Questions

What are the key elements you take into consideration before choosing to work with a production house for videos?

Elements such as.The Team, Price, Portfolio, Recommendations, Website, Online Presence,... read more

Jef Lippiatt
Jef LippiattOwner at Startup Chucktown
I think reputation and online presence go hand-in-hand. In this day and age if the production house is not posting work on social media (Youtube, Instragram, Vine, Vimeo and their own website) maybe stay clear.Also pick a company that is aligned to your goal. Do you want creative control or are you willing to let them handle it? Many creative agencies that are top producers will want the ability to develop their own concept.However, if you have a specific concept and script and actors in mind you need to go with an agency that is setup more for shooting and editing.I would say that recommendations are always key (at least when they come from people you trust). Online reviews are helpful, but I would prioritize a recommendation from a trusted business partner or client first. Always review the website and content of previous videos (even when recommended to ensure they align with your goals as well).
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Questions

What are the mistakes to avoid when starting an online business?

Jef Lippiatt
Jef LippiattOwner at Startup Chucktown
Number 1 I've heard from others and experienced myself.Expecting customers will just show up because you are open for business...
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Questions

Do I sell my product to someone else to resell?

Hi there, So I know this girl who is a well known in Sydney and Australia and has a lot of traffic... read more

Gwendolyn Kestrel
Gwendolyn KestrelDigital Analyst at seoWorks
I absolutely agree with Steve. If you've done your pricing correctly to cover your materials, labor, overhead (time spent ordering supplies, marketing, etc.) then you'll have a fair price set and won't have to worry about how resellers price your goods.So, I also suspect that your items are under-charged right now.Wholesale is a great way for a scale-able business to establish a steady income without having to worry as much about advertising, shipping, etc.
Steve Osborne
Steve OsborneOwner at Smarthinking
HannahBefore you do anything, I suggest you take a long, hard look at your pricing structure. 11.90 profit, purely what I make on shirt not including my labourI'm not sure you grasp the meaning of the word profit. If I read you correctly, selling at $35, you get $12 for making a shirt. Meaning $23 goes in materials and overheads. I'm guessing each shirt takes minimum 2 hours to manufacture, using machinery you've provided. If that is roughly correct, you're making $6/hour as wages and zero profit. Depending on how much you value your time, I suggest your wholesale price should be $135. That's just to cover wages, and still there's no profit.Forgive me for being deliberately flippant, but your figures reveal a serious issue that needs to be addressed before you settle on a wholesale price to your friend. If she sells them for what they're probably worth – say $125 – you're going to be seriously out of pocket within a week.
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Questions

Should we add a new domain to our current site or create a new one?

Hi guys, was hoping for a little advice on creating an additional or 'sister' website. We currently... read more

Hi,I personally think the decision would be very subjective. I am hoping my pointers below will help,1. Creating a new site is a hardwork from SEO perspective, it does help by having the site is a sister site.On the other hand, a 'sister' site with reference to the other successful website shows the business is growing and as we all know, people like to be involve with successful business.From SEO site, tho it is hardwork, it will be paid off, where having more than 1 strong websites is very advantages as they can support each other.2. Pointing a new domain to a existing cart, I'd say a faster to boost the new 'domain' and getting the new products off the ground since they will be in your existing successful website.From SEO perspective, I think you won't gain as much as another new site.From customer perspective, they may see another product in the shop instead of new business.Hope that helps,AdityaWeb Design Melbourne
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Questions

Is eBay shipping emails via MailChimp a normal practice?

Hi, I have a large eBay store and wish to send shipping emails via Mailchimp to help with info and... read more

Asked by:
Peter Jones
Peter Jones Founder at LinkSmart
Tim DaviesOwner at ZELLIS
Hi Peter. There's nothing to stop you communicating with eBay buyers via MailChimp, providing it is directly related to the transaction itself. However the eBay User Agreement and Spam Act 2003 both prohibit you adding other eBay members' contact details to your off-eBay database for marketing purposes unless they opt-in (after you have invited them once and once only). Even if you use MailChimp to communicate with your eBay buyers, make sure you use eBay Messages for any dialogue relating to the transaction which eBay can then use to assist you in the event a transaction turns sour. When it comes to Seller Protection, eBay will not acknowledge or rely on communications which they cannot verify within their system.Hope that helps.Tim
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Questions

How can I take my service online?

