Malaysia Business, Mar 1-15, 2009
FOR SOMEONE WHO SET UP HER own company at the tender age of 21 and quite terrified of being a CEO, Fione Tan has certainly come a long way.
Today the company Tan founded in 2000, eOneNet.com Sdn Bhd provides one-stop Online Marketing services & Internet Marketing Training for multinational companies as well as home business entrepreneurs, and has offices in three countries.
And last December she was recognised as one of the top 10 women entrepreneurs during the National Women Entrepreneurs Award.
'It's such a privilege to be featured among the top Malaysian women entrepreneurs, some of whom who have already been successfully in business for decades. Moreover, the chance to be presented with the Certificate of Recognition by the Raja Permaisuri Agong was definitely one of the most unforgettable experiences for me,' she says.
The recognition, she adds, spurs her to scale new heights and to overcome whatever challenges.
Tan sits down with mb-e to share her experiences and hopes.
"Being Successful - Malaysia Business - Fione Tan"
Q: You started eOneNet.com at the tender age of 21. Do you think starting a business at a fairly young age give you an advantage?
Tan: Personally, starting at a young age definitely has given me an advantage. At the very beginning I was in the spotlight of then new and raising industry and as a young and upcoming Internet player in Malaysia I received unprecedented media attention and publicity that helped to build the brand and market for my company.
On the other hand, being young, it was actually quite terrifying to carry the title of CEO, especially when I didn't have any business background whatsoever (Tan grew up in a medium income family where both parents were hardworking employees). However, I received a great confident booster by surrounding myself around positive thinkers and creative entrepreneurs.
Today, most of the clients are rather fascinated that I could have done so much in such short period of time. Now they are eager to listen to my ideas on how to boost their business sales further.
Q: Today your company is considered one of Asia's Top Internet Marketing companies. To reach this stage, you would certainly be facing many challenges. What are some of the major ones that you have overcome?
Tan: In the beginning, I did not have any technical know-how to steer the company forward. But I made it up with the drive to succeed. I was willing to ask and learn via “practical” experience. It's easy to read about certain tasks on books, but doing it in a real world would be the best way to learn.
Initially when I started eOneNet.com, among the challenges included certain basic steps such as how to get started, how to get a website designed, what were the steps to accept online payment, and how to get customers coming to the website.
I decided very early on that things that I could not do myself would be assigned to the experts. My first move was paying RM80,000 (for our initial capital raised via angel investors of RM100,000) to a web design company to design my website, which was a huge mistake, of course.
And that was my first lesson in business – never spend all your money to develop a website and always plan your expenses accordingly. With the minimal money left, I went online each day (at least 10 hours a day) and learned from scratch about the Internet business and discovered ways to market the website effectively even on low or no cost at all. Thankfully, in just three months, we were able to make over RM200,000 by selling our first product – a DIY website creation software.
However, I realised that to make the Internet business work, the marketing aspect of it would have to play a very crucial part. From then on, Internet marketing become our focus, where we help websites get top rankings in search engines worldwide and increase their online sales results.
As it is many companies place little emphasis and may not even have Internet budget. Some just rely on their advertising agencies or their web design companies for their Internet marketing. In most cases, they end up with just advertising on search engines but with little results. The primary challenge for us is to educate decision makers to consider
Internet marketing as an important part of their overall marketing plan.
Interestingly, in these recent months where many markets are starting to experience the economic downturn, the statistics show that creative companies that have a good Internet presence are still posting growth. For example, retailers in physical stores are mostly getting negative growth rates or even closing down, like the 99-year old Woolworth in the UK, but Internet companies such as Amazon.com are still getting positive sales compared to previous years. Therefore the trends is that many retailers in Europe, US and UK are now incorporating Internet platforms in their retail promotions strategy to ensure continuous sales.
Q: Tell us little bit about eOneNet.com of today? What are its offerings today? How many staff do you have today?
Tan: eOneNet.com now has three offices in Asia – Malaysia, Singapore and Hong Kong. For companies, we offer Internet marketing services such as search engine optimisation, search engine advertising, email marketing, corporate blogging, and many other strategies to help companies build their brand online and generate leads as well as sales via the Internet. These Internet marketing services prices start from US$5,000 onwards per campaign.
For instance, recently a British organisation hired us to launch their Asia Internet marketing campaign to target their prospects in Malaysia, Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan, China, Japan and Korea.
For entrepreneurs or small business owners, we have in place basic Internet marketing seminars as well as advanced Internet marketing coaching programme (website www.InternetMarketingCoaching.com) to guide them how to source hot-demand products, how to choose the correct online business model, using low-cost and free Internet marketing techniques such as Free Top 10 Rankings in search engines, and to get more traffic and gain online sales. In these past years, we have trained over 10,000 entrepreneurs and business ownders worldwide including countries such as USA, Canada, UK, France, Middle East, Australia, Japan, China and more.
eOneNet.com also sell various products (on B2B and B2C basis), services as well as software on the Internet. For instance, the eOneNet headset microphone has been sold to various countries worldwide ranging from USA to Indonesia.
Today, our team is made up of 12 full time team members in the three offices. With technology and software, doing business is extremely efficient as you can manage your business on such low-costs. That's the great thing about running at Internet company – work anywhere, anytime and earn money 24 hours / 7days a week. With just a laptop and Internet connection, anywhere can be your instant office to check on your website
Q: What advice would you give to those who want to be in this business?
Tan: Learn from successful role models who have achieved success by selling products, services or whatever they want to do, not just from textbook consultants or gurus.
As the saying goes, “Pay peanuts, get monkeys”, so not judge any product by just the price but consider the value and then you will be able to make good decision on how to start your Internet business.
eOneNet.com, ranked Asia's top Internet marketing company with offices in Hong Kong, Malaysia and Singapore, and ranked No.1 Internet marketing company Asia by Google, specializes in helping SMIs to expand their business globally and get top rankings in international and China search engines, and offers services including guaranteed top rankings in international and China search engines, email marketing in the legal way, and Internet marketing training and coaching. Clients include both multinational companies and SMIs in the region. For more details, visit http://www.eOneNet.com.