Seen In The faux Finisher
My Business to the Web
Feature from The Faux Finisher, Spring 2001
In this article, Pro Faux explains how
faux finishers can benefit from having a
presence on-line. Here advice on how to
accomplish that very thing.
My Business to the Web
Put my business on the web: are you kidding?
Will it really make any difference? Even if it would make a
difference, where would I begin? Less than a year ago, we asked
ourselves the same questions. We've known other schools of decorative
painting as well as faux finishers that have greatly benefited
from the sheer exposure and an opportunity the Web offers their
companies. So why not us?
Sure, we've owned home computers since the early 1990s, but
the thought of building and managing our own Web site seemed
out of the question. There were lots of unknowns in e-commerce,
but that is the very element that makes business interesting.
Meeting new and exciting challenges head-on, then figuring out
how to solve the problems as they arise have made 11 years enjoyable.
One of the most valuable things we learned with this project
was that selecting the right Webmasterthe one who designs
and builds your Web sitecan make a difference.
At first, we tried to economize by getting a friend to build
our site. This individual was experienced, but had full-time
employment in another field. We were a low priority, Weeks turned
to months, and finally we asked for all of our reference materials
to be returned. Then, we went in search for a professional.
This time we knew we'd have to invest some money, but it wasn't
as expensive as we thought.
One of the biggest business lessons learned over the last decade
is that hardly anything that really matters happens quickly,
Stated another way, urgent things are usually not that important,
and important things are usually not that urgent. Rather, it
is the conscious daily decisions that you make and the little
things you do every day that add up to something worthwhile.
And so it is with www.profaux.com. What you see is the result
of many telephone calls, messages, faxes, out of town meetings,
letters, e-mail, photo shoots and one really talented Webmaster,
Now that our site is basically built, we don't mind sharing
our secret. Ed's company, ID Marketing, is headquartered in
upstate New York, not even remotely close to us. He has been
a friend and a colleague for many years, and we didn't want
a little geography to prevent us from working together. That
is the beauty of technology. We communicate via e-mail mostly,
followed by the phone and finally face-to-face meetings when
Designing your websites can be a little scary at first but it
doesn't have to be complicated. In fact, your budget will usually
keep you grounded, More importantly, keeping your Web site "clean
and easy to navigate, is crucial. If you focus on simplicity
rather than jazzing it up too much, everyone involved will be
happier. Look at what others have done with their sites. Note
things you like about your favorite sites, whether or not these
sites are related to our decorative paint business.
Spending more or spending less? Unlike mailing things the old-fashioned
way and choosing the best carrier for the job at a descent price,
your Web site has endless potential to transmit huge amounts
of data instantly, We're not exactly computer wizards at Pro
Faux but with a little coaching, we can send e-mail attachments
and drastically reduce the time and expense of sending things
back and forth. This technology also has reduced our telephone
bills and printing costs. Directing everyone we meet to our
Web site does a few things. It reduces the length of inquiry
calls and eliminates the bulk of daily brochure/schedule mailings.
Our Web hours are 24/7, so anyone can access our store and information.
Downloading the pages they want at the click of a mouse frees
our time for other business activities,
More "visits" to your site means that eventually your
site will be recognized by more "search engines,"
listing you ever closer to the first position. Potential customers
are more likely to look at the first 20 sites than they are
the next 80. Some lists have literally thousands of references,
so the object of the game is to get your Web site listed as
close to the top as possible.
Video snippets and live camera of faux finishing are real possibilities
in the near future with broadband technology. Actually, it already
exists, but most home computers and connections are too slow
yet to make it worthwhile and fun. Even though this may be a
ways off, the important thing is just getting your basic Web
Start by visiting innovative Web sites, making lists of likes,
Interview several Web masters and look at sites they've constructed.
Set up a quarterly budget for your Web site project, realizing
that the biggest costs are going to be in building the site.
Maintenance costs are minimal.
Set realistic goals, deadlines and expectations with your Webmaster.
Don't expect a flood of interest and orders right away. You
hear stories of this happening, but the process is more often
a gradual one. This gives your plenty of time to become an expert
and comfortable with your site. Think of your site as a perennial
flower bed rather than an annual one. The rewards are not immediate
and easily measured, but if you tend to the daily/weekly cultivation
of your global Web site, you will begin to see your e-garden
blossom better season after season.
At the very least, building your new Web site will force you
to become more organized, putting your decorative paint services
in the best possible light.
Greg Frohnapfel and John Catalanotto are cofounders of Pro Faux
Workshops in Akron, Ohio. They pioneered and popularized the
traveling two-day hands-on faux finishing workshop model, contract
faux painting projects and regularly consult for the trade and
major paint companies.
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