Random thoughts about eCommerce, Small Business and Social Media

Here are some random thoughts on eCommerce, Internet, Small Business and Social Media. Most of them come from answers i prepared from mid 2013 to end of 2014 to worldwide reporters. The tops are the oldest.

Job hunt for equity

Working for corporation for 3 years i’ve aggregated a lots of creativeness. After this period of time i have found other company that was developing innovative web software. It was obvious at that time for me that my skills will fit great into the startup project and i hoped to have a share in project built from beginning. But it’s only one side of the coin. Equity is not only good for  employee, it’s also good for company because all work not only for short-term goals but for long-running, healthy company. I feel it’s a little bit risky in todays economy, but it’s great adventure, and offers a lots of opportunities. I think it’s also great not only for the equity but also because some people get exhausted with corporate work. Startups are full of young people sharing motivation with everyone, so you feel like you start from beginning, fresh, young again, but will better thinking and skills than when you got the job.

Internet sales tax

If our government would introduce internet sales tax i suppose it would be obligatory for everyone, selling 1 T-Shirt a month, and those selling millions of it. Maybe its would seem more fair, but it would give adventage to bigger retailers. But in USA there is a tax-free limit so it’s a little more fair. But still i’m very concerned about the whole point of adding another tax. It will require retailers to change their software to calculate it, it will require more paper work to collect it and report. There is a huge cost of adding new tax for whole market as it is. It’s surely a broken window retailers will need to pay for. For economics it will be bad, and i don’t know if the whole idea is worth to introduce by government. There are other taxes it could increase not punishing in the middle of recession young and now trying hard to survive market. Personally as a small retailer i wouldn’t need to do anything. But if i would be a bigger retailer i would probably think how to change business model to prevent possible damage.

Online networking

Websoul is a small company that drives social media campaigns for other small and medium companies in Poland. I work in this industry for 3 years now, and i haven’t seen most of my clients face-to-face, even via Skype. And successfully it was never a problem for me or for my clients. I just got used to communicate by e-mails, phone, text-messages and Facebook instead of face-to-face contacts. For clarification: i love to meet clients offline, and i do it when it’s possible.  But sometimes its hard if you run small, online company when you do most of the work, and meet with everyone everywhere.

But it’s necessary. The best way i think about new connections is stop searching for them too much. The best way to get new connections is strengthen today connections. It’s harder online, but still possible. I ask clients about how they started their project, what motivated them, what is their mission, what is their goal. And i want to get to know them better. Not for any particular business of mine. I just take the whole social media concept of making communication easier as a way to have more time to make the communication better. So i choosed social media because I always wanted to work with people, who are motivated and want to accomplish their dreams. And i try hard to help them and add the missing part they need.

The best part is breaking the internet glass and making stronger connections always pays back. Not only because clients are happy, but also because introduce me to other people who they think I can help. So this is the best way to make new connections: don’t strive to make ones, take more care about existing ones.

YouTube charging for videos?

I suppose the program is aimed at regular contributors, or probably television and producers who try to mimic YouTube on their sites.
It would make sense, if i wanted to see some series online i would pay some money for this. Now in Poland much of the latest series are
not available via Internet legally. YouTube can make a bridge between viewers that have tablets, PCs, laptops, smartphones and want to be able
to see shows and series from anywhere anytime. Will it generate revenue? Of course, we should remember that Google is now not only a company
that earns money from ads. For example you can buy additional space on Google Drive based on the freemium model.
I think it can work for YouTube, and as we can see people was paying for services like Megavideo, they can also pay for videos on YouTube.

Small business really can learn a lots from Google. The whole ecosystem of Internet is based on lowering the barreer to enter. You don’t need
to pay for games on Facebook until the moment you just love to play it, you don’t need to pay upfront for books – you can preview parts of it before buying.
The same goes for small companies. Give people something you can give them for free. Give them time to feel great getting in touch with your company, and
next time, they will likely buy from you. And in matter of fact – it will be greater experience for them and you. Because you will not sell cat in the sack anymore.

Cover letters do and dont’s

Do’s:

  1. Think about everything that connects you somehow with company you want to work in. Write it down.
  2. Give resume or cover letter to someone else to read and ask them to be curios. Prepare answers for questions that can come out of your writing on the interview.
  3. Not only experience in work is important. Think about all those things you did that made you person, who wants to get the job. Write it down.

Dont’s:

  1. Don’t write what things that are not important who needs to decide if you go to the next stage.
  2. Don’t use fancy sentences, keep it simple as possible. Hiring managers doesn’t read, they just scan the resume and cover letter. Search what they want, and ignore most of the rest on the first stage.
  3. Don’t try to hide things by making them more complicated. Be honest and authentic, but remember who will read the letter. Trust is what you want to acomplish.
  4. If you want to write how great at finance are you, don’t write it. Write what made you being so good.

Thinking outside the box

Thinking out of the box is sometimes very hard, especially if you do everything one way for a long time. I worked as a software developer for 6 years. You need to know that in this work you need to think out of the box because you work mostly with logic in source code. And people are not logic, and it’s a good thing. So you need to think always about people outside the box of logic thinking to give them right solutions. But after 6 years of the work i was in a box of software development. I thought that it will be easy to move on and create Social Media Agency, because i had the technical skills required and i had long experience in social media marketing also. But it took me some time to refocus, to come out from software box. Thinking out of the box is hard, because if you do this, you can find out things, that will change you. Changes are always hard, because they are periods of time, when you jump from one side of the river to another. There are still some things that can make the process a little easier. You can read some out of the box books like those from Seth Godin. He is very good at taking mind out of the box. You can meet totally new people and try hard to fit into their shoes. You can listen more to what others tell and give ideas a chance to move you outside. It’s sometimes hard, but it’s great experience if you see you are able to look on one thing from many different perspectives.

Small business online marketing measures

Google Analytics give great insights in your online presence. You can see from what region people come to your site, what do they do. You can set measure of Google Advertisements so you know how many people come from there to your site. Moreover you can set goals – for example how many people from Ad send message with contact for or registered for your service.

Measuring social media impact is more difficult and biggest companies like Coca-Cola and Facebook learn how to measure effect of social media campaigns. The problem is that your one post on Facebook can lead someone to read it, and send information about it to his collegue and he will contact you and buy product. You will not know if the friend of his bought because of your social media attempts. So it’s hard. But still there are some ways to measure the basic statistics – on Facebook you can see what age, what gender and from where are your fans. You can measure how many people get into interaction with your fanpage by commenting, sharing and liking.

There are also services to monitor whole public part of Internet for mentions of your company and products. They are great if you like to know from where buyers come from. The obstacle is that some forums and websites are private, and those you will not measure.

So how to handle it? The best way is to ask precisely buyers where they came from. You can give something special for those information, because they can be very important for your business. If you know where on the Internet people recommend your products you can thing of a way to making them even more informed about your offer in the right way.

