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Onwards and upwards

How To Use A Business Mistake To Enhance Your Reputation

It was 9:25 am when I arrived at the office and I was faced with an entire team of panic-stricken... read more

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Jef LippiattCo-founder at Startup Chucktown
Great article. I think it is important to show vulnerability and humility. Owning a mistake and trying to make it right will always go a long way with customers.
Onwards and upwards

Divergent Lenses

Have we lost our sense of imagination or just how to properly use it? I propose that we... read more

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Jef Lippiatt Co-founder at Startup Chucktown
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Questions

What would you value more an investor or a knowledgeable cofounder? Why?

Often a venture needs both, but which would you prefer? Think about the pros and cons that may... read more

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Jef Lippiatt Co-founder at Startup Chucktown
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Can anyone suggest the best products to sell online?

I am a big fan of your website and have great admiration for how you have successful converted your... read more

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Dave HolmesOwner at Dictate Australia Pty Ltd
Yep great answers, passion and niche as already mentioned are key. You need to stand out from the competition and when you are niche you have less competition so easier to grow into that market. One more I would add is know your products and their market. Don't just sell camping equipment if you have never been camping for example.It really is very easy to sell anything online, but knowing your products inside out is essential to be able to build confidence with your customers and allow you to sell the right products rather than the most profitable products.A customer who spends $500 and gets something that perfectly matches their needs is much happier than a customer that spends $1000 which doesn't do everything they want. The $500 will come back and tell their friends.
Nicole McIver at Nicole McIver
My suggestion is selling something you are passionate about, you will do much better and your job will be easier and more enjoyable if your selling a product you are truly passionate about. Find your niche and stick to it.There is also LOTS of brands overseas thats are freaking awesome that arent in Australia yet, find something new, unique and super cool and import it and get distribution rights to it in AU.If you have any further questions email me :)
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Startup branding and PR

How to Crowdsource the Top 5 Needs of Your Business

If you want to keep your business afloat, you need to understand how to meet the needs it has....read more

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Startup branding and PR

Have You Taken Control of Your Online Reputation?

Online reputation management isn't just for big companies any longer. For many years, the cost was...read more

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Onwards and upwards

New Business Idea: Workspace As A Service (WaaS)

Do you know that of Australia’s 2.1 million SMBs, almost 15% fold annually? Alarmingly, that figure... read more

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David Nicol Director, Workspace Product Sales at Citrix
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How do you know when it's time to let an idea die, rather than pursuing it?

Have you ever had a business idea that you kept coming back to, but seemed like it was never going... read more

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Hi Suzie, This happens not just with business ideas but lots of other things in life too. Are you talking about something you are deciding to 'let go of' because it is not working? Or an idea you just can't seem to shake?Warmly, Lisa
Justin Dry at Vinomofo
That is a great question but an incredibly hard one to answer because it depends on so many different factors. However I do believe there is a time for ideas. Think about it like you’re a surfer catching a wave… You go out too early and it doesn’t matter how much you paddle, you have to wait for the wave to catch up. I’ve had a few of these... Get in just as the wave hits and it’s much easier to catch. First mover advantage in a market is awesome. You obviously still need to deliver a great product, make good decisions and have a little bit of luck along the way but there are far less obstacles. This was Vinomofo. Catch the wave late and it’s steep and harder to pull off. Think more competition, noise and expense. Miss the wave and no matter how hard you paddle, it’s gone. Think saturated market. A good time to start looking at how you can disrupt the space :) The above is easy to say in hindsight but if you keep an eye on markets and spaces around the world, you can start to spot trends and may just be able to pick the next wave. Hope that helps!
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Questions

How do you reconcile your differences in opinion as co-founders?

I assume you and Andre don't always agree on everything, sometimes even on strategic directions.... read more

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Phil Khor Founder at SavvySME
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How did your brand and identity survive 2012-2013?

Fifty years ago Australian Thomas Angrove wrapped wine in a plastic cask that turned out... read more

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Are there plans for Vinomofo to go global?

