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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

Added by:
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

Asked by:
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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Questions

Are there plans for Vinomofo to go global?

Asked by:
Lisa Ormenyessy Business Coach and Marketing Specialist at Straight Talk Group
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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

Added by:
Rob Herr Marketing at Accede Holdings Pty Ltd
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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!
Rebecca Carroll-BellOwner at RCB Mediation Services
Great tips Rob. I am guilty of sending an email when a phone call would be warmer and more friendly. When I do talk myself in to making that follow up call I like to stand up to have the conversation - I feel less stilted if I can move around a little. Any tips on how to followup when the update is "no progress"?
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

Asked by:
Lisa Ormenyessy Business Coach and Marketing Specialist at Straight Talk Group
Lisa OrmenyessyBusiness Coach and Marketing Specialist at Straight Talk Group
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

Asked by:
Jef Lippiatt Co-founder at Startup Chucktown
Deb SeverinyOwner at Deb at DJS Consulting
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

Asked by:
Phil Khor Founder at SavvySME
Lisa OrmenyessyBusiness Coach and Marketing Specialist at Straight Talk Group
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

Asked by:
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?

Asked by:
Yee Trinh Co-founder 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

Asked by:
Yee Trinh Co-founder 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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Questions

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

Asked by:
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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Questions

What did you do to stay motivated while waiting?

What did you do to stay motivated while waiting for Ozbargain to really catch on? When you saw... read more

Asked by:
Jef Lippiatt Co-founder at Startup Chucktown
Scott YangFounder at OzBargain.com.au
Hi Jef,First of all, the traffic actually does not fluctuate that much these days. You know the traffic is going for a dip on a weekend (somehow it's a norm checking out bargains during business hours :) Long weekends are bad, but made up by other events such as Valentine's Day or Boxing Day shopping.However early on (maybe the first 2 years of OzBargain) the traffic can be slow and frustrating at times. You analyse the fluctuation carefully so you can understand the pattern and whether these are the effect of internal or external changes. However at the same time you also don't want to be affected by it too much. "Looking at the big picture" they say. Don't worry about day to day changes but your month to month growth.As of motivation - I don't wait around for it to catch on. I just want to build something that rocks :) Somehow that product of mine became something that many Australians ended up using and enjoying.
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Questions

How much original content did you have to produce in order to gain the traffic and engagement that Ozbargain has now?

Hi Scott, I'm pretty interested in how you started out - you mentioned that it started out as a... read more

Asked by:
Ling Lee Director at Japanese Sword Auctions Australia
Scott YangFounder at OzBargain.com.au
The misconception here is that the blog was there to pivot what's now the OzBargain.Not really the case.The OzBargain blog was originally started back in 2005 as somehow writing was a leisure at that point in time (had 3-4 blogs back then in various topics). Bargains were just some of the things I liked to write about & share with friends. It only evolved into OzBargain when I'm getting too many emails from other consumers and merchants requesting to have their deals featured on the blog. I "had enough" so built a site so they can post the deals themselves.However prior to OzBargain launched in Nov 2006, I've probably written maybe 100+ blog posts. Again -- no advertising, no marketing but just search engines picking up those content.
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Onwards and upwards

You Can Have Brilliance, I'll Take Reliability

So I was thinking today, after years in business, about the kind of people, from a management...read more

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Onwards and upwards

The Complete Guide To How Every Organization Must Evolve To The Future Of Work

Below you will find an infographic that I have shared over the past few days in two separate...read more

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Onwards and upwards

Samsung Struggles To Return To Its Glory Days As Smartphone King

Samsung's Galaxy S5 smartphone at a mobile phone shop in Seoul, South Korea. (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man,...read more

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What is the best way to market my home and office cleaning service?

Hi, My name is Michelo, I am new to running my own business and in need of a lot of help. Can... read more

Some great ideas on here already but also thought I'd throw PPC advertising into the mix. Using a platform like Google AdWords or BingAds (or both) can be a fairly cost-effective way to entice new customers as you only pay when somebody clicks on your ad and goes to your website. You can also get PPC campaigns up and running fairly quickly, so it can drive traffic to your website while you work on other things (like improving your website's SEO or creating flyers).There are a few "cons" though. The AdWords interface can look a little scary to the uninitiated (although many PPC agencies offer low-cost management options to take care of everything for you). In addition, certain keywords, especially those related to cleaning services, can be expensive.My advice would be to experiment with it for a month and if it works out too costly per sales enquiry, then kill it. This way, at the very least you'll end up with some great keyword data to help you with your SEO (and hopefully a few jobs!).
Jef LippiattCo-founder at Startup Chucktown
Michelo,I have several ideas for you. First, with existing clients ask permission to take before and after pictures of the space. If you get permission you can post the pictures (leaving out the Address for client privacy) on your website as visual proof of your cleaning proficiency. Another great idea is to get written feedback from happy clients. Once you get feedback you may need to ask permission before posting it on your website, but client testimonials are powerful for new potential clients to see.Also consider getting your business on platforms where clients can rate your business and leave feedback can be helpful to potential future customers (e.g. Yelp, Google Maps, Angie's List, etc.).You can try to drum up additional business by asking current clients for referrals and then give them a discount on their first cleaning after the referral has tried your service.You should put up your contact information on community boards around the area you are targeting clients. Cafes and local shops sometimes provide this type of resource for free. I would even suggest making a tear off sheet with your phone number or website. You could make the tear sheet look like a broom with the tear off pieces being the broom bristles or you could make it look like a broom and the tear off pieces look like dirt so when a person tears one off it looks cleaner. The main idea is be creative and target customers in the area you are hoping to land clients.
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