Measuring impact of internet marketing on your sales is very important. But we need to take into account all possible ways to measure impact today has some downsides. Buyers usually need to know about a product from different sources to make the purchase decision. So measure can help mostly in laveranging budget between being in the right places and to paying money right according to the value of a place for the business.

How to protect eCommerce site

  1. Enable encrypting of communication between client and server especially payments, processing orders, register and login pages. That way hackers likely will not be able to intercept the data and use it.
  2. Enable SSL certificate from good provider. Every time person will come to your website with encryption enabled browser will ask authority server (SSL issuer) if the site he visits is really the site, and not fraudulant one copied by hackers. If it will occur browser will block the site, and client will be safe.
  3. Ask outside, trusted security company to audit security of the website on regular basis. E-commerce software needs to be updated often. Security holes in websites are found now and than in every software. It’s the reality. The important part is to have someone who monitors it, is able to check against it your website and provide tips for to fix those vunerabilities.

Startup company challenges

I co-started company 3 years ago. The most challenge was to leave safe place in a company and start own business. In reality i never did a jump afraid i could run out of money. After study i went to work in one company, than to other, and than i worked part time as a editor. That way i had more and more time to prepare my business and mostly myself. I remember i was afraid about two things that time: if i will be able to register company and if i will have money to pay taxes. In Poland you are obligated to pay a social insurance and health insurance only half of the full insurances no matter what income you have. Happily it wasn’t so hard than i thought it was. When you work in a company and come back exhausted you think you will not have time enough to make a living of it. But when you have all the time for your work i can assure you, you can do it. And moreover when you run out of money, you will know what to do to make it right.

Must read technology business books

The most important book of this year is The Dip by Seth Godin. He took a closer look at the moment when we need to decide to go forth or to quit. It’s not easy to decide, but it’s even more difficult to see the moment of decission coming. Seth sheds a new light on this topic.
Also  i enjoyed Jason’s Fried Rework. In some moments it’s very hard to read and face the truth, but really i enjoyed reading how small company can work out the success without going to big too soon.

Turning points of a blogger

I’m a blogger for 5 years now. The most important thing to do was to move to WordPress blog platform, because it’s so easy to use. To organise my work better i use drafts to save texts in progress to come back later. I have also schedule with texts i want to write in future and from time to time I look into it and push forward texts to display them on blog. And i remove all ideas and drafts i don’t touch for weeks, because it feels better if you have only things you can do and you want to do.

Marketing ethics

Marketing is an area where nowadays ethics plays a very important role. Many companies are despared to get new customers on high competition markets in an age of recession and use risky solutions like spamming, using aggresive marketing and so on. We felt from beginning that social media marketing is a new way that enables companies to gain new clients in a honest and upright way. So we choose carefully from all possible solutions for our clients those, that will benefit not only for short term sales, but also will show our clients as trustworthy and safe companies. It is sometimes hard to influence client to step back from some risky campaigns, but it’s worth it, especially when clients see long term benefits of this approach. So my most important ethics rule is to evangelise our clients about business ethics in a practical way.

Internal competition

In this work creativeness crosses with deadlines so it’s not easy to maintain project flow with time for inventive thinking. I didn’t like all those ranking table boards of workers. I always felt it gives more credit to people who are better, and discourage people who strive to get higher on a board. So whenever i think about using internal competition in my company i always think deeply about how it will impact employees. People like to compete with others, when they feel they can win with others. Otherwise it discourages them and they learn that no matter how hard they try, they will never win. So for me internal competition makes sense only when it gives everyone a fair chance and help them be better at what they do. People like to be able to measure their own increase of skills more than to compete with others. Therefore if internal competition should ranking something it should be how employee tried to be better than he was before at work. And this is the most important thing to learn. Still with all those rules it’s a delicate thing to give scores so it needs to be done carefully not to harm anyone, and give motivation to those who can benefit from it in that way.

What i’d say to me when i was studying

After my studies i went to work in two companies. I felt it’s safer than to risk running my own business. After years in those companies i learned a lot and it helped me start my company. But if i could tell something to me, when i was on studies, it would be to start earlier thinking on my own business. I don’t know if i would be ready at this time to risk, but from this moment i see i could do more. There are plenty of organizations that help students prepare their business plan, learn necessary skills, learn how to think of a business. When i went to work at the company i didn’t have so much time like on studies so it was a little bit harder to start a company. Moreover if you are young you have more power and enthusiasm so it’s easier. So if i could get back to studies and remember one thing it would be: before you read about what you want to do and get discouraged, try it on your own, and see how great it will be.

The most important thing to do for a small company owner before turning 25

I run a small company started when i was 27 but i prepared to it a lots earlier. I had many different ideas what it can be done before i started my company. These ideas was more about what i wanted to try than what was very useful. I think every entrepreneur has many ideas on their minds. I hopefully found the right time to write them all down, choose what is really useful, try what i really wanted to try and let it all go. After this i had free mind to focus of one idea and give my whole heart into the project. So if you ask me what every entrepreneur should do before turning 25, i would say: let it all go.

Most important and profitable tip for small companies

Todays most important and profitable tip i can give is to care about every one client. It seems it is hard if you see all those like counters on Facebook, and so on. But all those new technologies are means to have more time to care. And what today gives most profit is to care about every one client.

What is a solid brand?

Solid brand means that a company is selfaware and knows what is the drive of the success in long term. Sometimes it’s the charisma of the owner, that gives the tone to whole company. Sometimes it is a special atmosphere or motto that describes company the best. Solid brand is a way to represent it in a marketing world. People learn about companies from chunks of information received by ads, tv, social media, talk with friends and so on. So you really can paint whole picture on your own. It’s therefore necessary to make every piece connect to other. Important factor is than to shape every marketing promotion by the soul of the company.

Is personal brand a narcissism?

I suppose someone who watched me for years can think i am narcissistic. I was running blog signed by my name, not anonymous for years. I was running two podcasts. Now i run my own company and i sign everything what i do and tell with my name like here for example. But i never was a guy who likes to go out public. It was very hard to remove the anonymous cloak and do something under my real name. It took me some time and courage. For me it was very important lesson because i felt that when i sign something with my name i feel more responsible for what i do and what i tell. On the other hand we live now in an era, where big company brands mean less and less. Sometimes it’s just a name for anything from good to bad and you can’t decide anymore based only on a brand name. Now with social media true value returns to finding out who is behind the scenes. So using your name in a professional branding is a way to show: this is what i do, and i am personally responsible for it. It can be of course misguiding like everything other factor. Everyone can brand something with his name and mess things. But if he does, you know him by name. So if you see someone who uses his name in public professional branding think about everything you would need to overcome to do the same. It can seem to be narcissistic sometimes, but most of the time it is responsible.

