On Tuesday, we heard from Steve Roderick of www.gotoBilling.com, a one-stop small business resource for paperless marketing, online invoicing, electronic billing, gift cards, and more.
Due to smart planning and excellent customer service, gotoBilling.com is thriving in today’s economy and helping other small business owners succeed.
Here is the rest of our conversation and Steve’s secrets to success:
What is the biggest hurdle you faced in starting your business and how did you overcome it?
Money. We haven’t. “Seriously though folks,” it is money. But that’s the same problem that plagues most starting businesses.
We did several things that, at the time, seemed insane. We refused all offers for loans or venture capital, and we didn’t acquire debt. At the time, given the market climate, our thinking was criticized by even friends and family.
We decided to grow slower, and grow as revenue allowed. This meant that we had to be real good at what we do and satisfy every customer completely. Otherwise, there would be no way to grow.
I am happy to report today that GTB has only minor, short-term debt at the moment and will be totally debt free by mid-2009. We are watching competitors struggle under the weight of debt acquired when it was easy and fashionable to get massive growth loans. In the long run, I think we are much better off and healthier as a company by taking the slow conservative approach.
How have you dealt with competing businesses and unethical practices in the credit-card payment industry?
It’s impossible to regulate the values and morals of others. We work to be transparent, honest and accessible with our customers. We will give them the correct information and back it up with facts. Unfortunately, sometimes it is impossible to save people from themselves.
How have you increased word-of-mouth for gotoBilling?
A good deal of our new business comes from current customers simply telling other users about our services. We don’t
give our customers incentives to do this. I think this comes from their genuine satisfaction with the product and our personal human support that is engaging, fast and personalized.
What marketing efforts have worked the best for your business and why?
Our reseller channel, this is all we focused on in the past. A reseller channel results in lower margins to a company but is the least expensive way to get a product or service into the market. Today, as we have grown the business and finances allow, we are deeply into SEO, media awareness of our company and consumer brand awareness, i.e., advertising.
What advice do you have for other entrepreneurs pursuing their business dreams?
Ted Turner said, “Late to bed, early to rise. Work like hell and advertise.” And I think he was right.
Actually I would advise three things:
1.) Create a product or service you would use and can explain easily.
2.) Grow steadily over time and don’t borrow your way to success. It’s short-lived.
3.) Concentrate on each customer and do more than is expected, every time. No shortcuts.
Thanks Steve! Isn’t it nice to hear about a company that actually cares about customer service – especially in the finance industry?
If you’d like more information about gotoBilling.com or have SEO copywriting and PR questions, just let me know here or at www.rembrandtwrites.com. I’m here to help!