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April 24, 2002

Table of Contents

 

Welcome

Quote of the Week

Administrative Stuff

Editorial - BETRAYED BY THOSE WE TRUST MOST
Marketing Tip of the Week

Guest Article -  THE MOST OVERLOOKED SMALL BUSINESS OPPORTUNITY ON THE NET ... AND HOW TO EARN A SUPERIOR LIVING AT IT
Featured Resource - ANALOG X FREE DOWNLOADS

Parting Comments

Unsubscribe Information


Welcome

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Quote of the Week

If, at first, you do succeed, try to hide your astonishment.

- Los Angeles Times
 


Administrative Stuff

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Editorial

BETRAYED BY THOSE WE TRUST MOST

by: Cary Christian

Few things in life are as devastating as being betrayed by people we trust above everyone else. It generally takes a very long time to build trust in the first place. We almost grudgingly grant our trust to people only after they have passed numerous milestones in the relationship with no setbacks. Once trust is built, it remains tenuous. What has taken years to build can be destroyed in moments.

Trust can be built and exists not only between people, but between people and organizations. Granted, this type of trust is not normally as devastating when broken as those bonds between two people. But there are times when we must rely so heavily on an organization to protect us that the effects of a breach in trust may become enormous.

Tonight I am thinking specifically of the debacle surrounding Arthur Andersen's failed audits of Enron and the subsequent charges of obstruction of justice stemming from the shredding of documents by employees of Andersen. You may think this has little to do with you and little relevance to the normal subject matter of this newsletter. PLEASE DON'T STOP READING YET!  These incidents can and will affect your life and your business in many ways.

THE ROLE OF AUDITORS IN OUR SOCIETY

Since the events leading up to the Great Depression, auditors have played an extremely important role in American business.  The Great Depression could have been avoided had companies been subject to the stringent audit and reporting requirements today's companies must comply with. For the most part these rules and regulations have prevented our having another Great Depression by supplying strict accounting rules that must be followed and providing that a company's financial statements must be audited by an independent auditing firm.

However, these rules and regulations depend on the independent auditor being truly independent and having integrity beyond any doubt. The rules are so strict regarding independence that even the mere appearance of a lack of independence is dealt with rather severely. Why then would an auditor participate with a client in falsifying or in publishing misleading financial statements?

THE EROSION OF INDEPENDENCE

Almost all public companies are audited by one of five huge, multinational accounting firms, Andersen being one. These accounting firms not only provide auditing services; they provide tax consultation and preparation services, business consulting services, and systems implementation services as well. Most of the income generated by these giant entities come from the services other than auditing. In fact, it is quite common that audit fees will be reduced to obtain the audit and get a foot in the door in order to sell these other lucrative
services to the client.

A recent article in a Detroit newspaper dealt with the flood of public companies announcing they were in the market to replace Andersen as their auditors. Several companies were cited as examples along with the fees paid to Andersen for various services.

One example that was fairly representative quoted Andersen's fees as being $2.8 million for the audit and $5.3 million for tax and consulting fees. This relationship between audit and other services fees highlights the real problem: losing the audit usually means losing all the other services revenue, so the firm cannot afford to lose the audit under any
circumstances! This is the absolute source of the erosion of independence.

WHAT CAN BE DONE?

It seems almost too simple to suggest that independent auditors should not be allowed to provide any other services to audit clients. But maybe the simple solution will work best for everyone.

For decades, many have suggested that auditing firms should be required to divest themselves of their tax and consulting divisions. In fact, Andersen did separate from its computer consulting division many years ago. The consulting division became Accenture. Then Andersen promptly created a new consulting division to compete with Accenture!

Accounting firms have fought this battle many times before.  They are going to provide consulting services one way or the other, so let them. Just don't let them provide them to their audit clients.

Another alternative is to let a governmental agency assign auditors on a rotating basis to all public companies to prevent the auditors from becoming too close to any one audit client.

