Neal and I met with John Bresee the other night just to talk about business. He own’s, basically the most successful outdoor gear site on the internet. The guys amazing. We had a really good conversation about stuff we’re currently working on, how to make it better, and how to make money with it.

He also told us his rules for starting/running a successful online business:

  1. Customer created content — your customers create your content for you.
  2. Customer created marketing — you don’t have to do your own marketing, the customers do it for you, either by word of mouth, email tools you provide, whatever…
  3. Transactions — there has to be transactions somewhere in the business model. Somewhere where it is clearly defined how the business makes money through some type of transaction. A transaction doesn’t have to be putting in a credit card and buying, it can be a sequence of clicks, or filling out a form successfully, or anything that brings in money eventually.
  4. Digital business — Everything has to be digital. There’s no required maintenance, or very minimal required monthly maintenance to keep the site up and running. Basically, if you can automate it, you can leave it alone and it makes money for you.

He also told us about tracking stuff online. He didn’t include this in on of his 4 keys, but I think it should be. He said track everything. You need to know where your customers come from, which pages they go to, why the leave, what causes them to stop, what causes them success, which pages work well. Basically track everything. He even tracks which fields in a form users get hung up on. Basically, tracking is what makes web business so powerful. you can see exactly what customers do, where they go, when they leave, why they don’t buy and then you can change and tweak until stuff works and people stay and buy.

When he came and spoke to Paul Allens class at UVSC, he gave us a ‘kit’ to running a successful online business. I posted it at The Jonas Family Website so it’s all there and can be used.

The guy’s a total genious and I hope to be able to continue to work with him in the future.

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