Trade Restriction Ends
Free to Trade After Three Years
Good News! The restriction of trade that formed part of the buy/sell agreement when I disposed of my share in a publishing business three years ago ended at 00h01 today…
Trade Restrictions Imposed by Agreement
During the three years the restriction applied, I agreed not to trade in competition with two products produced by the publishing house in which I had been a partner. The first of these is a business to business directory called “The Printers Contact Directory” also known as “Print Contacts” in the past. This directory took the form of a small A5 (later B5 or close to that size) booklet featuring advertisements for suppliers of equipment, machinery, inks, paper as well as other supplies and services to the South African printing industry. This niche market booklet was/is produced annually and distributed free. This niche market directory included a website.
The second publication was a similar directory for printers themselves to advertise their products and services to general business in South Africa. This booklet never featured a website during my time working with the publishing business. Possibly I could have traded in this sector as the title was never produced again after I left, so could be considered a non-existent entity or dead product. (Such answers I’ll leave up to the lawyers to ponder over…)
So Do I Compete in this Sector Now?
That is a question I have not decided the complete answer to yet. Although I have been planning to launch a website for business to business advertisers for some time, and much thought has been given to the overall concept of this website, I feel concentrating on a particular niche market alone will be too restrictive. However, intending to establish a business to business website directory and information resource, while omitting the restricted printing sector would also make no sense. So I have been holding back on launching the product.
Holding back has actually been beneficial. It has given me time to get a very clear picture in my mind of what I want this site to feature, how I want it to work…
What I can say right now is the site will be segmented, in other words broken down into market sectors that will be built one by one. I believe this method will help establish Search Engine Authority with Google. Three to 500 hundred webpages all relating to a single industry sector produces a much stronger website for Search results for products and services within that industry sector than a site with the same number of pages but spread over every possible business activity. (There are already many online directories that accomplish that.
Competing in Print?
This is of course the biggest question of all. From a purely commercial perspective, it makes sense to produce a paid for printed advertising directory. The potential to generate revenue from a website alone in South Africa is extremely limited. To give an example that applies to the printing industry; many company owners feel websites have little benefit for their businesses, and just cost money. Even leading operators in this niche industry often have very basic websites, no more than a home page and sometimes a contact information page.
But then I must ask myself the question; do I want to retrace my steps back into print and publishing. My first thought is NO. However first thoughts if taken by themselves make for poor decisions. So for now I will simply say the possibility of adding printed products will remain a possibility, and concentrate on building the strongest business to business a contact website in South Africa.
A Little More Information About the Concept
- Project Lighthouse Advertising Medium (graphicline.co.za)