Archive for August, 2010

The Power of a Space

What a weekend.

I’m in the process of migrating servers, I’m moving from one hosting company to another.  I have a number of different sites, one is still on the old cloud-based server, while this one, among others are hosted on our new server.  I’m still doing a lot of tweaking, testing and securing before fully migrating everything over…and on the to-do-list is whole process for backing up, with a number of fail-safe’s in case anything goes wrong once all is migrated.  The problem?  It was still on the to-do-list.

So on Friday afternoon, I’m working on the server…I’m usually very cautious about working on it because I’m no system admin.  I have separate access for different domains, that way if anything is compromised or anything goes wrong, worst case scenario is that it should only affect that one domain.  During some of the work, I had to access multiple files from different domains, so I decided to login using root access, which can pretty much access anything and do everything.

To make a long story short, I was trying to delete the contents of a folder, and I used the following command:

rm -rf folder /*

I meant to do:

rm -rf folder/*

The difference of that one space?  Rather than deleting everything within the folder, it deleted the folder AND everything in /…which for Windows folks, is like saying delete C:\.  Seconds later and if you went to any of my sites you would get a quick error back saying permission denied.  On top of that, I hadn’t implemented my backup system yet, so I had no backups.  Talk about a nightmare!

The entire weekend was spent figuring out a variety of solutions to get everything restored to as close to the date as possible.  I got lucky with a couple things, like having a backup of some databases that I had downloaded while migrating servers (couple weeks old), and a recent backup in my recycle bin.  At the end of the day, after much wasted time, I was able to get everything fairly close to restored as possible (I did lose some stuff).  The first to-do after that?  Back everything up!  Had I not had certain files downloaded, or my host hadn’t had a disaster recovery file from a month prior, the situation could have been much worse.

This is a reminder to all site owners.  You never know what can happen.  Setup a backup plan, and implement it yesterday.

One Person Can Change Everything, Don’t Forget

I’m sitting at my desk working and watching a special on CNBC called “The Oprah Effect.”  One of the stories is about a business named We Take the Cake based out of Florida.

The company has been doing about $160,000 in sales per year when it was bought out by Lori Karmel for around $80,000.  She re-branded the company and made some other adjustments, but business was not great.  They were barely breaking even, when one year they finally hit a profit…of $16.  Then one day they come to find out that one of their customs works for the Oprah show, who enjoyed the cake so much, she gave one to Oprah…who loved it.  Some time later they get a call saying that Oprah was considering making the cake one of her favorite things on the show.  Oprah ended up doing it!  After the Oprah featured it, the phone rang non-stop for weeks, giving her tons of sales.  This literally took the business to the next level.

A sales increase wasn’t the only thing that was benefited, We Take the Cake then got tons of press, which generated in more sales.  Catalog companies such as Harry & David, Nieman Marcus, and even Whole Foods carried their products.  They now do over $1 million a year in sales.

All this because one customer literally changed everything for the company.  This is a prime example of why you should never neglect anybody, you never know who you are talking to or selling to.

In my business, I can think of a few key people that have literally changed my life and moved my business to the next level.  When I started Carbon Fiber Gear, I had written about a carbon fiber wallet that I thought was pretty cool.  It turned out that manufacturer of that wallet had it on display at a trade show and somebody had come up to them saying that had seen it on my site.  They ended up buying 500 wallets.  This made the manufacturer seek me out, and gave me the opportunity to directly sell the product on my site.  That was the start of my store, which is now my full-time business and supports my lifestyle.

Can you think of any one person that has literally moved your business to the next level?  I would love to hear your story in the comments below.