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2002 RETROSPECTIVE
by: Cary Christian


It's hard for me to believe that it's already been one year since I produced the very first issue of this ezine. Time flies when you're having fun! It has certainly been an eventful year, one in which our lives and our expectations have changed dramatically.

We now understand that we have to either live with terrorism or fight to eradicate it. There is no middle ground any more.  We're all potentially on the front lines of the battle.

2002 showed us that the worst of the job recession is not over.  It seems like every day we got more news of layoffs and cutbacks. And to make matters worse, we learned that some of our largest businesses had been lying to us about their profitability, or lack thereof! More jobs down the drain and the total loss of retirement funds for thousands upon thousands of workers.

We also learned that some of our most trusted institutions, the largest accounting firms in the world, were not to be trusted.  These firms were our first line of defense against corporate fraud, and one of them was destroyed by participating in the very fraud they were supposed to detect. And deep inside, we know the others are guilty also. Business becomes a very difficult undertaking without trust.

And all of these events took their toll on the stock market.  Investors panicked and sold. And sold. People just didn't seem to know where to look for some stability to grab onto.

Yes, we suffered this past year in our business and personal lives. But we are still here. We're still working, still producing, still selling, still living our lives the way we want. We have indomitable spirit. We refuse to allow ourselves to be jailed by fear and mistrust.

And that is the real lesson of 2002.

It's been a year of continuing change and evolution here at the Peak Small Business Center as well.

During 2001, we made a decision to concentrate our efforts on small and home businesses as opposed to the larger organizations we had worked with for more than a decade. I made it my mission to achieve that conversion in focus by the end of 2001. By the time the first issue of the Peak Small Business Newsletter was published on December 5, 2001, the infrastructure was in place and the evolution was in full swing.

The biggest problem I faced as editor of this newsletter was creating content that would appeal to both small and home businesses, for these two types of organizations are often very different in terms of the resources they need. I finally decided that these differences could only be accommodated by having separate newsletters for small and home businesses. This was accomplished in July of this year.

And we're still evolving! We're still looking for ways to create value for our customers, visitors and you, our most valuable resource, our subscribers.

Internet business has also seen its share of changes during 2002. Of course, that is to be expected. If there is one thing to be expected from the Internet, it is change. Change yields opportunity even if the changes originally appear to be undesirable.

One of the biggest changes during 2002 is that email marketing has become a much more dangerous and "iffy" proposition for online businesses. S p a m is proliferating so rapidly that it threatens to destroy the medium as an advertising source. There isn't a day that goes by that I don't receive nearly a hundred garbage ads to every email address that can be harvested from our website. And I mean EACH ad to EACH address, multiplying the amount of junk mail by at least a factor of ten.

Try to unsubscribe? Doesn't work. I'll get the same ads again tomorrow, plus a whole new batch.

The end result? Filters. Filters poorly applied that filter not only the bad, but a lot of legitimate business email as well. (Be sure to check out our featured resource this week for a tool that will help prevent your business email from falling prey to filters)!

You're also many times more likely to be falsely reported for s p a m because of people's growing exasperation with the problem. People are starting to shoot first and ask questions later.

These are two problems that will have to be seriously dealt with in 2003.

Luckily, there are still other excellent methods of online advertising that work well for small businesses. While search engine optimization is becoming an even more difficult arena for small businesses to compete in, the pay-per-click engines are providing lots of opportunity.

The two major PPCs, Overture and FindWhat, are still excellent choices, and are likely to remain so throughout 2003. There are new PPCs cropping up every day and some of them show a lot of promise. We're going to be watching them very closely for you to identify cost-effective advertising opportunities.

In fact, we're working on new ideas to help you make 2003 a very good year. That's our commitment to you.

Editing a newsletter every week can be a very tough task at times. It's difficult to stay creative when you're trying to provide new original content week after week. But it's very satisfying as well. I know from the emails we receive that we've been able to help some people, and that is what it's all about for us.

You're important to us and we care about what's important to you. We thank you for spending time with us over the last year, and we hope you'll stick around for years to come!

Copyright (c) 2002

(c) 2003, 2004, 2013 Peak SBC, LLC.  Copyrights on all articles and books remain with the author.

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