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Archive for the ‘General Business’ Category

March 2nd, 2008

Turns Out God Is Right All Along

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Written by Dominic Lee

Topics: General Business

I’m in no way religious or anything, but I’ve got to give props to my bro G.O.D. on this - take a break on Sunday!

As entrepreneurs, we are often caught in our own business, it becomes an integral part of our life at which we work in it and think about it all the time. We get so consummed by it emotionally to the point at which we cannot see it clearly from an outside perspective.

Since 2 weeks ago, I tried this new weekly schedule, Continue Reading »

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February 3rd, 2008

Microsoft Acquiring Yahoo? What this means to YOU and ME.

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Written by Dominic Lee

Topics: Business Opportunities, General Business, Google, Microsoft, Yahoo

Unless you have been hiding in a cave, you should know that Microsoft is trying to acquire Yahoo and all the dramas that went along with it (i.e. Yahoo declining the offer and Mircosoft turn “hostile”, Yahoo looking for deals from private equities and other media companies like News Corp., Google bringing up the whole anti-trust thing again in revenge for when Microsoft protested against Google’s acquistion of Double Click…)

Since opinions, speculations, & suggestions are ALL OVER the internet and paper about this ordeal, I thought I would chim in and give my 2 cents.

Is this a surpise?

Hardly, it has been widely speculated that Microsoft is looking to acquire Yahoo since 4th Quarter last year. In fact, in Merrill Lynch’s “Top 10 Internet Themes for 1H’08″ report, it has been mentioned and speculated. Seriously, for Microsoft to even stand a chance Continue Reading »

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January 8th, 2008

Do YOU Have Business Resolutions For 2008?

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Written by Dominic Lee

Topics: Business Opportunities, Ecommerce, General Business, Internet Marketing

If not, you should.

New year is a great time for busy entrepreneurs like us to really sit down, think about what we did this past year with our business, set goals for the new year, and create a roadmap to get there.

In 2008, our company main objective is to create a better customer experience, by adding a full time phone support staff and toll-free support no. on all our websites. We’ll also refine our refund and shipping policies to give our customer stronger protection and more flexibility in returning products to us.

We’re launching two ecommerce sites (ShopBeads.com and GolfIsEasy.com) in late January, and may look into 1-2 more towards June. Our target this year Continue Reading »

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December 18th, 2007

Happy Holidays Or Merry Christmas?

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Written by Dominic Lee

Topics: General Business

Its that time of the year when you should be sending Christmas cards or emails to people or organizations that are associated with your business. This includies your vendors, suppliers, partners, employees, and customers. So this brings us to one question - should we say “Happy Holidays” or “Merry Christmas”?

For those of you reading who’re not from the US, you’d probably ask, “Why would anyone say Happy Holidays instead of Merry Christmas?” Well, in the US, there’s something called “Political Correctness”, so apparently if you say Merry Christmas, it implies something about Christ and Christianity so people from other religion may be offended…

So in business settings, especially if you do business in the US, what should you say?

Well, I personally use “Happy Holidays” just in case, but really I dont think it matter that much… do people really get offended so easily? Do you really want to do business with people who are SO particular about irrelevant things?

Tell me what you think!

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November 11th, 2007

New Website Acquisition: Mom101.com

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Written by Dominic Lee

Topics: Business Opportunities, General Business

I just acquired a website yesterday called Mom101.com; the site is brand new without much traffic, but it has a really nice domain name to go along with it, a lot of work was put in setting up affiliate products, plus I have a niche baby gifts store at BabyGiftsUnique.com so I gave it a shot.

I am going to rebuild it with a new template, forum, social network, and blog in the coming weeks, monetize it better by rearrange the ads and find JV deals, and hopefully it’ll grow to a certain point before I sell it (or not if it does really well). Hopefully it’ll do well enough to compete with established mom social networking sites like CafeMom or OpMom.

Ok, I know I’m not exactly the mom type ;) but we’ll make it work. We’ll soon add a lot of parenting advice, baby care tips, and mom resources on the site, so if you’re a new mom, definitely stay tuned and let me know your feedback.

