About Valerie Khoo

Valerie Khoo is founder and national director of the Australian Writers' Centre, the country's leading centre for writing courses. She is a journalist, blogger and author. Her latest book is "Power Stories: The 8 stories you MUST tell to build an epic business" (Wiley). Valerie is co-founder of SocialCallout.com and is an investor and mentor to startups and businesses in Australia.

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Here are my most recent posts

Facebook can build your business

Enterprise 2 May 2013 Dean Ramler

 

It honestly still surprises me when business owners pooh pooh social media as a valid tool for marketing. Granted, not every business is going to thrive on social media. However, I believe that if you’re not even open to the possibilities it can bring, you’re shooting yourself in the foot. And you’ll be left behind if your competitors embrace it before you do. This attitude inspired this week’s enterprise post.

Last week I met a business owner who insists Facebook is a waste of time. Let’s call him Greg. He was chatting to a group of people at a party, some of whom tried to convince him to give it a go. Greg was adamant and insisted any time spent on Facebook – or on any other social media platform – should be spent having a conversation with a prospect or customer in person or on the phone.

While face-to-face interaction is vital in the world of business, the reality is Facebook – and other social platforms like Instagram, Pinterest or Twitter – allows you to reach a much bigger audience much more efficiently.

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The Changing Face of PR: The Rise and Rise of Blogger Relations

The Changing Face of PR The Rise and Rise of Blogger Relations HERO

L–R: Networx Brisbane MC Cat Matson; and my fellow panellists Natalie Birt, yours truly and my co-founder in SocialCallout.com Michelle Palmer (© James Sybille, Square-I.co Photography http://square-i.co/

Last week, I was on a panel at a Networx Brisbane on “The Changing Face of PR: The Rise and Rise of Blogger Relations”. I’ve been heavily immersed in the blogosphere for years now and it’s been fascinating seeing this industry evolve, particularly over the past couple of years.

The reality is that it’s evolving very quickly and some bloggers are becoming powerful media channels in their own right. Some are only at the start of this journey, while others have created businesses for themselves out of their blog. So it wasn’t surprising that the organiser of the event, Iceberg Events, had to turn people away as the function booked out!

I could talk about blogging all day!

We also filmed this video on the tips you should consider when working with bloggers:

 

The video was prepared by Ride Free Media

 … Read more ...

The business of bespoke design

Enterprise 25 April The business of bespoke design

Andrew Ganesan, lambada.com.au

I love the idea of bespoke accessories and fashion. And now there is an increasing number of businesses that let you design your own bag/shoes/clothes online. I’ve often wondered how in the world these businesses are able to create effective systems to ensure that customers get the product they are expecting. With this interest piqued, I interviewed two entrepreneurs who have created online stores supplying custom-made bags and suits in this week’s Enterprise post.

In the past, it would cost a small fortune to design your very own unique handbag, or get suits tailor-made to your measurements. Even you if managed to find a cheap tailor while on holidays in Thailand, you could only buy your custom-made goodies on your annual beach vacation.

However, smart entrepreneurs are cashing in on the fact that some people are keen to sport bespoke garments and accessories. Andrew Ganesan, 27, is banking on this trend and is taking bespoke design to the masses.

His family has run a leather bag manufacturing company for 25 years and his mother used to save leather offcuts and turn them into her own handbag creations.

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DOs and DON’Ts of going on the telly

DOs and DONTs of going on the telly Valerie Khoo

Last week, I was on Sky Business to talk about personal branding alongside Trevor Young, author of microDOMINATION: How to leverage social media and content marketing to build a mini-business empire around your personal brand.

We were interviewed by Nigel Freitas on the “Technology Behind Business” show. I’ve already written a lot about personal branding so I won’t repeat that here.

In case you get the opportunity to be interviewed on the telly, here are my DOs and DON’Ts.

DON’T assume they will do your hair and makeup. Some shows, like Sunrise, will give you the whole works so that you look like a Glamazon. Not all shows have the budget to do this so make sure you’ve done your makeup before you get there.

My tips for television: Mascara is your best friend. It gives your eyes definition and helps them to stand out. Concealer is your second best friend, don’t leave home without it. And powder is also vital because you can get pretty shiny under those studio lights.

On air with host Nigel Freitas and Trevor Young

DO turn up early.… Read more ...

The pros and cons of entering business awards

The pros and cons of entering business awards HERO

Last week, I was interviewed by the wonderful Robert Gerrish on The Coaching Couch radio show. Robert is the brains behind the dynamic Flying Solo community of small business owners.

We chatted about the pros and cons of entering business awards. My businesses have been fortunate enough to win multiple awards. There are many benefits (some of them very unexpected) but, for some awards, you do have to invest a great deal of time in the submissions process. Is it worth it? We find out. I hope you enjoy the interview.

