Growing up in a small town in Massachusetts, my father, a man with no background in publishing, bought a local newspaper. His journey from a novice to a successful publisher who transformed a modest 12-page weekly into a bustling 52-page publication is not just a testament to hard work, but also a beacon of wisdom in sales and business practices. His legacy left an indelible mark on my own business philosophy, and today, I’d like to share one of the most profound lessons he taught me—an insight that resonates deeply with the spirit of community and perseverance.

The Humble Eighth-Page Ad

One evening, in the midst of his cluttered office, my father imparted a piece of wisdom that has stayed with me ever since: “The most important thing in sales is your eighth-page ad.” At first, the significance of this small piece of advertising real estate eluded me. But as he explained, I came to understand its profound simplicity and effectiveness.

In our newspaper, eighth-page ads were small and affordable, making them accessible to many local businesses. They weren’t the most glamorous or prominent spots, but they were reliable. These ads, sprinkled throughout the pages of the paper, were like tiny seeds planted in fertile soil. Each ad brought in a steady stream of revenue, covering the newspaper’s essential expenses—payroll, printing costs, and other overheads.

Stability Through Small Consistencies

The brilliance of my father’s strategy lay in its focus on small, consistent sales rather than chasing larger, riskier accounts. Because eighth-page ads were inexpensive, they were easy to sell and maintain. Local businesses were happy to invest in them regularly, appreciating the consistent exposure without breaking the bank. If one advertiser left, another could quickly take their place, ensuring a stable revenue stream.

This stability was crucial. It allowed the newspaper to operate smoothly and adapt to changes without depending heavily on a few large accounts. This principle of focusing on small, reliable sales became a cornerstone of my approach to business.

Nurturing Relationships for Long-Term Success

Another key aspect of my father’s wisdom was the emphasis on relationship-building. In our newspaper, the sales team that sold the ad was responsible for maintaining the client relationship. They didn’t just pass the customer off to another department; they stayed involved, ensuring high levels of satisfaction and opening doors for future upsells. Perhaps an eighth-page ad could grow into a quarter-page ad, then a half-page ad, and so on.

This approach contrasts sharply with the reliance on “whale” customers—large accounts that can significantly impact revenue but pose a huge risk if they leave. While landing a big client feels great, it’s the smaller, steady customers that keep the business afloat in the long run. They provide the security that allows for sustainable growth and innovation.

Applying the Eighth-Page Ad Principle in Modern Business

In today’s terms, this strategy aligns perfectly with focusing on customer lifetime value and net revenue retention. Small, consistent sales ensure a healthy cash flow and create opportunities for expansion without the pressure of chasing the next big deal. By building a broad base of loyal, satisfied customers, a business can weather economic fluctuations and maintain stability.

The Broader Lesson

The lesson of the eighth-page ad goes beyond sales. It’s about understanding the value of small, incremental progress and building strong, lasting relationships. It’s about diligence, patience, and the faith that steady effort leads to lasting success. My father’s newspaper may have started as a small venture, but through his wisdom and hard work, it became an essential part of our community.


In the fast-paced world of business, it’s easy to get caught up in the pursuit of big wins and major clients. But the true strength of a business often lies in the small, consistent efforts and the relationships built along the way. My father’s legacy is a testament to this truth. His eighth-page ad strategy is a reminder that the path to success is often found in the humble, steady steps we take every day.

As we navigate our own business journeys, let us remember the power of the eighth-page ad—an enduring symbol of stability, growth, and the profound impact of small, consistent efforts.