Does content marketing help startups?

i started my professional career as a software developer. My strategy to gain new clients was to write about what i learned on my blog. Therefore i was posting articles about software development. It seems like writing about things you do is nothing important for others. But it was for years my only way to get new clients. Now when i create content marketing for my clients it is my responsibility to show them how it works. But back that day it was for me a normal way to get clients. I didn’t invest a single penny into paid ads. I didn’t invest money into SEO. Even, i didn’t invest any money into graphics or blog design. I never had the money for that. All i had was the will to develop innovative software and a blog where i could share what i discovered. It was than natural for me people was stopping by, when searching for someone who does stuff like i did and writing to me. People started to write to me, asked questions, discuss on those topics. It was so natural. Moreover one person decided to give me a work, other introduced me to another employee and so on. I was never a big fan of aggressive marketing, fliers, ads and mass e-mail marketing so content marketing was the solution for me. And it was a pretty good one too. Because it gave me what i always wanted: new connections with people who was doing something where i could help, and new clients. Today i run my own marketing company. I use my skills as a software developer and my experiences with content marketing to help my new clients. I always tell my story if someone thinks content marketing isn’t working. It works, but in other, better way thank you ever expected. And if company has money for marketing it gives such a tremendous effects compared to no-penny content marketing when i was starting.

Why agile is good for clients?

i worked for 6 years as a software developer. Now in my company i also develop software for my purpose. I think agile can be hated by people from big software houses. In factories of code agile is not so necessary to produce a piece of code. But in my world it’s different. I always needed a way to develop software fast and to be sure, that if prototype is not broken, it will be a final product. Agile helped me a lots in this. I stopped worrying about a lots of things that conservative software development requires. It was focused on source code, so when client seen a final product he was always disappointed and wanted changes. With classical software development it’s hard to maintain balance because you wrote software from beginning to the end on the idea client had months ago. And when you give him final product he is not the same person, he has other ideas and everything is wrong. With agile you do everything to show client first piece to project, don’t get used to things you wrote. Client has than time to see the project and give the feedback. And if you engage client into project on earlier part it’s easier for him to accept the project at the end, because he was a part of it. I always liked the agile development so i can’t tell anything why people can hate it. But i think still everyone who doesn’t like it will get upset about what i write. Agile is not for everyone.

The best and inexpensive way to promote small company

The most inexpensive way to promote small companies nowadays is to share what you do and what you love. You have a new project completed? Write about it – on blog, on Twitter, or on Facebook? Whatever. You took new great photo? Post it. You are reading articles about your job to get better at what you do? Recommend it to others on Internet. Have you found out something new that is eye opening for you and for your clients? Write it down on public. I know it’s hard to think what it will give. But it will help you be a better at what you do, and will inspire and help people who find someone who does what you do. I used this strategy for years when i started my career as a software developer and had many clients without spending single penny on ads. Moreover all my contacts what a way more strong and long-time than i can imagine any cold call can give me.

The biggest mistake of mobile developers

I started to develop commercial software on mobile phones on Pocket PC-s, before smartphones started to be popular. Than i developed software on Sony Erricson K770* and mobiles with Android, and developed mobile enabled websites. Today mobile software seems to be created often from scratch without a professional approach. For example software developed by Facebook is much worse than what was available years ago on Pocket PC-s. It takes a lots of place on memory, it takes a lots of resources, network connection and processor time. Still – it hangs a lot and is slow. The biggest mistake mobile software developers do today is not to care about people with different Internet plans and hardware on their smartphones. It is similar to years 2002-2010 when game industry didn’t give a damn about people who bought brand new computer 6 months ago. It was too slow for the brand new game. The same goes here. Mobile developers can have the latest mobiles, but people don’t. Moreover it’s a little bit lazy not to care about optimizations. It’s very short term approach because hardware resources can’t go indefinite as like the mobile battery power. Mobile software development industry needs to learn a lots about user care, things that was on first place when Microsoft introduced Pocket PC-s or hire people who have this knowledge.

Why i love working in small company?

I love this work because i can make use of all my skills in software development, editor work and social media marketing. Moreover i meet many interesting, inspiring people who run their businesses and strive to be the best as they can at what they do. It’s motivating for me to work with those people. Everyday i learn new things and meet online new people. Thats exciting.

Best apps for business

I’ve tested lots of apps for business when i was a tech news editor at Webhosting. So when i started my own company i knew a lots about what is going on.  I was testing a lot of task management tools. Now i don’t use any of those bu my co-worker uses Remember The Milk i’ve recommended. It’s suits business needs, you can add reminders to tasks, organize them by priorities and lists. Most important factor is that RTM is easy to use and not complicated so you can make most of this solution. From other tools for business i benefit is Thunderbird. It is great for me because i have several e-mail addresses and i want to have them all in one place. New version of Outlook make it hard to manage several accounts, they are represented separately. In Thunderbird you have one incoming folder and can answer with the proper e-mail address. It is also easy to set signature for different e-mails and stationery too. I like also the search functionality. It’s fast. E-mails are displayed as a list with preview you can scan to find what you search for. The third tool i use K-9 Mail on Android. This application allows me to see all incoming e-mails on smartphone. I can answer for those that are important. If you compare it to other e-mail applications on Android it works very well and is very stable.

Is it worth for a small business to develop internal apps?

it is easy for me to create new apps that help in business. First app i created was a Facebook tabs creator that is easy to use for people with no software dev skills. It was in the time when creating tabs on fanpage on Facebook required you to learn HTML, Javascript etc. It helped my company because my co-workers started to be able to create tabs for our clients in less time, so we was able to offer a lower price for the same product than competition. Of course now there are plenty of applications to create tabs the way we did, but the app gave us competitive advantage for some time. Some time ago i’ve developed a Dashboard to make it easy to create social presence on Facebook. There are of course many other tools like HootSuite, but none of those fit our needs. Our dashboard makes it easy to plan posts on Facebook, Twitter and other social media, create reports to accept by clients and watch results. We have multiple clients now, so it makes the work easier, so we can focus on creative work more. Lately SalesForce started a project called social.com that is very similar to what we have in-house so i think it was a right direction. Other application i’ve developed for our use is simple CRM to manage our contacts. There also are many professional apps for this. But every time you use it you hit a point where easy app ends and you would need something more – like for example marketing automation. On the other hand advanced marketing automation tools are too expensive for small business. So my website driven CRM is based on good, stable open source software and i add features we need the most so it fits best our needs. Today a good software makes a big difference for every marketing agency. For small business like ours it’s also important, and in-house apps enables us to run the company with a tool set similar to corporate agencies.

Is Facebook Connect a good solution?

