The story


The story

When you first started your business, what was the biggest obstacle you faced?

"There were so many opportunities presented by the Internet, that the biggest obstacle was determining which one offered the greatest value to prospective customers and which one could potentially deliver the greatest upside potential in terms of enjoyment and revenues."

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How was your business initially financed?
"Revenues boot-strapped the entire operation from day one."

Did you suffer through some lean times when you almost gave up?

Did anyone give you any advice that helped you grow your business?
"Many people offered good advice and suggestions as we started out and still do today. One of the best pieces of advice offered was to focus on and be the best at just one thing, vs. trying to be the best at many things. We’ve been real fortunate. There’s been a lot of people who have contributed in many ways and have been real helpful. If you listen, you can learn a lot."

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Was there a turning point in your company’s survival?
"Not necessarily."

How does your Web site generate revenue?
"The online employment model is very similar to the print employment model – employers pay to post their open positions."

Have you added any other services since your Web site was started?
"We are constantly adding new features and tools to our Web site. As Internet users have become more sophisticated, their expectations have increased. So we continually work with our customers to find out what would help them in their job and then we try to deliver the ideas and suggestions we receive."

How important is advertising to your business model?
"In terms of banner or on-site advertising, not very important. We have not pursued selling advertising space on our Web site primarily because we don’t see it as critical to our overall revenues. If you consider advertising of employment opportunities, then it is critical."

Who are your major advertisers?
"Not applicable."

What are the demographics of the people who visit your Web site?
"About 55% female, 45% male. About 75% have at least some college. Primarily between the ages of 20 and 38."

How has your company survived with an Internet-based business, when so many others failed?
"We strive to ensure that what we offer to our customers is better than what they previously or traditionally used; the Internet should not be thought of as an ‘ends,’ but a ‘means.’ It’s hard not to succeed if what you offer is easier to use, reduces the amount of work involved, is less expensive and shortens the overall business process."

Have partnerships helped your business?

Do you have any plans for expansion or changes in the next year?
"Yes. We are currently working on a number of major enhancements to our site and services that will be introduced within the next four to eight months. We would like to elaborate, but given that the environment is quite competitive, I can’t. We also intend to hire seven to 15 additional employees over the next 12 months."

If you were starting your Web site today, knowing what you know now, would you do anything differently?
"Not anything I can think of."

Ten years down the road, how will the Internet be different than it is today?
"I believe that it will be thoroughly integrated into the family room and the television, as opposed to being accessed primarily from a desktop computer. So, it will be thought of less as an ‘ends’ and more as a ‘means,’ meaning that people will not think in terms of ‘accessing the Internet,’ but rather will think in terms of ‘accessing services, products and information’ via the Internet."

Do you have an exit plan?
"No. When you are having this much fun, getting out doesn’t cross your mind."

June 27, 2003 Small Business Times, Milwaukee

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