Posts Tagged ‘small business’

Grow your own Sales

Thursday, April 14th, 2011

Cable Beach, Broome

Many people I’ve spoken to recently have repeated the same words: new enquiries are down, because people are wary of starting new projects in the current climate. This is an excellent opportunity for you to increase your focus on sales, and there’s no better customer to sell to than an existing one.

Ask any successful salesperson and she’ll tell you — it’s cheaper and often easier to sell to an existing consumer, than to sell to a new one.

Think about it. With a new prospect, you need to build a relationship, gain their trust, explain the merits of your product or service, prove to them you have the skills and reputation, and that they stand to benefit from what you can offer. Then, you still need to procure that sale — a lengthy process indeed.

With an existing client, you’ve already achieved the above (I hope!). You can skip most of that, and jump straight to offering solutions to their requirements.

“But we only built their web site a year ago,” I hear you say. Start by looking at your current offerings, and see if there’s a service or product that you’ve developed since you last spoke to them that they may be interested in.

Then, consider what else they may need.

Perhaps they’ve created dozens of pages of bad content in the content management system (CMS) you installed for them. You could approach them and suggest you edit their copy. Maybe they’ve lost their way with search engine optimization, and you need to help tune their web site back to perfection.

Does the client have an email newsletter? You can design and develop a system for them to be able to send regular newsletters out. Maybe they started small on the Web, but now could be a time to speak to them about adding ecommerce or installing a CMS, so they can take care of maintenance themselves.

These may often seem small compared to your standard projects, however a handful of these jobs can easily fill gaps in your schedule, and help you touch base with a rejuvenated customer.

Let me know how you go. I’d be interested to see what products or services you create as additional extras.

This post first appeared as part of Issue 438 of the SitePoint Tribune, a very popular email newsletter that I am co-editor of. Thanks to SitePoint for allowing me to reproduce the work here.

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A Question of Ethics

Tuesday, January 25th, 2011

Road marking

It’s personally gratifying for me to read the comments on posts and articles (as well as the recent calls, emails, etc) I have previously written about the fine line of ethics in business, particularly in the web industry, and read so many other industry players agree with me on what’s right or wrong.

I have had my fair share of debate as well; sure, it’s easy for me to say what I believe is ethical and what isn’t, and that it isn’t a definitive line, and I am publishing what I think is right or wrong. As far as I am concerned, that’s the point. It is MY personal view on what is ethical and what’s isn’t, or what is in the grey area in-between. Sure, there’s no list of boundaries and that it is my personal view, however I like to believe with twenty years of business management and ownership in various forms, I can speak from my own personal experience.

Let’s be frank here. I would never steal someone else’s design and call it my own. I wouldn’t use competitors intellectual data or client lists for my own advantage, I wouldn’t advertise using AdWords and specifically target searches for competitor business names or trademarks. There’s a stack of other things I also wouldn’t do, yet I haven’t written about.

The responses from my most recent two posts have inspired me to work further on the idea of an opt-in code of conduct, something I have been discussing and thinking about for a few years now. If I did start to facilitate a list or a code or whatever we call it, and open it to peer review, do you believe it would be worthwhile? Would you consider be involved in guiding it? Would you even consider adopting it?

Be keen to hear your feedback – shout out in a comment below…

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Posted in Business, Industry | 8 Comments »

Interview with a Young Entrepreneur

Tuesday, June 22nd, 2010

Tammin, Western Australia

If you’ve ever read the biographies of famous contemporary entrepreneurs, you’ll learn stories of how they started a roadside lemonade stand when they were 15, or sold baseball cards to schoolyard friends at the age of 14.

When I was 14, I worked at a fast-food outlet, and spent my money on comics and going to the movies with friends.

I recently had an opportunity to talk to Lachy Groom, a young entrepreneur from Australia; after a lengthy email conversation, I found out he was only 14 years old! The opportunity to find out what goes on in the mind of a very young entrepreneur was irresistible.

Lachy currently runs two businesses: book review web site, Uncoverr.com (disclaimer: SitePoint currently advertise on this site) and blog XHTML/CSS service, PSDtoWordPress.com. Lachy calls himself a web developer who started off as an XHTML/CSS coder three or four years ago.

What is the startup story behind your business? When did it start?

I started when I was 10 or 11, I think. My granddad taught me HTML and I became quite good; I learned about CSS on W3Schools and then I wanted to find out how to make my site live. I found out about free hosts and learned from there.

I started off taking client work and converting PSDs to XHTML/CSS. I made quite a bit of money and so started other sites, sold them, and moved on. Now my two main projects are Uncoverr.com which SitePoint has been nice enough to sponsor, and PSDtoWordPress.com.

Your parents — how do they feel about having a 14-year-old entrepreneur in the house?

Heh, they’re fine about it. It was a bit of trouble convincing them to let me use their PayPal account at first, but then my mum registered one in her name that I can use myself. They leave me to it; I guess to them it’s just like me having a part-time job.

With school and social life, you must be busy. What does an average day (during school term) consist of?

I’ll wake up at 7.00 a.m. and leave for school by 8.00 a.m. After school I usually play sport for a couple of hours, and then relax until dinner time.

Then, once I’ve had dinner, I’ll usually do two hours of work, as well as chat to my friends over Instant Message and on Facebook.

What’s your definition of success, and do you believe you’ve achieved it yet?

To be honest I’ve yet to really think about it. I think success is a very subjective term; to me it’s just completing my goals, and accomplishing what I wanted to finish in that day. If you complete your to-do list for that day plus a little more, it was a successful day ;). Some days I’m successful, some days otherwise. I feel though, in an overall sense, that success is just about being happy with where you are at in life. So, I think I’m yet to be successful, but will be in 4-10 years :).

What do you imagine you’ll be doing when you turn 18 years old?

I hope I’ll be running a startup or a design firm somewhere in Miami or Chicago. I’m currently in Western Australia but I have aspirations to move to the US. I hope to stay in the web industry running a company. Otherwise I’ll probably be a lawyer or an engineer.

What advice would you give to other teenage entrepreneurs?

NETWORK! I think the word teenage is irrelevant, and that advice is the same for any entrepreneur. I like the saying, “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.” I think that’s really true. But if I was to give advice straight to teens, it would be to have a good work/life balance. Make sure you enjoy yourself, that’s all that matters.

Thanks Lachy for your answers, and I look forward to watching your success in the coming years ahead.

This post first appeared as part of Issue 430 of the SitePoint Tribune, a very popular email newsletter that I am co-editor of. Thanks to SitePoint for allowing me to reproduce the work here.

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