Ask me anything - CEO

by Echizen88. Posted on Sep 11, 2020    0    67


2020 has been a rough year for most small businesses. I feel you, I know what its like to be in the gutter. As the CEO of one of the fastest growing e-commerce company in Canada, I would like to give back to this amazing community.

Ask me anything, and I will do my best to answer your questions to the best of my knowledge. I hope a little inspiration from someone who’s been there, done that, can perhaps steer you in the right direction, in life and in business. No legal or accounting advices please.

There’s no catch, I’m not selling anything (I have my own company to run.) Please do not DM me. Simply ask your question here; and I will respond in a timely manner.

givingback


Comments

Fleppsson

In my school we have a entrepreneur course and I want to know if Happy Hoodies or Holy Hoodies are good names for a clothes company

Lovetealifeyoga

U/Fleppsson,

I'd go for hoodie hoodies

  Echizen88 1

Happy is definitely better. I wouldn’t use holy as it singles out part of the population.

[deleted]

[deleted]

Lovetealifeyoga

What startup interests have you?

kanguru

What are you doing to help businesses who haven’t been as fortunate in 2020?

  Echizen88 1

Financially, I can’t help anyone as our company is still in the growing stages. We don’t have money ourselves. However, perhaps I can use my time to help anyone who’s struggling with their business.

Anon8627

Have you used digital marketing yet? If yes is it worth it?

  Echizen88 1

Yes, we drive considerable traffic through Facebook, Instagram, and google / YouTube ads. It definitely works. There are many 8-9 figure businesses these days utilizing strictly digital marketing.

Anon8627 1

Ok thanks. Bdw why was I downvoted for asking you this?

Tiamatisus

When did you start making profit?

Was there something particular that made instant impact on sales/purchases and led you to growth?

Do you hire developers in the company or you outsource it?

  Echizen88 1

We made profit in the 1st month, with e-commerce, you can strike gold right away. When we started to create products that no one has had, it catapulted our business. We outsourced developers, had an in house, but haven’t had any luck. Recently, we hired an agency, the best in our city; so far, they have been very good.

goosetavo2013

What are your best lead generation sources? How have you adapted to COVID? What does your team look like and where did they come from?

Thanks for this.

  Echizen88 1

Facebook, Instagram, and email opt in. COVIDs been great for most e commerce businesses. Majority of our team is local. Marketing, tech(outsourced), design, logistics, operations, HR, finance and customer service. Pretty much all you need for a fast growing e-commerce company. I’ve been handling most of the product dev, but will need to hand this off sooner than later.

DiosOtro

Hi! What do you think is the best platform to sell coffee in my small town? instagram or a minimalist website? Do you think it would be necessary to have accounts on twitter / facebook / tiktok having an account on instagram to advertise? Thank you

  Echizen88 1

Coffee will do great on IG. You need both a website as well as an IG business account. Focus on 1 platform, crush that first before you shift your attention onto another. I find most unsuccessful businesses try to spread themselves too thin. If you wanna be great at something, you should spend all your energy on it. Michal Jordan was only great at basketball, he wasn’t great at hockey nor baseball ;-)

theWunderknabe

Working for 8 years for another large e-commerce company in another country gives me the impression that problems are often seen as a simple list from "important" to "less important". This will leave problems at the bottom of that list unsolved forever.

Of course something that produces a lot of costs should be solved first, but something minor that exists for long can cause equally large damage. Also solutions do come at a price themselfs. Thinking about this, it can become really complicated to decide what to work on and how much.

So, how do you evaluate which problem to work on first / how much resources to put into solving a problem?

xeneks

Do you have a hard or tough stance on the environment, pollution, waste and carbon? And related: do you accept returns of products sold or do they end up landfilled?

  Echizen88 1

We are working on more eco friendly packaging in the nearby future. Yes, I’m all for a greener future, and a better planet for our children. We currently donate our returned products to charities. Unfortunately, some may end up in landfill and it’s something that I like to work towards.

xeneks 1

It’s often unavoidable but recognising it’s an issue is wonderful. Thanks!

ChantelleR08

What applications do you use to manage your time or your projects? Any chance you're using Airtable? If yes, can you lead to the best way of using it to the fullest?

  Echizen88 2

Try Asana, google suite, and slack. Never tried airtable. I never look at the clock. Know what you need to get done each day, get it done on that day.

SIG_94

How do you manage competition like Amazon and other big names? Is there something new that your business is bringing to the customer?

I asked this because all the time I have some new business idea, I imediatley find on internet multiple companies doing the same thing owning much more capital.

