard them on radio stations KFOG or KMEL. Maybe they found you online. Find out just where they have learned of you. If you don't, you may end up wasting half your marketing budget and you won't know which half.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------- * The joy of involvement. There's a name for your relationship with your customers. It's called involvement. You prove you're involved with them by means of your follow-up. They become more involved with you each time they read your newsletter, receive a note from you, get a phone call, access your Web site or hear of you in the media. They actually sense your involvement with them when they speak to you in person, on the phone, at trade shows, in the community. You prove that you know about them and care about them.

Customers prove they're involved with you by the way they make repeat purchases, by the way they readily give you names of people to contact, more names for your mailing list. And let's never forget their delightful inclination to recommend your business to their friends and associates. Your involvement with them makes them even more confident. Their involvement with you makes you even more profitable.

Think of it like this: Not being involved is like hollering across the street to somebody. Being involved is like whispering in their ear.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------- * Seeking to be dependent. Blending with your thoughts of competition should be thoughts of cooperation as you develop a radar for businesses that have two characteristics: you can help them and they can help you. With everyone around the world becoming more and more connected to each other, and small business start-ups blossoming like wildflowers, the key concept to embrace is to be dependent.

Although many one-person and home-based businesses are flourishing, they're not going it as alone as you may think. Many have linked up with other businesses to provide more services to their customers. Many more barter goods and services for mutual benefit. Even more add firepower to each other's marketing with fusion marketing programs and links on the Internet. Guerrillas have a knack for locating and recruiting brother and sister guerrillas in the quest for profits, some on the list of new start-ups in the community, others on the Fortune 500.

Don't link with enterprises whose standards of product and service are lower than yours, with companies which seem too fascinated with the quick buck, with firms that aren't as customer- oriented as you are. At first, provide links to each other for a short-term experiment, say, two months. See if they're up to snuff during this period. If so, link for longer. If not, say goodbye.

Easier to point and click to than to do

It's pretty easy for you to sit there, clicking your mouse or tapping your keyboard, reading these twelve words on your monitor, or turning the pages of a print-out or book, nodding affirmatively to each concept in your mind. It's not so simple to live by them.

Commitment is a bear! Imagine sticking with something that doesn't seem to be working out all that well. When do you finally throw up your hands? It's not as soon as most instant-gratification types would like. Thinking of your marketing as an investment isn't a cinch when the returns on itaren't coming in as soon as you hoped they would. Being consistent is drag when your friends, co-workers and family, who see your marketing daily, insist that they're bored and you should change everything around. You've got to remember that your prospects barely know you.

Earning enough trust to make people confident in you is, like marketing itself, a process and not an event. Processes take time. It's not easy to be patient for a long time, so if you're not, turn the marketing reins over to someone who is. That person should recognize the limitations of marketing weapons and that they need each other to achieve their maximum effectiveness. Guerrilla marketing is about seriously considering all the weapons, testing many of them, then ending up with a proven and lethal assortment of them. Not easy. Perceiving your business through the eyes of a customer determine how convenient it is to do business with you is simple enough, but wait till you start introducing new policies and technologies to improve your convenience. You can't do it overnight.

Marketing subsequent to the sale can become systematized to make it easy, and it's a fairly easy habit to establish, especially when you see the payoff. Spotting the amazement in your business and then communicating it is also nice and straightforward. But engaging in measurement that helps you eliminate some marketing weapons while doubling up on others requires diligence of the highest order. Guerrillas take pleasure when they intensify their involvement with customers. And they are quick to grasp the common sense of being more dependent upon others, seeking and giving help to a network of fellow guerrillas.

The newest force in marketing It seem very appropriate that right here on the Internet, I add a 13th guerrilla marketing principle, another word that ends in "ent." It's armament and it refers to technology. Armament is defined as the weapons and supplies, the force and equipment for war. I don't see marketing as war, but I do know that it is an ongoing battle for the mind, attention and disposable income of your prospects. And I know that it will be won by the best-prepared companies, using the most effective armament they can.

When they combine their weapons and supplies with their clear comprehension of what it takes to market a small business, they will be formidable indeed. Technology is the newest force in marketing. Armed with it and the principles of marketing, small businesses can achieve huge victories.


Chapter Four: The Business of Customers

Is running a business like falling in love? It should be if you're to be a guerrilla. I'm not talking about romantic love or even platonic love. I'm talking customer love. When you fall in love, you treat the one you love with eternal kindness, shower that person with love and attention, learn everything you can about the person, and do anything possible to make that person happy. You don't allow policies you've created to get in the way of your relationship because you want it to be long, cozy and forever. You want it to be loving. And you want the object of your attention to feel it.

Guerrillas are wonderful lovers. They allow their sensitivity and passion to fuel their relationships with customers. They sincerely care about those people, recognizing that each is special, each is unique, each is the real reason that the business exists in the first place. Customers, like lovers, are treated with respect, honor, and reverence.

They actually sense your devotion. They know you care. In return, those customers bond to you, make you part of their identity, and speak of you only in the most glowing terms. They come back for more of what you offer. They are quick to sing your praises to others who might benefit from knowing you.

One-night stands and lasting relationships

Many small businesses treat sales transactions as one-night-stands--fun while they lasted, but soon forgotten. Guerrillas treat sales transactions as the beginnings of beautiful and lasting relationships, nurturing them and helping them flourish.

In order to do this, you need the insights into customers that can only come from information. The more you know about your customers, the more you are able to make them happy, to surpass their expectations, to delight them. As it is better to know something about your spouse than to know everything about marriage, it is better to know something about your customers than to know everything about your business.

Marketing to some people means attracting customers. To guerrillas, that's only half the job. The other half is retaining those customers. Where a mere 46% of U.S. marketing budgets was invested in customer retention back in l991, today, that figure is up to 55% and growing.

Being human

More and more small businesses are learning, often the hard way--by losing customers--that marketing isn't as much about being creative as it is about being human, about establishing and maintaining human connections, about treating customers they way they dream of being treated, not merely as they expect to be treated.

The key to unforgettable customer service is information. The more you know about each customer, the better you will be able to keep that customer happy. It's kind of ironic that the secret weapon for warm human relations is technology. But that's the truth. Technology helps you collect information, stay in touch with customers, know what they like and don't like, keep track of them, communicate with them, and be there for them when they need you.

What technology is really about

Even though technology seems to be about machines, it's really about people. Technology allows you to maintain control of your relationships, save time for you and your customers and increase your ability to please your customers. It enables you to lower your costs of pleasing customers while increasing your productivity so that they have more to be pleased about.

Because it costs six times more to sell something to a new person as to sell the same thing to an existing customer, guerrillas are famed for their customer service. They know darned well that service is anything that the customer wants it to be--and not just something written in a manual. Keeping customer satisfaction at the highest level isn't a sometime event. It's an all-the-time habit. And it shows to every customer.

Because guerrillas are spectacular listeners, they know what's on their customers' minds. They ask a lot of questions, often in the form of a customer questionnaire. And they enter the customers answers into their database. It teems, not only withnames of customers, perhaps a business's most precious asset--but also with information about each customer.

What guerrillas know They know what radio stations their customers listen to, which are their favorite TV shows, what newspapers they read and to which magazines they subscribe. Guerrillas know how many kids their customers have, even the names of the kids. They know where they went to college, what sports teams they support, their favorite charities, the kind of cars they drive, how much money they earn, and lots of other details that are anything but small details.

That means they can send Christmas cards that say not only "Merry Christmas!" but also "Congratulations to your son for making the soccer team!" They say not only "Happy New Year!" but also "How about those Yankees?" They zing with personal references, making each customer feel singled out, recognized as the one-of-a-kind person that all of us really are. How often do you get greeting cards that feel so intensely personal? Not often. Perhaps not ever. And certainly not from a business. That's why, when you send them out, you'll be remembered.

Technology gives you a fierce competitive edge when it comes to delighting customers. It lets you speak to customers in terms relevant to them, meaningfully, thoughtfully, personally. It lets you have a dialogue with them. It lets you e-mail them when you know they'll be interested in what you have to say. It lets you answer all their questions by means of the online brochure at your customer-oriented Web site. It lets you treat their requests with the speed they have learned to expect from you. It lets you render mind-boggling service.

The day my mind was boggled A few days ago, I stopped in at Borders Books and Music. I wanted the new Fiona Apple tape. The person manning the customer service desk checked his computer and said, "Well, I have 16 CDs of her, but no tapes." That did not take my breath away. But then, he pressed one button on his phone, spoke for about 15 seconds, then said, "I just phoned The Wherehouse down the street. They've got the tape you want and they're holding it for you." That did take my breath away. Here, they went and directed me to their closest competitor! I bought the tape. But you can be sure I'll be buying all my books and tapes from Borders. And I'll tell my friends this story just as I'm telling you.

Customer bliss As we come to the close of a century, it is no longer enough to strive for customer satisfaction. The names of the game are now customer delight, customer enchantment, and customer bliss.

Is intimacy too powerful a word? Not by any means. It is a word associated with lovers. It not only makes the other person feel wonderful; you are floating, too. The business of customers is learning about your customers, learning to love them and knowing they will love you back, manifesting their love with repeat purchases, referral sales, and effusive testimonials. The motivation behind customer delight is a love of people, not a love of money.

The consummation of the marriage between technology and small business enables computers to remind you of a customer's anniversary as a customer of yours and you to take 20 seconds to sign an anniversary card and write a brief, handwritten note. Your customer feels singled out.

The consultant who charges no money There's a first-rate consultant on customer bliss living in your home. It's you. You've been a customer for a long time, purchasing a broad range of products and services. You've been satisfied, dissatisfied, ripped off, treated well, ignored, catered to, fawned over and high-pressured. How many times have you been delighted? What did the business do to delight you? If you made a list, it would be a very short one-- because most businesses haven't a clue or an inclination of what it takes to surpass mere satisfaction.

It takes time. It takes energy. It takes attention. It takes data. It takes a deep down caring attitude. It takes keeping track. It takes a mission statement dedicating yourself to surpassing satisfaction. If you'd like another competitive advantage, try surpassing customer satisfaction on a consistent basis.

The hallmark of the 21st century Developing relationships is all the rage in the enlightened nineties. Intensifying relationships will be the hallmark of the 21st century. Growing closer to customers by means of contact will motivate them to grow closer to you. The connection strengthens with regular newsletters, letters, postcards, phone calls, e-mails, faxes. You build on the rapport you established at the very start. And always, you know the difference between doing it and overdoing it.

Guerrillas know well that their customers are their best sales force. And they know that extraordinary customer service is as rare as Hope Diamonds. They see this as a remarkable opportunity for them for them to shine. They are nearly obsessed with wondering what they might do for their customers that they would never expect.

What service-minded guerrillas do, give and offer Some of the things that they do for their customers include having a toll-free hotline, a newsletter, a Web site, an after-hours telephone answering capability, an e-mail address, and a fax number. Some of the things that they give to their customers include free tip sheets, free items with orders to say thank you, free shipping as a surprise extra, discount coupons for new ideas, free access to their business library, tours of their business, free consultations, free delivery, free installation, free repairs, free snacks or coffee while they're visiting. Some of the things they offer in the name of superb service include extended hours of business, a guarantee on everything they sell, referrals to the customer's business, and free consultations. Most of all, they listen to customers then act upon what they've heard. They never fail to keep their promises.

If you're to be a guerrilla, you're going to invest time, energy, imagination and money in attracting customers. Actually, you'll be attracting prospects, then, if you're good at what you do, you'll convert them into customers. Oh happy day, right? Not right--if you don't also invest time, energy, imagination and money in retaining those customers. If you don't, all your investments in attracting and converting them will be down the tube.

Statistics to make you frown If you think that's bad news, it's almost good new news compared with these statistics, supplied by the White House Office of Consumer Affairs: * 96 percent of unhappy customers will never complain about shabby service from you, but you won't see 90 percent of them again. * Each of your unhappy customers will tell their sad tale to at least nine other people, and 18 percent of those will say bad things behind your back to 22 people.

Outstanding customer service just has to start at the very beginning, with your very first customer, and to do this, it must be very clear in your mind and your mission. You've got to hire or connect with people who have a sincere attitude of caring and wanting to render service. If you hire meanies and train them, you'll have a bunch of trained meanies on your hands.

The big deterrent Not surprisingly, one of the biggest deterrents to spectacular customer service is spectacular growth. Businesses add so many new customers that they become addicted to growth. Like shooting heroin, they get a short-term kick but are in for long-term misery. Their success causes them to focus on adding more customers rather than taking exceptional care of the ones they have. One by one, those customers desert them for the competition. Many companies have a plan in case of failure. But very few have a plan in case of success. Guerrillas know just how to succeed and they know it means treating all customers with care and attention. They know customers leave not just because of poor or rude service, but mainly because they are just plain ignored.

Does this mean all customers should be treated exactly the same? It does not. It means that all customers should be revered, but some should be treated with more reverence than others.

A lists and B lists Guerrilla businesses divide their customers into at least two categories: their A list, comprised of customers who buy the most, spend the most, are the nicest, and refer the most--and their B list, comprised of all other customers. Those on the B list are showered with attention, contact and special favors. Those on the A list are showered with even more attention, contact and special favors. Guerrillas are very quick to play favorites. They know that 80 percent of their business comes from 20 percent of their customers and that they should devote 80 percent of their service energy towards those 20 percent.

