Saturday, September 7, 2013

NORA Education Program

Paul Greenberg, a co-founder of discount online retailer Deals Direct has been working hard the past 12 months to establish the National Online Retail Association (NORA) as an industry association to specifically address the needs of the fast-growing and innovative Australian online retail sector. I'm honoured to be a founding board member with 6 other fantastic online retailers (names and companies here). We're going to help advocate to government and industry for online retailers in Australia, as well as provide education and events for Australian online retailers. To join NORA visit the website here.

I'm part of the policy and education sub-commitee and I'm working on putting together an education program for budding online retailers. As a first step I went back through the 4 and a bit years I've been writing this blog and grouped some of the posts into categories I thought might make sense as weekly lecture topics.

I'm interested in getting your feedback. If we were to put together an education program for online retailers covering these 10 topics would you be interested in joining NORA and signing up? Any other topics you'd like to see added to the series?

1. Developing a business plan
Should you discuss your business idea with other people?
A Simple Business Plan for Online Retailers
What is Your Competitive Advantage?
The Benefits of Differentiating Your Offer for Online Retail
Comparing the Costs of Launching an Online v Physical Retail Store
Niche Online Retail
Zynga - Ghetto Testing and Minimum Viable Product
Safely Scaling Your Startup

2. Sourcing
Tips for negotiating in Hong Kong and China
Negotiating in Hong Kong and China (Part 2)
Reflecting on 5 weeks in Guangzhou (Part 1)
Reflecting on 5 weeks in Guangzhou (Part 2)
Chinese New Year
The Rapid Pace of Change in China
3 weeks in China
Finding Great Suppliers
Finding Suppliers in China
Getting Your Ducks in a Row: The Buying Trip
Doing Business in China: How We Found our Suppliers

3. Logistics
Shipping from China
Our Japanese Courier Company

4. Legal processes when launching an online retail business
Company registration
A Trademark Happy Ending
Hiring Interns

5. Hiring and Culture
Hiring for a startup
Putting People Management Systems in Place as we Grow
Culture Memes - Do You Have a Duck of Awesomeness?
Don't be Nice; be Helpful
Our Business is Less About the Founders and More About the Team From This Point
Sydney Office Culture
13 Ways to Thwart Recruiters From Pillaging Your Team
Doing Business in China: How We Hired Our Team
Working From Home
Offering Lunch to Our Team
Should Your Team be Based in One Office?
Values - Passionately Create Happiness
Shoes of Prey - Culture & Values
Culture - "Work is Life Enhancing"
Career Ladders
Cameron Herold - Hiring and People Management
9 Things That Motivate Employees More Than Money
Employee Share Options Plans - Are They a Major Issue?
Employee Share Plan
360 Feedback
The Daily Huddle
The Shoes of Prey Table Tennis Table

6. Funding
Bootstrapping a startup
Funding Your Online Retail Startup
Investors Can Provide More Than Money
7 Options for Australian Startups to Raise Capital
Raising Capital
Raising Capital - Do it in Parallel Rather Than Series
Why Entrepreneurs Should Never Meet VCs Unless They're Formally Pitching
How We Raised a $3m Round of Funding in Australia
Outbound VC Dialling Programs - Total Disrespect for Entrepreneurs
8 Tips for Startups Raising Capital
How to Negotiate with VCs

7. Marketing
Naming our baby
The Incredible Power of a 16 Year Old Video Blogger
How We Tripled Our Sales Using YouTube
TV v YouTube
Google AdWords Lesson
Marketing to our Existing Customers
Creative Marketing Campaigns
Should You Censor Negative Comments on Your Facebook Page?
Discount and Managing Margins
Using Custom Reports in Google Analytics to Identify Influential Pages
Why Didn't our Valentine's Day Facebook Campaign Work?
Facebook Pages: Fantastic for Word of Mouth Focused Online Retailers
Email Marketing - We'd Love Your Advice
Developing a Media Strategy for your Startup - Part 1: The Story
Customer Survey - What do you think?
Orabrush and YouTube Marketing
Developing a Media Strategy for your Startup - Part 2: Responding to the Media
Developing a Media Strategy for your Startup - Part 3: Getting Your Story to the Media
Creative Marketing
Customer Acquisition at Scale
Zappos and Repeat Customers
Photoshoots: It's All About the People, Not About the Money
When Magazines and Online Shopping Collide
Marketing Through Your Packaging
7 Tips for Turning Facebook Likes into Buys - Part 1
7 Tips for Turning Facebook Likes into Buys - Part 2
Prue Healey - PR for your Startup TechTalk
How do You Manage Your Small, Profitable Customers?
What Price is Right?
Online Video Boosts Conversions
Customer Focus Groups on a Shoe-String
Creating a Media List with Zero $
Commerce as Content, Shopping Through Art
How Target Figured Out a Teen Girl Was Pregnant Before her Father Did
Marketing Strategy - Don't Get Excited by What's New, Get Excited by What Works
Facebook Advertising - Valentine's Day Gift Certificates
Email Marketing
Measuring the ROI from our Facebook Competition
Growing Email Marketing Subscribers
Lorna Jane's Facebook Page
Mr Porter and Storytailing - When Retail and Media Converge
SurfStitch - How to React When Your Site Going Down
Are You Making the Most Common Pricing Mistake?
Email Marketing - What System Do You Use?
Free Shipping
Advertising on YouTube
Lifetime Value of a Customer

8. Website Development
Landing Pages
Product Page Research
E-Commerce Website Feedback - Hip Industries
Site Search on SurfStitch
Website Optimisation
Improving Conversion Rates

9. Managing and Developing Yourself as an Entrepreneur
The Flexible and Extended Work Life of an Entrepreneur
Procrastinate No More!
Follow Your Passion
Prioritising the Work to do in a Startup
Careers and Risk Taking
Careers and Risk Taking - 3 Ways to Minimise the Risk of Launching a Startup
Working Through the Holidays
Startups are like Computer Games
How Do You Turn Down Meetings?
The Risk of Not Failing
Startups Are Hard
How to Become a Great Finisher
The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us
How Great Leaders Inspire Action
Making Big Decisions
Where to Invest Your Time in a Startup
Balancing Growth in a Startup
Keeping a Balance
Balancing Short and Long Term Activities in a Startup
Focus v Diversification - Sneaking Duck
Core v Non-Core Activities
Mark Zuckerberg on Being a CEO
First, Fire Thyself
The Startup Rollercoaster
How to be Happy
Feedback - a Gift That Nobody Likes to Give?
Why Startup Founders are Always Unhappy
Leadership - Finding Right is Different than Having to Be Right
What Separates the top 10% of Startup CEOs From the Rest?
The Self-Conscious Entrepreneur

10. Wisdom From Other Online Retailers
Brad Lindenberg - Lindgolf
James Stevens - Roses Only
Gabby Leibovich - Catch of the Day, Scoopon, Grocery Run
Andy Dunn - Bonobos
The Shoes of Prey Story in 55mins


  1. Michael this is awesome, nice work.

    Perhaps add in there a "Sales" heading - maybe it could be a subset of number 7 Marketing? Although I'd see marketing more as generating awareness, versus sales more as generating revenue (or more importantly, margin).

    This could include: how to price, running sales/deals, creating and maintaining customer lifetime value, potential off-line sales channels (e.g SOP at DJ's), licensing/partnering/collaborating for additional revenue streams, CRMs, and so on.

    Also, building a brand identity could have its own category somewhere, again I personally see that as a little different to awareness marketing.


  2. Michael - I think that if NORA were to suggest set texts, 22Michaels should be compulsory reading!