How can we save the Tiger?

A lot of small businesses are finding themselves in trouble these days, says Bill Czappa, owner of ARC TV. Even after 28 years experience with his shop, Bill says running a small business is no easy task.

In the current economic environment many small businesses have been using up their savings, the owners forgoing vacations and days off, and cutting their personal expenses to the bone hoping to ride out the storm.

Bill even emailed his city council members to see if there were any government programs out there that could help. The disheartening response from one council member who runs a small business is that he is in the same boat. He told Bill that after doing the usual, such as increasing advertising, cutting back on expenses, and holding back on hiring, there was not much left to do.

Giant warehouse stores and cheap goods from China are not about to go away any time soon, so it seems that out of necessity the old adage “Evolve or die” comes into play. Bill points out that many small business owners have multiple skill sets born out of the challenges of starting and maintaining their own businesses.

They just need to figure out how to leverage those other skills in a way that generates additional income. Bill had written a book several years ago about the repair business but could not afford to publish it. After decades of repairing everything from televisions to phonographs to microwave ovens, Bill had cataloged over 30 technical repair rules that apply to repairing everything from a broken toy to a multi-million dollar aircraft.

These rules are so true and basic that any time a repair of anything has gone bad, it can be traced back to the repair person violating one of these rules.

This book would be valuable to the technician, the hobbyist, and to consumers finding themselves at the mercy of the mechanic or repairman.  But how to get it out, and get a fair exchange in the process?  For Bill, the solution was to try something new after hearing about a new website, Kickstarter. Kickstarter is a new platform that could offer a solution to the funding and publishing of the book, he thought.

Kickstarter is a website where people can post their writing, art work, video games or almost any creative project and people from around the world help get the project started. You post your idea on this site with a video explaining what your project is about and then offer rewards for people who contribute. The prizes can be as creative as the project, and a lot of people appear to enjoy helping to get these projects off the ground.

So there Bill was, running his store and writing a script for his Kickstarter video. It was filmed in his shop after-hours and posted on Kickstarter. Then came the hard part of driving in views to the website.  All the marketing skills Bill learned operating a small business have come into play, with the object of a second source of income – the publishing and sales of his book “Tech Techniques – The Rules of Repairing Things”.

The project runs till December 1st and if it does not reach is goal of $3800.00 then Bill will get nothing. That is part of the Kickstarter rules – all or nothing. Will it work?  Bill is hopeful, but if this one falls flat he has some other projects in mind for Kickstarter.  We will have to wait and see what happens.

For more information about his book or project, or to donate, click here.

Or go to Kickstarter.com and use the search term “Czappa”.