eCommerce Blog


This is our blog, where members of the company talk about business, ecommerce, and design.

Don’t get beaten by your competitors

Don’t get beaten by your competitors

I am astounded by the number of times I search for a product online, click the option to purchase, only to find that I then need to phone the retailer to pay. In 2016, this kind of disconnected experience is not good enough. Connected consumers want the freedom to buy from anywhere at any time, with a recent Zendesk survey revealing that 67% of consumers use multiple channels to make purchases.

Omnichannel Retail

Omnichannel retailing gives customers the freedom to have a connected, multi-channel purchase experience. Originally, omnichannel was about connecting the physical store with ecommerce, mobile, and social media, but has now evolved to a flexible and seamless shopping experience for consumers, regardless of whether the customer walks into a store, browses on a website, or orders via mobile phone.

As a customer, I want to be able to pay for my order from my office computer and call into the store on the way home to collect it. Alternatively, let’s say I’m looking for a new BBQ. I might also want to be shopping in-store, make the purchase on my mobile device, or via a self-serve point-of-sale device, and then leave the store, without having to wait in line to be served. I might also want to organise for the item to be shipped direct to my house and be there in the afternoon so I can cook for my guests that night.

To fully realise the omnichannel experience, retailers need to focus on the following points:

  1. Focus on making the customer the centre of the experience.
  2. Document and walk-through every step of the customer journey (including the automated emails you send to your customers).
  3. Integrate all channels. A good ecommerce SaaS platform will enable you to retain one warehouse (or multiple warehouses) and list your products through multiple channels.
  4. Redefine what the store is—you might find you are able to lease a smaller store but change the customer experience in the store.
  5. Streamline the logistics. Customers are seeking flexibility and convenience. Your ecommerce platform should be configured to offer a range of different fulfilment options.
  6. Enable cross-border trade. Third-party warehouses and logistics , drop-shipping, or international carriers allow retailers to sell internationally and the good quality ecommerce Saas platforms are now enabling this functionality.
  7. Watch out for the next big change. Australian retailers need to regularly monitor consumer adoption of new technology. For instance, augmented reality and artificial intelligence are starting to become commercially viable and are gaining traction in US, European and Asian retail.

Sell Everywhere

With online shopping cart SaaS solutions starting from around $49 per month, anyone in retail can start offering an omnichannel experience to their customers. If you are a retailer or wholesaler and you are not currently providing your customers with an omnichannel shopping experience, you are:

  1. Losing market share;
  2. Not providing your customers with the best experience possible;
  3. Losing future shares of customer spend; and
  4. Experiencing a higher costs base than those who are running an omnichannel experience.

As digital continues to touch every step of the customer journey, retailers are having to build their businesses and develop marketing strategies to enable customers to convert on any channel. According to a 2015 study by IDC, multi-channel shoppers have a 30% higher lifetime value than those who shop using only one channel.

Increasing the presence of your products and brands across channels can also help increase total sales. According to Deloitte, awareness generated through websites, apps, and online marketplaces creates a related positive affect across all sales channels, not just online.

Manage Everything

The first part of omnichannelling is being able to sell everywhere. The second part, which is often the forgotten component to omnichannelling, is being able to manage everything to create seamless processes for you and your staff.

For some time now, there have been a number of expensive enterprise solutions such as Hybris from SAP, Demandware, NetSuite or Magento, which have offered retailers the opportunity to integrate their back end. However, a number of SaaS solutions are now starting to make the same seamless integration possible for small to medium enterprises at a fraction of the cost.

The quality and robustness of some SaaS platforms presents an opportunity for retailers to enjoy enterprise-level functionality for a fraction of the cost. Why spend $30,000 on annual license fees and another $40,000+ to maintain your ecommerce platform when you can achieve the same performance for much less? At the same time, retailers need to ensure they don’t settle for the cheapest option or the option that their web developer recommends without undertaking some further analysis. Selecting the right platform to enable your business to Sell Everywhere and Manage Everything can really help you grow your sales by providing an amazingly connected customer journey and reduce your annual operating costs by streamlining your back of house processes.

Things to look for in a good ecommerce Saas Platform:

  1. An agnostic platform (i.e. one that allows you to integrate with other best-of-breed SaaS solutions), but one that has POS, order management, shipping and logistics and inventory all built into one platform. This will save you, your staff, and your accountant many headaches.
  2. With inventory in the Cloud you are protecting your business against Facebook’s recent launch of peer to peer eCommerce or Amazon as it continues with its global domination. A Saas platform with inventory in the Cloud will allow you to sell on any of these platforms/marketplaces.
  3. The ability to run multiple warehouse locations.
  4. Will write and maintain all of the core integrations themselves, so you are not relying on third-party connectors.
  5. Ability to sell into negative inventory.
  6. A core platform that is very feature-rich. You get what you pay for. Many retailers building their business get caught out with having to purchase many ‘add-ons’ which can add up to hundreds of extra dollars every month.
  7. No transaction fees or excess bandwidth charges. How many of you are being penalised by your SaaS platform as you grow your business?

I hope this introductory blog on omnichannel shopping has given you a few things to ponder. If you start your journey by understanding the specific traits of the omnichannel shopper and build your offering around their desires and behaviours, you’re making a great start. Get to know who they are and what motivates them to shop online and in-store by using tools that will help you measure online and offline purchases across channels. The next piece of the puzzle to is to study your staff journey as they go about their daily routines. What can you automate through your ecommerce platform? Which processes as part of the journey are being performed by outside suppliers/contractors that you can also automate?

With the right platform, you should be able to exponentially grow your sales and reduce your costs, resulting in a significantly enhanced bottom line and more time to focus on growing your business.

What You Really Should Look For When Hiring New Staff

What You Really Should Look For When Hiring New Staff

Hiring the right person for the job isn’t always a straightforward process. There are many variables to consider and whether you are a startup looking to hire your very first member of staff or already have a few team members on board and are looking to expand, the right person with the right skills can really enhance your work environment and have a positive impact on production. Hiring the wrong person does just the opposite and can not only be a costly exercise, but it can also be time-consuming and even have a negative impact on employee morale.

When you hire someone who is buzzing with new ideas, wants to know more about your business and is passionate about what they do and what their potential role could be at your enterprise, you’re not only enhancing your work environment instantaneously, you’re also making a solid, serious investment in your business. Here we’ll run through some of the best tips from industry experts on how to attract the right employee and what key attributes you should be looking for in every candidate.

Know the role you’re hiring for

Human Resources Expert Susan Heathfield suggests that finding the right employee begins with attracting the right applicants through a solid and well thought out job description. This should start with a thorough analysis of what the responsibilities, duties, skills and outcomes will be for that role. After taking the time to do this, it’s easier to create a job description which will help you develop a well-rounded and targeted hiring strategy - making finding the right person easier.

