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Posts Tagged ‘Small Business Interview’

Small Business Tips & Guidance from Moooh’s Carlo Trotta – Selling from China, Serving the World

Monday, April 30th, 2012

I had the opportunity to interview Carlo Trotta from Moooh!! and he had a lot of interesting things to say in the interview below.

1. Tell us about your business and who you focus on serving?

Moooh!! is the first social luxury commerce website. We design, handcraft and sell custom made jewelry, apparels, shoes, fashion accessories, ethnic home decor, gifts idea. At moment we sell only jewelry and few accessories, but in the next months we will add many other products. Almost all the products sold on Moooh!! are proudly Made in China. I don’t understand why many luxury brands producing in China, often don’t disclose to their customers the origin place of their products. Moooh!! serve a wide target of customers, people who loves beautiful things, made with good material, good quality manufacturing , elegant, fashionable, unique. Everything sold at very competitive price.

2. How did you get started selling online?

I started to sell on Ebay. Being power seller on different accounts and then I left because of the increasing Ebay commission fees, harassment policy for the sellers and low seller protection given by Paypal.

3. What inspires you to grow your business?

Give to people the possibility to access to beautiful and fashionable quality items at very competitive prices. I want to create a community of shoppers and small businesses through Reward Programs, Promotions, Sweepstakes, Affiliate Programs and other strategic initiatives that we will take during the year.

4. If you had 2 lessons learned from your business that you could pass on to others about selling online, what are those?

Total dedication to the customers.  You must create and offer what the customer is looking for, customize and personalize for your customers, then reward them for their purchases. Finally, invest your time more than money.

5. Where has your business focused most of its energy this year?

I will invest in inbound and online marketing. Also I will be really focusing on spread my social media presence so I can create a community of shoppers and small businesses around Moooh!!

6. What do you see as 2 new trends for small businesses and in your business?

I can “predict” a much deeper use of social media and blogging.  It is almost a must these days!  I’m also quite sure also that many small businesses will start to consider developing some type of mobile applications for their business.  Mobile is really taking off and small businesses need to focus on what is their mobile strategy!

7. If your business/store could be any movie or movie character, what movie/movie character would it be and why?

Rocky. Starting from less than zero, exercise, learn, fight, fall down and stand up until the victory. I hope I can make my own movie.

8. If your business could have a dream spokesperson for your company who would it be and why?

Actually no one, but myself, my customers, my affiliates and small businesses than are around Moooh!! That’s very social and also my dream spokepersons!

9. What is the biggest challenge that your business faces as a small business and how do you work to overcome that challenge?

Raising money to develop and grow the business. I cannot see any other challenge considering that I live in China and there’s no better place than here to have a business and catch the huge opportunities that this wonderful country offers.  That being said raising capital and having enough capital is the biggest challenge.  That capital will make or break making small businesses in China that are serving the world market like me.

10. Do you have any parting thoughts for our readers and the small business community?

Concentrate your effort on your customers, make the product they need, make them love the product they buy and then they will purchase more from you and spread the word. Also relentlessly focus on reduce expenses, cut the unnecessary costs so you can invest your time and dedication to your business. But don’t forget also to dedicate time to your family and friends:) That will keep you truly happy.

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Posts Tagged ‘Small Business Interview’

Small Business Interview with Troy Fimrite from the Atlin Institute

Friday, April 20th, 2012
Atlin

I had the opportunity to interview Troy Fimrite from the Atlin Institute and he had a lot of interesting things to say in the interview below.

Tell us about your business and who you focus on serving?

You know how people buying a business for the first time are making a big life decision, need to buy the right one and not lose their money? Well, we help them with a money saving resource www.buyertoolkit.com that answers a lot of questions and makes it easy for them to buy a business for the first time.

How did you get started selling online?

I have been involved in buying and selling companies for 20 years and constantly answer emails, phone calls and interviews by people looking for a answers as they look to buy a business for the first time. I decided to utilize the internet and create a downloadable product to make it easy for people around the world to quickly understand the way to buy a business. The whole idea is to make it easy to understand, simple to follow and make it as easy as 1-2-3!

What inspires you to grow your business?

I am an Entrepreneur and absolutely love growing business! I have been very fortunate to be mentored by many incredibly successful business people and now also mentor people new to business through Universities, Accelerator programs and Entrepreneurship programs. I am inspired every time someone takes a step towards business ownership and truly love helping them along the way!

If you had 2 lessons learned from your business that you could pass on to others about selling online, what are those?

A/B test everything. And you do not know what will work until you try it!

Where has your business focused most of its energy this year?

I have several businesses that are in different stages so I spend time working with each one to ensure they are efficient, growing and profitable. My time with the Buyer Tool Kit is to constantly improve the content and make sure customers understand the simple steps to buy a business!

What do you see as 2 new trends for small businesses and in your business?

The access to the Internet and advanced technology is opening up new markets for business owners without large investments and the second is the movement of people wanting their own business as additional income.