  Echizen88 2

First to market usually will give you some leeway, but if you can, apply for a design patent at least. It’s cheaper and quicker to get, and it will protect you a little bit. Build a loyal audience and believe me, people these days want a story behind a brand. And most people don’t care for the big name brands that’s been around for decades. We are in the age of brand revolution, just look at your neighborhood grocery isle. Even the ice cream isle is no longer dominated by Haagen dazs or Ben and Jerry’s.

ceocoo

You stocking up yourself or relying on vendors to supply when order comes, more like a marketplace?

stolf91
  1. Do you sell physical or digital goods?

  2. How niche-specific can you reveal your business?

  3. How has 2020 treated you and your business so far?

  4. What are some of your "plans" for the future of your business?
aayusss21

What would you suggest a young boy who is willing to be an entrepreneur but has no source of investments and connections in the industry?

  Echizen88 1

Find a job that makes you some money, save up as much as you can, start a business when you’re ready. I founded my business when I was 30, you got lots of time :-)

aayusss21 1

Thank you so much for ur reply.

SolveFinance

What’s your story on how you started the company? What were the circumstances surrounding your life, money invested or raised, how did you choose the specific company, etc.

  Echizen88 1

I had a cushy 6 figure job but I always had an entrepreneurial itch. I quit my job 5 years ago to found this company. Around that time, I moved cities, got married, and I knew if I ever wanted to start a business, the time is now. With no income at the time, there was a sense of desperation, I had a fire in me - basically, I had no other option, I have to make it work, no matter what.

I founded the company with only 15k USD, no business plan, just kinda got lucky with being at the “right place at the right time”. We generated over 50 million revenue in the last 5 years, entirely self funded (family, friends, and reinvesting profit).

SolveFinance 1

Thank you. Final question, may I ask how old you were where you started the company?

5off

How would you recommend I scale my business

  Echizen88

Need to hear a little more about what kind to business, what stage you’re at, before I can give you a recommendation.

someguy5500 1

how the do you even start? approximately how much startup capital is needed for the kind of business you are running? how do you advertise? how do you source products? do you have your own products?
thanks.

  Echizen88 1

I started with 15k, but really, I was able to secure more funds once I saw traction. I’m lucky to have a good family. If you are selling online physical products, I think no more than 20k initially is sufficient. But you should find access to more funds if the sales pick up. The rest of your questions is quite general. I suggest you read some books, these information is available pretty much everywhere these days. Join a fb group, or watch YouTube videos. Best way to advertise these days is social media, we use fb and ig. We have a trademark in USA, and have some patents on our product.

_kennylofton 1

I just started a website design and consultation business.
My team does the consultation, design, ux/UI, wireframing and the actual development, SEO etc gets outsourced while we manage the project. We already know the price estimate for outsourcing our packages and added a 35% profit margin to recoup something tangible. We have a long term vision (talking 10 - 12 years), with plans of vertical integration, and securing government based contracts for software testing and development.

How do you know it's time to scale and step away from the grunt work of the business?
Is there a milestone number, amount of clients etc.. that determines when it's time to scale?
Or better yet, what are the factors one should take into account when deciding on scaling?

I initially plan on staying at my 9-5 for 2 more years to maximise my savings before going 100% in on my side hustle.

Also thank you very much for doing this ✌🏿💪🏿

  Echizen88 1

Every business is different. For us, we have been scaling since day 1. One thing I recommend is to devote 150% of your time on your business. I quit my 6 figure job before I founded my company. I knew if I want to beat out others, I have to give it all. If you put in part time hours, you will get part time results. You should set realistic targets for your business. For us, we set a revenue target of 2 million in our second year, we crushed it. Then 8 million in our third, and we hit that too. You should have a clear idea what an attainable target should be, backward engineer to figure out what you need to sell/do to get to that. Hire accordingly, reinvest your profits, get outside investment if needed. To scale, you need to have the proper systems in place, Like SOPs in every department; you have all the key staff (a leader in every department who’s an extension of you), the funds, and unwavering optimistic view on the future is a must :-)

KhuyenT 1

How did you come up with your business idea?

Is it an expression of who you are?

Is it to solve a problem you were struggle with or you select it just because it can monetize (quickly)?

Not sure if they're question you expected to receive, but since I'm still getting idea of what I really want to do at the moment, hence the question.

  Echizen88 1

Honestly, I stumbled upon it by accident. One thing lead to another and here I am. I love my “job”, I wake up everyday with a smile because I know that this is what I want to do in life. Building a company from nothing is the most challenging thing I ever done in my life, but it’s also the most rewarding. If you have a dream, if you want to make an impact In this world, if you don’t want mediocrity, my advice for you is to just take action. You’ll never know unless you give it your best shot.