I like being about to log in quickly with Facebook Connect. But many websites ask for additional information so you end up just the same like using plain old e-mail registration or even worse because some sites have problems with correct implementation of Facebook Connect. Moreover Facebook guideline indicates that when i will remove website app on Facebook the website should delete my account. I once removed the app because i felt it was not necessary. It occured i used it some time ago on Scribd. In a result Scribd removed all my documents. I contacted them but they told me they have no way to restore documents. So from this time i don’t like to use websites to store important data if it uses Facebook Connect.

Why i started company?

I was a software developer and started to blog and use social media as an early adopter. When i started to write about my research people started to ask me if i could create software for social media for them. So basically i started to get new jobs using only social media as a promotion tool. It was very natural for me social media works best to get new business connections but it was surprising for me that companies was very reluctant at this time if social media gives benefits. So i’ve started to go deeper and at some moment i thought that if i already have experience in social media software development and a long experience in using social media i can help other companies to start using it for their benefit. I have partner who graduated psychology studies so we had good start point for the company. That is why i started the company.

How to brand your company online?

We a a vivid logo we use on website header and in footer. It is also visible in e-mails we send and in newsletters. Are presentations and papers published online also have this logo. Moreover in situations when logo is not required we use characteristic background that is also visible on our website. It has colors like the logo and is very unique, so everyone knowing our company can easily see something is prepared by us. We use this for infographics and for example for video-tutorials we publish on YouTube. In social media we use our logo and background, for example on Facebook. When i comment something online i use my personal brand Tomasz Smykowski, and write also the name of the company. I run also my personal account on Twitter and other social media, there i use also my personal brand that is connected to the company brand.

How to filter not real potential clients?

When someone new e-mails us we check if he provides information about his company. We visit the website of a company and check how it feels like. After that we answer potential customer and get more information what he needs. We have some templates to get information for products we sell, so it’s straight forward. If someone is a real potential customer than he is specific, has the decision power and drives conversation to make a deal. If someone does not give necessary information we need to do the job, or wants our prices without giving too much information what he needs, or asks us to engadge more that he engadges it’s always a indicator that it’s not a potential customer. So we stick to the rule to engadge as much as client engadges. But it’s not always 1-0 situation. Sometimes someone who feels like not being a potencial customer can be a great one, and the other way as well. You always need to treat everyone with respect and like he is one.

Technologies good for business

I use paper for tasks, and my co-worker uses Remember The Milk. It gives us grip on what is required to be done in time schedule, for example to call client 2 months from now. Also we use 3th party bookeeping service so our invoices and costs are easy to analyze and pass to bookeeper. Moreover we use modified open source CRM to store information about potencial clients. It’s online solution so everyone from company can update info fast from everywhere. I use also software on my Android phone to keep track on website statistics (Google Analytics), and e-mail (K-9 Mail). That way i can answer fast and know if something is going on if i’m outside the office.

Difference between designers and graphic designers

Graphic designer is a more art-oriented job. You can design graphics for everything, also for websites or applications. Web designer is a job where you have less artistic job because you need to focus how users will feel about design you make (usability), how it will look like on PC, tablets, smartphones and so on. It required also some knowledge about CSS, and basics of online programming like jQuery, JS and finding solutions that fit into your artistic vision.

Trends for marketing analytics for 2014

Marketing analytics are very important for us, because we can use them to see trends in our market and see what changes, what starts to be more important for prospect clients and where should be move on.

In last year we started to use Google Adwords campaigns associated with Google Analytics to see what is the conversion between ads on user bahavior on our site and contacting us. It was very helpful to increase conversion and in great way it decreased the costs of campaigns because we knew from this point what phrases are used by potential clients, so we saved a lots of money on advertising to the wrong people.

For 2014 most important factor is include measures on social media marketing. Google Analytics has the ways to do it. Also Facebook allows to measure ads conversion to buys or contacts.

It’s still hard to measure the overall social media presence impacting conversion. It’s mainly because social media tends to influence people earlier than the sales process occurs and in ways under the radar of standard analytics.

Also for 2014 it will be important to take a greater understanding of the social networks themselfs. Now, with measuring likes, or comments we just see the first level of whole network. For example on Twitter there are greater possibilities of social graph than on Facebook because all connections are public. I think in marketing analytics of 2014 it will be important to discover what kinds of behaviours occur in social graph, who are the biggest influencers and what company can do to tighten the connections between their consumers and potencial consumers making a not bigger, but stronger community influencing other purchase decisions.

Are tech skills still on a top list?

I think that experience in areas traditionally connected with tech will be less and less important. It will be less job for native programmers and for software developers of basic level. Nowadays we have a lots of great software for several industries that can be used by people with no tech skills.

It will be more important to be able to develop plugins, extensions and configure software to clients needs. Comparing to basic programming skillset it will make a jobseeker be required to have more broad knowledge and understanding.

Jobseekers in tech will need to know basics of JavaScript, that will be the most important programming language for decades. Also they will need to be able to fiddle with other programming languages on the basic level, and also be very good at learning and using new software and frameworks on the same time for small tasks to acomplish while a client company is working.

I think that using cloud will be left for experienced people from the hosting houses and will be great thing to outsource. So companies will try to find people more with an idea of how to organize tech world of company, and have the big picture than doing the particular tasks.

It will require skills of communication, using high tech, and doing analytics. So big data analytics is here also a important thing. Analytics skills will take increased role because companies have now lots of data to consume, and to learn from. But there need to be a person who is able to process the data, compare it with other to find insights that will take the account into optimizing company costs, and finding nichees that no one can see without the data processed.

How to get more feedback from a website?

Show you are alive. People does not provide feedback if they see your website is dead. Now one likes to interact with dead websites. Include social media presence. Update your blog. Answer ALL comments. Post on actual events your clients know about. Include rating, commenting and other ways for people to interact with your website. Include chat message, Skype account and other. Make sure people can interact and contact in a easy way. Publish monthy FAQ answers to main questions you receive. Show you are for people, and they will show up making feedback.

Marketing plans for 2014

In 2013 we started our regular presence in social media, and providing insights for our clients with our blog. So we covered the content marketing and social media marketing areas. Also we take measures to be better connected to clients who contacted us. Also we introduced mobile version our website just to make it easier for people to find us.

The thing i am most proud of is increasing our corporate responsiblity that occured by helping non-gov organizations start using social media. We was on a conferrence where we showed what they can do about it, also provided for several weeks advice and tips for NGO on our blog and social media. Also we did a contest for NGO’s for best use of social media to give additional motivation for them.

In 2014 we are planning to continue efforts of 2013. Also we plan to make better use of all our communication channels by using the inbound marketing principles: reusing content we have in other ways so that investments made in last year will give greater return.

Maybe we will also plan to use more budget on PPC, and providing sponsored articles for media outlets. But it’s not so important in our industry, because we don’t need it as much to get new clients since we use social media way of connecting.

How to overcome writers block?