If your business/store could be any movie or movie character, what movie/movie character would it be and why?

James Bond. He is always one step ahead, has timeless knowledge, uses excellent tips and tricks and always achieves a happy ending!

If your business could have a dream spokesperson for your company who would it be and why?

Richard Branson, Incredible businessman who has started and bought hundreds of businesses!

What is the biggest challenge that your business faces as a small business and how do you work to overcome that challenge?

To create an online presence that earns the trust of people looking to buy a business and provide a product that can truly save them thousands of dollars. We are focused on gathering user feedback, adding up the dollars we have saved for people and using great trust indicators that actually add value like KikScore!

Do you have any parting thoughts for our readers and the small business community?

I will share this simple quote that was passed on to me by a really successful business mentor: ” Troy, you make money when you buy.”

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Posts Tagged ‘Small Business Interview’

Small Business Interview with Ruben Guerin from Cookbook Village

Friday, March 16th, 2012
I had the opportunity to interview Ruben Guerin from Cookbook Village and he had some very interesting insights into the current state of e-commerce and small businesses.  Ruben also had some great recommendations for small businesses just getting started selling online in the interview below.

Tell us about your business and who you focus on serving?

Cookbook Village has been around several years, but as a popular eBay store. The new store, which opened in January 2012, caters to collectors and cookbook enthusiasts and offers collectible, vintage and used cookbooks.

How did you get started selling online?

My wife had been a collector for years and asked me at one point to sell her collection on eBay. She was fascinated by e-commerce and wanted to us to try it out. There is an audience for collectible cookbooks and we knew it as soon as her original collection was nearly depleted. To keep the store going and our own collecting habit fed, we began scouting cookbooks all over the region. Finally last year, we decided to plan to open our own e-commerce store in 2012. It was six months in the making as we wanted it to be our dream site. We opened in early December and are now entering month four.

What inspires you to grow your business?

I was a 20-year employee of Shell Petroleum when I lived in The Netherlands. I gave up a stable career there to move to the United States with my wife–she had wanted to return home after living there for over 10 years. My world changed quite a bit and I have had to try to re-establish myself. Cookbook Village is my chance at again having a thriving career, this time running my own business. People have said a printed book is becoming a thing of the past. I believe that cookbooks are something you need to touch and feel and I am out to prove they will be around for a long time into the future. Growth is key in any business.

If you had two lessons learned from your business that you could pass on to others about selling online, what are those?

1) Selling online is a business like any other. You have to put a lot of time and effort into making it successful. It is not as easy as putting up a cart page and hitting publish. There are many facets to selling online and I think many new store owners expect it to be easy with a “build it and they shall come” mentality. That is a mistake.

2) Ensure that you plan ways to engage your audience. Cookbook Village has a strong focus on audience engagement and customer service. We are constantly thinking of new ways to reach out and provide our site’s users and customers with content and products that meet their needs. Social media and search engines are both kings in the world of e-commerce. Neither should be taken lightly and both should be a focus when you are building your online store or business. I see many online businesses today that practice one-way communication. This is why the KikScore seal is so important to us. It is a means for customers to provide feedback in a trusted, third-party app.

Where has your business focused most of its energy this year?

Since we have only recently launched the new cookbookvillage.com store we have been focused heavily on tuning our store to offer a better customer experience. Also, we are heavily focused on building store traffic and brand awareness. Through social channels, blogging and SEO, we are starting to gain momentum. We didn’t expect a single sale for the first several months. We were being conservative. We are prohibited from reaching out to our eBay base, so essentially we’ve had to start over. We made a sale in the couple days after hitting “public” in our cart application. What a surprise, but it’s set the bar a bit higher as well.

What do you see as two new trends in small business and in your business?

Pinterest and similar visual sharing platforms are hot right now, especially for e-commerce. The fastest online sale we’ve ever seen came just seconds after hitting “Pin” on one of our books. We are seeing similar platforms come out so we are tracking them closely to see if there are opportunities.

Integrations in technology have really helped streamline small businesses like ours. Our shopping cart platform, Shopify, integrates with a lot of wonderful apps. KikScore, email apps, order status apps and more make the store easier to manage. The fact that companies are working together to provide more integration and features for end-users is a blessing. We wouldn’t have been able to do half of what we’ve accomplished without a platform like Shopify and all of it’s partner applications.

If your business/store could be any movie or movie character, what movie/movie character would it be and why?

Cinderella’s Fairy Godmother. Cookbooks make people happy. We like making the connection between cookbook and cook, often bringing customers a cookbook that has a deep connection with a childhood or memorable event. Over the years, we have received many letters from people we’ve touched. Some of those letters describe the memories the customer has had come to life from a book from their past and being able to find it again. I can’t think of many retail items that have the power to bring someone to tears. We are a business like any other and need to profit to carry on and survive, but we like the fact that we make people happy. It’s a win-win situation for both Cookbook Village and our customers.

If your business could have a dream spokesperson for your company who would it be and why?

