Best places to find Free Images

If you struggle at times to find great free photos to accompany your blog posts, your social media posts, marketing materials or presentations, you are not alone!

Luckily, those times when it was almost impossible to find good free images are a thing of the past. Nowadays, there are amazing people out there taking photos and sharing them with the world for free. How generous is that? 

Not only that. Also, most of these images are of extraordinary quality and the variety is outstanding. From outdoor photos to staged photos to nature, abstract, business...  you will most likely find something to suit your needs.

Another great thing about the sites that we are about to share is that, unlike the images that you will find in stocked image sites (i.e. Shutterstock), you will find some very artistic, creative and unusual shots.

You can also follow the creators of the images that you like, as they tend to have a specific style that may suit future needs. You can also receive a set of 10 images each week delivered to your inbox as it is the case of Pexels, when you join their mailing list. 

And after this, without further ado, here is a list of our 3 best Free websites to source images:

1. Pixabay

2. Pexels

3. Unsplash

We hope that you enjoy these sites and please share your favourite free image sharing sites.

The enovate studio team.

10 easy ways to drive traffic to your blog.

10 ways to increase traffic to your blog.jpg

Most business owners know that having a blog is increasingly becoming a crucial tool to assist in the success of their business.

Studies show that companies that blog increase visits to their sites by 55% and have 97% more inbound links*

However, in a digital universe where there are over 500 million websites and more than 150 million blogs, how does your blog stay relevant? What can you do to have your blog show in Google searches? How do to reach potential leads? How to keep your existing audience coming back to your blog.

Here are my ten easy ways to drive traffic to your blog. And to help you with your blogging efforts, I have included in this blog post a completely free blog planner. Download your copy for free below.

1.    Keep your blog current and fresh with quality content. There is no better way to keep your blog relevant and, therefore, have people visiting it than by writing good content that is relevant to your audience. 

2.    Write blog posts regularly. Try for a post a week or at the least, a post every two weeks. Although some studies suggest that an optimum word-count for a blog post is around 1,200 words, the reality is that there is no magic number. Some blog posts will be longer if you share in-depth and well-researched information while another post may just require 3 or 4 paragraphs to reinforce the message that you are already sharing through images or a video. 

3.    Use your newsletter to promote your blog posts amongst your contacts. About 71% of Australians check their emails first thing in the morning**. If you have people who have subscribed to your newsletter, it is because they are interested in your content and what benefit they can get from it. Do not disappoint them and keep them informed with your latest news. 

4.    Use social media to drive traffic to your blog. You already have a pool of followers and potential leads that are relatively easy to reach. Share a link to your latest blog posts on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn groups and relevant Facebook groups.

5.    Share your posts more than once. Sharing more than once is worth doing in some social media channels, such as Twitter. Having said this, it is not good to abuse this tactic.  

For instance, if one of your blog posts has been particularly successful, share pieces of it (for instance, a relevant phrase) and link them back to the full blog post. Use hashtags to reach a wider audience who are interested in the topic that the blog post is covering. 

6.    Tag anyone who is featured in your blog post and share links to any source of information that you share where appropriate. By tagging others in your posts, you will be reaching their contacts. This increases awareness of your posts and the posibility of them being shared with their networks.

7.    Optimise what your write for SEO. When writing a post, remember to use key phrases or long tail keywords that people are likely to type when searching for the information that you are sharing. People no longer search for single keywords. Instead, they will be typing in specific sentences. For example, 'how to .... ' or 'where to find the latest model of ....'. 

8.    Include visual content in your posts. Study after study shows that visual content gets more engagement than plain text. These may be videos, photos, infographics or any other visual content that works for your audience. 

9.    Repurpose previous content in different formats. Remember to update the content and add some new value too! You can do this by using content from one or a combination of various blog posts. For example, you can create an e-book, a slide presentation, a video, a series of infographics or any other downloadable asset that will add value to your readers.

10.    Focus on what works for you and your audience. It does not matter if there is a magic word-count for blog posts, or if there is a topic that works for lots of people. Focus and improve on what works for your audience. Make it better every day and find ways to add value to what you know your audience 

Overall, remember to keep your content simple, relevant and engaging! Have always your audience in mind when writing content. Think about why they would enjoy reading what you are writing or what benefit they would get out of it. 

Lastly, if you don’t have time to create content yourself, consider having contributors creating content for your blog. You can also hire professional content marketing specialists to help you create quality content at least once a month for your blog.

