Tuesday, May 29

When Technology Black Swan Huawei Blueprints Future Vision, people listen

Black swans are the ultimate outliers. They have the ability to surprise and disrupt the status quo.

I was recently in Shenzhen and was permitted access to Huawei’s campus. I know I didn’t see it all, but I saw enough to get me thinking. I had heard lots of stories, but reality was even more interesting. Seeing and talking to the people gave me new insights. I’d heard that in China, tech employees worked 10 hours straight a day. Not really. The offices, campus and the university (yes, a University where all employees study) are perhaps even more modern and inviting than many I’ve seen in the United States.

It was hard to take in everything, but I was fascinated by the fact that Huawei  founder Ren Zhengfei’s office overlooks a most exquisite man-made lake.  This lake is open for anyone to walk and enjoy. Most interesting was the fact that black swans were imported to live in the lake. It wasn’t until I had returned home that I realized their significance. Black Swans!

Upon reflection, China’s Huawei is the ultimate black swan. Rare and unexpected, its employee owned (privately held) status allows it to disrupt common business models and even technology. There are no outside shareholders to answer to and they foster the philosophy of “we’re all in this together” as well as collectivism. Huawei looks at the world considerably different than the majority of the Interbrand 100 companies. (In 2017, they were number seventy on the list and are the youngest technology manufacturer on the list.)

Founded in 1987, they’ve risen from obscurity to one of the top growing brands in the world. According to the 2018 China RepTrak® study, conducted by the Reputation Institute, Huawei has been ranked as the most reputable Chinese corporate brand in their home country. In the study, “How to Win on Reputation in China: Understanding Chinese vs. Multi National Companies,” they out-performed Apple (a one time a classic black swan) in terms of transparency and open communication “Compared to Apple, Huawei is 2x more genuine”.  They are clearly the fastest rising 31 year old startup.

Black swans catch the competition by surprise. Huawei began their journey as a small telecommunications supplier, but quickly grew from home spun to acquiring major contracts. The black swan strategy is clear in their progress. Rather than going after telecoms in economically advanced major cities, Founder Ren chose to go after rural areas where competition was small and need was great. At a time when The Art of War was a popular tactical and strategic philosophy, he chose to "surround the city with the countryside." Huawei would cover the provinces with employees to support and service their equipment, signifying their devotion to a customer-centric philosophy. After being hugely successful in the countryside, they soon conquered the metropolitan cities.

Monday, February 19

The Top 5 Secrets To Selling On eBay


Lots of folks tell me they want to become an online seller. Too many try to tell you how easy it is and others don't want to put forth the effort to make a few dollars. In my experience, every dollar in helps out towards extras at home and with family.

Bottom line? It isn’t simple – especially the part where you actually try to make a profit. You have to keep up with changes in the marketplace — like shifts in consumer buying behaviors — study from tried and true experts, and practice!

The best place to get a feel for any online sales is to begin on eBay. I’ve written many bestselling books on the subject, and I’m a Top Rated Seller on the site. Remember that you can’t make a dime if you don’t actually list anything, and you probably won’t be successful without making a few mistakes.  My newest book, eBay Business All-in-One For Dummies 4th edition, answers just about any question you may have from sourcing products to staying in line with the tax man.

But, you can also learn from the successes and mistakes of others. So in this post, I want to offer some advice on how to create listings that sell – and how to earn the most profits from those sales!

Listing title

Nothing is more important than your title. You’ve no doubt heard about SEO (search engine optimization). Well, you can apply these same practices on eBay to increase sales. It’s all about “keywords” – the terms people will use to search for your item. Note that rarely would anyone search for a “beautiful” sweater. More than likely, someone would search for a sweater in a certain size, color, fabric, brand name, sleeve length – get it? Do not waste your 80 characters (total allowed on eBay for your item title) on fluffy adjectives or adverbs. The item title does not have to be a proper sentence; instead, be sure to make the verbiage descriptive with practical details. Since eBay buyers see less than the full title listing when browsing (mobile only shows 25 characters), keep the less important words at the end. Search will find the matching words anywhere in your title when someone searches for them.

Tip: Use tools like Google’s Keyword Tool (used by advertisers who place ads with Google) or Title Builder, an eBay-centric search tool to identify top keywords people search for.