Russ Parsons, food editor at LA Times did an article on our store. He had stumbled upon our site a week after launch. He has a huge following and a lot of influence in our market. We followed him on the Daily Dish blog but weren’t truly aware of his love of cookbook collecting until we saw the article about Cookbook Village. What a spokesperson he would be! He understands the culinary world and the audience–and is himself a collector. Having someone like that discuss our business is powerful because he understands both the industry and the market. The day that article came out was a day we will forever remember. We were so surprised to see it. It was the perfect article and we wouldn’t have changed a word. If we could pick a second it might have to be one of the Top Chef hosts. We love that show and all its hosts.

What is the biggest challenge that your business faces as a small business and how do you work to overcome that challenge?

The biggest challenge we face tends to be too many ideas, too little time to execute them. Since we are still small and starting out, we need to do it on our own. Our store model patterns the brick-and-mortar boutique store experience–customer service focused with a richer focus on cookbook details versus the one line descriptions you often see on online book sites. That means complete cookbook details and vivid photos of the items (no stock photos of our books). That takes a lot of time. Also all the marketing and customer outreach can be draining. So when do we work on all these updates, promotions and new ideas? We overcome the obstacle by logging each idea and making a fixed time each week to execute at least one of them.

Do you have any parting thoughts for our readers and the small business community?

A strong focus on providing good customer service is as important to online businesses as traditional businesses. With the current social climate online, customers have the power to help promote your business alongside you. Don’t take for granted. Some people may love a quick get-in, get-out experience but others prefer a connection and a sense of community. Online retailers should strive to bring customers the best of both worlds.

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Posts Tagged ‘Small Business Interview’

Small Business Interview with Hostile Bacon

Thursday, January 19th, 2012

I had the opportunity to interview Miss Ren & Pete who operate an up and coming Shopify store named Hostile Bacon this week.  They had some very interesting lessons learned from their experience starting their business and how they have evolved their use of social media to help market their business over time.  Please check out the interview below and let us know your thoughts in the comments as well.

Tell us about your business and who you focus on serving?

Hostile Bacon is an online store that provides a variety of products that are unique or quirky in nature. These are lifestyle and fashion items that you typically wouldn’t find at the local shops, some items are handmade by local designers, others are sourced from overseas and closer to home. We also provide random yet interesting information through Ren St blog and our social media channels.

Our focus is to serve anyone who likes things that are a little bit different, a shopper who is looking for a gift for themselves or someone else. If you’re nostalgic, whimsical, fashionable, health conscious, practical or all of the mentioned, Hostile Bacon is for you.

How did you get started selling online?

www.hostilebacon.com.au came about by necessity. I’ve been designing and making things since I first stepped foot in a home economics class room many years ago. At the start I was making things for myself and then friends and family started putting in orders and then eventually friends of friends were buying my designs, by this stage online was the best medium to have as a shop front and I also started sourcing products to provide a larger variety.

What inspires you to grow your business?

I really enjoy sourcing new products, coming up with new ideas, researching and writing my blog and seeing what so many talented designers are producing. I’m also inspired by the fact that we provide a good shopping experience for our customers. Shopping should be an activity that is pleasurable and easy.

If you had 2 lessons learned from your business that you could pass on to others about selling online, what are those?

Lesson number 1 would be to invest in a reputable, secure hosting company, to keep your site operating securely.

Lesson number 2 is to remember that little things make a big difference. Wrapping an item, replying to a post or comment, these things and more, create a good experience for shoppers and potential customers.

Where has your business focused most of its energy this year?

This year we’ve focused on sourcing new and interesting products and optimizing the website to attract and maintain customers. We want to be found easily and for our customers to come back repeatedly and to do this we have to offer something new regularly and provide a reason to come back to the site.

What do you see as 2 new trends in for small business and in your business?

I believe more small businesses will use social media to engage rather than push products. We’ve built social media into our marketing plan as a majority of our target market are social media savvy.

A user friendly website that is clean and easy to navigate is becoming more favoured, long gone are the days of clunky websites with neon flashing banners and an encyclopedias worth of information. We regularly make changes to the site to ensure those that do visit have a good experience and stay longer.

If your business/store could be any movie or movie character, what movie/movie character would it be and why?

I would choose the character Holly Golightly played by Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany’s as she is synonymous with style, glamour and eccentricity.

If your business could have a dream spokesperson for your company who would it be and why?

Fonzie would the our dream spokesperson, he was cool in 1974 and 38 years later he is still cool.

What is the biggest challenge that your business faces as a small business and how do you work to overcome that challenge?

A big challenge is competing with large companies with even larger marketing budgets.  To overcome this we will continue with traditional marketing activity and provide our customers with a great experience so they ‘market’ us to friends and family.

Do you have any parting thoughts for our readers and the small business community?

You are the expert in what you do so rely on experts to perform tasks in other areas to help you with your business, things that may not be your strengths. It’s very easy to become bombarded with tasks in running a business and sometime it would be a much more effective use or your time and resources to utilise someone else’s skill set and lastly, enjoy what you do. I’m always smiling when I talk about Hostile Bacon because I enjoy it so much.