For tips on what to write for your next blog posts, read my previous post on blogging for small businesses here

Sources:

* Hubspot http://www.hubspot.com/marketing-statistics
** http://www.pria.com.au/industrynews/13-million-australians-spend-18-hours-a-day-online 

Content Marketing for small businesses

content marketing for small businesses by enovate marketing

AN INTRODUCTION TO CONTENT MARKETING FOR SMALL BUSINESSES

What it is and why it is important for your business.

After attending a couple of events about the latest trends in CONTENT MARKETING over the past two weeks, I thought that I would share the key insights and takeaways that I got from attending, as well as sharing my own vision on how important it is for small businesses.

For those who are unfamiliar about this term,

"Content marketing is a strategic marketing tactic that consists of creating and distributing valuable and relevant content, in a consistent basis with the objective to attract and acquire a clearly defined audience"

For small businesses, attracting a loyal clientele and developing long-term relationships with them is becoming more complex than ever.

With a myriad of powerful digital platforms at the consumer’s fingertips, they are becoming savvier buyers, researchers, publishers, reviewers, influencers and ultimately experts on any type of product or service.

For any business owner, it is important to understand how powerful content marketing can be and what influences buyers today in their ‘buying decision-making process’.

Content marketing generates 3 times as many leads as traditional outbound marketing, but costs 62% less (1). 

Currently, about 60% of baby boomers still rely on friends and family members recommendations to help them decide on their purchases. On the other hand, 50% of young adults or millennials say they prefer product reviews from people they don’t know when trying to decide on what to buy.

In an age where customers are saturated with ads, content marketing has the ability to cut through the 'advertising noise' and connect at a personal level with potential customers.

Content created in various ways, such as blog posts, website copy, e-books, videos, podcasts or case studies is also perceived as a more natural and disinterested way of sharing insights and valuable information that actually has relevance to the person consuming that piece of information.

Because of all these reasons, small businesses are realising the need to increase the creation of relevant and valuable content that will have the likelihood to be freely shared, downloaded, bookmarked and passed along to others in an organic way, ultimately leading to an increased engagement and buying from a larger audience.

A key step in starting the journey of content creation is having a strategic plan and ensuring that it is implemented to ensure success and to have a benchmark to later on check results against.  

A strategic plan does not have to be a long and complicated formula or document. In the small business arena, where resources are often limited, a good approach is to keep things simple and start with a one-page concise strategy.

Here you can download a one-page content strategy template for small businesses and content marketing checklist to get you started.

These content marketing templates will help you:

1.    Establish your content marketing strategy

2.   Gain stronger buy-in quicker from clients

3.   Keep content strategically aligned to your business objectives

Lastly and as promised in my introduction, here are the key takeaways for business owners to consider.

KEY TAKEAWAYS

  • Develop a content marketing strategy. Organisations with a documented content marketing strategy are more sucessful than those without one.

  • Create SEO rich content.

  • Key aspects of your content: create quality content, have consistency in the creation and delivery, create original and engaging content.

  • Create content for your business brand that will become long-term valuable assets.

In my next post, I will talk about blogging, a crucial channel to distribute your content; why it is a powerful tool to share content with those who matter to your business, easy ways to get started, 30 blog post ideas for your blog and a downloadable blog editorial calendar template.

I hope you find this information useful and please feel free to share your feedback and comments. 

Ester

(1) source: Demand metrics

 

Blogging for small businesses

blogging for small businesses blog series

In my last post, I talked about content marketing for small businesses and how a blog was a crucial tool in your content marketing mix. 

why is blogging important for your business? 

  • Increase visibility: By having a blog, the visibility and awareness of your brand and business will grow with every post that you create and share, provided that the post contains quality content that adds value to the reader, and it is delivered to the right audience through the different digital media tools and outlets available to that audience (e.g. newsletters or social media platforms).
  • Increase leads: By increasing the traffic to your blog and website, you will be reaching larger audiences and hence have a chance to increase the number of leads by having visitors access additional content on your site. Make sure that you have clear 'calls to action' that are geared towards enticing visitors to share their details with you. This can be done by having a subscription to your newsletter or by giving away a piece of premium information (e.g. downloadable asset), in return for their details.
  • Build credibility: By sharing stories and information through your blog, readers will become familiar with yourself, your business and they will feel that personal connection even if they have not interacted in person with you or your business before. 

Apart from the points raised above, a  blog serves as your proprietary platform to host the content that you have created.  

By launching the content through your blog instead of using a third party platform (e.g. social media outlets), you are reducing the risk of compromising the property rights of your content.

Having a blog also lets you distribute each new piece of content directly and firstly with your primary audience (e.g. contacts in your database) giving them ‘priority access’ to the content. 

How to get started with a blog

The first thing that may come to mind is to start a blog straight away.

