Who’s on first?

by Dick Larkin on September 20, 2011

There was a time when being first in the Yellow Pages meant survival.  With the major shift to web search and community directories, names like this may (hopefully) be a thing of the past.

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The news about Yellow Pages these days is pretty grim.  The San Francisco Board of Supervisors has imposed delivery restrictions that effectively ban Yellow Pages distribution.

But in the small towns around the Midwest, the news for community directories has been entirely different.

In an effort to spread some good news (and blow our own horn), I’ve put together a series of press releases to highlight real, tangible local growth in print advertising.

Cedar Lake, Indiana Economy Comes Roaring Back with 44% increase in local business advertising.

Edinburgh, Indiana Economic Indicator Rises 22% on Local Advertising Surge

Anamosa, IA economic indicators up 20% over last year for small businesses

Pecatonica, Illinois Economy Shows Promising Growth

Hobart, Indiana Businesses Thrive as Local Economy Experiences Upturn

Indianola, Iowa Businesses Surge Ahead as Economy Rebounds

Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin Economy Shows Solid Recovery, 21% increase in local business advertising

Will these drops of good news change the thinking of the non-believers?  Not likely.

But for the family owned businesses that serve tight-knit communities, they may be happy to know that they are not alone in appreciating fantastic local directories.

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The Snowball Effect of Starting a Small Business

by Dick Larkin on November 16, 2010

Starting a business is like rolling a snowball downhill. At first it takes all of your energy just to pack together a few handfuls of snow. Once you’ve made the snowball, you have to push and push and push to build up some weight.

The heavier the snowball becomes, the more snow it picks up. If you can get it moving fast enough down a slope, it will take off on its own gaining speed, size and momentum. It needs both mass and speed to keep rolling.

When a new business opens, it has to expend tremendous effort to pick up the first few customers. Each successive customer comes a little easier than the one before it, but there’s a catch.

Just like rolling a snowball downhill, if a business can’t pick up customers fast enough, it will not gain the momentum necessary to take off.

A Yellow Pages advertising program by itself will not generate all the customers necessary for a business to be successful. However, it contributes by adding additional customers that boost the company’s momentum.

Explaining that a business needs to add customers just as a snowball needs to add snow may help an advertiser visualize how Yellow Pages can help him.

Special thanks to Tom Davis, author of “The TRUTH about Yellow Pages” for this story.

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What will you tell your grandkids?

by Dick Larkin on April 21, 2010

What will you tell your grandkids?

My college roommate’s Uncle Howard was a wealthy businessman who gave millions of dollars away .

His most visible gift was the “Touchdown Jesus” mosaic on the Notre Dame’s Library.

Notre Dame Library

While attending Notre Dame in the 1920′s, he sold World Book Encyclopedias door-to-door.

He became a school teacher and continued selling encyclopedias after graduation to supplement his salary.

I asked Uncle Howard to tell me about “Black Monday” when the stock market plummeted in 1929 triggering the Great Depression.

He said he wasn’t worried.  Earlier that day, he sold a set of encyclopedias and had $50 in his pocket.  If everything went to pieces, he still had $50 and knew he could get by.

He sold right through the depths of the Depression.  It wasn’t easy, but he never slowed down.  To his customers, encyclopedias provided education, and education meant opportunity for a brighter future.

Surrounded by problems, Uncle Howard delivered solutions.

He rose through the World Book ranks and became the number two person in the company working for Marshall Field.  Uncle Howard earned a small override on every sale, and he amassed a fortune.

Today, we are surrounded by fear, turmoil and uncertainty.  A young person may someday ask YOU what it was like back in 2008, and how did YOU respond?

What will your role be following the Great Crash of ’08?

Will you be defeated by circumstance, or will you provide solutions and support to others?

I hope that I will be able to say that I chose to be a
victor rather than a victim.  In the midst of calamity, I saw
opportunity.

Have a prosperous week.
Dick Larkin
Dick Larkin

ps. Next time you see “Touchdown Jesus,” remember Uncle Howard, a man who refused to relinquish control of his destiny.

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Yellow Pages Group Search Solutions

February 22, 2010

This is a well produced video describing the benefits and services offered by YPG, Canada’s largest directory publisher. While the service isn’t new, given YPG’s strong sales force and customer relationships, it marks a solid movement toward giving advertisers what they want. Extending beyond the printed directory, and YPG’s own websites such as YellowPages.ca, advertisers [...]

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AT&T Drops Madison White Pages Residential Listings

January 23, 2010

AT&T will no longer be publishing residential listings in Madison, Wisconsin.  This follows their trend of eliminating residential listings in Milwaukee, Austin, Texas, and Atlanta, Georgia.  This should make the environmentalists happy. It’s interesting timing to announce the elimination on the same day that they begin delivering directories. The 2010 Madison AT&T Yellow Pages is [...]

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Congratulations Joe Brien – $16,500 Bonus !

January 19, 2010

Last January, we announced a contest to our sales reps to reward consistent performance. It’s really simple.  We started with 150 sales reps who represent HomePages Directories in Illinois, Wisconsin, Ohio, Indiana, Iowa and Kentucky. Make a sale.  Every day. Our directories serve small businesses that serve mostly local customers. The Yellow Pages ads start [...]

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For Sale: Small Independent Directory Publisher

January 10, 2010

I received word from an old friend that he is interested in selling his small (around $1 million revenue) independent Yellow Pages publishing business. It’s located in the Southern United States, and would need to be owner operated to be successful. The owner has experienced health problems, and needs to sell to someone who can [...]

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I’m giving this Television away on January 18 at 8:30 AM

January 10, 2010

January 18, 2010 is the date of our annual company meeting at American Marketing & Publishing, LLC.  It’s when we bring all of the sales team and office employees to Northern Illinois University for one day of reflection, direction, and motivation. 2009 was a remarkable year for the HomePages Directories.  We expanded our publishing footprint [...]

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Can this ad be saved?

January 7, 2010

My friend Joe Brown at Kenyon Design Group reworked this ad into a much more beautiful ad. The advertiser had been running this ad in a large number of directories for years. The advertiser explained that this ad was originally designed by a Dontech rep with 30 years of experience. The problem is that it [...]

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