As many of your know, I work as an Entrepreneur in Residence (EIR) at TechTown Detroit. In this role I provide mentorship and nuggets of information about bootstrapping companies from my 15-year experience in building companies. I don’t focus on building one-company at a time, but I build multiple companies at the same time, which I refer to as machines. If one machine stops producing revenue I fix it or throw it away. I try not to fall in love with my machines, but it happens 🙂
When I create a new machine one of the hardest issues is to create awareness about it. So, I typically start with creating Google Ads. It typically takes me a few months to start generating revenue from the ads. Why you might ask? First, it takes a while for me to tune the ad and setup the right keywords. Second, people do comparison shopping. People will click on your ad, visit your page, bookmark it and then visit your competitors. It may be a month or so before they are ready to buy. I call this virtual window shopping. You have to calculate this into the time it takes to start converting customers. Unfortunately, there is no mathematical formula that can predict how long it will take for conversions to start because other factors play into this. One key factor is your Unique Value Proposition (UVP) over other products in its category. But, there are things you can do to increase the probability that folks will come back and purchase your product.
One of these things consists of building trust with your customer. I found that having a phone number visible on your website increases the internal trust meter within people. When I first started my business, I didn’t have a phone number on my site so this left people wondering if I would actually deliver the services if they purchased online. After putting a phone number on my site I started getting calls. I got comments like this:
- “Wow…you answered the phone”
- “Where are located?” (Trying to figure out if I was a front for an off-shore company)
- “I just wanted to call to see if the company was real”
These comments helped me validate that having a phone number on my site is still super critical and expedites the time it takes to convert users (aka window shoppers) into customers.
Obtaining a phone for your business is super easy…I recommend using Google Voice for Personal Use, which is free. Once you pick up some traction, you can transfer the number to another service that’s more business-focused.
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