Have a checklist

Susan Heathfield also suggests having a checklist to review whenever a candidate applies. Prioritise what key requirements are most important and also list the qualifications, traits and even characteristics you’re looking for in a new employee. Once again, by honing in on what you’re looking for, you’re able to more easily screen potential employees during the initial resume submission process and then at the interview level.

Ask the right questions

Of course, initial interview questions may focus around past experience, qualifications and expertise, but what about asking questions that assess someone’s cultural fit for your business? You want to ask questions that not only determine one’s suitability for the role as it stands but also how this individual may fit within your workplace and what they’ll contribute. Do your research and create a list of questions which are targeted and relevant and also give you a holistic idea of the candidate, how they work and what their personality is like.

John Scharz, CEO and founder of workforce analytics company Visier, suggests asking things like:

  • Why do you work?
  • What makes you get up in the morning and do what you do?
  • Who are you going to be in 10 years from now?

Drive and ambition can be partly measured by asking questions like this and you want to hire someone who has the drive and passion to grow along with your flourishing enterprise.

Don’t underestimate potential

Many skills can be learnt on the job or during special training. Don’t underestimate the importance of the personality of a new employee or their level of social intelligence. Maynard Brusman, owner of consulting firm Working Resources and a psychologist recommends hiring someone based not only their qualifications but also on their social skill set. "Social intelligence — being able to navigate social situations and work well with others — is very important.”

Tom Gimbel, CEO and founder of staffing and recruiting firm LaSalle Network, also believes that having social intelligence is important in a future team member, "Consider soft skills — like interpersonal skills, communication skills, thought processes and emotional intelligence — because they matter."

Find someone who is highly adaptable

In most businesses, change is one of the biggest constants, so hiring someone with an ability to adapt and be flexible should be high on the priority list. Asking a candidate about ways that they’ve previously adapted and shifted to evolve in a changing workplace in the past is a great place to start. You want to find the right person who has the ability to not only take on a new role but also continue full steam ahead should the company’s direction change or their role evolve.

Look for a love of learning

Having a key interest and pursuit of gaining new skills - even if completely unrelated to the position they are applying for - shows a desire for knowledge and an eagerness for learning. Steve Leveen, CEO and founder of Levenger, says he looks specifically for individuals who are collectors. “It doesn’t actually matter what they collect. Just that they are really interested in something, that they have passions.”

Search for those with a commitment to their career

Steve Olenski advises that it’s important to seek out an employee who is committed to their career and its progression. He argues that you don’t want someone who will simply chop and change their role in different businesses just to obtain a higher salary. Finding someone who wants to grow within a company and who has strong attributes of loyalty will pay off in the long run. Identifying candidates who frequently switch jobs should be a red flag for any potential employer.

Let the interviewee ask their own questions

It’s important that a candidate can also determine whether they want to pursue a role at your business and if it’s the right fit for them too. Opening up and providing honest answers when questions are posed in the other direction is just as important to ensure the right candidate is chosen who will enjoy working for your company, contribute in all the right ways, and be in it for the long haul.

Consider involving your current employees

In most cases, being able to work in a team environment (at least some of the time) is vital to any role. If you want to really gauge how a potential candidate will work within a particular team, why not involve a few employees in the hiring process? Each candidate should meet with a few different staff members individually and the feedback you receive from your trusted employees can also help guide you to make a final decision. If you have a few candidates who are on par with one another, going through this process can be a good way to gain additional feedback from the rest of your team. It also gives the candidate a chance to meet their potential colleagues and this can help them to visualise themselves in the role and how they’ll fit within your company culture.

Remember, there’ll always be something to learn

The truth is, each candidate will have to do some amount of learning and development when they commence a new role. No one is usually ever perfectly qualified for a position. So remember that while skills and experience are important, having a team member who contributes to your company culture in a positive way and brings their own passion to the table is also something you don’t want to discount. By asking the right questions and being prepared for the interview process, you’ll be able to hire the right person who will bring immense value to your business.

Why It’s Never Too Early to Start Your eCommerce Business

Why It’s Never Too Early to Start Your eCommerce Business

With more than 1.46 billion digital buyers worldwide, there’s no doubt that an online store is an excellent way to make money.

And with our continually growing reliance on digital media, eCommerce is only going to grow. In the Asia Pacific region, PwC research suggest sales will reach US$1.3 trillion by 2019.

Getting in now could be the best thing you ever did.

Why get into eCommerce?

Earn from anywhere

For bricks-and-mortar businesses, location is of primary importance, making a huge difference in terms of visibility and sales. In eCommerce, however, you can set up a storefront at your own domain name and sell products to people all over the world. eCommerce lets you sell to a person in Brisbane from your home in Sydney. It allows you to take a holiday in Asia while still collecting orders. It allows you to schedule your own hours and work from anywhere in the world.

Earn while you sleep

There’s not too many businesses that allow you to earn money while you sleep, but eCommerce is one of them. Sure, there’s still a lot to do, but there are automated processes that go ahead whether you’re awake or not. With a global customer base, you could wake to find a series of new orders.

It’s easy to get started

With increased eCommerce use comes more eCommerce tools to make setting up an online store relatively simple. There of course are costs associated with starting an online store, but they are minimal - especially when compared to a physical store. Some eCommerce platforms (like ours!) offer free trials to make starting your online store even more achievable.

Everything is measurable

One of the advantages to selling online is being able to track everything. You can see where a customer came from, how they interacted with your site, what they purchased, what they left in their cart and more. This data provides vital information you can use to build your online store.

Why it’s never too early

So you know that setting up an online store is a great idea. But are you ready? The answer is… YES.

You don’t have to risk it all

When you start a new business, there’s a lot than can go wrong. But starting an eCommerce business doesn’t mean risking it all. There’s no reason why you have to jump in the deep end - you can start off small and work it on the side of your current job. That’ll give you great insight into whether or not it’s worth putting more resources into.

You’ll build personal financial security

When you work for someone else, you never really know what’s around the corner. Anything can happen - but should the rug be pulled from under you, at least you have your eCommerce store to fall back on.

Waiting won’t help

It’s easy to keep waiting. Perhaps you think you’ll have a bit more time to work on things in the near future. Perhaps you think you should wait til you find the perfect product. The reality is that there will always be something telling you that ‘later may be a better time’. Don’t wait to see if someone else can succeed at something you know you’ll be good at.