These guerrillas are also acutely aware that technology allows them to communicate one-on-one with their customers, allowing high-tech to result in high-touch. One-on- one is the very essence of interactive marketing. It's the very opposite of mass marketing. And it's a boon to small business. It refers to in-person meetings, telephone contact, personal (not merely personalized) letters, and personal (never mass) e-mail. It refers to maintaining a database that is updated regularly because customers change regularly.

Keeping customers by keeping track Technology allows guerrillas to keep track of all their contacts with customers so that they don't have to rely solely upon their memories. It lets them concentrate on crucial, but superpowered details such as their customer's birthdays, anniversaries, promotions at work, interests, past purchases, and especially their priorities. That gives small business owners the opportunity to tailor their service to the needs of their customers -- giving them a competitive edge that sets them apart not only from the competition but from all other businesses. It gives them the share of mind that is so necessary if they're to obtain the share of market they want.

Perhaps the most winning of the benefits of technology is that it opens the door to two-way communications with customers. It speeds up almost everything about doing business with them in an age when time is cherished more than ever. It allows you to stay in touch with important customers even if you're halfway around the world.

Although technology as a customer service tool is relatively new, it has won the hearts of small business owners across America. A full 82 percent of them say that they have confidence in the payoff of new technologies. These include computers, fax/modems, the Internet, CD-ROMs, multimedia, laptops and networks. The majority, 66 percent, of these business owners feel that the biggest payoff will be in the area of customer service, while 64 percent figure it will be in marketing.

Two things to learn You've got to learn two things if you're to become a customer service superstar: * Which of the new technologies do your customers use? * Which of the new technologies do your competitors use?

Then, because you're a guerrilla, you act upon what you learn. You employ the technologies used by your customers. If they aren't online yet, your e-mail capability will have to wait till they are, and you must focus upon your other technology. If your competitors offer data by fax and you don't, you're operating from out of a hole. The idea is to meet your customer's technological standards and surpass those of your competitors.

Be prepared to open your mind to a host of technologies that I haven't even delved into here: teleconferencing, video conferencing, satellite transmission, online coupons, interactive kiosks, multimedia presentations, brochures on computer disks, CD-ROMs, networks, and customer hotlines. The list goes on and on and all you've got to do is read the daily newspaper to see the new technologies unveiled that can make the difference between red and black on your bottom line.

If you've got a Web site that is self-contained and offers few links to others, you're robbing yourself of the co-marketing opportunities now available on the Internet as well as robbing your customers of information that would help them. Freely giving information of value to your customers is part of superb customer service. Don't shortchange these important people in this area.

The changing customer There are a myriad of new technologies to empower your customer service. But it will be empowered the most when you recognize the change in customers. They recognize the difference between satisfactory and exceptional service. They understand that technology can help you help them. They are more demanding, less easily satisfied, increasingly sophisticated, and able to switch allegiances in a flash.

This insight puts a smile on the face of a guerrilla because he or she knows very well that these new truths represent a glorious opportunity to stand out in the customer service arena.

You must know the difference between doing things right the first time and doing things over. And you must never forget that at all times, you're in three different businesses: your business, the marketing business, and the people business. Unless you excel at all three, you run the risk of going out of business.


Chapter Five: Zero to Sixty in Thirty Days

When I write a book, I always figure that it's a two-part process: starting the book, which takes only one page, and finishing the book, which takes another 240 or so pages. Getting started seems to be half the job because it means that I know what I'll be doing and I'm ready to forge ahead.

To my way of thinking, the same is true of using technology in your business. Getting started is half the battle. In order to start, you must feel confident, feel informed and feel in complete control. To feel this way, you've first got to realize the benefits that technology can bestow upon your business - increased productivity, inventory control, better customer service, new revenue opportunities, a more professional identity, and greater speed. It also opens the gates to using new marketing materials that you can prepare yourself - newsletters, fliers, brochures and lots more.

The wrong reason to use technology

It's not a good idea to use technology just because you think that's what you should be using. Instead, use it to accomplish specific goals. For instance, I used to write direct mail letters for a bank. I'd use my typewriter. Often, the letters would be sent to ten different groups for testing. Each letter would be the same except for one paragraph. It was a major pain for me to draft each letter, so I considered buying a word processor because I know that I could write one letter, then easily change the paragraphs without the need to start from scratch. In addition, I am a very fast typist and I resented the need to keep hitting the carriage return on my typewriter, something I wouldn't have to do with a word processor. Those two factors got me started in technology.

Soon afterwards, I realized that I could save trips to and from my client's office if I purchased a fax machine, which I did. And later, when I teamed up with an author on the East coast to write a book, I quickly learned the beauty and benefits of e-mail and being online. My journey into technology started with those needs to save time - and once I embraced the technology, there was no looking backwards. To this day, I consider my typewriter to be a relic of the Dark Ages, and even when I lick a stamp to mail a letter, I feel as though I'm reaching back into pre-history by using snail mail.

Even after only a week, I wondered why I had waited so long. Like almost everyone else who begins to make technology an ally, I knew that if I could begin my writing career from the start, I would have purchased a word processor much earlier.

A good idea is not enough

The revenue per employee at some of the fastest-growing small businesses in the United States is two and a half times higher when the business has high computer use than when it is relatively low tech. In the past, a small business could succeed strictly on the basis of a good idea. But today, you need a good idea and whatever you do you must do better than anyone else. Technology can enable you to achieve that goal. When you read about a small business revolution, you're seeing the affects of technology which now makes running a small business easier than at any other time in history.

High tech and high anxiety

I know that high tech means high anxiety to many people, but I also know that their anxiety is based upon complicated older technology and not upon the simple technology of today. When my 12-year old granddaughter comes into my office and shows me shortcuts I can use with my computer, and then my 7-year old grandson points out a few features I haven't yet discovered, I realize that computers are even simpler than I think they are.

The other day, my daughter pointed out that I'm writing a book online, that I'm hosting regular online marketing conferences, that I have my own guerrilla marketing Web site, and that I've co-authored several books using e-mail. She asked me if I ever thought I'd be so wrapped up in technology. It's funny, but although she's right, I no longer even consider my daily activities to be technologically-related.My computer seems to be part of my mind and my mouse part of my body.

Now I know that I don't have to preach to the converted. After all, there you are, reading this book online, so you've not only got a computer, but you also know how to access the web and how to get where you want on it. Still, if you're planning to use technology to send your profits soaring, there's a ten-step plan to follow and I know that if you do, you, too, will wonder why you waited.

Before you even begin to institute this plan, recognize that you will succeed with technology, as with marketing, if you decide out front that you're going to commit to it, stick with it and make it work for you no matter what. Then it's time to activate the plan.

A ten-step plan Step 1: Engage in research. That means find out what others in your industry are using, what's available, what you can afford and what's coming up next. The idea is to begin operating from a standpoint of knowledge instead of ignorance. Keep your radar attuned to which technology will improve your effectiveness and your efficiency, which can save your time and money, and which can add luster to your customer service. You might even employ the services of a consultant to help you in this area because you don't want to be rubbing sticks together to start a fire when all you really have to do is flick a lighter. You'll find a lot of online consultants at

If have an online account, ask your ISP for help with your site's design or ask for references to other designers. Some of the largest Internet service providers have whole sets of design tools you can use to build a site yourself. For example, AOL's PrimeHost web hosting service has user-friendly design tools and a shopping cart system you can use.

A survey of small business owners recently revealed that nearly 20 percent of them feel that lack of knowledge kept them from buying more technology, yet 40 percent said that technology is critical to their business success.

Step 2: Check out your competitors. The last thing you want is for them to offer more convenience and better service than you, so see what they're up to. Learn how technology is helping them and how they're using it. The idea isn't to catch up to them but to surpass them.

What technologies do your customers use? Step 3: Check your own customers. If they're still using fax machines and aren't yet online, perhaps you don't have to be online either. But if they're using the web and know where to look there, you'd better get yourself a Web site pronto. Again, your job is not just to keep up with your customers, but to stay ahead of them, offering the ultimate in convenience to both customers and prospects.

Step 4: Ascertain your technology needs. Once you're determined those needs, you'll know which technology to purchase and which you can do without for the time being. There's no need for you to arm yourself to fight a tiger when all you'll be facing is a pussycat. On the other hand, you don't want to be prepared only for pussycats when you're being charged by tigers. The key is to fortify yourself with the appropriate technology to serve your own needs. Again, a consultant might be just the ticket to help you in this area.

Step 5: Examine your alternatives. Here I am praising computers and technology to the skies, when I well know that computers aren't the solution to every problem and that advanced voice mail systems can lose customers for you as easily as they can gain them. Picasso once said that the problem with computers is that all they can do is come up with the right answers, but not the right questions. It's up to you to ask those right questions. How can you improve your customer service with technology? How can you add more effectiveness to your marketing with technology? How can you streamline your way of doing business with technology? If you ask those kind of questions then you'll be able to use technology to provide the answers. Where computers used to be a luxury to small business, each day they're becoming more mandatory. Operating a business without them today is like operating a business 50 years ago without a telephone.

Don't keep it a secret Step 6: Talk to your staff. Your task is to get them to want the technology as much as you do, to embrace it with the same enthusiasm as you. Many computer whizzes of these days were scared to death to touch a keyboard or click a mouse just a few years ago. So take the time to get feedback from your people, to enlist their aid, to make them feel part of the technology rather than being brushed aside by it. Their comfort level with technology is every bit as important as yours. The last thing you want is the right technology being ignored by a staff that's terrified of it. If they've involved up front, they'll stay involved.

Step 7: Train your staff. Bring in a trainer or a tutor who can show them the ropes and the simplicity of your technology. You want your people to look forward to using it, to use it with aplomb and never to resent it. If they feel that they are in control of the technology instead of the reverse, you're off to a splendid start.

Put it in writing Step 8: Develop a plan. Just as guerrillas have a written marketing plan, they also have a written technology plan which lays out which technologies they'll need and when they'll need them. You probably won't want to purchase all your equipment at the same time, but which will you need first? Second? Third? Get those priorities straight, then live up to your plan. You'll find that the plan simplifies both the purchasing and the mastery of your equipment.

Step 9: Purchase equipment you can grow into, not out of. The first thing you want is a computer with enough power to run all the software you'll be using. The last thing you want is to need even more power later because you've grown so successful. Don't sacrifice quality in this area. Be willing to fork out enough to a top quality vendor for top quality technology. Maybe it's more power and more technology than you need right now, but you'll be much happier growing into it than realizing you'll soon outgrow it. Whatever you purchase will be improved and the price will drop within a few months. That's the nature of the technology beast. But never forget that you can upgrade if you have to. Software keeps getting better and easier to use, and it's very simple to merely upgrade your software without having to purchase a new or more powerful computer. A small business is like a new family. It doesn't make sense to purchase a one-bedroom house with a baby on the way and a few more planned for later. Instead, a three-bedroom house may be a bit too large at first, but you can grow into it and don't have to start looking for a house when you should be settling into one.

Step 10: Evaluate your progress. At the end of each month, see if you're following your plan, if your technology is serving all your needs, if your staff is comfortable with the technology, if your customers are happy. Settle for nothing less than complete satisfaction. Is it doing exactly what you wanted it to do? If not, make changes so that it does.

By getting started this way, you'll find that you can be up and running, benefiting from the immense power of technology in a month or less. All the steps I've outlined above can be accomplished within a period of 30 days or less except for the evaluation part, which should be a continuing process.

More than you bargained for As I mentioned, I invested in my computer strictly for word processing. But yesterday, I used it for e-mail, chatting with a friend in London, accessing sports scores, playing a spelling error trivia game, downloading medical information from the Net, and listening to my newest CD. Not one bit of word processing. You'll also discover that technology can do a whole lot more for you than you could ever comprehend until you've started putting it to use for yourself.

It's very important that you become involved not with the technology itself, which can be ultra-fascinating, but with what the technology can do for you. All the bells and whistles in the world can't increase your profitability if you can't delight your customers and satisfy their specific needs. Never forget that they should be the benefactors of your leap in the techno-world and that advanced technology is all about them and not about you. If you always keep that fact at the forefront of your mind, you'll stay on the right track.

When purchasing software, it's always a good idea to test it yourself. You can begin at the software company's Web site and check their demonstration programs to be sure you're compatible the ones you want.

The human factor Never forget that technology is merely a tool and that you are the person who will be using it. That means making certain that you'll be physically comfortable when using it. Take heed of the light in your office, the comfort of your chair. Make sure your monitor is a eye level and that you use a keyboard that is ergonomically correct. The more natural your position while you're working, the better. Technology may seem to be all about machines, but it's very much about people, too. Regardless of how much technology you employ, maintain your humanity, intensify your relationships with people. Blend high touch with your high tech. To get up to speed fast on how and how not to market your products or services on the Web go to net.acceptable at

Then check a site from CommuniCreations at This page is called "Guide to Launching a Web Site" which has a handy checklist to help identify the business or marketing objectives you want your Web site to accomplish, what info you want from and about visitors to your page, and questions to ask in selecting a Web design firm.