WHY MUST SOMETHING BE DONE?

Do you own stock? If not, do you hope to someday? Enron seemed to be an incredibly strong company worthy of your investment in their stock. What if you had bought it? You would have lost every penny.

What about the other companies in your current or future portfolio? Do they have similar problems that are being covered up by the auditors? How safe are your investments?

Makes you wonder, doesn't it? That is the cost of a loss of trust. It might make you pull out of the market altogether. If enough of you pull out, what happens to the market? You get the picture. Our markets are based on trust. Once the trust is gone, we'll be watching our businesses fail left and right because they can no longer raise capital.

HOW COULD THIS HAVE HAPPENED?

Imagine you are an audit partner with Andersen or a similar accounting firm. One of your clients is worth about $10 million in total annual fees to the firm. This client is pressuring you to work with them on revenue recognition or some other accounting principle to prop up their earnings until their situation improves. They point out to you that the literature
could be interpreted in their favor. And chances are, it could.  It's difficult to make everything black and white when it comes to accounting for transactions across industry lines. What are you going to do? Play hard ball and possibly lose a $10 million client or work with them as much as you can?

It's a difficult situation to find yourself in. It is my opinion that we should restructure the way audits are performed so that no one ever has to be faced with this type of decision again.

I don't know how many people were on the Enron audit team, or how many actually participated in making audit reporting decisions that were faulty, but chances are the blame can be laid at the feet of only two or three people. Look at what has happened because of the actions of so few:

o Enron employees and shareholders lost their entire investments. Many Enron employees lost everything they had!

o Our ability to trust the financial statements of public companies has taken a body blow.

o Andersen will probably cease to exist. Most all of the partners will make deals and go to other firms, taking their remaining clients with them. The tens of thousands of employees below partner level will be scrambling to find employment. The little guy will get hurt, just like at Enron. A multi-billion dollar company bites the dust because of the actions of two or three people!

WHAT CAN YOU LEARN FROM THIS?

If you invest now, or plan to in the future, do yourself a big favor: learn how to read a financial statement. Don't depend on your broker. Learn to ferret out the risk factors in a company on your own. It's not as hard as you might think. Remember that the application of accounting principles requires the exercise of judgment on the part of the auditor. Issues are not black and white. Learn how to form your own opinion before you invest your money.

Don't think of these issues as being someone else's problem.  This type of issue affects us all in one way or another. If our markets suffer because of this, all of our businesses are hurt.  Stay informed and be active in voicing your opinions.

WHY DID I CHOOSE TO WRITE THIS EDITORIAL?

I want to thank those of you who read this article. It matters a great deal to me. You see, I spent the first eleven years of my career at Andersen in tax and systems consulting (NOT in the audit division). The training I received during that portion of my career has been indispensable. It makes me both sad and angry to watch as this unfolds. What I wish for those within Andersen who allowed this to happen cannot be printed here.

Many people that I respect a great deal have been hurt by this even though they've never done anything wrong. The vast majority of the people at Andersen are hard-working people just like us whose character is above reproach. They are victims also.


Copyright (c) 2002


Marketing Tip of the Week

You may have decided not to worry too much about search engine positioning because of the cost involved and the difficulty of staying on top of your listing. But don't forget the smaller engines! You can use a submission service, like WorldSubmitter, to submit to thousands of smaller engines that cost you nothing for your submission. Make sure your web pages contain your keywords and submit at least once a month to these small engines. You will be surprised how many hits you end up receiving by this often overlooked practice.
 


Guest Article

The Most Overlooked Small Business Opportunity on the Net ..... and How to Earn a Superior Living at It

By Dr. Ken Evoy
 

I recently returned from a 10 day Spring Break vacation on one of the most charming islands in the entire world, Anguilla...

http://www.beaches.ai/

A friend of a friend has a financial services business there.  And that got me thinking (yes, I know, THAT'S always a dangerous event -- luckily, it's rare!)...

