By Merilee Kern, MBA
Given that a reported 9 out of 10 businesses fail, with “no market need,” “ran out of cash” and “got outcompeted” paramount among the reasons why, it begs the question: is there a better, more sure-fire way to realize entrepreneurial success? Does any approach exist that can thwart the gut-wrenching 90% chance of failure? One expert, Today’s Growth Consultant (TGC) founder Ken Courtright, says “yes!” He emphatically asserts the answer is establishing an “authority website.”
Just what exactly is an authority website, who can benefit from one and why does Courtright contend it proffers near guaranteed profitability? I caught up with him to ask these questions and more. Here’s what he had to say.
Merilee Kern: I’ve heard that authority websites can provide authentic thought leadership and value to its visitors while serving as a legitimate investment-oriented credibility engine for the owner. Can you elaborate on this idea?
Ken Courtright: Yes, an authority website is a trusted, industry-dominating asset that offers flexibility in a way that other investment vehicles might not, and is an approach that will continue to grow an individual’s net worth through one or more ancillary income streams. The first is the initial and veritably immediate return on the investment of an already pre-established income-generating website. The second and third areas focus on the content produced on the website. With as little as one to three hours per week, the “thought leader” investor, being positioned as an expert in his or her field, can continue to offer valuable wisdom to a target audience through a professional and credibility-inducing platform. When enough content has been produced, that is when multiple potential income streams can be established through the strategic compilation of the content into books, white papers and other such assets on a recurring schedule, and through social networking to foster demand for paid presentations and live speaking events. Other opportunities can include invitations for podcasts, radio programs, Skype interviews and the like. Whatever the individual is looking to do to achieve the level of success desired, nothing can move that brand better than an authoritative website.
MK: What about the wealthy individual who already enjoys freedom and doesn’t want to be tied down to a schedule?
KC: A managed authority website offers an alternative option for the individual who has enough capital to make a substantial investment but is not looking to be overly involved in the process. This option is perfect for someone who would like to pursue something unique instead of the normal investment routes. The same benefit holds true for those who’ve yet to make their first million but have aspirations to earn at that level or better. Authoritative websites are a unique, passive, alternative form of investing similar to rental property that allow the individual to enjoy third party management to a large degree.
MK: Are there currently any networking opportunities specifically created for authority website investors?
KC: Yes. For example, our own company’s clients have the opportunity to attend one of two yearly conferences that occur in the west coast in the fall and in the east coast in the spring. A lot of times we will get our primary site partners together and the end result is major networking opportunities as well as the chance to be part of a community with some of the greatest minds in the U.S. It’s a great way to keep business connections alive and it gives everyone a chance to meet, greet and commiserate on a social level. Such relationships can factor in to increasing the return on the initial investment to continually build a legacy for future generations.
MK: Besides networking, what are a few specific strategies to increase ROI on an authority website?
KC: Content creation is a critical component for an effective authority website. Content created either by or for the investor, who receives regular reports, can show steady growth by 0.05% to 1% every month. Within the last few years, this strategy has been regarded as a solid place to diversify a portfolio. Content creation doesn’t have to be time-consuming. Two examples of this are user-generated content—posts written by guest contributors—and editorialized content. Editorialized content is a great way to quickly become recognized as a thought leader in your industry by, in a field expert capacity, giving valuable insight on a particular newsworthy, relevant topic. Of course, if you’re procured the article from a third party author, you have to give full credit to that individual so as to respect the intellectual property rights.
MK: Any final thoughts to share with investors considering an authority website?
KC: Whether you are newly retired or just beginning to plan your eventual retirement, authoritative websites have been proven to be a great investment in your overall plan at any state in your investment cycle. And, one need not already be an established speaker, author, consultant or other voice of authority to commence with this strategy. Indeed, an authority website can certainly be a means toward these ends and much more.
It’s clear that Courtright is on to something. Since he founded Today’s Growth Consultant (TGC) in 1992, the company has twice been named an Inc. 5000 designee and has doubled revenues in the last five years. It’s now a multi-million dollar international enterprise that has worked with over 3,300 companies in 49 states, including McDonald’s, Cadillac, First National Bank, Harrah’s Casino, MCI WorldCom, GM, Chevy and the Chicago Bulls Organization. Capitalizing on this sustained success, in 2012 Courtright’s TGC launched “Income Store” to help individuals, companies and private equity firms pursue, buy, develop and manage revenue-generating websites at two times earnings. The company’s portfolio currently boasts over 600 websites that are seen approximately 150 million times each year.
As with other investing strategies, it seems this authority website approach may very well be perfect for those who seek the benefits of increasing their asset base and net worth while allowing a third party field expert manage the daily functions of that growth. Sounds like a win-win to me.