A Review of The E-Myth Revisited

The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About It – Michael E. Gerber This book is the most recommended business book.  If you only read one business book in a year then this should be the one.  I’m not overly excited by the format of the book but it’s … Read more

What are some of the best ways to stay organized – and sane?

Juggling time, always a fun thing to do and never more so than when you’re taking on so many different tasks at once. All the people I know who study or work from home and have small children are very organised. One friend actually sells a product called Mayhem Manager which helps you to organise yourself, your house and your kids. It’s an awesome product but I’m not here to talk about this except in how it can help me manage my life.

I’ve just taken on the task of studying English Literature. I was hoping for a daytime class but that was cancelled as they didn’t have enough enrolments so I had to switch to Wednesday nights. For most Wednesday nights during the year I’m going to be leaving the house and travelling into the CBD to study. The course I’m doing is English Literature Units 3 and 4, this means I’m doing Year 12 or the last year at school before going onto University. I’m going to have a three hour class each week and around six hours of homework/study/research per week. The only thing it’ll qualify me for is being irritating about literature and maybe for writing better articles about books.

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Book Sellers, Do You Trade Fairly?

Buyers and sellers have a complicated relationship, we sell and they buy which sounds simple but in Australia the buyer is protected by the Trade Practices Act 1974, yes it’s old but it still applies. There’s also the Sale of Goods Act and the Fair Trading Act and if there are problems and the buyer is not getting satisfaction from the seller there’s always an Ombudsman to complain to. The Trade Practices Act regulates areas such as:

* a system of fair trading, as opposed to misleading or deceptive conduct in the marketplace
* accurate and reliable information, as opposed to false and misleading information
* sales techniques – to ensure they are fair and not misleading or one-sided
* product standards for a wide variety of goods, together with information on those goods and their safety standards
* remedies for both retailers and consumers for breaches of the Fair Trading Act
* implied conditions and warranties that are available to the consumer
* the enforcement of a fair and equitable system in areas such as credit, lay-by sales, and so on.

With thanks to the New Enterprise Incentive Scheme for this information.

Basically, what this says is that the seller must give the buyer full disclosure of information and be totally fair and above board and ensure they honour any implied conditions and warranties associated with the product they’ve bought. Fabulous, now let’s apply that to online selling of pre-loved books.

A system of fair trading
This is a hard one but you have to give the appearance of having fair trading. Everything is in the seller’s court here as we have the ability to take the customer’s money and just run. In order to look fair we have to be open about everything. Have a guarantee that looks totally fair and above board. Have all of your policies documented on your website and make sure they are fair, both to you and to the customer.
Accurate and reliable information
This one is easy. Pre-loved books are often in less than perfect condition and it is incumbent upon the seller to describe the book ‘s faults accurately, if you don’t then the buyer has every right to return the book and expect a refund. When I’m buying pre-loved books through an online auction site or from a website I expect the book to look the same as the description. If the description says brand new or almost new then I’d expect to receive it with very little wear. Make sure the picture matches the description. I’ve seen some pictures showing a book with quite a lot of obvious damage and the description stating it is almost new and sometimes unopened despite being so old. The customer would have every right to return the book as there is a great deal of misinformation there, that description is quite misleading.

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What Image are you Projecting?

This article is going to focus more on what all online businesses can do to look more professional.  It came to mind when looking at an article on The Bookshop Blog and I noticed one of the authors had a gmail account.

Whatever you do whether online or offline you need to be considering your overall image.  All of these things need to be in accordance..  Do not limit yourself to the look of your website or your logo but also look at the fonts you use, your policies and how you interact with people both online and offline, ensure the language you use fits this same theme..  Having an email address that has your url in it looks far more professional than having a gmail or hotmail account.

I’ll take my business as an example.  The colours in my logo all match up with the colours in my website, I actually took a lot of time to ensure this was correct by looking at my logo in a graphics programme, picking out the html code for the colours and then searching through my css file to make all the changes.  That took quite some time as I first did it without reference to the html code and had to repeat it when I knew what I was doing, but when I got the colours right it was much easier on the eyes.

Contact details should be easy to find and there should be more than one method of contact.  My email addresses are all website addresses, they are not gmail or hotmail or something else generic.  They make me look professional and easy to contact.  I also ensure I have a phone number there so people can ring me should they choose this option.  I did have one customer who was fairly new to internet shopping and she choose to ring me and do everything over the phone rather than go through my checkout procedures.  She was very nervous and if I hadn’t had a phone number I would have lost that sale.  I’ve had other customers ring me to check if I had the book available and have been able to make sales that way as well.

Your domain name should be easy to remember or have your keywords within it or both. I chose my domain name without thought to either of those things so I’m behind the eight ball there.  It’s neither memorable (unless you know me well and even then people forget how to spell it) nor does it have keywords to make it easier for Google.  I have a new domain name in progress and while it’s great for keywords, it’s neither short nor easily memorable so I’m very sheepish with both of those.

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A Business Plan as well as Your Goals should Breathe and Evolve

Selling online is a fairly solitary occupation, this is something I’ve spoken about before. Last time I spoke about making friends but this time I’m talking about being a sole owner enterprise. It’s challenging to maintain the focus on the business, I’ve got no-one around to remind me of where I started, what I’ve achieved … Read more