Wednesday, July 05, 2017

How to run a straight-up business: newsletter case study

We have been running the HCPG newsletter now since 2006.   We are very happy with what we have created over the years and believe that many of the lessons we have learned in running HCPG also can apply to other businesses.   So here’s our case study.
1. Don’t claim anything.    The quality of your product is the only thing that matters.     We could be three punks trading from a double wide in some trailer park,  or we could be three very well-off successful traders.  We’ve never claimed one or the other.  Does it matter?   No, not at all.   All that matters is whether the information we provide can make you more profit than you would have without the newsletter.  Stay with what is relevant.   We stay under the HCPG moniker without providing personal information because frankly, our personal life is no one’s business.   All we do is provide potential set-ups for any one who pays $44.76/month.   You’ll find out very soon (including a 10 day free trial) whether it’s all nonsense or whether it can add to your bottom line.
2. Unless you intend to provide an audited PnL record that you will provide to your subscribers every week never talk about dollars or brag about how much money you’re minting.   You will never hear us talk about money, be it on stocktwits, twitter, or in the newsletter.   You will never hear us say Big Kaching!!   If we’re happy with a trade we’ll say it was a good trade; whether we had 100 shares or 100,000 shares should have no effect on your trading.  Keep your ego out of your business.
3. Be nice and always look at the big picture.  If you’re in it for the long-term as we are (HCPG 5 year anniversary in a few months) then try to build solid relationships with your readers.  Don’t nickel and dime people.  If a subscriber forgets to cancel a trial and gets billed on the 10th day  and emails us that they don’t want to stay on, we refund the money.    We believe that readers should consider us a lucky find — rather than trying to trap people for an extra month because they forgot to cancel in time.   We want readers to stay with us because they want to stay with us.   This is also the reason we do monthly payments.  No contracts, no specials.
4.  Be the best in what you do.    Easier said than done but what will propel you on this path is to specialize.   Find your niche and then be the best.     We only trade high-beta very liquid US equities, mostly in the commodity and tech space.  We’re not interested in trading small-caps, Chinese time-bombs, biotech-time bombs, and while we like to watch currencies and hear about options, they’re not our specialization and you won’t find them in our newsletter.  We want to only talk about things we know very well and frankly, options and forex do not fit into that category.
5.  Teach people.   Subscribers who have been with us  for a good chunk of time  know our strategies as well as we do.   Create a community and  build bonds and you will see the benefits of organic growth.
6.  Keep your cool.   When you are writing the newsletter or posting on twitter/stocktwits you are representing your company.  Don’t get emotional, or get into cat fights with other traders.    If you are dying to rant then open up a personal twitter account and go nuts.   But everything that comes under your company name should reflect professionalism and integrity.   Don’t get us wrong, we love to joke around, and believe that’s an important part of relieving stress in a very stressful job.   But you won’t find HCPG losing it in a temper tantrum.
7.  Don’t fret about the competition.     We often retweet posts from our competitors, and consider many of them as online friends.   Don’t be afraid.   There’s always room for a quality product in the market.

(originally published April 09, 2011)