A who’s who directory is an acknowledgement of an individual’s achievement in their career or within the community. Revenue comes from industry professionals finding your directory and wishing to be listed alongside their peers for a small fee. This is often a way for them to generate business.
Skills needed: You will need to have knowledge of online marketing techniques, as driving high levels of traffic to your website is essential. If you choose to focus on particular industry it would be helpful if were familiar with it already.
Business environment and set-up cost: There are no real barriers to this business being successful internationally if the industry you specialise in is global. This business can be started fairly cheaply if you already own the equipment (computer, printer and scanner). You may wish to invest in mailing list management software to keep track of all your customers. The overall start-up cost will range from less than £1,500 to £10,000 (2,000 – 12,500 EUR, 3,000-20,000 AUD/USD).
Make sure your website is easy to find by using search engine optimisation (SEO)
Participate in the pay-per-click schemes of the popular search engines
Become active on newsgroups and discussion forums where potential customers are likely to frequent, remembering to include a signature linking to your website
Have a mailing list which informs your customer base about new additions. Also allow website visitors to subscribe to this list as it may eventually convince them to become listed also
Become mutually linked with link directories and websites related to your chosen industry
Use OnlineOffice to set up web-site, blog and online shop to promote your business online
Complimentary business ideas: You could offer your entire listings for sale on an annual basis to buyers who want to make contacts in the industry.
Notes: There are already a lot of directories online so it can be hard to make a success of this business. In order to keep your directory relevant and elite you may actually need to turn away customers who are not qualified.
Online examples & resources:
For previous SME start-up ideas, look through the archive here