However, before taking this step, it is important to invest the necessary time to determine key aspects of your blog such as:

  • The mission of your blog
  • What content to create and share
  • How that content will add value to your audience
  • What other platforms or outlets you will use to share your content to reach a larger audience.

Below, I have included a printable and fillable blog plan template for small businesses, which will give you direction as well as serving as a framework later on to review if you are being successful or not. 

Blog plan template

Once you have completed your plan, it is time to get started by creating a blog (if you still don’t have one) or if you do, move to the ‘content scheduling’ phase: this step involves deciding and scheduling what content you will write about and when and how it will be distributed.

Below, you can download a printable and fillable blog editorial calendar to help you with the task of planning your posts in the months ahead. I have made this editorial calendar timeless so that it can be customised to any month and year. 

BLOG EDITORIAL CALENDAR TEMPLATE

Important aspects to consider when BLOGGING:

Focus on creating quality content: There are currently millions of existing active blogs worldwide. By creating quality content consistently, you will start building a loyal readership and, as a result, that will increase the engagement with your brand and business resulting in leads and conversions.

Quality content is created by having your audience in mind first and foremost. Write content that you know they are interested in, that will be of value and will make a difference to them. 

Be consistent: Consistency is key and it has to show in everything you do. From which content is created, to the style in which it is written and put together, to the way in which it is delivered.

To help you being consistent, plan a series of topics or ‘blog series’, develop a schedule and implement it following your own schedule. It doesn’t reflect well on your brand if you post something today, and nothing else is posted for another three months. This type of scenarios show lack of commitment, which can reflect in a negative way on your brand. 

Use eye-catching visual content: Content marketing reports released at the beginning of 2015 have revealed for a second year in a row, a growing trend in visual content marketing. These reports show that marketers who are leveraging visual content are seeing significant increases in their blog traffic, social media engagement, visitor-to-lead conversion rates and inbound customer acquisition results (1).

Jeff Bullas, a prominent blogger in Australia estimates that articles with images get 94% more total views than articles without images.

That is a pretty outstanding figure! 94%. However, it is not as simple as it sounds. When it comes to adding photos to your posts, you have to be strategic about it and think about what photos you wish to share, what style they will show and how they will fit and enhance the content that you are sharing.

The style can vary from minimalistic and clean to something more edgy, colorful and daring. Here, there is no one rule that will fit all. It really depends on the essence of your business and the image that you wish to give. 

The only one thing that does apply here is consistency. Be consistent with the types and style of the images that you share. Make sure that they are useful in a way or another to the viewer. 

I will be writing in more detail about this important topic in a separate post, so stay tuned for more insights on this important topic coming up.

Create SEO rich content: Create SEO content by including keyphrases or long tail keywords in your blog titles and throughout the copy of your post. This means that you will be using those words that someone would be typing in google search if they were to look for the type of content that you are writing about.

Of course, this needs to be done in the right context. The keywords must have meaning within the text of your post. It is not a matter of adding large amounts of keywords in a blog post to rank higher.

In fact, by doing this, you may be damaging your blog as Google is penalising websites that follow this practice.

Reflect your personality and be authentic. Above all, be yourself when you write content and share information and opinions with your readers. When you are authentic, it comes through in everything you do. People notice it and appreciate it.

The same happens when you get too influenced by the work of others and you start losing your own personality and style. 

When I feel like I may be tempted to follow someone else's style, I always refer to these two quotes:

“Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.” – Oscar Wilde
“Your vision will become clear only when you look into your heart… Who looks outside, dreams. Who looks inside, awakens.” – Carl Jung

GETTING starteD WITH YOUR BLOG!

If you don’t have a blog yet and wish to create one by yourself, I'd recommend Wordpress to start a blog. 

If you already have an existing website, you can create a new ‘blog page’ if you manage your website yourself, or you can ask your website developer to create a blog page for you.

Once your blog is up and running, adding content to it typically involves very few steps such as adding the content (title and body of the post), adding images, videos, files or any other additional content that will accompany the text and making the post live or scheduling it to be shared later on.

