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
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
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
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