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Posts Tagged ‘Small Business Interview’

SmallBiz Strategy Tips from Our 7 Best Blog Interviews of Last Year

Wednesday, January 4th, 2012

The holidays are over (for most people anyway) and people are returning to work.  Last year was hectic and I don’t think this year will be much better considering it’s election year. Now before we start running for the underground bunkers or start to wade through the tens of thousands of political articles and interviews, let’s take a look at 7 really good interviews of last year that were on the blog.  [Please note that these are in no particular order, except for maybe how they appeared in my tab list.] I selected these because I think that they offer some new tips and talk about things that aren’t often talked about.

1. Books the new old Google

Turning Sites into Gold: This is an interview of John Nicholson from Marketade. The thing I liked the most about this interview was that Nicholson suggests going to a library and looking at books to get information.  I love libraries (although I haven’t properly been inside one in ages) and I think this is a source that most people overlook.

I remember when I was doing a Linguistics project, my partner and I got all of our information from two very good, but slightly outdated books.  Sure, the internet is a great resource and will probably have the most current information, but how much of that is actually valuable? At least with books, you know that it’s been filtered and scrutinized enough to know that it’s valuable. It may not be current, but it’s probably the best.

2. Law, Perfection and the Internet

The Right Side of the Law: This is an interview with Gregg Hand.  One of the things Hand talks about in the interview is the fear of starting a business. I like his examples of the types of decisions that one has to make when starting a business.  Often it’s stuff that you don’t think about.

Hand also mentions that conditions for small businesses have become more favorable due to the internet. Now this is probably something we all know, but it’s always nice to hear it in words.  The best bit of advice that I think Hand gives in this interview is that things don’t have to be perfect. If you’re starting a business, often you won’t have everything set up just yet and you will most likely encounter setbacks even if you make a habit of starting businesses.  Eventually, you’ll have to jump right in and get started.

3.The Duo of the Elite Group

“Putting Your Money baQ Where it Belongs” : This is a double interview with both the CEO (Brian J. Esposito) and the CTO
(Peter Hermsen) of paybaQ.  Their advice is solid and I liked the acknowledgement about family members and friends un/intentionally bringing you down. I think this is something that happens often, but that no one really talks about.

One of my favorite bits from this interview is the description of the small business community as “elite”.  They mention that small business owners should be proud of the responsibility that they have taken on and I feel like this is a point that should be brought up more often. It takes a lot of work, energy and determination to start a small business, so feel proud small business owners!

4. Platforms and Personality

The Speech AND the Pen are Mightier than the Sword: I’ll admit to a little bit of bias on my part for picking this. I’ve met Jill Foster before and I like her and thinks that she gives great advice.  One important point that she brings up in this interview is that one doesn’t have to use all of the social media platforms that are out there.

A lot of the things that I’ve read online make it seem like small businesses have to use every single platform that they can find. I know that’s a bit silly, but that’s the impression I got. Jill is the only person I’ve seen so far mention the fact that one shouldn’t use all of them.

Another good piece of advice that she gives is to make sure that your business has a personal feel to it. Big businesses like Target or Walmart  have a certain feel to them, but it’s impersonal and not the type of feeling that y0u want a customer to get from your small business.

5. Juggling Jobs

Talking Employedpreneurs & Steps to Success for Businesses with Tai Goodwin : What I like about this interview is that it focuses on people trying to start a small business while having a job.  Goodwin gives some great pieces of advice such as putting in systems to manage your small business while you work at your other job.  Goodwin also talks a little bit about different business models and suggests trying something other than the traditional one-to-one model.

The piece of advice I liked best from this interview is that it’s important to be flexible.  Having a vision is good, but often, due to the way the environment changes, you may need to update it. Customers and markets tend to change quickly and you’ll be in better shape if you can adapt faster to keep up.

6. Products and People

Small Business Interview with Sophie Kovic from FlockStocks : My favorite piece of advice from this is bit about choosing a product that doesn’t vary much because then you’ll have less trouble.  Another great piece of advice is to trust the people who work under you. You cannot manage everything. Let go when necessary and trust that when you go on vacation, the people whom you leave in charge will work things out.

7. Coordination and Background Knowledge

Reach Your Best Insights: This is an interview with Pierre DeBois.  One piece of advice I liked from this interview is the fact that online and offline activities should be coordinated. It’s like picking colors, you has to choose ones that go together. Another thing that DeBois talks about is going beyond Search Engine Optimization. Yes, that is important, but there’s things beyond that which Small Businesses should do too.

One of the points that DeBois brings up is the fact that Small Businesses need to think about what goes on in the background that’s essential to either the customers or the business itself.  Reading all of these articles and tips for Small Business owners, I get the feeling that it’s something that’s often not touched on.