The cost of technology When you purchase a car or a new piece of furniture, it's an expense and it's probably going to be worth your money. When you purchase technology for your business, it is also an expense to be sure, but it's more of an investment because it will be worth what you pay and it will be able to contribute mightily to your profitability. Unlike Wall Street investments, there is little risk with your technology investment if you operate according to the ten-step plan I've just outlined. You're in control of this investment. You have the opportunity to maximize the returns it can deliver by your wise use of its capabilities.

By availing yourself of the extraordinary new phenomenon of the Internet, you can establish strategic alliances and engage in global commerce while marketing inexpensively and powerfully, not to mention interactively. The mind-boggling concept of being able to do that is now matched by the simplicity of the today's technology. It unleashes creative forces within you that may never have been tapped before.

Once you've decided to align yourself with the secret weapon of advanced technology, keep abreast of further advancements. Be ready to upgrade your own technology when it is necessary and never fail to know the difference between a change and an improvement. There's a big difference.

When to begin There are wrong times and right times to begin to enlist the aid of technology in your business. The wrong times are after you've waited for prices to drop, after you've waited for computer power to increase, and after your competitors have already wooed away your customers. The right times are ten years ago and immediately. These days, if you're not staying ahead of the game, you're probably losing it.


Chapter 6: Saving Money by Saving Time

I've never written a chapter of a book that started out with a lie. But I'm going to do it now. Not only will I tell you a lie, but I'll tell you a dirty lie, one that is hurtful to your business and your associates, to your family and yourself. Worst of all, it's a lie that you've probably been buying into most of your life.

Here it is, though you didn't need me to tell it to you because you've been hearing it from others for a long time now: Time is money.

Don't believe it.

Don't believe that for one instant. Time is far more valuable than money. Run out of money and you'll probably find ways to scrounge up some more. Run out of time and that's the end of the ride. No way to get any more. Time, instead of being money, is life itself.

You can use that time to earn more money, to be sure. You can use it to polish your business, grow your business, maximize your business and amass awesome profits. You can also use it to add balance to your life by pursuing leisure activities, being with your friends and family, or just chilling out. The key idea isn't necessarily what you do with your time. It's that now you can get more of it than ever before with the proper mindset and by availing yourself of the plethora of new technologies that are designed with the underlying prime benefit of saving enormous chunks of time for you. That's really what computers are all about: speed and saving time.

Guerrillas and time

Guerrillas cherish their time, use it wisely, and like most Americans, now consider time to be their most precious asset. They know that time isn't money, that it's considerably more valuable than money, and that technology can bestow more of it to them now than at any time in history.

Guerrillas also follow a five-step timesaving plan created solely to free up more time for them. It's a plan that can do the same for you. Your business plan will generate growth for you. Your marketing plan will generate profits for you. Your timesaving plan will generate extra time for you.

A five-step time-saving plan

As you don't have to learn the names of your digestive enzymes to enjoy a hearty meal, you won't have to learn the jargon of technology to enjoy the timesaving benefits it bestows. All you've really got to learn is how you spend your time now, how you should be spending your time, where you can save time, how you will save time, and whether the technologies you're embracing are truly saving your time. When you know those things, you'll be well on your way to having time to devote to any pursuits you desire.

Before you even start developing your plan, you've got to begin with a powerful commitment to save time. As the trick to successful marketing is commitment to a plan with the goal of earning profits, the starting point to successful timesaving is a commitment to a plan with the goal of saving time. Without your commitment, it's not gonna happen. With your commitment, you just can't miss.

That commitment will embrace both the right ways to think about time and the right ways to use and save time. Yes, it will also save you money. Yes, it will fuel your profits. But remember that its prime purpose is to save you time. Once you have that time, it's yours to use anyway you'd like.

Step one: How you spend your time now

Take a full two weeks to keep a daily log of your activities at work, writing down what you are doing and how much time it is taking you to do it. Write down each task that you perform, regardless of how insignificant it may seem at the time. Your employees and associates should be encouraged to do the same because you want an overview of how all time is spent by your company. By reviewing the log at the end of the two weeks, you'll have a pretty good fix on how you're spending your time at work. My guess is that you're going to be surprised when you see how much time you're devoting to your tasks. And you won't need me to point out which of those tasks should be completed by someone other than you. But be careful not to assumejust because someone else is doing the task that it's being done efficiently. If you are spending hour filling out purchase orders by hand, it doesn't really save your company time or money by having someone else do the exact task. So determine which tasks can best be handled by the technology of today and which tasks are taking up more time that you ought to be devoting to them.

Step two: How you should spend your time This time, don't spend two weeks, but only one hour or less making a list of the things that you should be doing to make your company flourish and prosper. That includes a whole lot more than putting out fires to maintain the status quo. It also means doing what must be done to service existing customers, attract new customers, streamline your procedures and improve your offerings. If you spend your time the way you think you should be spending it, you'll be operating in a growth mode rather than merely treading water. This is the step when you will determine the difference between efficiency, which is doing things right - and effectiveness, which is doing the right things. Guerrillas never make a choice between the two, but embrace both. They want to spend their time doing the right things the right way. And they want to do them right the first time. Accomplishing a task rapidly but having to do it again is both inefficient and ineffective.

Step three: Where you can save time Examine every single aspect of the way you are doing business and put into writing those activities where you can save time by doing them another way. Perhaps you'll save a lot of time by delegating since guerrillas rarely do what they can delegate, saving themselves for the more important tasks of marketing aggressively and servicing assiduously. Possibly you will see areas in which technology can come to your aid in the quest for more time. If your radar is attuned to spotting timesaving opportunities, you'll be better able to implement them. The saving of time always begins with an awareness of time and how it can be saved. It continues with an awareness of yourself and whether you're a morning person or one who thrives when burning the midnight oil. If you know your own prime time, you'll be able to schedule your activities to match your energy level.

Step four: How you will save time Here's where you make concrete decisions as to what you'll do now to save time. This is the step where you decide to put up your own Web site to market your offerings 24-hours a day, seven days a week. This is where you select the hardware and software to serve your specific needs. You can't really ask someone to recommend a specific computer to you because that's like asking him or her to recommend a religion. But experts can recommend software to speed you on the path to your goals. You know your needs and your job now is to fill them with whatever it takes. I guarantee that the technology is out there to help you. All you've got to do is match it with your needs. If your marketing can be given a boost with a newsletter, this is the time to get what it takes to publish your own. If your presentations can be standardized so each one isn't a major time-consuming project, here's where you invest in the equipment to do that task. Will a voice-mail system save time for you? Fax on demand? Marketing on telephone hold? Reminders for customer follow-up? Printing of letters and postcards to accomplish that follow-up? A database that organizes your inventory and a network system that allows others to have access to the information? A contact management package that organizes your clients, your vendors, and your day? This is the step where you put your money where your commitment is - in the technology that will save time for you.

Step five: Keeping track of your time-saving This final step means that you once again should keep a log for two weeks of how you're spending your time now that your technology is up and running. If you've gone about things in the right way, you're getting more done and you're spending less time doing it. You're doing a better job of staying in touch with your current customers and you're putting out the word all over the place to obtain new ones. Your Web site is humming and pre-selling your offerings, possibly even consummating many sales. Your fliers and newsletters, direct mailings and proposals have twice the sparkle while taking less than half the time to prepare that they used to. Technology is helping you work faster, get more accomplished, establish closer relationships, and save more time to capitalize on opportunities you might have missed because of lack of time. Even after the two weeks have passed, you should constantly be keeping track because you'll always find areas in which to improve, ways to save time, methods of growing your business.

More time than you think Even if you conscientiously follow this five-step timesaving plan, you'll still discover that technology can save you time in even more areas than you may have imagined. I bought my first computer exclusively for word-processing, knowing that purpose alone would save me loads of writing time, typing time and editing time. Little did I realize that it would save me even more time by granting me access to the Internet. Writing books for me used to mean frequent trips to the library. Now, it means clicking my mouse and visiting the information superlibrary. The information is better and the time taken to collect it is a fraction of what it used to be.

Unexpected time-saving bonuses I never dreamt with my first computer that I'd save so much time gaining information. I never imagined that e-mail would prove to be so efficient and timesaving for communications. I didn't have an inkling of the time I'd save publishing marketing materials on my own. How long do you think it took for me to mail 3000 brief letters compared to the time it takes now that I can just do it with the clicking of a mouse? It's rare when I crunch numbers, but when I do, my computer does for me in one minute what used to take five hours. Keeping records was always something I was pretty good at, but I was operating in the dark ages before I got my computer. It's easier, faster and more fun now than it ever was before and I didn't even realize I was operating in slow motion until I got the perspective I have now. At first, I laughed at how mired I used to be, and then I winced when I thought of the missed opportunities.

I figured my computer would save time for me. I had no idea it would enable me to accomplish twice as much work, earn twice as much money and put in half the time that I used to. As its primary gift to me, technology gave me time. As its secondary gift, it gave me even more time. I use it to write two books a year, not just one - because I can collaborate with co-authors from anywhere. Just yesterday, I entered into an arrangement with a man from Japan to co-author a magazine article. We'll do it all by e-mail and we probably won't meet till it has been published, if we do meet at all. The networking opportunities alone are gems of time-savers.

Although technology can save you the most time, followed closely by wise delegation, you can also save time and money simply by being organized. Of the countless ways of helping you get organized, here are ten from the top to set you on your way:

Ten tips for organizing your business to save time * Make sure everything in your office is business-related. Those things that aren't helping you stay in business might gang up to put you out of business. They are time bandits and rob you of precious time. If your home phone rings in your office, your work time is being stolen from you.

* Take control of your time by means of a daily calendar containing your "to do" list. You can do it on paper or electronically just as long as you do it. And once you've made that "to do" list, assign a priority to each task so that you complete the important ones first.

* Set up your office so that you can reach anything you need in just seconds. Keep your phone, fax, computer, printer and other equipment on a table of their own, within arm's reach, so that your desk is free for your paperwork.

* Use a phone log or contact management program to enter phone numbers and messages. That way, you'll know just where to look when you have to get in touch with somebody. You'd be floored if you knew how much time it takes to find phone numbers jotted down on scraps of paper. Even if it takes only one minute, when you multiply those minutes by the times you spend hunting for each number, they add up to hours.

* Store all your paperwork vertically instead of horizontally. This will save time for you in addition to saving space. Stacks of paper are a sure sign of disorganization. Efficiency experts tell us that the typical American executive wastes an average of three hours a week searching for lost or misplaced documents. That's nearly a full week out of every year.

* When paperwork comes to you, handle it and move it forward. Perhaps you'll toss it. Maybe you'll add it to your to-do list. Possibly you'll forward it on to someone else. The important thing is to handle it one time only.

* Keep your files skinny. Most of the papers in your files will take up space and waste your time as you look for others. It's healthy to be slim whether you're a person or a file.

* Put everything in its own place. Haphazard stashing is the bane of many small businesses. Guerrillas may have many business-related items in their office, but they know where to find them in an instant. The average business executive has 36 hours of work on his or her desk at any given time - far more than he or she can ever hope to accomplish on a workday. Having these documents in full view reminds the executive of what he can't accomplish, creating undue pressure and prompting him to tackle projects randomly rather than by priorities.

* At the end of each day, plan the next day. This will let you start the day running by providing you with pre-existing momentum. Streamlined business owners enter their office in the morning to find a clean desktop and a prioritized "to do" list. They don't waste valuable time figuring what to do next. They already know.

* Place a high value on yourself. If you value yourself, you'll value your time. You know when you're working at your peak and sculpt your time to fit into that period. At the same time, place a high value on your technologies and learn to maximize their effectiveness. Most small business owners are getting a mere fraction of the value their technology offers. This includes your word processor, spreadsheet, database and information management systems. And it also includes your familiarity with the Internet.

Once you're on the road to saving time, keep in mind that the time you save should not be used in drudgery but in productivity. The question that guerrillas ask is "What is the best use of my time right now?" Their answers are never the usual "I don't know," but instead, are very obvious to them.

Being aware of time bandits Even if you're committed to saving time, you'll find that the world is teeming with bandits who rob you of your time. Your job is to avoid them and the only way you can do that is to know who they are. It doesn't matter if you're got the latest and greatest in technology because these bandits can undermine even the best-laid timesaving plans. Who are these bandits? You won't find them in jail. You'll find them in offices throughout the world. So that you can know thine enemy, I'll list them here: * Perfectionists * People in love with the sound of their own voices * People who love technology for the sake of technology * Long-winded writers who find it hard to get to the point * People who are impressed with their own authority * People who are in over their heads * People who aren't busy and don't have enough to do * Egotists * Bureaucrats * Mind-changers * Over-organizers * People without goals * Interrupters * Decision evaders * People who put on you on phone hold for longer than 30 seconds * People who call you then put you on hold * Compulsive changers * Cars that spend a lot of time being repaired * Technology that you don't understand * Anyone in the world who does not cherish the value of time

Every single one of these time bandits steals one of the most precious assets in your life - one that can never be returned. The way to deal with these bandits is to be aware of them and how they erode your time. If you can identify them, you can eliminate them or at least your contact with them. Along with these bandits are the ones you may be guilty of yourself in the form of misguided efforts. Guerrillas are innocent of these charges.

