Simon Baker was the CEO and Managing Director of the Australian-listed on-line actual property firm realestate.com.au, which was the main supplier of on-line actual property websites – working 22 websites in 10 nations. Simon delivered nice returns for the shareholders by rising the market capitalisation from $8m in June 2001 to over $600m in June 2008.
In this Q&A interview with Alex Pirouz, Simon talks about all the varied components required to construct a nice on-line presence, what enterprise house owners want to search for when hiring businesses to assist them with their on-line technique and the widespread errors most enterprise house owners make and most significantly how to keep away from them.
For somebody who has simply began their enterprise on-line, what would you say are some steps they’ll soak up order to construct a strong basis for his or her enterprise?
First issues first: they should have absolute readability of their enterprise mannequin and that mannequin have to be easy to perceive for anybody who interacts with the web site. If you’ll be able to’t clarify what you do in your conventional elevator pitch, in all probability don’t do it as a result of you’ve got to clarify this enterprise idea a thousand occasions to a thousand totally different folks from all fields: advertisers, shoppers, prospects, shareholders, and many others.
The second would most undoubtedly be funding. If you don’t have the cash to do it, don’t begin. And it’s not a case of figuring out that you just want $300,000 and elevating that a lot; most frequently if you happen to want $300,000, it often means you want to elevate $500,000 as a result of you’ll by no means get the numbers proper. Also be sure you have a high quality workforce, people who find themselves hard-working. I might somewhat work with high quality folks at a greater value then low-cost individuals who need fairness however can’t do the job.
And final however not least just remember to are working a actual enterprise, one which has scalability and potential.
What are the highest four commonest errors enterprise house owners make whereas rising their on-line presence? How do you keep away from these errors?
The first mistake would have to be overestimating how a lot income they’re going to be producing by way of the enterprise. I take a look at enterprise plans on a regular basis as a result of I make investments, and I’ve seen so many hockey sticks it’s ridiculous. The second mistake they make is that they under-capitalize themselves.
Day in, day trip, they’re struggling to pay the payments, and the issue with that is that they spend extra time worrying about elevating cash then they do on constructing the enterprise. And the third mistake is that they over-intellectualize their enterprise. I’ve sat down with so many individuals who say “I have this idea that is going to change the world”. And by the point they’ve defined their enterprise mannequin, I often want to ask them: what’s it that you just do?
In their heads, they’ve lived with the issue for therefore lengthy that by some means they’ve managed to come up with a resolution, and for no matter purpose they’ve turn out to be too related or passionately concerned with the issue, which is dangerous as a result of they’ll’t appear to stroll away from the enterprise when it’s not working.
How do you go about avoiding these errors from the beginning?
The finest manner to keep away from these errors from the beginning is to get good advisors on board early; a good advisor is just not somebody who merely has cash to spend, it’s somebody who has truly achieved it. Once you get good advisors on board you then want to hear to them.
I can provide you so many examples of when I’ve informed enterprise house owners not to make a sure resolution and they didn’t hear solely to come again and say “you were right” one 12 months later.
Why does this happen?
Because they’re both too passionately concerned or they overestimate their abilities
Should the look, really feel and capabilities of a web site be decided by the actual trade a person is concerned in?
First of all the web site is the manifestation of a enterprise. So for instance take www.Realestate.com.au: the first enterprise is promoting actual property listings to a massive viewers, and nowhere in that does it say by way of a web site.
Once you’ve got labored out what your core enterprise is, you then work out a manner to finest manifest that mannequin. All the companies which might be profitable are easy, and those that fail you often have to take into consideration.
What do enterprise house owners stand to lose by having little or no presence?
You are higher off having no presence than little presence. When prospects test you out on-line and your presence is crap they’ll assume your online business is crap. For instance: if you happen to go previous a fragrance store and it’s messy, poorly organized, low quantity of inventory on the cabinets, you’ll suppose that they don’t seem to be the most effective enterprise to deal with.
This buyer expertise additionally applies on-line. How many web sites have you ever been to the place you suppose “I can’t use this site, I can’t find the information I want, it’s poorly laid out, slow to load”, and many others. All this states is that the enterprise is an beginner, and nobody needs to deal with an beginner.
So the underside line is: it is best to have a nice presence or no presence in any respect.
With the Internet evolving quickly on a regular basis, what can enterprise house owners do to keep forward of the sport inside their trade?
Honestly I don’t suppose companies want to keep forward of the sport, I believe you want to play properly within the recreation and in doing so you’ll be forward of your rivals. What is the sport? Well, too many individuals suppose “I have to have the best website, have audio, video, Flash” and no matter else.
But the query they need to be asking is: What are my rivals doing? And how am I positioned with in them? And if you happen to can ship a higher end result than your rivals then by definition you might be successful within the recreation.
Why do most on-line companies fail?
The fundamental purpose is as a result of enterprise house owners attempt to change client conduct. Don’t attempt to change client conduct, modify or form their conduct as a substitute.
Where do you see the net market within the subsequent 3 to 5 years?
I imagine cellular will turn out to be extra related and so corporations ought to actually learn the way to develop a cellular technique and work it to their benefit shifting ahead.
What ought to a enterprise proprietor search for when hiring a firm to assist construct their on-line presence?
Relevant expertise, Relevant Experience, Relevant Experience and Relevant Experience. Find guys who’ve achieved it earlier than inside your trade, rent them, ensure they match the aim and then merely hear to them.
How did you find out about all these items? Did you’ve got mentors, learn books, take programs, and many others?
I discovered a lot of what I do know by way of trial and error
If you had to supply one piece of recommendation to a enterprise proprietor who’s trying to create a profitable on-line presence, what would that be?
Doesn’t matter what you might be doing, get skilled recommendation. You wouldn’t go skydiving with out getting directions first; you wouldn’t get within the automobile with out studying how to drive first. So why would you go to remedy a potential drawback within the market with out in search of skilled recommendation first?
Alex Pirouz is the founding father of RIDC Advisory Pty Ltd. A Business and Sales Advisory agency partnering with Australia’s largest and quickest rising corporations to additional improve their income. Visit www.ridcadvisory.com.au for extra particulars.