To help you create topics for your blog, I am sharing with you

30 BLOG POST IDEAS THAT WORK

  1. Share what happens behind the scenes of your business. Share with your readers a day at your office or a sneak peek of a project you are working on. 
  2. Talk about a topic that is trending in your industry by providing your own point of view on the topic. You can engage your readers by asking them to share their opinions. 
  3. Create a ‘blog series’ based on a topic that is related to what you do and which you believe will add value to your audience. 
  4. Share information on what has helped you in your business and what has not.
  5. Interview others in your industry or others who can motivate your readers.
  6. Share an initiative that you are implementing in your company and which is having a positive impact in your team and your business. 
  7. Share top tips on a specific subject, such as improving your writing skills or another topic that relates to your business.
  8. Share a project you have worked from the first stage to delivery of the final job. 
  9. Feature people working with you, for instance, you can feature the story, working experience and strengths of a team member. 
  10. Talk about yourself before starting your job and what aspects from your personality and previous experience are being most beneficial to your business nd how others can learn from them.
  11. Share client stories that will resonate with your readers provided that the client has granted permission to be featured.
  12. Use one or some of your FAQ's to convert them into a topic for a blog post.
  13. Share a giveaway, what it involves and how to participate.
  14. Talk about an experience that you had outside the workplace and how it did have a beneficial impact on your business.
  15. Share which channels are helping your business. For instance, if Facebook is working well for you, share why. Don’t be afraid to be copied. Remember that people can share and sell the same product but they will never be able to become you and your brand.
  16. Talk about how your workplace inspires you to come up with better work.
  17. Talk about an event you have attended to recently and which were the key takeaways that will be of interest to your readers.
  18. Talk about a speaker that has inspired you and deeply motivated you and why.
  19. Ask your readers what they would like to see more of in your blog. You can simply ask them to leave comments on your blog post so that everyone can see them and take part in an open conversation.  
  20. Talk about what tools do you use in your business to do your job.
  21. Talk about what digital applications are helping you in a specific way (e.g. being more productive) and where readers can find them.
  22. Share what you have learned about blogging and how it can help others
  23. Share what helps you get inspired before starting a new blog post.
  24. Share a tutorial, demonstrations or 'how-to',  if possible in video format. Alternatively, a step-by-step how-to in photos also works really well.
  25. Write a case study on a job you have worked on or a business scenario that can help your readers make better business decisions
  26. Share where you get inspiration for a particular area of your job or blogging
  27. Talk about books you are reading and what content you found in them that can be inspirational or add value to your readers.
  28. Create an 'Ask me' series  
  29. Create a poll on a topic that is trending at the moment in your industry
  30. Share useful links, which you believe your audience will appreciate.

References:

1 - 17 Stats You Should Know About Visual Content Marketing in 2015
22 January 2015, http://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/visual-content-marketing-strategy

 

 

 

5 Top reasons to have a business blog

Since I started my business, I have been encouraging all my clients to have a blog and invest time in it as part of their business efforts. 

Some of my clients wondered why it was important. Others found the idea of it a bit daunting while others embraced it full forced, and they have since experienced many of the benefits of blogging.

Although there are many reasons why having a blog is important, I will focus on what I consider to be the top 5:

1. Position your company as a thought leader in your industry. By writing about your services, products and what is happening in your industry, you are positioning your company as an expert in the field.

Remember to share, now and then, some industry tips as well to help those starting in the same field. You may feel as if you are giving away those skills that took you so long to acquire, but don't be afraid of the competition. Your company, your brand, and most importantly yourself and the service that you offer are UNIQUE and cannot be replicated. 

2. Rank higher in Google searches. The more content you create and share, the higher your site will rank in Google searches. An important aspect to keep in mind is to write quality content that is relevant to your audience. The content must also be written having SEO (search engine optimisation) in mind. Where appropriate, use long-tail keywords (or keyword phrases) that your audience will most likely be typing in when searching for the content you are writing about.

It is of utmost importance to understand how your audience consumes information and how they search for it. In a way, consumers are selfish in the sense that they will only consume what we are interested in, and it will need to add some value to their lives in one way or another.

3. Attract new leads for your business. When you blog, people all over the world will have instant access to what you are sharing. By promoting the content that you create in the way that works best for your business, you will be reaching a wide audience and hence, this will increase your chances to attract new leads. A way to do this is by promoting you posts using your social media channels or your newsletter. You may also consider using paid advertising to reach a wider audience. By having a clear ‘call to action’ as part of the post, you will be increasing your chances to get new clients. 

4. A blog becomes a powerful channel in itself, to share what you do, promote what you sell and make your site a vibrant and dynamic place by allowing people to contribute with their opinions. The reality is that the content on most websites, unless you are in the e-commerce space, is rather static for most of the time. A blog allows you to make your site more vibrant and lively by providing different content in different formats (video, photographs, etc.), on a frequent basis.

5. It enriches the relationship with your clients and leads to advocacy. By using your blog to create content that will benefit and empower your clients and their businesses, you are providing added value to the services that you already give them. This added value nurtures relationships with clients and in many cases leads to advocacy for your business.

Free Blog Planner

Free Blog Planner

Purchase your BLOG PLANNER today to help you with your blogging efforts.

