Category Archives: Entrepreneurship

A new business website and domain needs new emails – generic emails you need and why

Your New Website & Business Needs the Right Emails!
Author: Chang Han (Google+)
Email addresses are ‘signals’ to the world and to the person you are corresponding to about who they are ‘speaking’ to.

Imagine sending a complaint to amazon and getting a reply from “” Now imagine you’ve just arrived at some random website after doing a Google search for a new mouse for your computer, a spare part for your car, or even an engagement ring (yes, a lot of people look for and buy each of these things online now!). You send an inquiry email and you get a response from “” or “” or even “” You may find the strange email address endearing or interesting, but more likely you will find it triggers a lack of trust and ‘strangeness’ you can’t quite put your finger on.

I am describing the power of the ‘signals’ we give off with the simple things like our email naming convention and the generic emails we designate in our organization or small business. In addition to the signals we are communicating to the public and to our potential future clients and customers, these words are also indicators of convention – that incredibly powerful background, unconscious indicator in our brains that say “familiar” and “trust” versus “unfamiliar” and “distrust.”

If you got a response to your complaint from “” or “” you automatically ‘know’ that you are speaking to the right person or department with your email correspondence!

So, let’s look at the generic email addresses that you simply must create as soon as you have set up your first domain, url and company website. Even if you are a company of 1 person – you still need these email addresses because you don’t need to publicize to the world that you are merely a company of 1 person! Even startups can look like an established, trust-worthy business organization from day 1.

1. email addresses

Emails are used for a number of purposes, including non-communication purposes. For example, if you have a privacy policy and you are an organization (i.e., successful enough to warrant having one person who’s job/time is taken up entirely by requests and tasks related to the privacy policy), you would likely have a generic email address that is assigned for that person (or dept) AND that could easily be kept the same even if the person were to change.

In today’s business world – especially in any western English speaking locale, in the United States, in Canada, in the UK, or Australia, etc. – it is imperative that you have some basics set up for personal privacy and complying with your local privacy laws. Often, you will also have to comply with other countries’ privacy laws as well if you are actively seeking clients or customers from that country! A great recent example is Canada’s CASL – the Canadian Anti-Spam Legislation. It went into effect July 1, 2014 and it allows for severe monetary penalties if you do not comply, even if you are not in Canada!

For your privacy policy, I would recommend taking out your personal email as the ‘go to’ email for that policy, and assign something like ‘privacy@[your domain].com’ or ‘compliance@[your domain].com’ or even ‘contact@’ or ‘info@.’

This also looks more professional and the email can then be set up so that you or anyone else can access it easily without having to give access to your personal email. Of course, you can have this email address be forwarded to your personal account, or to your ‘work’ email or both to start off. The nice thing is that you want to keep all the emails that come in to this account in this email account’s inbox as well – and voila, instant record-keeping for purposes of privacy all in one place for as long as you want. (I usually keep the email there and store it myself on my own servers for safety and security for years even if a website I created or hosted were to get shut down, in such a worst case scenario, if need be)

2. Typical uses for email for any business are the following generic email addresses:

2.1 info@ – also used interchangeably with contact@, useful for giving an organizational feel to a website to have this in a few places where it’s appropriate (i.e., all questions about content might be directed to [your email naming convention]@ but any ‘general’ questions being directed to an anonymous info@ or contact@ will actually feel ‘safe’ to a few people who don’t want to bother the main man (you, in this case) with what they perceive as a minor question.

2.2 webmaster@ – used at the bottom for any website or IT administrative type emails. This is a typical thing for mid to large organizations, so having it available is a ‘signal’ that this website and the organization has its processes in place and is legit. Of course it can just go to you – or it can actually go directly to whomever deals with your website and IT issues (for me and the businesses I work with, it would be me) so that if there is a legitimate website related issue, you can get notice of it immediately and handle it directly. This is what I like to do.

2.3 sales@ – all businesses have sales. You may do all your own sales – or you may not – but sometimes it is important to have an email address that specifically signals to either the recipient or to the sender that the email represents a ‘conversation’ that is designed / has the purpose of ending with someone paying money to [your domain].com. Hence, a very useful email address.

