Could this business idea work?

12 replies
Hi everyone, i have been wanting to build a local directory for my city for a long while now, but from all the research i have done most information i have read suggests that directory's are pretty much dead.

but....

i am thinking to build a local directory to up sell to.

If i were to create a local business directory which also sells local business telephone numbers for x amount per month....

basically the business will buy a business telephone number and get a "FREE" local directory listing.

Keep your personal cell phone number private!

From this i can up sell automated call answering services, call forwarding, voicemail etc.

In addition to this i can promote the directory and client business phone numbers via social media, so when the phone rings the client is happy with the purchase of the business number....

I can add more to this but, this is the basics of my idea(s)

I would be happy to hear your suggestions or criticism on this......

Thanks in advance
#business #idea #work
  • Profile picture of the author onSubie
    And why would using your business be better than a business line from the regular phone company?

    They offer all your services and have pretty good prices.

    How will you beat AT&T/Sprint/Etc on price, performance and features?
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    • Profile picture of the author homeriscool
      Originally Posted by onSubie View Post

      And why would using your business be better than a business line from the regular phone company?

      They offer all your services and have pretty good prices.

      How will you beat AT&T/Sprint/Etc on price, performance and features?
      Those big company's do NOTHING to make your business number ring. They just provide you with a number.

      A local directory can promote local businesses via the directory and social media which in turn will put the clients business number to more use.

      the cost of the phone calls are so cheap 0.75 cents per min

      so if i were to charge $25 per month for a business telephone number ( inclusive with 100 mins inbound calls ) along with premium directory listing loaded with content, a traceable business number which i can monitor call times and social media promotion of each paying business i would be making at least $15 per month per listed business.

      If they use less inbound call time i make more money because i will save on minutes
      if they use more they will be billed accordingly....

      as i said this is an idea i have been pondering for quite some time.....
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      • Profile picture of the author Michael Shook
        The overall idea is sound. It might take some doing to convince businesses to get a new phone number with you. Sometimes they can take their old phone number with them when they change providers and sometimes not.

        There is some competition in this area, but that just means you need to have something so valuable they cannot say no to, and something that allows you to make a decent profit.
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        • Profile picture of the author Steve B
          Be prepared for a lot of "up front" work to get the directory to the point that anyone would want to be listed in it.

          Directories are only as good as the traffic coming to them. If no one sees your directory, being listed in it is not an advantage.

          So to make this model work, you need to be a serious marketer that can drive tons of traffic to your site.

          So be prepared to work long and hard in order for your idea to get "legs."

          Steve
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          Steve Browne, online business strategies, tips, guidance, and resources
          SteveBrowneDirect

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        • Profile picture of the author homeriscool
          Originally Posted by Michael Shook View Post

          The overall idea is sound. It might take some doing to convince businesses to get a new phone number with you. Sometimes they can take their old phone number with them when they change providers and sometimes not.

          There is some competition in this area, but that just means you need to have something so valuable they cannot say no to, and something that allows you to make a decent profit.
          Thanks for your input - really appreciate it. Just to clarify i will also be able to port the phone number over to me.
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  • Profile picture of the author Rory Singh
    It can work but as Michael said above, it will take some convincing to work. You will need to market first to the businesses and then actually promote your directory.

    The challenges:

    1- Get them (businesses) to 'see' your Benefits instead of doing it the old fashioned way.

    2- To actually get more benefits than the 'old fashioned way'.
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    • Profile picture of the author homeriscool
      Originally Posted by Rory Singh View Post

      It can work but as Michael said above, it will take some convincing to work. You will need to market first to the businesses and then actually promote your directory.

      The challenges:

      1- Get them (businesses) to 'see' your Benefits instead of doing it the old fashioned way.

      2- To actually get more benefits than the 'old fashioned way'.
      I completely agree with what your saying here. I have already decided to give the service away for free for 1 month so the customer can see the value first, rather than me promising the earth and delivering nothing like so many do.

      I know this is a LOT of work but i think the potential is there......
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  • Profile picture of the author DZM
    It might work but before you do anything, ask some business owners what they think about your directory. That will give you a good measure.
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  • Profile picture of the author MikeMallin
    Years & years ago, the "local city directory" business model was very hot among marketers. Unfortunately, most found it was a losing proposition.

    Today, at least in the US, most areas have one or two local city directories, one of which is usually under the local municipality or local government i.e. "OurCity.gov".

    Consider: how many people search for, or click on "MayberryDirectory.com" versus "Mayberry.gov"?

    That aside, to my mind few if any local businesses would be willing to pay any per-minute phone charges.
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    • Profile picture of the author homeriscool
      Originally Posted by MikeMallin View Post

      Years & years ago, the "local city directory" business model was very hot among marketers. Unfortunately, most found it was a losing proposition.

      Today, at least in the US, most areas have one or two local city directories, one of which is usually under the local municipality or local government i.e. "OurCity.gov".

      Consider: how many people search for, or click on "MayberryDirectory.com" versus "Mayberry.gov"?

      That aside, to my mind few if any local businesses would be willing to pay any per-minute phone charges.
      Hey thanks for your input. I am aware of the directory situation i know they are nothing of what they once were. I am actually more interested in the business telephone numbers to be honest but the directory sweetens the deal if i can possibly make the customers phone ring as well.....

      or maybe i should just say to hell with a directory and just set up a business numbers website. What i am actually trying to accomplish here is reoccurring income....
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  • Profile picture of the author JohnMcCabe
    I really thought you were on the pipe until I got to here:

    Originally Posted by homeriscool View Post


    Keep your personal cell phone number private!
    After that, it was back on the pipe again.

    The only tangible benefit I can see you offering is the ability to keep a personal number private.

    Anything else you mentioned is already available, and you would be competing directly with the established businesses in your area - like the Yellow Pages, Google Phone, and even the cell companies. Beyond this mythical traffic you intend to sell them from your directory, there's nothing to set yourself apart.

    So who might be interested in keeping a private number private, as opposed to simply getting a business line?

    How about cops? I just watched a reality show about a local police force that gave their patrol officers prepaid phone cards and actual quarters for pay phones so they would not have to use their personal cells.

    How about women going through bad breakups, or fearing stalkers?

    Think niche here.

    From my observation point, generic local directories are deader than the Knicks' playoff chances...
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    • Profile picture of the author homeriscool
      Originally Posted by JohnMcCabe View Post

      I really thought you were on the pipe until I got to here:



      After that, it was back on the pipe again.

      The only tangible benefit I can see you offering is the ability to keep a personal number private.

      Anything else you mentioned is already available, and you would be competing directly with the established businesses in your area - like the Yellow Pages, Google Phone, and even the cell companies. Beyond this mythical traffic you intend to sell them from your directory, there's nothing to set yourself apart.

      So who might be interested in keeping a private number private, as opposed to simply getting a business line?

      How about cops? I just watched a reality show about a local police force that gave their patrol officers prepaid phone cards and actual quarters for pay phones so they would not have to use their personal cells.

      How about women going through bad breakups, or fearing stalkers?

      Think niche here.

      From my observation point, generic local directories are deader than the Knicks' playoff chances...
      Hey thanks for taking the time to read my post and offer your ideas and suggestions! I agree that directories are pretty much dead and personally i would not rely on the directory to drive traffic in itself. The social networks would be the main factor in that.

      I'm really glad you pointed out the niche right under my nose though! As i said earlier, its the phone numbers im really interested in, not the directory. Thanks for your input!
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