Free Media plan and media contacts list template

 

In a recent post, we highlighted the importance of consistently communicating and engaging with your existing and potential audience through media releases, articles, advertising and updates on social media updates.

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Entrepreneurial Wisdom with Laura Thomas

A few months ago during my holidays in Ubud (Bali), I had the opportunity to meet Laura Thomas, the founder of Happy Sugar Habits, digital nomad and leader of the Tribewanted Bali Start-up co-working group.

With a strong coaching, training, facilitation, startup and writing background, Laura’s work at Happy Sugar Habit focuses on supporting and inspiring people to make positive, practical, long-lasting behavioural shifts around sugar.

Laura has formally presented ‘The Sugar Diaries’ on UK Health Radio and has written for and featured in The Telegraph, UK Health & Fitness and Elle magazine.

Learn how Laura has grown what she started as a blog into a business, how working from a co-working space helps herself and her business and the tips and resources that she uses to keep evolving at a professional and personal level.

How did the ‘Happy Sugar Habits’ journey begin?

Happy Sugar Habits started with a blog which was my outlet to share nutritional advice and findings as I was realising how hooked on sugar I personally was. I started sharing the shocking amount of sugar in yoghurts and as people found my articles helpful I carried on. I decided to study a professional coaching qualification, launch an online detox programme I was on my entrepreneurial way!

How did Happy Sugar Habits evolve from starting as a blog to becoming a business?

It’s really been a winding and rollercoaster of a journey.  The main theme and drive throughout has been that I want to help stop suffering to occur when it comes to sugar or a diet mentality around food so it can be enjoyed in a sensible healthy way.

The blog articles every week over three years built up an audience who knew and trusted me and the engagement on the blog and social and through free sessions I did helped deepen my expertise and test methods to really offer products (my 6 week detox) and services (coaching packages) that help with a big problem.  

What are in your opinion, the key planning aspects before starting a business?

I didn’t do much planning myself and in hindsight, I really learnt from this. When planning, your time needs to be factored in. If you want to start blogging, how much time do you need to write the average post, to schedule it, to do social media, on how many platforms, etc. How much do you want to post. What future revenue models are viable for your longer term vision and what do you need to build... 

Who is your blog for? What is their aim or problem? What are your timescales and resources? It is questions like these that I feel needed to be answered in the planning stage. 

I would also say don’t spend too long on planning though. You can learn so much through action. 

What is the part that you like the most about what you do? What is it the part that you dislike the most?

I really feel incredibly energised when I have a coaching session with someone and they have a complete breakthrough with understanding themselves, identifying their blockers and forming a super practical action of a way that will move them forwards. I also love writing when I’m in the flow and it’s something I really feel passionate about sharing. 

Dislike-wise, it’s the admin and selling. I had my own blockers to overcome in realising the value I provide, so I was often underselling myself and found it uncomfortable. Now with coaching so many on such a specific issue, I am much more confident in myself and I don’t sell, I respond and help. 

You are currently working from HUBUD, a co-working space in Bali. What advantages does a co-working space offer you and your business?

Community, intellectual engagement, like-minded friends and inspiration. As a human, it aids my personal wellbeing on many levels and on a business level I can tap into a wide range of expertise without having to go online to look for it. I would very much struggle to go back to working 100% at home after experiencing working at Hubud. 

What recommendations do you give to people working from home or remotely to make their days more productive?

I think productive tips work for different people. I find having some structure in the day gives me things to work around. Meetings or an office to be in at a time. It means I get up to do my morning routine and have to time box tasks a bit – otherwise there is a risk I could be dragging out a task that just needs a bit of a deadline. 

I know it’s hard but creating boundaries is important. I’m still mastering this myself but I appreciate the value of having a more 9-5 adapted routine structure that you’ve moulded to work for you. 

What challenges did you encounter when you formally founded Happy Sugar Habits as a company and how did you solve them?

One challenge is the sheer overwhelm in information these days – both online and offline. Business advise, marketing methods and techniques from lots of experts offering their expertise can be debilitating at times, especially in a entrepreneurial hub like Hubud. I’ve learnt to trust in my own intuition more with this and remind myself that I am the only person with the full picture of my business and long term vision. 

What have been the biggest joys so far?

Speaking at a couple of big events. One at a health exhibition in Edinburgh in 2014 and then this year in Ubud in Bali at the PechaKucha 20x20 evening. I had to present 20 slides with 20 seconds per slide and they moved automatically. It was challenging but I absolutely loved it. A recording of it on my website. recording of this presentation is available on my website.

What tips would you give people who have a blog and want to take it to the next level and make it a source of income?

