Do What is Right in Business, Give Back

The last few years have been tough for many Americans and tougher for many of the builders and real estate professionals we have the pleasure of working with.  When I founded my company in 1995 I named it Builder Consulting because we were building computers, networks and websites while providing computer and Internet consulting.  I knew many people in the real estate industry so naturally that was a strong part of the business with many of the builders taking my word that this whole ‘Internet Thing’ was going to be BIG.My little ‘hobby’ business went from an extra bedroom at my house to a Main Street office with clients worldwide because of the customers.  When customers started calling and stating they could no longer pay for website hosting, updates or marketing we had a choice to make.  I met with our accounting staff and told them if the customer is legitimately unable to pay and having trouble then Internet Builder Consulting was going to pay it for them and help keep them in business.

My accountant told me it was a bad idea, my office manager actually fought with me about it (she is no longer with the company) but my heart said that we help people when they need it rather than hurt.  These were the people and companies that helped us succeed and the last thing we needed to do was take down their websites so no customers could find them and no leads would come in.  The decision was bad for ‘business’ costing nearly $25,000 in services we paid for customers in the first year alone but I believe it is the way business should operate.  Business should not be just about money, making more and taking more from people – it should be about helping and making things better.

Some of the customers were literally shocked when I called them back to let them know we would be paying for their services until they got back on their feet.  Wallen Builders was a successful New Mexico builder/developer that called to say they were having financial troubles and could not pay to complete the new website.  I called them back and told them we would finish the website, host it and market it for the rest of the year at no charge to help.  Unfortunately it was not enough and they closed the following year but the marketing director, Gia Tidle  let us know that what we did helped them survive and pay their staff a few months longer.

Gary Bringus of Heartland Homes spent his last marketing money with another ‘builder design’ firm who took his money and never produced a website for him.  When he contacted us and asked for help we designed and built him a new website for 1/2 of what we normally charge.  Heartland Homes built some beautiful custom homes throughout Kansas City until the market crash and medical issues nearly closed the business.  In 2010 Heartland Homes made the call to turn off the website and save every penny they could to pay medical bills from nearly a year Gary spent in the hospital.

Rather than turning off the website we looked at the situation and agreed to pay for the services until he was back on his feet and business was stable.  After a few years of paying for customers websites, hosting and marketing it did add up to a significant amount of money that was causing occasional cash flow issues for Internet Builder Consulting so I choose to pay it out of my own pocket.  The last few years I have paid myself around $15,000 a year as the CEO of one of the top Website, SEO and Social Marketing firms in the country.  It’s was easier than I expected to go from making $175,000+ a year to what is considered poverty but I did it and I live a happy full life not needing anything.

Business is not about how much money you make, it is about how many people and companies you are able to help.  Internet Builder Consulting has been recognized as The Best Place to Work in Kansas City 4 times now and we have a happy team of the top experts in the country who do what they love and take care of customers.  Since 1995 I have never worried about the money, there were been several start-ups I was involved with that brought in more money than I ever thought I could spend.  Money has never been my goal, being the best at what we do, knowing the Internet, Search Engines, social networks inside and out and actually watching the people we work with succeed because of what we did for them is what drives me.

I had to make some adjustments in life to take a zillion percent pay-cut but it made things much simpler and more manageable.  Until things are better and the people who helped us grow the business from a side hobby to one of the top website, SEO and Social Marketing firms in the country are back on their feet I will continue to pay.  There is always another day and another dollar but there may not always be another chance to help a company or a friend stay in business when times are tough!

If you believe in what you do, the people around you and doing what is right than putting your money where your heart is makes sense.

Robert ‘Dot Com’ Jackson

Internet Expert, CEO

Internet Builder Consulting

816-842-7774

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Loyalty is Created and Earned by Doing What is Right

