If you're looking for the most up-to-the-minute business strategies, but want to scream when you see them presented in yet another PowerPoint slide, then maybe it's time to yell, "Help! My Business Sucks!" Andrew Lock and his aptly titled video blog, viewed by more than 100,000 entrepreneurs each week, are here to answer your cries.
Lock describes his video blog as "edu-tainment;" a harmonious and hilarious combination of education and entertainment. Help! delivers innovative business strategies for entrepreneurs in 15-minute web spots every week. His formula is working; the blog skyrocketed to the top spot in the Apple iTunes' business category within six months of its debut and still holds a place in its Top 10 business podcasts.
So, how does he do it? Instead of lining his blog with unsightly advertisements, he acquires one sponsor each week, who he personally promotes throughout each show. Happy sponsor, happier viewers. Also, he includes relevant, witty clips about the business world in each show. A recent webisode featured a business investor, Ernie (as in Bert and Ernie), who wanted to invest his "cookies" with none other than Bernie Madoff, who appeared under the guise of the Cookie Monster to "help him out." You can probably guess how that situation turns out.
In the midst of laughter, however, entrepreneurs find themselves learning as well. "I think the biggest mistake that people make is being too inwardly focused," Lock says. He added that when it comes to promoting their business, "Most people [.] tend to think how they would buy as a customer. But most business owners aren't their own customer, so what you end up with is a potential customer who is saying, who cares?" to your company's more mundane points such as its background and history. Instead, he suggests entrepreneurs should be saying, "What's in it for the customer? Because that customer is asking, 'What's in it for me?' 'What does this person have to offer?' You have to grab their attention and keep it."
Lock's video blogging roots reach back to when he was a primary marketing coordinator for British comedic magician and television show host Paul Daniels. "He's an older guy with a very unconventional promotion style. I realized I enjoyed coming up with creative ways to market him," Lock recalls. When has career with Daniels ended alternative marketing methods were still lingering in Lock's brain.
So, in April 2008, after gaining experience in television production, Lock launched a free video blog to help entrepreneurs improve their businesses. "What we've done here is radically different than other online shows," says Lock. "I like to help entrepreneurs stand out from the crowd" mainly with creative marketing tools and simple advice on strategies that entrepreneurs often forget to implement.
The show's concept--which he adopted from Revision3.com--was two-fold. First; give entrepreneurs practical yet inventive ways to develop their businesses. Second; don't put them to sleep in the process.
Lock's show has become so popular among entrepreneurs on Twitter and other social media outlets that he's teamed up with entrepreneur Justin Taylor to launch another business consulting web venture, GotBiz.TV. The first spot, set to air on 9/9/09, will be similar to Help! My Business Sucks!; but this time, instead of Lock presenting his business strategies, he has celebrities from the business and financial world lined up to present their tactics for free. Lock's ultimate goal is to see entrepreneurs succeed and that enjoy success in the long term and all along the way.
If he's successful, Lock certainly deserves a cookie for that.