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Last Update: Sunday August 20, 2017

Direct marketing works... but watch those key ratios carefully.

He started this business in junior high!



Ottumwa, Iowa: Scott Mooney, the founder of Country Supply, has something to teach us. Scott' s town of less than 40,000 people is a  solid hour south of Des Moines yet he has over 450,000 customers. He is a "country" man.  His business supplies people who love the country lifestyle.  His customers are from all over the country and from many different countries.

When we taped this story, this business was generating over $17 million in annual sales.

Scott is a natural merchant. He started his business while in junior high school. The business was was full time even before he graduated from high school.  His list compiling story is a classic; everybody should smile. The good news is that Scott takes the leap from gathering names and addresses to managing those names and real data about the needs and desires of all his customers and several million potential customers.

To be in business, database management is a must. Yet, in today's world, knowledge management tools are also needed to mine that database; it is essential to being a sustainable business.   As you would imagine, Scott learned a lot on the job. He had grown his business to about eighty people. They did everything and it was exhausting.

He just about burned out when he learned about outsourcing -- "do what you do best and find somebody else to do the rest." After researching and interviewing he chose the Stark Brothers Fulfillment Services in "his backyard" about 100 miles south in Louisiana, Missouri. By having Stark's specialists focus on his orders, inventory, shipping, and first-line customer support, Scott and his people had the freedom to focus on their core competencies.

Since the taping of this episode of the show, Scott sold his company to a global business.  He got that unexpected knock on the door and an offer he just simply could not refuse. 

Go to all the Key Ideas and Video for this episode...


At one time direct mail was expensive, not for the cost of postage, but for the cost of labor to manage and sort it all properly.  Today, there are thousands of businesses that have jumped in to help you generate new business with direct mail. 

Think about a piece that communicates your mission, products, and vision. Think about a tight message. Try it, but track it!

Direct Marketing can help take you global quickly.


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Start a Business
Meet Marty Edelston, founder of Boardroom, Inc.
Marty is "the Patron" of direct marketing. He developed the largest subscription-based newsletter in the world.  His wisdom is legendary.   (All the video)

Key Question: How do I start a business?"

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Grow a Business
Meet Harry Rosenthal, a direct mail genius.
Robert Redford asked Harry to help him launch Sundance Catalog.  His challenge was to work Redford's rather  controversial brand as this business centerfold.  He did it, and he set this catalog on a firm foundation for sustainable growth. (All the video)

Key Question: What is a path for growth?

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Buy a Business
Buy a franchise; you'll get a community to help. Meet Don DeBolt, former CEO of the International Franchise Association. He introduces us to FastSigns, Auntie Anne's Pretzels, and Tires Plus. They all did very well selectively franchising their business.

Key Question: Can my business be my legacy?

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Sell a Business
There are many ways to sell your business.
Here are four stories to review:
1) eight pointed ways to exit your business with money
for your sweat equity and intangibles (all the clips),
2) sell employee stock options (all the clips),
3) sell to someone like you (all the clips), and
4) sell to a publicly-traded company (all the clips).

Key Question: Who is the best buyer?

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