5 Key Things to Remember when Creating a Retail Business

I always had a fascination with retail businesses. I think it is because I like the idea of having something tangible that you create. Although, I don’t think I, myself, can actually make the actual product (unfortunately, I don’t have the skill for that). For those who don’t know and probably a lot of you don’t know this, but a few years back, I actually dabbled into starting my own retail business, too. It was called HYD or Hot Young Designers. The idea was to collaborate and carry the lines of 5 new fashion designers, and help market them. In essence, it was a social enterprise.
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This business only lasted a year though. My business partner and I decided to cut our losses short and just be happy with what we attempted to do and learn from it. There is part of me that still wants to pursue having my own retail business, but a part of me that also says that I have to say no. So, i’ll probably just take it easy first and chose the latter. I need to focus on the things that I am involved with now. With that, I think the help that I can give those aspiring retail entrepreneurs is through writing about my experience, sharing with you the experience of other successful retailers and to come up with learning events that you can attend.

For today, I’m listing down 5 key things to remember when creating a retail business:

Understand your Customer

In this business, for whatever it is that you will sell, it’s about understanding the customer. Oftentimes, having a tangible product can make it even more distracting to veer away from the customer and focus on the product, especially if the product that you are selling is a customised one (you created it from scratch). My suggestions is identify segment or segments of the market that you want to sell to and show the design of the product or a prototype, even before you create the actual product. By doing this, you get to garner feedback that will be crucial to how you create your business or product.

Research More about the Retail Industry

Going into retail, just like any other business, is risky. Retail usually involves creation or even just handling actual products that may be more capital intensive than a service based business. When aspiring to be a retailer, it may be beneficial to talk to already successful retailers. One of the successful ones that I have come across and interviewed is my friend, Cory Marquez of Invitation House. Here is her story on the humble beginnings of Invitation House, which now has 5 stores in the Philippines.

Check out the Different Types of Retail Businesses

* Store retailing. Store retailing is basically having a brick and mortar store, whether it is your own store or if you just have a spot given to you at a department store. Choosing this type of retailing business usually addresses the basic needs of man, like food, clothing, etc.
* Specialty stores. These kinds of stores normally focus now on a specialised “want” of the customer. Invitation House is a sample of a specialty store. It focuses on the desire of customers to have special invitations, cute artsy notecards, etc.
* Nonstore retailing. These retailers have chosen not to sell via a brick and mortar store, but through other means like building an eCommerce shop, selling via Easy or Shopify, selling via HomeTV shopping, or through catalogs that are sent out. It can also be non-digital, like having pop up stores.
* Other forms of “Retail”
– DIY Retailing. An example of this are the vending machines that you see around — from coffee to sanitary napkins. The only thing that the owner needs to do is to replenish supplies and collect payment.
– Crowd Funding platforms. Some of the new retailers also turn to crowd funding platforms like Kickstarter.com.

Check out the different Business models

There may be a dozen ways to sell your products and services, but here are some of those that I can think of:
– Consignment (be it in an actual brick-an-mortar store or via an online shop like Lazada, Zalora, etc.)
– Direct Selling or Door-to-Door
– Crowd Funding (as mentioned above)
– Sales from Social Media Channels

Create a Business Plan after doing all of your Research

It will really be beneficial if you could write down the plan, including the projections for both your expenses and income. Before the launch of HYD, we actually had this in place. What we lacked was more research about the retail industry. We didn’t know that return on investment (ROI) would be longer for retail than it is for a service based business. We also forgot to take into consideration the expenses for keeping the Quality in check. Writing it down will be beneficial since you will be able to go through different scenarios in your mind and you’ll often see it more clearly when it’s written down.

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Sign up to join this WORKSHOP at: http://manilaworkshops.com/events/starting-your-online-retail-business

 

There are a lot more lessons that I have learned from other more successful retailers that I can share via this blog. I will continuously share these things with you. I hope that you have learned from these few tips. If you are a retailer with a story that others can learn from, just leave a comment below and let’s talk about it.

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A Reality Show for Start-ups: The Final Pitch

I am an avid fan of Shark Tank. I love watching Start-up pitch their ideas, even if some are super unprepared. I love seeing the different ideas that people have. Man, there are a lot of unique and creative ideas. I love taking note of the judges questions and I am always amazed at how good they are with numbers. I think Shark Tank is the only show that I watch where I have my notebook by my side to actually take down notes. You may laugh at me (haha!) but I do learn a lot from this show.