Building a new business is exciting

The opportunity to make money, to build a brand name, or to make a difference in your industry is exciting. Grabbing the bull by both horns does something to a person. It sets a fire inside that’s hard to extinguish. You might not think you’re ready right now, but as soon you get started and set the ball rolling, you’ll be amazed at how motivated you become.

How to Write Fashion Product Descriptions That Sell

How to Write Fashion Product Descriptions That Sell

A smart fashion retailer knows that product descriptions can mean the difference between making a sale, and losing a potential customer forever.

They can give the consumer the information they need to feel comfortable parting with their money. They can change “that’s a nice coat” into “I MUST have that coat”.

The good news is that communicating your product’s value is easy when you follow these simple tips…

1. Know your ideal customer

When you’re trying to write for the masses, you end up pleasing nobody. Instead of thinking about all of your potential customers, think about your ideal one and speak directly to them. They are the ones you want to convert because these are the ones that will be repeat customers.

Oxford Shop does this in their description of their ‘Stretch Travel Shirt’, where they speak directly to professional men who like to travel.

Stretch Travel Shirt_Oxford
Image via Oxford

2. Avoid jargon

You might have been in the fashion industry for years and know a thing or two about inside fashion lingo, but the average shopper might not. Don’t use words only you can understand, and keep product titles simple.

3. Watch your tone

It’s important to remember who your target audience is when writing product descriptions. Your voice should express the personality of your brand. If you are a retailer of high-end suits and office wear, you want to avoid sounding too trendy and stick to words such as “polished”, “classic”, and “delicate”. If, however, you are a retailer of brightly coloured streetwear, you can afford to adopt a language that reflects this, using words such as “funky”, “unconventional”, and “expressive”.

Culture Kings provides a good example - with their young, urban vibe, they can get away with saying things like “this crew has all the good and so much more”.

Crooks and Castles C&C Fleece Product Description

Image via Culture Kings

4. Be creative with descriptive words

Adjectives allow the buyer to tap into how something may make them feel, but avoid using self-praising phrases such as “excellent” and “superior”. Consumers don’t want to feel that you’re suggesting they don’t have the ability to judge a product for themselves. Instead look to descriptive words that offer the details that build up to “excellent” and “superior”, such as “elegant” or “durable”, depending on the type of product.

5. Think about benefits

Sure, the technical details are important, but mundane features and specifics don’t drive sales - listing the benefits does. Shoppers want to know how they will feel in an item and how others will perceive them when they wear it. Make it clear what’s in it for them if they buy.

Men’s suit brand InStitchu sells the benefits by evoking images of successful businessmen in both the names and descriptions of their suits. The below description reads: “The beauty is in the name. Wear this rakish grey glen plaid jacket and all will know that you are the Boss. Named after the 3 time Melbourne Cup winning champion jockey of Makybe Diva, Glen Boss. Featuring a notch lapel and made from premium Super 130's 100% wool.”

InSitchu Mr Boss Suite Jacket

Image via InSitchu

6. Make them scannable

Studies suggest that more than 79% of Internet readers scan through text, picking out individual words and sentences. So in order to decipher whether or not a product is worth reading more about, it must first offer a product description that will stop a reader mid-scan. To make scan-friendly product descriptions you should:

  • Use short, enticing and easy to understand product names
  • Use bullet points for technical specifications Ensure a lot of white space within the copy Be concise Use an easily readable font size Offer two descriptive lines to draw readers in

7. Answer their potential questions

Think about any questions your customers may have that aren’t necessarily answered by your images. “Does that handbag have an internal pocket for my phone?”. “How will I get in and out of that tight dress?”. The latter question is answered perfectly by The Iconic in the below product description, which explains that there’s an invisible zip at the back of the dress.

The Iconic Product Description

Image via The Iconic

8. Be mobile-friendly

With approximately 81 percent of Australians owning a smartphone, today’s customers are frequently shopping on-the-go: from on the train, while on their lunch break, or while waiting for a bus. Your descriptions need to be accessible to a mobile audience, so as well as making them scannable, keep them succinct, with short sentences and paragraphs that get straight to the point.

9. Give style advice

In a physical store you would try to connect with every person that entered in the hope of converting them into a buyer, and the same must go for eCommerce. Think about how you would pitch a product in person and then try to put it into words for online readers. As a fashion retailer, customers will assume you know a lot about trends and style, so offer advice about how they can best wear your clothes.

Net-a-Porter does a great job of coming across like an expert with friendly advice to offer. The below description suggests: “Try yours with a fluid skirt and sandals.”

Net-a-Porter Product Description

Image via Net-a-Porter

10. Keep description lengths consistent

For the sake of providing a consistent user experience, keep the length and amount of data in your product descriptions the same across each category. If a product doesn’t warrant the same length as an other, readers may jump to the conclusion that your product range is inconsistent in quality.

Convert more customers with the right descriptions

Your product description may be the deciding factor that helps you seal the deal when a customer lands on a product that takes their fancy. Follow these tips and you’ll be one step closer to making your fashion business dreams a reality.

CEO's Mid-Year Update

CEO's Mid-Year Update

2016 has been a busy year at Neto. In our mission to deliver an open commerce platform that enables anyone to sell anything, anywhere, we have released a new sales channel (Neto Point-of-Sale), re-architected our technology stack and expanded our list of native integrations and support services.

In addition to building out our platform, we have also built out our team.  I am now lucky enough to share the office with over 100 talented individuals who all share my vision to empower our merchants to achieve their dreams by transforming how they do business every day.

We understand that our platform is critical to the success of our merchants. We also understand that having visibility over our product roadmap is important when doing your own business planning. Therefore, I am pleased to announce that moving forward we will start to share our product feature roadmap with you. This includes features being worked on and those that have been planned up to 6 months in advance of release.

You can now find our roadmap online by going to:

The release of our first public roadmap is particularly exciting because it includes a feature that has been at the top of our customer feature request list for many years, FULLY FEATURED INVENTORY. This includes: costed purchase orders, COGS tracking, multi-location stock takes, stock adjustments and transfers. This major feature will enable you to better manage one the biggest pain points in your business and will ultimately position Neto as a truly end-to-end digital commerce platform.

We have been working with select customers and partners in the planning and development of our new inventory module. This has been an exciting and motivating experience. In coming weeks and months I will start to share our progress with you, so that you too can provide feedback and input into this game changing feature. For those of you with a bricks-and-mortar presence, you will be happy to see that we are going to continue to invest in building out Neto POS. This includes adding features such as split payments, loyalty and gift cards.

eBay merchants can look forward to improvements to the usability of our eBay integration and 3rd party app developers can expect new API endpoints and functionality.  We are also in the final stages of testing several new payment integrations. These include: Stripe, Braintree, eWay Rapid 3.1 and new versions of Paypal Express and Afterpay. All are expected to be released within the next 4-8 weeks.