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November 9th, 2007

Rice Alliance Information Technology & Web 2.0 Forum

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Written by Dominic Lee

Topics: Business Opportunities, General Business, Internet Marketing, Startup Business, Venture Capital

I went to the Information Technology and Web 2.0 Forum at Jones School of Business yesterday held by Rice Alliance. It has been a while since I’ve been back to Rice (ok maybe not, I was there for homecoming last week), but it felt kind of weird going back.

Anyhow, back to the forum. It was GREAT. We heard five web 2.0 companies present their detailed business model, countless elevator pitches by startups, and feedback from a panel of VCs.

It was my first time to the forum (I was tempted to go last year but didn’t) and I was thrilled to find out there are so many like minded people in the Houston community. In a way, it reiterates and confirms what you’re doing and it was fun talking to other entrepreneurs, capital guys, and vendors about each other’s business.

Two ventures that captured my mind the most is IdeaTango.com and OpMom.com; both of which are niche social networking site with great potential, both spokeperson was very nice (Lisa Lylod & Carrie Pacini) and I’m interested to see the development of those two companies in the next 12 months.

Another guy that I remembered the most is Blair Garrou, Managing Director from DFJ Mercury (a VC) - he seems to have a really good understanding of the web 2.0 industry and provided a lot of insights in the final session. I immediately try to add him on Linkedin this morning and found out that he has over 300 contacts - wow.

I also learned about this open house event for entreprenuers to network called Open Coffee Club and coincidently, its right down the street from where I’m staying right now (Groundz Coffee on Bagby), so you bet I’ll be there next week.

Anyhow, it was a great event and props for Rice Alliance, Jones School, and all those that were involved. Hopefully, I’ll be able to go next year if I am at Houston.

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November 5th, 2007

What Is Over Outsourcing

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Written by Dominic Lee

Topics: General Business, Outsourcing

Many of the clients that I work with are small business owners, and most of them work at home or started out working from home. One of the biggest question they usually have is - can I outsource everything so I can work at home?

The short answer to that is yes, but you don’t want to.

I do believe that with all the modern ditigal technology, i.e. Skype, online meeting chatrooms, VOIP phones, sharepoints, emails, Blackberry … you can literally run your business through a virtual environment. You can even do pretty well with it - its not uncommon to hear people who work from home who brings in over $300-400K a year.

If that’s ok with you, then thats fine. But if you trully want to build a multi-million dollar enterprise, there’re things that you just cannot outsource. Emails and online chatting can never subsitute the level of interaction when you see the other person face to face. Management is so much easier when you can see your employees and discuss things face to face.

From a personal standpoint, if you just work from home, like I did for 1.5 years after college, you lost your touch and connection with others. Your life becomes mundane and you lose conversation topics when chatting with your friends who work in corporate or other entrepreneurs who have their office and are constantly out there networking.

The success of anything lies in “showing up”, so get OUT of your home office, get a real office and build a multi-million enterprise!

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October 23rd, 2007

Why You Don’t Want To Be Market Pioneer In The Digital Age

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Written by Dominic Lee

Topics: Business Opportunities, China, Ecommerce, General Business, Internet Marketing, Retailing

In my last post, I talked about how it is not the right time to get into ecommerce in China. And a lot of people asked me, “As an entrepreneur, aren’t you supposed to solve those problems?”

Yes, entrepreneurs are supposed to solve problems. But not if the cost is too big.

Here’s why you don’t want to be a market pioneer in the digital age:

1. Exponentially higher development cost - in the industrial age, where productions rely on machineries and physical infracstructures, the development cost of market followers are not that much lower than the pioneer. The reason is developing and producing a machinery requires component and parts which cost money. For example, if it costs $10M to produce the first automatic cleaning machine, it will still cost $3-4M to reproduce it.

However, in the digital age, when what businesses need are more information technology, online services, and software programs, there is an exponentially higher cost of development for the market pioneer. For example, while if it costs $10M to custom made a software, the cost to reproduct it? Almost zero.

2. Less customer loyalty - in the digital age, when one store to another just barely a click away, it is becoming harder to build up customer loyalty. That means even if you company’s market share is 30% this year, it may very well be much less than that next year. Because of this lack of customer loyalty, the benefit of being the first one to enter a marketplace has significantly reduced.

Combining higher initial risk and lower potential reward, I hope you see why you no longer want to be a market pioneer in the digital age.