In my mind, the end goal really of the start-ups joining the show is either to raise capital (which is pretty normal) or to gain enough publicity to build traction. And for the rest of us watching the show, it’s really for our entertainment and education. Anything that I could learn from, I love!

Imagine my delight when I was invited to the Final Pitch press conference. I didn’t get to go (because I had to focus this week on Taxumo, but I decided to share it anyway. The Final Pitch is something like Shark Tank. The show will challenge entrepreneur contestants in every way — from exploring funding options, refining their business plans, and marketing their products and services. The show is set to air on History Channel this May, 2017

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“The Final Pitch aims to help entrepreneurs find success by connecting them to investors who can finance them, and to mentors who can fine-tune their businesses—reducing risk factors and boosting growth potential and sustainability,” shares the creator and host of The Final Pitch, John Aguilar.

The show will make entrepreneurs go through a series of challenges that will test their creativity, motivation and character. At the same time, they will learn the secrets behind the success of their potential investors, who are also tasked to handpick the top finalists to proceed on the show.

L-R The Final Pitch creator John Aguilar, venture capitalist Jose ‘Jomag’ Magsaysay, CEO of MFT Group of Companies Mica Tan, Chairman and CEO of the Sterling Group of Companies and SL Agritech, Dr. Henry Lim Bon Liong, and Chairman and CEO of Catala Corporation Joseph Calata

L-R The Final Pitch creator John Aguilar, venture capitalist Jose ‘Jomag’ Magsaysay, CEO of MFT Group of Companies Mica Tan, Chairman and CEO of the Sterling Group of Companies and SL Agritech, Dr. Henry Lim Bon Liong, and Chairman and CEO of Catala Corporation Joseph Calata

For Jose ‘Jomag’ Magsaysay, founder of a well-loved global food brand and one of the investors on ‘The Final Pitch’, his picks for the show would be based on whether or not he can see them as future business partners. “I’m looking for people who deserve a break, as I believe in the person more than the business,” he shares.

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Other investors include the multi-awarded Chairman and CEO of the Sterling Group of Companies and SL Agritech, Dr. Henry Lim Bon Liong; self-made billionaire and the youngest chairman of a publicly-listed company in the PSE, Joseph Calata; and lastly, 25-year old millennial CEO of the angel investing group MFT Group of Companies, Mica Tan.

In addition to the potential funding from the investors, contestants will receive business coaching from an esteemed lineup of mentors, who are composed of well-known business experts and inclusive business champions, namely Department of Trade and Industry Secretary, Mon Lopez; former President of MicroVentures, Inc., Senator Bam Aquino; Chairman of Start Up Village, Prof. Jay Bernardo and; President of the Ateneo Center for Entrepreneurship-Masters In Entrepreneurship (ACE-ME), Dr. Andy J. Ferreira, among others.

I think this is a good initiative, because (1) Filipinos need to see that there are a lot of opportunities out there — opportunities to solve problems, opportunities to innovate and opportunities to make a difference; (2) We need to stir up the start-up ecosystem in the Philippines and having more publicity for the entire industry is good (in that way, we, startups won’t have to explain what we actually do, especially to our friends and parents. haha!);  and lastly, (3) We need to strive to be better than we are and let go of that “okay na ako” attitude. We, Filipinos, are very talented individuals and it’s such a waste to see people full of potential not maximize their talents and skills.

So there, these are the reasons why I, personally think, that we need shows and other activities like this. Will we join this competition and represent Taxumo? Maybe. We will have to think about it! haha!

But for those who are ready to join, here are some details:

To join The Final Pitch, applicants will be required to fill up and submit an online entry form to The Final Pitch via its official website www.TheFinalPitch.ph Deadline for submission of entries is until March 17, 2017. Investors interested in becoming a part of the show or investing in the entrepreneurs behind the scenes may also get in touch with The Final Pitch through through its website.

*The Final Pitch’ is produced by Streetpark Productions Inc., the company behind the longest-running real estate and construction TV show Philippine Realty TV. For more info and for sponsorship and partnership inquiries, visit www.TheFinalPitch.ph or call 0917-8136674.

Goodluck to all my readers who want to join! Message me so that we can all watch you!

