Look up the term “entrepreneur” in the dictionary and you may find the name Richard Nacht included in the definition. Nacht is a serial entrepreneur whose pastime, it seems, is starting businesses — four so far, one of which he sold, and one that is just getting underway.
Nacht’s earliest business venture was a mortgage bank, which he owned from 1983 to 2003. In 2005, he founded another startup, Blogging Systems, a multi-user blogging platform that targeted the real estate industry.
Later, he started the Career Connection Network (CCN), a social network designed for use by the recruiting industry. His latest venture, Loyalty Thrives, a loyalty rewards program that targets smaller retail businesses, is one that could be called a family affair.
“I started my newest business so that my dad and I can work together again,” Nacht said. “We worked together for a short period over two decades ago. He retired last year and didn’t know what to do with himself, so we decided to do something together.”
Lessons Learned in Getting Started
Nacht’s more than 30 years in business has taught him some important lessons, not the least of which is the value of relationships.
“My primary takeaway is the importance of creating healthy and meaningful relationships with business partners,” Nacht said. “This ultimately leads to an understanding of the long-term value of that kind of relationship and prevents clients from running to any new provider that comes into a market unproven but with a low price.”
Another lesson Nacht learned is that it never pays to be too early to the market.
“Both Blogging Systems and CCN offered a new way for businesses to connect with their target market,” Nacht said. “Yet neither had time to capture sufficient market share before being impacted by events out of our control (a real estate crash and a recession which hit the employment market hard). With my newest business, we are joining an industry with a proven use case and demonstrable ROI for our clients.”
When asked about financial lessons learned in doing business, Nacht had this to say:
“The major lesson I learned from my business endeavors is to stay focused on every dollar spent. Achieving widespread name recognition and becoming a recognized expert in your industry is possible to anyone with a commitment to learning and enough money to throw at it. But the cost to do so usually outruns cash flow.”
The major lesson I learned from my business endeavors is to stay focused on every dollar spent.
Although Nacht said his current business lacked the historical numbers needed to pinpoint exact figures, he grew his mortgage business into a $10 million company over the 20-year period.
“Focusing on being as efficient as possible we were able to be a low-cost provider when it mattered and put the ‘factory’ into play, building out with variable costs as opportunities became available,” Nacht said. “By following this strategy, we grew into a $10 million company and became attractive to buyers.”
Lessons Learned in Online Marketing
Nacht has long been a proponent of using online marketing to grow his businesses and stated that technology and marketing do not stand separate from each other.
He shared the following advice regarding online marketing channels he’s used, based on lessons learned along the way.
Search Engine Optimization
“For many years SEO has gotten most of the attention of the new so-called social media experts and online advertising specialists,” Nacht said. “Not having been in the media industry, they don’t have the expertise to leverage public relations and other forms of online advertising. Nevertheless, finding a top-tier expert can enable SEO to be one of the most valuable methodologies resulting in success, assuming you don’t set expectations too high.”
Nacht advised small businesses to implement two tactics that, according to him, are critical to achieving good Google ranking: “Your site must be mobile ready, and the more positive reviews you have on sites like Yelp and TripAdvisor the better your chances for strong SEO results.”
Nacht also advocates of using social media marketing, which he referred to as a “highly effective method of achieving the best form of advertising and marketing — positive word of mouth.”
“It’s good to think of social media as a bicycle wheel, with a hub and spokes,” Nacht said. “When you use your website as the hub from which you send content to your social media sites — the spokes — and link back to your hub from your social media sites, you achieve the best of all possible worlds for SEO, word of mouth, and site traffic.”
For Nacht, email is a mainstay and remains a top marketing tool.
“Email has been around longer than any of the other tools, yet still retains dominance,” Nacht said. “There is a caveat to this, however. Today, more than ever, your content must be highly relevant and laser targeted to your audience, including location segmentation.
“Consumers are cutting back on their content sources and put filters in place to reduce the amount of email they receive. Your content must be compelling enough for the consumer to respond to your call to action. Email can be extremely effective, so long as you put in the time to generate the right kind of campaign.”
Although Nacht feels content marketing is becoming harder to leverage, one method he favors is the use of curated content, especially when combined with email.
“Curated email newsletters contain relevant content from the web supplemented by your own edits and writing,” Nacht said. “Your authentic speech discussing the content will convey the fact that you are the expert in your target market and provide your readers with content they are interested in, with the added benefit of your input.”
Nacht indicated that it is still too early to know what mistakes he (and his dad) may have already made with Loyalty Thrives, but said that at no point in his career was he where he expected to be when looking back over any previous five-year period.
“Companies, as well as leaders, change over time,” Nacht said. “Staying power may not be as exciting as a breakout success, but much can be said for consistent hard work and dedication. At the end of the day, I’m much more comfortable relying on my strengths and experience and that of my team to create awareness of our company in the marketplace.
“There is no short cut to creating success. It takes the intelligent implementation of the right tools to reach the right audience, and that usually requires a lot of testing, changes in tactics, and sometimes a change in your business model. It’s in those challenging times that your years spent learning your craft, actively participating in your industry, and paying attention to what’s coming next will serve you well.”
Nacht said his greatest success has not come from the amount of money he’s earned or in racking up an impressive resume, which included obtaining a law degree and an MBA, writing a book, and holding a technology patent. Rather, success came in the form of understanding.
“There are things that I understand,” Nacht said. “I understand that marketing isn’t selling. I understand that it is important to market yourself, but not by advertising. You market yourself by manifesting knowledge of your product, your industry, and your prospects and customers. Contributing what you know and what you’ve learned to your industry, focusing on creating best practices and the solutions that arise from them, is the best way to lead a successful company and become recognized as influential.”
This post, Entrepreneur Shares Business, Marketing Lessons Learned, was first published on WebMarketingToday.