Thank you for being a part of the Neto community and all the best for the second half of 2016!




10 Tips for Coming Up With a Killer Business Name

10 Tips for Coming Up With a Killer Business Name

“A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.”

In one of Shakespeare's most famous lines, he reminds us that a name really is just... a name.

But is a name more when it comes to business?

Let’s for a moment look at some of the perks of a smart business name.

A creative business name can:

  • Create curiosity: A good business name gets people intrigued about what you actually do.
  • Be unforgettable: A good business finds its way into a person’s memory bank.
  • Offer heart: A business name that displays the heart of your brand reveals your character.
  • Pack a punch: Sometimes people only have a couple of seconds to remember you.
  • Make people smile: A smart, creative or funny business name can make people look twice.
  • Provide a point of difference: In a sea of competitors, a smart business name can make you stand out.
  • Tell your story: Your business name can say a lot about your brand.
  • Evoke emotion: A powerful business name can encourage people to feel something.
  • Create opportunity: If you sound interesting, people will ask about you. Bonus promo tool!
  • Build trust: A trustworthy-sounding name can offer a great first impression.

So with this in mind, maybe you should spend a little time deciding on your business name. After all, it’s going to stay with you throughout your business journey.

Tips for choosing a stand out company name

1. Think about your audience

It’s important to choose a name that’s going to sit well with your audience. When venture capital business CB Insights was initially founded, co-founder Anand Sanwal wanted to name it something cool and funky. He settled on “Chubby Brain” without properly thinking about who he would be working with. After speaking with the investment banks and other institutional clients that would be citing his startup’s data in their marketing materials, he soon learnt they weren’t happy with the name and so it was changed to CB Insights.

2. Make it simple

A business name shouldn’t be a challenge to spell, recite or remember. It should be simple and to the point. A number of leading companies have all chosen names between five and ten letters, and all are easy to say, spell and remember. Think Google, Starbucks and Kodak.

Do remember, however, that short url names are in high demand, so check your name is available before you become too settled on it.

3. Enlist a focus group

Once you have a shortlist of names, it could be a smart move to see how your target audience responds to them. Survey as many people as you can and gather opinions. Remember, the right business name might not necessarily be the name everyone likes best - it could be the one they remember the most.

By enlisting a focus group, you also open yourself up to possible suggestions you may not have thought of. When Richard Branson was about to launch his mail order record retailer, one of his workers suggested they name the company “Virgin” to reflect the notions that they were virgins of the business world. Branson loved the idea and decided to embrace their naivety rather than conceal it.

4. Don’t obsess over a descriptive name

The name of your company doesn’t have to make it clear what your business is - think Apple. When Steve Jobs wanted to create a new line of personal computers in the 70s, computers were considered foreign and inaccessible. So when it came to choosing the company name, Jobs searched for a friendly, inviting name that people were familiar with.

5. Think about what people can gain from your company

When consumers are shopping around, they want to know the benefits of choosing a particular brand. That’s why when in 1971 Bill Bowerman and Philip Knight (the founders of Blue Ribbon Sports) were to launch a new line of soccer shoes, they settled on the name Nike. Nike is the Greek mythological name given to the Winged Goddess of Victory, and the duo wanted their customers to feel that by choosing their product, they would become victorious. In fact, the name was so powerful that in 1978, Blue Ribbon Sports officially changed their company name to Nike.

6. Be original

If you want to stand out from your competition, think of a name that no other business has or can replicate. That’s exactly what Reuben and Rose Mattus did when naming their ice cream store Häagen-Dazs. Not only was the name unique, it used a completely made up word! They settled on it because they thought it sounded exotic and would appeal to those looking for foreign-sounding brands.

7. Don’t narrow your focus

A common naming mistake is to focus on a name that reflects what your business does now, rather than where you plan to go. Avoid picking names with a specific geographic location or product categories that won’t allow you to expand your product line.

8. Check your competition

This might be an obvious point, but check the availability of your name where you will be operating. Free searches are available online to determine whether your proposed company name is similar or identical to another already registered.

9. Use a thesaurus

A thesaurus is a great way to come up with a whole list of words that may be relevant to your startup company. Create a long list of options and then test out combining words with others. If nothing else, it’s a great way to get the creative juices flowing.

10. Look at your name from a personal perspective

As the founder of your startup company, it’s wise to choose a name that means something to you. Many companies choose names based on founder surnames - think BuzzFeed (named after founders Jonah Buzz and Mark Feed) or startup location - think Duane Reade (whose first warehouse was located between Duane Street and Reade Street in Manhattan).

Don’t overthink it

When all’s said and done, it’s your product and service that will make your customers fall in love with you, so make sure that they are your main focus and don’t spend too much time obsessing over your name.

10 Examples of Outstanding Customer Service That Fuels Loyalty

10 Examples of Outstanding Customer Service That Fuels Loyalty

You put a lot of work into gaining your customers.

So once you have them, you don’t want them to simply buy from you once, and then leave you to go out acquiring new customers.

That’s exactly what might happen if your customer has a bad experience with your customer service.

In a world where your competitors are only a click away, it’s not surprising that customer service has been called the new marketing. Excellent customer service will outshine any well-orchestrated PR campaign, no matter how elaborate.

Let’s look at some interesting statistics released by New Voice Media...

  • 59% of 25-34-year-olds share poor customer experiences online.
  • 58% of consumers would refuse to use a company again following a negative customer experience.
  • 60% of consumers wouldn’t exchange good service for cheap prices.
  • 69% of consumers will recommend a company following a positive customer experience.

As well as recommending your business to others, it’s no secret that loyal customers tend to buy more, more regularly.

But how do you obtain customer loyalty?

Effective customer relationship management means organising your entire business to focus on the needs of customers. That means learning about your different customer segments and thinking of ways to make life easier for them. It means offering added-value, incentives to stay loyal, and personalised experiences. It means monitoring and analysing the contact you have with your customers, and keeping a continual dialogue with them, where their feedback is welcomed and responded to. You’ll also need to develop a consistent brand and encourage employees to deliver high-quality care.