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Identifying Potential Niches in Blogging

If you want to earn from blogging, you need to choose a niche. Choose a niche that you think will be profitable for you now and in the future. Blogging is a lot similar to starting your own business. There are a lot of pain points that you can address via your products and service offerings, but ultimately, you narrow down your choices to those that will make most business sense.

What I have seen in the blogging community is that a lot of them go for what is hip and trendy. I don’t blame them. Business owners are like that, too. A few months back, in the Tandang Sora area, there was at two food parks. Now, when you visit that area, there are around more than half a dozen food parks. But it’s normal to go for things that are already proven, things that are cool, and things that seem profitable. Although, there is always a benefit to being the first mover.

Going back to blogging, a lot of the people I see are fashion bloggers, food bloggers, beauty bloggers, finance bloggers and mom bloggers. It’s great that there are a lot of bloggers who are part of these segments, but there are a lot of other niches that you can start checking out, too (especially if you have the ability, skill and passion for it!). One of the niches that isn’t quite as popular is fitness. I’ve only come across a few fitness, health or sports bloggers.

My friend Allan and I were talking about this. I believe that in order for an industry to thrive, we all have to work together to make this industry enticing. There are lead influencers in the industry like Jaymie Pizarro, the Fit Stop Crew (Amazing work, Jackie, Jeff, etc.!) There are famous coaches, too! But if you want to make the fitness industry something that can generate revenue as a whole, from coaches, to gyms, to these famous bloggers to aspiring bloggers, we need more “movement” in that industry.

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Since we create learning events, we are coming up with a Fitness Blogging 101 workshop, in which you can learn how to make it big in this niche. There are a lot of untapped potential brands who need the help of bloggers that fall under fitness, health and nutrition. So if you want to blog, but still figuring out what topic to write about, try going with FITNESS.

Another thing is that there people are building a lot of gyms, yoga studios, crossfit boxes, etc. A lot of people, too, are considering becoming a fitness instructor. Blogging can make you stand out! Blogging can be a way for you to amplify you message and build your brand. It can also be way for you to build an audience and to build a good base of followers.

So if you haven’t considered coming to this workshop, hope you consider it now! Fitness is one of the potential niches in blogging. We look forward to helping you!

Sign up using this link: http://manilaworkshops.com/events/fitness-blogging-101

P.S. You’ll have a free yoga session, too, and free CREDITS from KFIT! 🙂

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Mobile Moves Business

Inspiration is okay, but Implementation is better. Creating a plan is okay, but acting on it is better. Anyway, no one is perfect the first time (or even the second or third time) around. We need to be tolerant of our own failure and the failure of others. And we need to try harder. We need to be really open to the changes happening around us. If we don’t adapt, failure will happen. You can’t do the the same thing, and expect a different result. #thoughts

This was what I posted yesterday on Facebook. I normally post deep thoughts like these after watching a thought-provoking or a really sad movie (like La La Land), but in this case, I didn’t come out of a movie theater. I came from an event, which I honestly thought was going to be another sales blitz. It was refreshingly delightful and inspiring!

It was Facebook Philippines’ Mobile Moves Business and it was definitely one of the most inspiring events that I have ever attended. It was a private event and most of the attendees where brands, agencies, pr people, marketers, etc. A big shout out to Paolo Lacuna of Facebook for inviting me to this event. So being a ‘branded’ event, I thought that the talks would be all about Facebook, so I was pleasantly surprised that I got to learn, not only a few things, but a full page of learnings (which I will share with you, my dear readers!).

These are the things that I remembered (so if someone who was there want to add some things, please feel free in the comment section below):

Rapid Transition to a Mobile First Commerce

We don’t notice it (probably because we are too busy looking at our mobile devices… haha!), but a lot of us now spend most of the hours of our day swiping through stuff on our phone. If you’re reading this, look up, where ever you are and I bet there is at least one person on a mobile device.

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This is a timeline that shows the changes in commerce, or the way value is exchanged. And the changes in this ecosystem is quite evident since we clearly see and experience the changes that happened and the changes that are happening and will happen. In the Philippines, it was mentioned that we are now in the middle of an omni-channel and a mobile-first commerce. We are rapidly transitioning to the latter.