Misguided efforts that waste time * Reading unnecessary material * Doing instead of delegating * Daydreaming * Worrying * Rewarding themselves before they deserve the reward * Being overly social at work * Getting too involved in details that can handle themselves * Skipping out or taking overly long lunches and breaks * Being a slave to the telephone * Being unable to say "no" to time bandits * Not being focused on the task at hand * Thinking that all time is created equal * Not realizing that they're wasting time

In his wonderful book "What Color Is Your Parachute?", Richard Nelson Bolles says, "I think almost everybody today has some problem with time. They are never, ever going to get done all that they want to do and therefore they have to establish priorities. They have to get a vision in their head of what is the most important to address." To do this, simply decide which most merits your time right now and then do those things. If you will do this, you'll save time, save money and eliminate stress, which author Bolles refers to as "the pain of time."

Tips for time-saving with technology Technology itself just won't do the trick of saving time for you. But using that technology properly will do it. Ten tricks of the timesaving trade can allow technology to work its magic: * Rearrange your computer files to conform to the system you've created for your paperwork.

* Keep copies of everything on clearly labeled backup disks and don't feel that you have to print and store everything. You don't.

* Open your mind to investing in a personal information manager program. There are many from which you may select and all of them can save loads of time for you. Consider networking hardware that enables you to share not only peripherals but also information and resources. It can save you both time and money while increasing your productivity.

* Invest in a high-speed modem, an ISDN phone line or a satellite modem if you do lots of downloading online. And be certain to set up your software to capitalize upon that increased speed.

* Update your contact manager and keep it current. Keep a printout near your phone so that you can change the information by hand when someone moves.

* Keep things you use frequently within arm's reach. If you use your fax only three times a week, move it further away from you. If you have to invest in shelving, it's a wise investment in saving time.

* Set up your customized software so that you can perform frequent functions at just the touch of a button.

* Function not only by your mouse but also by key commands. It may be tempting to use the mouse, but resist that temptation to save more time for yourself.

* Set up style sheets if you use similar styles in your newsletter, brochures, fliers or letters. You don't want to be reformatting every time you create something new. You can do it once and be done with it.

* If you can't invoice your customers with software, invest in a program that will do it for you. Many allow you to invoice, adjust inventory, update customer history and keep track of total sales to date.

Tips for time-saving without technology Powerful and fast computers along with new simple-to-use software can free up scads of time for you, but so can common sense. You don't have to be a rocket scientist or a computer maven to practice these tips: * If you're right-handed, place your phone on your left side and a pad and pen on your right side.

* Use a hands-free telephone headset so you can accomplish things while you're on the phone or waiting on hold.

* Set phone appointments with callers. This will help you win the game of phone tag. When leaving messages, make them complete and self-contained so that a return call is not necessary. Ask your callers to do the same. Interactivity is not a must on the telephone.

* Realize that the downside of the Information Age is too much information, so use a data filter or have someone highlight the information you should have, sparing you the time of finding it for yourself.

* Make your phone calls before lunch and before quitting time so that people are already inclined to keep the conversation short. Many experts recommend making many of your calls during the last working hour on a Friday.

* Group your phone calls, making a flurry of them, then blocking out uninterrupted time for work.

* Respond to business letters promptly and briefly. Encourage e-mail whenever you can.

* Create customizable form letters so that you can respond to inquiries, solicitations and thank-yous quickly and personally. Do the same for the thank-you notes that you send as well as for those all-important follow-up letters.

* Hire a part-time assistant, scouring your local college campus career center to find candidates. More and more small businesses - and college students - are discovering the joys of internships. It's one of the best of all win-win situations.

* Divide your clients into A Lists - those who spend the most and refer the most, and B Lists - those who spend and refer the least. Pay most attention to those on your A List. You might even have to abandon unprofitable customers. If the cost in time makes the business relationship unprofitable for you, be prepared to say bye-bye to the customer.

* Ask for the first appointment of the day because it's the one least likely to start out late and toss your entire day into disarray.

* Group your appointments so that you can handle all of them in one day or one afternoon. Travel time is often wasted time. If you must travel, arrange to meet in other peoples' offices because it's a whole lot easier to excuse yourself than to kick somebody out of your office.

* Carry paperwork with you, or better yet, carry a laptop computer. This way, you can turn waiting time into productivity time. When in your car, use your car phone, listen to instructional tapes and dictate memos, but please - keep your eyes on the road and your mind on driving safely. The accident rate is four times higher for car phone users.

* Capitalize on the freedom granted you by self-employment and do your shopping and banking during off-peak hours. Guerrillas are not affected by the lunch-hour crush because they lunch before or after normal lunch hours.

Do guerrillas watch the clock? Guerrillas are never compulsive clock-watchers because those kinds of people consider time to be an enemy. Instead, time well managed can be your ally. So can people who are as aware of time as you are. Those are the people with whom guerrillas connect, hire and train. If you're an expert on saving your time and people who are oblivious to it surround you, you'll be in for a lot of frustration. If you don't control your own time, you're probably working on the priority of others.

The people who seem to make the worst use of their time are the ones who complain that there's never enough time. The truth is that there is enough time if you know what to do with it. Benjamin Franklin must have agreed because he said, "If we take care of the minutes, the years will take care of themselves."

Time is not money. But the way you use it and spend it can mean money. Says famed business consultant Peter Drucker, "Time is the scarcest resource and unless it is managed nothing else can be managed."


Chapter Seven: The Benefits Of Collaboration

The name of the game these days is collaboration more than independence, cooperation more than competition. Instead of thinking of yourself as an isolated business in an isolated office, think of yourself as part of a team. Instead of scanning the business horizon to spot whom you might be able to obliterate, tune your radar instead to businesses with which you might be able to cooperate. Instead of keeping all your assets to yourself, consider sharing them with others. This includes your information, your databases, your files, your computer programs, your Internet access, your equipment, your personnel and your ideas.

Share information and resources with your employees as well, with your suppliers, and with your customers. It used to be that information was something that was carefully guarded and never shared. But those days have changed. The more you share information, the more valuable it becomes.

Light everybody's candle

Picture yourself with a lit candle in a dark room with 20 other people, each of whom is holding an unlit candle. If you use your candle to help illuminate the 20 other candles, the room will no longer be dark and yet the brightness of your own candle will not be diminished. It's the same way with information. Keep it to yourself and it may help you a little. But if you share it, the information can help you a lot more while brightening the world for others.

Guerrillas realize that they're living in a wired world and that the more they're connected, the more effectively they can run their businesses. They set up a communications infrastructure that enables them to communicate as they grow. That means they wire their offices for high speed ISDN (Integrated Services Digital Network) lines, for e-mail and for networking with anyone who can benefit from it. They know in their hearts that if they don't embrace technology, they're operating with a competitive disadvantage.

Networking is sharing

Networking to them means a lot more than ABC, CBS or NBC. It represents an opportunity to share - and by doing so, to cut costs, increase productivity, improve customer service, reduce paperwork, save time, be more efficient, eliminate many meetings and gain crucial flexibility.

Guerrillas set up networks that enable them to communicate better. These networks may start out small at first, with only a few computers connected to them, but they're expandable so they can grow as the business grows. No one realizes more than a guerrilla that an investment in technology is an investment that can pay rich dividends over time, and not a very long time.

It doesn't take long for them to discover the ease and low cost of networking and that it's like being in the same office with people who may be a few miles or a few thousand miles away. They give their employees remote access to their files so that work may be accomplished at home, on the road or right in a customer's office. And they're dazzled by the time-saving benefits of multi- tasking - having several people working on a document or a project at the same time. What used to take them five days because five people had to work on it now takes them one day because all five people can do their work at the same time.

Who is networking now?

Of the estimated 7.1 million small businesses in the United States, 75% have PCs and 22% do computer networking. Those who do report a 20% increase in revenue per employee. And they say that the payback on their investment in networking takes less than one year.

Research by Charles River Strategies is equally glowing. It reports that small companies with networks averaged at least 30% higher revenue per employee compared to those with no computers and at least 11% higher than those with computers but no networks.

To network or not to network?

3Com has developed a test to help you ascertain your readiness for networking. It's worth the two minutes of your time to take it now:

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------- * Do more than three employees share one printer? * Do more than three employees share one fax machine? * Do you plan to purchase another printer during the coming year? * Do you plan to purchase another fax machine during the coming year? * Do employees frequently share work processing documents and spreadsheets? * Would employee productivity increase by implementing an automated accounting system that was available to more than one employer? * Would employee productivity increase by having employees work from the same set of data such as a customer list or inventory database? * Do more than two employees need Internet or email access? * Do any employees who currently use a computer at work telecommute or travel for business?

If you answered yes to none or to one of the questions, you probably don't need a network yet. If you answered yes to two or three questions, a network can add to the productivity and efficiency of your business. If you answered yes to four or more questions, a network can significantly increase your productivity and efficiency.

Two kinds of networks The easiest to install and least expensive network to get up and running is called a peer-to-peer network. It's decentralized and ideally suited for small offices with five or fewer computer to connect. No dedicated network machine is in control; each computer workstation is equal.

Picture it as a strand of computers connected together - allowing each one to share files with each other. Users can also e-mail, and share spreadsheets and word-processing programs. They can also share fax machines and modems. Figure on a cost of under $3000 to connect five computers. That will cover the cost of the software and an easily-installed network interface card.

The alternative to a peer-to-peer network, called a client-server network, runs from $5,000 to $10,000 and enables you to share larger items such as databases. It connects six or more computers, one of which is the central computer, called the server. The server stores all the programs and files for everyone else in the network, each of whom is called the client.

This kind of network provides remote access - the ability for employees who travel or telecommute to access networked applications and printers from anywhere on earth, using only a telephone line and a modem. It also enables office employees to access Internet service providers with a shared modem rather than one modem for each user - a substantial savings. It provides more speed and better performance than a peer-to-peer network.

What kind of network is right for you? As peer-to-peer networks discover the heady benefits of speedy communications and the delightful economies of sharing, they don't wait long to become client- server networks. If you have six or more computers right now, or anticipate having that many, open your own mind to investing in a client-server network. It's just the ticket if you want your employees or co-workers to be able to connect to your network while they're traveling. If you have at least three employees who could contribute to your company's effectiveness by going online and accessing the Net or sending email outside your company, you should investigate a client-server network before your competitors do. Your guiding light: Never forget that the prime beneficiaries of your sojourn into networking should be your profitability and your customers.

The cost of a network is really based upon many factors, one of which is the size of your business, equipment you may already own, the type of network that will work best for you and the software you'll need. An average small business network for six employees runs $9800, assuming you already have six workstations and two printers. That figures includes the $1500 allocated for installation and training.

The lone wolf is gone So what's happened to the age of the lone wolf entrepreneur? It's going the way of the Bronze Age, as technology is enabling the world to work in a brand new way - collaborating and connecting faster and more far-reaching than ever, yet easier and more affordably than ever, too. Small businesses now have the ability to communicate as fast as the giants, to have instant access to their co-workers and to render far better service to their customers than they could before networking came into its prime.

The whole idea of computer networking started back in the early eighties and it's been growing ever since. Costs have been dropping, speed picking up and technology getting simpler to use all along. The largest computer networking company of all, 3Com, reports sales increases of 40% for each of the past three years. The Gallup Organization says that small business will increase their spending on computer networks by 280% in l997 compared to 1996. The lone wolf is now part of a pack.

Costly and complex no more The reasons he has joined it is because the high costs and intimidating complexity of networking have been replaced by lower costs and startling simplicity.

Networking allows small businesses to respond more rapidly to change, which is one of the benefits of being a small business in the first place. It lets them stay more competitive by rendering better service, the key to profitability at a time that businesses need every edge they can get.

When asked "How essential a part of your business has the network become?" - over 96% of small businesses surveyed by Charles River Strategies said "somewhat" to "very essential." Employees can use printers and fax machines without ever leaving their desks.

Three examples of networks in action Consider the ten-person insurance office that had six PCs, one laser printer and three ink jet printers. Before networking, if an employee needed to print a final copy, he would have to carry the disk to the computer with the laser printer connected to it. With networking, the employee can print documents without leaving his desk. That's a savings in time. Money that used to be spent on desktop printers can now be used for high-quality printers that can be shared by all employees.

A small accounting firm was run by a person who had Internet access to the latest IRS regulations. But his employees didn't. Purchasing a modem and phone line for each one would have been pricey. So the boss installed a network with a shared high-speed modem, giving all of his staff access to the Internet though a single ISDN line which is also used for phone calls and sending faxes. The result? A savings of money and time along with instant responsiveness to customer needs.

A 12-person public relations agency assigned the responsibility for reviewing documents to several employees. Before networking, these employees printed the documents then handed them to their associates for review. After networking, drafts were distributed electronically. Reviewers could make comments directly onto the electronic copy then return them to the writer. This saved money by significantly reducing paperwork and saved time by reducing the time-consuming review cycle.

How most small businesses use networking More than 75% of small businesses use their networks for print sharing, according to IDC Research, making this the single most common application of network technology. The next most common network application is sharing files and common databases such as scheduling, accounting and sales prospecting. This clearly indicates that networks are actually changing the way small companies do business.

One of the fastest-growing network applications is accounting software, with 70% of small businesses using accounting packages. Payroll, inventory management and tax preparation have also enjoyed healthy increases in popularity among small businesses which have embraced the benefits of networking.