2.4 yours – you need a good email naming convention. Don’t take this lightly, as the wrong choice will cause confusion for your clients, missed opportunities and customers for you, and even spam attacks and website/password hacks! I advocate simple – it makes sense to have an email that ‘signals’ you are a part of a legitimate organization and can be trusted with information related to the work, business, product or service that you are focusing on without you having to explain it to someone in a long conversation. Try [first name].[last name]@ or [first name].[first letter of last name]@, or even [first name]@ if you are small enough and personal enough as a company or product/service.

Keep it simple and quick, set up emails with all the right generic signals and conventions and have it forward to your current personal email, and continue to send emails from your personal email. But ‘give’ people your preferred ‘work’ email address or appropriate generic email address for when they send you emails. Little to no effort and cost and a big return on the subconscious impact of who you and your organization is to the recipient/sender!

2.5 support@ – a signal that the person is dealing with a person/dept that is specifically attuned to and intends to provide solutions for any problem that the person may be having related to the website, the service, or any person related to the service.

If you find this useful and would like similar suggestions for email signatures, please contact me and let me know! : )

Send me a message on LinkedIn – you can connect with me by joining our LinkedIn Discussion Group and you’ll also find an entire community!

View Chang Han's profile on LinkedIn


Crowdfunding can bring you investment IF you do it right

Crowdfunding using online platforms has gained in both popularity and in use. You can easily find many success stories related to businesses and companies with a quick google search. In fact, you may be happy to learn, or jealous perhaps, that there are probably many others in your very industry or ‘space,’ or a founder or business that you find has a lot of similarities and parallels with yourself or your own business that have successfully raised and received a lot of money using crowdfunding.

Here are some examples for you to go look at: check out RocketHub, CrowdRise, KickStarter, IndieGoGo, OpenIDEO, 33Needs, GoFundMe, Razoo, Appbackr, Crowdfunder, IPOVillage, CrowdTilt, EquityNet, CielEx, GoGetFunding, UpStart, and the list goes on. Yes – the list goes on! There are an entire host of other sites that are based on specific types of industries or funding needs in addition to these: you can find sites for rock bands and music, medical startups, social enterprise and nonprofits, various tech-related niches, etc.

Unfortunately for you, this extensive and comprehensive availability of crowdfunding platforms does not mean you will be successful with online crowdfunding. Its not automatic anymore – you’ve already missed that boat. In fact, even if you were to copy the essential aspects of a successful crowdfunding campaign – and, this is not a bad strategy – that probably wouldn’t do it.

Let’s say you found a crowdfunding campaign that raise just a little over twice the amount of funding you are hoping for.

Let’s say you take the time to break-down each aspect of the campaign, from the videos (more than one) to the website, to the copywriting and the images, to the order of delivery of campaign elements.

You really study what they did, and you copy it almost identically without copying any actual artwork or words (so you don’t get sued for infringement for copyright or trademark violations).

You even have the sophistication to understand and do the keyword research behind every key term that is being spoken in the well-scripted videos and that is being written in all the headlines and text!

Even if you go to this length, you are not guaranteed to attract the investment than you want or even need. You’re not – even after you go to this length – not guaranteed any respectable funding for your startup or small business. The audience and funding “public” has become more sophisticated than you and has acquired an undeniable taste for high quality and hints of prior success.

Imagine that: you have to show your funding audience that you have a high likelihood of success!

Here’s a simple break-down of my approach to crowd-funding:

1. Crowd-funding can be a low risk, and relatively low(er) budget method of seeking cash;

2. Crowdfunding has already gained market acceptance and there are a lot of players in this space. There are a lot of options for an entrepreneur to choose from. There is also an evolved, ready acceptance of this entire process from funders – both regular funders and investors as well as micro-investors and group-funders.

3. Crowd-funding has become competitive and success with crowdfunding now depends entirely on mature and sophisticated campaigns. You need above-average content, targeted and tested messaging, and engaging format (i.e., video, animation, etc.)

4. All around you there are people with knowledge and skills to put together crowd-funding campaigns that are likely to be highly competitive – they are called ideal startup team candidates!

5. You can test and learn how to put together a winning crowdfunding campaign with a test project – something small that has already proven successful in the broader consumer market, so that it is easy to amass proven copywriting, quality video, original or licensed pictures, clear benefits and features, etc.

