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Lights, Camera . . . Ad!

This entrepreneur hits it big with a small-screen franchise.

Meet Alan Baker, who has the distinction of being TVAmerica's first franchisee. "I just think being the first of anything has a certain connotation that lends itself to good things," he says.

Baker, 41, first heard of the TV-listing publisher about four years ago, when a friend approached him about selling ads for the company. Even though Baker had started a promotional advertising company, Creative Marketing Concepts, just a few months before, he seized the chance to work with TVAmerica. He still balances both today.

"I would say it's probably 75 percent TVAmerica, 25 percent Creative Marketing Concepts," says Baker. "The promotional business, that comes in anyway. For TVAmerica, I really have to go out and pound the pavement and see people every day."

Those people are advertisers who appear in the TV-listing magazine that TVAmerica publishes and Baker distributes in New York City's Capital District. "We cold-call and determine who would be good prospects for advertising, then go out . . . and do a presentation," Baker says of a typical day. "I'm very structured with my presentation. I go from a little history of the company to looking through the book itself and showing why it's a good program."

And Baker has no doubts about TVAmerica: "I think it's a great product, and my enthusiasm rolls off onto the people I talk to."

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This article was originally published in the August 2001 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Lights, Camera . . . Ad!.

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