Talking dollars and cents It isn't very easy to accurately project the impact that a network will have on your small business, but here are some guidelines to help you:

* You can calculate how much faster specific functions can be performed with a network, then multiply the minutes saved by the employees' salaries. If you figure on saving three minutes to print a document rather than carrying it to a printer and waiting for it to print, and if you pay an average salary of $20 per hour, you save $1 each time an employee uses the network to print. If 10 of your 20 employees print three documents a day, the network will save you $30 a day or $7500 a year - just on printing. * You can share printers, fax machines and modems if you have a network. By installing one, you save the cost of spending another $1200 laser printer or plain paper fax machine. * Your customer service reps can take orders at least twice as quickly by using a centrally-located database as they can the old-fashioned manual way while eliminating the need to hire more reps as your business grows. The idea is to have growth equate with prosperity rather than increased expenses.

Who do you network with? That's the right question and here's the right answer: You network with anyone who can empower your business while becoming more empowered themselves. I don't love using such a New Age word but it's the right word to describe what computers do for small business. Connecting to a network should always be a win- win-win situation with you winning, your network member winning and your customer gaining because you have collaborated.

That means you'll probably connect with some or all of your co-workers or employees, that your network may also include some or all of your customers, and that it might also hook up with people who provide services for you. Guerrillas are always on the lookout for fusion marketing partners, other businesses that share the same kind of prospects. When you're seeing a TV commercial for a soft drink that suddenly becomes a fast food spot and ends up plugging the latest Disney movie, you're seeing fusion marketing as it's practiced by bigtime guerrillas.

But most fusion marketing occurs on a much smaller level - with companies connecting for the mutual benefit of their customers. They share the costs of marketing while increasing their exposure. The Internet has given rise to even more fusion marketing as businesses of all sizes link to each other with the common goal of improving customer service and communication. Usually, the companies linking together share the same kind of prospects and have the same standards. One thing they certainly do have in common is an awareness of the need for allies.

What every business needs Every business needs allies. No matter what business you're in, you should be able to find allies in related businesses online, and joining forces can increase marketing presence for all of you. For example, you and another web site operator can agree to exchange links or to feature one another's information on your sites. Or you can plan joint promotions or contests where each of several businesses devotes time, money, or merchandise in exchange for a sponsorship notice. Think about other businesses that are seeking the same customers that you seek, then contact those businesses about how you can work together to boost your online marketing punch.

Stop being so technical Although guerrilla businesses enjoy the abundant benefits of computer networking and continue to discover even more advantages to being in ten places at once, they never neglect the more high-touch form of personal networking. They attend gatherings of their peers and distinguish themselves by the number of questions they ask, speaking rarely of themselves and frequently of those they're meeting.

Their antenna are attuned to collaborative opportunities. They gauge their success at the networking function not by how many business cards they handed out, but by how many potential fusion business opportunities they spotted. They are in a permanent quest to enlarge their network. They're well aware that there's a movement afoot called "collaborative entrepreneurship," and they know that means networks. Small businesses are working with other small businesses, with large companies, with buyers, sellers and a wide assortment of allied businesses to share talent, technology and capital, not to mention information.

Potential members of your network if you're thinking high-tech, are your employees and co-workers, perhaps your key customers and suppliers, and possibly a few outside businesses. Potential members of your high-touch network include: competitors far away from you, competitors who are nearby, fellow entrepreneurs in or out of your community, investors, lenders, landlords, and online businesses.

What you can share You can share hardware and software with members of your computer network. You can share databases and files. With members of your high-touch network, you can share plans, technology, management skills, customer service, workspace, purchasing power, marketing and information.

These alliances should be entered into with the idea of being temporary rather than permanent. Their sole purposes should be mutual profits and increase customer satisfaction. If the arrangement works out for a single project or for one year, it should be extended. Perhaps some of these businesses will later hook up to your high-tech network. Possibly you'll connect to theirs.

Thinking collaboration The important thing for you to be doing is thinking in terms of collaborating rather than going it alone. Whether you're collaborating with employees or other businesses, you'll see why being a rugged individualist is no longer where it's at. You'll tap into the power of collaborative efforts for many aspects of your business and quickly learn why it is being increasingly recognized as the foundation for entrepreneurial success.

Connecting with others has never been as inexpensive, as simple and as well- advised. It has existed for a long time - for when Thomas Edison talked about his new filaments with the Corning Glass Company and the light bulb was born - that was pure collaboration and cooperation.

But it has taken a quantum leap during the past decade and that's just for openers. Not only do entrepreneurs realize the benefits they derive by connecting with others, but technology has made it possible for them to do the connecting in a more expedient manner than ever before. They can be a small business in reality, but act like a big business in practice - collaborating with others all over the world - to the delight of their customers and their accountants.

Computers, the Internet, and networking Remember when you first started reading about personal computers and then you saw that the media began running stories about them every day and all over the place? Remember when the exact same thing happened with the Internet? Well, the same thing is happening right now with networking. It is rapidly becoming identified in both its high-tech and high-touch forms as the hallmark of our interdependent future.

It's happening and if you're not letting it happen in your business, you're not listening to the music.

Collaboration, cooperation, partnering, co-marketing, fusion, tying in, jointly promoting - the idea of teaming up with others has many names. But the spirit was inadvertently captured in music by The Beatles when they sang "With a Little Help from My Friends." --------------------------------------------------------------------------------


America at Work: Guerrilla Marketing With a Secret Weapon really is an interactive book, the first of its kind. How can you participate? E-mail us your questions or comments about the topic addressed in the chapter, and Jay Conrad Levinson will answer your e-mail and include the best in the final hard copy version of this book. So ask a question, make an observation, contribute to our knowledge, and perhaps see your name in print! The entrepreneurs of the world want to hear from you.

SUBMITTING A QUESTION: * Send mail to with the phrase "Question for Jay" in the subject line. Type your question or comment in the body of the message. Some questions and comments will be selected for posting on the Microsoft Smallbiz Web site. * Your question should relate to the topic addressed in the current month's chapter. * By submitting a question or comment, you are agreeing to give Microsoft Corporation and/or Jay Conrad Levinson rights to reproduce or publish your question or comment, in whole or in part, edited or unedited, in any media they deem appropriate. Microsoft and/or Jay Conrad Levinson are not responsible for submissions not included in the finished book or on the Web site, and by submitting a question you are agreeing to release Microsoft, Jay Conrad Levinson, and their agents from any liability to you or your company arising out of any use or uses of the submitted question or comment. * The information provided in the chapter and in the question and answer postings is for informational purposes only. Microsoft makes no warranties, express or implied, in this summary.



Guerrillas know that the rainbow leading to the pot of gold heads through cyberspace. They realize that the Internet is not only an information superhighway but also a communication, commercial and recreation superhighway. It's a new medium of marketing, easily the most comprehensive ever devised, beneficial to buyer and seller.

Almost daily, the Internet is gaining acceptance, clarity, and accessibility, making it a boon for online commerce to those who head onto that superhighway facing in the right direction and who know the rules of the road. It has never been as simple to do as it is now, and when once there weren't any rules, new ones are being created, and guerrillas are using them as guideposts to profitability.

Easy and easier

Guerrillas know there is a major difference between using the Internet, which is quite easy to do, and abusing the Internet, which is even easier to do. For proof, just check the junk mail in your emailbox or surf the web and see how many websites are speaking to nobody in particular.

The single biggest key to success on the Internet is to understand marketing and how the Internet fits into marketing. Marketing on the Internet is only one weapon of marketing and it must be combined with other weapons to be a winner. The guerrilla at the controls must see how the Net fits into the whole marketing picture, then unleash a full-scale marketing program. The Internet is merely the biggest breakthrough in the history of marketing, but it is not marketing itself.

If you intend to use it to market your offerings, as I advise you to and predict you will, I hope you see it in the context of your prospects' lives. One thing that they exceptionally love is learning and one thing that the Internet does exceptionally well is provide stuff to learn.

What I do for a living

One morning I woke up and realized that I switched careers without even noticing it. When I went to sleep, I was a writer and speaker, but when I awoke and read the daily newspaper, it occurred to me that in the current era what I really am is a content provider. I provide content in the form of talks, seminars, books, columns, articles, and online chat sessions and web pieces. And it dawned on me that being a content provider in an age when information is currency was a good thing.

I'm still in awe of how the Net makes for a more efficient world. I've mined its treasures for only four years and so I'm still discovering on a regular basis the wonders it holds for my family and me. It is with great restraint that I attempt to limit this chapter solely to the use of the Internet to beautify your bank account. When I see my wife spend untold hours online viewing art from the Louvres, I know it has zilch to do with anybody's bank account.

I know that the treasures online are abundant and astonishingly all-inclusive. But this site is about America at work and not at play or school or anything else, so I'll stick to my cyberknitting, which is helping you market on the Net with aplomb.

What you do for a living

If you're counting on a web site to contribute to your revenue and you don't see yourself as a content provider, you should rethink that part of yourself. No matter how you market online, underneath it all, you are providing content. The more that content can be of benefit to your prospects, the better you'll thrive online.

Guerrillas who wish to market on the Internet realize that of the myriad of marketing weapons this medium makes available to them-storefronts, newsgroups, chat rooms, email, classified sections, search engines, directories-web sites are only one.

The new way of the new world

The world is learning to buy things in a new way and going to web sites is that new way. I buy a new car every 25 years like clockwork and decided to buy my last car strictly using the web - just to see if it really could be done. I accessed many web sites and read the brochures. I checked the recommendations of magazines such as"Car and Driver," "Road and Track" and "Consumer Reports." After picking the make and model that appeared best, I did my price shopping online.

Amazingly, everything worked. The experience was pleasant. I was never put under pressure. The car was great. The price was dynamite. The process took a fraction of the time that old-fashioned car shopping would. And I made a very informed decision. I know that it took 40 years for the zipper to go from being invented and patented to being understood and used. I don't think it will take that long for online commerce to hit its peak.

Getting better all the time I also think the Internet has been under-hyped if anything. The best is yet to come. The best has yet to be discovered, for the Internet is still in its infancy. It continues to improve almost daily, adding substance and style, simplicity and speed.

In some parts of the world online subscriptions are growing at the rate of 20 percent per month. There is an innovation in digital technology that is copyrighted every three seconds. More than half of the revenues earned by Silicon Valley technology companies now come from products that didn't exist two years ago.

In l996, for the first time ever, PC sales were higher than TV sales and there was more email-177 billion pieces-than snail mail-a piddling 157 billion pieces. Perhaps most startling of all, there are now more computer literate first graders in the world than computer literate first-grade teachers. Those first graders are growing up in a neighborhood that includes the Internet. They are very comfortable in its environment and comfort is one of the first things you should seek as well.

The companies that will fare best on the Internet during the coming century are those which are gaining the most intimacy with it during the present century.

What guerrillas know They know even without any training at all they can create their own website, then post that site on the web. Remarkably easy-to-use software now makes this possible. Even small and start-up guerrillas can afford it, so their sites can wow every surfer in sight and open the door to the cybervault. The combination that opens it is a powerful offer, a truly desirable benefit, the credibility that comes with a professional online presentation, and speedy response time.

Guerrillas remember that time is far more important than money and that online visitors don't want you to waste theirs. Their sites don't overuse glitz and techno- gimmicks to attract viewers. They don't squander their guests' time by asking them to consume precious time downloading unnecessary images. Even as the speed of data transmission gets faster each year, time will continue growing in value.

Content rules The key to the online kingdom is content. Juicy, exclusive, valuable content will bring in the viewers the first time then bring them back for more of the same. Guerrilla content is heavy with text and laden with subheads for easy digestion while reading or scrolling, on a screen or piece of paper.

It provides information the competitors' websites isn't providing-both in quality and quantity. It changes regularly. It is fresh and new, appealing not to the world but to your target prospects. It demonstrates a noble purpose of marketing by offering them data that can help them succeed at their job-whether it's making money, attracting a mate, enjoying a holiday or losing weight. People using the Internet aren't really as interested in you as they are in learning. Content teaches and that's why it reigns supreme in online marketing.

A session and not a thing From the very start, get used to seeing your website not through your own eyes but through those of a prospect. Using the Internet without abusing it is viewing that website not as a thing but as a session. That means every session should be different from every other session, yet each one must be directed right at your target audience, providing them with information that can propel them to their own goals. The more interactivity your site offers, the better.

Make emailing ultra easy. Ask questions. Allow space for answers. Solicit comments. Hold polls. Ask for opinions. Request advice. Put the ball in your prospect's court.

Make certain that your website content connects closely with the specific purpose of your marketing and your marketing theme. Your site is both the voice of your company as well as a conduit for individual service. Think of it as the display windows to your department store, so put exciting new things there continuously to motivate shoppers to come back for another session.

Out of control in cyberspace Maybe you can ski down a mountain on two random pieces of wood, but you'll do it with far more control using equipment designed especially to get you down that mountain safely and effectively. No matter how computer savvy you may be, you don't want to be out of control in the new world of the Internet. Software has been designed especially to get you online safely and effectively. It prevents you from overlooking important details while giving wings to your creativity, providing you with momentum and confidence in cyberspace.

If you really want to perform your own brain surgery, feel free to experiment, but if you're going to market on the Internet, the hands-on, in-control, understanding-by- doing software of the day is mandatory armament.

Launching is just the start The day your launch your website is Day One. From Day One you've got to make your site better and publicize it online and offline. That's when you prove to your visitors that your content does stay fresh and that your response time to email is less than 24 hours.