I am a business broker. Thank you! read more

Asked by:
Hi Bobo,That is a pretty sweeping question, but the short answer is:[1] Get a website built correctly;[2] Set up social media accounts at the platforms that your ideal clients would use;[3] Connect the social media accounts to your website;[4] Write articles on your website which your ideal clients would want to read;[5] Mention the articles on your social media platforms;[6] capture the names and email addresses of those who come to your website to read the articles, so that you have a constant source of prospective clients.I hope that gets you started in the right direction, and if you need help with anything in particular, I would be happy to expand on the list above for you. Good luck with your online ventures, you absolutely NEED to have an online presence today, because your competitors certainly will.
Bobo Thai
Hi Lisa,I appreciate your time, efforts and I value your advice.Thank you so much.
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Questions

Do you get direct contact from the stores thanking you or giving you more deals?

There is a new term coined "Ozbargained" -- meaning the offer was sold out by the sheer force of... read more

Asked by:
Steve Hui
Steve Hui Founder & Chief Executive at iFLYflat - We make your points FLY
Steve Hui
Steve HuiFounder & Chief Executive at iFLYflat - We make your points FLY
Thanks, I've buy stuff I found on Ozbargain all the time - though 80% of stuff because its a great bargain and not from a need, and I think that's the secret sauce - driving non-essential spend.
Scott Yang
Scott YangFounder at OzBargain.com.au
Yes we do get contacted by ozbargained merchants all the time. Most are either agitated or angry because (1) our users crashed their servers, (2) our users bought up or claimed the freebies that were reserved for someone else. They sometimes use terms such as "law suit" or "legal threat" but never carry out.For the successful ones, they'll just create an account and try to figure out how OzBargain works themselves. They might post a deal or two later on, but strangely store-rep-posted deals rarely work on OzBargain (with some exceptions).Yes I'll gladly take a few thank you notes if OzBargain is bringing sales to these companies. However at the same time I'll remind them that OzBargain was created primarily for the shoppers, not a platform for the merchants.
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Questions

What are the first steps to starting an online store?

I understand it's a very general question but I'm looking to sell some goods online and I'm not... read more

Asked by:
Yee Trinh
Yee Trinh Co-founder at SavvySME
The first step to starting an online store is to go to AdWords and do keyword research to find out what people are looking for, then use that to choose a niche (see below for link to resources by Andrew Youderian which cover other factors in selecting a niche). You can then put up a very simple page using one of the many free services for doing so, that shows some products. You could, for example, setup a shopify store with some products in it. You then run an AdWords campaign and see if you make some sales. Don't worry if you don't have the ability to fulfil the orders yet, just see if you get some, then write to the customers and apologise that you don't have the item in stock and refund their money. Once you've established how much it costs to make a sale, and whether or not there is sufficient volume for what you're selling, work out suppliers etc. Watch this Mixergy interview that takes you through this process: http://mixergy.com/interviews/jonathan-beekman-man-crates-interview/. If you don't have a Mixergy premium membership already, you should get one so you can watch that interview, but also so you can watch all the other interviews and courses -- it's incredible. The most valuable business resource on the internet by far. Also read everything here: http://www.ecommercefuel.com/resources/
Greg Tomkins
Greg TomkinsOwner at Top Left Designs
This is not a simple question Yee as there are so many aspects to be addressed and the answers will also depend on what sort of products you are selling, the size of your product range, your target market to name just a few. All that aside however, you need to consider a number of things and I am assuming that you are wanting to set your store up on your own website rather than through a portal such as eBay. The following checklist is not exhaustive but can serve as a good starting point.Establish your Marketing and Branding strategy and plans - if you don't get this right up front then you will be wasting your time Understand very clearly how much effort and money you are prepared to invest in your new online store and what other resources you may need to pull it all together. Establish the business model for selling your product - pricing and discount structure, warranties/refund policies, what will be your distribution model, how you will effect delivery, online payment mechanisms, managing inventory If your online store augments a brick and mortar business, determine what level of integration you will require between your online sales and the other business sales systems Identify what sort of website you want and what information the site is going to share with your market Work out the sort of functionality you want to include in your website Work out the specific functionality you want in your online shop - size and number of product images, product sizing and colour attributes on products, variable pricing based on order quantities, related products for upsell, etc. Will you want to run special promotions of any kind and how would these be structured Do you have access to quality product images and copyright material about your products ready for inclusion in your website Identify other websites that exhibit the style and features you might like to see in your own website Identify the most appropriate platform for delivering your website - this will depend on the nature and scope of your online shop requirements but generally, for anything other than very small businesses, talk to a web developer or two and look to using one of these to build your site, implement it and incorporate your marketing initiatives. I would not really suggest that any serious business look to building their own website. The demands of creating a professional website that will address all aspects of such a job are quite complex now and really beyond novices quickly jumping into some of these free or cheap web site builder products. Whilst some of these can do some very impressive things and easily create what appears to be a great website there are some serious downfalls for those looking to address requirements of a real business. For further information you might wish to consider a series of articles I publish in one of our blogs Building a Better Online Business
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Questions

