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Time really is money

Time really is money

If you're in small business, you probably already get it. If you're trying to sell to small business, I can't stress enough how important it is to offer real value, fast. Don't make customers do the work to figure it out. Don't make them go through a lot of technology or gobbledygook or spend a lot of time.

Case in point: This morning, I was treated to coffee and a cheese Danish by an acquaintance who's running a nascent Web-based restaurant menu and delivery service. It's essentially an e-commerce site. He's already very successful in Israel and has tens if not hundreds of thousands of dollars to spend in the next few months on making a go of it in the States. I'll call him Vlad.

Vlad wants to market on the Web and to spend his ad dollars wisely. One company (that I had sent Vlad to) gave him a bunch of materials, told him to go through it, and they'd talk again in five days. Another company explained its benefits and was aggressive in telling him just what it'd do for his five-figure check over the next three months. Guess who got the business?

"I wanted to close the deal," my acquaintance said. "I just made a decision." Unlike corporate America, a small business can move fast because it's usually up to the gut-level decision-making of one person.

Vlad is running a small business--just him and two salespeople in New York, relying on a staff of 32 handling the back end in Israel to analyze his Web traffic, buy servers, and so on--and since he's essentially alone, he'd rather get going and plunk down some money for advertising today than spend hours going through sales materials or tech manuals and make the same decision tomorrow.

And if that one company helping him advertise, also a small business by the way, proves it can take his five-figure check and turn it into six figures of business, he'll no doubt come back for more.