All of these interviews offer valuable advice for Small Businesses and should be reviewed as you owners start drawing up your plans for the coming year. If you have any tips or interviews to add to or contest, leave a comment. :)

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Posts Tagged ‘Small Business Interview’

KikScore SmallBiz Interviews’ Greatest Hits & Top Strategy Tips for Entrepreneurs: Part II

Friday, June 17th, 2011

KikScore has had the pleasure of interviewing many small business owners over the past few years, asking these entrepreneurs about all areas of their businesses and what has spurred their growth, while also throwing in light-hearted pop-culture related questions.

In Part I of this two-part Greatest Hits series, I highlighted the top five lessons learned from these interviews with regards to establishing a successful small business. If you missed Part I, click here.

In Part II, I will present five of the most important challenges faced by these small businesses that our interviewees shared with us. These issues are extremely pertinent to all small businesses and it is vital for small businesses to overcome these challenges in order to succeed.

Here we go, the five most common challenges faced by entrepreneurs and their small businesses:

5. Keeping Up with New Technologies

“As the cost of running business with a physical store or office is comparatively high due to the monthly rental fee as well as the consumption of electricity and the hiring of manpower, more and more businesses like us tend to create their presence on the Internet. Without a significant competitive advantage, a retailer will be forced to raise a white flag in this cruel and heartless battlefield.” – Margaret Chan, founder of Cherry’s Brandname Gallery

In today’s world, technology is rapidly changing and businesses must keep up with latest innovations in order to stay modern and be successful. Companies have to start utilizing the internet, for both its e-commerce capability as well as a marketing and advertising tool. Social networks such as Facebook and Twitter are essential to small businesses, as millions of users check and use their personal accounts on those websites multiple times each day.

4. Lacking Adaptability

“While it is important to hold on to your vision, it should never be at the expense of building a sustainable business model. Your business plan whether it is one page or fifty, should be an evolving document that scales to put you in the best possible position to serve your clients and generate revenue.” – Tai Goodwin, founder of Launch While Working

Another challenge entrepreneurs also face is the ineptitude to alter or adjust your business plan. The business world is full of surprises and unexpected circumstances.  In order to run a successful company, businesses must be flexible and able to adapt to the changing environment around them.

3. Fear of Failure

“Another challenge I had was more of a mental one, which was the fear of ‘Can I start my own business?’ There are so many company decisions that we take for granted until we have to make them ourselves.” – Gregg Hand, founder and owner of Hand Law Offices

Two weeks ago I mentioned how the number one piece of advice for having success as a small business is keeping the long-term goal in perspective and never giving up or losing hope. Therefore, one of the challenges faced with starting a small business is dealing with the fear of failure. You cannot be afraid that you’re going to fail and act hesitantly because then you will fail; you must be confident with all of your decisions and maintain the passion with which you started your business. Owen Wilson’s character in Wedding Crashers puts it best when talking to his partner, “Your goddamn negativity! I don’t need it! I’m an idea man. I thrive on enthusiasm. Don’t take the wind out of my sails. I need you.”

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2. Finding Customers

1. … and then Gaining their Trust

As a small business I believe our biggest challenge is gaining trust in a potential new customer.  If a shopper sees a Macys logo or a Best Buy logo they are not going to question is this a secure company/site.  As a brand that is growing, we are not mainstream and are years away from becoming a staple in the beauty industry.  We overcome that challenge by gaining one new customer at a time.  Proving to that customer we are legitimate business, that is not going to sell their name to any third parties, is going to ship their order, their most private and intimate information is in a very secure area, and if there is any problems whatsoever with their order we will do everything we can to correct it and make it right.” – Brian Esposito, CEO of Avenue You Beauty Store

In order to be successful, you must generate revenue from customers and unless you develop a brand-new product or have a revolutionary idea, you are most likely going to enter into an industry that already has a fair share of other competitors. There lies the biggest challenge of small businesses: finding customers and then keeping them. Finding customers as a small business relies on effective networking and marketing, and especially positive word of mouth. Whether it is online or in newspapers, spreading your name and attracting publicity is a must for businesses to find customers. In addition, promoting your credibility and trustworthiness is a necessity to ensure that once you land a customer, he or she will return.

This is the service that we here at Kikscore provide for online businesses. We show your potential customers that you can be trusted, allowing shoppers to review your record of reliability and creditworthiness through the Kikscore Trust Seal and the KikReport. After overcoming all these obstacles, you’ll be “so money”. More information regarding Kikscore and its trust seal can be found at http://www.kikscore.com/more.html and http://www.kikscore.com/confidence_badge.html respectively.

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Posts Tagged ‘Small Business Interview’

KikScore SmallBiz Interviews’ Greatest Hits & Top Strategy Tips for Entrepreneurs: Part I

Thursday, June 2nd, 2011

KikScore has had the pleasure of interviewing many small business owners over the past few years, asking these entrepreneurs about all areas of their businesses and what has spurred their growth, while also throwing in light-hearted pop-culture related questions.