What is your best advice for someone looking to start an online retail store?

Someone I know wants to start an online store selling quality fashion goods imported from China,... read more

Asked by:
Phil Khor
Phil Khor Founder at SavvySME
I just answered this question here:https://www.savvysme.com.au/question/438-what-are-the-first-steps-to-starting-an-online-store"The first step to starting an online store is to go to AdWords and do keyword research to find out what people are looking for, then use that to choose a niche (see below for link to resources by Andrew Youderian which cover other factors in selecting a niche).You can then put up a very simple page using one of the many free services for doing so, that shows some products. You could, for example, setup a shopify store with some products in it. You then run an AdWords campaign and see if you make some sales. Don't worry if you don't have the ability to fulfil the orders yet, just see if you get some, then write to the customers and apologise that you don't have the item in stock and refund their money.Once you've established how much it costs to make a sale, and whether or not there is sufficient volume for what you're selling, work out suppliers etc.Watch this Mixergy interview that takes you through this process: http://mixergy.com/interviews/jonathan-beekman-man-crates-interview/. If you don't have a Mixergy premium membership already, you should get one so you can watch that interview, but also so you can watch all the other interviews and courses -- it's incredible. The most valuable business resource on the internet by far.Also read everything here: http://www.ecommercefuel.com/resources/"
Steve Osborne
Steve OsborneOwner at Smarthinking
You could tell her – "Don't."Or if her dream is to make a small fortune, tell her to start with a large one.Of course, free advice is worth exactly what she pays for it, so it's likely she will proceed anyway.In that case, I suggest she start with a plan. Several plans, in fact. the first would be a business modelling exercise. A very good template is the one provided in Business Model Canvas, by Alex Osterwalder. It very quickly tests viability.Once she has established whether the business is viable, a marketing plan is required. It can be very simple, but needs to address three key areas: 1. Positioning – establishing credibility, clarifying value. People won't buy unless they feel they know and trust the supplier. And they won't make a commitment unless they understand the value being provided.2. Attention – awareness, promotion, offer. The marketing message must address the prospect in terms she understands and is interested in, whether the tactics are PPC, social, offline, direct etc.3. Making the Sale – persuasion, relationship, conversion. The site should be structured to motivate prospects and avoid the many mistakes made by inexperienced traders. Give prospects what they want and sell them what they need. Ensure return traffic and repeat sales.If she can't or won't engage outside expertise, the road to riches is likely to be slow, expensive and wasteful. And simply copying someone else's apparent success can be incredibly frustrating (see Business Model above).This is all an oversimplification, so firstly see whether she is approaching the idea with an open mind. After doing due diligence, oftentimes the best course of action is to not proceed at all.
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Questions

Is there an Australian version of Alibaba website to buy wholesale products that are manufactured locally?

Hi Savvies, What website do you recommend for buying Australian manufactured products wholesale? I... read more

Asked by:
Ling Lee
Ling Lee at Digital Marketing and Personal Branding
Oasis ShirtsOwner at Oasis Shirts
Hey Ling Lee, I would suggest you one of USA based leading wholesale supplier brand they have many opens with other ares Australia is one of them, gave you various bulk quantity products according your customized or not customized services also.They are well known for cheap and best wholesale clothing suppliers. take a look it will help you.
Nicole McIverOwner at Nicole McIver
For a good quality , Australian Brands alternative I'd recommend Wholesale Baby or Stock My Store
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Questions

How does one transition to an online store from brick and mortar?

