With almost 40 years being self-employed I have seen many changes over the years, in the last 20 years, there have been dramatic changes as with all changes in the business cycles you see old businesses closing up shop because they did not see the change coming or were simply not willing to make the change. I thought I would make a timeline of what I have noticed over the last 40 years so let me start with the ’80s.
In the early 80’s when I started in business your business was built with either drive-bys, highway signs, billboards in towns, newspapers, tv, radio just to name a few. Now I started in the lodging business and this is
still part of my business today so back then when I bought my business we had highway signs as the main source of bringing traffic to our business. Looking back highway signs were extremely expensive, each one was about a thousand dollars a month with no guarantee of business for which we had three of these signs. Back then we were renting rooms for $12.00 per night so you can do the math on how these costs would affect the bottom line. Of course, back then we did not have the competition that we have today either but these costs dramatically affected profitability. Other than the highway signs we did not have any other forms of advertising other than a few times a year we would take out a newspaper ad which back then usually ran about a 1/16th-page ad today those costs are over a hundred dollars for the same ad. With the advertising expenses compounded with the regular motel expenses, it was hard to make any money unless you did a huge volume.
Also back then many newbies into the business thought they would shut down to upgrade their motel and then re-open all renovated which back then was the kiss of death for the motel business, why? Because back then if you closed you were no longer on your customer’s route, so old customers had no idea when you would re-open. I saw several newbies in the business do this, they called me a year or two after they closed for renovations and ask how could they build the business quickly as they needed some income. I told them they should have called me prior to closing as opposed to after being closed and I would have told them to not close, renovate while operating so customers see the renovations and appreciate the fact you are renovating. Back then there was no way to build the business quickly unless you wanted the business that might destroy your updates.
Now the ’90s saw some changes in the way you did business though not so much in the way you advertised, this is why as an owner you have to be aware of the public needs to stay relevant in their eyes. Though in the ’90s we saw the State of Ohio add directional signage for our business which was much more cost effective advertising so we dropped all of our highway signs for the motel with no loss of business. In the late ’90s we saw additional changes as more people were using the internet we added our website and within the first year we saw the website bringing in about 10-15 percent of our business though also in this time frame we saw many other businesses go out as they felt they did not need to make the change or simply did not see the change. Many big businesses that we see dropping today did not see the changes they need to make in the late ’90s, with each cycle business owners need to make changes in the way they advertise or market their business or they will be one of the statistics. Businesses all need to understand that not only the way they advertise needs to change but the way they do business also needs to be adjusted, small business can make these changes quickly while big business is usually a little slower in seeing these changes as the people who can make the change are not in touch with their consumer base.
In the 2000’s we saw internet usage start to go through the roof, phones were becoming smartphones, though people loved to use the internet they still did not understand the internet and how ranking on the search engines could easily be maintained, of course, big business did not want you to understand the internet as they wanted to sell you rankings and advertising the userbase believed what they told them and today internet advertising has grown to be a huge money generator where many companies spend thousands on advertising online. Small business, unlike big business, does not have the money to spend online so we need to find cost-effective resources to build their business. Many small businesses moved to have a website as a way for new customers their business. they thought by having a website that the business will come, within the first year they found out that was not the case at all so many gave up on the internet simply because the did not understand how to harness the power of it. In my case though I saw the internet as a cost-effective way to build my business since I made the time to learn how to achieve rankings and maintain those rankings my business online has continued to grow though not as fast as businesses would with a huge cash infusion my growth is attained from organic rankings.
By 2010 Social Media has become a viable way for businesses to cost-effectively build their business, especially for business owners that do not understand how to achieve organic rankings on the major search engines. In fact, many businesses think achieving these rankings is total luck but it is not, you just need to know how to write your content for rankings. Social Media those does provide an excellent opportunity for small business to build their business online though should only be considered as one way to build their business, I feel that having a website is still important for any business to grow unless you want to pay for your local and regional rankings. The search engines now offer business pages for your business to localize though at some point you are going to have to pay for this also.
Advertising your business continues to change today, as business owners you have to understand your different options which are directory listings, online classifieds, business classifieds, banner ads, text ads and more. I have written many articles on how to advertise your business many of which you can find on CentralOhioAdvertising but also on my main site for Golden Advertising which is GGOLDEN.com. I have been providing high ranked business advertising resources for many years, I look forward to seeing you list your business on one of my website which is relevant to your business, these sites are listed in the upper right side of this page.