Rogier van der Heide25 years of creating business success by design

Experienced design and marketing executive now available for short and more elaborate advice via Clarity. Chief Design Officer of multinationals. Entrepreneur. Wordpress. Turns design and digital into a business driver and custodian of brands. Rogier will help you with design, marketing and the web (Wordpress) for your business small or large.

Recent Answers

Are you in the United States? Your business name is protected just by you using it, at least in proximity to where you are. For nationwide protection, a trademark registration would cost you around $400 for each category of goods or services you want to register the name for. Is that - given your budget and financial plans - very expensive? I'd wait then. As you have registered the internet domain name as well as the social media accounts and your business is online anyways, I'd say start and see how it develops.
Would you like to explore the opportunities of strengthening your brand and its values right from the start of your company? Consider to schedule a call with me; in just 15 minutes we can already achieve a lot!
Good luck with the new company!

The market for online advice is large and growing, and there are certainly opportunities to take your share of that.
So I prefer to give an encouraging answer, and would recommend developing a new platform for a niche knowledge area, a specific language or geography, or a specific profession.

And when you are successful and you have secured a certain market share within the market you have defined, one of the large players may decide to acquire your business!

Back to your question. How to size such market? Well, different professions are at different levels of the digitization game. While business consultants who target startups may operate in a highly digital and online business landscape that includes Clarity, others (such as let's say lighting designers) still have a lot of papers on their desk and visit clients in person - and they see it as the only way to be successful. What I am saying is if you could decide whether you want to be the follower who does things more efficiently or the pioneer in a new market will also help you to decide where you will operate.

Let's take a look at a fictitious example. You want to serve people seeking architectural advice so you recruit experts who are building architects, and in order to make sure they are qualified you require AIA membership (AIA is the professional architecture association). There are more than 90,000 licensed members of the AIA and I can tell you for sure nearly none of them gives online advice. So if you develop a platform aimed at the specific needs of that market (the ability to share drawings online comes to mind) and 10% of the membership would join each selling 3 hours on average per week, then you are talking about a market volume of almost 1,5 million hours per year. I guess they sell at $100 per hour and you take 20% so your share in the turnover - in this example - would be $30MM. You can put different numbers in the equation to calculate the volume based on different pricing or engagement percentages.

Sounds unlikely? Not if you prepare yourself well, find a market with a real need, communicate and deliver a clear customer benefit and offer good support. And - of course - you've got to create a service that really adds to the current relationship between the two parties you match. Would you reach these numbers the first year? Of course not, but how quickly you do reach them depends on your character as an entrepreneur, your desire and ability to work hard and be disciplined, the need for your service in the market you target, and your social skills and ability to secure funding.

If this got you interested, let's schedule a call at any time convenient for you. A 15-minute conversation will surely create a lot of insight!

Good luck,

This is a very good question. Because while perhaps one would advise you to look deeply into the technology and the potential success of it, or the legal aspects, or the competition, I think the critical success factors of your new business method are different.

I believe that first of all, you've got to scrutinize your business plan with regards to its customer centricity and the value and purpose that it brings to its users. Even without having seen your business objectives I believe we can make improvements there, making your proposition more compelling, more relevant to its users and stakeholders (investors!) and motivating more people around the world to start using it.

Secondly, but probably even more important, you as the entrepreneur must have the right attitude, and if your character is not deeply ingrained with qualities such as vision (on how to make money right from the first dollar), speed (because being fast allows you to do what you've got to do) social skills (so can can work yourself into any (corporate organization) and self-discipline and a positive work ethic (so you get effective in everything you do) ... Then even the most promising business proposal starting up in the most prosperous economy will fail.

Talking about fail, when Lance Surety Bonds assessed over 150 startups to understand better why they fail, they found that in over 40% of the cases there was simply no market need (or perceived market need) for the startup's offering. You see this relates directly to the first paragraph of my answer!
Other factors that made it to the top ten are "poor team", "poor marketing" and "not listening to customers". Do you see that all of this is controllable!!

