Big Internet for Small Companies was the subtitle of a free workshop provided by the Serbian National Internet Domain Name Registry Foundation (RNIDS) in partnership with the Association of Entrepreneurs of Leskovac, on 6th October 2017 in Leskovac. This event was one in a series of educational events organised by the RNIDS Foundation all over Serbia in cooperation with local partners.
Some 25 small business-owners from Leskovac and the surrounding area had an opportunity to hear four talks about the basics of having an online business presence, with numerous practical examples and advice.
Entrepreneurs are “strange people”
“Entrepreneurs are people who for a few years choose to live a life many would not choose, so that for the rest of their lives they can live as few others can.” With these words, Ivan Minić, founder of the Burek.com forums, co-founder of the MojaPijaca.rs fresh food delivery service and deputy Chair of the RNIDS Conference of Co-founders, began his talk. This statement is often quoted when talking about business owners, but as he went on Minić reminded the audience that reality did not always match up with this.
The tempo of daily life and the nature of business are such that entrepreneurs are almost always working and, as he put it, that is a task only hard-working, dedicated and motivated “strange people” are able to take on – and that is indeed what entrepreneurs usually are. Citing some 20 success stories of small businesses all over Serbia that he has had the opportunity of working with, Minić shared an abundance of practical advice that might help those attending develop their business.
The best way to learn is through practical example, which Predrag Milićević, Chief Marketing and Communications Officer with RNIDS clearly showed in his talk. “Those who think they own their social network properties are gravely mistaken. Anyone who believes that anything at the address facebook.com belongs to them should look into who owns that domain. Because the owner of the domain is the owner of what’s on it. Every social network has an owner, who at any time can change the terms of service and suddenly leave the proud “owner” of a fan page deprived of everything they had on the Internet,” said Milićević, citing the example of an author and artist in the US who lost everything he had been working on for the last 14 years when Google, without any warning, deleted his blog and personal account.
From websites to likes: how to reach a potential customer
The situation described above cannot happen to you if you host your business website on your own Internet domain. Miloje Sekulić, founder and owner of the Homepage agency and member of the RNIDS BoG provided a reminder of this in his talk: “The streets and cafés are where we hang out – and it’s the same on the social networks. We work in offices and we buy in shops – and it’s the same with our websites. The social networks is where people are, websites are where they come.” This is an important principle we need to have in mind when laying the foundations for our online business. Sekulić made special emphasis of this principle: “In your business you need to primarily think about people and their needs, and only then about technology”.
But it is precisely this concern for people that is the hardest part when it comes to promoting your business and advertising online. Amidst the sea of information people are exposed to on a daily basis, it is very difficult to get the attention of your potential customers. Especially when we consider that the average human attention span is eight seconds at best – less than a goldfish. In a single second on the Internet, more than 40,000 Google searches are conducted, 15% of them completely new,” said Jelena Ožegović, RNIDS Marketing and Communications Associate in her talk.
She explained that buyers go through a decision-making process, beginning with the moment they realise their need for a particular product or service, right up to the point of the actual purchase, whether online or offline.In each of these phases of buyer decision-making there are multiple possibilities for communicating with them, depending on what we want to achieve with our promotion and advertising. That is why goal-setting and planning is perhaps the most important aspect of all the promotional activities a business engages in, Ožegović said.
As part of the series of talks on the basics of online business, RNIDS also organised education in Bor during 2017, and on 24th October small business-owners from Vrnjačka Banja and the surrounding area will also have a chance to hear them live and learn more about this subject.