In Part I of this two-part Greatest Hits series, I will highlight the top five lessons learned from these interviews with regards to establishing a successful small business. Many of these innovative and impressive business owners shared related advice and acknowledged similar trends in the e-commerce field. So without further ado, here are the Top 5 Things You Should Do When Starting a Small Business:

5. Keep your website simple and easy to navigate

- “My advice to people about an online presence is to keep it simple and clean and VERY easy to navigate AND to have a Content Management System (CMS) so you can update your site yourself.” (Whitney Zimet, owner of I Am The Maven)

- “Spend the money to get a good website.  We went with a woman who did “websites for small businesses” but she really wasn’t experienced in sites with a retail/shopping cart component.  So, the site looked okay on the surface, but I later learned that she had used very amateur programming on the back end, making it enormously difficult for another web programmer to make changes.  This also limited our SEO.” (Kimberley Stewart from OnBoard Outfitters)

4. Have a flexible business model, being able to adjust quickly to a changing environment

- “Never think what you’re doing today is what you’ll be doing 10 years from today. Markets change and products evolve. Learn to adapt quickly.” (Michael Alter, President of SurePayroll)

- ”Be willing to change.  Always look at your business in a new way.” (Rick Shoop, owner of Oregon Seafoods)

3. Utilize social media outlets

-”Another trend is tapping into more social media platforms and applications.  Combining sites such as Facebook with applications developed by Wildfire you are very quickly able to promote coupons, contests, and/or sweepstakes.” (Brian Esposito, CEO of Avenue You Beauty Store)

- “Take full advantage of all social network and free Internet advertising. 50% of our sales come from social networking sites, the chain reaction you can achieve from them is priceless.” (S.J. Trotter, owner of www.exclusiveclothingretail.com)

2. Establish a safe and secure online presence

- “Apart from that, customer’s satisfaction is also of utmost importance to online business. Exceptional customer service results in greater customer retention, which in turn results in higher profitability. We therefore strongly believe that customer loyalty is one of the most crucial and major contributors to sustainable profit growth. Over 60% of our profits are from customers who came back and made their purchases more than once within the 3-month period.” (Margaret Chan, owner of Cherry’s Brandname Gallery)

- “In 2010, much of our energy will be focused on improving the website and making sure our customers have confidence in shopping with us. KikScore is a great tool that helps us demonstrate that trust online.” (Madalyn Duerr, owner of Tufted Topper)

1. Keep the long-term goal in perspective and never give up

- “Most importantly: Don’t let anyone tell you no. You are your own best advocate and no one is going to do the work for you. Don’t let obstacles prevent your idea from ever being tested – you have to go out and do it.” (Andrew Shelton from Trackpack Coolers)

- ”In my opinion the most important ingredient in a business’s success is the passion of the person or people running it.” (Mark Sarpa, CEO of Frecklebox)

- “Stay far from timid, Only make moves when your heart’s in it, And live the phrase ‘sky’s the limit’” (The Notorious B.I.G.)

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Posts Tagged ‘Small Business Interview’

Small Business Lessons from Alli Donofrio of Pre-Loved Consignment Boutique

Monday, August 16th, 2010

Today KikScore sits down with Alli Donofrio, the owner of the very cool boutique called Pre-Loved Consignment.  Her store is a very unique type of boutique that offers a variety of quality merchandise ranging from casual to formal wear, to accessories, handbags and much more.  Alli’s store is in Pompton Lakes, New Jersey, but she also sells online.  In this interview, she gives the small business community (and all of the shoppers out there) some great tips on small business life.

1. Tell us about Pre-Loved Consignment and who you focus on serving?

Pre Loved Consignment is a unique boutique……. far from your average thrift shop! I focus on serving everyone. I think with today’s economy… budgeting your money and saving is most important! My store is focused on value & style.. what more could you ask for !

2. How did you get started selling online?

I just recently opened up my store online- I did my homework first before doing so- searching for the best website designers I could find (Palmtree Creative LLC). We get a good amount of customers in the store- but I think to widen the audience and viewers of our selection of awesome stuff – opening an online store was the greatest idea!

3. What inspires you to grow the
Pre-Loved Consignment business?

Other successful stores and consignment boutiques – like my own.

4.
If you had 2 lessons learned from your business that you could pass on to others about selling online, what are those?

Customer service is very important- Make sure you are there to help them at all times! Also make sure you use a secure website (such as PayPal)- people want to know they are using a secure site – which means they will come back to shop again.

5. Where will
Pre-Loved Consignment focus most of its energy this year?

It will focus on what my customers want and will focus on finding new ideas on how to grow!

6. What do you see as new trends in for small business and in your business?

Consignment boutiques are flourishing every where. They are the hottest businesses to open up today. Id say Consignment alone is a new hot trend! And this article on NorthJersey.com actually discusses the tend!

7. If your business/store could be any movie or movie character, what movie/movie character would it be and why?

I think it would be Betty Boop – Shes Hip, chic , flirty and fun – which best describes my store!

