Sunday, June 16, 2019

Women Entrepreneurs Take note

If you are a woman that has a startup at the concept stage interested in incubation to build a Minimum Viable Product, then this is for you...


Mike Oliver, Regional Partner for FasterCapital here in the Philippines.  Contact me for more details,

Mike.Oliver@fastercapital.com

Monday, June 10, 2019

Hire a mechanic

So your car needs work, hire a mechanic.
Now I remember the days when I could do most work on my car, even change a water pump, alternator, starter, spark plugs, etc.  Now those days are mostly gone with computerized this or that and engine compartments so packed it takes special tools to do any work.  So auto mechanics are in high demand with specialized skills.

So it is easy to justify hiring a mechanic, specialized skills, risk of making a costly mistake, and other factors like the value of your own time.  So some light comes on and you find a mechanic to do the work, right?

So why is it that so many businesses resist outsourcing?  Isn't it the same?  You don't question outsourcing your auto repair work to a mechanic, then why do you resist outsourcing business processes that require special tools, skills, and the risk of errors, not to mention your time and the time of your staff that do not have those same skills and experience.

BPO or Business Process Outsourcing is growing for just those reasons.  Call Centers, Help Desks, Data Entry and Coding, as well as higher end processes like HR, Accounting and more.

One trend that doesn't seem to be taking off as much, is Social Media Marketing and Advertising.  I think one reason for that is that so many people are "on Facebook" and therefore think they know  what they are doing, and some do but many have no idea about the various implications or pages, posts, boosts, etc.  They may or may not know about syndication across multiple social media, or how to target ads, or how to make ads that are effective, and all those skills can be found in BPO companies that do Social Media Management, Marketing and Advertising.  

Bottom line, hire a mechanic to do your car maintenance and hire a Social Media Management BPO to do all your Social Media you will be glad you did.

Saturday, June 8, 2019

Customer Journey

As I wrote in my last blog, content-content-and-content you should be building credibility and trusted authority with your prospects.

From prospect to customer

Now you can shift your connection dialog to offline and more general approach with your blog or website or social media page.  This  is because your prospect has already been vetted as an "Ideal Client/Customer" and established a bond that will allow you to share more.

Keep in mind that you need to be sensitive and responsive to that connection, but after gaining their trust you can share more and more varied content.

Hopefully that new trusted connection will also appreciate more content marketing materials, especially if it isn't a hard sell, but more informational, market driven, solutions driven content.

Now you are entering the prospect to customer journey.  First you establish the trust,  then go to awareness of your product or service as it fits in the market and solution realm.

Then you direct or aide in search with SEO so when your prospect searches for keywords/phrases related to his problem or need, your product or service will show in the first page.  More on this is future blogs.

If they search and find you and your competitors they will study the features, benefits, and costs and if you have done your market research right, you will begin to shine.

Right after Study they will  read reviews or check references and if those are glowing, they begin the final stage of budget, (aka Risk) and make the purchase decision.

Anyplace along this journey they may ask you questions that may give you additional info on what they are looking for and why and give you an opportunity to provide additional more focused content to assist them along the journey.

Keep your role as trusted adviser, assistant buyer or trusted domain expert and you have a far greater chance at closing a sale.

Thursday, June 6, 2019

Content, content and content

As I said in my last Blog Engage and Build you need to start helping your new connection by sharing meaningful, timely and pertinent content that will allow you to become a resource they count on for credibility, trust and authority.

Content is king
You need to seek their opinion on anything you share with them so you can do a better job giving them what they need.  This will build the "Trusted Authority" on a subject of interest to them.  That will lead to opportunities to make your case and add them as your client/customer.

If you help them solve a problem or fill a need, they will be comfortable coming back to you for help in other things and if you chose that connection because they may be an Ideal Client/Customer that means you get the first shot at solving problems that benefit you both.

The content you share can be links to articles (Curated) with comments, Videos, articles you write, blog posts or anything of value to your connection.  Your success depends on the quality and appropriateness of the content you share. 

Obviously original content does more to build your authority on a subject, be wary of plagiarism or trying to make an article someone else wrote be your own.  It's one thing to take knowledge you gained through reading and write your own article but copy and paste is not advisable, ever.  Remember if the topic is relevant, the connection may have already found and read that same article and if so he will see it in your article and you lose all credibility.

Keep it personal and pertinent to your ideal client/customer and you will do fine, even if you miss the target on a share, don't give up, your new connection will appreciate the thought and the effort.

Monday, June 3, 2019

Engage and build

In my last blog post Be a resource I discussed the second step in finding and getting new clients/customers online.  Given that you are now connected and in a conversation, what's next?