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Startup branding and PR

How to Do Business Follow-Up The Right Way

It is essential for businesses -- big or startup, to conduct follow up on their prospective... read more

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Rob Herr Marketing at Accede Holdings Pty Ltd
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Rob HerrMarketing at Accede Holdings Pty Ltd
Hi Rebecca, first of all thank you for your comment. For me if the update is "No Progress", I weigh the pros of cons of that particular target.If that target is worthy, we continue to pursue it. Sometimes its ok to drop the towel and give up especially if its not worth it. Hope my advice helps.
Jeff GordonPrincipal at Prestige SME Business Solutions
Yes, Follow Up is one of the most important tasks you MUST do in business. The trick is to call first and if the person is busy, send an email, then call again a few days later and if you still cannot get to talk, then send another conclusive email. Generally you should "cut your losses" and move on. If it is a worth chasing, just keep calling and emailing (about maximum 7 calls). Just remember J.K. Rowley who wrote the Harry Potter books contacted 11 publishers who all said NO and the 12th said YES. The other 11 publishers have never slept well since saying NO!
Questions

How do you start or create a community ie a movement?

Hi SavvySME's, I am in the process of doing something a little different than what I normally do.... read more

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Thanks for your feedback, much appreciated :-)
Jef LippiattCo-founder at Startup Chucktown
Lisa,I will echo a few of the items Helen mentioned but through my own perspective.I think one of the main drivers of good community is a narrow focus (niche) which it sounds like you have. I would also say it is important to have EULA (End User License Agreement) in plain language. Sure you can have a more official/legal version but make a summary of it easily digestible in as few bullet points as possible (e.g. Respect Other Users, Don't Be A Jerk). Let them know up front what type of experience they will have and make sure you enforce it to keep the community healthy.Another key to focus on is identity. Users may want to keep some of their information private from other users, however, I would focus on having them use real names (at least making their first real name available). It can be easier to form connections with other users when you actually know their name instead of just a random user name. Again, don't make them feel like they have to over share, so look at having some personal settings they can choose between.Remind them (through various methods) that they are all there because they have things in common. Look to not only engage users with each other but engage with them yourself.
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Questions

Is your business tapped into the Shop Local movement?

In my community Shop Local is a big deal. There is great community support for local entrepreneurs... read more

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Jef Lippiatt Co-founder at Startup Chucktown
I have a lovely 65+ general store/cafe client who after 7 years of doing 12 -15 hour days 7 days a week and donating one of her kidneys to her son is going to shut shop very soon... Its been a long time coming and her main reason for giving it such a long go is because though she definately wasnt getting rewarded in a monetary sense she definately was getting rewarded in a community hub sense.If you lost your dog she would know who had it.If you lost your key she would have a spare one that you gave her for safe keepingIf you needed any information she was the go to person.Neighbourhood watch have used her cafe for there meetings and when she had forced time off during and after the kidney donation her local community worked in her shop to keep it running.Simply put they love her and so dont want to see her close, however she is spent completely, and due to the big buggers like coles and woolworths pricing small businesses out of any profit margin they could have, well its part of her reason to shut shop. So sad in one respect though Im sure she will receive more gratitude and love where ever she decides to place her self. What an amazing brave woman at 65+ to have the courage to change direction so stongly in her life. I have such admiration for her and will miss her as a friend and client.
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Questions

What is the one advice you give smaller startups when competing with larger or most established businesses?

Startups often fall in the trap of feeling inadequate to their larger competitors, especially when... read more

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Phil Khor Founder at SavvySME
I see two answers to this Phil.The first is mindset.... why is a mistake a failure? The big boys had many failures along the way and yet still managed to succeed. An example that is often given is the moon landing. On the way there they were off course 99.9% of the time, with continuous minor adjustments along the way they reached their destination, despite being off track the majority of the way.What you focus on expands so be sure to be continuously working on your energy levels to attract all matter of 'good stuff' and focus on where you are going, not the past where the mistakes are. They have already happened.... move onward on upwards taking away what you have learnt and leveraging.The second is .... Play to your strengths! The advantage that you have over a bigger business is your ability to move quickly. You can have an idea in the morning and have it executed by lunchtime. Big business can not achieve this, there are often too many chiefs or too much red tape.Flexibility is your strength, use it!
Tom Potter at pottercorp
critical time and research needs to be placed into strategy
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Questions

What would you have done differently to make Eagle Boys even bigger than what it is today?

