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Wendy Huang

Full Time Blogger and YouTuber at A Custom Blog in 4 Minutes

Member Since November 2012

Chatswood, NSW, 2067

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I am passionate about helping businesses get online with their own blog or website in just a simple 4 minutes.

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Wendy Huang
Wendy Huang, Full Time Blogger and YouTuber at A Custom Blog in 4 Minutes

Graphic Design

What are the ramifications of using stock images to create a company logo?

Thanks for your answer :)!! It helps! I just feel when you hire a designer from oversea's this can be a huge issue that you unknowingly step into.

Copywriting and Content Marketing

How to Build a Custom Wordpress Blog or Website in Just 4 Minutes

Blogs have become an essential part of business. I was on the phone the other day with a client of mine and she was debating whether to do videos to help her promote her business. I advised her to start a blog first because that's the first step into the world of social media that is not only less time consuming, but also allows her to embed future videos into the blog posts so that she can ...

Wendy Huang answered this question

Andrew barnes
Andrew barnes, at Finance expertise

Accounting

Why do people choose BPO outsourcing services from US and India?

Hi Andrew,

The link doesn't seem to take me anywhere

Wendy Huang answered this question

Ling Lee
Ling Lee, at Digital Marketing and Personal Branding

Accounting

What accounting systems do I need for a startup?

There are some really affordable accounting alternatives these days so I would check them out :) Otherwise when you start out make sure you keep all your receipts and transactions so you can give them to an accountant when it gets too much for you or at the end of the financial year :) As others have suggested, something like Xero can help you log your transactions easily and keep them neat.

Copywriting and Content Marketing

I doubled my pageviews in 1 day, read on to see how I did this

When I logged into my account this morning I literally couldn't believe my eyes. Not only have I not posted anything new for almost a week, which is usually sinful according to my schedule but I felt like I didn't do anything to deserve the traffic spike that I saw on my traffic report which showed me double the amount of page views as the day before. So what happened? I changed my blog templa...

Wendy Huang answered this question

Ling Lee
Ling Lee, at Digital Marketing and Personal Branding

Information Technology

How often do you upgrade your gadgets?

I'm an updataholic usually 1-2 years (until a contract finishes) or 2 years max for laptops because I run them fast :)!!

 

 

Lifestyle and Health

Face up to it, you may be getting uglier and dumber

Wanna Be Dumb And Ugly? Lack of sleep not only makes you ugly and sick, it also makes you dumb: missing shut-eye makes 6th graders as smart as 4th graders. via bakadesuyo.com Let's get real here. Put your hand up if you get more then 8 hours sleep a night? Ok now put your hand up if you get more then 10? I'm pretty sure right now even in this vast cyberspace I'm not seeing an awful lot...

Wendy Huang answered this question

Neil Steggall
Neil Steggall, Partner at Wardour Capital Partners

Leadership

What is the number one skill required to build a successful SME?

I would say the skill of enduring hardship. When everything looks bleak, the self resilience to just keep trudging on :D

Social Media

New twitter profile for 2014!

Twitter has started releasing a new profile layout for it's users. Keep an eye out for an email that looks like this: You can choose to make changes to your design to preview and then choose to publish it or not. We have updated our profile and it looks like this: Things you will need to know about this new design: Profile photo: 400px by 400px Cover image: 1500px by 500px   What do you...

Copywriting and Content Marketing

How to Build a Custom Wordpress Blog or Website in Just 4 Minutes

Blogs have become an essential part of business. I was on the phone the other day with a client of mine and she was debating whether to do videos to help her promote her business. I advised her to start a blog first because that's the first step into the world of social media that is not only less time consuming, but also allows her to embed future videos into the blog posts so that she can ...

Copywriting and Content Marketing

I doubled my pageviews in 1 day, read on to see how I did this

When I logged into my account this morning I literally couldn't believe my eyes. Not only have I not posted anything new for almost a week, which is usually sinful according to my schedule but I felt like I didn't do anything to deserve the traffic spike that I saw on my traffic report which showed me double the amount of page views as the day before. So what happened? I changed my blog templa...

Lifestyle and Health

Face up to it, you may be getting uglier and dumber

Wanna Be Dumb And Ugly? Lack of sleep not only makes you ugly and sick, it also makes you dumb: missing shut-eye makes 6th graders as smart as 4th graders. via bakadesuyo.com Let's get real here. Put your hand up if you get more then 8 hours sleep a night? Ok now put your hand up if you get more then 10? I'm pretty sure right now even in this vast cyberspace I'm not seeing an awful lot...

Social Media

New twitter profile for 2014!

Twitter has started releasing a new profile layout for it's users. Keep an eye out for an email that looks like this: You can choose to make changes to your design to preview and then choose to publish it or not. We have updated our profile and it looks like this: Things you will need to know about this new design: Profile photo: 400px by 400px Cover image: 1500px by 500px   What do you...

Business Management

5 ways to fall in love with your business again

It's Valentines day, a day where you spend your time with loved ones and partners and spoil them with chocolate flowers and fine dining. But for now I encourage you to give a little bit of TLC to your 2nd love in life (after your life partner if you have one), your business. For those of you still in your start-up honeymoon phase, this may not be a problem to you. You've probably worked tireles...

Social Media

Instagram Direct sends images directly to your friends

If you have avoided Instagram because you have been uncomfortable with posting your photos for all to see, and haven't figured out how to private your profile, this new update will make this social network more enjoyable for you. You can now send the beautifully filtered square sized photos privately to friends on your follow list without all your followers seeing your photo. This is great news b...

Lifestyle and Health

The worlds smartest people are virgins? [infographic]

What do some of the worlds smartest people have in common? This infographic by Online OHD programs breaks down some of the common traits and habits that are practiced amongst those with higher IQ's like Bill Gates, Albert Einstein and Beethoven. It also mentions some of the common traits associated with higher IQ's too like substance abuse. Enjoy:

Copywriting and Content Marketing

5 Images for Your Christmas Newsletters

It's that time of the year again where you want to create some cool Christmas campaigns for your business (like our Secret Santa at SavvySME) as well as send out some Merry Christmas emails and newsletters. Once you get all excited about this, then comes the question of. Where do I get those pretty Christmas pictures from? Some of us head straight to Google images and do a search, but you can ...

Social Media

Have you received your unique Google+ vanity url yet?

For a very long time, us Google+ users have been wandering around aimlessly trying to share our profile and business pages that end with a random combinations of gobbildy goop 20+ numbers long. In fact I've given up, and there's no way it was going on a business card either.  Never fear! Google plus was launched in June 28, 2011 as an invitation only test and as of a couple of days ago have star...

Lifestyle and Health

I am Johnny Depp - what Myer Briggs Celebrity are you?

Had things gone differently, perhaps I could have the lead in the Pirates of the Caribbean...? I really love personality tests! I've been addicted to them ever since I found my first fun quiz inside of Dolly magazine when I was 14. Ever since then I love getting to know myself through a bunch of fun questions. Of course I've graduated from these "Does your crush like you?" tests to more serious...

Human Resources

Why maintaining company culture is like maintaining a healthy lifestyle

I've met so many people that have ambitious weight loss goals or a desire to get healthier and exercise more. I've also met just as many people that say they would love to foster teamwork and a great culture inside their company. I also see the same people fail at both despite their best intentions. I believe fostering a great company culture is like keeping a healthy lifestyle and it's just as h...

Cloud Computing

Is Your Business Ready For The Cloud?

Cloud has been a buzzword for quite a while now, following the footsteps of similar words like "social media" and "synergy" the word "cloud" has been used to represent a new way of using your computer. The robust technology is far from being the white and fluffy puff of air that we think of; most cloud platforms are built in robust military grade servers and carry the security and scrutiny that yo...

Startup

Start Your Entrepreneurial Journey in a Coworking Space

Have you ever visited a coworking space in Melbourne? Are you looking for one? Do you know of any good coworking space around there? If no, then we have good news for you because we bring the best shared office spaces in Melbourne to start out your entrepreneurial adventures. Keep on reading to find out the best coworking space list to network, share ideas and get a lot of work done. I went t...

Leadership

Learn to be coachable - being young at heart has it's benefits

Every year the young entrepreneur society holds an event called the UNconvention which celebrates the growing number of young entrepreneurs out there in the industry today and brings together a group of experienced and successful counterparts to coach them to become greater. Many young entrepreneurs don't come backed with years of experience in any industry, however once thing they excel at is b...

Social Media

What happens on Twitter and how can you use it for your business?

Twitter is a micro-blogging platform unlike Facebook and LinkedIn, promoting your business and using Twitter has a completely different set of rules to other social networks and is much more closer to a blogging platform then a closed social network like Facebook and LinkedIn where only friends and approved connections are allowed to see your content.   What is a Tweet, ReTweet, @'s and DM's...

Leadership

Passing on your business lessons to your kids

WE TEACH ALL THE TIME We teach our kids a lot of things, what defines good manners, what foods to eat, what is good and what is bad, but have you been teaching your kids all the lesson's you've learnt from your entrepreneurial journey? I don't have kids myself, but I grew up with very academically minded parents (both talented scientists) which valued hard work and lots and lots of studying. I'...

Entrepreneurship

A modern take on human evolution

Human evolution has always been about survival of the fittest, traditionally it used to be purely physical, when we lived in a hunter gatherer society, having a physically powerful male can mean the difference to a clan that survives to a clan that doesn't. The modern equivalent to this situation is probably likened to having someone in the family that is well connected and in a career and profe...

Business Management

Listening to your wife could make you 14.4 billion dollars

I read a story today about the massive success of a Japanese game called Dungeon raid.    Over the past year it had soared from a 200 million dollar evaluation to a 14.4 billion dollar valuation because producer Daisuke Yamamoto listened to his wife. The game has since grown to a user base of 15 million. This concept of listening to the everyday person about your product is absolutely essent...

Lifestyle and Health

Can ambition be harmful?

I might be making a huge generalisation here, but let me guess that the majority of us here on SavvySME are ambitious. I mean why else would you start a business, if you didn't want to achieve? I've always been an ambitious person, but since getting involved with business and entrepreneurship it may have taken a turn from a healthy motivator to something that could have darker consequences. In th...

Social Media

New instagram video and Vine, what do you think?

Instagram just recently introduced a video format onto their platform. This format allows you to take a 15 second video to upload onto the popular social network. In the typical instagram style, they also have introduced a new set of filters for their video format.  This is a reaction to twitters popular "Vine" service which is a social networked based around the creation of animated GIFs. Vine ...

Sales and Marketing

Difference between Marketing, Advertising, P.R. and Branding?