With a challenging economy, high unemployment and an unclear future the value of loyalty has never been higher.  Today most companies have lost sight on the things that should be the MOST important such as service, support, solutions, respect, results and loyalty.  
When the economy tanked dozens of the builders and real estate customers we work with went from having large marketing budgets to barely being able to pay the bills.  The first few calls came in 2007 where someone asked to ‘take down the website’ because they could not afford to pay for the hosting or marketing.  Many companies would simply go ahead and disconnect service but we choose to take a different route.  I personally contacted everyone who called to let them know we appreciate their business, support and loyalty so we were going to return that loyalty and support by paying the bills for the customer until things were better.  
The first few times I did this the lady who handles our accounting nearly had a heart attack.  Not only was I telling her to stop trying to collect money I was explaining that WE were now paying the bills for the customers.  Many of these companies and people were the same ones who helped our small website company get started from my house in 1995 buying websites from ‘that Dotcom guy’ when business was good and few companies felt they really needed a website to sell a home.  As the market and technology changed websites and online marketing became invaluable and when times are tough a website may be the only hope a builder has to reach a buyer…so we keep the websites on.  The decision to do what is right instead of what is most profitable has made cash flow tight from time to time but given the choice to make more or help more we will always choose to help.
Google’s motto is “Don’t Be Evil” while Internet Builder Consulting’s motto is “Do What is Right and Make it Better Because We are Here”.  There are literally thousands of people and companies who offer websites, SEO and online marketing today.  What has made Internet Builder Consulting successful, the Best Place to Work in Kansas City with 91% customer retention are a few key things.

1. Always give more

Go above and beyond to take care of the customer, help find a resolution no matter who is at fault, no matter what time or what day it is.  Under promise and over deliver whenever possible, communicate and make sure the customer and staff knows how much you appreciate them.

2. Be transparent with your business, products and services

Things happen, staff changes from time to time and mistakes or delays are inevitable no matter how good you are or how well run things may be.  When something goes wrong address it, learn from it and make sure the customer knows it will be resolved.  We use social networks to share updates for the company, planned system updates or upgrades and to educate on new technologies since education is ALWAYS better than sales.  Never ever sell something if you do not have that expertise in-house with complete control of the quality, capabilities and results.  Never misrepresent yourself as something you are not, it may help increase sales in the short term but eventually people find out.

3. Build a better relationship on Social Networks

Have everyone in the company join social networks and interact with customers, post updates and ideas on projects and get to know the people we work with.  Customers are on Facebook or Twitter where they may read updates, company news or events and contact you if they need something.  If you really care about the companies and people you work with then get involved with them and learn more about who they are, what they enjoy and causes they support.  Internet Builder Consulting has donated dozens of websites to charities, organizations and worthy causes for customers.

4. Walk the Walk, if you Sell It you should Do It (better than anyone else)!

If you sell websites and website hosting then you better have a crack team of website designers, developers, SEO and Social Marketing experts ON STAFF and have all of that setup properly for your company.  Too often someone sells a service they don’t use or really understand, such as Social Marketing or SEO, simply because it is a ‘hot item’ customers ask for.  Internet Builder Consulting started writing articles, teaching website, online marketing and SEO classes in 1999 and Social Marketing classes in 2007 and all services are practiced every day at the office.  It takes a team of dedicated experts to keep ahead of the technology curve.
5. Be Loyal
No matter what, be loyal to the customers, companies and people you work with.  These are the people and businesses that helped you succeed so when they need help make sure you are there.  This extends past the office, we have customers who support Down Syndrome  diabetes, breast cancer and local charities which we volunteer for and donate websites, marketing, photography or whatever is needed.
Doing what is right is usually not what is easy or most profitable but it is the way we do business and live life.  It’s not about the money, it is about doing what you love with people you want to be around and companies you respect and support.
Robert ‘Dot Com’ Jackson
Founder, Internet Builder Consulting – Building BETTER Websites, SEO and Social Marketing
816-842-7774 Office

Large or Small, Personal or Business, You Know Your a Success When…

Throughout history the people who made the most difference, changed the world, brought about innovation, social expansion and created everything we take for granted today were loved and hated. Consider Microsoft, undeniably the most influential company in history in terms of computers and software used by hundreds of millions of people worldwide. Chances are you are reading this Blog on a computer using Microsoft Windows or Microsoft Internet Explorer and sent email using Microsoft Outlook or Exchange today.

Do a quick search for the term ‘Microsoft Sucks’ and 42,200,000 (over 42 million) search results are displayed starting out with a website dedicated to ‘Why Microsoft Sucks’. To date the Microsoft Office is the # 1 selling office productivity software in the world, Internet Explorer is used by 98% of all businesses and still there are more than 42 million results about ‘Microsoft Sucks’. Can anyone name the company that created Open Office, the free ‘imitation’ of Microsoft Office that has been around since 1999? The company does not come to mind, they now offer Open Office in more than 80 languages worldwide but nobody knows who they are because it is just a cheap imitation of Microsoft Office who came first and dominated the market (Sun Micrososystems developed Open Office).

