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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Ability is Greater than Money

Ability is greater than money because it can be neither lost or stolen.  

If you study the lives of very successful people you will find that they rarely climb to the top of their business or profession and stay there without challenges.  They often climb to the top and falter several times during their careers but they know that the one thing that got them where they are, their ability, is always there to help them reach the top again.

Your ability is the one thing that you exclusively own; no one can ever take it from you.

The economy and business today continue to be challenging yet those of us with true ability to provide solutions will succeed.  Builder Consulting builds better websites, our unique ability is to place websites on search engines and build long term successful relationships with customers who become partners.

What is your unique ability that will help you succeed in good or bad times?

Robert ‘Dot Com’ Jackson
BuilderConsulting.com – Building Better Websites and Technology Solutions since 1995
913-814-8844 Offices

How Do You Run a Business in Tough Times?

Turn on any television or visit any news website and there are a dozen instances of how bad the economy or real estate industry is doing. Every political campaign promises change while the next minute every campaign is running the same old negative campaign ads bashing the opponent. When things get tough every business owner has to address tough decisions on how to create new opportunities, motivate employees AND customers, where is the best return on investment for marketing and what kind of attitude to have.

Attitude is not everything yet it is a personal decision made each day that will make or break a company. If business is slow it is easy to blame others for making the economy bad or competitors for taking your business or even employees for not performing as well. Any or all of these items may have merit and should be addressed professionally as needed.

In a round table meeting after the Midwest Builders Show last year a retired builder angerly shared that the main reason he felt his company had failed was competitors copying his floorplans and then selling them cheaper than his former company. After the meeting two other local builders vocalized their opinions that poor customer service, constant delays and excessive spending resulting in higher sales prices for homes were more likely the reasons behind the business failure. The failed business owner had spent more time focused on what his competitors were doing than adjusting budgets, addressing ongoing quality problems and correcting the fundamental issues within his business that led to the eventual closure.

Companies cannot continue to do business the same old way expecting different results when everything has changed. Tough decisions need to be made on where the best Return on Investment comes from in marketing, materials, supplies, employees, training and future plans. One of the first things Builder Consulting did when the markets slowed was to sell the enormous Hummer H2 SUV’s that guzzled gas and felt like overly lavish expenses when most of our customers were facing difficult times. Many other aspects of the business were adjusted, staff were cross trained and Builder Consulting invested a significant amount of money to support customers having the most difficult times.

Builder Consulting paid for the website hosting, updates, marketing and hired additional customer support professionals to communicate with customers on the best way to reach buyers. Training classes are offered each week to teach customers how to most effectively utilize the website, understand the traffic, follow-up with buyers and make updates using the 24/7 online updating systems. Not all customers facing challenges have made it though it was not due to lack of effort or attempts to help as a partner rather than a vendor. Accountants and other business owners say that when someone cannot pay then it is best to cut losses, disconnect services and move on. Our philosophy is if someone is having a difficult time than the worst thing anyone could do is kick them while they are down and stop the only changes they may have at improving business through reaching buyers online.

It may not be the best way to run a business when considering cash flow or income but it is the right thing to do. Somewhere along the line people and businesses stopped considering what is right and wrong and began thinking only of income; what other companies are doing instead of how they may improve their business and chose what kind of attitude they wanted to have.

Challenges and issues will always be part of business, how we act, react and work through them is up to us. Make the decision to take the high road, help others in need, focus on the positive instead of negative and make things better because you are there.

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