I read your query and that you ask for teacher advice. I am not teacher, but i am writing articles since secondary school and until now i wrote 2 books, writing for several years a blog, and also when i was in secondary school and high school i won some prices for writing.

I never was a person who could actually get a piece of paper and fill it with words. I always needed to take time for thinking before writing and wait for the right moment to write when i had all the thoughts in my head and the moment of the writing window open as i call it.

Writing is not a skill people are born with. Actually, most of biggest writers on the world admit it’s not easy to write even after years of experience that makes it a little bit easier.

I think the writer block comes from that people tend to think writing is a linear experience. You just take a piece of paper, write everything, and you are done. Well… i don’t know any writer can do this that way.

Writing is about shaping words. So you just need to lower your expectations you have about your writing and let yourself just write it first time the way you feel.

It will not be ideal. It will not be great. You can write you don’t have any idea what to write, but the main purpose is just to write what you feel and think in this moment, because until you don’t write it, it will block you. Because you must face it: you don’t know what to write. On the other hand: you don’t want admit it because you feel you should have something to write about. And this blocks you. So get rid of the block and just write, even if you will write you don’t have anything to write about at this time.

So if you write it down it can be a mess, but it’s ok. You can just go and relax. And you will see how you perspective will change. Block will dissapear and you will be able to go one step further. So take time and let yourself shape your minds and get new ideas into your head.

After a while you will see that ned ideas come into your mind, and the block is gone. You can come back to the writing, remove the thing you wrote earlier. It’s so easy with a computer. You can write new ideas you came up with.

And again: it will not be perfect, but you need to write it done, to make a place in your mind to get new ideas.

So this is how i feel it can be done. You need to be honest with you, and give yourself time and accept that on every stage you will not write perfect story. But it’s your desire to change it to great story will shape it into a piece people will love to read.

What was the biggest puzzle in the beginning of my company?

We are a young company providing social media marketing services for our clients. At the beginning there was only little number of social media agencies in Poland. When we started we had to evangelise about why social media marketing is good for companies. There was no in-depth research and success case studies to base on. People knew already that standard marketing methods stop to be as effective like usually, but was opportunistic to change anything in their marketing mix. So for us the most difficult part was evangelise about social media marketing while company startup.

Best marketing advice i got

Friend of my told me once that great companies does not need to advertise. For a long time I didn’t understand it. But there is a truth behind this statement. Companies sometimes think too much about how to advertise than how to provide better products and services. I think it’s more important to have a great product and improve it on all levels including communication than to pump money into ads. Social media marketing is great to get more recommendations from satisfied clients. Therefore from the beginning of our startup we care most about our current clients needs than to promote our company. After 3 years on the market i think this was a good decision.

How to focus on one direction in business?

When you run a niche oriented startup there are always opportunities to move from the niche to already established markets. Our company for example could start to serve as a webdesign company. It can be tempting to get some more tasks from outside of niche spectrum. But in long run it’s not worth it. You don’t develop your niche services while doing stuff other companies do for years and get more clients for them. How to focus? You need to believe that your niche is worth staying in, and reassure about it often. Also you need to be patient. It takes some time to feel comfortable in occupying a niche.

How to find business strongest opportunity?

There is no secret that we observe what other companies around are doing. Knowing what we can provide and how we take care of the quality we analyze how for example companies from other markets add social media services to services portfolio and think what makes our work better than theirs. Also we check what people tend to write about social media services in general and how they feel about our services and services of our competitors. Therefore we have a outside view on our strongest opportunities and strides. Along the way we take the effort to use strongest opportunities better and to make strides in our company evolution.

How to attract customers for lifetime?

Marketing services is a tought market. Companies change service providers often when they run out of ideas or wear out. For us it was a big challange to establish long lasting relations with our clients in order to provide the value of social media marketing and take care of assuring a day-to-day high-level communication between consumers and our clients companies. Therefore we decided to focus only on several small and medium companies willing to change into social media oriented ones and we started to provide services tailored to their needs. It means often we take care of a lots more than we talked about at the beginning with a client. But for a good marketing it’s important to coordinate a lots of areas: website have to be actual and informative, consumer service needs to know whats going and what to answer if someone calls about a social media promotion, client company decision-makers need to be engaged into client-to-consumers communication and act when it’s important for example in crisis situations. So we take care of more aspects than running a social media marketing profile on Facebook.

If you do what client ordered from you, you get money. If you do more, you get referrals. I think this is the most important factor that makes clients to use our services for years. We have clients who use our services from the beginning, that is from 3 years. It’s a long time for a marketing. I think we get most of referrals because our clients know we will not leave them, or referral client behind. They know what service level we provide and we always will find a solution that fits possibilities and needs of every company. No matter if it’s a big one, medium, small one or a startup.

How to deal with negative comments?

We need to understand first that for most people writing a negative comment on a blog especially signed with a name is a huge effort. I think most people don’t usually go on the internet ranting on companies without any important issue underlined. In those cases when it’s true brand owner can use this situation as a opportunity to show how important consumer voice is for him. There are a lots of things you can do to turn negative blog comment for a better. You can provide help and support for this client if something was wrong. You can find a solution to compensate the loss that the client feels. Those are just natural steps that done right will be received by other clients with warm feelings. Also you can do some extraordinary things for this consumer. But this depends on how well you feel about your company value and going public. It’s worth trying, just need to remember it was not easy for a consumer to write what went wrong.

How to introduce ecology into a company?

Well we are a 3-years old startup company so we are just on the beginning of going green. But we did some changes for starters. We send all agreements and other paperworks with e-mails and accept scans of signed documents or even e-mail accepts of documents without printing them out. It saves a lots of paper. Also lately we joined a research program of Economic University in Wrocław. In this program we will cooperate with science experts to find out what we can do more about going green.

How to keep brand design consistent in all marketing channels?

It’s hard to keep the brand design consistent. Well established companies often have many different designs of documents, ads, catalogs and logos created that was under evolution when time passed. In some moment every company to have a conceise reception need to have one consistent brand design. It occurs in colors company uses, in creative art that is designed, photos chosen, logo and newsletter, social site and website design. First of all company needs to hire an expert who will look at what have been done in every creative aspect of a company and than introduce consistent change on all fields. Document describing everything of this is a Creative Strategy. When it’s accepted by company owners expert starts to implement changes into every field where company occurs. It’s hard process so it requires a good will from owners and will to change. People get used to what they see. But style and fashion changes, so every company needs a refresh of design once for a while so that it will be appealing for new customers. Done once consistent brand design will work for remembering company and better recognition for years. So it’s worth trying.

How to grow a passive income business?

I really never believed into all those stories about millions from passive income. But i thought several years ago so it’s worth to try something and see what happens. So i’ve opened several online stores with T-shirts on free, provision-based service because i always wanted to design some nice T-shirts. Also i’ve started to partner in a bookshop program, because i was reading a lots and figured out i could recommend books i like and earn some additional money. Also i’ve created some applications, later moved on to the web. So i have two websites that have ads displayed and i earn money from them.