As Businesses, Brands, Marketers or Advertisers

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Never forget that setting your business objectives is the first thing that you need to do. Without an objective in mind, your campaign strategy will lose direction. Then, never forget to check on the impact that you make on your audience, your brand and sales. This is the reason why I ask PR agencies and brands who ask me to write about them in this blog what their business objective is. I just believe that if you want to be an effective marketer, blogger, business owner, etc., you should bev clear on what your objective is; After which, strategies, creative executions, etc. will align itself naturally (well, most of the time) to your objective.

Another thing that hit me is that we spend a lot of time “producing” content when we do not fully understand the behavior of the market. We jump right to execution. We forget to validate if this is what the audience really want, if this is the right message, if this is the right platform, etc. There are so many questions that we need to answer before we jump into it! An example that was given yesterday was that usually whatever a brand produces for TV commercials is what they use for Facebook, Instagram, etc. The thing is, it doesn’t work that way.

Going back to the basics, these platforms are made for suppliers of VALUE to interact with the audience and tailor-fit, if possible, solutions that they would want or messages that they would love to hear and react to. Stuart Jamieson from Nielsen said, “don’t just shout at them (pertaining to your audience). ENGAGE with them.” When we have a conversation with our audience, we get better results.

Understanding the Philippine Mobile Market

These are some pictures of data the show that mobile moves business. Filipino smartphone users spend 189 minutes per day on their phones. The breakdown below is indicated in the second picture.

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Over the years, the digital landscape has undergone a lot of changes. The biggest change really is that social media now has paved the way for people to express themselves. People want to be involved and they express how they feel and “type” what they think via social media.

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So if you want to be effective, with every ad that you create and with every message that you deliver, give your audience the chance to interact with you and express themselves.

On Digital Media and Traditional Media

A wake-up call for me is that we often use one creative for different platforms. Yesterday, it was highlighted that a material produced for traditional media may not be as effective when you use it for digital media. There were a lot of side by side comparison of TV commercials being directly played as an ad on Facebook versus playing an edited version specifically produced for mobile screens. It really made a big difference!

Also, I’m sharing this slide on the Kicker Effect. This is basically a guide on how Facebook can help you optimize your TV campaign.

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On eCommerce to MCommerce to SCommerce

Inanc Balci, CEO of Lazada and Ross Wakeham, Industry Lead, Facebook Southeast Asia

Inanc Balci, CEO of Lazada and Ross Wakeham, Industry Lead, Facebook Southeast Asia

An interesting part of the program, which I know a lot of my readers with retail businesses would be interested in learning, was the conversation with Inanc Balci, the CEO of Lazada. He said that the changes happening is from the landscape being eCommerce to M(obile)Commerce to S(ocial)Commerce. He says that in this day and age, brands with out eCommerce or MCommerce should seriously consider having it. Also, it is very important that you build a separate team for that. A different set of skills and expertise are required for this kind of business.

When asked about tips that he can offer retail, he replied that a retailer needs to think about these things seriously: Have the lowest prices. Have the best service.  Have great logistic and payment parters. And lastly, look at metrics and use it.

His last insight was really funny! He was asked what he saw that was unique about the Filipino buyers. He said that in the Philippines, they would notice a spike in purchases during work hours and a big drop during lunch break and past office hours! haha!

What’s Fascinating About Facebook

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Aside from the deep understanding of Facebook that mobile moves business, what I love about Facebook as a channel for advertising and spreading information is that it is a platform which really understands the behaviour, the needs and the journey of each individual. Having this data, they help marketers, brands and businesses reach a specific market that really needs and wants to engage with them. So even if you are a small business like Manila Workshops (my business), we are given the power to optimize each and every peso to tap our potential customers and to convert them to be our customers.

For the past four years, to be honest with you, I have sustained my events management business by solely utilizing Facebook advertising. But even with this, I was inspired since I was excited by the fact that there was still a lot to learn (yes, I know… such a nerd! Learning excites me!). We all have a lot to learn. But I believe that if we learn more about all of these things, we can continuously give value where that value is needed.

Hope this article inspired you to learn more! Indeed, mobile moves business!

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App Creation Software for Business Owners from My Start-Apps

Yesterday, I was amidst all of these amazing students with tech related backgrounds. I volunteered to be a a mentor for the 13th SMART SWEEP, which was held at AIM. All of them were truly amazing. I tok the time to teach them a little bit about understanding the pain point of the customer, etc. I hope they got something useful from the things that I was telling them. During my ride home, I thought to myself, another thing that I should probably teach them in the future is professionalism.

