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October 17, 2007, 01:08 AM
One idea I've been kicking around for several years is starting a newsletter in my local area. I looked into Coffee News and Flying Cow but don't have the money or the patience to build one of these businesses up, so I've considered ways to start my own off and on for some time. It always gets put on the back burner because of the commitments: 1. Financially, 2. Time in creating it, 3. Time in finding advertisers, and 4. Time in finding distribution points.

A couple of things have changed recently pushing this idea back to the forefront. I have talked with the owner of a children's hair salon and portrait studio whom I've known for a long time who has an interest in a coupon book or newsletter to cross promote his business with other "child or family" oriented businesses. I also know the owners of a couple of other businesses that I could at least distribute from, but they are not in my immediate area (one being an ice rink in downtown Phoenix - I'm on the far West side).

What I'm really stuck on is whether or not to try to find a niche: family oriented businesses in Surprise/West Valley area, or start with a less focused theme and go for a bigger area and audience which would allow me to include my friend who owns a liquidation store, the ice rink, my Real Estate office downtown, and some of the businesses around my print shop in Glendale. I'd have some distribution points right from the start that way.

I'd also have no shortage of ads to start out just with my businesses, my wife's new business and a couple of free ads (for an issue or two) for the businesses that will distribute them. Of course eventually I'd want to sell most of the ad space to make it profitable, but almost as important I think would be the ability to distribute my own ads to a bigger audience to benefit my other businesses. I may be a cheapskate, but why spend money on ads in other publications? I'd rather own that too and use that business to benefit my other businesses.

Which brings me to another thought, "would my businesses fit the niche of West Valley Family Oriented Businesses?" I don't know that they would exactly. I am a Realtor, I have a graphic design/print broker business, and my wife has started a gift basket business. With a website to correspond with the newsletter I could place affiliate ads for satellite tv and whatnot although I don't see that being a steady income stream.

My best idea as of right now would be a "Valleywide" family savings newsletter. Geographically I could spread out over the whole metro area and not be limited. I could also have the ads be specifically "money saving" in nature (ie: a coupon or special to save the readers money). That may keep people interested in getting it every month (or however often I can do it) looking for those money saving coupons and specials. The drawback to that of course would be considerable driving time to distribute them if I cover an area that big.

Anyway, with the experience and creative minds I know frequent these boards, I'm hoping for some input. Any thoughts, ideas, constructive criticism?

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