I’ve started about 5 years ago and spent only time when i was keen to do something. So only once for a while, for example 2-3 months i do something new. And now i earn equivalent of 300 dollars a month. It’s not so much, but from other hand i have a static income i earn and i can do other stuff on the time i earn it. So i’m happy about it. Passive income didn’t give me a fortune, but gave me a peace of mind. I always know there is some money i get every month to pay for a bill.

What will change in social media in 2014?

Year 2013 was a time when Facebook made to the top list of website in most of the world. In 2014 it will introduce graph search and new features based on the social graph it contains. So we can see some new features like soon to come personalized article recommendations, or movies to watch etc. Also people will start to use Facebook as a center of online activity, where other sites well integrated with it, will gain attention in this year. Also it will be interesting to see new socially enabled mobile applications. One of examples is the Instagram. Application bought by Facebook that serves as a satellite service for sharing photos taken with a mobile phone. People will start to use social media as a natural form of gathering recommendations of companies and products.

Therefore they will ask friends about their opinions, use social media profiles of companies to ask more questions and expect high level of consumer support. Therefore small business owners who want to use this trend before competition need to change orientation into social enabled company. That is, a company where social communication is a important part of daily activities. Where consumer support teams monitors questions asked on social media site, where marketing provides materials to publish on the timeline, and where business owners are open to change according to consumer requirements.

Automation for business

  1. Some time ago there was a project of Yahoo called Pipelines. There were also sites like RSS2Blog etc. but they was not very helpfull.
  2. Well i think there will be a huge need to make APIs and interfaces work together of different objects that will internet enabled. Sites like IFTTT will help share and fork developer „ideas” with regular people.
  3. My favorite receipe is to get e-mail with motivation quote every morning.
  4. Well… i think it can help a lots because now when API changes you need to change every piece of code. If IFTTT will develop i suppose guys will solve this issue and other too. I think the future of this kind of software is to cooperate with hardware and software developers to provide easy to use, one, standard way to use them, and to connect them with other devices. I think IFTTT will be a place where new protocols of the internet will be developed.

What is the most effective strategy for gaming business?

Viral loop is a chance for highest ROI in gaming industry. Viral loops are part of a game experience design that will drive new people to use the game. For example if you want to go to next level: invite 3 friends etc. Those are just basic methods. There are others for example multiplayer levels or multiplayer games where you need to have a team to win. In order to succeed you find friends who will join your guild. Viral loops, if designed correctly being a important part of a game experience itself drives a lots of new gamers. But also: they are a little risky. If you will break your viral loop why adding new features etc. you will loose traffic very fast, and it will take some time to regain it. So on testing level, after any change in the game you need to make sure viral loops are still fully functional.

What it is like to build business from scratch?

We’ve started 3 years ago as a social media marketing agency. Our first client was a company cleaning gravestones. You understand we were a worried about the future of the project. It was the beginning of social media marketing in Poland so we didn’t know how long would it take for companies to start investing into social media. For some time we needed to explain companies what social media is, and why it’s effective. People were investing in websites and SEO than. We was running trainings for managers and marketing directors to explain why social media is good for them. Sometimes we thought it was bad idea to start to early. Sometimes it was like 2 months and no new clients. First year of our company was very difficult and we didn’t meet any of our expectations for this year. To be worse, when we’ve started no one new that crisis is just behind the door. So everyone was cutting expenses for marketing research. Second year we started to recover from this situation. We had some long time contracts but still situation was hard, many other social media agencies closed. We knew we need to cut expenses, and work hard for our current customers to go thought the worst crisis of last years. Lately situation changed. We’ve got new contracts, and are now a stable company. We’ve learned how to cut expenses, how to survive in crisis. I’m glad we’ve moved forward. Now our company is a well established social media marketing company in Poland.

How business partnership can increase sales and income?

Well, we, for example, are running a social media marketing company. We work for many companies from different sectors. So often when one company owner asks us for some service or product, it is very likely we know someone who offers it. Therefore we exchange contacts between companies. Also we share info about good service providers to other. Also, often, our clients recommend us to other, so it’s some kind of exchange. But it’s not formal. There is no partner program etc. I think it’s just important that if you know a good small company, you spread the information around.

How brand can influence customers to share online identity?

Brands can encourage consumers to share their social identity by providing a complete, personal experience. For example there is the second biggest database of movies on the world called Filmweb. You can log in into it with Facebook account and mark movies you like and it recommends you what you could like also. You can see your friends votes too. Implementing social identity experience introduced a new value for users of Filmweb.

How can social login make social ads more effective?

Social login enabled platforms give new insights about consumers, what they need, and how are they connected, how to form pro-consumer groups and friends groups. Analyzing those aggregated information can give company more detail about how pre-sales process and decision structures look like. So company can apply research results to ad marketing. It means you can adjust ads better to demographics groups and interests, also adjusting time schedule of ads to meet consumer needs on every stage of pre-sales process.

What is the biggest challenge in creating contextual relevance?

The biggest challenge is to create a contextual relevance that is part of user experience. With information about consumer friends, likes, wishlists etc. company can get a lots of information to output in the user interface. But it’s not something that should look nice, but something that is useful. Also for example in terms of timing. You don’t need to see all year long friends wishlists, but before birthday and Christmas it would be worth to expose it better.

How can contextual relevance be applied with mobile marketing?

Well, for example by using geolocalization information. Brand can provide personalized offers and products according to current place where a consumer is staying. We can imagine a network of restaurants around the world that has a mobile application showing whats the dish of the day in local restaurant where person stays nearby for a business meeting. Also it would be interesting to see more advanced features. For example mobile application tying information about your whereabouts with friends near by and showing information about the restaurant you can go to with and the dish he/she likes the most. It’s just an example, but i think there are a lots of useful ideas for contextual relevancy.

How optimised content need to change consumer experience?

I think most of people feel a little bit worried about sharing information online. Especially if it is without no clear purpose. For example on Facebook you can rate movies and books, but as for now it’s hard to tell how those data will be used in future. So it’s necessary to ask consumers about information only when we can show how they will benefit from sharing it. Also the experience should take into account people who don’t want to share information from the beginning. Still you should be able to use the service or mobile app. It’s necessary so that person can see and learn how a service works and start to feel comfortable with sharing a little bit more information.

How to bring customer back with an e-mail?

Usually i send an email asking if person looked at my offer. Decision making people does not have time to keep tabs all the time, so often it’s very useful. Also, if the time is longer i send just a light e-mail like „how are you”. It makes people more comfortable to answer if they are not worried that the contact was lost for longer time.  Of course i forward last e-mail so that client is able to quickly see what was the topic we have discussed before. Many times this way clients came back to continue the order process.

