The Secret of Starting an Instantly Successful Business
Kerr’s speech changed my life. What she said was so obvious.
I started slowly, sorting and cataloging the direct mail that came to the house and that of a few friends. Gradually the collection grew from one file drawer to two and then four. Periodically I would hire high school students to come in and help me sort and catalog. I had no clear thought as to how to turn this collection into a business. But I kept collecting. My wife, Peggy, thought I was cuckoo, but always supported me in whatever I did. I did know that the collection was enormously useful to me in my freelance copywriting work.
One September I received a call from consultant Jerry Gaylord. Victor “I liked the shaver so much that I bought the company” Kiam of Remington not only wanted to get into the catalog business, but also expected to have a catalog out in time for Christmas. As I said, this was September. Could I write and design a 16-page catalog in a week? I said yes. Gaylord and I met with the Remington people in Bridgeport, Conn., and as I was leaving the meeting with two huge shopping bags of merchandise, Gaylord turned to me and said: “Oh, by the way, we’ll need an order form, too.”
I winced. The order form is perhaps the most important element of a catalog. Screw up the order form so that people have a tough time ordering and the catalog will bomb. The order form is also a horrendously complex document with many parts. Not only are there lines to write in item numbers, descriptions, sizes and prices, but also ship-to/bill-to instructions, credit card information, gift shipments with handwritten holiday messages in each one, initials to be engraved on certain items, plus the guarantee and the schedule of shipping charges. You cannot forget to include the address of the company and the 800 number for the person who likes to order by phone. The order form must be easy to use and should make the customer feel good about doing business with you. It is a much a selling tool as the catalog itself.