YHP http://yhponline.com Entrepreneurs In Depth | Be Inspired | Your Hidden Potential Thu, 18 Sep 2014 00:03:19 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Tips To Encourage Repeat Bookings http://yhponline.com/2014/09/17/tips-to-encourage-repeat-bookings/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=tips-to-encourage-repeat-bookings http://yhponline.com/2014/09/17/tips-to-encourage-repeat-bookings/#comments Wed, 17 Sep 2014 23:58:57 +0000 http://yhponline.com/?p=36966 Sometimes small businesses can focus entirely on winning new business that they forget about their loyal and continued customers. Of course it is important to win new business but it’s also vitally important to keep your regulars happy, afterall these … Continue reading

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Repeat Bookings

Sometimes small businesses can focus entirely on winning new business that they forget about their loyal and continued customers. Of course it is important to win new business but it’s also vitally important to keep your regulars happy, afterall these are the people that bring in your regular and reliable income! But have you ever thought that your regular customers could be your biggest tool in winning new business?

Word of mouth is an excellent marketing tool so it’s important to always treat your customers well. Great customer service will lead to customer loyalty and we all know that customer loyalty means repeat bookings. So we want to share with you our top tips for keeping customers happy and encouraging repeat bookings.

Keep in Touch

Regular communication is key. Businesses that respond quickly and keep their customer in the loop about offers and business updates often keep their customers a lot happier. Social media, newsletters, regular emails or phone calls are all ways in which a business can stay in touch. Communicate regularly and your business will be at the forefront of your customers mind.

It’s also important to note that customers who respond quickly and follow up with customers often win more business than their slower competition. If your customer has a problem, they want to know it will be resolved quickly, so keep yourself available and always respond in a timely manner and you will soon find your that your bookings are increasing.

Build Relationships

If your customer feels they have a connection with you they are more likely to book again. Answering all their questions, remembering their likes and dislike and keeping a track of their booking history are all ways to let your customer know that your business is there to provide the best possible service. Building long lasting relationships is very important in encouraging repeat bookings.

All customers like to have excellent customer service so make sure your service is beyond excellent every time. It will reward your business. Bad service costs your business more than you would imagine. If a customer has a bad experience they will tell between 10 and 20 people. That’s 10 to 20 people that won’t be making bookings with you so remember that the next time you don’t want to provide exceptional service.

Reward regulars

A great way to get your customers to rebook is by offering them incentives. Discounts off your services or even a free service after a customer has attended so many sessions, are all reasons for a customer to continue coming to your business. With so many websites out there that offer value for money deals, offering discounts or rewards for your customers is a great way to stay competitive and keep your customers for the long haul.

Another option if you are actively looking for new business is to reward your customers who recommend your business. Why not give them a discount on their next booking as a thank you?

Gain reviews

Reviews are an easy way to show potential customers how happy your current customers are. TripAdvisor’s tagline is get the truth and go and I’m sure most of us are guilty for checking the site before before booking a hotel or restaurant. That’s why it’s a good idea to ask your customers for feedback and reviews. Not only will it will keep your business at the top of it’s game, you can also ensure that you are providing your customers with what they want.

Sometimes you may not get the review you were looking for, but by responding back to the customer, being proactive, making changes and learning from the feedback, you can encourage new and repeat bookings. One bad review will not bring down your business.


It’s also important to let your customers book an appointment in the easiest way possible. Why not trial Book the Slot, an appointment and booking management platform that has an integrated customer relationship management system and a section for customer reviews. http://provider.booktheslot.com

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5 Ways That Your E-Commerce Start Up Can Save Money http://yhponline.com/2014/09/17/5-ways-that-your-e-commerce-start-up-can-save-money/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=5-ways-that-your-e-commerce-start-up-can-save-money http://yhponline.com/2014/09/17/5-ways-that-your-e-commerce-start-up-can-save-money/#comments Wed, 17 Sep 2014 23:39:45 +0000 http://yhponline.com/?p=36962 During the early days of a new business, funds are tight and the pressure to succeed is high. Cutting costs without compromising on quality is the holy grail of any start-up business – and this, as we all know, is … Continue reading

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save money

During the early days of a new business, funds are tight and the pressure to succeed is high. Cutting costs without compromising on quality is the holy grail of any start-up business – and this, as we all know, is very much easier said than done! Part of the solution is sheer hard work, but there are tips and techniques out there that can make a difference.

