Starting a Small International Company

You don’t have to be running a multinational conglomerate in order to take advantage of internationalization. Of course, large companies with a wide array of products will tend to have offices and warehouses in countries around the world. But even if you run a much smaller operation, don’t limit yourself to the opportunities that are just within your city or country. In this day and age, and with the advent of even more technology, you need to widen your imagination.

So for example, if you are running a small restaurant, there may still be ways to make the most of global outsourcing opportunities. Think about what needs to be done by people who are in your geographic location and what doesn’t. It might be possible that your accounting back end doesn’t need to be located in your country. Or if you have someone responding to customer service complaints or requests via email, that person could be in the Philippines, India or Vietnam, and that wouldn’t make this more inconvenient for you. Keep in mind that cheap international transfers are very much available. You will just need to familiarize yourself with how they work. Once that happens, you’ll find that you’ve expanded your possibilities quite a bit.

Keeping Premises Clean

In a previous post, I talked about how it’s so important to make sure that there aren’t any pests on your premises. This is particularly true if you run a restaurant, or if you do any work involving the preparation or handling of food. But even if you do manage to keep your place of business free of pests, that still isn’t enough. Instead, you’ll also need to make sure that your place is clean, and just as important, that it looks clean.

Let’s take carpeting as an example. When you start a business and lay the carpet, it looks crisp and clean. However, sooner than you may think, and depending on the amount of foot traffic, that carpet is going to begin to look more dirty and dingy. You can’t just let that happen. If people see a dirty carpet, they’re going to link the idea of poor hygiene with your company. It’s a good reason to bring in professionals. So for example, it would be a good idea to find the best carpet cleaner in Christchurch, so that you can rest assured that they’re going to get the job done. Make sure that regular cleaning and maintenance is already scheduled, so that your carpeting will look good all year round.

Keeping Things Pest Free

It’s important to remember that social media can be a very powerful thing. This is especially true if your business involves the preparation of food, or the running of a restaurant. Nowadays, people make it a point to check their social networks or dining sites to find out which places have good or bad reviews. You can’t ignore this trend. Good word of mouth can help make up for a small marketing budget. Bad word of mouth, on the other hand, can be a disaster. So you need to make sure your business makes a good impression.

For example, if you run a restaurant, make sure the place is clean. There are a lot of horror stories floating around online about how a customer saw a rat inside a restaurant, or about how someone found a dead bug in her pasta, that sort of thing. Make sure you hire the services of a good rodent control service. Think of it as a continuing investment in the goodwill and possible good word of mouth of your customers.

Choosing an NZ Website Host

When it comes to choosing a New Zealand based web host, there aren’t many obvious choices. The need for local and reliable hosting is clear for anyone who has ever had frustrations with slow loading speeds or frequent downtime with overseas hosts – typically many offshore hosts are difficult to get hold of for support when there are problems as well.

For New Zealand web hosting, we highly recommend taking a look at Hoopla Hosting who are both reliable as far as NZ hosts go, and extremely affordable compared to some of the players in the NZ market.

Competing with Giants: How to Take on Big Competitors

It takes a lot of ambition to be willing to step up and compete with established players in markets with high barriers to entry. But every few years you’ll hear the story of a start-up who dared to take on the giants – and ended up making big waves in their industry.

Take an example like Orbit Remit, a new international money transfer service who has gone into the market competing with massive names like Paypal and Western Union. How can a company like this compete with these established giants, who are incredibly well resourced?

One lesson is: play smart. If you’re operating on limited resources, you have to be much smarter than your competition in how you use those resources. You can’t out muscle the big guys, but you can learn and develop strategies and systems that leverage your resources in significantly more effective ways.

It helps to recognise that many large companies are actually much less efficient than they seem on the surface, and their processes and systems may be out of date.

Another key factor is having an extremely strong point of difference and making sure it comes through clear in ALL of your marketing. In the money transfer example, the big players are charging exorbitant rates – new competitors like Orbit Remit are therefore able to get a foothold because they have developed relationships that allow them to offer much lower transfer rates, and they can leverage that point of difference in their sales and marketing as a compelling benefit.

Launching Your Own Photography Business

It can be tough finding an entrepreneurial journey that blends both passion and the profit motive – but for some people, those two meet perfectly in the art of photography. But no matter how passionate you are about what you do, you still need to develop business skills in order to ensure your own success. Even if you’re a great photographer, you need to learn how to brand and promote yourself – and one of the easiest ways to do that is by looking at great examples.

One great example of a successful portrait photographer in Auckland is Jessica Higueras. We highly recommend checking out her site, www.jessicaphotography.co.nz.

The Entrepreneurial Bootcamp

Today we’d like to announce a new business course in Rotorua, called “The Entrepreneurial Bootcamp”. Its a great new course that will teach you all you need to know about running your own startup company, pitching to investors, market validation and how to market your business online.

The lessons start at 9am in the morning and go until 9pm, stopping at noon for lunch and 6pm for dinner, both of which will be provided for free as part of the course cost. Accomodation will need to be organised by the trainees themselves, but there’s a great motel in Rotorua you can stay in while you’re there called Bella Vista, which is right next door to the school for easy access.

Be on time! Please be seated and ready before 8.55am.  RSVP for further details.

 

Bricks & Mortar: Having A Real Shop

In the last post we talked about SEO, and how important it is for your business to have an online presence – both having a website, and having it on the front page of Google. This is becoming more and more an essential for every business.

However, not every business can be purely online. E-Commerce is great, but the old brick and mortar physical shop on the street corner is by no means going out of fashion. It is perfectly acceptable to have both a website and a physical shop.

Take care of your shop! Maintain it and make it look nice. If anything is cracked or broken, fix or replace it, but don’t let anything ugly remain in the view of the customer. Cover it if you have to!

Having customers walk in and out of your shop every day is fantastic for business, but it is bad for the carpet. Mud from the customer’s shoes sets in, and the carpet gets worn out over the years from so much foot traffic. What is more important, your business or your carpet? Obviously, not your carpet! To avoid having ugly-looking worn out spots on the floor, get rid of the carpet altogether and polish the concrete instead, it looks great. I recommend Floorcoat, they do some of the best polished concrete NZ has to offer.

Polished Concrete in a NZ shop

Polished Concrete looks great on your shop floor

So while many companies are going completely online and have no physical shop front at all, not everybody can do that. Just as you want to maintain a website and make it look nice, so also you want to maintain your physical shop

SEO Help – Tips for Ranking on Google

Google is an integral part of any entrepreneur’s strategy these days – there’s no point in ignoring that fact. This is why if you aspire to be successful as an entrepreneur in this digital world, you need to get your head around search engine optimisation – SEO for short.

These quick tips will help you get a better idea of how it all works. For more in-depth info, check out the leading New Zealand search engine optimisation experts.

For starters, you want to make sure your website has excellent, relevant content.

Be careful with how you use keywords – don’t overdo it!

Most importantly, work hard to get other high quality websites to link to you. The search engines look at links like ‘votes,’ and the more good quality votes you have, the higher you’ll rank and the more traffic and ultimately customers you’ll get.

Focus Groups, 21st Century Style

Focus groups have long been a central part of marketing effectiveness. In order to target a product, you need to understand what the market wants. Surveys can be useful, but they often only give surface answers. Focus groups allow you to dig into more detail and get meaningful metrics that can help you grow your business more effectively.

e-Focus Groups has taken this concept to a new level, running online video focus groups to help entrepreneurs and large companies alike to be more successful. These groups are more cost effective than typical in-person focus groups and allow you to effectively bring together an array of people from diverse areas and social backgrounds.