Helping My Family Business in Canada From Korea

*The feature image has nothing to do with my family business, except for the fact that it is an image of the Canada Goose.

So a few years ago, I remember having a conversation with my mother and father over Skype. I have been skyping my parents every Saturday or Sunday for as long as I could remember to keep in touch, since I’m in Korea and they are in Canada. And I told them that I would make a website and social media accounts for their convenience store business. Their store sold what most convenience stores sold, plus flowers during warmier weather, and rented out DVDs. Yup, people in Canada are still renting DVDs. But, my mother was really against it. I’m not sure if it was because it invaded her privacy or because she was afraid it could negatively affect the business, but in the end, I didn’t go through with it, and I was a little disappointed because I wanted to use what I had learned to help my family.

That happened like 3 or 4 years ago. At the time, I was running my English gyosoopso in Seoul, South Korea. And I was like itching to do some online marketing. Now that I am busy doing my own online marketing for Flower Gift Korea, I don’t really have the need to do more marketing. But the other day, my father asked me to put up one sentence on google that stated that one of the stores he owned sold cigars. I then had to explain to him that we needed a home base site like a website or at least a Facebook page of some sort, and he was like, no, I just need you to put on google that we sell cigars at the store. I think he thought google was like the classifieds section on a newspaper, and I guess there are places to put up an insert on a directory page, but there’s so much more possible online. So we went back in forth a bit and he just ended up realizing that he didn’t know how online advertising worked and just told me to do whatever it was I had to do.

So I am pretty excited that I finally have the chance to really help my family business in Canada. And at the moment, the family business is at a pretty good place, but it is a bit much for my family to handle. Right now,  my brother and my parents are running 2 businesses in Canada. But hopefully we will be able to sell one of them and my brother will maintain the more profitable location, which will then give my parents the chance to finally retire.

The reason why my father was open to having his business found on google was because a customer suggested that he should put some info on google, since he was the only business in that location that sold cigars. And when my father told me how much sales they make on cigars alone, I was like, there’s a really good business opportunity here. So I’m pretty excited to get started, but the most important thing for me to do is to make sure that I still give 100% of my energy to building Flower Gift Korea. That just means that I’ll have to make time outside of business hours, like watching less TV and being more focused with my time.

I am planning of creating a bunch of things for the business, but I haven’t really got anything finalized yet. In short, I will create a website of some kind, google accounts, update online directories, a Facebook fan page, and not sure what else. I also need to make sure that I can maintain what I create, so I won’t be able to create as many social media accounts as I have for Flower Gift Korea.

I truly hope to double the sales of cigars within 6 months. It will be fun to do and I will finally have a chance to give back to my family. My family has given me so much and has never asked for much in return. And whenever I try to get them things, it’s like, don’t worry Tony, we’re good…so yeah…I’m really happy that I can help out in a way that they will be happy to accept. My family isn’t filthy rich, but they definitely don’t have to worry about money because they (well mostly my dad) have been able to find, create and build sustainable businesses. That is why I am always looking for a way to create sustainable businesses. I believe Flower Gift Korea is sustainable and scalable, which is why I am much happier now than when I was running a Gyosoopso. The only way I would have been able to scale my Gyosoopso business was to make it into an English hagwon, and that would have cost me a lot of money. For my flower business, I can just hire more florists, since most of the orders we receive are from online orders.

In general, there is so much we can do with online business. It is a tool that has no boundary and can be useful in every single business. Tools like social media, email, blogs, etc. are the reason why Flower Gift Korea exists. If it weren’t for online business and the Internet, there would have been no way for me to sell my flowers. I would have to pay expensive rent in a nice area where a lot of English speaking customers visit, buy a lot of flowers up front that people may not buy, and need someone present at the store at all times. But since the Internet exists, I can receive orders while I sleep, make the flowers in a low cost area, and buy most of the flowers for specific orders so that I don’t have to throw away flowers. And now, I am able to do some marketing for my family business in Canada from all the way in Korea. This is why I think one of the best skills you can learn these days is to know how to do online marketing.


Tony Teacher

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