Earlier a question was asked: Is there a difference between a marketing and branding agency? and that's still up for discussion. But I was inspired to write an article about this when I saw this image: When people say a picture speaks a thousand words, this is one of those times. It truly captures the essence of each discipline.  The best scenario for a business is when all these 4 methods...

Social Media

Personal branding - it's more then what you think it is

I want to share this article with you all because it's probably one of the best personal branding articles I've read in a long time - and that's saying something, because I read a lot of these.  The original article is from Forbes and you can find it here   What I really love about it is that it breaks personal branding and leadership and explains how it is the one and the same. Personal bran...

Leadership

Are you really listening? 3 things you shouldn't do if you want to really listen

People often confused the word "listening" to the word "hearing". You hear people say many things during a days activities, but are you really listening? Listening is a talent that can take al life time to master, and it doesn't come naturally. Sure you have ear to hear things, but listening is an art. Listening to people involves not only hearing what they say, but also letting them know that yo...

Social Media

Why you should reply your comments

If you've ever posted anything on social media this applies to you.  Even though it seems like a small thing, comments actually shape a person's experience when reading an article online. It also influences their opinion of the actual topic being spoken about as well. Which is why it is important to moderate and participate in the conversations around your content after it has been posted. Y...

Lifestyle and Health

Is your small business killing your waistline? 5 tips to a healthier life!

During the build stages of your small business, it's easy to throw away your healthy habits. Suddenly cooking seems to be taking time away from your business, so you begin to eat takeaway or eat out. Going to the gym does not fit into your 12 hour work day schedules and in general, you lose sleep because you are too busy thinking about what to do next in your head. All these will slowly creep up ...

Research and Innovation

Make your last 10 years count

When we go to school we get taught that we should study, go to Uni and become a good "insert profession here". Of course our parents, teachers and friends all want the best for us - so they give us advice on how to get as far as we can in the first 10 years after school.  If you go the predicted route of getting a well-paid job and climbing the corporate ladder, you will indeed become someone o...

Social Media

2 unique ways to use Facebook Ads

To test your messaging   The cheapest way to test your marketing messages or offers at the moment is still Facebook. Although it may not be the best at driving conversions through websites, it's a great way to see what sentence your target market relates to the most. What makes the testing even more robust is the ability to segment in some very unique ways, such as by demographic and interest....

Copywriting and Content Marketing

Lets share the love

I just want to address this issue that I feel really strongly about.  Sharing the love. Being a blogger, I spend a lot of time pouring my heart out, trying to find ways to inspire and motivate people. This is not an easy task and for anyone that has written a blog post either on SavvySME or on their own website, they can attest to the amount of time and effort that is put into a good blog post. ...

Social Media

Where has our competitive advantage gone?

Why do I love working with small business?  My response will no doubtedly be because small business owners are passionate about their businesses, and when they want something done they just happen. Our nimbleness means that we can compete with the huge experienced corporations in their own game. The logic is simple, we don't need to get 3 approvals before something can be put out there and w...

Copywriting and Content Marketing

What I've learnt from the January blog challenge

I've always been writing on blogs ever since I stepped foot into social media, and I also never thought the 30 day challenge would have made that much of a difference to what I was already doing, but boy was I wrong. Even if you think you are already good at something, there is always room for improvement, and the funny thing is that, even the act of doing something consistently everyday, with no...

Accounting

Top 10 Tweeting Accountants in Australia

Tweeting accountants - what kind of image does that conjure up for you? Is it a bunch of suited individuals mesmerised by their smartphones, with twitching thumbs? Perhaps you're imagination is a bit wilder and you can picture wing flapping and chirping humans. Or perhaps this imagining thing is just my way of buying time before I reveal the top 10 twitter profiles in Australia, via the keyword ac...

New Business Ideas

7 things you need to consider if you are a full time employee that wants to start a side business

I have to say that being a "dabbler" has armed me with a whole lot of experiences when it comes to balancing a side business and a full time job. I spend a lot of my spare time creating and experimenting with different business ideas and concepts - it just keeps me occupied. I might go as far as to say that I've sunk thousands and thousands of dollars into business ideas that I've thought up duri...

Leadership

3 things you need to make a mastermind group work

The mastermind group was a concept first presented by Napoleon Hill in the best selling book Think and grow rich. It defined a mastermind group as being a: “coordination of knowledge and effort, in a spirit of harmony, between two or more people, for the attainment of a definite purpose.” This was inspired by the successful wealthy steel mogul Andrew Carnegie. Napoleon Hill wrote: “Mr. ...

Accounting

The top 5 accounting influencers in the world

For those of you who are not familiar with klout, it is a fairly popular way to measure your influence online. You basically link all your social accounts to Klout and it will spit out a number out of 100, that tells you how "influential you are". The exact algorithm is not known but it takes a combination of the number of followers as well as the amount of interaction and engagement you get from ...

Website

7 cool things to do on the internet

Are there ever times when you are bored and you're in front of a computer? That happens multiple times a day for me, and instead of browsing the usual sites like SMH, Facebook and Linked, I thought I'd find some cool things to do with my time like: 1. Send a random tweet through that can be my next tweet. This random tweet generator gets your twitter name and puts together a tweet according to th...

Web Development

What you need to build a new home on the internet, a beginners guide to getting a website.

When I first researched into building a websites it was so confusing, you need all these components before your website will actually work. At first I thought buying a "website address" or domain name will be enough for me to build a website, then I was faced will DNS hosting offers and Email hosting offers and all this other stuff that I just bought because I thought I needed.  I want to use t...

Business Management

3 Time management tools for the simple minded

Time management is one of those things I know I'm not very good at. My talent for getting distracted and excited about random things that come my way is probably even considered notorious. So all the more reason to use time management tools?  1. Pen and paper Exciting right? Despite all the shiny apps and software out there, many people I talk to still prefer the old school pen and paper metho...

Importing

5 Tips For Importing From Alibaba Stock

Importing from China wholesale has become quite popular among young 'entrepreneurial sprits' all over the world. Alibaba stock is one of the first places people run to for that purpose. Importing from China wholesale is relatively cheap, decent quality, and works well. So if you're considering starting up with Alibaba stock business of your own, here are 5 tips for you. My first proper online ...

Branding

Trying to figure out colour schemes for your business?

Now, I'm not a designer of any sort, I have not studied it in school or uni, and the only reason that I may be better at it than most people, is because I love designing things in my spare time.  My lack of formal training also means that I rely on a lot of pre-built tools to do what I need to do. So when I'm coming up with preliminary concepts, I rely on these apps developed by professional...

Social Media

Giving to your community

I think this is the action that small business are guilty of violating simply because time is money - and if you aren't making it, you are wasting your time. This mentality of squeezing sales out of social media will actually be the reason why you are not doing well in your social media efforts. If you are always thinking about making a sale to your audience ironically, you wont, because they wil...

Training and Development

The way of the Shokunin

Shokunin is a Japanese word that means to master your profession, it is distinguished by the love of reaching perfection in your chosen line of work and in the western world, Apple and Steve Jobs is a great example of this obsessive pursuit for perfection.  The Japanese in particular practice this culture of Shokunin and it's apparent in everything you experience in Japan. Every minute detail of...

Social Media

Why is my social media not working?

This post is part of our January blog challenge , to join in, simple post a blog a day for the month of January. If you want to dip your toes in, post as many as you can! The most amusing thing about working in social media is that many of the things you learn is pretty much real life common sense - it's just doing the work that's the barrier most people need to break through to experience succ...

Copywriting and Content Marketing

How to get more comments on your blog

Blogs with no comments are a plague on the internet, I'm not saying that they are a bad thing but a comment here and there is really encouraging to the author. I'm not talking about the comments people make just to get a back link and sound awfully unnatural because it was create by a robot or someone with ESL english skills from across the globe, but genuine comments from readers that are inter...

Digital Marketing

Does my ALEXA ranking matter?

Alexa rankings is one of those benchmarks that everyone mentions, much like your "klout" score in the social media world. But how is it really calculated and is it a true reflection of how your website traffic is tracking? We have been guilty of stalking our ALEXA ranking and celebrating when it jumps 1,000 places in a week or so. Being a fairly new site, we count this as an achievement in our ...

Digital Marketing

Why your email marketing efforts are not as awesome as they can be

    Well, maybe they are? If they are please share your tips with us in the comments section! But chances are you may be one of those people that are struggling with how to get your grips on your email marketing efforts.   This article is part of the blogging challenge! I hope you all will participate as well :) It is one blog every day for 30 days.     Yes, it's happened to me too, th...

Copywriting and Content Marketing

Have you reached out to a blogger? A quick guide on how to start.

Blogging has been a solid way to market products and this method of promotion has been around since 1999, so I guess it's considered a "mature" type of medium. However despite it being around for so long, it is still a relatively new concept in Australia and one that I feel hasn't been completely taken advantage of. I blog here a lot on SavvySME (e.g. this article), and also run a beauty and fashi...

Social Media

5 Little things you can do everyday to improve your social media

Social media is time consuming, there is no doubt about that, but through my years of trying to get it "right" I realised there are a few little actions that really do go a long way. However don't expect to move mountains on the first day with these tactics, it's something you need to do everyday and you'll soon see the results over time. Before you can benefit from these actions you need to make ...

Founders and Co-founders

Share your business story with these interview questions

Sharing your business story with the community is a great way for people to find out more about you and your business. Below is the questions we like to ask. When you are ready to submit your story just copy the questions and follow this link  to fill it out or access the write a new article option in the navigation bar under "information" Interview question format: Tell us about your business? ...

Business Coaching

What limitations have you put in your life?

It's tough being a business owner, not only do you need to know a whole lot about everything, you also need to be able to be in control of your own emotions. Your mind set largely determines what you want to or can achieve. The biggest obstacle to success is giving up, and that is nothing to do with the talents you are born with, the resources you have or even the situation you are in.  I rew...

Branding

How to make yourself more memorable?

There is a better way to be memorable than to scream at the top of your lungs in a room. That's never been my thing anyway. I just read this article  from Inc. Magazine and was intrigued by the concept that they put forward. Basically the article explains the concept of linking your name to a story, and that little action in itself will make you more memorable. Much like word association. The g...

New Business Ideas

How to validate your crazy business ideas for under $100

  Am I crazy or creative? Everyone has thought of a great idea for a product/service, and you're probably reading this right now because you have something in your mind right now. Your "eureka" moments have probably happened in the most unlikely of places such as in the shower or while you're on the toilet (I won't judge). Most of my ideas ironically come from my tendency to be extremely lazy. ...