Robert Gerrish

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

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Promoting yourself in the digital age

Enterprise post 19 April 2013 Trevor Young

 

I’m a big believer in the power of building your personal brand. And Trevor Young’s new book microDOMINATION is all about just that. His book inspired this week’s Enterprise post.

The owner of one of my favourite cafes recently started using Twitter and Facebook. However, when you interact with her business online, you get very little sense of the woman behind it. Her online footprint is polite but, frankly, it lacks personality. In reality, she is a larger than life character who epitomises her brand. She lives and breathes her cafe — and is well known (in real life) for her food, unique decor and events.

She told me: “I just don’t want to be in the spotlight. I want people to interact with my business, not with me. I don’t want to be the centre of attention.”

Fair enough. However, in a world where consumers are bombarded with marketing and advertising messages, some experts believe we are living in an age where personal branding is vital for success. And that means NOT shying away from the spotlight.

That doesn’t mean you need to sign up for a reality show or bare all the skeletons in your closet.

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3 business books that changed my life: Eddie Machaalani, co-founder and co-CEO Bigcommerce

Eddie Machaalani 3 Business Books

 

Eddie Machaalani is the co-founder and co-CEO of Bigcommerce, the leading e-commerce platform for small businesses looking to grow their revenues faster. Starting with $20,000 in credit card debt from a rented office above a friend’s shop in Sydney, Australia, the company has grown over 100% year-over-year, has raised $35M in capital and processed over $1 billion in transactions.

Eddie holds a BS in Computer Science from the University of Technology, Sydney and is an active angel investor and speaker.

A prodigious reader, he has found business books to be an invaluable resource as he’s built his business along with partner Mitch Harper, and we’re delighted to have him share his choices in this latest instalment of the continuing series, “3 business books that changed my life” …

Extreme Revenue Growth: Startup Secrets to Growing Your Sales from $1 Million to $25 Million in Any Industry by Victor Cheng
An incredible, “best kept secret” book for startups that touches on every part of the business and really drives home the strategies of all great businesses and how to fuel revenue growth.… Read more ...

Sh*t Social Media Chicks say

Sht Social Media Chicks say

 

And now for something completely different …
This is what happens when my social media buddies Allison Tait, Kerri Sackville and I get together.

Both Allison and Kerri are presenters at the Australian Writers’ Centre. And we’re all slightly obsessed with social media. To celebrate our podcast SMaC Talk (Social Media Chicks), we filmed a video. And may well live to regret it.

 

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Revheads, V8 Supercars … and me

Revheads V8 Supercars … and me POST

 

“Valerie Khoo” and “V8 Supercars” are rarely found in the same sentence. So it would probably surprise most people that I attended the Tasmania Microsoft Office 365 V8 Supercars event last weekend near Launceston.

Let me put this in context. My partner is a V8 Supercar NUT. He owns two V8s, is constantly admiring the sounds of their engines and, when he’s not watching AFL or golf, the television is regularly emanating the dulcet tones of those blessed cars.

So when I received that invitation to attend the Tasmania Microsoft Office 365 V8 Supercars last weekend as a guest of Microsoft … put it this way … I did it for love.

Having said that, I’ll admit … it was a fascinating experience. I now know more about V8 Supercars than I ever thought possible. I even discovered a business angle and wrote about that in my Enterprise column here.

The experience also enabled me to test out my new favourite app, Vine. These are six-second videos which I’ve embedded here, which hopefully give you a sneak peek into the event.… Read more ...

My life in a minute: In your seat pocket, billion dollar announcement, and where to find me

My Life in a Minute plane

Flying: In your seat pocket
This month, if you’re flying Virgin, reach into your seat pocket and you’ll find a huge report written by yours truly in the Virgin inflight magazine. It’s a comprehensive guide to setting up a small business. The guide starts on page 105. You can view the online version of the April issue here.

I'll pop into your life in the most unexpected places, even your airline seat pocket. (Photo: via @jbarouch)

Cuddling: Gus the Boxer at the Haul wrap party. Years ago, a dog called @GusTheBoxer started following me on Twitter. At first, I didn’t follow him back. I thought: “A dog. On Twitter. I mean really.” Plus, I was in Sydney. Gus was in Melbourne. It would never have worked.

But Gus was so funny and engaging that I ended up not only meeting Gus in real life, but also his human @scottkilmartin. Turns out that Scott was the brains behind sustainable streetwear brand Haul.

I’ve loved Haul products for years now so it was sad to see it close its doors recently. I was honoured to go to the wrap party, cuddle @GusTheBoxer, bid the Fitzroy store good-bye and wave owner Scott Kilmartin off on his next big adventure!… Read more ...