6. Local communities already have offline platforms that can offer entrepreneurs and businesses a higher chance of success – and most of these local communities don’t even know it. Go find a local business community such as a board of trade, business association, or especially private groups for entrepreneurs and business people. These groups usually don’t know it, but they are an ideal test bed for each of the components of your future successful crowdfunding campaign. (If you are in the Vancouver area, go check out a plethora of great meetings by searching for your ‘keywords’ on

Now what?

In most cases, you need to learn more about getting started.  Don’t waste your time – take action now.

If you want to try this out and need a place to post your idea, campaign or business, post it as a blog here and get feedback!  

I am making this entire website available for YOU to post as a Guest.  I will not charge you and I will keep your post up as long as you like – or take it down whenever you wish.

However, I have a caveat: I have to like your campaign and personally think it “has legs.” Its only my opinion, but you have to pass this first little test before you can get started down this particular road to funding your project, business, venture, or enterprise with crowdfunding.

Connect with me on LinkedIn through the Startup Phase Forum 2 LinkedIn Group and send me a message.  I’ll get you set up right away.

Now you’re ready – ready to start an amazing crowdfunding campaign and raise from serious capital.

And ready win in your business!

Want to ask me a specific question?  Send me a message on LinkedIn – you can connect with me by joining our LinkedIn Discussion Group and you’ll also find an entire community!

View Chang Han's profile on LinkedIn


How to Post an Effective Discussion for LinkedIn

Author: Chang Han (Google+)
LinkedIn is an amazing community of professionals, experts, business owners and potential clients.  It’s also a place full of shams, scams, spam and poor communicators.

Considering that LinkedIn is primarily a means of written communication, the poor communicators are often the biggest source of our frustration, irritation and even ire.  The others are usually easier to spot and don’t last too long anyway.

Don’t be a poor communicator on LinkedIn.

Learn to write Discussion Posts that achieve your goals – whether you are seeking to inform, entertain, persuade, merely express yourself, or any combination of these individual purposes.  A great Discussion Post gives you a large readership, creates followers for you and your future posts, inspires positive engagement and action from your readers, and props you up as a credible, believable, reliable source of postings.

There are only 3 simple rules that you need to follow, which will upgrade your LInkedIn posts right away.  Follow these rules now and take the important steps towards using LinkedIn to achieve your goals.

Rule Number 1: Write Short Headlines – 7 Words is Ideal

LinkedIn provides you with up to 180 characters to write your Headline.  Use all these characters only if you don’t want anyone to read your Discussion post, OR if you want people to complain about your Discussion post by flagging it, OR if you are J.R.R. Tolkien.

Think about this each time your fingers hover over your keyboard and you stare at the create Discussion link: “after your reader reads your headline, why would they bother to read your longer description?”

The primary purpose of this headline is to convince your reader to read the rest of the details in your post.  A secondary purpose is to convince your reader to click on your headline and read your full post, assuming it is too long to show entirely as part of the initial snippet.

One of the best ways to write headlines is to apply the best practices for writing a “headline” from the industry where this term was coined – print media.  There are tons of experts and advice about writing good headlines, headlines that are magnetic, headlines that are effective, catch headlines, headlines that sell – and the list goes on.

To give you the best practices, I could write pages and pages of history, examples, and pros and cons for different headline writing approaches.  Understanding that there is more than one way to do this well, and more importantly, understanding that the right way depends on what you are writing, what your industry or topic is, and what your audience profile is, use these simple tips as a great starting point:

– use the active voice (use “Talk to your customers…” instead of “Your customers are spoken to by you…” or “I love good data…” instead of “Good data is loved by me…”)

– capitalize only the first letter (either way is ok: just the first word, like a regular sentence, or all the words, like a real headline) – don’t use all caps (there are very, very few exceptions to this, and odds are your headline doesn’t fall into an exception.

– use the literary “hook” as often as possible (write a question, an outrageous statement, an interesting fact or statistic, a quote, a simile/metaphor, a definition, a comparison with a famous person or current event, the opening line to a scene – “It was a dark and stormy night…” – and the list goes on)

– use keywords (that you have researched) in your headlines

– use keywords that others use to search online in your headlines

– did I mention using keywords?  (use the Google Keyword Tool – if you don’t know how, connect with me on LinkedIn through the Startup Phase Forum 2 LinkedIn Group and send me a message and I’ll get you set up right away without any cost to you)

– remember: try to keep your headline to 7 words.  If you are one or two words less or more, that is fine.  Just don’t go over-board!

