Todd Rhoades, what is working for you?
Please allow me to introduce a fellow blogger, entrepreneur, and innovator. Todd Rhoades is the passionate owner/developer of ChurchStaffing.com and loves helping pastors and church staff find resources that they didn't know were available. Todd started Churchstaffing.com in 1999 after working 16 years as a worship pastor in a local church. I have had an opportunity to get to know Todd via the blogosphere and I have had the pleasure of stirring up quite a controversy on his blog http://mondaymorninginsight.typepad.com.
Todd Rhoades, what is working for you?
PARTNERING WITH LIKE-MINDED MINISTRIES AND BUSINESSES
I found that nearly half of my new business last month came from a small group of strategic alliances I have worked hard to develop over the past two years. While these partnerships take a long time (sometimes even years) to develop, the long-term payoffs are huge. And the great part of this synergy is that these types of relationships are mutually beneficial: you are helping your partners in areas they need help; and they are helping you by bringing new customers and visitors to your business.
Question I Ask Myself Regularly: What other non-competing, like-minded ministries and businesses can I lock arms with?
CONCENTRATING ON FILLING NEEDS, NOT (NECESSARILY) MAKING MONEY
I am very entrepreneurial by nature; and I always have more ideas than time. So one thing I try to do is to find a real need in the marketplace and then fill it. Sometimes (especially in the web-world) finding the need, filling the need, and making the idea “profitable” don't always happen simultaneously. The method I've used is to concentrate more on filling the need initially. I've found that if the need was a valid one in the first place that there will be a legitimate way to make it worth your time and the resources you have invested in it.
I'm currently using this same idea with a new website I'm building. At this point I have no idea how and if this website will ever make a profit, but I'm confidant that it will fill a tremendous need for pastors and churches. If it's as great an idea as I think it is, then there will surely be a great way to make it profitable. By introducing the website and building traffic and reliance on the new brand and concept, it will make it much easier to introduce a revenue model in the very near future.
Questions I Ask Myself Regularly: What need do I see that is not currently being filled anywhere else? What steps can I take to fulfill that need?
OUTSOURCING WHAT I'M NOT GOOD AT
I'm a one-man shop, so as my business grows I find that I have less and less time. I've found that the internet is a great way to connect with talented individuals with whom I can 'outsource' a tremendous amount of work. For example, the new project that I am working on is being totally built by freelancers. There are some great websites that allow you to actually have designers compete to get your business. For my new project I'll have a professionally drawn logo and hand-coded website design and template completely finished for about $300. That's much less than I could do the work for myself (and it will look much better than the graphics work I do). This is a real win/win situation. I always look for ways that will improve the look and quality of my work; and also save time and money.
Questions I Ask Myself Regularly: What are my weaknesses? What tasks are others better at than I am? Can I hire them to do those things?
KEEPING MY MESSAGE FRESH AND CONTINUAL
Using the internet is a great way to build friendship and trust with your customers and client base. I've found that much of my time is spent on keeping my business message fresh, and keeping it continually in front of my customer's eyes. I spend hours each week actually developing my email newsletters and content for my daily blog. Why? Because this communication and information is what attracted people to my websites to begin with; and after a while they tend to anticipate and expect fresh and provocative content. This helps keep the websites 'sticky' and keeps people coming back. Visitors to ChurchStaffing.com and the MondayMorningInsight blog often come back for one reason… the content changes… daily. Keeping the content fresh, and reminding people of that new content through email newsletters really works for me!
Questions I Ask Myself Regularly: When was the last time I deliberately communicated a new message to my customers? How long ago did I introduce a new idea or concept to my customer base?
I'd love to hear any comments… my email is trhoadesATchurchstaffingDOTcom.