So, in brief, why don't you schedule a call with me and we explore further how to tackle the scrutinization of your business method, its applicability to global markets, its customer centricity and its relevance to people. A 15-minute call will already give you a lot of insights!

Links to info used in this answer:

This is an old question, but the answers are valuable to many today. Platforms such as Clarity have enabled many - startups and established companies alike - to get the best possible experts. Experts that they had no access to before; both location, cost and way of working would make it very hard to set up successful collaboration.

If your budget is very tight, then create (if you don't have it already) a company profile, prepare a list of questions, identify areas where you think I can help you best, share this information with me beforehand and schedule a 15-minute phone call with me.

I will prepare myself and during the call, we will go through concrete ideas, strategies and their execution in such a way that you can implement it now, with your current staff. It will be an eye opener for you and it will give you results. You will take your staff above and beyond what you thoughts they were capable of doing. Then, take it from there.

That's my promise! Will you schedule a call?

On top of WooCommerce we can certainly create a comprehensive MLM environment with all the features you need both for yourself (an admin dashboard where you see performance and everything else of your affiliates) and the affiliates that do the sales of your product.
Part of it would also be to recruit more good affiliates to keep growing your revenue opportunities, so this will need our attention as well!

If you are interested in creating an MLM website on the Wordpress platform, why don't you schedule a quick call? I am sure that within ten minutes we will elaborate a lot.

Good luck with the business!
Best regards

I am not sure what your real question is but I assume you want to set up a contact center that provides contact center services to other companies who do not have a contact center themselves, right?

That means that you offer an off site contact center service. Is your going to be cloud based? You will have to integrate with the websites of your customers, so you need expertise on how to do that. You will most likely outsource the hosting of your infrastructure, and since you can only be reliable to your customers when you are always up, find a reliable hosting company.

The first advice is therefore to get your infrastructure, your IT sorted so you will be offering new customers an easy way to integrate your contact center in their online presence. Collaborate with an expert in this field.

Once your infrastructure flies, you can focus on developing some applications that your clients will like:

1. email response management. Can you analyze inquiries and redirect them straight to the right department of your client's organization?
2. knowledge management. Are you making sure that you know everything about what your clients offer their customers, so you always come across knowledgable?
3. how are you catering for the hearing impaired?
4. can you adapt to new ways of communicating? in-site web chat is becoming very popular, for instance.
5. on behalf of your customers, can you support their social media channels?

I think you can add a couple points to the list above.
Work on those, think about them, and decide where you want to focus. Then, develop a proposition to the benefit of your new customers. Think of it as growing their business; they will be able to connect with your story easily.

And when your first customers come in, using you as their contact center, start offering analytics of all the calls, messages and requests, drill down to the very details, learn from it and keep improving your service!

If this has raised your interest, let's continue on the phone. Prepare your questions, and a ten-minute call will give you a lot of insights and direction. I am looking forward to it, thank you!


First of all, congratulations on your plans to launch a new chocolate brand! It's great to become an entrepreneur, to be independent and to drive your success yourself.

A chocolate brand could have many propositions. There are very exclusive chocolates, such as Neuhaus, and all the way on the other end of the spectrum there are the store-brand chocolate bars that sell for $0.49.

What is it that differentiates your chocolate brand and your product? Try to think of it as something that motivates your new customers. It's not about cocoa, fat or sugar. Your brand will be about what people experience and perceive being buyers and consumers of your chocolate.

As I just love chocolate myself, it's easy to give you some suggestions for your brand, to differentiate and to create many opportunities to build it further:

- chocolate that has been made sustainably and with respect for human rights, to feel good and do good when eating or giving
- chocolate that is made of organic ingredients, with less sugar and less guilt when eating
- chocolate that makes you happy, including stories of doctors or neurochemists explaining that
- chocolate that is a great gift one will never forget, because of very special packaging
- chocolate that explores new recipes, like chili-filled pralines, with new ideas frequently launched (chocolate of the month) to be inspired
- chocolate that is artisanal, with detailed indication where all ingredients come from, with portraits of the real farmers and chocolate masters in the factory, to build a personal relationship

And we can generate many more ideas!