Or you could simply take inspiration from these excellent customer service examples, and do something that’s so unexpected and delighting that your customers can’t help but spread your name because of it…

1. Responding to a Tweeted request for a steak

Morton’s Steakhouse from the US is (by their own assertion) “widely regarded as the best place for prime steak anywhere”, but they still surprised many when they answered author and business consultant Peter Shankman’s airport-based tweet. Shankman was getting ready to board the final leg of a long day of flying when he tweeted, “Hey, @Mortons - can you meet me at Newark Airport with a porterhouse steak when I land in two hours? K, thanks. :)”

Sure enough, two hours later there stood a tuxedoed man carrying a paper bag consisting of a 24oz Morton’s porterhouse steak, along with all of the trimmings, napkins and cutlery. Someone at Morton’s had seen the tweet, got approval for the idea, arranged for a chef to cook the steak, travelled 23.5 miles to the airport, tracked down Shankman’s flight information, and had worked out where to meet him once off the plane. That’s an impressive amount of effort!

2. Flying a mother-in-law in to deliver eggs

The Ritz-Carlton knows that stories have the power to inspire and motivate employees as well as impress customers. Every day, employees of the Ritz-Carlton around the world gather for 15 minutes to share examples that reinforce their service values. One such story involved a couple travelling with their allergy-suffering son on a trip to Bali. They discovered their specialised eggs and milk had been ruined en route and were devastated. After informing the manager of the Ritz-Carlton Hotel (where they were staying), a quest began to retrieve the ruined items. Unfortunately, no store in Bali sold the products needed, so the hotel’s Executive Chef arranged for his mother-in-law, who lives in Singapore, to go to the store and buy them before boarding a 2.5 hour flight to Bali to deliver them.

3. Taking on board a 3-year-old’s suggestion

When an observant little three-year-old wrote to grocery giant Sainsbury’s to suggest that their “Tiger Bread” be called “Giraffe Bread” due to its colouring and pattern, they were clearly amused. So much so that the little girl received a response from the chain saying, “I think renaming tiger bread giraffe bread is a brilliant idea - it looks much more like the blotches on a giraffe than stripes on a tiger, doesn’t it? It is called tiger bread because the first baker who made it a looong time ago thought it looked stripey like a tiger. Maybe they were a bit silly.” The customer service manager that wrote the letter then went on to change the name of the bread to Giraffe Bread.

4. Sending get well flowers to a customer

If there is ever an example company when it comes to great customer service, it has to be Zappos. The online shoe and clothing store is renowned for the epic lengths it goes to to keep customers happy, and there are so many stories that customers flock to buy their products. Take the story of one lady, who ordered six pairs of shoes for her mother following medical treatment that had left her feet numb and sensitive to pressure. Her mother tried them on but not all of them worked, so she called the company to explain why she was returning so many shoes. Two days later, the mother received a large bouquet of flowers from Zappos, wishing her well and hoping that she recovered from her treatments soon. The customer, her mother, and her sister were also upgraded to Zappos VIP Members.

5. Shielding customers from the rain

This next story shows that gestures don’t have to be grand to get noticed. A Wendy’s employee, having noticed an old man about to step out into the pouring rain, ran outside, picked an umbrella out of an outside table, and held it over the gentleman as he walked from the restaurant to his car. The scene was captured by a man sitting in his vehicle, who then shared an image on Reddit and recounted the story.

6. Sending a personalised birthday gift from the CEO

Valve Corporation is an American video game developer and CEO Gabe Newell has an army of fans. The company today is worth billions of dollars, but no matter how big it gets, Newell is always quick to respond to and address the needs of the company's ever-growing customer base. When one customer asked him to sign a piece of paper and send it to him for his birthday, he went above and beyond to make his birthday gift special. Instead of a piece of paper, Newell sent a Portal mousepad with his signature, and a copy of The Sacrifice with a ton of signatures from Valve employees.

7. Free food delivered to a snowed-in veteran

When neighbourhood grocery store Trader Joe’s heard that a local WWII veteran was snowed in at his house with little food, they arranged for a home delivery of low-sodium foods to match his dietary needs. The store doesn’t usually make house calls, but they made an exception at the request of his daughter. Better yet, they didn’t charge a cent for the the delivery or the groceries.

8. A pilot waits for grieving grandfather

A lady rang Southwest Airlines to arrange a flight for her husband, enroute from a business trip in L.A. He needed to get Denver hospital, to see his three-year-old grandson for the last time. The boy, who had been beaten into a coma by his mother’s boyfriend, was being taken off life support that evening. The passenger arrived late to the plane and thought he was going to miss his flight. Fortunately, the pilot, who knew the man’s reason for travel, wasn’t going anywhere without him. The plane had waited.

9. Wife said no, Apple said yes

When the iPad 2 was launched, a man purchased one online only to return it to the company almost immediately. His explanation for returning it came in the form of a Post-It note which simply said “Wife said no”. Return processors must have got a kick out of the note, as not only did they give the man a full refund, they returned the iPad to him with a Post-It note that said, “Apple said yes”.

10. Custom toys for a child in hospital

When Bungie Studios, one of the most beloved game developers in the industry, heard a little fan of Halo was in the hospital at Christmas and unable to enjoy their latest release, they sent him the next best thing. Well actually, something better. The entire Bungie team took turns signing a customised get well soon card (which suggested that “world domination can wait”), and they also sent a custom helmet based off the main character along with shirts, toys and custom art from the game’s designers.

The message? Go above and beyond

Stories are one of the most powerful marketing tools you can harness. Customers love to share their positive experiences, so if you can find ways to surprise them by going above and beyond just like these companies did, you’ll be sure to win their loyalty.

Tactics for Increasing Your eCommerce Conversion Rate Fast

Tactics for Increasing Your eCommerce Conversion Rate Fast

When you’re selling online, getting visitors to your site can be a difficult and expensive process. But it’s only half the battle.

If those visitors are not buying from you once they get there, you’re missing out on a lot of opportunity.

That’s where conversion rate optimisation comes in.

Improving your conversion rate can make a huge difference to your bottom line by ensuring you’re converting more of your hard-earned visitors into paying customers.

So how do you go about increasing your conversion rate?

Here are 14 tactics you can use to improve your conversion rate over time…

1. Use clear and compelling copy

Good copy, provided by a seasoned writer with good sales skills, helps your readers understand your offer - and how to respond. When writing about your products, use simple words which provide all the information that customers need to make their decision. How you use words may matter more than you think. A test by L’Axelle that changed their copy from comfort-oriented (‘Feel fresh without sweat marks’) to action-oriented (‘Put an end to sweat marks’) saw a 93% increase in the number of people adding the product to their cart.

2. Test your call-to-action (CTA)

Call-to-action buttons are the buttons you use on your website to guide users towards your goal conversion. For your eCommerce site, the button is probably an Add to Cart or a Buy Now button. These buttons get people eager to act, so it’s essential they work effectively. Take a look at the size, colour, text, position and surrounding whitespace and see if there’s anything that could make your buttons more appealing. It should always be obvious to a customer how your site works - so usually brighter, bigger buttons will work best. Remember to test just one small change at a time so that you can see the impact it has and make informed decisions about what to alter for good.