For the other start-up business that I have, we are still looking for a competent tech partner or outsourced service provider that we can work with. This start-up was incorporated way back in 2014 and until now, we don’t have an app to show our potential customers. This frustrated me as a small business owner. To make an app, we had to pay close to a quarter to a million pesos, and this was for a buggy app/software. So I know the pain of a small business owner of wanting to have your own mobile application, but not having the funds. But a more important thing is not having control over the project, especially if you have no background in IT.

This is why it was so interesting to see this app creation software created by Mr. Geek Mobile Solutions Inc.

Sparky and Nap from Mr. Geek telling me about their App Creation Software, My Start-Apps

Sparky and Nap from Mr. Geek telling me about their App Creation Software, My Start-Apps

What I loved about the app creation software that they showed me is that anyone (literally… even me!) can create my own mobile application. We all know that by 2020, most of the people in our country will own a smart phone, and this will be the channel of choice when searching for something, shopping for anything, etc.

Here is my interview with the people behind My Start-apps, Sparky and Nap:

See how amazing it is. Anyone, from small hole-in-the-wall restaurants to real estate agents, to small retail stores on Instagram, to influencers can use this application. Are you ready for the future? Is your business ready for a world where most of the population will turn to their mobile phones to accomplish tasks and even fulfil leisurely activities via their phone?

If you are interested to use My Start-Apps, please sign up at http://www.mystart-apps.com/ and use the code #MommyGinger.

MyStart-Apps Pricing
· One Time Setup Fee Regular Price: Php 46,000.00
· One Time Setup Fee Discounted Price to loyal readers of Mommy Ginger (those who use the code): Php 36,000.00
– Also, the annual fee for the first year will be waived.

So hurry and sign up and create a mobile app for yourself or your business!

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Online Tax Preparation with a Heart

Never in million years would I have guessed that I would be a TECH STARTUP company co-founder AND focus on online tax preparation. When I was little, I never liked math. One of the reasons why I chose marketing was I assumed it had a few subjects where I had to compute or use a calculator. When I graduated and helped my dad handle the family business, I would be so bored looking at excel spreadsheets that showed profit and loss statements.

I think I only got to love numbers when I joined a bank. Of course, in the beginning, I forced myself to look at spreadsheets and reports containing mostly numbers — all kinds of numbers and computations. Plus, I had to force myself to understand banking language like ADB, MBR, TPR, NPV, TITF, JA, CASA, FLOATS, etc. But, for anyone who knows me, I am a competitive person. I loved the challenge. So when I started understanding number, I found that I loved it and it was “actually” useful! haha! My almost 7 years of service in that bank was the best years of my life. I learned a lot and challenged myself A LOT!

When 2012 came, I went away to seek the life that I wanted, which was to become an entrepreneur. I would watch videos of Marie Forleo, Tyra Banks, Oprah and other influential women on the internet. I really admired each one of them and how they got to where they were. I saw the millions and millions of people whom they have helped. I wanted to be like them. I wanted to see how I could directly help others with a business. This dream was the foundation of Manila Workshops. When I started, it was a challenge getting our name out there. It was even more challenging to manage the “business” side of everything — from sustaining profits, controlling costs and most of all, dealing and paying taxes! I really hated that part.

I would always get stressed it if taxes was the topic. I wished for the longest time that someone would create anything like an online tax preparation system or whatever to make it easier for me. And so, with someone did notice and create a rudimentary system for me. This someone was my husband and my saviour. With this very rough local automation at home, we were able to expand the business of 3 directors to 20 directors.

The TAXUMO Story

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And this is where our Taxumo story begins. We wanted to share this process and system with other small business owners, freelancers and professionals. We created a deck of the idea that we had, and started to pitch it to different people and in different competitions. This is where we started, because it seemed that others were doing this as well. With this, we were chosen as one of the 100 startups in Asia for the Echelon e27 Summit. During this time, we were already slowly developing the product. I was talking to different possible partners and was building alliances. EJ was developing algorithm, framework and the other stuff that we had to have before developing the software.

