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The open source delusion - Wake up!

Over the years, I've read numerous articles on open source, and many of them repeat the same myths. These are that all open source projects are driven by altruism, and that thousands of programmers work together on projects, each one fixing bugs as they find them.

The reality for virtually every open source project is that a small clique jealously guards its application. Letting anyone and everyone in to change the code would result in a quality disaster, as anyone with knowledge of software engineering knows. Many open source projects are pushed by one or two individuals, and cease all development when the main guy gets a girlfriend. If you're a lucky user, they never will. But relying on luck isn't a great business philosophy.

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Are your customers really happy?

I've written in the past about many aspects of a successful start-up, including playing to your strengths, being realistic with your plans, utilising your skills and properly working out your business proposition.

But when all is said and done, there is one critical question you need to ask: are your customers happy? In the rush to get sales started, you can celebrate your first sale and then quickly move on, but that's not the right thing to do. Instead, with your first (and probably next few) customers, make sure they're really, really happy and that you totally understand them.

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Setting Up Shop Online: Security and reassurance for customers

In the seventh post of our series on setting up an E-Commerce operation, Simon Armstrong, marketing manager for E-Commerce specialist Sellerdeck, offers essential tips for making sure your customers feel secure when buying from you online.

To be successful online your site needs to convey that you are a reputable company and give potential customers confidence to do business with you. This article highlights how to offer reassurance to customers that it's safe to buy from you.

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Controlling your costs the professional way

Since I started my company Sellerdeck 15 years ago, I've sold almost exclusively to small businesses - it's been a blessing and a curse. A blessing in the sense that no single customer is too critical. Against this is that none of these guys has much money, which means we have to be incredibly cost conscious. This experience has taught me a few tips about keeping costs down.

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Double Your Productivity in 3 Easy Steps

I always remember a cartoon showing two groups battling one another with spears. Behind one of the leaders, a sales person is trying to sell them a machine gun. The guy is clearly irritated and barks out "Get lost, can't you see I'm fighting a war?"

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