Do you know what the single largest sector of the business world is?

SERVICES!

Care to guess the single most overlooked business opportunity on the Net?

SERVICES!

--

Let's digress for a moment before we talk about the excellent online prospects in the area of SERVICES...

SOHOs/small businesses *DO* have excellent prospects in the two major online e-commerce areas that *DO* get so much coverage...

o Affiliate programs -- Done properly, there's good money to be made PREselling other merchants' products.

-----SIDEBAR-----

Allan Gardyne (yes, of associateprograms.com fame) has said that "if you join only one program, make it the 5 Pillar Program" and he has called it "the perfect revenue sharing program." Ralph Wilson (wilsonweb.com) says that "Ken Evoy has taken affiliate programs to the next level."

For more information...

http://affiliates.sitesell.com/peaksbc.html

-----SIDEBAR-----


o E-goods -- Develop your own e-good and sell it online.

What's an e-good? It's a digital product.

What's so great about this? It turns the Net into a frictionless DISTRIBUTION medium.

So what? Well, if you have an online store that sells widgets, you still have to pick-pack-and-ship, just like any OFFLINE mail order operation. In this case, the Net is reduced to merely being a COMMUNICATION medium, an online catalog, really... an excellent one, of course. But you still have all the hassle of dealing with products made of MOLECULES.

Give me products made of ELECTRONS, any day! They pass right through the Internet... real smooth! The powerful combination of digital fulfillment and total automation (so easy and D0-able on the Net) translates into a unprecedented ability to SCALE your business! After you've developed your e-good, your incremental costs are the same whether you sell one product, or 1,000,000 products... ZERO time (no pick-pack-and-ship) and ZERO dollars (except for small % for transaction processing).

What could me more encouraging and satisfying? (Besides Angelina Jolie smiling at me, that is? :-) )

-----SIDEBAR-----

If selling e-goods interests you...

Three NEW modules are coming to Site Build It! in the near future (April-May window).

An *E-commerce Module* provides you with a merchant account to clear credit cards online. Plus, you'll have the ability to digitally deliver your e-goods in much the same fashion that SiteSell does now.

An *Affiliate Module* will allow you to build and manage your own affiliate program. Offer your visitors "commission incentives" to promote YOUR products on their Web sites.

A *Mailout Module* will allow you to build, manage, and contact several E-mail Address Lists (in text and HTML formatted e-mails)...

1) Opt-in e-zine
2) Customer e-zines
3) Affiliate e-zine

(In addition, we are putting the finishing touches on a powerful server-side module which will provide Photoshop-quality logos and navbars which you can build with a few keystrokes and button clicks.)

This e-commerce value bundle (the first 3 modules) will be offered separately, for a fixed annual fee, plus a percentage of your sales that's lower than ANY OTHER COMPANY in this space.  (The OPT-IN zine will be part of the "regular," current affiliate value bundle, permanently.)

But you haven't heard the BEST part yet...

I'll be offering ALL 3 new modules in the e-commerce value bundle to current SBI! subscribers for FREE. Site Build It! will be THE ultimate, the total, e-commerce Web hosting package!  Heck, even in its present form, SBI!'ers are super-impressed with its innovative capabilities and affordable price...

http://buildit.sitesell.com/sbi-samplesites/

Wait 'til they see how e-goods e-commerce adds to the bottom line!

   :-)

In short...

If you're already a Site Build It! subscriber when we launch the new modules, these modules will AUTOMATICALLY be added to the remainder of your current annual subscription... AT NO ADDITIONAL CHARGE (except, of course, for the % for transaction processing).

If you're NOT YET a SBI!'er, get it now. Start building your site while you create your e-good (digital book, collection of photos, software, etc., etc.). By the time you're ready to sell your e-good, we'll be ready to accommodate you with the most radical, advanced Web hosting on the Net, at no extra charge, same as for existing SBI!'ers!