Build on the initial engagement
Your goal is to build the relationship by adding value to the conversation in any way that you can.  Try to make anything you send them be relevant and current.  It can be content you create or content you curate.  When you feel that your new friend is open to your opinion and appreciates your contributions then and only then can you take the conversation offline and ask for a meeting, coffee, lunch, etc. if practical or an online meeting to get face time.

It is only natural that what you do (and sell) will come up in the conversation if if so that's great, but be very careful not to come across as pitching or actively selling.  If there is  synergy with your new contact let it emerge naturally and you can win big.

Try to look for triggers, events, or articles or videos that your new contact might be interested in.  A good sign that you are making progress is when they start sharing content with you.  If you ask for a meeting and they decline, just be polite and say, "maybe next time" or "sure no problem."

Remember they cannot buy from you if they don't know you exist.  They want to solve problems and if you are the first one to offer a solution, you will likely win, even if you are not profiting directly by your advice, you win because you are building a relationship that can lead to a sale when the time is right.

Sunday, June 2, 2019

Be a resource

In my last blog Get Linked I described the first step in using social media to generate leads.  That is to make meaningful connections not just clicking on the connect button but take a few extra moments to check out the contact and make a personalized message.

Meaningful content
The second step should come a week or so later unless your first message got a positive response.  The second message should provide meaningful content but still not a sales pitch for your products or services, but rather something your new contact might be interested in related to  things you see in their profile.

for example:

Hi [John], I just read this and thought you might be interested. [Link] is all about [summary] and I found it useful, hope you do as well.

Warm regards,

Mike

You can ask if you can help with anything such as specific topics or research you can do FOR BOTH OF YOU.  Again no sales pitch, NONE.  Your goal is to engage and build value in the conversation.


Saturday, June 1, 2019

Get Linked

As I wrote in my last Blog,  Sales isn't just selling you need to be building relationships with your ideal customers.

LinkedIn is designed for business, and is a terrific place to meet people and generate leads and get business.

Meeting people is the goal.
You can get connected on LinkedIn in a number of ways, but don't get suckered into concentrating on getting connections alone.  It is so easy to just hit the connect button and add them to your list, but that doesn't build a relationship, trust and most importantly lead to business.

When you get a connection request, take a few moments to look at their profile.  If they are even close to an ideal client or customer, then not only accept the connect but reply with a message to thank them for connecting and offer your assistance if they need anything.  Do not give a sales pitch.  If they connected for some other reason, like Alumni, mutual friends/connections, etc. a sales pitch may turn them off.

Personalize the message refer to something in their profile like where they are working, what they do, what they have posted, etc.  ENGAGE them in conversation, like meeting a mutual friend in a coffee shop.  No spam, no proposals, no detailed product or service features.  Keep it short and personal, 300 characters or less.

Remember he may be connecting with you for the same reason you would connect with him and only waiting for your acceptance to reach out.

Something like this,

Hi [John] thanks for connecting, I see you attended ASU a couple years before me.  Please let me know if there  is anything I can do to help an Alum.

Warm regards,

Mike Oliver

Friday, May 31, 2019

Sales isn't just selling

Everybody is selling.  If you are a low level employee you are selling your labor to the manager.  Do a good job and deliver more value that your boss is paying you to deliver and you keep your job .  Deliver more than your boss is paying you to deliver by a significant amount and you can earn a pay increase or even a promotion.  As soon as you stop delivering what your boss is paying you to deliver and you will lose your job.

So how is that different in other jobs, other industries, other markets, other titles?  Not much as it turns out.  If the CEO delivers results in shareholder value, he keeps his job, do even better and he gets a bonus, fails and he is replaced.  Everywhere in between is the same, everybody has a boss and everybody needs to deliver more value than he/she is being paid to deliver or they lose their job or customers or clients.

Whit that in mind here are some other facts to consider in the retail sales area.

They cannot buy from you if they don't know you exit.  Good location, good advertising, good word of mouth all contribute to customers knowing you exist and possibly buy from you.

People like to buy but hate to be sold.  You need to attract customers and help them with the buy decision, not push them into what you want them to buy.

People like to buy from someone they know and  trust.  Get to know your customers, talk with them, find out what they want and do not want.  Look as that they tell you and find ways to satisfy their need you will get more customers and sales.

Satisfied customers will tell one friend about you.  Dissatisfied customers will tell 5 friends about you.  Provide good customer experience, make them happy and you will grow.  Failure to do that will cause your business to decline rapidly.