There are lots of advice out there on this but from my experience, I would focus on the quality of your content and nail who it’s valuable to and who you’re speaking to. Then pick your social media of choice and build engagement somewhere. Show yourself and be you. It took me a while to break out of my corporate shell into being myself online and it’s still something I’m working on, but it creates the bond and connection with your relevant audience – which is really what blogging and social media is all about. 

Once you have this, then you can start exploring what paid products and services would be valuable to these people and what they would buy. 

What tactics are working better to promote your business and acquire new clients?

For me, guest blogging and writing articles for online publications has been my most successful means of getting new readers. I have learnt to write and connect with people through that medium and love the fact that one of my articles can provide someone with clarity and instant help to make them move forwards right in that moment. 

How important is social media for your business? Which social media platform shows more engagement with your desired audience?

I’ve made and am probably still making my fair share of mistakes with social media. It’s important but it’s not everything and I believe you have to make it work for you. I’ve built my e-mail list pretty well through guest writing and some social, however of course, the blogs I guest with share that on their feeds.  I don’t have loads of followers but have found Facebook the best for engagement so far. I know Instagram is good for engagement but I’ve put more focus on Facebook so I tend to get more there – I feel like that is where my tribe are right now. 

How is technology helping you run your business remotely?

It’s incredible and helping me everyday. Skype is great. Slack is my new thing. Other tools like Acuity Scheduling also make my coaching practice and organisation work a heck of a lot better than before I had them. 

If you had to pick one or two, which book, podcast or blog would you recommend any entrepreneur to help them run their business more effectively?

For blogging and writing authentically along with the ups and down of the entrepreneurial journey, I think Brene Brown’s books e.g. Daring Greatly are great resources. I also think Seth Godin’s blog gives a lot of food for thought when it comes to marketing. I’m a fan of the Lean Start Up methods and I love Entrepreneur.com. 

What is your key piece of advice for anyone wanting to start their own business?

Use the people and tools out there that have experience in supporting and guiding the phase you’re in. So if you’re looking for the right idea, do some self-development work and understand your strengths with tools and books. Then talk out your ideas and pick somethings to play with. If you’re ready to get started, hire a good coach or mentor and above all, take action quickly and start making mistakes because they are inevitable!

Any exciting future projects that you can share with us?

Right now I’m gearing up my coaching for the Christmas and Jan periods. Christmas is actually when coaching can be very valuable and Jan is when lots of people are looking for the support around sugar. I’m also looking at exploring potentially running retreats here in Bali next year, running my online sugar course again and one day hope to get everything into a book that reaches far and wide. 

Find out more about HAPPY SUGAR HABITS 
To get in touch with Laura, you can email her here

More about Laura:

Laura Thomas is a health coach, writer, inspirational speaker and content creator. 

Laura helps support and inspire people to make positive, practical, long-lasting behavioural shifts around sugar but at the same time not take it so far they get too obsessed with ‘sugar-free’ as a restrictive diet or being overly fixated on food.

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Entrepreneurial Wisdom with media expert Cate Rocchi

With more than 20 years experience in media, Perth-based Cate Rocchi knows all about the crucial role media plays in building brands, reaching your desired audience and growing your business.


After working extensively as a financial journalist and in PR for a number of national and international firms, Cate decided to establish Cate Rocchi Communications in 2012.  Then three years later, as national and international client numbers began to grow, Cate rebranded and launched Perth Media, which specialises in offering strategic global public relations services. 


We are delighted to feature Cate Rocchi in this month’s entrepreneurial series and we thank her for sharing her very own entrepreneurial journey, wisdom and tips for business owners wanting to get their services and products noticed in the media. 


1. How did your career in media start? 

As a child, I always loved newspapers and magazines and couldn't think of doing anything more fun. 

I began asking for work experience at university. I did a stint at Chanel 7 News in Perth and wrote the real estate copy for the agricultural newspaper Countryman every Monday for six months and occasionally a news story (I remember one on flystrike in sheep). 

Then a friend on the Albany Weekender had to go to hospital for an operation and she asked me to fill in for a few weeks. It was a couple hundred dollars a week but I thought it was fantastic. My first real reporting job!. Then soon after The Kalgoorlie Miner, a regional daily newspaper in Western Australia, offered me a cadetship. I stayed in Kalgoorlie for nearly three years in the early 1990s. 

Then I went to the Kimberley Echo and later Aspermont’s Australia’s Mining Monthly. I learnt quickly that your pay rose much faster if you changed jobs. I learnt to be self-reliant. In small newspapers it was often also in the editor’s interests if you wrote most of the copy and they would not recommend you for promotion, as that created work for them, they had to find someone to replace you and then train.