KhuyenT 1

My problem is I don't have a dream, or to be precise, my dream jump from one thing to another. At one time I think it's this, and another time I think it's that.
I'm willing to take action, however, due to double-mindedness, I'm not certain. Did you experience something like that?

setupbefore35 1

What was the most influential social media platform for your start-up? and how did you learn to maneuver it?

  Echizen88 1

Instagram and Facebook. Took us a few years to figure it out. Lots of trial and error, but persistence is the key to success.

texanrocketflame 1

Your only reply has been need more information. Sounds like imposter syndrome to me.

Im2old4thisstuff 1

Best tips for recruiting employees and fostering their loyalty to you?

  Echizen88 1

Treat your staff the way you like to be treated yourself. The key to being a great leader, for me, is being self aware. Looking at yourself from others perspective made me aware of my own behavior, actions, etc. That’s how you improve yourself, and continue to grow and be a better leader. As business owners, you should know how to get the best out of yourself, now you need to figure out how to get the best out of those around you. Every one of your staff is different, everyone has a different motivation in life, just like yourself. Find out what motivates them; use that but be genuine, and most importantly, lead by example.

Im2old4thisstuff 1

Thank you!!!

King0573654 1

What ecommerce related business would you recommend someone with an interest in the industry start?

  Echizen88 1

You can pretty much make money in every niche, Ive seen Bbq sauce crushing it online. As long as you can convince a potential customer that your product solves a burning problem they have, you can make money. The key is to have a great product that people want, and it should stand out among your competition.

atedja 1

What's this AMA, people asking question he didn't even reply.

  Echizen88 1

Sorry, been working all day. Just catching up on all the messages.

jamesbachini 1

What are you focusing on most in terms of marketing and online advertising in 2020? Are there any new tips or strategies you could share for promoting ecom products online?

  Echizen88 1

Facebook and ig marketing works great for us, as we are a beauty brand. One trick is get access to your influencers or brand ambassadors Facebook ad account, you can then promote ads on their behalf, using their followers to create more targeted audience. Their followers tend to convert better if the ads are promoted under their fav influencers account. Honestly, right now, with COVID, you simply can strike gold if you are in the right niche.

alexjawnn 2

What's your best tips for customer development? and finding product market fit?

  Echizen88 3

Customer development is not easy, but you can think outside of the box. Best and cheapest way to tackle it is to figure out all the big players in the niche (brands that sell similar products), and spy on their audience can get you an idea. Talk to people you know, even going on Reddit subs and ask people there. If you want to go even further, depends on what you sell(if physical product), you can always sell a generic version from AliExpress to test the market. Furthermore, you can easily create a fb/ig marketing campaign, driving to a landing page with your product(even if it’s not ready), you can still gauge interest and figure out your target audience.

EataEsBasura 3

Was there anything unique or unexpected that happened to your company due to 2020 events that other companies may not have experienced? If so, what was it? If not, how’s it feel to be chief?

  Echizen88 1

COVID benefited many e-commerce based companies. If you look at the history, in 2013, after SARS ended in China, e-commerce and alibaba’s growth accelerated the ten folds, and 7 years later, more than 100 million people shop online in China. The same thing now is happening on a global scale, within the next 10 years, brick and mortar business will finally lose its edge over online shopping. If you ever wanted to start a business, think e-commerce. It’s the new gold rush.

wildbypaul 6

CEO of LARPing

  Echizen88 2

Precisely :-)

thechosen111111 3

lmao so many comments and only one reply

  Echizen88 1

There’s more comments now. Been working all day.

hangrypoodle 4

Do you have any marketing tips? Any strategies? I use Instagram mostly, but also Twitter, TikTok and Facebook.

I’m looking to grow my follower base. I’m a small goods based e-commerce store in the fashion industry.

  Echizen88 1

The key is to find the right audience for your product. Fashion industry is based entirely on branding. Who’s your target audience? For my business, the highest converting group are women between the age of 35-45. In this case, your brand, logo, voice, and mission should resonate with this group of audience. Of course, your products should have an USP. You must be able to put yourself in your ideal customer’s shoes, why would you want to buy your own products compared to your competitor. If you want to be truly successful, you have to stand out.

up_internet_points 7

What’s a ceo doing awake at 2:45am

xAeriusx 21

CEOing

  Echizen88 2

Yup

texanrocketflame 12

>As the CEO of one of the fastest growing e-commerce company in Canada,

What company?

  Echizen88 1

DTC beauty brand. I don’t want to reveal the name here. Thank you.