The Building of a Business Finder
Based on customer and our sales team requests we needed to find a solution for our restaurants to get them increased exposure without adding costs to our restaurant clients (currently the largest part of our business). To do this we needed a solution that could provide value to them without increasing their already tight operating costs. As we built our system it expanded from being specific to restaurants to being built for any type of business. Rather than just listing coupons businesses can now offer products, services, and coupons.
Why would we build something for free?
You could say we are the kindest most loving people in the world and want everything to be free. That may be :) but we know that’s not reality (even though it is true. ;) ). Our Business Finder Directory was built to solve a need for our current clients. There is no business that is in the business of not making money. We are no exception to that as we strive to grow and provide value in everything that we do. Our ultimate goal is this to be another value addition for our clients and if it helps everyone else then we consider that a bonus win.
Everyone says they want to make the world a better place and this is just one way of us giving to make it a better place by providing value to not only businesses but to consumers of the service as well. As a company our foundation is on honesty and we personally feel offering this for free to everyone is the good and right thing to do. We can definitely go to bed nightly knowing that we are doing good in our communities and throughout the United States.
Yes, this was a big factor when we built Business Finder Directory and we feel is for any business. But if we offer everything 100% free how can one make money. There are several ways that we can make money from offering a product for free. There are three core items that we have focused on. As we built the system we wanted to provide value but also a way to offer extra value.
As with any business model that is online having a way of offering advertising is a key, if not primary, revenue stream. Our solution is no different where we’ve built advertising into the system to offset the costs of servers, development and support time, and our own advertising.
Increased Business Value
Based on that every JM2 customer receives a free Platinum Business membership it helps people see the benefits of working with an honest and fair company. When most businesses add value prices will typically go up. We try to keep the costs the same and offset them (in this case with advertising) while providing increased value to our customers. By doing this we are hopeful to increase our customer base as our web hosting business on our Microsoft servers is $120/year and the cost of platinum membership is at $180/year.
Another source of revenue is for those that want the platinum membership benefits without being a JM2 Webdesigners customer. What does platinum membership get you over the free? Well, feature wise, nothing. That’s because free vs paid we wanted to be on par with each other. What a paid platinum membership will get you is:
- No advertising on your page of any other local businesses in the same category as you are in
- Your company logo rotated randomly on the homepage
- 10% off any advertising fees (monthly or annually – which is already discounted 10%)
- Additional platinum options that are rolled out
In 2015 we took a huge gamble. We moved off of all of our own servers and any shared server on the Internet to a large set that can truly scale. We have a nationwide server network provided through Microsoft Azure. This server infrastructure is great for any growing business (us included) and something we wanted to take advantage of and show that we stand behind everything that we do.
We always promote to our clients whether you take credit cards or just client informaiton that everything should be encrypted no matter the type of site you have. To showcase and do as we preach every page on our site is encrypted with a Digicert SSL certificate. We do this as we value all of our clients information. Whether they are just submitting an inquiry or trying to claim a business listing. To us the information you submit to us needs to be encrypted and secured.
Showcase what a Valparaiso Indiana company can offer
As a company that has its roots built in software programming this was a no brainer for us. Being in a growing city of Valparaiso Indiana also made us want to show that there are some great innovations coming from up and coming companies. It took time in planning, time in development, time in testing, and a lot of talking with our peers. Many of who are already listed on the site while others were waiting until the official launch. Being in Valpo we felt was a benefit to this project and something that allows us to again showcase the benefits if what a software development company can offer.
Software Development Company Roots
Our roots are truly in software development on Microsoft enterprise class solutions. What many don’t know is all of the other facets of what JM2 Webdesigners offers. We are like no other company in Valparaiso or Northwest Indiana. To us this is a key selling point as we truly care about taking care of businesses using best in class in everything we do. In 2015, we added highly talented graphic designers and content writers to our team. In 2016, we’ve already added a videographer who will be helping us take our projects to another level of awesomeness (is that really a word? Word thinks so). We are a company that breaks the mold in many ways and we will continue to do so in 2016 and beyond.
This has already been a fun project for us as every project is a fun one. Some with more challenges than others. This one we know will be a continual challenge as everyone that is in the company will have input into the continued development of it. We are not even remotely done with what we are doing for our Business Finder Directory. We have some seriously big surprises that will make this free business listing service even bigger. Right now our current queue of new features (large and small) is over 100 items. We want to hear from you though on features you would like to see as we want to make this a great business repository for every type of business.
If you think this is great (we did this on weekends) just think what we can do for your business working full-time on it? We are here for you and want to help your business grow and succeed. You can reach us at 219-229-1633, email us at sales@BusinessYETI.com, or use our contact form here.