I also understood that reporting/writing opportunities in WA were tiny, so at 27 I got on a plane to London. After 20 interviews responding to advertisements in the Guardian, I landed a job at International Investment (now run by Incisive Media); then Hedge Funds Review, then Eurohedge (Hedge Fund Intelligence), and later, after my children were older, worked as a banking reporter on Asian Investor (Haymarket), Hong Kong.

2. When and why did you decide to set up your own media company?

I have three children and am a single parent. In 2010, while working for a large Perth PR firm, it became clear a full-time job away from home was not something I could manage or a situation my children enjoyed. 

I was particularly miserable not being able to greet my kids when they got home from school. I wanted work to be more flexible so started working for a very understanding boss, myself! 

Plus, I thought I could do a better job. There were many aspects of PR I knew overseas firms did a lot better than ones in Western Australia. In this state, even the most established firms were often unprofessional, untrustworthy and shambolic. Many areas could be improved and that created opportunity.

Furthermore, I believe that PR/media can be used for good and bad, and I wanted to vet my own clients and promote ethical and moral businesses, which operated with integrity. This is not always easy when you are at the bottom of the pecking order in a big firm. You won't find me pitching sugary cereals to kids or mining companies with crappy environmental and ethical track records.

3. Which were the main challenges that you encountered when you launched your first company? How did you go about solving them?

Cash flow is never straightforward. Sometimes all the cheques come in at once and it is a bit of a balancing act. I had to get used to talking about money and being upfront about late invoices and payments. This may sound simple, but women in my family were raised not to speak about money. Discussing it was incredibly bad manners. But in business there is no choice. All the simple things need to be out in the open. How much time/money do you want to spend on the project and when are you paying the bill?  They are crucial questions which you need answers for before you start. 

4. What have been your biggest joys so far?

I would never go back. I LOVE being able to manage my own day. Work early in the morning if I want to, and know the job is what I make of it. I can easily schedule dentists and doctors for me and the kids and escape for the odd movie matinee with a girlfriend and take extended holidays if I work hard other times. Also, if the kids are sick or need extra support, I can make chicken soup and keep them company.


And being a single parent, it is especially important that, if I have an action packed weekend with the kids, I do take some downtime and pace myself. I am constantly carving out chunks of the diary for fun stuff! After yoga retreats, I find new ways of looking at the business and come back ready to declutter and the business has always improved after some space, like pruning a rose bush!

I love being rewarded for efficiency and skill and seeing clients return again and again and learning. And watching them grow is rewarding. Some are terrified of a radio interview, for example, but they do it and I can see their confidence grow.

For some clients personal development has been subtle, but for others it has been huge. Appearing in the newspaper means they are important, their story and organisation and what they do is important. It is concrete proof, if you like, and they often have a new image of themselves after media coverage.

As far as happiness at work, I no longer anxiously await yearly reviews on performance or office politics issues. If I want I raise, I get off my bottom and find a new client to boost the income.

Learning about new sectors, new products, new services and new reporting is also so much fun. My children have also met all kinds of interesting clients too, from musicians, to bloggers, magicians, and artists. Some wonderful people in the not-for-profit sector too that I would never have met in the ‘corporate’ PR world. Also, training and mentoring young reporters and writers has been an absolute joy. So many talented young people, unexpectedly, they have taught me so much too – from crowd-funding to new social media and tech issues they find simple but I find impossible. The mentoring has been a two-way process.

And have had time to do community work: Farming Champions, Linkwest board, We Cant Wait (a charity which raises money for toilets in India), Rafiki Mwema and many others. That has been so rewarding spreading messages to help people.

5. In your opinion, which are the key planning stages before starting a business?

Find a good accountant to help you set up the structure and then get on with it. Don't talk about it, do it! Take one day and one project at a  time first and think constantly about how you can improve your customer experience.

Make sure you have a good product that people want and respond to your market. Listen to your customers and put yourself in their shoes. What do they need? Don't tell your customers what they should buy. Let your business evolve with the times.  In other words, be flexible. If your customers want carrot cakes, bake carrot cakes. Don't whip up batches of cupcakes and keep offering them.

Perth Media’s best sellers are press packs for business. It comprises a press release and some background information over two pages. Basically a little package of great facts for reporters. It is a no brainer, people may take weeks to pull that together. Whereas, as a former finance reporter, I efficiently research the firm then sit down with the company executives and we write much of it on the spot in an hour or so. Then the document is proofread and sent out to reporters. 

Several years ago I thought press releases and media pitching would have been bigger sellers. But this has only been secondary, there has been a greater demand for high-quality written content.