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October 20th, 2007

China’s E-commerce Opportunities

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Written by Dominic Lee

Topics: Business Opportunities, China, Ecommerce, General Business, Internet Marketing, Retailing

When I was in Hong Kong this summer, a lot of people asked me if I will try to setup some sort of presence in China for my ecommerce company. And I will always tell them no.

Here’re the problems I see associated with doing ecommerce in China or Hong Kong at this moment (in order of importance):

1. Lack of supporting industries - the supporting industries of ecommerce is pretty well developed in North America and in Europe. E-commerce’s supporting industries include shopping cart system, fulfillment centers, payment processors, inventory management, marketing venues… Without these supporting industries, enterprises have to build these infrastructures or programs from ground up, and it is very costly to do. I’ll elaborate more on this point later.

2. Problem with financial infrastructure and logistics - do you know it is STILL a pain in the back to pay online using credit card or Paypal in China? It is even harder for them to take out money from Paypal, not to mention the exuberant fees. This alone can deter a lot of online shopping activites. Besides, the postal service and logistics are far behind in China than in North America. If you think USPS is bad? Think again. Some areas in China don’t even have roads or addresses.

3. Can they afford spending that much yet? - While there’re more and more high income families and a surge in the no. of middle income households, the spending ability in China is still relatively low compared with Europe, N. America, Australia, Japan, and Korea. The avg. income are about USD$500/month. Without the kind of profit margin we achieve elsewhere, it is hard to justify going into China.

4. New Rich Mentallity - Many people tries to bring up the point that, “But there’re more and more rich Chinese families”. That is true. But you have you understand that because they are new rich, they prefer going OUT to shop to show their wealth, NOT hiding at home and purchase things online.

5. Denser Population - The population of China is concentrated in the coastal area, in particular the higher income group. With denser population and denser cities, offline shopping is often preferred with more convenience and wide enough selection of choices.

6. Internet is about widening, not narrowing - another problem with setting up an ecommerce website in China is that you’re limiting yourself with Chinese reading population. When I setup a website in English, not only am I selling to all native English speakers but everyone else from other countries who are able to read English. O and the cost of setting up a web presence is the same everywhere.

Now I’m not saying that ecommerce is not going to be a huge business opportunity in China sometime down the road, but at least not now, and not for the next 3-4 years to come.

Another question I get a lot is - “So why can’t you be the first one to solve those problems? That’s what an entreprenuer does.” I’ll explain to you in my next post why I believe it is no longer beneficial to be the market pioneer in the digital age.

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October 19th, 2007

About Dominiche - Is Flipping Website a Good Business Model?

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Written by Dominic Lee

Topics: General Business, Internet Marketing

There’s a recent launch (or re-launch) in the information marketing industry called the Dominiche. The guy behind it is Ed Dale, who’s a veteran information marketer, and one of the faculty member of Stompernet.

What Dominiche teaches you is essentially how to profit from buying and selling websites (or building & selling, flipping…). Now before we get into what I think about Dominiche, let me talk about whether I think Website Equity is a good business model.

In short, YES.

Here’s why: How much would you have to pay for a investment real estate property in order for it to pay you $1000/month in rent? Its going to be about $100,000. How much do you have to pay to buy a website which pays you $1000/month in profit? Um.. about $15,000.

So in terms of cashflow, this is GREAT.

How about in terms of increase in property value?

Well, let’s see, if you buy a house, no matter WHAT you do to it, renovating it, market it better… it will be almost impossible for you to flip it for more than 100% within 6 months. However, for websites, you can easily promote or monetize a site better and achieve a 100% increase in income - therefore increasing the website’s value by 100%.

Why? Because as of this moment, the value of websites are almost only based on its income.

There’s only one problem. With real estate, you can leverage. You can borrow money to purchase a property you can not otherwise afford, and thus you will gain much more in terms of increase in property value (that is if it increase).

As of now, there aren’t very many mortgages available for buying websites.

The potential I see here is not just with flipping websites itself, but the secondary industries that are going to be generated because of that. How if you become a mortgage company that specializes in provide mortgages for website acquisitions? How if you become a major broker in the area? How about an appraisal firm for website equity?

Does that excite you?

Now I’m not a member of Dominiche or Stompernet, and do not intend to join. But from what I’ve heard, those guys know what they’re doing. And for just $2000 something, its worth a shot at it and I look forward to hearing from your success.

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