3. Offer free shipping

Nothing has customers scrolling towards the ‘close’ button quite like an unexpected shipping fee when they reach their cart. One study found that 93% of people would be encouraged to buy more products if there was free shipping on their order. On the other side of the coin, high shipping costs were rated as the number one reason why customers were not happy with their online shopping experience. So just how important is free shipping to customers? Well, not only can you increase your conversion rate with free shipping (one eCommerce business saw a 50% increase in conversions when they introduced free shipping for orders over $100), but also, orders with free shipping average around 30% higher in total value.

4. Simplify your checkout process

According to Statista, 21% of customers abandon their shopping cart because of a lengthy checkout process. This may mean there are too many pages, forms, or fields for them to navigate. Customers also don’t like to give away information that they think is irrelevant to their purchase. Make the buying process as quick and easy as possible, and make it clear to customers how many more steps they have left to go. You may find you lose less people along the way.

5. Invest in your photos

Professional photos make a website, and without them, your conversion rate will take a hit. When it comes to product images, the more the better. Include high quality photos of your product from different angles and distances, and showing the product in action. Customers want to feel more informed about their purchase - which is probably why online retailer saw a 27% increase in their conversion rate after including 360 degree rotating images.

6. Get rid of distractions

One of the biggest mistakes you can make is overcrowding your website with too much information, or flashy functions. We know your design goal is to look different, but you should do that by highlighting your professional value. Take a look at the world’s leading brands and their websites. Notice something? They’re all clean and clutter-free. If that’s not incentive enough, consider the results of an A/B test by personalised gift retailers nameOn, which saw an 11.40% increase in overall eCommerce conversion rate after removing unnecessary CTAs from the checkout page such as ‘Sign up for newsletter’, ‘Like us on Facebook’ and ‘Go to home page’.

7. Create urgency

Whether it’s created through a limited offer, a sale, a giveaway, or reduced stock, urgency one of the most powerful ways to boost your website’s conversion rate. The concept works so well because people genuinely fear missing out. Marcus Taylor of Venture Harbour was able to boost his sales by a huge 332% by adding in a ‘Time left to download’ countdown and a ‘Status’ to his online deals.

8. Compare the competition

People feel compelled to shop around. Even if someone is tempted to click the Buy Now button on your page, they are likely to have a quick glance somewhere else to ensure they are doing the right thing. If your competition’s website looks better, you might just risk losing a potential customer. To avoid this, compare your competition before your viewer leaves. By including a cost or service comparison on your site or a simple graphic to demonstrate superior price, benefit, features and value, you could keep a significant number of site visitors from ‘shopping around’. And, just in case they do leave your site to look elsewhere, use a ‘persistent shopping cart’, so that when they return, their products will still be in their basket.

9. Create a separate section for reduced items

A study by E-tailing Group found that 47% of online buyers would only buy discounted products, except under exceptional circumstances. Even more (62%) said they look for a section on a website that identifies sales and specials. Feed into customers natural desire to hunt for a bargain by making it clear where they can find cheaper items on your site.

10. Use abandoned cart recovery emails

If you collect your customer’s email address at the beginning of the checkout process, you have the opportunity to bring them back to your site if they abandon their cart. Implement a recovery email sequence that reminds them of what they were thinking about buying before they have a chance to purchase it somewhere else. According to SalesCycle, 13.3% of cart recovery emails are clicked through and over a third of those convert to a sale.

11. Implement dynamic retargeting

Dynamic retargeting lets you personalise ad impressions that you serve to customers - either in display (banner) ads or on Facebook - by featuring products they’ve recently viewed on your site. There are plenty of case studies which show that retargeting ads result in a higher click-through rate than other ads, and a higher conversion rate once the customer makes it back to your site. One case study from Criteo even saw a 775% lift in sales after using dynamic product ads.

12. Use live chat

Having a live chat feature on your website means that customers have someone who can immediately walk them through a sale if they have a challenge that could otherwise cause them to leave your site. According to Customer iCare, businesses that use live chat usually report a 10-30% increase in conversion rate.

13. Quantitative analysis

Using tools for quantitative analysis will help you to identify what might be killing conversions on your site. Study your Google Analytics and look for any significant issues. Does the conversion rate differ greatly on different devices or browsers? Is there a high bounce rate on a certain page on your website? As well as Analytics, you can use heat mapping - which can show you where customers are hovering, clicking, or scrolling on your site - to further help you identify any areas where they seem to be getting stuck. Once you’ve identified potential areas of concern, you’ll have a list of things to test improvements on.

14. Qualitative analysis

Where quantitative analysis shows you what you need to fix on your website through analytics and software applications, qualitative analysis is all about understanding why users choose to buy from you or not. Whether you use a popup that asks customers a question before they leave the site, or an email that asks them how they enjoyed their experience, information from your customers is an invaluable resource that allows you to identify room for improvement. Make sure to research which questions are going to give you the best information. For example, it’s a good idea to include at least one open-ended question that allows customers to explain in their own words any issues that they had with their experience.

Test, test, test

Even when there seems to be a lot of evidence that customers prefer one thing over another, the only way to really know if it will work for your site is to test, test, test. And there is always room for your conversion rate to improve, so don’t get complacent. Keep trying new things and you’ll keep seeing incremental improvements to your site - and your profits.

Neto introduces new senior role to further drive strength in Neto’s channels

Neto introduces new senior role to further drive strength in Neto’s channels

We are proud to announce the senior appointment of Tony Pearson, who will be Neto’s first Director of Sales Channel Development. With this appointment, we will be able to facilitate stronger partnerships and benefit retailers. 

Pearson comes to Neto after spending in excess of 20 years in various senior management roles within Telstra, which owns 51 percent of Neto after a successful acquisition in 2015 and most recently with the Vita Group which is Telstra’s largest partner.

“This is a very exciting opportunity for me,” Pearson said. “Neto isn’t a startup company any longer, but it carries out its business in the spirit of one, and I see a lot of potential to build on the powerful foundations that it has already developed in the market.”

Pearson’s key task within his new role is to increase awareness, through Neto’s partners, of what true omni-channel retailing looks like. Too often Australian retailers maintain completely different technology environments for their online platforms and their in-store POS system, and this means they are often not running as effectively as they should be.

“We have a partner network of some 500 organisations,” Pearson said. “That’s a powerful community of expertise and innovation that we can leverage to help improve how retail is done in Australia for businesses of all sizes.

“My goal is to deepen our engagement with those partners and help place Neto at the centre of the conversation about the role technology has in the current retail environment.”

