Tracy: I’m here today with Andy Alagappan, an accomplished businessman who has kindly taken the time today to tell us about his journey in entrepreneurship. Thanks for being here today Andy. If you could, would you please tell us a bit about your backstory and how you became an entrepreneur?
Andy: Of course! My change to entrepreneurship started off very similarly to most modern success stories. I was working at a very large company as a staff member, albeit in a dead end position. I had very little career options besides staying in the same role or moving laterally within the same company. Both of these relegated me to the same pay structure, which wasn’t really what I wanted for myself.
Tracy: Was there any time in particular during that period where you caught “the bug”? Tell us a short story or two to serve as an example.
Andy: There certainly was. I actually remember this as being a very important turning point in terms of my business. Prior to the current inbound marketing agency, we ran a digital printing business in downtown Houston, doing trade show graphics/ect which required huge capital investments to stay on top. At this point, I decided to start a software development/web design firm which didn’t quite require a brick and mortar office presence. As such, there was also no constant/large capital investment required either. The best aspect of it was that it followed the virtual business model, allowing me to work from my laptop (which allowed me to work at any location)
Tracy: You had to have started from somewhere though. Tell us the story of your rise from a “green” entrepreneur to where you are now
Andy: As mentioned before, I had ran a digital printing business, which required massive amounts of input in both time and money. Things really started changing for me when I started my software/website firm. My business of designing websites has grown from a local area firm to serving the national and international market B2B client base. We’ve grown from a one service business model to a full service one as an online inbound agency. Before we had only done websites. Now, we do websites, landing pages, SEO, PPC, social media marketing, content writing, and more. We have executed over 1000 online marketing projects in the past 9 years alone. The one thing that has helped us grow and expand was our obsession with high ROI and strong analytics-driven services to prove our value to our clients.
Tracy: For most, there is a sudden jump from “going to be” to actually being. What was the crossover point from “I’m going to be” to “I am” an entrepreneur
Andy: I was working as a project manager in an IT Department for an electric service utility company and had reported to the MIS director for four years. I had thought about it for quite a while, and one day, finally decided to jump headfirst into the world of entrepreneurship. I guess the crossover point is actually very small if you’re trying to define it as an actual time. I made the decision to do so one day, and on that day, I did it.
Tracy: What is your current offer and what is your magic?
Andy: Our “magic”, as mentioned before, is that we obsess over high ROI and proven value through analytical services. We’re determined to provide the best possible value for our customers. As far as current offers go, we offer free web presence reports, and analysis of two competitors for online strategies.
Tracy: Every business has a unique selling point or a guarantee. What is it you can look a business owner in the eye and say “I can help you” and how did you discover this magic?
Andy: I can confidently look a businessman in the eye and say “I can help you for being found online for your services and generate inbound leads for you”. I came to this realization by focusing and specializing in online marketing. I deliver results to my clients and I practice what I preach.
Tracy: Being in business so long, I’m sure you’ve started to see a pattern of things that need to be fixed. What is your prospects’ biggest or most common problem?
Andy: It’s safe to say that the number one problem I look to fix is not being found in online search results. Whether or not it’s for a service or a product, not being indexed in search engines is a pretty big problem.
Tracy: So, on the subject of patterns, what are the 2-3 most common questions that your clients and prospects ask you?
1. How can we make my website / my brand visible on search engine results?
2. Can you improve my online presence? Specifically in search engines and social media?
3. How do I consistently generate inbound leads?
Tracy: With that being said, what is the most common “Do it yourself” solution that your prospects might try?
Andy: Oh, that’s simple. I find that many of my prospects have already went through/are in the process of going through those one-size-fits-all cheap templated websites.
Tracy: Why would working with a professional, like yourself, greatly improve their chances for success?
Andy: Well, I’ve mentioned it before and I’ll mention it again. We are obsessive with providing value for our customers. When it comes to this type of work, we always practice what we preach. Oh, and as a side note, we are really good at generating new business leads.
Tracy: Alright. To wrap this up, what is one thing that someone must consider to make their journey into entrepreneurship a success?
Andy: The one principle that I’ve always tried to live by is consistency. Most importantly, to be consistent in your improvement. If you’re always improving, there’s nothing that you can’t do.
Tracy: Is there anything personal you would like to share? To help our audience get to know you better?
Andy: Haha, sure. I love traveling and nature photography. I really enjoy traveling to national parks and other countries, partially because of the atmosphere, and partially for the photographs I can take. Travelling really opens up one’s own awareness to different cultures.