Does one of these particularly excite you? You should do what you are passionate about.

Also, do you want nation-wide distribution, or are you perhaps starting a boutique chocolaterie in your neighborhood? Try to think and jot down your ideas.

It's also time for a business plan. How do you see business ramping up, and what is needed to be that successful? What resources are required, what expertise, how much investment capital? Are you OK starting small? How do you see the growth trajectory? A good business plan shows much more thought: a marketing plan, cash flow the first one or two years, everything else well forecast, your partners, suppliers, and where you will find your customers....

Get some help to build the whole story: of your brand, of your company, and of your success. You will not regret.

Is there something I can do for you? With 20 years of experience as an entrepreneur, and having helped many startups with their marketing strategy and their business plan, involving me would make sense and could perhaps just start with a phone call.

Let me know when you are ready for that and we'll take it from there!

Best of luck preparing the launch of your brand!

You asked your question some time ago but it's still open it seems so here is a pragmatic answer.

I don't know on what CMS your website is built, and I could give you a more precise answer once you have provided a bit more information. Perhaps your site runs on Wordpress?
You could have two "categories" and give the topics that you assign to those categories "tags" such as "anxiety" and "stress".

In php that would look like something like this:

query_posts( 'cat=motivation&tag=stress' );

If that does not mean anything to you, don't worry! I'll help you coding it and translate it into a nice "category chooser" that is afterwards filterable for the visitors of your website.

Feel free to plan a call, really five or ten minutes will be enough to understand your request and propose a pragmatic way forward!

Good luck

A magazine type website requires - once it's launched - a lot of time to update the content. Your readers expect new content every day - perhaps even more frequent. Have you thought about that? Do you have the time to take care of content, considering that it's time you can't spend on your core business anymore?

My experience covers the development of a marketing strategy and then translating that in a "customer journey" on your website-to-be, followed the design and development of your Wordpress website. I suppose you want sell your book on your website; would you want to sell your coaching services online, too?

It may be unexpected, but I believe there are opportunities to create a coaching service that can be sold online. Doing so would create two "value spaces": one for effective and cost-efficient coaching based on a standard program for each of the coaching objectives that your services address, and another proposition, with a more premium price tag, for tailored coaching services that are made-to-measure. The cost-effective option could reach a lot of people, and we could nicely let it play with selling your book.

May I propose to schedule a call, to explore further what the possibilities are? It would not cost you anything, except some time. Right now I'd simply have too many questions to justify a fee; after a quick first conversation I'll get the picture, and I'll be able to help you much better.

Thanks in advance!

This is a great assignment. As a marketeer and designer who is also a teacher and professor, I would be excited working with you. I have helped different companies in education, from providers to in-company training to universities who would like to set up competence centers to serve businesses.

As a tutoring agency you have got two target groups. The customers who are looking for tutors, and the tutors themselves. You could simply create a promotional website explaining how to help both groups, or you could develop a more sophisticated business plan that evolves around presentation of the tutors in the best possible way, establishing initial contact via your site, streamlining the selection of the tutor and offering the business context for the tutors, setting up pay-out principles, charging and pricing models and the role of social media, reviews, et cetera. Perhaps you want to provide means for tutors and pupils to communicate with each other in between classes, share files, or give and look up excercises, marks and comments? And how about a planning tool for the classes and meetings?

Your business model and your business plan could be as comprehensive as you want it to be. And your marketing and online presence will follow suit.

For the design of your business model, we could have a short workshop; one hour is enough after which I we can collaboratively write a business plan. I will be guiding you, and the software I work with (Liveplan, it's paid but we can use my license) will help you a great deal as well.

Most of your marketing will happen online and it is up to you how you will further utilize the website to drive business (see my first ideas above). Depending on your decision how to go ahead online, I could stay involved and develop your web presence.

Anyways, you've got to be great for your tutors so you attract the best. This will - in the long run - give you the best business.

Let me know if you want to get in touch! A first call is for free.

Best of luck with the (future) business!

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