Sales and Marketing

3 reasons why more exposure may harm your business

Everyone including myself is out there trying to get their business in front of more people. Social media, direct mail, all these help us get our brand and company out there in front of our potential customers, but sometimes getting more exposure may not always be beneficial for your business. Here are some reasons why it may harm your business: 1. Strain on resources I believe that this issue...

Copywriting and Content Marketing

Savvy content writing checklist

Writing articles is no easy task, especially with such a huge array of articles available online now, good content is comparable to a piece of art, a lot of work goes into writing articles so we appreciate all the work you put into your SavvySME articles.  We here at SavvySME have put together a content checklist for you to go through to ensure you put your best article forward.  Correct spell...

Branding

10 tips to a killer profile image

Who likes to do business with a light blue speech bubble? Certainly not me! However I look around SavvySME and see so many faceless individuals popping up, whether it be pure lazyness or the inability to find an appropriate profile image, having a great profile image is one of the most important things to consider when looking at your personal brand. I am a total perfectionist when it comes to on...

Entrepreneurship

What can I do on SavvySME

Getting started Step 1: Fill in your profile People like doing business with people they can trust, and the first step is to identify yourself with accurate information. This includes:    Updating your profile with a photo. Ideally this is a shot from your waist up, wearing something professional with a clean background. (We prefer white). Remember to smile J. For more details on what makes ...

Sales and Marketing

10 websites you can use to generate and create a QR code

What is a QR code?  QR codes are specific matrix barcodes (or two-dimensional code), readable by dedicated QR barcode readers, camera phones and tablets. The code consists of black modules arranged in a square pattern on a white background. The information encoded can be text, URL or other data. QR codes can be used in a wide variety of applications, such as manufacturing, logistics, and sales a...

Digital Marketing

Buying an email database - should you?

Expanding a business’ client list can often be hard for starting businesses. Some businesses do hard work and slowly grow their network, while others take the easier path and purchase or rent e-mail lists. E-mail database are lists of e-mail addresses that businesses can purchase. Let’s look at some benefits from purchasing an e-mail database. First, e-mail lists add more names to the databas...

Digital Marketing

How do I start sending email marketing newsletters to my customers?

  What is Email Marketing? Email marketing is the use of email to distribute your company’s messages. Companies can send their newsletter or updates regarding their business by emailing the message to a list of subscribers. Keep in mind that you should comply with Spam Act 2003 when obtaining your subscribers and sending your emails. To find out more about how to obtain your subscribers with...

Digital Marketing

18 Advantages and Disadvantages of Email Marketing

Email marketing is one of the best working and most beneficial online marketing tactics for any business due to a number of reasons. However, with the excessive number of the benefits of email marketing, they also have quite a few down sides to them. Find out the advantages and disadvantages of email marketing and give it a try, you might like it. What are the Benefits of Email Marketing? Pro...

Advertising

How To Actually Measure The Cost Of Print Advertising?

Newspaper advertising is a great way to attract customers for a specific niche and with specific traits. They are relatively cheap, have a big coverage and, depending on your target audience, can deliver good results and returns. However, the glossy magazines attract more people and have a longer-term character. So how to measure print ad cost and learn how to make effective print ads? Newspap...

Human Resources

3 ways to find outsourced staff

Outsourcing is a great way for small businesses and start ups to remain competitive. Companies have been outsourcing departments and services for a very long time, however this hasn't been affordable for small businesses until the introduction of global and virtual outsourcing. Today there are many ways to find outsourced staff from all over the world, and using our currency advantage you c...

Digital Marketing

Things to consider when buying online advertising

Display Advertising Buying ad space from websites help increase traffic and brand awareness. The problem lies with knowing how much to pay. Unfortunately, there's no real consensus or uniform guidelines to make things easy. This article shows some factors to consider when determining the cost of placing your Banner Ad. ? Comparison with Similar Websites First you need to determine where you ...

Social Media

5 free blog platforms you can use to start blogging

  Types of Blog platforms   Blogging is a powerful way to market your business or product. Blogging allows you to connect with a community and increase your reach online. Posting articles on SavvySME is considered a form of blogging but here are a list of blog platforms if you want to take that extra step and create your own blog.   Benefits of using a blog   Blogs are usually made base...

Market Research

Top 20 Online Customer Survey Forms

Online customer surveys are a great way to gather information, from voting for your next team building event to getting feedback from customers, online services make it easy to collect information and collate it into meaningful reports without spending a lot of time doing it manually. We compiled a list of sites which you can use to create surveys, if you have any that you recommend please leave ...

Wendy Huang answered this question

Wendy Huang
Wendy Huang, Full Time Blogger and YouTuber at A Custom Blog in 4 Minutes

Graphic Design

What are the ramifications of using stock images to create a company logo?

Thanks for your answer :)!! It helps! I just feel when you hire a designer from oversea's this can be a huge issue that you unknowingly step into.

Wendy Huang answered this question

Andrew barnes
Andrew barnes, at Finance expertise

Accounting

Why do people choose BPO outsourcing services from US and India?

Hi Andrew,

The link doesn't seem to take me anywhere

Wendy Huang answered this question

Ling Lee
Ling Lee, at Digital Marketing and Personal Branding

Accounting

What accounting systems do I need for a startup?

There are some really affordable accounting alternatives these days so I would check them out :) Otherwise when you start out make sure you keep all your receipts and transactions so you can give them to an accountant when it gets too much for you or at the end of the financial year :) As others have suggested, something like Xero can help you log your transactions easily and keep them neat.

Wendy Huang answered this question

Ling Lee
Ling Lee, at Digital Marketing and Personal Branding

Information Technology

How often do you upgrade your gadgets?

I'm an updataholic usually 1-2 years (until a contract finishes) or 2 years max for laptops because I run them fast :)!!

 

 

Wendy Huang answered this question

Neil Steggall
Neil Steggall, Partner at Wardour Capital Partners

Leadership

What is the number one skill required to build a successful SME?

I would say the skill of enduring hardship. When everything looks bleak, the self resilience to just keep trudging on :D

Wendy Huang answered this question

Neil Steggall
Neil Steggall, Partner at Wardour Capital Partners

Digital Marketing

What are your views on the use of webinars?

Webinars seem to attract small numbers but I feel like they are still quite effective in terms of a B2B setting. Simply because a lot of these webinars are selling products that are high value/consulting type services so even if you get 15 attendee's and get 1-2 long term customers it is worth it.

For lower priced products I can see how it will not be worth the effort.

Last time we ran a webinar, it was really worthwhile in my opinion. Even just priming your marketing by educating them. I feel that people are more receptive to information when it's via a webinar vs. just an article or video. 

The most important thing is known your conversion rates because like all online marketing the actual conversion rate after you have shared it, a small percentage of people signed up, even a smaller percentage actually turn up, even after multiple reminder emails.

Just have a attendee goal and use realistic conversion rates to see how many people you need to market to to get your end rate. A general example just from what I've experience make look like this:

Email marketing -> 20% open rate on emails -> 8% click through rate -> 3% sign up rate -> 1% turn out -> 0.2% conversion

Usually you'll lose the majority of people on the sign up landing page, and then get about 20%-30% of your list turning up.

Although the numbers may look a but depressing, it's fairly standard in terms of online conversion figures. Hope this helps :)

Wendy Huang answered this question

How do you celebrate your wins?

I verbally celebrate it with the team :)!!

In my old workplace we used to have a small and a big gong and we used to gong every little win!

Also writing down the little milestones helps too :)!

Wendy Huang answered this question

What is the best way to get some funding (less than $100k) for a new business?

I'm going to pre-empt this answer with the fact that I have never done this before however for smaller investments, a lot of small businesses get a loan from the bank. This gives you more freedom from an investor that will pressure you to take the business in directions that you may not want to take.

Also work with Angel investors that will give you the freedom and guidance. The only benefit vs. getting a long is probably having a mentor as well in times of need.

Anyways my 2 cents :)!

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How do you deal with loneliness as an entrepreneur?

I find that finding people that are dealing with the same issues, e.g. other business owners in similar industries or at the same stage of business (but not involved in your business) and creating a support network of those people is extremely important, and also beyond that is making a commitment to meet with them on a regular basis face to face and over time. The feeling of loneliness will disappear as you have regular face to face contact with people going through the same things as you. That's why rehab programs like Alcoholics anonymous follow that structure - its not just about knowing people its about having that support network support you on a regular basis. Although we're not alcoholics you perhaps may be a workaholic :D

I find that the biggest challenge to creating this environment with busy entrepreneurs is they usually forget to actually meet with each other and again get caught up in their own business whirlwind, choosing to forgo these feel good sessions in favor of more "work"  leading to the same feeling of loneliness and same issues once again.

Forums like these ones can help alleviate some of the loneliness I find, but so does a regular coffee date with a fellow founder :)!! Best of luck on your business dates :D!!

Wendy Huang answered this question

How to manage multiple social media platforms with Squarespace?

Hi Rosella, I also am not very familiar with Squarespace so I can't comment on that and you will find that you probably won't find a single service that will handle every single social account so you'll have to use a combination. As Micha mentioned Onlywire is a great service, and so is Hootsuite and buffer, and you'll need to test these out and ensure that when these services post your updates that they look the way that you want because some services that automate a feed may actually give you a different visual to posting straight via the social network.


For example, the best way to get users attention on Facebook is to post a link underneath a fairly large and attention grabbing picture, that way the user is more likely to look at it and then see your link. If you copy and paste the link directly into the status update function as a link, you'll find that the update will contain a small picture with the link on the side. These two ways of posting look very different.

Sometimes taking the extra time to manually post may increase the engagement and attention of your post. These are very important on image conscious sites such as Facebook and Pinterest. 


Most of these services have great trial accounts or even offer free services up to a certain number of social accounts, so the best thing to do is take some of these suggestions and try them out for yourself before you settle on your favourite or combination that will fulfil your busniess needs. Currently I use a combination of Buffer, Hootsuite and OnlyWire just to give you an example.

Buffer is my personal favourite

​Hootsuite has great team functions, allowing me to delegate responsibilities to others seamlessly

Onlywire covers a few networks that the above two don't cover and are very important in our online marketing strategy.

Hope this helps :)!!!

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Neil Steggall
Neil Steggall, Partner at Wardour Capital Partners

Business Planning

Will SME's spend & invest in consultancy skills to help build their businesses in 2014?

I'm sure small business will spend if they can see a direct result of the consultancy, but I feel a lot of sales messages for consultancy these days promise great results, but the pitches are not specific enough for me to justify spend.

Wallets are tight these days so I feel that consultants have an even bigger job and more pressure to do a great pitch for business. 

I wonder if the money is the real barrier or the trust for the consultant to bring about change that will increase in revenue. Because logically speaking if revenue increase was higher then expenses it should be a straight forward decision.