Next think about what Susan B. Anthony went through in her quest for Women’s Suffrage (the 19th Amendment, right to vote) being arrested by the US Marshall Service, jailed numerous times, expelled from her Union, called a ‘harlot’, ‘unpatriotic’ and many worse things. She stood up for what she believed in, what was right and equal for all people and changed the world. In her time she was hated by most men and a significant portion of the female population for pointing out inequities in society and dedicating herself to changing them. Move on to one of the most well loved and most popular leaders in history with a 98% popularity rating in his country, Adolf Hitler.

As unlikely as it sounds, Hitler was extremely popular throughout Germany at the start of his power and throughout the initial war. Hitler utilized the emotions of the German people who felt they had been oppressed and taken advantage of after World War I using national pride, promise of change and most significantly propaganda to influence Germany to follow him. This technique has been used throughout history by scandalous people or companies to sway others to their views when they were unable to obtain influence or compete through legitimate means.

Ask yourself how is it that companies that have done so much to improve and influence our lives are so hated by so many or women like Susan B. Anthony that dedicated their lives to helping others obtain a fair vote in society could be so despised? Neither history or any of us remember the people who never made a difference or caused any ‘waves’. The companies and people who take the initive, put themselves at risk, create change and influence life or business as we know it are the ones everyone loves, or loves to hate. When I officially started my business back in 1995 I made little difference, nobody knew who I was or heard of Builder Consulting and life was easy.

Move forward 15 years and hundreds of websites later to where Builder Consulting has been recognized as the Best Place to Work by the Business Journal twice, received 119 local and national ‘Best Website’ awards, created the industries first content managment system (BuilderAdmin.com), presented hundreds of educational classes worldwide and still conducts business without a single salesperson needed. Last week alone six ‘hate emails’ from the owner of a company that started up in the same city 8 years after Builder Consulting using a name that is eerily similar to ours. The week before an email was forwarded from someone in Tulsa stating they were told ‘Robert Jackson is slimy’ (really…I take showers daily) and last month a company in Texas became a customer after another website company told him ‘watch out for Builder Consulting’ prompting him to research our company and become a customer.

Success, we finally made it! Builder Consulting has changed the way the industry markets online, created the websites, software and solutions others are now trying to imitate and continues to be years ahead of the herd. Customers love us for the success and solutions and other companies hate that they cannot compete no matter how many bad things they say!

The people and companies that make the most difference are those we all know, love, like or love to hate (TMZ is one of the top rated shows). You or your business has made it, you know your a success when the same happens to you!

What similar experiances have you had, did you notice an increase in this type of desperate activity as the economy slowed?

BuilderConsulting.com – Building Better Websites & Technology Solutions since 1995

Being Posative Leads to Success…in Business & Life

I have considered writing about this for several weeks though until today I felt it was more of a personal mission than a Blog worthy message. When I arrived at work today there was an email from a builder in Texas inquiring about website services and online marketing. The email had the company name, website address, phone number, name and details of when the builder wanted a new website launched (60 days) so I picked up the phone and called him to find out more about his business and how we may assist.

The first questions I ask anyone is “how did you find our company?” to which his reply was “another website company trying to sell me a website gave me your name”. He further elaborated that the sales person from the other website company had been so persistent and gone on for weeks about Builder Consulting that he simply had to go look us up on the Internet and find out what would cause someone to be so insecure they had to name another company, by name, as someone they “better not work with…” although he had never heard of our company or mentioned our name previously.

After spending a few minutes online researching website development firms and specifically our firm since he had been told by a sales person NOT to contact us he was comfortable enough to send an email request through one of the 12 websites he found pertaining to our company to speak with someone himself. When we spoke he was clear about his business needs and goals, inquired if we knew the other company (at which point I shared I knew who they were but would rather speak about how Builder Consulting can provide solutions than gossip about another firm) and we proceeded with a 30 minute conversation about his business.

By the end of the conversation the company on the other end of the phone became a customer requesting an agreement to begin working with Builder Consulting. He stated openly that the other company he had been speaking with was so negative and focused on why he should not work with other companies, while our conversation was simply about his business needs and what Builder Consulting would do to assist him.

The culture of a business or individual shows clear to others, short term gains may be made through negative marketing or slanderous claims about companies that may be considered competitors but those gains will never last. When a company we have never spoken with contacts us and becomes a customer simply because someone was so scared of trying to sell their work based on quality, service, results and innovation then it becomes quite clear that happiness in business and life ultimately determines success.

If an individual or business needs to say bad things about another to sell their products or services then they simply must not have a good enough product or service to be sold on its own standing – most companies are smart enough to realize this.

Robert ‘Dot Com’ Jackson
http://www.BuilderConsulting.com
913-814-8844 Office

Building Better Websites and Technology Solutions Since 1995