Guerrillas actually plan the freshening of their sites when they plan their launch. Their goal is to make their sites increase in value consistently. They know that content increases value, making their task very clear.

Who better to entice to your site than a person who already knows where it is? So guerrillas encourage regular visits and make it easy for people to make return trips. To lure them back, guerrillas promise new things, then live up to those promises, even exceed them. For example, I might promise 10 new guerrilla marketing weapons to be unveiled and then unveil 20.

Responding is the heart When a prospect visits your website, regardless of how good it looks, that prospect is not made to feel singled out or unique. But when he or she sends you an email and you respond instantly, then the prospect feels special. He knows he's receiving individual service and feels, on a deeper level, that he'll be treated by you like an individual and not a member of a group.

Guerrillas know well that of the millions of people on the Internet, only a teeny-tiny number takes the time and trouble to write. So the guerrillas always and instantly take the time and trouble to respond. If they're too busy, they have designated someone else to do it.

Rapid and certain response may be the single most important factor in building a loyal customer base. Plan at the outset how you'll arrange for speedy communications to ensure that you'll succeed at marketing online

Not linking is not thinking The moment you launch your site you should be fine-tuning your radar for fusion marketing opportunities - connecting with others to spread the marketing word while sharing the marketing investment. Free links, traded links and small-fee links can make you marketing partners with businesses around the corner and around the world.

Specialized newsgroups and forums can provide a ready-made audience for your products and services. As you converse with these people in one-on-one situations in chats or email, attach a four-line Internet signature of your very own. The four lines after your name include your website, email address, phone and fax number.

Your job in finding links is to locate businesses that share the same kind of prospects as you, the same kind of standards, and the same kind of enthusiasm about marketing. Each is a potential gateway to your site, and gateways mean visitors. Surely you can support each other online, but you also might benefit from teaming up offline or with a computer network. Alliances with the goal of profits for all are springing up all over the world, and no more fertile ground for them exists than online.

Going online? Think offline The moment you go online is the moment you should be thinking of how to promote that site offline. Far more people reside offline than online, even the on-liners, and so you've got to build awareness of your site in the mass media of radio, TV, newspaper and magazines as well as in direct mailings, with signs, and in directories.

Add your website address to your business cards, letterhead, brochures, fliers, anywhere that you'd list your phone number or address. Affix it to envelopes, invoices, catalogs, postcards, Yellow Page ads, press releases and newsletters. More than one company has created a radio and TV jingle using their website as the words to the jingle. Even if you rarely advertise, you'll be able to generate awareness of your website with traditional ads.

What proud new parents do Announce your new creation to the world. It's a website! Just as you'd notify potential and current clients of a change of address, you ought to announce your new web page with a special mailer. Send formal announcements to your customer base and your referral sources. Send postcard mailers to your prospects. It's a new world that you live in online and you want to share it with others.

You can reach many top-drawer prospects in schools, in clubs, in businesses, and throughout your community. Guerrillas talk about their area of expertise while making presentations to these groups because they're cost-free, fertile forums for disseminating website addresses as well as establishing authority and credibility.

Your offline world teems with people who would love to know where to find you online. To what groups do they belong? What newspapers do they read? To which magazines do they subscribe? What trade shows do they attend? What do they have in common? Your answers to these questions will lead you to the right offline media in which to promote your website.

Bad PR and how to get it An easy way to make a lot of enemies in hurry is to announce a website that is not entirely up and running, that is currently still under construction, or that has nearly as many bugs as an Amazon rainforest. The thing to do to avoid such a situation is to do a mailing to your best friends and associates announcing your site.

Encourage them to order without risk so you can see any bad things about your site before the general public finds out. Make your mistakes with your best friends because they'll understand. Forewarn them that they'll be guinea pigs. You don't want your first customers to be these critters.

Guerrilla retailers wouldn't dream of having a grand opening until their stores have been open at least a month so they can work out the kinks. The same should be true of your website. Get it up. Get it running. Get it up to speed. Debug it. Then let the world know about it.

Guerrilla marketing online basic training * Know how to communicate. That means spelling correctly, punctuating properly, being concise, getting to the point and using language skillfully. * Get to know the territory. The terrain is unfamiliar in cyberspace, so learn how to get comfortable in forums, newsgroups, conferences, chat sessions, classified ad sections, web sites and electronic publications. These will be your battlefields; you don't want them to be minefields. * Don't attack wearing a blindfold. Before you launch your online presence, know how to handle email-sending, reading, replying to it, forwarding, printing and saving it. Learn how to post messages to forums and newsgroups, how to reply to somebody else's message, and how to upload to a forum library. These activities should be second nature to you before you launch so that you don't have to think about them in the heat of battle. * Be aggressive. You are invisible in the online world and you'll remain that way until you start participating. Your job is to participate in discussion groups, post announcements, publish articles of value, hold conferences, seek out listings in online directories, search for linking partners, get some action going on your website. Your presence must be consistently maintained with new articles, fresh promotions, and even real-time discussion sessions right at your site. * Pay close attention. Visit your own site regularly and respond within 24 hours to all requests emailed to your site. Check the position of your classified ad to be sure it's still near the top of the message list where it's most likely to be read. Keep posting messages to forums and newsgroups and continue to see if there are replies to them. Order from yourself once in a while to make sure the machinery is well oiled. * Personalize as much as you can. Even though guerrillas use automatic responding technology that allows their computers to send email automatically to people who mention a specific word or phrase in their own email, the powers of cyberspace smile upon those who personalize each message. Guerrillas do all in their power to establish warm, human bonds. * Follow up with tenacity. In the darkness of cyberspace, it's easy to get lost, and prospects forget lightning fast. Once guerrillas establish contact, they knock themselves out to maintain it. They do this with order confirmation, emailed thank-yous, bimonthly or quarterly email follow-up mailings, brochures, catalogs, and anything else customers might find helpful. Being guerrillas, they care about ongoing relationships much more than quick one-time sales. * Know what customers love to read about. They do not love to read about you. They do love to read about their dreams, their problems, the solutions you can provide to their problems and the benefits you can bestow upon them, any information that is of value to them. They are spending more and more time on their computer and are growing more and more open to online commerce. * Realize what makes online commerce so special. It's not the technology. It's not merely the speed and the convenience. As with any kind of commerce, it's the strength of your offer. If it's extraordinary, online commerce will do wonders for you. If it is ordinary, all the technology in the world won't help. You still must find an appealing way to offer value while inspiring confidence. If marketing your offering would work offline, marketing it online will speed you even faster to success. And if it sells in Keokuk, there's a good chance it will sell in Kuala Lumpur.

The weekly surf If you want the best education possible about the Internet, find it with a one-hour weekly surf through the Net. Look for anything and be prepared for everything. Find yourself and find your competitors. Check their websites as closely as your check your own and be certain to check your own.

Be on the alert for great ideas as well as terrible ideas, knowing you'll learn from both. This regular surfing session will keep you abreast of what's happening and what can happen, as-well-as keeping you one step ahead, which is exactly where your prospects hope you'll be. Guerrillas are inherently curious, but in cyberspace, their exploring instinct is turned up even higher because they know their audience loves new things.

Willie Sutton said he robbed banks because that was where the money was. Guerrilla marketers go online because more and more, that's where the customers are. Online guerrillas reach hundreds, thousands, or even tens of thousands of potential customers by spending a few hundred dollars a month or less. They are able to zero in on their customers and market to them in a brand new, much better way than they ever could before.

Many companies already say that the Internet contributes to their profitability. Many more businesses will make fortunes using the Internet in the year 2000 and beyond. I can tell you right now which ones they will be: they'll be the guerrillas who learned how to get the most from the Internet right now.


Chapter 9: Ten technologies that can deliver high returns

Even more noteworthy is that the investment is lower and yet the profits are higher. Technology gets the credit. Technology and sanity.

There are new forms of non-technical high-return marketing these days, including rewarding customers and wooing prospects in luxury box seats at professional sporting events. There's also the remarkably high- return marketing employed by guerrillas who speak free-of-charge at clubs and win new customers with their expertise, warmth, and apparent generosity with their time.

A vast and inviting array

But because the array of high-tech marketing methods for small businesses is so vast and inviting, I'm focusing this chapter on those methods. High-tech marketing is both new and economical. I hope you'll consider all the ways you can leverage technology and use as many as make sense for your business.

Not unlike the mountain climber who scales the high peak because it's there, you can enlist the aid of high- tech marketing because it's there, because you can, and because it can propel you to high peaks of profit.

I know at least ten ways that technology can boost your profitability. And I'm realizing that nine of these ways didn't exist as I was starting my marketing career, and that everyone was oblivious of the tenth- faxing.

One of these ten methods of high-tech high-return marketing provides a juicy arsenal of 27 guerrilla- marketing weapons that you can employ. It's one thing to be able to employ them. It's something completely different to actually get them going for you. And it's a different ballgame altogether if you employ a multitude of these weapons.

But if you're a guerrilla you will.

Guerrilla pondering

Technology now provides so many avenues for marketing a small business that merely pondering the options establishes the momentum for traveling to where they lead. If you realize that with the right software you can create gift certificates in your office you might open your mind to offering them to your prospects and customers. If you discover the excitement and the instant rush of marketing in online conferences you might add them to your existing marketing program.

Easy to be a nerd

Recent developments in technology now enable you to employ high-powered marketing tactics and techniques that were beyond your reach only a short time ago. They were too complex, too expensive, or filled with too many bugs. Now the bugs are gone; well, not all of them but nearly all. Prices have dropped dramatically and technology is now an equal-IQ-opportunity. It's easier to use than ever, as the people who design the equipment and write the user-manuals seem to have increased in intelligence. Either they have or the entire planet has-because you don't need training to be a nerd.

Many of the rules have been changed by easy-tech: you don't have to be an artist to be creative; you don't have to be a marketing genius to market with genius. You don't have to be near people to closely connect with them; you don't have to have a publisher to be published. You don't even have to be a big business to earn profits like one.

Technology gives small businesses the chance to market aggressively without spending aggressively, to profit lavishly without risking foolishly.

Setting the stage for high returns

High-tech high-return marketing begins with a low-tech high-sanity mindset. That means understanding that technology must fit into your marketing and not the other way around.

Technology left on its own can be a wild beast that can destroy you if you're not in control. So you start by being in control, you stay in control, and you maintain control, never turning the entire process over to technology. You're the boss and technology is the employee.

Where guerrilla technology begins

Guerrilla technology begins with insight into where low-tech touches high-tech. It happens inside your head when you see the two as compatible and mutually assisting if the low-tech is in charge. Somebody has to be in charge and it probably shouldn't be a machine. That's why, to get off to the best start withtechnology, you don't begin with technology. * Begin with a marketing plan and calendar so that you know where you're going and how you'll get there. Technology will be part of that plan and will help produce many of the marketing weapons on your calendar, but it requires that you to call the shots. You do that with a plan and calendar.

* Consider giving things away for free. Because you are living in the center of the information age it's now possible to give away a great deal of valuable information that will help your prospects and put the hint of a grin on your accountant's face.

* Remember that confidence in the seller is the prime attraction to the buyer and that you need credibility to earn that confidence. Marketing and communications materials with a professional appearance give you the credibility you need. Plus you can now create these materials without paying the price that this credibility formerly cost.

* As they become more interdependent and willing to network, small businesses receive useful assistance through fusion marketing arrangements. Technology makes it easier than ever to connect, share leads, co-market, share in the rendering of services, and achieve new profits together.

* Follow-up is now so easy that it's mandatory if you're serious about turning a consistent profit. Technology helps you both save the names of those with whom you do business and stay in touch with them so they know you care. When you do, they'll be more likely to do business with you for the long haul. Other benefits of customer follow-up include referral business, testimonials, and customer data.


Armed with the momentum granted by standing still a moment, you're now ready to proceed. You will investigate the ten ways that technology can help you satisfy your current customers, convert prospects into customers, energize your profits, and accomplish the equally noble goals of saving time while being a lot more fun than old-fashioned work.

Are there only ten ways? Of course not. The number is closer to ten times ten, but because we're all so busy these days, I've whittled it down to ten. Not only that, I've counted the Internet four times because it serves guerrilla marketers in at least four ways. And I haven't counted many technological breakthroughs because they're not involved enough with marketing. I haven't included a video brochure for although it is high-tech, it is not necessarily a do-it-yourself technology as these others are. Hey, I know it's an arbitrary list, but it can put you over the top.

I wonder if anyone ever compiled a list of the ten ways that fire can benefit mankind or ten ways that the wheel is cool. I doubt it, but still, here I am, elaborating on the glories of technology helping small business -- just in case you hadn't noticed. Keep in mind that your competitors are noticing and your job is to notice more than they do. Here are the ten high-tech high-return marketing technologies to notice: * Teeming databases filled with the names of your customers and prospects, along with a wealth of information about each of them. These databases are some of the best examples of technology in marketing. Stored client information allows you to establish lasting relationships of mutual value. If you don't have a computer you can, and should, keep the same kind of information in longhand .

* The Internet with e-mail for communication because the speed and convenience allows businesses to be of better service to their customers and to themselves. You can mail to multitudes with the same ease and simplicity of mailing to one. Although we are in the information age we are also in the timesaving age-and e-mail is a means of living in both ages at the same time-or else. If you don't have an e-mail address, expect your prospects and customers to find someone who does. Consumers are buying things in a new way-that new way is the Internet.