Wendy Huang answered this question

What is in your media plan for the new year?

Hi Linda,

Next year will still be focused on social media with a higher emphasis on video :) I'm very excited! How about yourself?

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Cassidy Poon
Cassidy Poon, Head of Digital & Social Media at LogicalTech Group

Server, Networking and Security

How do you identify and prevent dastardly digital downloads?

I guess to limit downloads to websites you trust only :)!! And don't download anything else.

My computer is too cluttered Anyways so that's probably a good thing :)

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Neil Steggall
Neil Steggall, Partner at Wardour Capital Partners

Budgeting and Forecasting

Do you see the economy improving or deteriorating in 2014?

This is a really good question Neil, I personally feel that the economy will improve slightly. It's been low for a while now so I feel that the trend will go upwards slowly. I personally though will be spending less next year :)

Love to hear other people's opinions too!

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Neil Steggall
Neil Steggall, Partner at Wardour Capital Partners

Leadership

Which business leaders, writers or gurus have most influenced you and why?

I'd have to try and contain myself here, because there are quite a few that I could gush about all day. At the top of this list would have to be Tim Ferris who is a business leader, writer and guru on many topics rolled into one.

What I love about him is his ability to do great on all areas (not just in business) by applying a very unique and effective thought process to learning: e.g.

Kickboxing champing
Salsa Dancing Champion
Hacked a effect method of dieting
As well as cooking
Language learning hacking
All his teachings are a lazy mans way to getting a great result which is in line with my own values :).

I'm just in awe in his ability to just learn and do so many different things (something I tend to love to do). Being able to define yourself by the speed with which you learn not about what you know. I guess multitalented is the word?

I'm working my way through all his books and thoroughly enjoying every minute of it, including his writing style.

Other business leaders and influencers include: Seth Godin, Noah Kegan, Sheryl Sandberg and of course all you guys here at SavvySME :)! Awwww.

Love to hear your inspirations too Neil!

Wendy Huang answered this question

If your accountant "died" tomorrow, what would you look for in a new one?

Although the question was a bit morbid your certainly got my attention. If my accountant died and went to heaven (Yes I'd hope they didn't do anything "creative" with my accounting) I'd look for another accountant with the following criteria:

Experience with my industry - I'd prefer someone who has had experience with my type of income stream and deductions, although it seems very obvious, I still haven't found an accountant that truley specialises in income for digital revenue streams. Apart from my employment income I also derive income from online sources such as adsenses and YouTube ads and sponsorship - very new types of income. I'd want an accountant that can understand that and that can (which leads to my next criteria)
Get me the most deductions! Of course I want as much deductions as legally possible, and also advice on how I can spend to get the most deductions. Not only do I want an accountant to play damage control, I want them to also give me advice on how I can shape my expenses to get the most out of my income too :)
In terms of how I would find them, I would most likely ask people I know in the same industry area that I'm dealing with and ask them if they were happy with their accountant and whether they'd recommend them. My original accountant was found based on search and locality as well as a recommendation. 
In summary I'm looking for an accountant that can also play the role of business advisor if need be and knowledge of my industry is one of the most important criterias :)

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Neil Steggall
Neil Steggall, Partner at Wardour Capital Partners

Business Planning

Is the "Traditional Office" still relevant?

I still think the traditional office is relevant for a lot of larger companies but I think the real value in the new trend of virtual office is more about flexibility. For me the downside of the traditional office is not the location itself but the requirement to be there. I personally believe that adults that are committed to a company should be allowed to make a choice as to how they will work most efficiently. There are some type of projects that will be more efficient face to face and whether this is done in a coffee shop or in an office it doesn't matter. In addition there are some projects where people work better in a quieter environment with no interruptions (e.g. workmates) and they should be given the flexibility to go sit in a quite area or coffee shop or even at home to complete the task.

I think the ideal situation will be a mix of both worlds. Days where you may physically meet people and days where you can do the hard tasks that require absolute focus and quite and no interruptions.

I personally love the idea of co-working spaces for smaller startups because it gives them the access to a bunch of people with various skills that you don't have to hire for - like asking the designer sitting across the table from you their opinion on one of your banners, and you can come in and out of the co-working space as you please. I think that's the best of both worlds for startups and smaller businesses and removes the isolation :)

Even some of the larger start-ups that have outgrown the co-working spaces choose to stay near or continue working in co-working spaces because you just get access to a bunch of amazing motivated entrepreneurs :)

 

Wendy Huang answered this question

Neil Steggall
Neil Steggall, Partner at Wardour Capital Partners

Social Media

How do you measure the ROI for your Social Media?

Hi Neil,

There are so many ways to do this and so many metrics you can potential pull from social media that it may get all to confusing. One of the best books I've read on this topic has got to be Social Media ROI by Oliver Blanchard and it basically brings it back to basics.

Instead of thinking of your metrics purely in a social media framework you work backwarsd from your overall business goals. For example if your business goal was to increase sales by 20% and create more brand awareness you can then attach the relevant social media metrics to these business goals. That way you are focused on building your business via social media as opposed to get side tracked into the game of building as many fans or followers possible which can be a very bad use of resources for your business.

If you look at the 20% sales increase example you may track social metrics such as:

How many clicks have my social channels sent to "insert your sales landing page URL here" - that way you'll begin to create a social strategy focussed on sending conversions to a page that will generate revenue for your business as opposed for just the sake of looking popular
If your conversions are done through an online shopping cart you can use the ecommerce module on analytics to track how many conversions came direct from social
You can also track the number of referrals you get to your website from social channels as well.
If we are looking at a increasing brand awareness goal you may consider the following metrics for ROI:

Number of mentions of your brand name on social media -> has there been an increase over time?
Number of interactions with your content on your social channels
Number of shares of your content
Depending on your business goal there are a number of appropriate ROI metrics to measure and the key is to focus on the conversion and results metrics not just the vanity metrics such as "number of twitter followers" and "number of Facebook fans" as those don't really mean much to you as a business, it's what they do that does :)

Again I can't stress how great the above book is if you are looking for a very deep look into Social Media ROI.  I've linked it above for your convenience.

 

Wendy Huang answered this question

Neil Steggall
Neil Steggall, Partner at Wardour Capital Partners

Investor Funding and Capital

How do I pitch my product to a large company?

Hi Neil,

In my previous role we used to pitch to larger corporates', and we found that there were 3 challenges:

Getting the pitch to being with
Pitching it to them
Following up on the pitch
Getting the pitch involved a long networking process that sometimes took 6 months to a year, involving a string of coffee meetings, regular contact and invitations to social functions. You can also try and get onto agency pitch lists or find out where requests of pitches are found in your industry area.

The actual pitching process. One of the biggest clients we landed involved an almost 8 hour pitch in one day. No joke. Everyone was exhausted after the ordeal. It was a lengthy process and in particular the bigger clients look for examples and case studies not only of what you have previously done, but they also prefer to see a mock up of your services that is customised to their company. So therefore prepare to do some free work for them upfront to show then that you can handle it. Just talking about what you are GOING to do is not enough. For design agencies in particular, the pitch process involves providing the potential client of the actual web design mock up before they even pay you. It really depends on how competitive your industry is and how many other people you are up against. Sometimes going that extra mile can land you the client.

Following up after the pitch and sealing the deal. The biggest difference between a smaller client and a large company is the approval processes and the amount of time this can potentially take. Regular follow up is crucial and I've seen lots of potential contracts abandoned due to people changing roles, not getting approval, or the paperwork taking so long they just forget about it. In addition if you can prepare most of the paperwork in advance and in a timely manner you are more likely to get it signed. Even with larger clients that has given us the ok, it sometimes took a couple of months to get our signed contracts back from them. This wasn't out of the ordinary.

There are a few things you can do before hand to minimise this and ensuring that you can help your contact get through the layers of approval before you even pitch. try and talk to the Marketing Director as opposed to the Brand Manager to start off with, as there will be less friction once you decide to go ahead. Sometimes you will get a request for a service even before it is technically approved. We've done pitches to larger clients and then were told that they couldn't get the budget approved or they now have to convince the Director to put aside a budget for Social Media etc. This can be very real for spends that are not put aside as a norm.

I hope this helps :) As every industry is different my observations come from the viewpoint of an online marketing agency :)

Wendy Huang answered this question

Jayson Rodda
Jayson Rodda, Head of Digital Marketing at Find Your Ideal Customers

Sales and Marketing

What is better - SEO, Google Adwords or social media?

Although I don't think there is a "best" this question is a great one :)

Personally SEO is really key for businesses that need high traffic, whereas social is great for businesses that require a lot more loyalty and branding - e.g. businesses that rely on heavy customisation or differentiation to make the sale.

SEO usually drives more than 50% of website traffic for most businesses however there are many businesses that grew from just a social following e.g. BlackMilk - because of their business category. BlackMilk is a fashion brand that relies on differentiation and aspiration and peer influence that is more effective on social than via SEO.

If Blackmilk had a strong SEO strategy they may not make as many sales because who will buy a pair of leggings for up to $100 from a site they found by typing in a keyword "black leggings" vs. someone who has seen the amount of love this brand gets on social media and seeing their friends and influencers wear the brand and talk about it. Yes social will make me pay over $100 for a pair of leggings.

Although it's important not to discriminate against channels, online requires you to be doing things in all channel, the question is where should I focus knowing who my target market is and what my brand is going to stand for.

In addition I think these channels also target different stages of the purchase cycle with SEO and PPC targeting people that are already looking to buy, whereas from social it's a longer process of just "being around and familiar" which can happen before they have an intention to buy. Being a familiar name when they do make it to the stage of buying will give you lots of credibility over other brands when they do.

PPC also is extremely expensive and should only be used once you have an intention to optimise that channel e,g. getting really good at landing pages that convert as well as a robust sales funnel to capture information and lead to the sale.

 

Wendy Huang answered this question

What is the best way to find backlink opportunities?

Hi Ivana,

It's easier to start with who you kind of know or have met in the past already. Put together a list of:

Past/current customers
Past/current partners
Look through all those business cards you have or are going to collect through networking events
People you know in business or owns a website
And just simply sent out a polite request to them :) Sometimes just asking helps alot!

You can also try drafting up a polite request and sending it around, who knows you might get some responses :) 

Make sure in your request you tell them how it will help them and what you will give them in return :)

 

Best of luck!

Wendy Huang answered this question

What content for newsletter would make you read one?