Why do i love to be an entrepreneur?

I love being an entrepreneur because i feel like i make most of my time. Also i can do stuff normally you can’t do if you are a employee. Every day gives you new challenges and it’s exciting to get up every morning and knowing you have the freedom of doing what you want.

How you can find a job using social media?

When i lost my job 4 years ago i’ve updated my profile on social media sites LinkedIn and local one. Immediately i’ve got response from several head hunters and companies seeking someone with my skills. If i wanted a job it would be very easy to get one via social media. It’s beneficial, because there are many people online seeking for candidates, you just need to describe what you know, and what you want to do.

What are three most important features in marketing automation for business?

Lately i was using SalesManago to automate e-mail communication for a social media Facebook contest application. It was beneficial to be able to automate sending e-mail to a person who got a vote in contest with personalized name and information who voted for his work. When you find a marketing automation software you need to look if it will easy for a developer to implement and integrate it with your software and other vendor software as well. Second thing to remember is to check if there is a way to add custom attributes to objects in the database, for example: add age to a user etc. Last but least important thing is if you can easily create reports for activities and conversions of automated campaign. It’s very important to know if campaign is going the right way while it’s running.

What is the biggest trend in webdesign now?

jQuery will become a true standard, because it proved to be very useful. Websites will become more and more animated using jQuery effects, transitions etc. Responsive design will stay with us for ever, because it’s a comprise that web designers and users feel is ok for mobile,tablet and PC website design. Minimalistic design with a lots of photos and graphics and less text will last for long time since we have HD cameras and one picture tells more than a lots of text.

What is the biggest mistake social media agencies make while scaling up?

Marketing and ads agencies have difficulties to keep quality and ability to adjust to new trends. Hiring new people means you need to introduce processes of quality assurance so that services will be all the time on the same level while scaling. New trends often mean you need to adjust marketing mix offering to new opportunities. For example now to mobile marketing etc. It’s often ends by moving from marketing to ads management where it’s easier to scale. But now marketing is so much more than ads, therefore while you scale you need to figure out how to keep your agency able to adjust. It’s harder with time and people involved but it’s necessary to be on the edge.

How does a small business owner take a vacation?

Last year i’ve decided to go for a vacation while i had still some ongoing projects. I’ve took my laptop and had a mobile network connection. Being connected at vacation means in every moment something will break your vacation spirit. But it’s necessary to keep tabs on most important company stuff. My company was less effective while i was on vacation and it took some time to re-run all processes afterwards. But i don’t imagine not taking a break sometimes. In first 2-3 years it’s difficult, but on 3th year you need to start thinking about how to delegate or schedule work to regain time for personal life and vacation. It’s crucial for you personally and your company that you are in good shape, to have energy and enthusiasm to work hard. And to know it benefits.

What challenges wait for marketers in a mobile world?

The most important issue now is to handle mobile users properly. Websites are not mobile friendly. People from search engines are redirected to mobile versions, but not to product they searched for, but to the main page. It is so important issue, Google decided to warn about this kind of websites. Also the usability of mobile websites is lower than expected. People need to be able to go throught whole process of choosing and buying on smartphones easily. It’s a big challenge for next years. It’s also important to get rid of mobile applications. They are full of bugs, take memory out of a device. It’s just faulty assumption people will download apps for every store they are browsing. Especially when standard behaviour is to search products in search engines on desktop. People want to do the same on mobiles and tablets and be able to use mobile websites, not mobile apps all the time.

How we broke into UX designers marketplace?

Most of business today have a website. But the competition on the internet showed that websites need to be not only good looking and working well but also have a competetive adventage of new level. UX design is the idea that is easily explained when redesigning websites to customers. It makes it a lot easier to implement basic, or more complex UX schemes. Today UX design is for me the first thing that I take into account when redesigning website. Everything else is just a result of the right concept.

What i wishes someone told me before i started online marketing company?

I wish someone told me online marketing will evolve so fast.
The hardest lesson I have learned was to keep an eye on formal side of cooperation.
It surprised me how important it is to understand clients, their needs and their clients needs to accomplish goals.
The biggest challenge on the beginning was the money flow. You need to make the right decisions choosing projects you want to work on. Sometimes it is better to start with smaller ones and build on this, than take bigger ones and discover you have some months to work before you get paid.
The most satisfying thing for me in marketing is that with every client i can meet him and discover his business world. It makes my work exciting.
The most dissatisfying part of my work is that with time, like in every business, you can not handle everything on your own. You need to delegate. It’s something you can learn, but if you like your job so much it takes time to adjust to it.

How we came up with a name of the company?

4 years ago we took a piece of paper and wrote down that our company will take care of social media marketing of SMBs. Because we had a lots of experience until this time we knew every company is radically different and what makes SMB to be successful is the person of owner. Owners point of view on world and his attitude towards business and clients is the one and only determinant of his success. But there is no one, right mindset to accomplish it. So we figured out we want to emphasize what we will do online will mainly reflect the SMB owner attitude because if it gave him success offline, promoting it online will make his recognition broader. This way we joined Web and Soul to in script the idea into Websoul name. We had also other variants of the name but this one stood out as a short, easy to remember and it sounds nicely. I think it’s a great name, unfortunately we didn’t take into account how people will write it from hearing. So depending who you ask we are called also webson and webstone 🙂

How and when tell customer „no”?

Once a alcohol selling online store owner contacted us to run a Facebook Advertisement. I’ve told him it’s disputable if it’s allowed by the law of Poland and by Facebook rules and we can not run the campaign for him. He did understand it. Is it easier to say now to a new potential client than one you already have? We work very closely with our clients. So as often as we give new ideas for marketing they give us valuable feedback what they feel can be good. We consider every opportunity important and discuss it. So since we proceed with some of the clients ideas he understands if some of them can not be converted into online campaign.

When your company needs a technology update?

There are tons of solutions for upgrading business tech. We can use online forms instead of fax or e-mails, credit cards, PayPal instead of bank wire, use CRM instead of Excel. As a former business software developer i’ve seen big companies benefit from all the goods. But for a small business it’s not necessarily the right way. Small companies does not have time and people to implement and run advanced solutions and give people trainings and time to convert to them. For example in B2B CRM seems like a good idea. But if you have one, or two person keeping tabs on clients and up to 100 clients per year CRM will not be beneficial for you, it will take more time to process data and lacking functions of CRM suite will drive you crazy.

So the right moment to tech update your business is when the way you do things traditionally starts to run you into trouble. For example if you loose clients because someone didn’t check clients base in Excel often enough and didn’t process it properly. Than it’s good to start thinking about a standard. But before you update your tech side of business make sure you wrote down business processes and standardized the way you work. That way it will be easier to find good tech updates fitting your needs.

