I use onfolio to read 105 different feeds about my niches and web development.
New Age Retailer. Some of it is stupid (a regular column is "ask the angels for business advice," gack!), but a lot of it is really interesting, like polls about what people are selling a lot or a little of. Many of the subscribers seem to be brick-and-mortar, though.
does playboy count as a professional magazine for those in the ad*lt industry? :)
if so, is it tax deductable?!
is so, change of business direction is on the cards ...
I read Direct Magazine a lot -- this is a publication from the DMA. They cover online and offline topics, especially at the enterprise level, and have some great case histories. They also have some of the savviest industry experts around -- Herschell Gordon Lewis, for example, is always a good read.
New Age Retailer: "archetypal maturation has led to new thoughts on God, goodness, inspiration, and living in the present moment.
I'm still retailing in the Age before the Old Age.
I can deal with archetypal maturation but not angels. As far as I am concerned, angels are the cockroaches of the spirit world. If I have to choose a fantasy creature to ask for business advice, I'd rather ask a Ferengi.
I had to google that Startrek word:
"The Ferengi have a culture which is based entirely upon commerce. They follow a code of conduct known as "The Ferengi Rules of Acquisition" (?)
The Ferengi were portrayed as very sharp businessaliens who were unafraid to cheat and lie to get a sale. They were also shown as sociable folks who seemed to really like their customers even though they often cheated them at least a tad, just on the principle of the thing.:) They were not geniuses but were definitely successful at what they did. They were physically ugly but their self-esteem was so high that they thought themselves handsome. Their entire civilization was organized around trade and was guided by the Rules of Acquisition, which excused every moral lapse if it favored trade. Some of my favorite Rules:
Everything is worth something to someone.
Never trust a man wearing a better suit than your own.
A friend is not a friend if he asks for a discount.
Only fools pay retail.
When in doubt, lie.
I would never cheat people. But I liked the Ferengis, because they were unafraid to really enjoy being merchants. They liked their customers because they brought them profits but also they were just sociable people. They liked the very act of dealing, ya know? This I could get into. So when I became a merchant, I got in touch with my inner Ferengi.
I mean, compare that to some simpy, holy-gholy angel vibrating that you should consider adding statues to your store. No contest.
HRoth, how do you find NAR from a business point of view? I haven't seen a copy lately. I advertised in it a few years ago to try to pick up some more wholesale business, but had some interesting results. You wouldn't believe how many stores I got responding via phone that said they didn't have a computer. I needed to make up a quick paper catalog to send out.
I think it is very much geared towards brick and mortar stores, which would explain why so many stores that responded to you said they did not have a computer. I saw some survey they had a little while ago about whether people had brick-and-mortar, just online, or both. I was surprised how many brick-and-mortar did not have an online presence. Sort of Luddite. The vast majority of the businesses who respond to NAR surveys are quite small with 5 or less employees. I do remember that.
I read the mag because it does sometimes have good info about dealing with customers or organizing work and because the ads give me ideas about things I can make and let me know what is out there. But it also reassures me that the path I have taken, that is, to specialize in oddball things and items I make, is the right one for me. I don't want to sell what everyone else has and have my biz be all about undercutting the other guy.
Personally, I have found that advertizing in mags devoted to this niche does not produce a lot of sales. I think it is mainly good for getting one's name out there. I used to advertize in one of the known mags in the niche and gave up because it just didn't seem to make much difference, and because they were always months late putting out the mag and then it would be buried in the back of the rack at B&N. I don't think I ever got my ad money back in sales, at any rate. I know another owner in this niche who has had the same experience. I started advertizing in mags outside the niche, in sort of related but much larger niches, with a smaller ad (at the same price), and that has been a little more productive.
Have you found putting out a print catalog worthwhile? I tried it and it was a waste of money for me. Now I have decided to try it again, but with only a part of my products, which are very often sold through mailorder with low-tech catalogs.
Also, have you ever gone to one of the trade shows? I was thinking about going to the next one to scope out possible sources.
I had a subscription for 'Internet Works' - which I found a decent read but Future Publishing stopped printing and changed everyone's subscription (without notice) to .NET ...which isn't so good!
I read Inc. and Fastlane
There is a relatively new print magazine called Practical Ecommerce. They are aimed at small Web merchants, and have a lot of useful information.
[edited by: lorax at 2:16 pm (utc) on Feb. 27, 2006]
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I've read practical ecommerce a few times as well (I think they've only had 4 or 5 issues?) and found it fairly good, aimed squarely at the small online seller. If you are doing over a few million revenue per year, might not be for you, but those in the 6 figure region, it's a good read.