Hi Kevin,

Although it is very hard to predict the performance of your particular database without throughout testing I can share wit you some observations from my personal experience. The emails I usually open are the following:

Ones that provide a self-help tid bit like - here is a way you can improve your time management today and for them to provide it to me in the actual email instead of sending me to another link (I'm that lazy)
I click on discounts in a buying mood which is sporadic and unpredictable, but it's good to do these once in a while. I also mainly click on travel or dining deals. So the important thing is if you are going to do discounts make sure your audience is like 100% relevant, and your product is what they love to shop for. Otherwise it will become spam.
Jokes will actually be a great test and one that a lot of companies haven't tried so it might actually work really well. I'd love to get a joke in my email.
Also the emails I open the most often are reports/updates and invoices - so if there is a way to get your database onto something where you have an excuse to send these type of emails most likely they will be opened.
Some things I learnt from our list here at SavvySME:

Emails that ask for help when done sporadically, perform better
First names in subject lines actually don't have a predictable effect on open rates.
Without adding fresh people to your database all the time,e you'll find diminishing returns at some point. This is normal.
I hope this really helps! I think it's great to just come up with a list of experiments you want to try and just get in there and experiment :) It's more fun looking at the results! Most mail programs have simple A/B testing capabilities so I encourage you to use them. Mailchimp can help you test things like subject lines, open times. They send a test group of people 2 different emails then send the rest the best performing one after a specified time. It's actually really cool and fun to use.

Let me know how you go and I'd love to maybe read an article about it from you about what you learnt through the process, since I'm sure a lot of people are struggling with the same issue, including myself :)

Wendy Huang answered this question

Cassidy Poon
Cassidy Poon, Head of Digital & Social Media at LogicalTech Group

Customer Acquisition

What marketing techniques to use in a competitive environment?

I think because everyone and possibly their dog is capable of creating a professional looking website and list of products and services I look for:

Continuous participation in the industry - through certifications and community involvement outside just the required. This may include continuous study of their key areas. One company that does this really well is Hubspot. This can also bring in lots of leads.
Testimonials from people I know or reputable sources
High participation on social media/blogging
Portfolio and examples of case studies is the most key for me.
A working online sales funnel where there is continuous qualifications and reminders sent through.
The internet is not getting any easier :)

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Neil Steggall
Neil Steggall, Partner at Wardour Capital Partners

Sales and Marketing

What are the five key steps to launching and selling a b2b service online?

Hmmm 5 eh?

 

For me, depending on the service of course it'll have to be:

1. A website

2. Create  blog/social media accountings (pick 3 networks) and networking through social media

3. A online sales funnel planned and mapped out including landing pages and follow up email series.

4. Write an ebook or online freebie to entice your website visitors e.g. free evaluation or ebook or stats and share this on your above blog and social networks

5. Attend REAL LIFE events and hand out cards with your website on them and then connect through social media to nurture the connection.

Then after the what is mapped out then it's about refining the "how you do it" which will take a while in itself :)!

I hope this helps and would love to hear what others think :D!

 

Wendy Huang answered this question

Shaun Goethals
Shaun Goethals, Director / Principal Consultant at

Information Technology

What is the most compatible and affordable presentation media?

Another vote for Prezi, it's absolutely breathtaking and is easy to use :)

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Cassidy Poon
Cassidy Poon, Head of Digital & Social Media at LogicalTech Group

IT Support

How to prevent organisation IOS 7 upgrades to avoid congestion?

I haven't even tried :)!! I'm a creature of habit and haven't yet felt the need to upgrade. I've used iOS 7 previously and it's beautiful except I'm still a little confused by it and not high priority. 

Maybe you can try downloading at wee hours of the night where not many people are awake - say 3am? or maybe at a time Uni students will be sleeping haha say 6am :)

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Cassidy Poon
Cassidy Poon, Head of Digital & Social Media at LogicalTech Group

Social Media

Will Snapchat be the next Facebook?

Great question Cassidy!! I'd love to answer this one with I personally LOVE SnapChat!!! At first it took a bit of getting used to since it was unlike any other social media channel, but sometimes you just want to give a quick update to your friends without having a deep long conversation. It's a way of keeping up with them even though you can't physically be there (since we're all super busy these days).

I also love the fact that none of it can be used to incriminate you in the future, or used to blackmail you in some way. Unfortunately this kind of things happen a lot with the invention of the smartphone (ability to take pictures quickly and where-ever) So you can still send you fun party photos to your friends without your future clients finding it on Facebook the next day.

It gives you a freedom and privacy you can't have in a public forum like Twitter or Facebook. 

Another thing I love about it not  being stored is that I tend to run a fine line in regards to my storage on my phone. SnapChat allows me to see what my friends are doing without having to save a photo of a half eaten hamburger onto my phone and me having to go and delete it later. This replaces SMS and emails which is great because sometimes the things you want to send you friends is really for that moment and most likely not important to keep.

I'm pretty sure snap chat was never invented as a tool to replace online forums - just another great channel for close friends to share short bursts of moments and information instead of sending a sms or an email.

It has a huge potential, because I'm sure more people send private sms and messages than posting on public social channel, and therefore there is more opportunity to make use of it :)

Wendy Huang answered this question

Who knows how much do copywriters charge to write a web page?

Hi Ananda, this is such an open ended questiosn and as you can see with the range of responses there are a huge range of options. What I normally do is have a look at a few websites and get a general idea of price in most industries someone has gone to the effort of a packaged solution which will give you a better idea of price. See if it's affordable then set a budget and try and find who will give you the best quality you can afford. 

Failing that, usually if you attend a networking group even similar like this website online you can ask and people are happy to answer. Usually I would have a detailed spec ready and I would just send it to as many copywriter and try and get a range of quotes and compare notes and what advice they have given me through the quote. You can also tell how much time the copywriter will spend with you by the response they give to your specifications, it's usually a bonus point if they have taken the time to understand my problem and have a look at my specs. The ones who don't have time to read it probably wont have much time to do a proper job on your project.

Wendy Huang answered this question

Shaun Goethals
Shaun Goethals, Director / Principal Consultant at

Business Finance and Loans

What is the best way to get finance for software?

Hi Shaun,

I'm not 100% on any companies that finance software, however I've noticed that a lot of the major software providers are starting to charge a monthly charge and it includes all the updates that you'll need.

One of the companies that I recently discovered doing it (even though I may be late to the game) is adobe. They Creative suite has always been exorbitantly expensive by they are doing more cost effective pay by the month solutions.

Is there any particular product you are looking for? My guess is your after an industry specific and specialised software product. Sorry I can't help much here!

Wendy Huang answered this question

John Belchamber
John Belchamber, Owner & Senior Consultant at Invoke Results

Litigation and Dispute Resolution

How do you handle small bad debts in your business?

Wow that's really disappointing :(! I would ask them if they had any trouble getting the money and when they say no, then ask them why it's taken that long to get it to you. Hopefully they will shape up with a response and pay - sometimes giving them the benefit of the doubt might stir some action - but again every client is different. 

Otherwise get your accountant to write a scary note of demand if all else fails haha.

Wendy Huang answered this question

How does one transition to an online store?

There may be a lot of factors involved with what happened to your friends business, however to answer your questions about "what would you do in his shoes" and I will make the assumption that this choice was from the point of starting the online store, not whether I would shut it down at this current point.

First of all, I would look for someone experienced and has previously built an online store before to consult (free or paid) and give me advice at what the perfect strategy was before. Surprising you can get a lot of free advice through website such as this going to a relevant ecommerce networking event. 3 hours of your time can equate to thousands of dollars worth of advice.

I would base a strategy around the advice and if I was not comfortable I would hire someone to set it up. Hopefully the free advice would have pointed me to a $30 dollar a month ecommerce solution and I would have money left to hire an online manager for at least the first few months.

Even though there is a lot of parallels between online and offline stores they are also very very different. I worked with taking a few retail stores and saw them move online with success/non success but if it's one thing that I learnt from those experiences, it's that it takes a lot more resources then you first think.  A whole new set of skills need to be learned beyond just business skills in order to compete online, and these skills will be hard to obtain while you are trying to run another business which is time consuming in itself. And like you said you are also competing worldwide with people that are able to offer lower prices. Many successful e-commerce stores only focus on that, or have a team only focusing on that. That is key - it might have been a great idea to close it down as there seems to be too resource intensive to do both without extra outsourced help, because the reality is just around the corner of the internet you have a competing store who have a team of people working solely on it fulltime day in and day out, and that's who you're competing with.

Unfortunately there are a lot of people selling the sexy benefits of trading online, without giving sufficient warning about the challenges. This will be a learning curve for a lot of people looking to trade online, and if you can outsource your weaknesses that's going to be more number 1 tip.

Wendy Huang answered this question

Ling Lee
Ling Lee, at Digital Marketing and Personal Branding

Web Development

What basic computer knowledge do I need for a startup?

Peter and James have covered it quite well. The easiest way to learn is to learn :) Talking to people that can explain it to you simply is probably the easiest way to learn. And everyone is more then happy to help out if you ever have a question :)

The most important skill for you to have as a startup owners is brushing up on your ability to find the right people to outsource it to. Knowing a general gist to help you find out if you've paid the right person to do it is probably the best and most time saving solution.

That being said, here is my nerdy answer:

I personally learnt it through building my own site, but that might be overkill. If you really want to learn it thoroughly in practice sometimes starting a mini website project on the side may teach you a wealth of information. Make sure the site is complicated enough to cover all the things you want to learn. You'd be surprised how fun it is to learn as you are doing it.

I learn faster when I do it and run into a problem, then I scour Google and once you apply it, it makes a whole lot of more sense then just reading about it.

For this purpose I can suggest you start off by going through the installation process of: 

Wordpress - fairly easy to install and you can enjoy a great blogging platform on the other end
Magento/OpenCart/Other open source ecommerce engines - These are fun if you are looking to get into ecommerce.
Custom Site - This is more for advanced learning you can pick a language and learn from scratch. There are plentiful and abundance of tutorials online. I also suggest somewhere like codeschool which teaches you basic code through easy and fun modules and quizzes online. Some basic languages which are popular to learn are: HTML/CSS (basic), PHP(a very popular language with more features), Ruby on Rails (A fast deployment language that twitter used to start).
There are also a bunch of different languages that are more to do with application development (both software and phone and computer apps)

Of course learning code can be more learning than you need, but knowing what exists and having a general idea will help you when you are instructing someone to build a website for you :)

Wendy Huang answered this question

Kevin Mallen
Kevin Mallen, Business Development Manager at

Outsourcing

Do You Interview Offshore Staff Differently Than Domestic?