8. If
Pre-Loved Consignment could have a dream spokesperson for your company who would it be and why?

I think any young or old woman into fashion- and not afraid to wear pre-owned clothing , handbags and shoes. It does not necessarily mean you are poor or do not have enough to buy new. It just means you know how to shop smart and you know how to get more for your money!

9. What is the biggest challenge that Pre-Loved Consignment faces as a small business and how do you work to overcome that challenge?

The biggest challenge is trying to get our name out there more! Advertising can be pricey but its the most important thing to get involved with when opening up a Small business!

10. Do you have any parting thoughts for our readers and the small business community?

“Don’t Underestimate consignment you’ll be surprised by the treasures you can find !” “Buy More Pay Less!”

Let us know if you have any thoughts for Alli and Pre-Loved Consignment.

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Posts Tagged ‘Small Business Interview’

KikScore Interviews Zadyball Creator Alayna Slinker

Monday, May 10th, 2010

While recently shopping for a unique baby gift for a friend’s newest arrival, I stumbled upon Zadyball - a unique toy that combines the things babies love best: putting soft stuff in their mouth and having a snuggle buddy.  If only I’d found this when my daughter was that small!  Zadyball is a small company that is doing wonders for moms and babies around the globe!  We are very thankful that Alayna took the time to  share the exciting Zadyball journey with KikScore.

1. Tell us about Zadyball and who you focus on serving?

A Zadyball is a handcrafted toy designed with babies in mind. They are soft to hold and cuddle, and have lots of knotted fabric strings to grab and rub. Zadyball is easy for young babies to hold on to, and it quickly becomes a favorite!

I made the first Zadyball in 2004 when my son was about 6 months old. He had a stuffed animal with a knotted string for a tail. He loved playing with the string, and would rub it to help him fall asleep. Since the string was his favorite part of the toy, I decided to make a toy for him with lots of strings for him to play with.

He loved that ball SO much and took it with him everywhere we went, and refused to sleep without it.

We got comments on it all the time, usually to the effect of “what is that thing?” And, after I explained it, many people said “hey, my kid would like that too!” So, I decided to start making them for my friends and giving them as gifts at baby showers. Other shower guests started offering to buy them from me, and I eventually started selling them online and in small stores all over the world.

Our focus is to bring a little bit of happiness to the lives of babies and their families.

2. Where will Zadyball focus most of its energy in 2010?

This year, I’ve been focusing on giving the website a bit of a “facelift”. I’ve been working on improving the product images as well as optimizing the website for search engines.

3. If you had 2 lessons learned from your business that you could pass on to others about having an online business, what are those?

One thing that I’ve learned is that quality pictures are CRUCIAL to online sales. In a “real” store, people can use all five senses to view a product. They can pick it up, shake it, feel it, throw it, even smell and taste it if they really want to. But, the only sense that is available when buying online is SIGHT. So, what they are seeing had better look good!

The second thing I’ve learned is how important it is to be unique. When shopping online, buyers can view products from all over the world side-by-side. You have to be one of a kind in order to stand out.

4. If your business/store could be any movie or movie character, what movie/movie character would it be and why?

Well, I think that to run my business, I’d like to be like Elasta-Girl from The Incredibles. I have to be flexible in order to make everything work. And I couldn’t do it without my family by my side – with all their super strengths!

5. If Zadyball could have a dream spokesperson for your company who would it be and why?

A fabulously stylish mom who wants to have fantastic toys for her children.  Someone who people can relate to.

6. How do the folks at Zadyball let loose after a busy day working?

In addition to running my business, I am a full-time mother of three, so I don’t have a lot of down-time.  Most often, my work is done while they are sleeping. But, my best times are spent just hanging out with my favorite people – my little munchkins, and my wonderful husband.

7. Do you have any parting thoughts for our readers and the small business community?

Never become complaisant. Always be on the lookout for ways to improve your business and your product. And listen to your customers – they are the best source for great ideas!

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SmallBiz Interview with Margaret Chan of Cherry's Brandname Gallery

Friday, April 30th, 2010

We here at KikScore came across Margaret Chan and Cherry’s Brandname Gallery on Twitter a few months back.  In 2008, Margaret launched an online shopping boutique for luxury goods, high-end skin care products and sleek fashion accessories.  She has a great small business story and some great thoughts for the community on selling online.

1. Tell us about Cherry’s Brandname Gallery and who you focuses on serving?

Cherry’s Brandname Gallery is a specialty store, offering an assortment of designer brands, such as Bottega Veneta, Christian Dior, Bvlgari, Juicy Couture, La Prairie and Tiffany, to our customers around the world. Throughout its stores in various URLs, Cherry’s Brandname Gallery presents its unique edit of the best in Jewelery, Cosmetics, Skin Care, Shoes & Accessories, and Home & Lifestyle from around the world. Founded in 2008, we now have stores strategically placed in various web locations operated by some of the most popular online commerce providers, including Bonanzle, eCrater, Atomic Mall, HighWire, Blujay, CQOut (UK) & Bidorbuy (South Africa).

