Kid in the Candy Store!
November 15, 1999
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Reaching Great Minds Online
November 15, 1999 Issue #19
Mike Valentine, Editor,


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Kid in the Candy Store

by Mike Banks Valentine

A little boy approached the candy counter to peer through
the glass case at the assorted sweets in huge piles and
colorful arrangements. His mouth watered as he thought of
the rich chocolate covered crunchy peanuts in front of him.
He saw his reflection in the glass as he slowly licked his
lips in appreciation of the jelly beans near his right hand,
inaccessible through the thick, cool glass. Licorice whips
tempted him on the left as he longingly looked over the neat
rows of twisted black and red treats.

Sometimes it seems as if the promise of success online is
like being tempted by every imaginable technical goody. Do
you choose a web developer or buy (then learn to use)
software to create your web site? Do you choose a domain
name or maybe use a free web host and an URL redirection
service? Do you buy the currently fastest modem or choose
ISDN service? How about that new cell phone that recieves
the web or the laptop with satellite reception?

The shopkeeper smiled as he watched the little five-year-old
press his nose against the display case with his eyes wide.

Those of us currently online are already building our future
on the web but are still confronted with new services daily
that promise success to users of the latest advancement. It
will continue to evolve and there will always be choices to

"What do you want?" the shop owner asked kindly.

Not even looking up and without hesitation the little boy
answered enthusiastically, "I want all of these candies!"

The man chuckled and said, "If you choose just one, I'll
give it to you."

The boy scowled with deep concentration, then scanned the
length of the case at the wide assortment of taffy, then at
the brightly colored hard tack candy arrayed in sections of
various colors and shapes, then the chocolate which encased
cherries and coconut and almonds and cremes of all sorts. He
imagined the tart flavor at the center of the jawbreakers
and the individually wrapped pieces of chewy caramel and
couldn't make up his mind. He lingered at the end of the
counter staring longingly at the gummi bears.

Sometimes we let the selection of web goodies arrayed in
every direction dazzle us and look longingly at every option
from America Online to our neighborhood service provider and
worry over choices as tempting as Direct Subscriber Lines or
as colorful as "broadband" (cable) and can't make up our
minds. Do I need a "Shopping Cart" and a site search option
or just domain multihoming and a single e-mail account? Do
I want a database linked site and my own server or does the
local ISP provide all I need for now?

Ultimately he couldn't decide among all of the flavors and
colors and his mother returned to hurry him out of the drug
store and home in disappointment.

Getting online is easy. Making choices is sometimes more
difficult. But if you don't get your business online, your
competitors may force you to abandon your dreaming and make
a move before your mommy hurries you out of the candy store.


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Time To Get Offline

by Bob Cortez
Total Quality Marketing, Inc.

Strange title for an article from a guy who makes his living
creating Internet strategies for small businesses, I know.

Consider this: if your target market is small businesses, the
bulk of your market isn't even online yet. If you sell computer
hardware, software or Internet services of any type, and don't
have an offline marketing plan you're ignoring a significant
and lucrative market.

The largest and most influential corporations on or offline are
spending billions to convince small businesses to get online,
use their products, and buy their services. They are doing
what 'big dogs' do best - spend lots of money. As a small
business you have to do what we do best - create relationships.

That means getting back to marketing basics and hitting the

Your mission, if you choose to accept it, is to become *the*
local small business Internet expert. Regardless of what your
primary business is, you want to be known as the person to
contact for any Internet questions. So be prepared with a list
of online or offline resources that you can tap for products,
services and information outside of your area of expertise.
One good resource for all types of Internet related projects
is Media Talent Net (

Once you have a reliable team assembled you are ready to begin
positioning yourself as the local expert.

Get yourself some business cards and be sure to include your
Internet addresses. You may even want to put "Small Business
Internet Expert" on your card. Make it a habit of carrying cards
with you everywhere, and leaving them everywhere you go (Like
bread crumbs in the woods <g>). Diana Ratliff offers great
business card ideas and advice at

Join or start a local small business networking group. If you
have selected local people to be part of your Internet team
include them in your group. For more information on networking
effectively, visit the networking guru Nancy Roebke at

Get involved with your local chamber of commerce. Volunteer
to help with their web site. See if they have an Internet or
technology committee. Contribute an article for their news-
letter. Offer to speak or put together an Internet panel for
one of their meetings.

Get to know your local media's Internet and Technology reporters.
Be on the lookout for interesting facts, figures, and local
people doing something unique online. Make yourself available
for comments on Internet issues. Write an article yourself
or have one written for you to submit for publication. Offer
to do an "Ask the Internet expert" for small businesses. Don't
forget the radio stations, suggest a call in show to your local
station. Visit for a list of media
outlets in your area or region.

Use imprinted and useful promotional items that have a long shelf
life. Mouse pads and computer covers are two obvious choices.
Visit for other promotional
products ideas.

Another good promotional tool is booklets. Write and print your
own following the advice of the Booklet Queen Paulette Ensign or save time and purchase customized
booklets produced by others. See
for several examples appropriate for the small business market.

The battle for the hearts, minds and wallets of small businesses
is being waged offline, before they even see your website or read
your newsletter. Before they even know what a search engine is,
you may have lost the business of your neighbor.

If half of your target market is still offline, shouldn't a
proportionate amount of your marketing time, effort and money
be invested offline?

Post your comments on this article at:

Bob Cortez is a small business consultant and Internet Strategist
Co-Author of the "Bricks to Clicks" booklets "Getting Your
Business Online" and "The Business of Doing Business Online".
He can be reached at mailto:bobcortez@tqm-online or visit the
Total Quality Marketing,

Permission is granted to reprint and distribute this article as
long as it remains unedited and includes both the resource box
above and this authorization.



I've been on the net for years, and have several websites, but
I am trying to make my "business" site more professional, and
download faster. I currently use a Table tag to create a table
down the left side. But the table seems to take so long to load.



I don't think the table is your problem. That loaded very quickly
for me. But there is something that you can do to help. It's
called "stacking your tables" Especially when there are several
images like the banners at the bottom of your page. Put them in a
separate table and I guarantee the top of the page will load faster.

I believe a good deal of delay comes from going first to a
forwarding service and *then* to geocities. Try loading your page
directly from your geocities address and compare the load time to
using the domain name forwarding service. It was at least twice as
fast loading without using the forwarding service.

Domain forwarding is handy when you are getting started, but cost you
in load time and search engine placement. Your front page is within a
frame and only those keywords and description will get indexed on the
search engines. No other pages will show up on searches.

The domain forwarding services never mention these issues to
customers. If you want to keep your domain on a free server, go
to Hypermart or BizLand where there are low or no-cost options.


If you have a question for the professor, send it in and we'll see if
we can help. I may have to do some research, but I'll answer your
queries in the newsletter by Monday morning's class!



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Copyright 1999 Mike Valentine

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