Hi Kevin,

It really depends on what kind of role you are trying to fill. I've interviewed staff for more data entry type roles and the best way to handle them, and these are tips I have gotten from friends that run their whole business on offshore assistants is to allocate a budget and a very specific task for them to do that is reflective of what you are hiring for. And this has to be SPECIFIC, as in allocate a due date, a process to handle questions about the task, a way to submit the task and also allocate a time bracket in which to complete the task. If you are not specific the following can occur:

They may do a great job, but spend many hours on it costing you more money in the long run, if this is not disclosed from the outset you could be walking into a troublesome relationship
They may take too long and not meet the scheduled date. 
They may ask too many questions and not be proactive in finding solutions which ends up costing you more time managing.
They may not submit the task in the right way.
All the above issues need to be prevented and clearly stated so you can concentrate on finding candidates with the right skill set and not try and fish out ones that can follow basic instructions and processes.

Hire 10-15 contracts at one time, and then evaluate the top candidates based on task performance. You may want to give an alternative task to complete before then hiring a team.

It's also great to have some backups to contact in case your original hire goes astray. If it's your first time hiring I highly suggest you use an agency, this will ensure that if your staff is sick or away or leaves you won't need to spend time retraining or finding someone to fill in - you may pay more per hour but these are the little things that I think are worth paying for.

Make sure you are clear with the Agency regarding what they look after and what they don't. At minimum they should cover training, sick leave management and replacements.

I haven't had any experience remotely hiring higher level management type staff so I can't comment on that :) Perhaps someone else here may give that questions a shot?

 

Wendy Huang answered this question

How to use Youtube advertising?

Hi Lily,

You can take part in YouTube ads from your AdWords module. If you have already created campaigns for banner ads and search ads, you can simply turn on video ads by selecting the type of ad you want to pay for.

Types of ads you can place on YouTube include:

Video ads, where you can insert a video ad before a YouTube video plays
Large banner ads that are placed beside videos on the page people watch YouTube on
Smaller banner ads that pop over while YouTube videos are playing
Text ads that overlay while videos are playing 
If you have your own channel you can also promote your channel and videos as well within YouTube.

For more information on the step by step I encourage you to visit this Google help page Titled

Show your ad on YouTube:

https://support.google.com/adwords/answer/2456100?hl=en&ref_topic=3119140

For a more general over view on Video Targeting you can visit"

Show any ad on videos and on video sites:

https://support.google.com/adwords/answer/2404253?hl=en&ref_topic=3119140

 

Let me know if you have further questions regarding video ads :)

Note: Video ad pricing can fluctuate depending on what keywords your targeting and competition so it's very hard to give an accurate idea of how much it will cost. Best thing to do is allocate a budget and give it a go.

Wendy Huang answered this question

Cassidy Poon
Cassidy Poon, Head of Digital & Social Media at LogicalTech Group

Competition, Consumer and Trade Practices

Can our smart phones lower our cultural intelligence?

I agree that memory loss has been a huge problem with technology increase but I'd like to think that we're using the energy we saved from remembering phone numbers into more productive things. If you look at the kids growing up these days, they can do amazing things because their brains have been highly stimulated from a young age. Perhaps they have lot some basic skills like remembering phone numbers but they have been able to advance and fast track other skills that are more important in society today. I think it will just change with our environment and we'll learn to adapt.

Hunting and gathering skills used to be a basic skill and so important to previous societies but because of commercialisation and industrialisation not many of us could survive if we got thrown in the bush, but I'd like to think we've advanced in other ways. I think the same will apply to smart phones and technology :D

Wendy Huang answered this question

Andrew Egan
Andrew Egan, Director & IT Specialist at

Sales and Marketing

Do Clients And Service Providers Prefer Transparency In Pricing?

I think that it would be great to give transparency when asked, but as a provider I would hope you would give me the best decision regardless of how much you make, whether it is more or less. I think if you can demonstrate that to me I wouldn't care how much you make :)

Wendy Huang answered this question

John Belchamber
John Belchamber, Owner & Senior Consultant at Invoke Results

Digital Marketing

How do you spend a $500 marketing budget for a new website?

This is a pretty fun question to answer, but it will all depend on what business you are running :) I would most likely take my $500 and use it to advertise my product on a targeted email list (one that has my exact target market) to test my product. If I can't purchase access to the whole list I will most likely ask for a segment. Enough to test conversion rates and lead costs/cost per acquisition.

This effort can hopefully make me enough money to try this same strategy again on another targeted email list :), and it goes on :)

Wendy Huang answered this question

Joshua Uebergang
Joshua Uebergang, Head of Strategy at Digital Darts

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)

What are the top SEO questions you like to be answered?

Ok, hmmm how about this one Josh (by the way thanks for this question :))! 

What do you do when you feel like your SEO traffic has plateaued - say your strategy is just creating ongoing good content - what are some tips you can give me to give it a bit of a kick again?

Wendy Huang answered this question

John Belchamber
John Belchamber, Owner & Senior Consultant at Invoke Results

Business Coaching

Where have all the perts gone?

I believe that there are more "perts" these days because information is way more accessible and it's very easy to learn enough to be considered a "pert" by traditional standards. I could easily become a "pert" of anything given enough time and  Google and just going through tutorials and applying it (however there are many professions which cannot be learnt this way but there are more and more resources each day) 

If memorised well enough, this knowledge can be regurgitated in a face to face meeting easily. I guess the real test is to ask for a portfolio, testimonials or examples of recent projects.

Results define a true "pert" :D

Wendy Huang answered this question

George Siosi Samuels
George Siosi Samuels, Creative Director & Founder at Siosism

Human Resources

What Does Culture Mean To You In A Business Or Organization?

Culture is defined by employee's unless it's defined by the business. I think culture is always a changing thing and you either control what you want it to be or it controls you.

You see many startups with no real "culture" and more established companies with "culture" because once you get past a certain size, if you don't define it, it will pretty much just be whatever the employees make it to be, which may not always be a good thing.

For me culture is made up of what is considered "normal" behaviour in a business and this can be both good or bad. The way we view situations and processes, how we deal with challenges can all make up "culture".

This question is very open-ended but for me culture is really what the personality of the business is :)

Wendy Huang answered this question

Do you care about what do your kids do in the cloud?

I think kids would live in the cloud if they could. I know my brother spends a lot of time on Minecraft, YouTube and forums and communities centered around his interests.

His not allowed to have a Facebook account, which I think is a good idea.

His in Year 6 :)

Wendy Huang answered this question

Gino Lancaster
Gino Lancaster, Business Partner at Red Planet Design ~ Digital Marketing Company

Social Media

What Was Your Experience With Using Twitter For A Business?

Hi Gino,

We use twitter right now for SavvySME and it's been great for us, in fact it's one of our top referrers to site content as far as referrers go. 

It has helped us create relationships with people we wanted to meet as well as allowed us to get to know a few more. It does take some consistent effort though to realise the benefits, we spent a great deal of time "building" without much returns, but we can start to see the benefits snowballing after months of consistent effort.

 

Wendy Huang answered this question

Has anyone used Shopify for their eCommerce site?

Hi David,

I use Shopify for some simple web stores that I run. It is an easy way and completely cost effective way to set up and start selling if you don't have any previous technical knowledge.

Previously I have installed my own versions of OpenCart and Magento as well, but in the end I chose shopify simply because I have very simple needs and the hassel and cost of maintenance was more then it was worth. If you have your own technical team and desire a lot of customisations you may want to have your own installed solution, however if you don't have those resources, it's easier to just "outsource" it to a company like Shopify.

Also if building your own store may push your launch back a few months, you may want to go with Shopify to get your products on line and on the shelves earlier, may not be worth losing sales while you wait for a full fledged store to be built.

As for the look and feel, you can have a look at the predesigned templates that can be free to a few hundred dollars and if they suit your needs I'd recommend that.

Other solutions you may want to research is bigcommerce and volusion for hosted solutions and prestashop and opencart for self installed versions as well.

Wendy Huang answered this question

What do you want out of a product user review video?

I like ones that are practical, that highlight how I can USE it too. Normally when I watch review videos I'm just trying to figure out if it suits my needs. So if you can quickly highlight pros and cons, and even better demonstrate the pros and cons that all I want :) In fact, depending on the product a few minutes is all you need.

I think products that are much more expensive to purchase tend to require more explanation. Also great reviewers also try and compare to a product you would already know about.

Wendy Huang answered this question

Is there a difference between a branding and a marketing agency?

I think there is a pretty big difference but also some overlap. The branding agencies I've worked with provide a "image revamp" so they basically look through your business and its current "image" and current marketing materials and revamp them all, with a new communication message and can possibly recommend you new marketing materials based on your new image.

E.g. they can come in decide that the easiest way to appeal to your target market is to have a more "friendly team image" and therefore help you produce new sales materials with smiling pictures of team members and maybe a new color pallet to "rebrand" what you already have.

You may then want to engage a marketing agency to seed and get more exposure for your new image. This may include things like organising new channels for your message to go out, recommend you places to put print ads, etc.

I think a good analogy to be the difference is if you were a celebrity your branding agency would be your "stylist" and your marketing agency will be your "manager or publicist".

One is there to create your image and the other is to get you out in front of your target market.

Love to hear other people's opinions on this :)

Wendy Huang answered this question

Henrik Larsen
Henrik Larsen, Director at IePlus Pty Ltd

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)

How do I get my videos to rank on YouTube

Thanks for asking the question Henrik! I actually went to a event where a YouTube representative revealed future plans for YouTube and from the horses mouth the one huge factor affecting your ability to show up on the YouTube search and recommendation algorithms is:

Watch time

What that is, is the amount of time people continue to STAY on YouTube AFTER they finish watching your video. The main metric YouTube is measuring this year is the amount of time people stay on the site - so passing that on to us as YouTube content creators is a great strategy to maximise that.

Therefore things like, getting people to click more videos, or links to other videos in your content will incentivise people to stay on YouTube and therefore increasing the visibility of your video on the YouTube network. (not sure if this directly affects search results).

However if you look at the figures, a large majority of views will be gained from people click on your video from within YouTube or YouTube search as opposed to from a google search engine.

James and Peter did a really good job of covering the SEO side of things :)

Wendy Huang answered this question

Are Google Remarketing Ads paying off for your business?

Hi Dave,I set up the ads on our google adwords account. We are paying about 1.37 a click but the point of the re-marketing ads are more about impressions and branding, e.g. "I see you everywhere" essentially makes you look larger then you are online. remarketing ads are slightly different to google ads in that they only come up once you have been onto our site. From the cookie that's installed in your computer we can then serve up "reminder" ads for the next 30 days. These are much more cost effective than the normal google ads and promotes brand recognition.We are paying around 0.1 cents per impression which is pretty cost effective, so for about $86 we are getting over 71k impressions. Would love to see if anyone has gotten any cheaper :)Because these ads are served up based on whether you are a visitor to our site there is no keywords, however you can choose at which page on your site that the user needs to visit in order to start seeing these ads.I'm assuming they are working quite well because we've gotten this comment quite a few times :)

Wendy Huang answered this question

Who do you use for your SEO?