SBI! is the future of e-commerce Web hosting. (Think about it... you don't have to take your phone apart and understand its technology to make a business phone call, do you?)

Get SBI! now... and receive the E-commerce Value Bundle free for the rest of the year, too...

http://buildit.sitesell.com/peaksbc.html

-----SIDEBAR-----

OK, end of digression (actually, end of SIDEBAR off the digression!). Our bottom line so far? Building an affiliate business and selling e-goods certainly deserve all their "good press."

But NOW, let's talk about the largest single sector of the business world, SERVICES!

Selling your services online is a FANTASTIC way to leverage your income-building potential -- all at a minimum cost.

-----SIDEBAR-----

By services, I don't necessarily mean Net-related services like programming or Web design (although they can and should be included here). You could be...

o a cartoon artist

o an import/export specialist for Germany

o am investment specialist in Brazilian bonds

o an expert in Japanese netsuke

o an accountant with special knowledge of tax havens

o a copywriter

o a trainer (of just about anything!)

o an editor for medical articles

o someone who creates indexes for books

o a pharmaceutical expert

o a translator (do you know two languages?)

The diversity of this world, and the people in it, never ceases to amaze me. Just about everyone has an expertise in something that they could sell. Heck, odds are they are already selling it as their primary income source... but have never thought seriously about generating customers globally by using the Web's full potential. (Which brings me back to my friend of a friend in Anguilla!)

-----SIDEBAR-----

Dubious? Don't think this happens? Well, consider this...

I found SiteSell's current FileMaker Database Programmer on the Internet. I've never met him in person. He happens to live in Australia, which is about as far from Montreal, Canada, as one can get unless you move to the South pole! But this "service-provider" has made over $80,000 of additional income from SiteSell in the last 18 months!

-----SIDEBAR-----

Note the word "current" above? I like to keep him on his toes! ;-)

I learned that from my wife, who introduces me as her "first husband." ;-)

-----SIDEBAR-----

How much of that $80,000 would he have earned if I had not found him through the Internet?

That's correct -- ZERO.

And that's another VERY attractive aspect about selling your services on the Net. A SINGLE CLIENT can bring in substantial dollars (don't ask me what a MARRIED ONE can bring in!). So techniques like mastering the SEs, paid-inclusion programs, listing in directories and building massive Pay-Per-Click campaigns have a terrific ROI (Return on Investment).

-----

What do most service businesses do online to add new clients to their roster? Either...

o nothing at all

-OR-

o put up a "circa 1997" brochure site that no one visits (except for a few local clients, who don't see the point, nor would I)

-OR-

o post their services on any number of online spots, such as Guru.com. That simply does NOT get the job done.

--

Think about the process of hiring a new service provider, say a top-notch FileMaker programmer or a real estate agent in Anguilla!  What's the key?

Trust...

o Are they good?

o Are they honest?

o Are they easy to work with?

o And so on, and so on...

Building that trust means building a relationship with a potential client. That's why anyone selling their services via the Net really MUST have his/her own Web site.

In order for someone to hire you...

1) First, they MUST be able to find you (most surfers use search results provided by Search Engines).

2) Second, they simply MUST get to know you and trust you. You accomplish this by building credibility and providing valuable information (the content) on your site. You have to show your potential employers that you can provide THE solution that they seek.

How do you get found? Simple. Build lots and lots of Keyword-Focused Content Pages, all within a Theme-Based Content Site, which of course is tightly related to the service you are selling.

----

OK, let's recap...

In order to effectively sell your services online, you must have a Web site that...

o introduces you as the expert, and builds your credibility with your visitor.

o effectively targets various appropriate keyword phrases to ensure that the people who need your service find your Web site.

o "GIVES before TAKING" -- provides the visitor with some free valuable information in the form of content, and/or a free opt-in e-zine. Actually, when it comes to selling a service, a top-notch e-zine is INVALUABLE!

And what's the easiest, headache-free way to accomplish all this? You guessed it...