Everybody loves pizza and there are some obvious competitors in the market. If you were turn back... read more

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Phil Khor Founder at SavvySME
Tom Potter at pottercorp
probably introduced more capital to grow harder and faster /however the main key point was to have a major point of difference which we had up until I sold the business
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Questions

How do you determine how much equity to give in the early days of a startup to investors?

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Yee Trinh Marketing Manager at SavvySME
Jef LippiattCo-founder at Startup Chucktown
Yee,This is a fantastic and difficult question to answer. It's a tricky topic because it has to be judged on an individual basis and agreed to by the team (or at least the majority).Some people may say, take any offer you can get it is better than continuing to bootstrap. I would argue, that may not be the case. When you are bootstrapping you must be more aware of how each dollar is spent. When you get an investment, you may not be as thoughtful or creative on how you stretch the budget.Also, don't just see it as the amount of money they are giving you (in terms of the trade off for equity in your venture). Are they also bringing their knowledge of the business world and making it accessible to you? Are they giving you access and recommendations to their network? The team needs to be comfortable with the percentage of equity for the monetary infusion. Example, if an investor offers $100,000 for 45% of the company's equity some founders may see that as a quick way to grow the business while other founders may balk at giving up such a large percentage of their venture. It is a combination of your team's comfort level, your overall gut reaction and your ability to trust that the investor is trying to better your venture.It really comes down to what the team agrees is a fair or reasonable trade off between the monetary infusion, networking and resources verses losing some control of the overall business. Once again, great question.
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Questions

What are investors looking for in a pitch?

What gets them over the line from being "That's a good idea" to "Here's a cheque for $100,000"? read more

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Yee Trinh Marketing Manager at SavvySME
Jef LippiattCo-founder at Startup Chucktown
Yee,Thanks for asking. I think most startups believe their presentation or "pitch deck" has to wow the investors. But that is not always what draws them in and excites them.Yes, investors want to see that you have an interesting product or service, but it can't end there. They will find accurate numbers interesting, accurate being the key word. If you have a growing number of users show them. But keep in mind they will be interested in knowing how active and engaged to your product or service your users are. If you are constantly gaining new users to replace the ones that aren't staying, they will probably not be very impressed.Another thing they look at is your team dynamics. Do you work well together and share the passion of seeing the venture through and growing it, or are you just a few people that are good at what you individually do? Sometimes investors are more interested in the team you have put together than the idea. They may in fact look to fund you but send you after another idea.This is an extension of the team dynamic, but they may look at your team's experience. Are you all first time founders? They may be a bit more cautious if you are. You can offset this by having a solid set of mentors or board of advisors on your team (even if they don't get involved in the day to day operation).Investors are also looking for honesty. Don't claim you have no competition (they will think you haven't done your research). Don't project overly opportunistic numbers so far out they are meaningless. Keep the numbers you show them honest and use them to your advantage.To sum up I believe investors are looking for:a great product/service or a willingness for the team to transition to a new ideaa team that works well togetherpassion to scale the venture into a sizable companyAnd a bonus is:a great presenter that can sell themselves, the team and the business convincingly
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Startup branding and PR

An Interview With Seth Berkowitz | How the Founder of Insomnia has Revolutionized The College Experience Armed Only With Cookies

In his book Zero To One, Peter Thiel says that you should never open a restaurant since you'll just...read more

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How did you make connections for the new venture?

How did you go about making contacts at all the exciting Asian startup cities? I'm guessing it took... read more

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Jef Lippiatt Co-founder at Startup Chucktown
Jason Lim at Asia Recon
I made most of my contacts when I lived in Beijing and was very active in the startup community. Since I was a tech blogger, I naturally had to meet people and keep on the pulse of all the trends. I attended a lot of conferences, events and ran some myself. The community is strong and you always see the same people, so over time its easy to build up a good relationship with them. This happened over a few years. Lessons learned: Get out there and start talking and meeting peopleDon't be too eager and bother people (some people in Asia just want to get your card and walk off)Be prepared to offer help where you can, it will come back to you
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