A close friend had to close down his toy shop business a few weeks ago. He was devastated. Despite... read more

Asked by:
Phil Khor
Phil Khor Founder at SavvySME
HI There I would love to see the website.  A basic web site for 10k in a rip off.   We do great e Commerce for $1497 currently working on a toy shop site. It would have made better sense to spend less on the site and lots on marketing to the site. Our sites come with an SEO plugin as standard. We have clients that have over 2000 products on a site, another that has 150 items for sale and has put over $80 k of sales thru her site because she marketed to her site. I am still blown away by the fact  that he spent $10 k on a basic site. Good Luck with it all. cheers   Lorna www.platformb.com.au    
Jane Tepper
Jane TepperDirector at EcoSleep Australia Pty Ltd
So many good points above but one clear one I can see from the points is this: When you have a bricks and mortar store you also need to have an online store so that they run in conjunction with each other. This means you already have your SEO and marketing up and running, your online store is low cost for as said anything from $50-$100 a month. If your customers are invited to join at each purchase and sent a newsletter with sales or tips etc they know where you are and what you are up to and then and only then do you start the process of closing down your bricks and mortar store. Your customer is then in the loop you have a growing online business and the transition is so much easier than when it is a "fire sale" situation.
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Selling online

Google Checkout shelved. A look at Google Wallet and 6 other alternatives.

Google Checkout is being phased out by November. This is according to an announcement made a few...read more

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Questions

Has anyone used Shopify for their eCommerce site?

If Yes, could they share their experiences of the platform, the challenges they have faced on the... read more

Asked by:
David Bradbury
Chris Dahl
Chris DahlBusiness Development Manager at Pin Payments
Shopify just today announced their own POS product too, which is pretty damn exciting for anyone with a presence in either online or retail looking to use a single, modern platform to manage their stores - http://techcrunch.com/2013/08/28/shopify-launches-point-of-sale-system-to-unify-online-and-brick-and-mortar-retail/
Yep I use Shopify, I converted over from an old osCommerce self hosted store about 16 months ago. No complaints, it is very easy to use and the many templates look good and are easy to work with. Can be a little pricey but i'm happy that I no longer need to monitor my webservers and that is now someone elses problem :-) Volusion also seems to be quite popular, I looked at a few options before I moved from old trusty osCommerce, at the time Shopify was good. I am also keeping a close eye on Squarespace.com - they recently added ecommerce although initially very US centric so not quite usable in AU yet, but worth watching. Hope that helps.  
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Questions

How do I sell my new Android app using affiliates?

I have an new app, recently approved in the Google Play store, developed with a colleague of mine.... read more

You can download at https://play.google.com/store Then simply type in SALES ANALYZER in the search facility - my colleague is Michael Tregonning (it is his IP) and was developed by the University of Ballarat Greg
Thanks Scott. Perhaps I will stop looking. It seems simple to sell products and software which are not apps and get access to great affiliate sites. I suspect this sort of tool for apps can't be far away (I hope) Greg
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Questions

How can a website / graphic designer attract more referrals?

Do you have suggestions for how a website designer/graphic designer can build up their referral... read more