Cherry’s Brandname Gallery is in the business of anticipating its customer needs and providing them with merchandise they cannot get elsewhere as well as the hottest products that are always sold out elsewhere. While most of the merchandise are brand new, a smaller portion of them is gently used because we found that around 20% of our customers are looking for this type of products due to the fact that the price is, to a greater extent, much lower and more affordable.

2. How did you get your started selling online?

With some successful selling experience at eBay around three years ago, I was encouraged to set up my own online stores, selling only authenticated designer products at the most competitive price I can offer. When I was selling at eBay, I found that a lot of people visited eBay because they wanted to find the best deals – the lowest-priced designer merchandise, for instance, Apple iPod, Gucci handbags and Tiffany jewelry - that they would love to buy. Although some of those products were really low in price, more and more buyers these days complained to eBay that they doubted some particular products they received were not authentic as described by the sellers. With this knowledge in mind, I believed that opening an online store selling authenticated designer products should be a good idea.

3. Where will Cherry’s Brandname Gallery
focus most of its energy in 2010?

In 2010, our main focus is on promoting our Jewelery section, particularly on Juicy Couture jewelry, in the hope that our customers discover a few of the many limited edition and hard-to-find collectibles we have scoured the Earth to find for them. From the limited edition charms and the latest designed necklaces, to the pre-release jewelry items and the retired bracelets, we hope all our customers find the year of 2010 as inspiring as we do. In order to make sure our marketing campaign is successful, we will make good use of various online advertising channels, such as Google Adwords, Yahoo Advertising and Twitter, to help us achieve our goal.

4. If you had 2 lessons learned from your business that you could pass on to others about selling online, what are those?

First of all, it is easy to start your online selling business, but to keep it running with optimal performance at all time is another matter. Similar to running your business with a physical store, good sales and marketing strategies are key to success.

Apart from that, customer’s satisfaction is also of utmost importance to online business. Exceptional customer service results in greater customer retention, which in turn results in higher profitability. We therefore strongly believe that customer loyalty is one of the most crucial and major contributors to sustainable profit growth. Over 60% of our profits are from customers who came back and made their purchases more than once within the 3-month period.

5. What do you see as 2 new trends in your business this year?

As the cost of running business with a physical store or office is comparatively high due to the monthly rental fee as well as the consumption of electricity and the hiring of manpower, more and more businesses like us tend to create their presence on the Internet. Some of them even stopped running their physical stores in order to focus mainly on their online selling business. Without a significant competitive advantage, a retailer will be forced to raise a white flag in this cruel and heartless battlefield.

To face this challenge, an increasing number of retailers have to offer discounts to attract their customers. In other words, buyers can find their best deals online much more easier because they are able to compare prices with other stores selling the same products on the Internet. However, I can see that the price of high-profile designer merchandise will not fluctuate too much as usual.

As we hold true to the ethos – quality, innovation and integrity, we try to make ourselves more competitive in the market by sourcing merchandise that is not commonly offered by our competitors instead. Most of our products are only available in 1-2 pieces per style because the supply of these pre-release and hard-to-find, retired items from our sources is very limited, to beginning with. Besides, we will ensure all the products sold to our customers are of the best quality. Last but not least, all products will be securely wrapped and packed so that they can arrive at our customers’ hands without damage after the long delivery process.

6. If your business/store could be any movie or movie character, what movie/movie character would it be and why?

I think Barbie is one of the best choices because she is a character who is very much aware of how she looks. In other words, she is a very fashion-conscious doll and cartoon character. Her wardrobe is full of all kinds of clothing, handbags and shoes. Her jewelry box contains a full range of luxurious jewelry. People just can’t imagine Barbie could afford wearing something with bad taste.

7. If Cherry’s Brandname Gallery could have a dream spokesperson for your company who would it be and why?

For Cherry’s Brandname Gallery it would have to be Anne Hathaway because I believe she fits for the position very well. Many movie directors love to choose her to play the roles which require her to wear a lot of designer clothing and/or costumes of the most elegant styles. For instance, in her most recent role in the movie “Alice in Wonderland” in which she is the White Queen, we can see how lovely she appears to be in those gorgeous gowns and jewelry.

8. How do the folks at Cherry’s Brandname Gallery let loose after a busy day working?

All of us love fashion so going out for a drink and having a dinner together in order to share the hottest fashion tidbits we have ever known with each other are what we always do after a busy day working.

9. Do you have any parting thoughts for our readers and the small business community?


Small business community should consider making good use of the Internet to promote and run their business because the operating cost online is low when compared to the traditional business model. Besides, traffic flow on the Internet is definitely higher. Your business can reach thousands of millions of people who have Internet connection from around the world. If you know how to utilize those search engine optimization tools to promote your business, it will undoubtedly help you save a lot of money required to be spent on online advertisement.

We would like to thank Margaret for sitting down with KikScore.  If you have questions for Margaret, please leave them in the comments below.

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