Rule Number 2: Write a Description That Gives Value AND Has a Strong Call to Action

The main purpose of this section of your LinkedIn Discussion Post is two-fold:

(1) to give your reader immediate value, now

(2) to give your reader a strong ‘call to action.’

You only have 400 characters to achieve both of these goals.  Lucky for you, the English language allows you to be successful – the only limitation here is your creativity and ability.

If you are clear on what you are trying to achieve with your post, it will be easier to meet these two-prong requirements.

Are you seeking to inform – meaning, are you sharing information that you think is relevant, useful, important, interesting, or otherwise worthy of your reader’s time?  (key point here: your READER’s time, not YOUR time)

Are you trying to entertain – meaning, are you telling a funny or terrifying story or strangely curious situation or riddle?

Are you attempting to persuade – meaning, do you want the reader to agree with you or buy something from you or do something after reading your discussion post?  (Of course, EVERY discussion post has this component at the end, as part of the call to action.  However, aside from the call to action, is the overall purpose to sell a product, a service, or some combination?)

One important point here – don’t overtly sell in your Discussion Post.  Anywhere.  I can’t emphasize this point enough.  Don’t sell.  DON’T SELL.

Are you trying to express yourself?  If you have wonderful news to share or need to get some deeply hidden angst off your chest, a LInkedIn Discussion Post is a great public place to shout to the rooftops about how you feel.

Once you have given your reader value by focusing in on what you are trying to achieve and provide the core nugget of your communication, now you have to craft your call to action.  You want a call to action that inspires, motivates, that moves your reader, and ultimately that converts.

Let’s get down to the nitty gritty here.  I’ve studied the “call to action” for years and years, in written and spoken language, backwards and forwards, and even traced this phraseology back to its prehistoric origins!  I know what a “call to action” is – and I’m going to share that with you here.  After all this research and brain space focused on the best calls to action, here’s what a call to action boils down to:

A call to action is what you say when you tell someone what you want them to do next.

Now, think about this.  Its not some fancy sales professional’s secret ‘close’ or an athletic coach’s urging to win at the end of a half-time speech.

Its simply you saying what you want your reader to do next.  That’s it.

The keyword here is “do.”  Action.  You need to use a strong verb and tell your reader what to do NEXT.

If you want them to buy a car, or read your book, or vote for Gangnam Style as the greatest song of all time – if you want your audience to do something ‘bigger’ than they are now prepared to do after reading your very short little Discussion Post, you will fail.

If you have a clear next step that is an easy step away from having finished reading your Discussion Post, then you win!

Whether you want your reader to subscribe to your blog, buy your product, pick up their cell and call you now, or like you on Facebook, or retweet your tweet, you MUST them to do so in no uncertain terms.  No beating around the bush allowed here – clarity and certainty will always win the day here.

Therefore, in order to be direct and unambiguous, learn to use the word “click” at the right time.

One experiment with calls to action for a ‘micro-blog’ tested three alternatives.  The results are clear:

1. “Click to continue” – 8.53% click through rate (CTR);

2. “Continue to article” – 3.3% CTR; and,

3. “Read more”: – 1.8% CTR.

Rule Number 3: Link to an Outside Source, Website, Blog, or Video

Since you have now provided a great call to action in your post, you must now assume that your call to action is being followed by your reader.

Now what?

In most cases, you need to send your reader somewhere else.  Unless your call to action is to ‘stand up and stretch’ or to ‘sit down and watch TV’ you want to send your reader to a full-blown blog, or video, or other website.

If you want to try this out and need a place to post your essay, story or blog, please post here!  I am making this entire website available for you to post as a Guest.  And I will not charge you and will keep your post up as long as you like – or take it down whenever you wish.

Connect with me on LinkedIn through the Startup Phase Forum 2 LinkedIn Group and send me a message.  I’ll get you set up right away.

Now you’re ready – ready to post great Discussion Posts.

And ready win in your business!