Hi Brian,

I know that one of our members here Cheech from White Chalk Road is probably a good person to speak to regarding SEO he has given some really in depth answers here on this SavvySME SEO related question:

/question/118-does-either-com-or-comau-domain-have-an-advantage-over-the-other

You can have a look at SEO related questions and have a read of the answers and get in touch with who you like.

Wendy Huang answered this question

Michael Reid CA
Michael Reid CA, Do All The Things! at Michael L Reid CA

Social Media

Do you use YouTube to generate new business?

YouTube is very powerful for audience reach. It's also much easier to get found than on Google, In terms of competition there are a lot more webpages you are competing with than videos. 

Just to give you some ideas on stats, my personal blog which I have been frequently working on (2-3 posts a week) has gained about 20,000 visits per month after starting seriously around august last year. Currently after spending 1 month on YouTube and uploading at 1 video per week I have about 50,000 video views and a lot more likes and comments than on my blog articles.

I guess leveraging off their huge (and bored) audience helps and because people on YouTube are either looking for entertainment, education or looking for a answer to their problem, you have a great base for an attentive audience.

Wendy Huang answered this question

How do you decide who to follow on social media?

Great points Peter! I totally agree, and I love how you also told me you make it a point to wear your hat as part of your "branding" as well! It's these little things that will matter when you are trying to build trust online!

Thank you for bringing this up :) 

I actually wrote an article about this previously entitled 10 tips to a killer profile image and there a few tips in there that can help you get a good profile image without having to pay a lot of money to get a professional to take your photos. If you can afford by all means do that and you'll have great images to use for all your online press and profile pictures :)!

Wendy Huang answered this question

Do you follow your competitors on social media?

I think it's a great idea to keep an eye on what your competitors are doing - I also think that in most industries there are plenty of fish to go around and it's not a me or them situation.

Theres the saying "keep your friends close and keep your enemies closer" which I think is a great philosophy to live by in the business world and like Jenny said, your competitor may actually be your next business partner. 

I know that Mathew Beeche, the founder of Shoestring media group lives by this concept. You can read the article explaining how he has weekly calls with his competitor so they can continue learning together and growing together - seems like an alien concept to most people, but innovation is never made without doing something different right?

 

Wendy Huang answered this question

How important do you think a business logo is for a sole trader?

If you want to get most out of crowdsourced design sites it's a good idea to manually invite designeres to your project. Spend a few hours looking through existing public projects and send a message to designers that catch your eye and ask them nicely to participate in your project. It's also a good idea to let them know what you liked about their design in the project you found them on, so they can better cater to your preferences.

Make sure you provide as many visual examples of other logos and styles and colours you already like so they have a better reference point.

The better you can communicate what is in your head and provide detailed and specific feedback to designers, the more likely you will get a design you like. (I've been on both ends of this situation)

One of my favourites is crowdspring, and even though they are a little but more expensive, this also means better quality designers are on the site. You can also do a search for already made logos "logos for sale" which are pre-made logos that are available for you to buy. This can be a matter of shopping for the look you want and just buying it.

I'm also currently trying out etsy.com for my personal logo -> if you like the handmade fun style of etsy, you may find some great designers there for you. They also have some fairly cheap pre-designed logos for $20, and they'll just replace the text with your text. 

Again like others said before sometimes the best branding you can do with your business is personal branding :) Especially if you want to keep your business close to your heart and associated with you (everyone has their own reasons for creating a business) as opposed to growing into a faceless company.

Anthony Robbins did that very well - as the business is based all around his personal branding. Sometimes that is more powerful.

Wendy Huang answered this question

What are some tips on building a mobile app?

Hi Linda,

The world of the mobile app is becoming more competitive and a decent budget needs to be put aside to build and most importantly market the app.

Think of who will use this and how much money you need to spend to get it to those people and factor it into the cost. I've seen many people build apps but they don't go anywhere and the cost of building and fixing bugs on top is a huge drain on resources you could have spent else where.

If you are looking for a simple app, you can find free services that will turn your website into an app and such. I used one myself called: Conduit http://www.conduit.com/  
If you're looking to build a more custom one I know a developer in Ukraine that has done a good job. But they do it well and a lead time to a final app being made can be up to a year depending on the complexity.

Wendy Huang answered this question

Jonathan Hatcher
Jonathan Hatcher, Principal Consultant at Oakton

Digital Marketing

What experience do you have with paid advertising to test MVP?

Great insight with that article David,
I personally have tried all things from Facebook Ads, remarketing, LinkedIn Ads and personally found that:
* Facebook is a great way to test messaging not really to convert
* Google ads/remarketing is the way to go for actual customers and conversion
* LinkedIn ads are very hit and miss and quite expensive and is only useful for B2B mainly. 
When testing an MVP you should also consider participating in forums and communities that are your target market and getting a discussion/feedback session going. This will not only give you opinions they will be curious enough to visit your landing page and maybe sign up as well.
I also have built facebook pages to drive traffic to landing pages which worked quite well. For example I was testing a men's fashion concept so started a Facebook page that posted daily outfit looks for men that were quite trendy. I supplemented this with a twitter account, blog articles with tips and tricks on how to dress better or find clothes that fit well and then used Facebook ads to drive "likes" to my Facebook page (note I'm not trying to convert them on my landing page because this does not usually work). 
Facebook ads that are used to grab "likes" are more successful than Facebook ads that try and send a user to a website to convert. Thats because Facebook users don't want to leave the platform which they are still using it. So then you just need to convert your fans with content once you have their like.
Feel free to comment on this answer if you have any follow up questions :)

Wendy Huang answered this question

William S
William S, Digital Marketing and Junior SEO Consultant at Pixel Capital

Website

Your opinion on sites like Wix, Square Space, BigCommerce

Hi Will,
I've used shopify in the past and you can get some really great templates for $150 or so. The most important thing is if the platform is easy to use and for you to update and change.
Surprisingly there are some really great custom templates on Etsy as well - not really a place you'll normally thinking of looking but their logo, design and template auctions are really high quality and not that expensive, but majority may be of a certain style - very Etsy like.
If you were to open a ecommerce store though, and you are not that farmiliar with biuldign websites I'd go wiht a service liek shopify or e-commerce simply because you know that they will keep their platform updated - you also don't need to pay for updates or maintenance. And sometimes having an e- commerce site developed in a proprietary platform that the web design agency uses, means a huge fee later if you want to switch or redesign in a way those platforms can't handle.
Even if you use open source like Magento or open-cart etc sometimes updates can break your existing website.
I would only recommend doing a custom build if you startup business IS a website - like ours :)

Wendy Huang answered this question

How much do bloggers charge for a sponsored post?

I just wanted to share my experience with you, as well. I recently got offered to do a post and other than products, I got offered around $20 for a post. Just so you have an idea I get about 7,500 hits a month with PR of 0 haha.
I guess that's reasonable for starting out :)

Wendy Huang answered this question

Henrik Larsen
Henrik Larsen, Director at IePlus Pty Ltd

Social Media

Does anyone use Pinterest for business?

We currently don't use pinterest for SavvySME as mentioned above, it's not great for B2B and also unless you produce a lot of visual content like info-graphics it's also less useful.
If you business is visual you should give it a shot - but really invest time in it if you want results, this means putting up content frequently and actually interacting with the wider community. Interacting is key, just putting up content is not going to get you followers or attention.
It's better to step back and see if it is the right channel for you - usual with social I suggest concentrating on 2-3 channels if you are time strapped - you'll get better results to have a great following on 1 network then minimal following on multiple.

Wendy Huang answered this question

Henrik Larsen
Henrik Larsen, Director at IePlus Pty Ltd

Risk Management

What backup recovery measures do you have for your business?

I actually just put everything in a dropbox or google drive so to me that is a back-up recovery solution. 
This is because I use multiple devices like mobile and laptop and desktop across different operating systems like windows and Mac so cloud is pretty much my best solution.
Don't know what I'd do if dropbox or google crashes! Fingers crossed!

Wendy Huang answered this question

Do you have any tips for creating a mobile app for a business?

I made a simple mobile app for my blog using Conduit http://www.conduit.com/  It was free but i think you need to upgrade to a plan for them to help you make it available on the app marketplaces. Otherwise you can have the download link to your app and have people download it from a site, great way to dip your toes in.
I know that actually making a full blown custom app is a pretty expensive and long process to get it right - I've had outsourced quotes of about 15k and local quotes of 40k+
Also one thing to note that in terms of mobile apps people are getting pickier about apps, espeically with the amount available for free and to download, I personally am suffering from app fatigue - so I think if you decide to go ahead make sure its a good app - or just settle with a good mobile site :)

Wendy Huang answered this question

Where do you get the leads for your business?

At SavyvSME our leads come from organic search and social sites like linked-in, twitter, facebook and forums like flying solo. We concentrate a lot on social sources and online sources :)
For B2B businesses they've had a lot of success in events, networking functions, word of mouth and online networking sites like ours and linked-in.
Would love to hear everyone else's tips :)

Wendy Huang answered this question

Hadrien Brassens
Hadrien Brassens, Co-founder at Reef Digital Agency

Advertising

Has Google Adwords become too complicated for SME owners?

I don't think Adwords is complicated to use, but it's complicated to use well and effectively. 
I found when I first started using it, it was easy to spend a lot of money on clicks and not get much back - I guess thats why good PPC companies do charge a good dime.
The important thing is to keep trying new strategies on how to get more bang for your buck out of your PPC - make sure you paying for conversions not clicks. also means your website must be conversion friendly to begin with before you invest a lot of money in PPC - so I guess that makes it sound pretty complicated as a process.
Just to put an ad up is not rocket science - I guess thats how google make their money :)

Wendy Huang answered this question

Henrik Larsen
Henrik Larsen, Director at IePlus Pty Ltd

Hardware and Software

Why should a small business upgrade to Windows 8?

I haven't used Windows 8 myself but I thought I'd get the ball rolling while we wait for more Windows 8 users to surface - looks to me like we are all using our usual operating system - mine being Mac OSX.

PC Mag did a review and came up with this reasons:

 Faster startup

 A whole new world of apps 

SkyDrive integration 

Better Security, Less-intrusive updates.

First-class touch input, but still fine with keyboard and mouse 

You can view the full article:

http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2411451,00.asp

However I would really love to hear from peopel that have used it first hand! 

