WBS Connect – Introducing Krista Goon

WBS Connect is a special lunch initiative where we will invite 3 members each time to personally find out more about their business needs and wants. This gives a deeper insight into each of our member’s businesses and enables us to connect them better with what they’re looking for, within WBS or outside of WBS.

Name: Krista Goon
Company name: Redbox Studio
Type of Business: Website Design & Marketing Services

How did you get started in this business?

My husband started this business in 1998. In 2004, I joined as a managing partner when I decided to quit my job as a corporate communications manager at a public-listed software company. Back then I was still in the midst of completing my Master’s degree in English Language & Linguistics from USM so I decided to take a break but little did I know I was going to be jumping into business with my spouse. I started off helping him with writing website copy for clients and gradually moved into PR and marketing as these areas fit perfectly with my skillsets. As business partners, our skills complement each other – my husband focuses on the tech and graphic side of the business while I take on the communications aspects of our business and this includes dealing with clients and prospects.

What do you love about your business?

I love learning and this business gives me a number of ways to learn. I often say that I get a full MBA and then some each time we take on a client’s website project because not only do we design websites and write persuasive content for the client, we also build marketing right into the client’s website. In order to build marketing into the website, we need to understand the client’s business model, ways of attracting prospects and more. More than learning, we’ve also been able to share the knowledge we’ve learnt from one industry with another since we’re the intermediaries. By applying business and marketing strategies from one industry into the next, we have brought excellent results for clients who’ve worked with us.

I also love being my own boss as I enjoy my freedom. I decide what I want to do, products that I want to create, partners that I want to collaborate with and even have the ability to decide when to travel for my holidays (Nic and I always travel during off-peak season to avoid the crowds). Our business also allows us to be location-independent meaning we could, if we wanted, live anywhere we wanted while still running the business.

What are your key products?

Creating Websites: 1) Premium website with marketing strategy 2) self-managed website system.

Premium websites are meant for business owners who want to use their websites as marketing machines. Our team helps create the website from start to finish and this includes designing, planning, strategy and writing custom website content. These websites include premium built-in search engine optimisation (so you never need to spend on Google ads if you don’t want to, and still rank on the first page of Google) and marketing strategy. The ability to give clients’ proven marketing strategies and our ability to write persuasive, SEO-rich content set us apart from all the other web designers. Customised websites are not for everyone – it is for the entrepreneur who wants to use her website as a full-fledged marketing machine.

We also offer a self-managed website system called Redbox Easyweb for entrepreneurs who’ve just started out and are on a limited budget. They don’t have much budget and they want to be in control of  their own websites. This is the fastest way to get started as you can get your website up and running in 2 days.

Marketing workshops. We conduct a marketing and networking event every 3 months to bring entrepreneurs together to share and discuss tried-and-tested strategies. We also organise a full-day marketing master class once a year to help entrepreneurs deepen their understanding of the concepts we teach and more importantly, how to apply these concepts right into their businesses.

Books & Programmes. We offer books, ebooks and online programmes to further help entrepreneurs in terms of websites and marketing. Our book, Web Wisdom, has been published in August this year. It’s a culmination of our 18 years of experience in creating websites that work as marketing machines.

Games. We offer our own game, Big Timer, to help entrepreneurs learn about the ecosystem of entrepreneurship. We are currently looking for trainers and facilitators as they’re the best people to use this game to help people learn.

What are the unique selling points (USP)?

We’re probably the one and only web design company that builds websites with strong marketing fundamentals and with the results to prove our method works! We’re entrepreneurs first so we understand the challenges of being an entrepreneur with limited time and money. That’s why our focus is on helping entrepreneurs – we’ve travelled this path ourselves and know exactly what mistakes you need to stop making.

How can WBS help you?

I can’t think of anything honestly! It’s been mutually rewarding as a co-founder of WBS so I can’t really ask for much more.

How can you contribute to help WBS improve/grow?

My strengths are in marketing and making connections. Since becoming the chair of WomenBizSENSE in 2012, I’ve helped WBS by connecting us to organisations and companies outside of Penang. As a marketing person, I am always thinking up ideas/events/programmes to help WBS position itself strongly in a sea of similar organisations. Plus the WBS website is managed by my company and it has enjoyed first page rankings on Google for a long time, making us a truly popular website for women entrepreneurs and helping us attract many more new members, not to mention publicity!

Any ethical issues faced in business?

Since we’ve been in business for 18 years, we have lots of interesting stories to tell! We’ve had to turn down people who wanted us to create websites for selling sleazy products such as creams to enhance bedroom performance and all manners of pills and potions. We’ve also had to turn down people who wanted us to create gambling websites. We also had to fire clients who didn’t respect the advice we gave them. We were once asked to create 3 different quotations on 3 different letterheads just so we could bid and win a website project for a hospital in KL. We refused to do this because it is our reputation on the line.

Any advice for aspiring entrepreneurs?

Know your business model. Nail down your business model inside out before you get started which means know how you’re going to make money before you start. Passion or skills are not enough. So many people can bake but very few turn their baking into a real business. If you have problems identifying your business model, ask for advice from other entrepreneurs who have been in business for at least 3 years or more. Join a group like ours (WomenBizSENSE) or join a marketing class (like the ones we organise).

Get a credible website. If you want to know what a credible website is, please get my book so you know how to present your business in the most professional and polished way as possible. These days, everyone checks out your website before they meet you. If you don’t have a website that helps you differentiate your business from the rest, you’ll be forever playing the price game. Never, ever play the price game. It’s a straight road to the bottom!

Learn marketing. If you are in business but don’t learn marketing, you will forever be slashing prices and getting slammed by your competitors. You’ll always be worrying what your competitors are doing. When you learn marketing, you are in control. You know what you can do to increase sales, what to do when prospecting, what to say to prospects, etc. You can learn marketing easily these days from books, podcasts, webinars, workshops and more. Never copy your competitor because you don’t know what the underlying strategy is about. Be your own authentic self, even in business.

Learn to be a firm but effective manager. As your business grows, you will need to manage people. If you don’t like to manage people, hire someone who can. As entrepreneurs, our roles become more complicated as our business evolves. In the early years, you’d manage yourself and that’s easy but as you add more people to your team, you need to know how to manage expectations, get people to produce results you want and make everyone work as a team.

Contact details: krista@redboxstudio.com or 016-451 9193 or visit: http://redboxstudio.com

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