Do not be afraid to refer a customer to another store if you know they can find what they are looking for there.  it builds trust and they will come to you first for the next product they need.

Lastly people buy:

1) From the first person that can solve a problem or fill a need;
2) From the person with the lowest perceived risk solution to their problem or need;
3) From the person with the BEST solution to their problem or need.

And they do it in THAT ORDER.

Happy selling.

Monday, April 8, 2019

Five Days Until your future changes

As a Regional Partner for FasterCapital.com I am excited that the next round of Startup Application processing will begin in just 5 days.

Go to https://fastercapital.com/entrepreneur/joinus.html#questionnaire and you will see the following page.  Just fill it out and that will get the process started.  Contact me at mike.oliver@fastercapital.com or +639479927462 for more information or assistance.  If you fill out the form please select Mike Oliver as your Regional Partner.


Sunday, March 24, 2019

Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) is not just for large businesses any more.


In the not so  distant past, an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system was so costly that only larger corporations could afford the price tag of Hundreds of Thousands of dollars to over a million when complete.

Today, with Software as a Service (SaaS) versions of ERP solutions, the  costs have gone way down.  SaaS subscription services now offer prices that are affordable by even Small Businesses.

Cloud technology has enabled drastic cost reductions and increased security. 

Here is a listing of  54 top cloud based ERP systems with pricing.  https://www.predictiveanalyticstoday.com/top-cloud-erp-software/

Open-source is software developed by a community of developers to meet their own  needs, but as many of these are done by a team of very talented and motivated architects and developers, the quality of these Open-source ERP systems are as good or better than the proprietary systems.  Sometimes the software started off as proprietary but decided to go  open source to  penetrate the  market and get revenue from support and training instead of licenses.  Sometimes the open-source versions are augmented by a more feature rich commercial version.

Here is a list of Open-Source or Free ERP systems.  https://www.predictiveanalyticstoday.com/free-open-source-enterprise-resource-planning-erp-software/

We at O4BO.com offer an Open-Source ERP system from OpenBravo that has been customized and supported by http://indivar.com/  Contact us for more information at O4BO.com mikeoliveraz@open4businessonline.com or 639479927462

Thursday, March 21, 2019

Faster Capital First Round Closes

2019 Has started off well with Faster Capital closing its first round of Incubator co-funding and co-founding startups.  Here is the Press Release.


Press Release

Contact: Faisal Khamees

Phone  : (512) 400-0256
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
1 p.m. CET, 21st March
 2019

FasterCapital's First Round of Funding 2019


Dubai, UAE, 21st March, 2019: FasterCapital (a virtual incubator based in Dubai, UAE) has finished its first round of funding on 16th, March, 2019. FasterCapital has attracted more than 250 submissions from more than 60 countries. The results will be announced in four weeks time. This round is dedicated for startups interested in the incubation program where FasterCapital comes as a technical co-founder and invests up to 75% of the seed funding in each accepted startup.
FasterCapital closed the round with the announcement of accepting a new innovative startup from Australia (Bubble.Global) into its incubation program with an investment of USD $150,000.

FasterCapital is a virtual incubator based in Dubai Internet City, UAE. FasterCapital has more than 24 graduated startups, 25 startups in incubation program, 270 startups in the acceleration program plus more than 680 regional partners and representatives and 200 offices worldwide. FasterCapital has invested more than 13 million USD since its creation in 2010.
FasterCapital has more than 100 internal developers with different skill sets who are already working on multiple projects.

Startups can apply to join our Virtual Incubator at:
http://www.fastercapital.com/entrepreneurs.html

Contact info
Name: Mr. Faisal Khamees
VP of Operations at FasterCapital
Phone: +971 5558 55663

Name: MR. Terry Crospy
Mentor & Investor at FasterCapital
Phone: (512) 400-0256

Name: Mr. Michael Oliver
FasterCapital’s Regional Partner in Makati City, Philippines
Phone: +639479927462


Sunday, March 3, 2019

Update - Why you should consider outsourcing Social Media Management to the Philippines

Update - As a BPO that does Social Media Marketing and Sales as well as Social Media and Web Presence Management, I have a bias. 


However this is not a sales pitch for just O4BO.com I am talking about all the BPO companies here in the Philippines and why you should  consider one of us.

So What are the salient values a BPO in the Philippines have to offer?  BTW Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) is one of the largest industries in the Philippines largely for the following reasons, and include call centers, help desks and many other forms of BPO.