Wendy Huang answered this question

Charlotte Caruso
Charlotte Caruso, CEO at PuggleFM

Website

What is a reasonable price for a small business website?

Knowing the pain of web developers and their quoting systems the answer range is fairly large. What is important for you to do is know exactly what you want from your website - if you don't do this first the price you pay can slowly increase and you can be hit with unexpected maintenance costs.
10 page website can be anything from a simple brochure blog site to a full blown interactive adventure site - all costs very different.
I don't think you'll get an accurate answer until you can provide more detail. Perhaps find a site similar to the one you want and use it as an example can give everyone helping you with a quote a better idea on how much you would pay for it. 

Wendy Huang answered this question

Mark Henderson
Mark Henderson, CEO and Founder at Espressogrow

Business Management

How do you define success?

Success to me is achieving the lifestyle and goals that you set for yourself. This can be different to everyone, someone may find that having a great loving family and kids is success and some define it to be a multi-billionaire and both of that to me is success if that's what you want.

Of course as people's expectations of themselves change so will your "successfulness". I don't feel that external pressures for success is necessarily a good indication because how are you successful if you are living your life for other people?

I also beleive success is made of of success in different areas as well, someone defined as successful usually is someone with a great uni degree, great business or job and they make a lot of money and buy expensive houses and cars, however maybe their personal life is unsuccessful - it's a balance , an addition of all areas of life. I don't think success is a blanket term :).



For myself - my idea of success is to have a comfortable flexible lifestyle with a great family and doing what I love to do every day. I'm not attached to how I get there, but when I get there I guess I'll know :)? Sorry for being kind of vague, still a journey of self-discovery to do. 

Wendy Huang answered this question

Henrik Larsen
Henrik Larsen, Director at IePlus Pty Ltd

Digital Marketing

What is the most effective way to drive traffic on a budget?

I would suggest you start blogging, on any free blogging platform is fine. Consistent traffic is built slowly. Also after you create content you need to follow it up with social participation in the community you serve.
For example write article -> Share article on social networks -> help out people in your community, usually clustered in forums and communities such as SavvySME.
You want to be building your personal brand at the same time, that way no matter what business you are in, you've built personal value. Also supplement all this with strategies like google re-marketing ads and other pay per click ads.
SEO traffic is built over time with good content and fresh content so if you follow the steps above consistently, you're traffic will build over time. I've built my own personal sites using this method from no traffic to over 6,000 visitors a month in a period of about 6 months - also be realistic with your expectations as well :)I find that traffic is getting harder to come by these days.
Hope this helps :)

Wendy Huang answered this question

What are the key factors to succeeding in ecommerce?

Hi Cheech,
When I first started, I actually looked at the site Alibaba to source products from. It really depends on what kind of store you want to create. Alibaba will send you already designed products or if you look at the specifications, some manufacturers will do custom products for you. Consider getting them to create samples if you want customised products. You also need to consider packign and labels as well.
The manufacturers in China sometimes do not do small runs, but you can consider manufacturers from other parts of asia such as Indoneisia, Vietnam or Thailand that can do an equally good job.

Wendy Huang answered this question

Kate Toon
Kate Toon, Owner at katetooncopywriter

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)

Does anyone know which websites actually accept guest posts?

Hi Kate!

Thanks for your question, I think there are lots of websites always out for new articles to share with their readers! Sourcebottle is a great place to start looking for guest posting spots. I've done a few articles for Dynamic Business as well, and they seem fairly open to getting new writers providing that the content is of a certain quality. 

We also welcome guest bloggers on our site, and you can submit an article easily by following this link: /article/create  (you need to be logged in) We approve articles within 48 hours and you will get a notification of when it is approved and published.
We want to create a space where small business owners can feel comfortable sharing their thoughts and not be afraid to start writing. Our community is welcoming of all sorts of content so there will always be eyeballs on the articles :). 
I'm actually pretty excited, I've managed to get the team here to participate in an internal blogging challenge where we will blog everyday (weekday) for the month of January :)!! We have some new writers here, so it should be a great learning experience - we welcome any members at SavvySME to join us as well, and it's great to get more writing experience (even though you Ms Kate don't need it ;) ) and a great way to share your thoughts in a consistent manner. 
I would love for you to join us and encourage other business owners and freelancers to take on this challenge and grow our comfort zones ;)!!

Wendy Huang answered this question

Jeffrey Joel
Jeffrey Joel, MD at Auspac Trading NSW PL

Team Management

Apart from a pay rise, how else can you reward your staff?

It really depends on who your employees are. I know that if you look at a lot of the companies that make it to the Best Places to Work list, many of them don't use a lot of money to reward their employees and create better workplaces (apart from Google of course).
A fair few employees these days value flexibility, freedom and fun more than money so you can think outside the box on a lot of the rewards you give out. Plus monetary incentives have been criticized for years in management theory and the importance of internal motivators have been a huge topic of discussion.
For example the best place to work in 2012 OBS has a Chief Fun Officer, and other little things you can do to reward your employees is to give them a recreational space and the flexibility to work from home. These things are cost-effective for companies and result in engaged and happier employees. Where I used to work E-Web Marketing which was nominated the 2nd best place to work in 2011 also shares these principles and emphasises employee happiness over monetary rewards.
I think there is no one answer to this, however if you know your employee's well enough you should know what will make them happy, and it's not always money - take the time to get to know them and reward them with something personal to them - that will go above and beyond any monetary bonus. 

Wendy Huang answered this question

Ananda Raj Pandey
Ananda Raj Pandey, Developer at SavvySME

Online Business

Is it necessary to have physical address for online business?

There are also some great places that offer you a virtual address anywhere in the world for a small monthly subscription fee. You can also apply for local landline phone numbers via skype for a monthly fee as well and receive the calls via skype. 

Looking like a traditional business no longer requires you to be physically there, which is great.

If you are looking for virtual offices here are a few place to start looking:

http://www.servcorp.com.au/virtual-offices/address 

http://virtualheadquarters.com.au/services/virtual-address 

http://www.regus.com.au/products/virtual-offices/virtual-office-bundles.aspx

http://virtualheadquarters.com.au/services/virtual-address  

http://www.gecentre.com.au/virtual-address-sydney.html 

http://www.mbe.com.au/web/page/virtual_office_services 
There are many more, I would love to see if anyone here has used these.

Wendy Huang answered this question

How do I make a home office more functional?

Whenever I work from home I think it's important to actually reserve a space to work. I personally live in a small apartment, so I don't have the luxury of having an actual room or study dedicated to working in a home office. 

What I call my home office is my desktop table and chair. Over time I've learned to associate that position with "work". In terms of surfing and going on the internet for leisure, I do that on my laptop around the house or on the couch.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that it's not only objects that can make your home office functional, it can be a matter of mentality when you are in that area. As well as what Timothy mentioned, the processes and rules you set yourself in order to keep you on track. 

I found this great article that talks about how working from home can actually boost productivity and there are some great tips as well that will help you create a more effective work environment at home:

http://www.forbes.com/sites/stevecooper/2012/08/31/boost-productivity-by-working-from-home-really/ 

Wendy Huang answered this question

Chris Fell
Chris Fell, Founder at g2m solutions

Digital Marketing

Would you use video in your marketing?

I would :) But it's important to establish why you are using a video - if you have your goals clear it will be 10 times more successful because it will help you develop the content :)

Wendy Huang answered this question

Todd Dewey
Todd Dewey, Consultant at Oakton

Social Media

How do I create a social media strategy for my business?

Hi Todd! Great question, and one that has baffled many since the beginning of the social media hype :)
Well SavvySME is the right place to come to ask for advice :) I used to work as a social media consultant to such organisation and there are a few things I go through with them when they present me with this question. The ability to drive "friends" into customers through social media is very possible and likely however the road to a sale is sometimes not always direct. I consider social media as a "research" channel. What this means is people connect to your Facebook page to keep tabs on you and not really buy from you straight away. A lot of people join a facebook page to keep updated with any sales, discounts, promotions and most important of all giveaways. This gives you an extra opportunity to keep your brand top of mind "when" they decide to buy.
Unlike other mediums such as a website where people usually browse through towards the later stages of the purchase cycle (when they are going to be choosing what to buy) Facebook fans will join you even if they are not in the buying process - hence it seems harder to convert these into paying customers "straight away" the key is straight away or directly. Having a social media presence will give you extra trust points when people are in the research phase if your competitor brand has no presence. 
I find a really good way to encourage sales is to trigger them to enter the purchase process. What does that mean? It means that even if someone is not on the market to buy your product there are ways to start them thinking about it as long as you do it properly. Posting sales messages and call to action works, but only if theb uyer is ready to buy, and therefore these messages work really well on your website because customers are there with an intention to buy. On a Facebook page you will need to be more subtle or you risk turning off a lot of your fans. For example when I used to work on the Facebook account of a retailer, and one of their product categories was home appliances and such. I found a really effective strategy is to spend the week talking about various aspects of home appliances. E.g. questions such as:
"What brand of kettle do you use?"
"Do you get leftovers caught in your dishwasher?"
"How old is your microwave?"
These questions are not sales pitches but will start making people think about the age of their appliances, for those that have put off replacing items will suddenly be more motivated to. After a few days of prompting you can then post up a "5% off storewide" or "30% off dishwashers" and that will complete the loop for you. This works really well if you have an already engaged user base, if not you can start off by posting non sales content that will start to interest them such as home decorating images and ideas etc.
There are a few more things I have up my sleeve, but I'd love for you to ask specific questions as well such as your "How do I turn Facebook fans into customers" so I don't have to type an essay in this question :). I hope I answered that question with the strategy above - you should give it a go!

Wendy Huang answered this question

How can a small business obtain a 1300 number?






For the cheapest possible way to
get a 1300 number, you can contact your current phone company and ask for one.
There should be no set up cost needed since you already have existing lines
with them. The ongoing rental fee for 1300 numbers are usually around $10-$20
per month.

 

On the other hand, if your business
has money to spend and want a custom “phone word” like 1300 CALL US, then you
can visit sites such as smartnumbers.
Smartnumbers is an Australian government site that auctions the best 1300
numbers with a reserve of $500. For companies with a bigger budget, they can
also purchase a 1300 number through sites like Telstra and Optus.

 


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Mayvin Training Shell Cove, NSW 2529

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Coaster Group Canberra, ACT 2601

eCorner Pty Ltd Marrickville, NSW 2204

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Triactive Design Pty Ltd Gwynneville, NSW 2500

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Virtual Coworker Sydney, NSW 2000

Rothlake Business Services Kincumber, NSW 2251

IT System Solutions Melbourne, VIC 3000

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