Site Build It!...

http://buildit.sitesell.com/peaksbc.html

With SBI!, you focus ONLY on your business. We take care of all the rest for you. It's as easy as using the phone, unless you're using one of those new-fangled wireless babies, in which case SBI! is much easier! ;-)

----

Here are just a few of the many more reasons why Site Build It! is a MUST for A-N-Y-O-N-E who wants to sell a service online...

1) With the server-side tools of the SBI! system, you can build your own Theme-Based Content Site(s), filled with as many keyword-focused content pages as you wish -- without the complexities and headaches of HTML or FTP. *YOU* only have to worry about what you already know... your business.

2) The client-side SBI! Manager and its incredible Brainstorming tool hones in on the most profitable keywords for you to target.

3) Use the Manager, as well, to build a massive Pay-Per-Click Search Engine campaign.

-----SIDEBAR-----

These intensive tasks would normally take hours, even days but
with the SBI! Manager they can be done... in minutes.

-----SIDEBAR-----

4) As I mentioned, the ROI is superb. It's really worth it to spend on paid-inclusion programs, Pay-Per-Click campaigns, and directory listings (and naturally, SBI! makes it all, including the tracking, a snap!) When a client can bring you thousands of dollars in business, it stretches how much you can afford to pay for certain traffic-building strategies.

5) SE expertise? Ha! Just hit the "Analyze It!" button, and your page is critiqued for over 30 parameters that account for top Search Engine (SE) rankings. All you have to do to start ranking well at the engines is follow directions! :-)

6) What about submitting, and when should you re-submit? Relax and focus on your business -- SBI! submits your pages automatically, in an SE-friendly way. We even track and report spider visits to ensure that the SEs "get the message." And SBI! tells you how well each page is doing at each of the major engines.

7) SBI! also tracks and analyzes click-ins (INTO your site) and click-throughs (OUT OF your site) so that you can easily get the "big picture" of your traffic-building efforts... that way, you know where/how to spend your time and money.

8) Soon, you'll have your own opt-in e-zine ability, to continuously build and strengthen relationships with potential clients. And you'll also be able to sell an e-book on your area of expertise, which has two advantages...

i) develops an extra stream of income

ii) builds a strong-but-unspoken "expert" image.

I could go on and on, but here's the bottom line...

Site Build It! truly is a fascinating and amazing tool! If you haven't yet seen how some of our enterprising customers are using SBI!, click on the "Click here to see actual customer SBI! sites" link on the SBI! home page. Enjoy the slide show...

http://buildit.sitesell.com/peaksbc.html

Remember too... the SBI! guarantee is "good as gold." Try it.  If Site Build It! doesn't do EXACTLY what you need and want it to do, just ask for your money back. You can even keep your new domain name as a gift from us, as our thank you for giving us a chance to do business with you.

http://buildit.sitesell.com/peaksbc.html

-----SIDEBAR-----

Remember, as mentioned above...

Purchase SBI! now and get the full e-commerce value bundle FREE for the rest of the year...

o E-commerce Module -- automatic sale and fulfillment of e-goods, including merchant account.

o Affiliate Module -- now you can have thousands of folks PREselling for YOU!

o Mailout Module -- build, manage, and contact several E-mail Address Lists.

-----SIDEBAR-----

No doubt about it... it's amazing how under-represented services are in the land of e-commerce. But, in a sense, that's a good thing.

Why? Because...

SBI! is about to give you THE edge on your competition! :-)

http://buildit.sitesell.com/peaksbc.html


Featured Resource

Analog X currently has more than 80 helpful programs you can download free. Two of our favorites are Keyword Live, which allows you to monitor the most popular keywords being used on search engines, and Keyword Extractor, used to analyze the keywords used on your website (or a competitors site!). You will probably find something you like. The contents page for their downloads is located here:

http://www.analogx.com/contents/download.htm
 


Parting Comments

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