Here are five money-saving tips to help your new business:

1. Work from Home

One of the big advantages of starting up an e-commerce business rather than a brick and mortar store is the money saved on property rental and utilities. Where possible, try and run the business entirely from home to avoid additional rental costs. Be sure to invest where it counts; in top-notch internet connection and ergonomic chairs; you’re likely to spend a lot of your time sitting behind a computer screen.

2. Use Skilled Freelance Labour

A start up requires a lot of different skills to shape the business, its ethics and principles. Web presence in particular is vital to its success, but a website that’s both intuitive and attractive presents its own set of challenges. You’ll need to employ a range of skillsets, from web design, coding, copywriting and photography to web management, customer service and stock control.

While you and any partners may be able to cover some of these, other skills may require dedicated specialists. Skilled freelancers are the way to go, and that’s where People Per Hour comes in. It’s a database of skilled freelancers in a range of disciplines offering their professional abilities at affordable rates. This makes it ideal for one-off jobs –take a look at the website.

3. Take on an Apprentice

If you need an extra pair of full-time hands and can dedicate some time to training, an apprentice may be the most affordable option available to you. Apprenticeship schemes have enjoyed something of a renaissance in recent years with the government dedicating significant effort to encouraging companies to take on apprentices.

Companies taking on an apprentice may be entitled to a £1,500 grant which could cover the wages of a 16-18 year old, earning the minimum wage of £2.68, for 15 weeks.

4. Cut Delivery Costs

As a shop existing entirely in an online portal, it is likely that amongst your highest overheads will be delivery charges. Intelligent use of courier and delivery services can help you cut your delivery costs, increasing your profit margins and/or passing these savings on to your customers. With different couriers offering a range of prices for services, it can be beneficial to utilise the service of a number of different companies.

Rapid Parcel is a courier comparison tool which allows you to determine the best courier prices for all of your services quickly and efficiently. Check it out here.

5. Concentrate on Customer Retention

On average, the cost of attracting a new customer is 500-800% higher than the cost of retaining existing customers. This makes it incredibly cost effective to concentrate on keeping existing customers satisfied and coming back for more. Concentrate your efforts on excellent levels of customer service, staying in contact and making yourself available for any queries customers may have and rewarding loyalty.

Have you got any more money-saving tips for start-up businesses? Share your thoughts below.

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2014 StartmeupHK Venture Programme Semi-finalists Announced http://yhponline.com/2014/09/15/2014-startmeuphk-venture-programme-semi-finalists-announced/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=2014-startmeuphk-venture-programme-semi-finalists-announced http://yhponline.com/2014/09/15/2014-startmeuphk-venture-programme-semi-finalists-announced/#comments Mon, 15 Sep 2014 21:21:31 +0000 http://yhponline.com/?p=36946 InvestHK has announced the 40 semi-finalists from the 550 startups that applied for its 2014 StartmeupHK Venture Programme. The semi-finalists represent a range of countries from Bulgaria and India to Kyrgyzstan and Australia. Hong Kong, as expected made up the majority of semi-finalists … Continue reading

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InvestHK announces 2014 StartmeupHK Venture Programme Semi-finalists

InvestHK has announced the 40 semi-finalists from the 550 startups that applied for its 2014 StartmeupHK Venture Programme.

The semi-finalists represent a range of countries from Bulgaria and India to Kyrgyzstan and Australia. Hong Kong, as expected made up the majority of semi-finalists followed by a good showing from the UK with 6. 15 countries were represented overall.

The 40 startups are grouped into two categories: early to growth stage (30) and concept and prototype stage ventures (10). The 40 were chosen from a record 550 applicants!

Th next stage is for the startups to be interviewed by judges before 12 are chosen for the finals in Hong Kong.

Each semi-finalist was chosen by the assessors for the scale of the problem/opportunity being addressed, the effectiveness of the solution and its impact, their venture’s viability, sustainability and scalability, and the economic benefit to Hong Kong in terms of knowledge and skills, job creation, social and environmental value, etc.

The chosen finalists will fly to Hong Kong for StartmeupHK Week between 10-15 November. At the centrepeice of this year’s programme, the StartmeupHK Venture Forum on 11 November, three Grand Award Winners will be chosen by the judges and voting audience.

Three Special Awards will also be given for the best ventures in FinTech, Smart City and Data Analytics. The three Special Awards are sponsored by Accenture (FinTech Award), Schneider Electric (Smart City Award) and KPMG (Data Analytics Award) respectively.

InvestHK’s Director-General of Investment Promotion, Simon Galpin, said he was delighted by the quality of the successful entrants and their diverse geographic and sector origins.