Pictures

You may post up to 12 pictures at no charge, but most new items can be illustrated completely in just three or four clear, well-lit photos. Be sure the photos you upload are at least 500 pixels wide or you run the risk of eBay rejecting them. Use multiple photos if you are selling a collectible or rare piece so that you cover every possible angle. Be sure to photograph any flaws so the customer can effectively evaluate an item’s condition before bidding on or buying vintage items. If you would also like to show images within your description, go to the HTML description builder and use the code . When shooting images of jewelry, coins or anything detailed, use your camera’s macro setting. Do not use any fancy backgrounds that may distract from your item.

Tip: To accurately portray colors of metals, use a Cloud Dome (or Cloud Dome Nimbus for smartphone cameras). It holds your camera steady and uses an algorithim to reflect light at exact angles for the best images possible.

Price it right

Check eBay’s completed listings search to see if your item actually sells well on the site and how much similar ones have sold for in recent auctions. Prices and trends may change by the minute and there is no point in listing when an item isn’t selling well. Check current listings too: How many sellers are selling your item? And at what price? As with any market, eBay items sell based on supply and demand. Choose your items carefully, price strategically and put slow selling items in your store. If you have a bit of wiggle room in your pricing, consider using eBay’s “Make Offer” option when listing. This way you can determine the sale price based on a customer’s offer. You can make up to 3 counter-offers to a buyer. Free shipping is also a good strategy for attracting customers and can make your listing seem more appealing than another seller with the same or a similar item – buyers feel like their money is going further, and there’s no guessing as to what cost the final invoice may reflect.

Tip: Double check your profit margin before you list. Although eBay has fee calculators, one of the better ones I have found is at http://finalfeecalc.com/ – this tool takes fees, expenses and discounts into account and gives you a picture of how much you will make on your item if you sell it at a certain price point.

The Value of Customer Service 

Good customer service will set you apart (and give you a leg-up on the competition from big brands) by letting the customer know you care. Communicate with your customer, even within your description. Let the customer know you are invested in their happiness with the purchase. Sell to international customers; American goods are very popular overseas. Putting the customer first through stellar customer service promotes repeat business and helps you reach the goal of Top Seller Status (where you receive a discount on final value fees and are advantaged by eBay’s Best Match search algorithm).

Tip: Print out “thank you” notes and include them in your orders. Include information about you, your website or other merchandise you carry. Consider also offering customers a discount on their next order.

Ship the item out FAST!

Know when your auction listings are scheduled to end, and be prepared to immediately pack and ship any items that have sold. For “Buy It Now” listings, set aside a few minutes each day to take care of shipping needs. Once the customer has sent you money, the item belongs to him or her – it no longer has a place in your inventory area. Print your shipping label within 24 hours and post it to eBay and they will notify the buyer.

Keep a stock of shipping supplies (padded envelopes and free Priority Mail® packaging here) that match the items you sell. Use First Class mail whenever possible for items less than 13 (15.9 if you're using online postage) ounces and send them in a bubble wrap envelope to save on weight.

Tip: When it comes to shipping costs, box weight can make a big difference, so you might consider Priority Mail® Flat Rate Boxes, depending on the size and shape of the item. Priority Mail® Regional Rate Boxes can also be an economical option, depending on your shipping destination. Use the postal zone charts at this link to calculate shipping rates from your ZIP Code.

Remember, Top Rated Seller Status, which can increase your profit margin, is impacted by how buyers rate your customer service, shipping time and shipping costs.

Monday, January 15

5 Features Entrepreneurs Need on a Smartphone - found them on the Huawei Mate 10

Today’s smartphones are so full of features that its hard to distinguish one from another. They’re all great. But what I’m looking for is innovation. Features that will actually make a difference and add value to this tiny computer we all carry everywhere.

I received the Huawei Mate 10 Pro at the launch event in Munich last year. I didn’t review the phone then (since so many people did). I wanted to live with the phone and give it a real, hands-on, daily driver report. (As an aside, the Huawei Mate 10 Pro was named as the best Android phone of 2017 by Android Authority.)

While I appreciate a sexy phone and a great screen, innovation is my primary reason for selecting a smartphone. The Pro model I tested adds features of an OLED screen, 128 GB storage (no Micro SD card slot) and 6 GB of ram.

Without giving full specs (read on the Huawei website), you should know the basic firepower behind these phones is powered by amazing engine, where all parts work as a SoC (system on a chip) :