Asked by:
Andrew Nguyen
Andrew NguyenBusiness Development Manager at Advisible
Hi Jenny, this article is by Chris our Client Relations Manager, thought I would share"How many times have you been in the process of buying something online, and in one way or another you get interrupted in the process?You come back to it a couple of days later, and while browsing around again, you start seeing banner ads on your browser, from the same website you got interrupted on. This isn’t a coincidence. This is a powerful marketing tool called remarketing. It helps you reconnect with your audience after they have left your virtual store. Remarketing uses a code to track visitors to your site, allowing you to remarket to them. Find out more about the remarketing tag here. So to break it down, here are the five main reasons why you should use remarketing: 1. INCREASE BRAND AWARENESS Remarketing is great to market to your casual audience. Unless you have a revolutionary service or product that is represented that way by your website, it’s unlikely that a casual visitor will remember you. With the amount of competition out there, it’s highly likely that this audience may forget about you after a while of browsing the web. Targeting this audience with remarketing banners will help remind them that you’re still there and you have a product/service to offer. Even though these people will be less engaged, they’d still be more enticed to click your ad compared to someone who has never heard of you. You can choose to target all visitors to your website, people who have viewed specific pages, or shopping cart abandoners. Depending on what stage of the buying cycle the visitor is at will determine what message you should use. 2. INFORM YOUR PROSPECTS In today’s world, information & knowledge is key. Content marketing is a strong marketing tool that reaps success for many companies. The more information that you provide your prospects, the more likely they are to purchase from you. Giving away information shows that you’re an expert in your industry and simply that you know what you’re talking about. You can carefully collect data about the pages your prospects have been on before whether they completed an action or abandoned your website. This way you can determine visitors who are in the information gathering phase. Once you know who these people are and what they’re interested in, you can create highly targeted banner ads. These will give your leads the information that they’re looking for to complete an action through your site. 3. TURN BROWSERS INTO BUYERS There are always people who will browse your website and what you have to offer without completing an action. It’s pretty normal for a prospect to leave without any action on their first visit. Around 96% of website visitors do so. But this is normal, and a lot of the time, they’ll be back. But even then there will be those that continue to browse and never complete an action for one reason or another. These people need a bit of a push/incentive to complete the desired action. So incentivise them with remarketing! You can create a tailored message to these prospects that will push them to convert. A promotion or sale targeted to this audience works really well in convincing them to do what you want. Costs per click on remarketing are generally a lot cheaper than on search. You’re showing your ads to people who have already shown an interest in you, and you’re doing it at a really low cost.4. CONVERT VISITORS WHO ABANDON SHOPPING CART Anyone who owns an ecommerce site knows that there will be people who abandon their cart.Approximately 70% of people will. I’m guilty of this myself. There are many reasons for this. I can admit that sometimes I just get distracted and never complete that action, or I’m just not enticed enough to make the purchase.If you want these visitors to come back and complete the purchase, then remarketing works. You can create a remarketing list that tracks people who have been to your shopping cart, but have never checked out. Creating targeted banners for these leads will remind them about the purchase they nearly made, and entice them to come back and buy! 5. REMARKETING HAS A LARGE SCALE REACH Apart from all the other benefits that remarketing offers, remarketing has a large scale reach. You reach people that are on your remarketing list as they browse over 2 million sites and mobile apps that are part of the Google Display Network. As with anything on PPC, you only pay for a click on your banner ad. So when you think about all the people you’re reaching who don’t click on your banner, it’s pretty much free advertising. They still see your banner, and even if they don’t click on it, you’ll still get noticed. This ties in greatly with brand awareness. The days of using just a ppc search campaign are over. It’s now essential to run different avenues of ppc in order to achieve success online. Utilising the full scope of what is offered to you in terms of online advertising will get you one step closer to success. The possibilities are endless with what remarketing can do for you. So what are you waiting for?
Jayson Rodda
Jayson RoddaHead of Digital Marketing at Find Your Ideal Customers
A common problem for many website designers is that they provide one off transactions for clients.   For clients on the other hand, a website is a simply a marketing tool which won't provide any value unless people find it.   If I were a web designer I would find like minded partners that can provide these crucial complimentary services and take a commission.  This should build an ongoing revenue, keep the web designer involved with clients journey through online marketing, provide additional revenue opportunities & with the right SEO, PPC & Social Media partners you should receive referring work back through for web design work. Providing complete solutions should allow for better margins & better conversion from leads into sale.  It might take a little bit of effort to establish, but you might have 100+ clients that can be referred through your soon to be created network.  That sounds like untapped opportunity.
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Questions

What are good benchmark metrics for a new startup?

Hi all, New to starting up a business and while I understand all situations are unique, I would... read more

Duncan Smith
Duncan SmithDirector at Business Advice + Tax
Brian, Maybe I am an old fashioned accountant. The most important measure to me for retail whether store or online is to know your Gross Profit Margin. Ask your accountant for an ATO benchmark or obtain one yourself. What is the budget for your business and how long can you survive if sales/profit is not meet. In business, profit is the goal   Sales is a means of making a profit. I use the word 'reward' with my clients. What is the 'reward' for your efforts?. By example, salary plus profit plus salary sacrifice etc Know your business well    Have a good BAS Agent Talk often with your Tax Agent have a monthly fixed fee    Use Cloud Accounting Listening to Ellen tonight on a Current Affair - Tracey Grimshaw asked her audience want they liked most - it was her energy and passion. Bring lots of energy and passion to your business. Good Luck. Duncan Smith Business Advice + Tax Dream with an Accountant - bringing life to tax            
David Ferris
David FerrisBusiness Development Executive at Davelcorp Insurance Brokers
There are some tremendous resources available on the "Gazelles.com" website which focuses on a "one page business plan . You are extremely astute to recognise that  understanding  key metrics from the outset will position you well for success.
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