“I am happy to see that the proposals are of such high quality and that they come from so many different countries and cities. I am particularly impressed with the creativity shown by many of these ventures. This is exactly the kind of business creativity we would like to further develop in Hong Kong, to help encourage our homegrown startup culture,” Mr Galpin said.

“I also hope that by staging the global competition in Hong Kong, we can help high net-worth individuals realise the multiple opportunities that start from our fast-growing ecosystem in Hong Kong,” he added.

With winners receiving over $500,000 n total, this competition can have a huge impact on the winning businesses. InvestHK have opened up a great opportunity for the 12 finalists.

Below are the 40 StartmeupHK Venture Programme Semifinalists:

Invest Hong Kong 2014 StartmeupHK Venture Programme Semifinalists

Name of Company Origin Business

Category*

BizSync Pty Ltd Australia Business Services / Digitisation of Paper Documents

1

Lexicum Bulgaria Education / ICT Platform for Foreign Language Learning

1

Jolla Ltd Finland ICT/ Mobile/Open Source Operating System

1

DIAFIR France Medical / Optical Tools for Diagnostics

1

ATH Medical France Medical / Traceability System for Surgical Devices

2

Fast Forward Imaging GmbH Germany Business Services / Imaging for Omni-channel Communications

1

Procurify Hong Kong Business Services / E-procurement Platform

1

MADE Creative Ltd Hong Kong Business Services / Marketing and Design for Brands

1

Yapku Ltd Hong Kong Creative / Managed Services for Content Producers and Owners

1

Tradeos Ltd Hong Kong ICT / Global Freight Pricing Platform

1

Keeprz Hong Kong Retailing / Customer Engagement and Loyalty for Small, Medium Chains

1

Scoutbots Ltd Hong Kong Technology / Open Source Sailing Robots for Ocean Science

1

GLM. Co Ltd Hong Kong Transport / Electric Sports Vehicles

1

uHoo Hong Kong ICT / Health / Air Quality Monitoring

2

Sniply Hong Kong ICT / Social Advertising Ecosystem

2

HashClash Global Ltd Hong Kong Creative / Social Media with Crowd Sharing Model

2

MadbuzzHK Hong Kong Creative/ English Entertainment Online Magazine for Youth

2

Novus Technology Ltd Hong Kong Technology / Wearable Communications Device for the Deaf and Mute

2

Banka BioLoo Pvt Ltd India Healthcare / Converting Human Waste to Re-usable Water

1

Contify India Technology / Business Competitive Intelligence

1

Perseus Telecom Ireland Technology / Home Design Tool

1

BrightInfo Israel ICT / Engagement Marketing for Business

1

n-Join Research Israel Industrial / Factory Production Facilities Optimisation

1

RevenueStream Israel E-commerce / Online Credit Card Fraud Detection System

1

Pics On Air Ltd Israel ICT / Group Photo and Video Sharing for Mobile Users

2

Brand Pit Japan Business Services / Visual Marketing & Advertising Research Tool

2

OPENCBS Kyrgyzstan Financial Services / Improving Quality in Low GDP Economies

1

ConnexionsAsia Pte Ltd (CXA) Singapore Business Services / Platform for Employee HR & Health Benefits

1

BeMyGuest Singapore Tourism / Content & Booking Management for Tours & Activities

1

Sqore Sweden Business Services / Skills Comparison Platform for Recruitment

1

The Intern Group UK Business Services / Intern Learning Opportunities in Asia

1

nu desine UK Consumer / Instrument for Creating Music

1

Objective Associates Limited UK E-commerce / Cloud-based Solution for Global Retailing

1

EasyFinance UK Financial Services / Personal Finance Management

1

Creedon Technologies HK Ltd UK ICT / Photo Storage in the Cloud

1

R5 UK Financial Services / Emerging Forex Trading and Data Services

2

IdeaScale US ICT/ Solution for Feedback and Ideas Collection

1

Seevider, Inc, US Technology / Smart Vision Sensor for SmartCity Apps

1

Vantage Sports US Technology / Sports Content

1

PatentBooks, Inc. (PBI) US ICT / Online Patent Evaluation and Transaction Engine

2

* Category 1: Early to growth stage ventures with revenue and/or significant users/customers

 Category 2: Startups at the concept and prototype stage with no revenue

Learn more about the StartmeupHK Venture Programme 2014 here: www.startmeup.hk.

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Is This the Death of the Job? http://yhponline.com/2014/09/15/is-this-the-death-of-the-job/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=is-this-the-death-of-the-job http://yhponline.com/2014/09/15/is-this-the-death-of-the-job/#comments Mon, 15 Sep 2014 10:06:17 +0000 http://yhponline.com/?p=36939   More people than ever are becoming their own boss, but what does this mean for the UK economy? Throughout 2011 and 2012, national statistics continued telling us that, despite 2.6 million people being out of work in the UK, … Continue reading

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Self Employed

 

More people than ever are becoming their own boss, but what does this mean for the UK economy?