Also, there need to be a fallback for every update. You don’t want to loose clients because they got used to faxing orders. For small business it’s always good thing to be as flexible as they can be, because consumers expect it from them. This is competetive adventage small business has over corporate entities.

How to publish own book / ebook?

I’ve published 2 ebooks. Both are available on Google Play, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Amazon, Apple, Page Foundry, Baker & Taylor Blio, txtr, Library Direct, OverDrive, Flipkart, Oyster, Scribd and other.

With first e-book i decided to collect my best blog posts about online business in one, easy to buy and read e-book. I wanted to make it easy to find and read for my blog post users. My goal was also to learn how the e-book publishing looks like.
Second book was a manual for a Facebook Business Page tab creator i’ve developed. Mainly it was aimed to help users and earn money since the creator was free. But it appeared the e-book started to advertise the creator itself.

In case of first e-book i used what i already wrote before. So it was simple. In second book I already knew what how people use the creator, what obstacles they find. So all i needed to do was to design proper chapters and write how to use the creator and what effects can be obtained.

Selling e-books for free or on low price is a tactic i’ve heared about. it’s good to give a discount for first buyers. I’ve made a subpage on my website for the book, where i describe it, give some free demo, so people can know if they like it.

Actually, writing a book is relatively least time consuming. I mean – if you have a editor background. Most of the time you know what to do. For me the most time consuming part, especially with first book, was to optimise the e-book so it’s easy to read on all those e-book reading devices and smartphones and tables. Also pushing it to e-book distributors can be very consuming, because every one has other requirements you need to meet especially if it comes to e-book formatting and graphics creatives. I didn’t have any help with this, so i needed to do everything by my self. I’ve only ordered a book cover from a freelancer since i’m not a graphic designer. Maybe, it’s not like you need to spend hours with all of this, but it takes weeks or months. You change something, send it, get answer after week, change, and so on. So you need to keep tabs on it all the time. And don’t wait until someone reaches out. If publisher does not answer for a week, you need to remember to remind him about you. Otherwise no one cares. All authors i was talking about have the same problem. Starting with indie writers like me to big names of e-book world.

If i don’t count my work time etc. i’ve spent money on book cover and 2 x text proofreading. With other small costs it was like 200$ per e-book. I didn’t spend money on marketing, because i already had my blog readers as a target for first e-book and creator users for second one.

On first e-book i’ve earned as little as 100$ so it was not a business success. But i’ve learned a lot. On second e-book i earned aprox. 1400$.

The benefits of the first book was i learned the whole process of e-book publishing. The benefit of second book was i had (and still have for my knowledge) the only Facebook Tab creator with a true e-book manual. People love it and buy it to save time and use it better. It attracted substantial number of new users and increased user support. Now i don’t need to answer on all those questions since i’ve answered them in the ebook very nice.

E-book is a king of content marketing. You can write a blog, but everyone has one now. You can write guest articles; it’s nice. You can spend your life on writing and publishing a book, but it’s time consuming and odds are you fail big time. But e-book? It’s just great. You can make a substantial contribution by making a product that is systematic and helpful in kinds of way. You can do it on your own. No one tells you what you should or shouldn’t write about. I think it’s the greatest content marketing medium of our times.

My advice is to prepare for a longer time it takes to publish an e-book properly. Use help of Smashwords – i found it very useful and it publishes your e-book to multiple websites. So you save time, but you need to use all the advice Smashwords gives you since vetting process is very strict (and this is a good thing for readers). Don’t hesitate to ask questions how to increase your ebook popularity to your publishers and keep tabs on everything. Push the whole process forward all the time so it will not stick in a place. And also double check everything. Check if you can download your ebook, check if it got published properly, and report back to publishers.

What are the most important eCommerce tips for 2015?

Companies should take into account all marketing efforts into their strategy. Now often marketing is split into offline marketing, online marketing, social media, remarketing, online ads and discounts. Often these are experiments not wired with other marketing solutions. Companies that will regulate marketing in 2015 will take the most benefits and have an important competitive adventage.

What i wish to know before I started a company?

Well… in European Union you can get donation for starting up a company. Unfortunately once you open a business you can not use it. There are other types of donations for that purpose, but they are harder to get and some requirements are bad for small companies. So i would know this before i started the company to try to get startup donation.

Also i would like to know at the beginning there is so little time to get everything done. I’ve lost some clients because i just didn’t have time to properly manage inquiries. If i knew this before i started better handling new client contacts or find some online system and help to keep it going smoothly.

Another thing i would like to is that going to a new level of a company always requires money to be able to do it.

How starting a business impacts your finances?

At the beginning it was a disaster. Most of first months was good to pay what i had to pay, but better months was followed by some bad months. I mean the money flow was disrupted. It was painful since you had too little money and you had to work hard to have them next month. But surprisingly, if you have financial issues, it’s good for business. You start to think what you can do to spend less and also how to gain new clients. And also, since you are on your own, you have total control and the proper amount of time to figure it all out and solve.

I think there are some solutions to these problems like loans etc. But when you have loans it’s hard to spend them 100% properly. So you loose money. Starting from scratch is in that way better and gives a lots of experience. Maybe you don’t blow a company into a big business so fast, but you can grow gradually and learn while it happens.

Why people unfriend social media friends?

1. We get unfriended if we share too complex, internal topics people does not understand. You always need to keep in mind you have a wide range of friends or followers and write things without showing off with your knowledge and without trolling with polarised topics.

2. We get unfollowed when we post obscene or cruel stuff. It is especially important to handle sensitive topics with a proper care. For example the issue of animal care is important and people are willing to repost it, if it contains graphic images of animal cruelty people are likely to be blocked by the image, and unfriend you as a method to avoid such content.

3. We get unfriended also when we post offtopic or too often. It also depends on social media. Facebook handles offtopic posts very good. It will likely not display it too often if people didn’t get engaged. But if you will spam your followers walls and they will not find anything interesting they are likely to unfollow you. So you need to know what your audience is and post relevant content.

4. Unfriending on social networks or unfollowing is nothing bad. People change interest while they change. So if you post with best practices in mind, you always get some unfollows. It is nothing bad if you get also new followers. You need to be coherent and focus on you want to write about. Than, you will get new followers because topic focus is a value people like the most.

What is the biggest challenge in running a small company?

I am a owner of a small company running for 2 years now. The biggest challenges are to write business processes, prepare offers for tenders and run every aspect of a company parallel. The last one is the hardest. You need to run ad campaigns, social media, blog, research new opportunities, while preparing pricings and do the actual work. I’m still learning how to be able to do all those things on daily basis when one task does not suffer from me doing another. I’m using Google Calendar to plan my daily schedule and mix tasks from different company areas to push for example marketing and research further each day a little bit. I’d rather not have a magic wand, since now, it would just be another task in my schedule to figure out how to use it 🙂

(answers up to 1.01.2015)


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