* The Internet for access to data. The Internet is an information super-library that's bigger every minute, more valuable every hour, better every day, and easier to navigate every week. Given the high value of information and the ease with which the Internet makes it available, a business operating without this particular library card is like a warrior battling with one hand tied behind his back. You can learn from your industry, take a peek into the sites of competitors, obtain up-to-the-moment information from around the world, and stay in tune with change and history as it happens.

* The Internet for access to people. Access to people is why the Internet is a communications superhighway. E-mail is just one way people communicate, one way to get in touch with people online. You can also connect with them in real-time chat situations for some of the most valuable and instant research ever available. Real-time chatting is a powerful marketing tool whether in a one-on- one chat or a large online conference. Additionally, you can reach people through common-interest groups online. Simply post messages at no cost and if your interest dovetails with theirs, they'll probably be delighted to hear from you. You can also write and publish your own online column, demonstrating how good your business is by the quality of your information, then showing people how to contact you. There are about 50 million people on the Internet now. That's a lot of people you can access.

* The Internet for Web marketing may be the most profit producing of all the ten technologies because people are beginning to look to the Web for the things they want to buy. As they learned to use the Yellow Pages in the past, they're now learning to use the Internet to search for the best values in the world-or in their community. To guerrillas, this represents a stupendous opportunity to reach targeted prospects who make their presence known by visiting a guerrilla's Web site. It's the right time to give the site visitor loads of things to help them succeed. Marketing is highly successful when the creators view the effort as a chance to help their prospects succeed with a selected goal-earning money, losing weight, finding love, eliminating termites. A winning Web site is filled with good information, invites interaction, and stays fresh all the time.

* A computer for producing marketing materials would include a scanner and color laser printer, long with software that makes producing top-flight marketing weapons a simple and nearly joyous task. I say joyous because it's a whale of a lot of fun to produce highly creative marketing tools after thinking half your life that you didn't have a creative bone in your body.

There are many guerrilla-marketing weapons that may be produced in your office with your computer. The process of guerrilla marketing is to consider all these weapons, utilize many of them, keep careful track of those that are contributing the most to your bottom line, then eliminate the losers and double up on the winners.

Some of these marketing vehicles are musts, such as business cards and envelopes, while others are enticing options, like multimedia presentations and frequent-buyer club ID cards. Open your mind wide and say, "ahhhh," as you contemplate the new arenas in which a computer will allow you to operate: Newsletters-Good ones are mailed to customers and prospects on a regular basis (at least quarterly) and follow the rule of 75-25. That is, 75% of the newsletter provides information of worth and value and 25% of the space is dedicated to the sale of your products or services, and those of your fusion partners.

Flyers-These should be considered and written as all headlines because you've got to make your point quickly or not at all. Also known as circulars, you can distribute flyers in a variety of ways: by posting them as signs, including them in orders, and giving them to your fusion-marketing partners to distribute for you-just as you distribute theirs.

Direct mail letters-You can keep these in your computer, ready to update and personalize at the drop of a beanie. Smart businesses don't write letters the moment they're needed, but instead have an inventory of proven-in-action marketing letters in their computers ready to print and mail.

Postcards-As much as I believe in the power of direct mail, I admit to favoring postcards because they remove from the recipient any decision to open an envelope. In standard size or oversize six-by nine-inch format, color postcards are potent door openers.

Letterheads-Guerrilla businesses have a clear identity that is communicated in their marketing and in their stationery. They're able to produce high-quality stationery at very economical prices using their computer, lowering the cost of doing business while increasing their professional appearance.

Envelopes-Computers enable small businesses to not only design and produce envelopes that carry forth the business identity, but also assure the identity is consistent with other marketing materials.. Guerrillas experiment with paper colors to improve response rates and always make sure their Web site address appears on the envelope.

Business cards-Guerrilla business cards have a personal name, company name, title, address, phone number, fax number, e-mail address, Web site address, logo, theme line, and open to reveal a list of products and services or business-relationship benefits.

Invoices-These aren't boring business forms when they're created a guerrilla marketer. The guerrilla marketer recognizes that invoices are marketing opportunities and consequently prints valuable information, in addition to the standard names and numbers, on each invoice.

Purchase order forms-Computers allow guerrillas not only to produce their own PO forms but turn them into semi-brochures by marketing related products and services. All standard office forms are created by guerrillas and transformed into forms plus marketing tools.

Brochures-These are high-powered weapons in the hands of guerrillas who realize brochures are perfect forums for including all the details of a business's offerings. Guerrillas are so proud of the brochures they create that they frequently incorporate the brochures in their other marketing, then send the brochure with a personal note, thanking the person for the request. That personal note coupled with follow-up within a week, results in many brochure-requesters converting to customers.

Catalogs-I know the catalogs you get in the mail are glossy, thick, and expensive but yours don't have to be , and they especially don't have to be expensive. Growing numbers of business are enjoying increased revenues through catalog sales and now those catalogs are so easy and inexpensive to design and produce, perhaps you should give thought to producing one as well.

Invitations-Guerrillas love to play favorites, their favorites being their best customers. Guerrillas have private sales, parties, and special events, and they print handsome invitations to these gatherings with their computers. It's not quite like printing their own money but some small business owners feel that it comes quite close.

Gift certificates-People are often on the lookout for gift ideas and your suggestion of a gift certificate might be just the ticket. The cost to print a sign that reads, "Ask about our gift certificates," or to add that line to an ad, Web site, or brochure, is minimal-but the gift certificate can become a whole new profit-center. Once again, printing these feels like printing cash.

Coupons-With the aid of computers, you can print coupons that offer discounts, free merchandise, free services, almost anything to intensify desire for your product. Often, a person who is on the fence will leap off and onto your customer list if motivated by a coupon, especially one with a sense of urgency implanted by a cut-off date.

Contest entry forms-Many smart small businesses hold contests in order to acquire names for their mailing lists. Retailers place the entry boxes in the rear of their store, forcing entrants to pass the store's merchandise in order to enter the contest. Computers enable the business-owner to design and produce very tempting entry forms.

Club ID cards-Increasing numbers of guerrilla marketers are forming frequent-buyer clubs or VIP-customer clubs, then sealing the relationship with members by means of an attractive club identification card. Savvy marketers even print member diplomas.

Greeting cards-Few members of society seem to be as nostalgic as guerrillas. These savvy business-owners always seem to have a ready supply of in-house created cards. They celebrate customer relationship-anniversaries, send thank-you cards, holiday cards, birthday cards, you- name-it cards, because they've learned that the personal bond strengthens the business bond. Cards are printed by computer and signed by hand with a brief personal note.

Press releases-Savvy entrepreneurs have learned that when it comes to PR, the media needs them as much as they need the media. Computer-generated press release forms present news in a format that the media appreciate, and often result in business-owners obtaining much-appreciated free publicity.

Signs-Because so many cities and towns now have community bulletin boards, guerrillas are certain to have their signs posted on those boards constantly. Guerrillas realize this increasingly popular way to market is an economical means of reaching prime prospects.

Point-of-purchase materials-Because guerrillas know that nearly three-quarters of purchase decisions are made right at the place of purchase, they are quick to produce POP materials that tie in with their other marketing and generate impulse-buy decisions.

Trade show materials-Guerrillas know that trade shows represent the second largest marketing expenditure in the nation (trailing only magazine ads) and that trade show expenses account for 18% of marketing budgets. So marketers create, design, and produce compelling graphic presentations of their sales stories, in a variety of formats, strictly for use at trade shows.

Audio-visual aids-Top marketers know that points made to the eye are 78% more effective than points made to the ear - so they prepare audio-visual support for their presentations. These take the form of diagrams, before-and-after photos, illustrations, the product in use-almost anything that can help prospects understand how they benefit by purchasing. The marketers enlist the aid of computers to produce these weapons.

Flipcharts-These versatile marketing weapons have audio-visual aids built in, present a sales story with an order and a flow, and are powerful sale-closers even in the hands of a non- salesperson. Flipcharts are flexible, portable, and now, more economical than ever.

Research questionnaires-The most sage of all guerrillas prepare these at the outset of their marketing program so they can compile gobs of significant data about their customers- empowering future efforts at finding people who fit their customer profile. Computers not only design and print the questionnaires but also help store and analyze the data.

Books and booklets-People seem to trust published writers and that's why many small business owners write and self-publish their own booklets and books. I did. I didn't have a computer to make it fast, inexpensive, and simple; still, it worked out exceptionally well for me. However, your computer can deliver those benefits, so everything ought to work out even better for you.

Proposals-It's at proposal time that the rubber meets the road and a professional presentation of your benefits will pay off the most. Computer-produced proposals add credibility, visibility, and excitability while instilling a confidence that is beyond any price tag.

Multi-media presentations-What were once complicated, troublesome, high-powered, and glamorous are now simple, hassle-free, high-powered, and glamorous. Multimedia presentations, once viewed as invitations to disaster, are now seen as requisites for successful presentations. Such presentations allow you to demonstrate clearly the benefits your business offers while proving beyond words that you're comfortable with technology. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

* A computer for networking gives you invaluable opportunities to share, enlist the aid of others, fusion market, and team-up with others not near you. When you share by networking you reduce costs, increase productivity, improve customer service, decrease paperwork, save time, increase efficiency, eliminate meeting time, and gain flexibility.

* A fax for communicating is still essential. Although email is becoming more and more popular and has already surpassed "snail mail" in usage, the primary method of business communications in today's offices remains the facsimile machine. It enables you to transmit documents and graphics in what used to seem like an instant, but compared with the speed of email, seems like an eon.

* Fax-on-demand is the ideal marketing technology in an age in which, for many people, instant gratification is not quite fast enough. These people want to call your toll-free number and receive a fax of your brochure, price list, or something before they hang up. You'd better be prepared to serve them because they know their time is too valuable to waste.

* Cellular telephones enable you to stay in touch with associates and customers, and combination cellular phones/pagers/two-way radios that grant you access to the Internet increase your connectivity. This technology is a boon to you if your business depends on superlative customer service.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Although the ten technologies we've just examined offer priceless results, they are not high-priced technologies. Always keep in the forefront of your mind that whether or not you embrace them, there's a very good chance that your competitors will.

Even when you've made these technologies valued members of your marketing team, keep your eyes peeled for new technologies that will add oomph to your marketing. They're coming down the techno-pike a mile a minute, dropping in price as they arrive. They're sure to come. They always do. Some people ignore them. Others are frightened by them. Guerrillas are fascinated by them.

There will a direct correlation between your fascination with the beauty of these technologies and your fascination with the beauty of your bottom line.



by Jay Conrad Levinson

THE GLOWING FUTURE OF SMALL BUSINESS Around 4000 years ago, when the whole idea of individual enterprise began to spread like wildfire across the planet, all businesses were small businesses. Some wanted to remain small businesses; others wanted to become big businesses; many were happy just to stay in business; all were limited by the technology of the day.

From 2000 BC until nearly 2000 AD, a lot of well-managed, right-thinking small businesses have either failed or achieved only a percentage of their true potential. They did their best and certainly can not be faulted. But these businesses fell woefully short of their true capabilities.

* The incredible explosion

There was an incredible explosion as the 20th century drew to a close. It was the technology explosion, and it's still happening.

Sure, there was technology in the 19th century, and it brought about the industrial revolution. But in the late 20th century there's been a quantum leap in technology, and instead of favoring huge companies with mass production capabilities, it's helping small businesses unleash their full potential, dramatically increase their profits, and provide their customers with unsurpassed excellence of product and service.

Through the millennia the rules changed as we evolved. But they're changing more now than they ever have before because technology is coming of age, and all the research and development of the mid-20th century is paying off big-time, as dreams transform into realities. Small businesses are now made limitless by the technology of the day.

The explosive growth of small business has resulted in government and large business becoming more accommodating to small businesses, illuminating their futures with promise as never before. The small business explosion was set off, then magnified, by many revolutions going on at once.

Revolutions all around us

Small business has everything going for it, as the world, especially the United States, is smack dab in the middle of at least ten revolutions. Far more than ten are occurring now, including revolutions in medicine, space exploration, and transportation; but the future of small business is impacted by ten in particular:

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------- * The technology revolution, also known as the digital or wireless or computer revolution, provides the Davids of the world with high-tech slingshots with which to do battle against the Goliaths. Entrepreneurs, with the power of Mother Nature and Father Time, now run mom and pop operations. The best location in town, the Internet, is affordable for one and all. How long will this revolution continue? Forever is a good guess. If you've got a small business, congratulations on your timing.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------- * The time revolution is one in which not only everyone has a new awareness of time, but more importantly, an awareness of how rare and precious it is. Ironically, as people tune in to the scarcity of time, they are realizing its scarcity, as workweeks increase and leisure time decreases. The future of small business is one that grants more time, thanks to the combination of two revolutions: the technology revolution that enables us to save time, and the time revolution that places a higher value on that saved time.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------- * The psychology revolution allows us to discard unproven notions about people and adjust our society to those ideas that have been proven. New findings about human behavior are constantly reported to the public and the public is responding with a new sense of self-awareness, a striving towards self-improvement, a self-esteem that motivates toward more education, better learning, greater skills, and a more evolved attitude. We are learning why people buy, why they don't buy, what business practices turn them off, and which turn them on.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------- * The information revolution is one that gets much press these days. That's because there is a greater wealth of information than ever, because information continues to increase exponentially, and because information is now accessible to more people than ever. The Internet, still a baby, is the greatest source of information in history. The babies of today are learning how to use the Internet to gain access to that data, and their teachers are learning to use the Internet to teach more effectively.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------- * The relationship revolution has already started and will continue well into the next century if, indeed, it ever ends. Warm relationships are being established not only in romantic couplings, but also in personal relationships between businesses and customers, businesses and suppliers, businesses and employees, businesses and other businesses. The number of couples working together at home is even increasing. The irony is that technology and the future, considered cold and impersonal, are really allowing people to warm up to each other, grow close, be human, be anything but cold and impersonal.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------- *The consciousness revolution is the underlying reason behind the time revolution and the relationship revolution. It is also the guiding force behind the entire movement toward small business as people strive to call their own shots, pull their own strings, be in charge of their own destinies, control their own futures. Our consciousness today allows us to embrace the same technology that we feared yesterday.