Throughout 2011 and 2012, national statistics continued telling us that, despite 2.6 million people being out of work in the UK, the job market was steadily growing. However, no matter how many new jobs were created, the rate of unemployment refused to shift.

Unfortunately, for the many millions of jobseekers, 40% of the jobs being created were held by self-employed people starting their own businesses. This massive rise in self-employment means that currently 1 in 7 working adults in the UK are their own boss, which is the highest record of self-employment in UK history.

It’s very easy to blame this rise in entrepreneurship and self-employment on the recession alone, but is the reality that a more fundamental shift in attitudes has changed the way we look at work in the UK?

The recession has had an undoubtedly huge effect on the rates of self-employment, and many people set up their own businesses in an attempt to keep themselves afloat, or because they became disillusioned with the stagnant job market.

One such entrepreneur is Hung Siu-see, who started up her own events business after she was made redundant in 2009. “At first, I just started the company in an attempt to make a little extra cash to help pay rent, but within a couple of years the business had become one of my main sources of income” Siu-see told us.

Perhaps the rising levels of self-employment have less to do with economic downturn, and more to do with technological advances. Thanks to communication technology and the internet, now anyone with an entrepreneurial mindset can run their entire business from their laptop, or even their smart phone. Gone are the days when it would have cost many thousands just to buy the office equipment needed to set up a company, before you even factored in advertising and other costs.

The growth of internet marketing and advertising has also been a huge factor in the rise of self-employment, as small businesses can now reach large numbers of customers for free (or almost for free) in ways which were unthinkable just 15 years ago. Social media, SEO and email marketing have given business owners affordable means to market themselves to thousands of potential clients, meaning that finding customers is easier than ever for the small business.

However, technological advances haven’t just benefitted workers; employers too are slowly waking up to the hiring opportunities the internet has given them. Because the technology wasn’t in place to allow employees to work remotely in the past, having an office and access to equipment was essential. However, modern employees can now work from anywhere with an internet connection and be able to liaise with colleagues in real time.

This has changed the way employers look at hiring staff, as they no longer need to hire permanent employees. When hiring a freelancer, you don’t have to cover extra costs such as health insurance, pensions, sick pay, sick cover, holiday pay, maternity/paternity leave and other related costs.

Therefore, in most cases, it actually works out much cheaper to simply hire a freelancer on a project-by-project basis, rather than hire one dedicated staff member.

This change in the way services are traded in the UK may be the real driving force behind the recent rise of entrepreneurialism, but is this a change for the better, or will there be unseen consequences for the self-employment boom?

Although self-employment has put hundreds of thousands back into work, on average, self-employed people make just £12,000 a year. This is substantially less than someone would make working full time for minimum wage, and is bad news for the UK economy as a whole. Since 1 in 7 working people in the UK are self-employed, this means that, including children and dependents, more than 20% of the population are struggling just to scrape by, let alone spend the sort of money needed to help the economy continue to grow.

Even worse, because the average earnings among the self-employed are so low, this means that the potential for expansion, traditionally the primary aim for most entrepreneurs, is virtually non-existent.

So, if self-employment is so gruelling for most small business owners, does this means that we should expect to see the number of self-employed rapidly drop as the job market grows and more people return to working for larger companies?

Not necessarily. Because of the technological advances discussed earlier, many business thinkers, such as Andrei Cherny, anticipate that large employers will increasingly hire freelancers in lieu of permanent staff. This could mean that over the coming decades the job market will continue to shrink as we move towards a more open, fluid employment market where freelancers sell their skills and bid over work and projects.

So, if the job market is slowly becoming more entrepreneurial, what can be done to support the new business owners and guarantee that they have the skills and knowledge necessary to make their business a success?

Mark Pearson, award winning digital entrepreneur and CEO of My Voucher Codes, thinks it all comes down to education and inspiration.

“When a person decides to make an entire business out of their skill, their job stops being merely that one role. For example, if someone becomes a freelance copywriter, they now have the responsibility of not only crafting great copy, but handling the logistics of running a business, and finding new clients through effective marketing.

Unfortunately, there simply isn’t enough affordable, quality training out there for entrepreneurs. Our education system is very good for teaching us the skills we need to become good employees, but it doesn’t necessarily nurture entrepreneurial skills, and doesn’t teach people skills which are applicable when running a business.

