ePrize

This interactive promtions entrepreneur was smart enough to see the dotcom crash coming, and by ditching some soon-to-be-gone customers, he stuck around for the long term.

By Amanda C. Kooser

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Description: Interactive promotion agency
Founder: Josh Linkner, 34
Location: Farmington Hills, Michigan
2004 projected sales: More than $15.5 million
http://www.eprize.com

Get Up and Go: From an initially self-funded startup in 1999, ePrize has blossomed into the world's top interactive promotion agency. The company helps bridge the gap between the offline and online worlds by turning anonymous consumers into permission-based customers, with the lure of fun, interactive web promotions.

Dotcom Crash Course: Whenever you come across a company so strongly connected to the internet, you have to ask how they survived the dark days of the dotcom crash. Josh Linkner saw it coming in mid-2000 and began to shift away from serving the venture-backed (and soon to be extinct) dotcoms that made up most of ePrize's client list. "We had to adapt our complete strategy and company to service the large brands that would be around to pay the bills," explains Linkner.

The Campaign Trail: With more than 900 completed advertising campaigns and a client list that reads like a who's who of large U.S. corporations, ePrize is miles beyond its nearest competitor. The company signed on 17 new major brand accounts, including Circuit City and FedEx, in the first quarter of 2004 alone.

All That Jazz: One word you'll hear a lot from Linkner is creativity. His background as a jazz guitarist, pianist and singer has helped him bring an artistic attitude to his business. "Jazz is [about] a very improvisational, creative-type of environment," he says. "I look at what we're doing as a company much the same way. Instead of notes, you're working with people and technology."

The Future's So Bright: A spirit of innovation and evolution is driving ePrize toward its next goal: $30 million in sales by 2007. But it's not all about the bottom line at this company. Top-notch customer service and quality employees are two principal areas that spark ePrize's engine. Says Linkner, "Some day, a company will come along and put us out of business, so it might as well be us."


. Alienware, Inc.
. Dylan's Candy Bar
. Cereality
. e.l.f. Cosmetics
. Wahoo's Fish Tacos
. Glenwood Caverns
. CI Host
. LoveSac Corp.
. Shipman Associates
. POS World Inc.
. ProCharms Inc.
. Performance Bridge Advertising
. Noodlesoup Productions Inc.
. New World Enterprises
. Sassybax
. 10e20 LLC
. Digital Envoy Inc.
. Home Connections
. Craigslist
. Richietman
. Movie Magic USA
. KDM Sales & Design
. ePrize
. 365 Inc.

Editor's Pick

Have More Responsibilities at Work, But No Pay Bump? Use This Script to Get the Raise You Deserve.
Black and Asian Founders Face Opposition at All Levels — Here's Why That Has to Change
Business News

'This Made Me Physically Recoil From My Phone': Lingerie Brand Apologizes For 'Creepy' Ad Referencing Ryan Reynolds and Bras

Online lingerie retailer Harper Wilde is under fire for a bizarre sponsored post it has since pulled from Instagram.

Thought Leaders

5 Small Daily Habits Self-Made Millionaires Use to Grow Their Wealth

We've all seen what self-made millionaires look like on TV, but it's a lot more subtle than that. Brian Tracy researched what small daily habits these successful entrepreneurs adopted on their journey from rags to riches.

Business News

Viral Sensation 'Popcorn Guy' Has Earned a Gig at the 2023 Oscars

Jason Grosboll first went viral on TikTok for his theatrical method of buttering popcorn in a Texas movie theater.

Business News

The Scam Artist Who Robbed Backstreet Boys and NSYNC Blind. 'Some of the Guys Couldn't Pay Their Car Payment.'

In the 1990s, Lou Pearlman made millions creating the Backstreet Boys and NSYNC. It was all a giant Ponzi scheme.