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Fresh Business Thinking presents the Online Business Makeover 2012. Held at Microsoft, the day involved an inspiring line-up of experts. Talks ranged from information about social media platforms to advice about how to improve your online presence.
Why content is king?
"So Google, Bing, Yahoo!, all these search engines, want to index the pages that you've got on your website. If you haven't got any pages, then they haven't got anything to index. Also, if you haven't got any fresh pages then they're not coming back to you regularly and thinking 'there's new stuff there than we can index.' So it's critical to get onto the search engine's rankings pages by having good quality content on your website."
Nick James, Fresh Business Thinking
Microsoft and Yahoo! Search Alliance: A new competitive choice
"The search results are powered by Bing so that has got itself a major impact on your search engine optimisation strategy. Because if you're only advertising for Google, you are missing out on all the users that are searching on Yahoo! around the world and whether they are searching on a mobile phone or on a PC. You are missing out also on everybody that is searching on Microsoft properties which include MSN, Hotmail, Bing."
Cedric Chambaz, Microsoft
"First thing, there is a guaranteed place in the world that you can find out how skilful a business is at online marketing and that's Linkedin because it's the first and it's the natural refuge for online markets to be able to actually go and help themselves to look for jobs at a later point."
John Straw, Linkdex
Supercharge your business success
"Social media, quite simply is about building engaged communities whether that's direct connections on Linkedin, your Linkedin members if you set up a group, Facebook followers, Twitter followers, people that put you in a circle in Google +.
Phil Roebuck, Webrecruit
"People do look for things online, they expect everyone to be there. And if you're not and you have no presence at all, I think you're missing out on a really, really big part of PR and customers finding you."
Hayley Chalmers, Owner at Short Couture
"I would recommend it to other people who are either just about to start in business or are a bit further along the way and don't want to spend an awful lot of time hitting the books or having to go to their friends or doing the online research."
Caroline Lashley, Founder of The Editor's Office
"I particular enjoyed the last session today. I thought they were all very very good but I particularly enjoyed the last session where he was talking about how to tune into what your competitors are doing, so I found that fascinating."
Vince Stevenson, College of Public Speaking
Finding the right private equity house
Do you need to find an investor who has specific experience in your sector?
"As long as your investor has access to the relevant network and not necessarily expertise in your sector then that is just as valuable. I have a lot of sympathy with that view. MMC ventures, we are a reasonably broad generous investor but there is a common theme amongst the businesses in which we invest. One of those is stage of business and we feel that we have 10 years of experience to bring to bear in early stage businesses that are scaling at that point in their development. So it's not all about sector experience, it can be about stage specialism as well."
How can you check out the credentials and good behaviour of the PE before you do the deal?
"I would encourage anyone who's raising VC, growth capital or private equity to ask to speak with other CEOs that they've invested in, both current CEOs and potentially CEOs they've exited with as well. Actually, as an investor we're really encouraged when entrepreneurs ask us that question because it means they're taking the process very seriously and they actually want to find out more about us, so I think it's a positive all around."
Rory Stirling, Investment Manager at MMC Ventures