If we’re to see Britain’s many new entrepreneurs succeed, there needs to be a support network available for them, to train them and teach them essential business skills. Until that day comes, the responsibility falls to them to educate themselves. The internet is a fantastic learning resource, and combined with social networks like Twitter, all you could ever need to inspire and teach you is right at your fingertips.”

So, as Mark says, perhaps the solution to Britain’s employment issues isn’t to force entrepreneurs back into jobs, but to equip them with the necessary skills they need to succeed independently.

 

Author Bio

Scott is the content editor and business writer at My Voucher Codes. When he’s not writing about subjects ranging from social media to travel, Scott spends his free time learning Mandarin and distance cycling.

 

Starting a business? Need guidance and a route to funding? Check out IncuBus London

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Q&A with Peter Thiel, co founder of PayPal, VC and Philanthropist http://yhponline.com/2014/09/14/qa-with-peter-thiel/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=qa-with-peter-thiel http://yhponline.com/2014/09/14/qa-with-peter-thiel/#comments Sun, 14 Sep 2014 21:39:54 +0000 http://yhponline.com/?p=36922 Peter Thiel took part in a Reddit AMA (Ask Me Anything) this past Thursday. Redditors took to the site to ask him about everything from startup advice & Bitcoin to NSA, Edward Snowden and he also gave some insight into … Continue reading

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Peter Thiel took part in a Reddit AMA (Ask Me Anything) this past Thursday. Redditors took to the site to ask him about everything from startup advice & Bitcoin to NSA, Edward Snowden and he also gave some insight into life in Silicon Valley.

There were some great questions and even better answers. I have picked a selection so you don't have to sift through the whole lot.

To begin, he gave this short bio:

Hi, I'm Peter Thiel, co-founder of PayPal and Palantir, first investor in Facebook, venture capitalist at Founders Fund, and author of Zero to One.

And proof it was actually him answering the questions...

Peter Thiel AMA

Then the questions came in...

What did you think when you first met Elon Musk?

Very smart, very charismatic, and incredibly driven -- a very rare combination, since most people who have one of these traits learn to coast on the other two.

It was kind of scary to be competition against his startup in Palo Alto in Dec 1999-Mar 2000.

What do you think is the most exciting example of a company showing "determinate optimism" today?

The dual Elon Musk empire of Tesla and SpaceX.

What do you think about NSA/Snowden and the impact on cloud, security, and general startups in the USA?

It is a much-needed debate. BTW, I don't agree with the libertarian description of the NSA as "big brother." I think Snowden revealed something that looks more like the Keystone Kops and very little like James Bond.

The first thing an intelligence agency should do is counter-intelligence, and the NSA could not even figure out that there was something suspicious about an IT person downloading all those files. And once they knew Snowden had done this, they apparently still couldn't figure out what all he had taken...

It was inappropriate that the US was tapping Angela Merkel's cell phone. But I suspect that this was news to Obama as well. And more generally: the NSA has been hovering up all the data in the world, because it has no clue what it is doing. "Big data" really means "dumb data."

What was your reaction to THE SOCIAL NETWORK movie?

The zero-sum world it portrayed has nothing in common with the Silicon Valley I know, but I suspect it's a pretty accurate portrayal of the dysfunctional relationships that dominate Hollywood.

Hollywood portrayal of Silicon Valley

What's the worst investment you've ever made? What lessons did you learn from it?

Biggest mistake ever was not to do the Series B round at Facebook.

General lesson: Whenever a tech startup has a strong up round led by a top tier investor (Accel counts), it is generally still undervalued. The steeper the up round, the greater the undervaluation.

I like your initiative for change (i.e. challenging higher education). Any plans to challenge the patent system?

Bonus tip for philanthropists: Find a way to sue Intellectual Ventures. If we could get rid of these parasites, we'd all be better off.

What is one piece of advice you have for entrepreneurs today?

Start with focusing on a small market and dominate that market first.

What is your view on Bitcoin? will it replace the current financial system we have?

PayPal built a payment system but failed in its goal in creating a "new world currency" (our slogan from back in 2000). Bitcoin seems to have created a new currency (at least on the level of speculation), but the payment system is badly lacking.

I will become more bullish on Bitcoin when I see the payment volume of Bitcoin really increase.

Do you think everyone should learn to code, or at least startup founders? 

I think people should start learning to code in junior high school. I am still a fan of the two-person founding team, with one more on the business side and one more on the technical side.

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For more, read the whole Peter Thiel AMA.

 

Starting a business? Need guidance and a route to funding? Check out IncuBus London

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