So here are the reasons:


  1. English - The Philippine Government long ago decided English would be the official language and is taught in all the schools.  It is not uncommon to walk down a street of children playing and get a "Good Morning" from the kids (I am an American).   So you can count on employees that are fluent in reading, writing and speaking English.  Much better IMHO that other countries that will go unnamed but proclaim English Proficiency.
  2. Culture - The Philippine Culture is more Western than many others in the region and you can count on a good work ethic, sincere values and integrity.  
  3. Enthusiasm - Filipinos are very active on social media and it shows in their work.  I don't know offhand what the numbers are but I can tell you that of my 5000+ friends on Facebook and 4900+ LinkedIn Contacts, most are Filipinos.  So Filipinos you can count on them getting it.  We get notices from Facebook regularly that one of our ads performed better than 95% of similar ads on Facebook worldwide and we target Philippines for our Philippine clients.
  4. Collaboration - Given the popularity of Social Media, you can count on the collaboration on your projects to be managed on Social Media in Facebook Messenger Groups and you can count on rapid responses to both inputs and suggestions but your ads will get rapid responses.
  5. Cost - The cost of living in the Philippines is lower that many of the markets they address, that cost savings is passed on to clients to stay competitive.  You can count on getting the best talent at a cost that is lower (sometimes significantly lower) than hiring someone with similar skills in the USA, UK or Australia.
  6. Core Business - BPO in general is all about outsourcing those Business Processes that are out of your core business.  Social Media Marketing and Advertising is something that is Outsourced more and more often now and the skills around Web Sites, HTML5, Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, Pinterest, SnapChat, Instagram all require specific knowledge to be most effective.  Just knowing how to post a picture o Instagram is not going to be effective.  If you can outsource and get thousands of leads for less than the cost of one full time employee in your core business the decision should be clear, but consider that not having that skillset also means you take a chance on hiring anyone that they will be able to match the performance of a Philippine Outsourcing partner.
Social media marketing, as mentioned earlier, is a big thing in business these days. Use it to boost your business and generate sales. Do well at it through the help of O4BO.com social media marketing services in the Philippines. Contact us now and we are ready to assist you in all your social media marketing needs.

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

FasterCapital Overview Tagalog

Here is the Faster Capital Overview in Tagalog.







For more info contact me at michael.oliver@fastercapital.com or 09479927462


Saturday, February 2, 2019

OpenBravo security Overview

The OpenBravo Platform has a number of features that benefit users.  Security is one of the most important of these and this video provides an overview of the Security elements OpenBravo includes in its platform.







Don't hesitate to contact us  at info@open4businessonline.com or phone +639479927462 or on Facebook  at /open4businessonline


Wednesday, January 30, 2019

OpenBravo BI Overview

Business Intelligence is the heart of any ERP system. Open Bravo has business intelligence built in with the capabilities your might need today and extensible to meet your needs in the future.



this video gives you the hightlights.







Let us know if you want to learn more.


Saturday, January 26, 2019

FasterCapital offers benefits to investors and startups

FasterCapital offers benefits to investors and startups.  Here is a short video discussing those benefits.







Apply now at FasterCapital.com



Or PM me on Facebook, /open4businessonline/

Thursday, January 24, 2019

Why do I need ERP for my Business?

If it is true that no two companies are alike, can it also be true that all companies are alike?  Yes it is true.  While no two companies are exactly alike and they may have vastly different needs for Information Systems, all companies share the same needs for current and accurate information for decision support.

An Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system is designed to provide the current and accurate information about what is going on in your business.  Clearly a large organization with multiple departments and many business processes needs a system that provides that clear picture and helps forecast needs and the impact of changes.  It may not be as clear when the organization is small, but the impact of an unforeseen event may have MORE significance to a small business due to the relatively high percentage impact it may have.

If you drop the ball by letting something get through you might decide you need an ERP system.  I would add that whether or not you have an ERP system per se or you are still running on spreadsheets and paper, you still have an ERP system, just not a good one. Manual processes are fine and many large organizations have dozens of manual processes, so you do not need to automate everything to achieve improvements in your  accounting and planning.

If you find yourself putting in more and more time just trying to manage your business and collect information from various sources like spreadsheets or paper, then you might want to consider buying and implementing an ERP system.

So what are the benefits of an ERP system?