Pearson’s appointment comes as Neto continues to scale upwards, following the successful launch of its in-store POS solution earlier in the year.

“Demand for these technology-driven solutions to common retail pain points has never been stronger, as Australian retailers come to understand that they need to compete on a global scale now,” Neto Director and COO, Jason Titman, said.

“We are very excited to have Tony Pearson on board. The experience that he brings from Telstra – which has some of Australia’s largest partner networks of all – will be an immense advantage as we find new opportunities to deepen engagement with our partner businesses.”

Interested to learn more? Please don't hesitate to get in touch!

10 Questions You Should Ask Before Choosing an eCommerce Platform

10 Questions You Should Ask Before Choosing an eCommerce Platform

So you’re about to start an online store…

You’re excited... You can’t wait to get started… And you’re now looking to find an ecommerce platform to launch your store.

Before you go out there and choose the first ecommerce platform you find, here are 10 questions to ask to make sure you find the right solution for what you sell.

1. How much will it cost?

Just as eCommerce businesses come in all shapes and sizes, so too do eCommerce platforms. On one end of the scale it is possible to run your store on a free, open source eCommerce platform - but you’ll be on your own when it comes to setting it up and fixing any issues that arise. On the other end of the scale, you could be paying large fees that are proportionate to the number of products you are selling. Look for something that fits with your budget and size, and be sure to compare the inclusions it offers. Some eCommerce platforms may seem cheap on face value, but they will charge a high fee on every transaction, or charge for certain add ons that may be essential for your business. Do your research to be sure you’re really getting value for money.

2. Will it grow with my business?

While it’s hard to project the exact growth of your business, you need to choose an eCommerce platform that scales if you’re anticipating expansion. A good eCommerce platform will offer a more cost effective plan for young businesses, with opportunities to increase capacity as your inventory and needs scale up. While it is possible to migrate from a smaller eCommerce platform to a larger one, it will be much simpler to select a platform that can grow alongside your online success.

3. Is it user-friendly?

A great eCommerce platform will make it easy for you to setup, navigate and monitor your store. As well as being able to add and update products easily, you should be able to track the success of your business with inbuilt real-time reporting, inventory management, analytics, and KPI tracking.

4. Is there support for the onboarding process?

Whether you’re setting up shop for the first time or migrating to a new platform, it’s great to know that someone can be of assistance if you need it. You should look for a platform that can offer support during your local business hours, and perhaps even a personal training session. There should also be ample information and training documentation available to you for when you want to implement things yourself.

5. Will it integrate with other solutions?

To really get your business going, you’ll need to integrate your eCommerce platform with other software and tools. Check if your platform offers direct integrations to popular accounting, marketing and analytics apps. Ideally you’ll also be able to expand your customer reach through other sales channels such as eBay, Facebook, and Google Shopping, all while seamlessly keeping your inventory synchronised and up to date. Your platform may even have a native shipping system, allowing you to integrate with local shipping carriers and automate your labelling.

6. What payments can I accept?

Offering flexibility in your payment options makes transactions easy for your customers. Does your platform support all the leading payment gateways for credit card processing? Can you offer other payment options like PayPal, BPAY, and MasterPass? Can you accept payments in real time as well as use invoices for payment at a later date? Customers may also like the option to split their payments - for example, paying for some of their bill with a credit card, and some with PayPal. You may want your shop to offer part payments and laybys, or triggered and recurring payments. You may also want customers to be able to choose whether they checkout as a guest or create an account, where they can view their order history. Check that your platform can offer all the solutions you need.

7. Is it SEO-friendly?

Never underestimate the power of search engine optimisation (SEO). If you want customers to easily find your products on the Internet, it’s critical that your eCommerce site is equipped with features that make it SEO-friendly. These features may include a global CDN, customisable URLs, canonical tags, XML sitemaps, and responsive website templates that work on desktop, mobile and tablets.

8. How secure is it?

In order for your customers to do business with you, it’s essential that they feel safe. All of your account and checkout pages should be secured by secure socket layer (SSL) technology. Some platforms provide SSL certificates within their subscription. You’ll also want to choose a platform that takes your data security seriously, perhaps offering daily backups and a guarantee on your data.

9. Can it help you sell more products?

Your eCommerce platform may have features that can help you to upsell at the checkout, market to new customers or retain the customers you already have. For example, you may be able to provide product recommendations based on the contents of a customer’s shopping cart. With some platforms, you can create a customer loyalty program or segment customers into groups (such as most loyal customers) and export their details for use in marketing campaigns. The platform may allow customers to share products, blog posts, or other content pages on social networks, as well as provide reviews and ratings for products. You may also be able to recover lost sales by automatically sending an email to shoppers with a link to their abandoned shopping cart, perhaps with a coupon code to incentivise them to come back to your store.

10. Is there a free trial?

Taking advantage of test trials is a smart move for any business owner. Free trials allow you to see whether or not the platform will be a good fit for your store and at no monetary loss for your business.

Could Neto be right for your store? Find out with our free 14-day trial - no credit card required.

What content means to an eCommerce business

What content means to an eCommerce business

Content is more than simply the words on a page. While these are very important, there is a wide variety of content types that eCommerce businesses can take advantage of.

Content is important in every business.


- Video is particularly effective for online shopping. Customers are unable to hold and touch the product for themselves, so video adds a layer of experience that written descriptions can’t capture. Seeing how a dress moves or sits, the sense of weight a product has, and its manufacturing quality, are all easier to understand when seen in the context of a well-made video.


Videographer filming an event.


- Interactive content can encompass anything from 360º images that users can manipulate to see a product from all angles to surveys and games that provide deeper brand engagement. Interactivity promotes increased time on site and brand recognition, which are important SEO factors.

- Written content is the bread and butter of what a user sees on a website. The shift from the SEO tactics of even two years ago to a more content-focused approach has meant that businesses have started to dedicate more resources to the creation of high-quality writing.

- Audio is becoming a popular way of promoting engagement with customers and making an eCommerce site more than simply a place to buy something. Business owners are discovering the value of their site and brand as a resource for people who are interested in the industry. Establishing yourself as an authority on a topic and in a market is a big part of the content marketing picture.

- Graphics encompass everything from cartoons and drawings, infographics and pie charts, to gorgeous, original photography. Images are some of the most important content as they are eye-catching and engaging, without using large amounts of precious mobile data like a video can. It allows businesses to create specific brand styles quickly and easily through the use of colours and fonts, adding recognition value in a way that writing can struggle to achieve on its own.