Want to ask me a specific question?  Send me a message on LinkedIn – you can connect with me by joining our LinkedIn Discussion Group and you’ll also find an entire community!

View Chang Han's profile on LinkedIn


Social Media for Business – Do’s and Dont’s if you have any staff

Author: Chang Han (Google+)
Did you know there are also stricter and stricter rules and regulations related to using social media?

Use it well, and be rewarded richly with great business – use it improperly and be punished with a bad reputation, negative brand, and even worse – fines and jail time!

How is that possible, you ask?  Well, I’m glad you asked.

Companies and small businesses are more and more often accessing social media sites to both find the right employee and assess job applicants as well as even monitor staff after they are hired.  After all, if you have someone speaking to your customers and representing you and your product or service to the public, you don’t want that person to have a facebook page that would shock older customers and potentially be harmful to young children!

However, using Social Media has every increasing risks due to the rapidly changing use of social media, which drives the rapidly changing and increasing laws and regulations regarding it.  These regulations don’t have to be local and specific to our province to apply to you – those regulations in other provinces and in the federal regime, and also – believe it or not – those in the U.S. are becoming more and more intrusive on you and your use of social media in a business context.

Put it this way: the line between social media for private, non-commercial purposes and for business purposes is fuzzy.  And it gets fuzzier and fuzzier.

Recently, there was quite a hububaloo (is that a real word?) about companies insisting that employees and job applicants provide their social media account passwords.  No kidding.  This was the only way a company could go check someone’s social media account and look at even those private features shared only with existing family or friends or contacts.   From a business-owner’s perspective, you had to do this: many of the best people for sales or marketing already have a huge network and their private features are shared with hundreds, or thousands, or even hundreds of thousands of people (in the case of Twitter).  Often, it is this very fact of having a large network that makes the person an ideal candidate to help you and your business!

If that person was working for you, what are they saying about your business just by posting their own personal facebook posts to their own personal facebook account, especially when you are a small business and you share a lot of contacts?  What if this person doesn’t make a clear distinction between their work and their personal lives – what if these posts are seen by thousands of people?  You can see why having social media passwords could be considered crucial – especially if you understand the importance of branding and reputation.

However, the backlash to the business push for social media account passwords was intense.  It raised some public awareness about the importance of social media in business, and also provided ample fodder for a big policy push.  Who doesn’t want a popular new legal area as part of their political platform, after all?

Where am I going with all this?

You may have gathered that I can be a little long-winded at times.

Here’s my point.  There are 3 essential areas that you want to look at when you are thinking of maximizing your leverage of social media – including using social media via your employees and contractors – where you want to both tread carefully as well as have an open and honest conversation about with the people you work with.  Here they are:

1. Privacy Laws

Many jurisdictions have now enacted legislation prohibiting a business requesting personal passwords.  Don’t do it.  BUT – beware.  If your employee or contractor is using personal accounts in order to help your business – i.e., their gmail, their facebook, or their twitter, etc. – then you MAY not have any access to that information.  Don’t risk your essential business information, including customer leads, client information, marketing and promotional material and campaigns.  Have a clear written agreement that covers each aspect, and HAVE THAT CONVERSATION I mentioned above.

2. Labour Relations

Be cognizant that your application of any social media related rules, policies or even what you might consider your own ‘preferences’ could easily be seen as a potential unfair labour practice violation.  This area doesn’t apply to you unless you have staff ‘on your books’ – but if you do, you better know the basics so you don’t have a claim filed against you!

3. Discrimination

Social media deals with personal information, such as age, race, disabilities, etc.  Any of these areas of ripe for discrimination claims if they are perceived to be the basis for a reduction in pay, lost project or contract work, or other negative result suffered by your employee or your contractor.  As a result, if someone you pay merely believes that they are being treated differently and they have a reasonable connection between your actions or words to their social media information with their personal information – such as the above -referenced type that you are not allowed to discriminate against for – watch out!

These risks merely mean that social media should not be taken lightly.  It is a very powerful tool – and as they said in Spiderman: “with great power comes great responsibility.”  (or was that Superman?)

Be responsible.

And win in your business!

Want to ask me a specific question?  Send me a message on LinkedIn – you can connect with me by joining our LinkedIn Discussion Group and also find an entire community!
View Chang Han's profile on LinkedIn