  • Reduces workflow effort by eliminating duplicate work.  With an ERP system everything is synchronized and various workflows feed each other and requires less effort than transcribing or copy and paste data from one application to another.
  • Reduces errors.  Every manual process that requires data to be entered into another system has the potential for errors in copying that data, and the impact of that alone could justify getting an ERP system.
  • Improves management, almost without saying if management does not have current and accurate data then the decisions they make will be less well informed and the potential for making bad decisions goes up.
  • Improves productivity.  Yes the entire organization can see improvements due to automation and the time lost just trying to track down some missing information from manual or semi manual systems.  Sometimes two applications an show two different numbers and finding out which one is correct can be very difficult.
  • Lastly your performance measurements will be better and that can have a positive ripple effect win the morale of the organization.
Conclusion

Almost any organization can benefit from an ERP system, small or large.  There are many ERP systems out there from Open Source to Mega Systems that cost a lot.  Which one will depend on your needs and budget.  You can choose from Online systems as Software as a Service, or you can install ERP solutions in house.  We cater to Small Business so we have ERP solutions that are Software as a Service for a very low cost tailored specifically to Small Business yet designed to scale up as your business grows.

Friday, January 18, 2019

Business Process Outsourcing - Social Media?

Why are so many companies using Business Process Outsourcing (BPO)?  Is it something you should consider?  Is it only for larger companies? 

Here in the Philippines we have a very large number of companies that are doing BPO for various process types from Call Centers to Back office data entry, and much much more.

Today I want to discuss BPO of Social Media Management.  That's one way of saying what we do at O4BO.

It is not unusual for companies to outsource their social media.  SocialFresh says that 57% of social marketers, at major brands, are doing all their social advertising in-house.  So even the major brands are outsourcing 43% of their social media.

At the same time most companies including SMEs are looking at the hundreds of millions of users of social media and planning on increasing their efforts on social media in 2019. (according to recent survey by American Express very enlightening actually)

So let's look at the reasons why companies of any size might be considering outsourcing their social media management.

Work Smarter not work harder!

Applied to social media management:


  • Top social media talent is expensive and relatively rare;
  • The social media management roles are time consuming
  • Strategies and tactics change rapidly
  • The skills needed may be considered common when they are really specialists, like SEO, Syndication of content, audience development, etc.
Internal teams may have road blocks they do not anticipate and combined with the above may lead to low productivity and missed opportunities.

So how do you choose a social media outsourcing partner?

You go shopping of course, who, what, how and where are all factors.

  • First know what YOU want to achieve then look for someone that can help you achieve it.
  • Then decide what you want them to do for you?  All of it, or just the delivery, or what?  Perhaps you want to manage the content but let them handle the plumbing and analysis.
  • Decide what you will measure success Key Performance Indicators and reports you will want.
  • Who will be responsible on your end and who on the outsourcing side as well as their knowledge of your market all key factors in success.
  • Ask lots of questions.  Do they have current clients  in your market?  Will you be comfortable having the same company handling your competition? Do they have a unique platform that meets your goals? Check out their current output for yourself?
  • Get recommendations for current customers.
  • Learn what you can about what they do and why they do it and how you can judge their success.
So the big question is why should you consider the BPO of your social media?  Here are the benefits of choosing the right outsourcing partner:

  • COSTS - Compared to hiring a team with all the skills and experience and current demonstrable success, hiring a BPO can be much more cost effective.  People with these skills and experience are high value and are not likely to be looking for a job.  With O4BO we have the skills and experience and your cost is far less than hiring just one full time IT employee. Other cost savings can come from: Ad Buying; Software Tools and hosting; Photography; Graphic Artists; Video capture and production.
  • PROVEN SYSTEMS - The right social media management BPO will have the latest tools and ecosystems in place to reduce workload and improve the time to market for ads and content. We have talked about our ecosystem in a previous blog and our tools are open for people to see at http://open4businessonline.com/tools
  • TIME SAVED - we hear it all the time, I don't have time....usually and excuse why they won't look for better ways of doing thins.  But in this case hiring a BPO for social media management will save you time figuring out hos to do it yourself or at least save the time of your existing employees spent on doing something they may only be marginally good at.  Right Sourcing is another way of putting it, let your people do what they do best and hire a BPO to do the rest.
  • SPECIALTY SKILL SETS - almost without saying it a BPO for social media will have the following skill sets that you will have a hard time duplicating internally.  These are:
    • Audience development
    • Content Curation
    • Analytics
    • Visual Thinking
    • Advertising Certifications, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google, etc.
    • Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Its not just keywords any more.
So it BPO of your Social Media right for you?  If so then I hope you give us a thorough look using the criteria we describe above and we wish you luck.




Saturday, January 5, 2019

o4bo fb page header

You may not know that Facebook Page Covers, may be videos and not just images like before.  We can create Cover Videos like this for your Facebook page for a reasonable price.







See https://www.facebook.com/open4businessonline/