The next chapter of our story started when we were chosen as top 25 for the Ideaspace incubation program. We got some funds to build the prototype. With the money, we hired a freelance developer who would build the working prototype for us (A big shout out to Barry! Thank you! He developed our MVP and was really good, but had to let go of the project because we didn’t have enough funds to pay him.). This is the typical challenge of a startup. If you’re going through a financial turmoil, this is normal. We were bootstrapping as bootstrapping can be. Then, we were chosen as one of the top 10 startups for the Ideaspace Acceleration program. This came in at the right time. We used the funds to speed up development. A competent team is helping us develop the new system now (shoutout to Spectres Solutions! Wooohoo!)

During this time also, we invited people to be co-founders with us. Why and how did we decide on that? Well, we knew that we needed competent people to join our team to handle different aspects of the business. We knew that we needed an accounting and taxation expert, so we invited Mark. We knew that we needed to be covered legally, so we invited Atty. Kevin. And finally, after a few months of personally handling operations and marketing, the four of us decided to invite Evan, a marketing and advertising expert, and a freelancing advocate. So that’s how our team came to be.

Today is a really important day for us — it’s Ideaspace’s Demo Day. This is where we show the world the months of hard work that we have put into our startup (thanks Charz Medoza for the great design work, our new logo and the new UI/UX that everyone should watch out for!) But forget about us, because this is the time when we share the benefits of Taxumo for all of the Philippine self employed individuals — small businesses, freelancers and professionals. You can now concentrate on starting and building your business. This is the time to REFOCUS on what matters. Refocus on your passion!


 

We know that the reason that you started this business is that you want to make a difference. You long for time to use words or photographs to tell a story. You wanted to see the smiles as your customers run their fingers on that dress that you so painstakingly created. Hearing the conversations of people after a workshop session that they are now inspired to take action makes your heart skip a beat. Seeing an email of gratitude from a US client for great VA work done makes you feel that you can conquer the world. Giving business or life coaching advice to hundreds of people on stage or even through a one on one session makes you elated. All of these things make you remember that it was passion and a sense of purpose that made you decide to start your own business or pursue this profession. This is how we feel. This is how we all should feel about our business.

So join the tribe and worry less about taxes! Pursue your passion. Leave all the taxation worries and sign up for Taxumo (http://taxumo.com). It’s should all be about YOU this 2017!

P.S. Thank you to all of our mentors (Ms. Diane, Sir Manny, Prim, Phil, Gabe, Paul, Edmond, Jojy, Jojo, Jay) and to all of those who helped us make this happen! We love you all! #TeamTaxumo

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Startup Marketing Plan vs. Blog Marketing Plan

MG Blog Series

I was about to skip blog writing today for my blog series. A terrible headache hit me the other day. I had to catch up on a lot of things. One of the things that crossed my mind and had to think about was the growth strategy of Taxumo (startup marketing plan, etc.). For those who have been reading my blog, you would know that Taxumo is the startup company that we built. Taxumo takes care of computing, filling out the forms and submitting the data and payment to the BIR, which is the tax ministry here in the Philippines and to an authorized bank. Entrepreneur magazine featured us just this week:

Filing taxes? There’s an app for that

I was inspired to write about marketing plans and strategies for both startups and blogs. Yesterday, I was studying more about Facebook ads and optimizing these advertisements that I create. I am amazed at the numbers and metrics involved. I think this is what people don’t see and get — that marketing, especially nowadays is a “numbers” game.

We all meet marketers and all of them look like extroverted individuals, who probably just love talking to people and hate math. Haha! I know how people think and have been branded to be such also. I took marketing in college, but ended up in banking, which made people wonder A LOT. But after years of marketing different products and services, as a marketer, the lesson that I learned is we gotta love numbers! Metrics show the real picture. Conversions, engagement, leads, sales — all of these are all measured using numbers.

Now, since we are talking more about blogging in this blog series, how do you effectively market your blog. Obviously, one is to tell everyone you meet that you have a blog, but that would take forever. If we talk to each one, multiply it by the number of minutes, that would take forever to reach a goal of having just 500 visitors a day in your site. Now, this is why I thought about startup marketing plans.

The objective of a startup is to have speedy and steady growth especially for the first year or so. They employ strategies that would result to achieving this. Of course not all strategies are “one-size-fits-all”, but some should be evident in each of the marketing strategies of different startups.

1. Among all the people in the world, it SHOULD BE ME!
People love being the first to tell their friends about this cool thing, this new place, this great deal, etc. In the startup world, we seek for beta testers. These are usually our early adopters. Our early adopters should be able to validate that our guess of who are market is is correct. An example of this is how my friends at Cape marketed their product. I actually want to conduct this experiment and test who among my friends and readers value cheap flights!

