Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Interview with Adam Shields

Adam Shields
Co Publisher/General Manager
The Business Link Niagara Ltd.

How do you define your business?
The Business Link is a small but dynamic team made up of individuals who all share the same philosophies in business: loyalty, honesty, integrity, passion and trust. For this reason we have grown from one business newspaper to six publications in less than 4 years. We are a motivated group who strive everyday to help grow our clients’ businesses; as they grow, we grow.

Why is this business for you?
The advertising/publishing industry is in the blood. I have grown up around it my whole life. I got started in the publishing business when I was 20. My dad and I teamed up to produce a hockey program for the local Junior “B” team. While in the midst of producing the program, I also helped my dad produce a monthly retailer’s guide that we distributed throughout the Niagara Region. We decided Niagara was lacking a regular business publication, so we took a leap of faith and started The Business Link. I love what I do; not only is it my job but it’s my hobby as well. Seeing our products generate a return on investment for a client is the reason we work as hard as we do.

Who is your target market?
Our publications are geared to the average businessperson – someone who is educated and is willing to pay for quality and value. The mandate of our company is to educate and inform business people through industry related articles, tips, trends and company profiles.

What is the most common mistake you see advertisers make?
The most common mistake that advertisers make is the approach of trying out a publication 1 or 2 times to “see if it works”. This is a detrimental approach to advertising and the business is wasting their investment. Advertising is a frequency industry; you need to say the same message to the same people over and over again in order to get results. With the multimedia world we live in today, people are bombarded by thousands of ad impressions a day, so unless your message is in front of them all the time they will forget about you. The key is to decide what audience you want to reach, research what mediums reach the audience and get your message in front of them as much as you can afford.

What is your most persistent challenge?
Finding the right people is our most consistent challenge. With the growth we continue to experience, hiring the right people has become critical. In a family owned and operated business, you tend to all work in the same way – you work hard and fill in wherever needed. People who will work the same way are very difficult to find.

What surprised you the most about this business?
What surprised me the most about the publishing industry was the amount of work that goes into creating a publication. I didn’t realize the amount of interaction that takes place between the sales rep and their client. From the initial sale of the space to the development of the ads to the final hardcopy, the amount of time spent on one client is astounding. The innovation of technology has made our lives much easier than it was 20 years ago in this industry.

George Torok
Business in Motion

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