TheSmartLocal has grown from strength to strength building a business model that is sustainable and profitable for the future. In Part 2 of our interview, Bryan shares about what it takes to be an entrepreneur and how thinking big gives new meaning to success.
In gathering information about their ‘faceless’ customers to serve them better, Bryan enthuses that there are a number of analytical tools on the market that are readily available to webmasters. These provide insights such as readers’ interests, where they are from and how long they spend reading each article. The valuable data also helps in planning their editorial calendar to create similar articles around the more well-received themes.
Bryan considers a business to have grown out of its infancy stages into one that is stable and profit-generating, when it is able to consistently generate income for a period of six months and continue doing so in the foreseeable future. Another aspect is the ability to maintain a high traffic stream in an online business, in turn attracting more advertisers.
A successful entrepreneur is identified by certain skills. For Bryan, the most important quality is a keen sense of judgement. Making sound decisions throughout the stages of your business, from determining market viability, hiring of talent to planning of the strategic vision – good judgement is key, and honed through failure and experience.
It is also essential for an entrepreneur to be at the forefront of innovation, constantly incorporating new methodologies into your work processes through proactive learning, so as to keep an edge over the bigger competition.
For a young start-up like TheSmartLocal to get off the ground, it was invaluable to have the experience and guidance of a mentor. Someone who has been down that road before and knows what works and what doesn’t is a great asset to your business.
In the pipeline for TheSmartLocal are plans to expand into Western markets such as Australia. While it may be more ideal for the lifestyle review portal to thrive in a culture where people are more engaged and willing to share their opinions, it still faces the challenge of having to set up a team from scratch and build popularity in an unfamiliar market that relies solely on reviews from locals. But the initial hard work would be well worth the effort in the long run, towards creating a better product.
Bryan is looking forward to building “a new media company of the future”, with a division dedicated to beefing up their video channel to increase appeal to advertisers, through interesting content created in synergy with their existing videos and guides. He adds that they did not look into developing a mobile application as TheSmartLocal website is already mobile-friendly, but focused on channelling funds into improving their whole web experience.
In Singapore, it is even more integral for businesses to remain innovative to keep the country competitive on a global scale. Bryan expresses that it is more than running a successful company, it should be one that also adds value to people’s lives and to the world.