IF YOU WANT CHEAP FLIGHTS AT AROUND 50-70% OFF, CLICK ON THIS IMAGE AND SIGN UP!

cape

Now, obviously, I will be able to tell how many of you signed up for Cape’s service because I was given a code to track down how many signed up. Sometimes, these codes can also monitor sales. And if sales are monitored, commissions can also be monitored. This is the reason why there is such a thing as affiliate marketing. This is the gist of what affiliate marketing is (but let’s discuss this topic for another time).

You can employ the same strategy with you blogs. You can announce that you are giving some readers access to something valuable in your site in exchange for their emails. In this environment, emails are very valuable. It allows you to connect with your readers again and again.

2. STAND UP, BE HEARD AND MAKE A DIFFERENCE!

Since early this year, for Taxumo, we have been conducting a lot of FREE taxation workshops. We do this, because we genuinely believe that all you need as taxpayers is an entity who will understand and listen to you, know what your going through, and actually take time out to explain things that you don’t understand about taxes. Once you get it, it’s up to you to use or not use our system. But most of them really do use the system, since the Taxumo team is genuinely there to help them!

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If you want to increase engagement in your blog, take time out to reply to your readers. With the plethora of things that I have to do, I still find the time to talk to people who chat me up on messenger, email me, etc. Seriously! You can ask different people. I always try to find time to answer if time permits. Actively engaging with your readers make them loyal followers!

3. Understand the CUSTOMER JOURNEY

Intimately know what they want and what they need. If it’s a blog, intimately know what they want to read about, where they read, when they would read or search for an article and then be there! Bloggers are mind readers. We should know exactly what our readers want even before they search for it!

These are just some of the things that I thought of when thinking about the similarities of creating a startup marketing plan and a blog marketing plan. As for the latter, I think I’ll try to expound on that more in the next posts for this series.

If there is anything you would want to add, please feel free to leave your comment below. Have a great day, peeps!

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Online Tax Preparation SaaS Taxumo

I was always busy and worried at certain times of the month, and it was always because of tax preparation. I have already paid a cumulative amount of probably Php 20,000 worth of penalties. My previous freelance accountants would forget to pay (because of the multitude of clients that they had to service). I, personally, would forget deadlines, because of my busy schedule. For some forms, I didn’t get to file because I didn’t know that I needed to file them. I do love math, but I really don’t get  how taxes are computed.

My husband wanted to help me. He would see me suffer and he saw that the stress was killing me. Being the programmer that he is, he found a rudimentary way to automate the tax preparation that I did from home. From there, we saw the benefits of the automated process. We then wanted to share this with other business owners, freelancers and professionals.

Paying taxes should be something we do and we should see as our duty. We should do it because it will greatly help our country. We will do our share by making it simple and easy for each and every one of you. This is the reason why we created Taxumo. Taxumo is a do-it-yourself web application that computes, fills out forms and send the data directly to the bank/BIR. You don’t need to start loving math! haha! You don’t need to line up at the bank or the RDOs.

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What makes our team the best people to talk to is that we genuinely understand the pain that you are going through, because we have been there. We know that BIR has been trying to come up with a way to have a robust online tax preparation process and to automate collections. We are here to help both the end users and the Bureau of Internal Revenue.

Taxumo is a web application that helps in online tax preparation and filing — so we take care of computing, filling out the forms and submitting it to the BIR/Bank.

Although, right now, we don’t handle payments that needed to be paid in the past. What you could do is to use this online tax preparation application for your payments moving forward. Right now, we cater to percentage or non-vat payers. By December, we will also be ready to cater to VAT taxpayers. If you don’t understand these terms and if you want to know if you are a vat or a percentage/non-vat taxpayer, you can check out your certificate of registration of Form 2303. Here is a sample:

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All of the information you need to complete your profile page is in this document. If you lose it, you can visit your Revenue District Office or RDO (usually in the area where your business address is) of the BIR to secure a copy.

I also created this video so that you have a guide on how to use Taxumo.

The next deadline is on December 20 for Percentage Tax payers! 🙂 I hope you can sign up now while the system is FREE. Just go to http://taxumo.com and see how easy paying taxes can be!

If you have questions, feel free to write it on the comment section below!

 

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