SEO and high-quality content

Why it matters

Content is a vital rankings factor for websites. Websites that have large amounts of content consistently rank better than those that are thin. However, with eCommerce in particular, ensuring the content is engaging at a user level is vital for other ranking signals.

What types work

For all its whizz and bang, Google is still a simple beast in the way it crawls a site. It has become incredibly adept at understanding the semantics of language, recognising well-written content from the bad, and assessing the value of a piece of writing to the industry as a whole. However, it isn’t so good with video and images, and audio doesn’t even register as a blip on its radar. These things will change as their video and image recognition algorithms improve and technology advances, but until then, the written content is still king.


Writing content on typewriter.


That said, not all written content is created equal and words for words’ sake are becoming less and less effective. Five years ago, a website could whack 250 words of barely coherent writing on their site, cram it with keywords and phrases, and it would do a good job of helping it rank. Five years before that, a list of keywords in the footer of the page was equally effective. In 2016, quality content means something entirely different. The proliferation of blogs and articles means that good and unique content is no longer the aim for sites. They need to look past writing for the search engines and look at the user experience. Google has gone beyond simply crawling what is on the website itself, to assessing the value of content through a range of other factors. These include the sharing statistics of content and the time on site of users. These numbers tell them how engaging a piece of content is and how much it contributes to the industry. This isn’t to say that they don’t read the content themselves, but now they look a range of indicators more complex than just keyword density and duplication.

How marketing fits in with website content

Content is vital for marketing. It can be minimalist and clean or frantic and exciting, but it is important for conveying the business’s ethos, values, and convincing the customer that they align with their own. Complicating the equation is the need for the content to factor in the SEO elements of website content. Often when a business devises their brand and tone of voice, it can be at odds with the need to hit certain keywords and phrases in their written content. This is a delicate balancing act between creating content that is a pleasure to read for the user, conveys the brand image and product benefits to the customer, and encompasses all the necessary words that the search crawlers will use when indexing the site.

The kind of content an eCommerce website needs

As already established, the idea of “quality content” is always evolving. At this moment in time, it means content that is original and valuable. It has to project the authority of a brand, showcase its knowledge, and encourage others to share it. This means that just having good product descriptions is no longer enough. Of course, they are still important and writing your own keyword optimised originals that focus on the user and the benefits is always better than using manufacturer supplied text or having none at all, but they aren’t engaging in the same way as a well-written blog.

Blogging, despite its origins as a way for anonymous people to vent their heartache to the world, has become a powerful tool for businesses in every industry. Every day on networks like LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and more, people are promoting their articles, sharing those of others, and trying to ramp up the engagement of users with their content. So, while your product descriptions are important, creating content that is shareable and offers users something beyond the purchasing experience is equally so.

The future of website content

As with most internet innovations, the direction of content will be shaped by three factors: the uptake of different content forms by businesses, the acceptance and adoption of these forms at the user end, and the importance powerful companies like Google place on them. Add to this the evolution of computer hardware, new devices we haven’t conceived yet, and trends like mobile computing, and the future becomes murkier still. The one trend that seems to be indicative of the immediate future, however, is that the user experience will continue to be the foremost indicator content’s value. Since their inception, Google’s guidelines have always stated that they value sites that are aimed at the customer rather than the crawler, and as the algorithms improve, they become more capable of making this a function rather than just a philosophy.

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Build a business while still working full time

Build a business while still working full time

Starting and sustaining a small business requires a lot of time and dedication. It also requires money. For many people, the one thing holding them back is the capital required to start a business and endure a lean period when it is getting up and running. People fall into debt or end up giving up on their dream and returning to full-time work for a steady income. However, it is possible to prevent this heartache by hanging on to your full-time job while your business gets off the ground. It will mean long hours that don’t end once you get home from work and the sacrifice of every minute of free time, but it can be the difference between having the security to forge ahead with your dream, or having to abandon it when you can’t sustain it any longer.

Desk with laptop and stationary.

Below are some of the key considerations for anyone who wants to start their own business on the side.

Invest in its success

From the earliest stages, the revenue your business generates should be poured back into itself. Starting an entrepreneurial venture can be expensive and, unless you have unlimited capital, anything you make will need to go towards financing your progress. Your business will need a website and a domain, hosting, freelancers and contractors, business cards, equipment, and a long list of expenses that gets longer the more successful you are. Once you have reached a certain size, then you will need to employ people and pay salaries, rent a space, pay tax, and more. If you treat your business as simply another source of income, it will never grow beyond a side project.

Keep it professional

A business shouldn’t be just a hobby. If you are providing a product or a service for money, then your customers will expect a certain level of professionalism. Even if you are operating out of your home, you need to convey the sense that people are dealing with a business, not just a person killing time. You need to make sure you have all your legal ducks in a row in terms of your responsibilities and rights as a business, and your systems and processes should be established for consistency. Building a business is easier if you do the basics well and start out the same way you mean to continue.

Audit your skills

As an entrepreneur, you will need to have a broad range of knowledge and skills. However, this means that while you can do things to a certain level of quality, your “jack of all trades” approach will prevent you from devoting the required effort, expertise, and time required as your business grows. Freelancers and contractors enable businesses to buy the skills they require, as they require them. When you are in the early stages of growth, employing specialist staff is usually unaffordable for a small business. Outsourcing will give you access to skills and experience that would be beyond budget at a full-time rate.

Keep your business and day job compartmentalised

One of the major mistakes people can make when starting a business on the side is allowing it to impact their day job. This can take many forms whether you spend all night working on your business and can’t function at work the next day, you find yourself taking sick days to do work on the side, or you start using company time to complete your side projects, these can all put your day job at risk. One of the major rules for starting a business after hours is to keep it professional; this means respecting the boundaries of your day job and small business. Losing your day job is just one consequence you could face if these lines begin to blur. Your contract will probably include clauses around misuse of company time and property, which will cover using resources for non-work related activities. This may mean that your day job could stake a claim to parts of your business or your clients and you may find yourself losing it before it has even started. There are also rules around what type of business you can start and usually, an employment contract will include a non-compete clause. Be conscientious and discuss your side project with your HR department to make sure that everyone knows where they stand.

Lady building her business with Neto.

Don’t quit too soon

Working full time and getting a business off the ground means long hours and sacrifice. You won’t get to watch your favourite TV programs, you’ll see less of your friends, your weekends will be spent working rather than relaxing, and you will generally feel busy, tired and stressed at all times. The upside is that you will still have a constant salary to rely upon. When the long hours start to wear on you, the temptation to throw in the day job will be enormous. However, if you haven’t reached your growth and financial goals, you should stick it out. You can only quit your job once, but the longer you stick it out, the better a position you will be in when the time comes to leave.

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