Michael Carabash shares his 7 Small Business Insights with Sydney Business Month
Michael Carabash is a Canadian solicitor, business owner, and entrepreneur. He wants to help everyday people in Canada, Australia, and the UK get their legal affairs in order in the most cost-effective and convenient way.
This year, Michael created the Will-O-Matic online software, which is offered through his website, www.DynamicLaw.com.au. According to Michael, the Will-O-Matic is the most advanced, comprehensive and flexible system for creating a simple legal Will. It takes users through an online questionnaire that asks typical questions that a solicitor would ask when preparing your Will. It offers lots of information and guidance along the way.
The result is a Will that is custom-tailored to your answers and which takes into consideration your State’s laws about Wills. It also comes with a comprehensive eBook about Wills in your State. You are also able to edit your Will for free for 1 year. The Will-O-Matic was created by Michael in conjunction with senior Australian Wills lawyer Maria Linkenbagh.
While the Will-O-Matic normally sells for $69 on www.DynamicLaw.com.au, there are promotions currently underway with Groupon, Living Social, Deals.com.au, OurDeal and other daily deal websites to offer the Will-O-Matic for only $24. There is also a lawyer review option through the website for only $150 plus GST through the law firm of Blaxland Mawson & Rose.
Internationally, over 10,000 people have bought the Will-O-Matic this year and it has been prominently featured in various media (TV, radio, newspapers, etc.). Michael believes that the success of the Will-O-Matic will allow him to introduce the Will-O-Matic and other products – such as the Power of Attorney Wizard – to existing and new markets.
1. What was the biggest turning point in your business and what brought it on?
The biggest turning point in my business happened when I focused only on selling the Will-O-Matic software. Before that, I tried to do too many things – such as having an online lawyer referral service, writing eBook about various legal topics, and developing an online legal health checkup tool. None of those online ventures made much money. And they were not well known. When I focused on developing and selling only the Will-O-Matic this year, our revenues increased significantly and we received lots of media attention.
2. What has been your biggest learning experience running your business?
Customers are your lifeblood. You need them in more ways than you think. You need them for the immediate revenue. You need them to have and share their positive experience with others. And you need their feedback to constantly improve your product. For these reasons, I am personally involved in handling our international customer service.
3. What’s the best advice you ever got for your business?
“Focus and go” is my personal motto.
When I say “focus”, I mean keep your offering and your message as simple as possible. Avoid over-selling all the bells and whistles. Just concentrate on the problem your are trying to solve. And avoid distractions – other business ideas you or others think would work well with your basic offering – like the plague. Just do one thing really well and be known for that.
When I say “go”, I mean that you must be persistent. It may take a few months or years for you to get your business off the ground. But it will eventually pay off in leaps and bounds. You must also be nimble enough to adapt; if something isn’t working, then change what you are doing quickly.
4. What do you think is the biggest change that Business Owners will need to adapt to over the next 2 years
The Internet has opened up new and effective distribution channels. For example, daily deal websites like Groupon and Living Social can quickly promote your business’ offering in front of millions of people and with no upfront costs to you. Traditional advertising is expensive and may not guarantee results. So you should envision and build your business so that it is scalable to the masses and then take advantage of these new distribution channels. Remember: if you don’t, your competition will!
5. What piece of technology or app can you not live without every day to make your business more efficient?
I am addicted to my smartphone. I consider it my portable office. Wherever I am and irrespective of the time, I can talk / email / text / or otherwise communicate with my customers, computer programmers, and daily deal websites. I also do a lot of social networking through applications such as LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook. This helps me connect with the right people and stay up to date with what’s happening in my industry.
6. What business strategies are you focusing on to grow your business over the next year?
Our business strategy involves focusing on selling only one really good product (i.e. the Will-O-Matic) over the next year and then eventually offering more products in existing and new markets. Remember: it’s better to be the big fish in the small pond instead of the small fish in the big pond. Once you dominate your industry in a particular geographic area, you then (and only then) should consider selling the same product in new geographic areas or offering new products to existing and new geographic areas. Since we only offer the Will-O-Matic in Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, Western Australia and South Australia, we plan to eventually offer the Will-O-Matic in the remaining parts of Australia.
7. One thing you want NSW Government to change to help small business grow?
A lot of small businesses fail because they don’t have enough guidance or insight from those who have “been there, done that”. I think the government – in addition to providing subsidies and financial incentives to help small business grow – should help connect established business owners with startups so that the requisite knowledge can be transferred and costly mistakes can be avoided.
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Focus and Go
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