* The education revolution is dramatically increasing the quality of learning. Computers are employed, and the Internet is accessed; but schools are also learning that non-assigned seating increases attention and that allowing kids to speak to each other, instead of passing notes, reduces behavior problems. Smaller classes, more individualized attention, and increased use of technology are allowing educators to succeed at the true purpose of schooling, which is not necessarily to teach as much as it is to instill in children a love of learning.

* The connectivity revolution is underway with a force that is changing the entire world. People are connecting with each other at functions in the community as well as via telephones, pagers, fax machines, the Internet, networked computers, chat rooms, and video conferencing. Phone companies, cable firms, technology businesses, even automotive companies are constructing new communication infrastructures. The word "virtual" has come to be synonymous with "connected," as technology makes it easier than ever to hook up with others. Media reports make apparent the benefits of collaboration. Is the connectivity revolution akin to the communications revolution? They're one and the same because the main purpose of connecting is communication.

* The work revolution is the one in which you're involved right now. Thanks to technology your small business is able to compete with much bigger ones. This revolution is making itself known at the workplace and at home, especially through the elimination of the lines between the two. The number of small businesses, home-based businesses, and start-up businesses is growing. What isn't growing is the number of employees at giant companies. Many former employees have been downsized out of jobs and into lives as entrepreneurs. Again, technology itself is fueling this revolution, creating work within it. The Internet alone is a fertile breeding ground for new companies, new jobs, and new work opportunities.

* The candor revolution is revving up as the public tires of phony games and longs for honesty, disclosure, and revelation. Candor is the theme of the times as new issues emerge in literature, politics, entertainment, business, and the media. This candor is a safeguard against mythology, which is counter-productive to evolution. The candor revolution separates the real world from the dream world and enables society to get on with the business of reality. It also allows people to see big business and full-time employment in a new context, held up to the light of small business and less than full-time employment.

All these revolutions are signaling a new message. Judging by the growth of small business, it appears people are getting that message. The message is that the time has never been better to establish, operate, and succeed with a small business.

Smallness over bigness Because of these simultaneous revolutions, none foreseen to peter out in the near future, the environment of the future favors smallness over bigness, individuality over depersonalization. It favors the guerrilla with the spirit of innovation, cooperation, warmth, and sensitivity.

The future of economics favors three areas in which small businesses have an almost automatic edge: flexibility, customer service, and personalization. This future belongs to companies that can act like small businesses in these areas, regardless of their size.

Increasing your comfort level The future of small business will glow in direct proportion to the comfort level business owners can achieve with so much change going on. You must be comfortable with technology because the revolution will go on whether or not you are part of it. If you feel at home with it you'll be able to tap into the power and momentum of technological advancements that can put your company into a hyper-profit mode. If you're hazy about technology, intimidated by it, or planning to avoid it, you've got three strikes against you as you step up to the plate.

Remember that nobody was born with technological enlightenment. Everybody who has it had to learn it. And the best time to learn it is immediately. The longer you are involved with technology, the greater your comfort level. And the sooner you embrace it, the sooner you'll reach a comfort level.

The fortunes amassed by companies in technology are the result of products and services that didn't even exist a decade ago. Even the largest and most sophisticated Fortune 500 companies can't have used computer technology, or been involved with the Internet, longer than many small business owners.

In l984 (hardly the Dark Ages) the average product development cycle was three years. By l990, it was 18 months. In l997, the average cycle is six months, and it's getting even faster. New products are introduced at a lightning-fast pace, and the successful small business owner of the future will not be one who learns everything but one who learns one thing after another and knows where to go for that information.

Your technology-comfort level must be equaled by your grace and ability to function in a newly time-aware society, as well as by your new deeper understanding of people. It must additionally be matched by more top quality information, closer relationships, a higher consciousness overall, a more pertinent education, closer connections to allies, a more effective work method, and a more open and honest approach to everything. If you're not comfortable with these changes, you'll have trouble dealing with a public that is.

Heads and tails at the same time Business owners who are skilled in contrasting areas will control the future of small business: * They must be able to communicate with large numbers of people. At the same time... They must be able to communicate one to one.

* They must excel at written communications because of increases in electronic networking. At the same time... They must excel at speaking because of more in-person networking.

* They must be adept at the broad strokes of strategic planning. At the same time... They must be adept at the crucial details of running a business.

* They must be at home with the futuristic values of speed and candor. At the same time... They must be at home with the traditional values of patience and love.

* They must be aggressive in competition, with an eye towards profits. At the same time... They must be aggressive in collaboration, with an eye towards profits.

* They must offer the credibility and professionalism of a big business. At the same time... They must offer the warmth and personal touch of a small business.

* They must have a near-religious zeal for commitment. At the same time... They must keep an eagle eye open and watching for innovation and trends.

* They must be able to act without worrying about what others think. At the same time... They must be able act with acute sensitivity to what others feel.

* They must be able to grow and expand without sacrificing profitability. At the same time... They must be able to profit and flourish without sacrificing humanity.

* They must be outstanding in their own field no matter what it is. At the same time... They must be outstanding in marketing, for everything must be sold.

As mandatory as a thumb Must you believe that technology is mandatory for small business now and in the future? Yes, unless you think a thumb isn't required for a hand to do its thing properly.

It used to be that a computer was considered a luxury, and in the same way, I guess my puppy would consider a thumb on his paw to be a luxury. A computer is now compulsory equipment for guerrillas-and the ability to get the most out of computer technology is the basic training.

Guerrillas are so tuned in to technology that "upgrade" is their middle name. This penchant for upgrading is the guerrilla safeguard against waiting. Instead of being buffeted by rumors about technology, guerrillas don't hold back, but invest in the best available, and know they can upgrade later when the rumors become truths, if they ever do.

Saving money skydiving In the purchase of life support equipment for an ocean dive or skydive, a guerrilla wouldn't be primarily motivated by saving money. That guerrilla also knows that forsaking quality to save money in the purchase of business equipment is often a false economy.

By viewing the cost of technology as an investment rather than an expense, guerrillas are able to live in the present, escape from the past, and prepare for the future. They've seen how the right technology has a short payoff time and how it can help generate profits that make a business owner wonder why he or she waited so long in the first place.

The miniaturization of America Small business is both the largest and the fastest growing segment of the American economy. The greatest numbers of employees are employed by small business. Businesses are getting smaller. Families are shrinking. Computers are shrinking. Even big corporations are getting smaller.

From the 1940s to the 1990s small business believed that growth was its prime mission. But the more this passion was practiced, the more it weighed small businesses. It strangled the enterprise with a dearth of profits and the owner with a surfeit of new problems caused by swimming in uncharted, shark-filled waters that were over his head to begin with.

It wasn't until recently that small business came to its senses and realized that big does not automatically mean successful and that expansion is not always a blessing. Instead of diversification and gigantism, a concentration upon focus and precision is coming.

The goals of small business The new goals are not simply to grow and make as many sales as possible, though increasing profitability will always be a goal. Now, the goals of small business also include establishing as many relationships as possible and rendering the best service possible. The goal of future small business will be

the creation of an environment in which the journey is every bit as pleasant and rewarding as the destination and the establishment of a company that is durable, flexible, and interdependent, yet self-sufficient.

Rather than pursuing goals established by their ancestors, small businesses are pursuing goals in accordance with newly reexamined priorities.

New times and new priorities These days Americans have priorities that rank right up there with the quest for honest profits. Glowing, increasing, substantial profits are not to be underestimated, but you, your family, and your friends are more important than profits. You know that time is far more valuable than money. It should come as no surprise that free time is also a priority; time that can be spent in your own recreational pursuits, with your family, or shared with friends.

Many small business owners place the pursuit and attainment of excellence as their top priority. It's not too hard to tell which businesses are out for the most money, and which are out to do well and be the best.

The thrill of a challenge A crucial element of small business will always be the sense and thrill of challenge. For it is the meeting and surmounting of challenges that energizes passion, and it is passion that makes business profitable. The best small business owners are the most passionate-about their business, their offerings, their customers, excellence, and success. Their passion is made vividly clear by the service and quality their business offers.

The entrepreneurs of today seek the love of work as a goal. Being guerrillas, they look forward to their work on a daily basis. Although their grandparents might not have used the word "fun," small business owners no longer have a problem with using it to describe their employment. They want their work to be fun, and they've structured it to be that way. They know that winning is more fun than losing, so they've positioned themselves as victors.

The newest priority, although it stems from age-old enlightenment, is balance-balance between work and leisure, between getting bigger and getting better, between becoming wealthy with money and becoming wealthy with fulfillment. Guerrillas strive for balance above all; knowing it is the most difficult goal to attain and the most rewarding over time.

Homework up ahead Much of the future of small business will take place in a location commutable via slippers-the home office.

Studies by the Small Business Administration show that 95% of home businesses make a profit the first year. A survey by Income Opportunities magazine reported that 94% of home business owners say they enjoy working from home most of the time, and 63% like it all of the time. One aspect many of them relish is the equivalent of an extra decade granted to their lives by freedom from commuting. Another highly regarded benefit of a home business is the control of a work schedule so that the care of kids can be managed from home and not turned over to outside childcare.

The U.S. Department of Transportation tells us that in l992 there were 2.3 million telecommuters, and by 2002 there will be 15 million. That's a hefty 650% increase in ten years. Sounds like a lot more kids in the future will be with their parents during those crucial formative years.

Between l991 and l996, the number of full and part time-home workers in the U.S. grew from 26 million to more than 40 million, according to IDC/Link, a research and consulting firm. That number is increasing with each sentence I enter into this word processor, and it's predicted to hit somewhere between 50 million and 75 million during the year 2000.

Hmmm, that certainly sounds like the glowing future of small business to me. I've been working from my home, living in that future and loving it, since l971 and haven't regretted one second. That's a lot of time to amass regrets, but I can't think of even one.

The biggest drawback to working from home, according every report, is lack of social contact. That's why coffee shops are flourishing and why you shouldn't be surprised that coffee shops' prime customers are small business owners. Coffee shops provide a non-alcoholic solution to the loneliness problem, as well as providing a superb networking forum. We've all read of the multi-billion dollar corporations started in a garage. Soon, we'll be reading of those created over lattes at Starbucks.

The starting point Here I am bursting with all this good news about technology and its ability to shorten your workweek and increase your leisure, but your should know that technology is not shortening the workweek for big business employees. In spite of the widespread reverberations of the technology explosion the average employee of a multi-national corporation in l996 worked 20% more hours and slept 20% less than he or she did in l986.

Right now, the best place for technology to work its timesaving and freedom-granting wonders is in a small business. The starting point is in the mind of the small business owner who creates a plan with time and freedom built into its core.

Those big corporations that are asking for more work from their employees have a wealth of advanced technology; you can be certain of that. But they don't have the mindset of saving time for their employees to use for living rather than for earning a living.

Technology can work its wonders for you, but only if you use it in the right manner; and that means keeping in mind humanity, beginning with your own. It's you who will determine how to spend your extra time and money. Your job, from the beginning, is to remember that technology is a tool and not a master; that it should be more about people than things, and that its greatest contributions are not limited to your bottom line, but to places within you.

Fitting into the future Woody Allen once said that a nuclear holocaust isn't all that bad if you're dressed for it. I'm here to say that the technology explosion is going to be wonderful for you-if you're dressed for it. You've got to dress your business with the proper technology of the day and prepare yourself, your employees, your allies, and your suppliers, to ride the crests of the multiple revolutions rather than try to swim against the tide.

The tide is carrying the wave of technology toward you so fast that an innovation in digital technology is copyrighted worldwide every three seconds. It's not a future that you can hide from because it's too sweeping and all encompassing.

You may pick up a book at a bookstore and learn secrets that you hope your competitors never learn; but they know all about the revolutions, especially the one concerning technology, and they're doing everything they can to outsmart you, out-market you, out-service you, and outperform you. Many of them can outspend you, but can they outthink you?

They can't if you're all set for the future and geared up to capitalize upon the momentum that has already been achieved. That future favors small business, as each of the revolutions favors small business as well.

If you're a small business or even planning to start one, you've got everything going for you now. Armed with the right equipment, and enlightened by the right attitude, you'll be glowing as brightly as your future.