Media training and short films, with Perth cinematographer Jason Thomas, is another product that there is a demand for in a way that has been unexpected. Perth Media offers a series of low-cost options, rather than the thousands many of our competitors charge for one-day media training sessions. Also, I believe the clients will get better results if they have several short sessions rather than one big session, then they have some time to reflect and try again. 

There are lots of subtleties when dealing with the press, and Perth Media encourages executives to research their special subject so they have some depth. Do they understand the importance of statistics etc to illustrate their arguments? If they don't, we have some work to do. Let’s crack on and do that work so you can improve. If you are going on the tele, you want to put forward your best self and have something interesting to say. In this honesty is key. Flattering your client inappropriately can lead to poor media results. 

6. What tactics did you first implement to get your company noticed?

Hard work and some strategic events are crucial. And I make sure I show up my best self. From hair, makeup and clothes to some thoughtful conversation. My own personal brand has been key, after photographer Jason Thomas took some professional corporate photos for LinkedIn and Perth Media website, several new clients contacted me within a few days. It is a visual world, selfies on LinkedIn don't help your personal brand and your company’s image.

Sharing information and business opportunities has helped a great deal and strategic partnerships with other well-run, professional businesses have been vital. 

7. Working for oneself can make difficult the process to find clients. How do you identify prospects and find new clients? What tactics do you work best for you?

Clients have just come to me, mostly by referral, but I maintain that doing my very best each time is the secret for repeat work and recommendations.

I am also very focused about where I direct my energy. If I like someone and think what they do is professional and helpful, I recommend them. I have hundreds of connections and will send three intros to most people. But that will stop if nothing returns. There have been old friends and contacts who I have invested money in their businesses and sent many connections through, but nothing has returned. No worries, but a line is drawn in the sand at some point, after three intros. Sorry mate if you’re too busy to look at my website to see what I do then I won't be sending any more potential prospects or conference speaking invitations etc your way now.

Also, if any graduates, in any area, are struggling to find work, I forward on their CVs to people in various industries. I believe it is the right thing to do. Many contacts tell me not to bother them, as they are too busy. OK righto. Lack of action tells me a great deal. Not interested in executives who wax lyrical on leadership and good business practice yet don't practically help graduates break into industries. 

My advice for other businesses is to focus on clients/connections with a collaborative style, if you help them to succeed then they will help you and everyone rises.

In Perth, Media Super’s Patrick Horneman supports young people in arts and media and his infectious encouragement has assisted a great many. Enjoy attending his industry functions for young leaders very much and have met some talented, inspiring young kids in arts and media who are going places and just need a bit of guidance.

8. Who are your clients? Do you specialise in a particular industry?

Perth Media’s clients range from local government to Women in Global Business, oil and gas manufacturer GasDrill International (In Singapore), Sydney-based water exchange H2OX, fashion retailers, agribusinesses, not-for-profit Linkwest, financial adviser Priority1 (Melbourne) and Cranleigh merchant bank. A diverse range. Knowledge is needed on specific sectors, but the PR system Perth Media has developed can be adapted for a range of industries. Perth Media also has a range of targeted media databases such as Global Technology (100 tech writers/reporters globally).

9. What are the key aspects a business owner must look for when they are searching for a media expert to help them build a profile for their business and promote their services?

Experience, integrity and attention to detail. Enthusiasm is important. If they are not excited by your product or service or don't understand it, that will be revealed in promotional results. A small mistake in PR can prove disastrous, so tread warily. Perhaps trial the firm on a small project and see how it goes before an all-guns-blazing approach with a huge bill.

A tip to separate the amateurs from the professionals maybe to quiz potential PR firms on distribution. Where exactly do they plan to send your press pack/story?  If they waffle, then maybe there is a bit of bluff rather than substance. Also, ask them what they think of the media sector, and various reporters. If you are a tech company and the PR don't know who the most respected global tech writers are that is a worry.

10. How has the media landscape changed in the last 5 years? 

Massively. It’s part of the reason Perth Media has been successful, we adapted quickly to the changing needs of reporters and clients. Much more focus on visual and audio, but also the ability to act quickly has become vital in terms of social media. Appetite for spin has evaporated, and Perth Media’s emphasis on the facts and real stories has been timely.

11.What are the major shifts that you have experienced with the introduction of social media outlets?

Facebook has been a game changer for small business and the not-for-profit sector. That has been a bonus for my company over the past four years. Business comes from connections on LinkedIn and Facebook. Such an easy way to market your firm. Many don't really understand what PR is and, through Facebook, results can be posted to show clients what Perth Media can do. 

It also meant, particularly in Australia, I didn't have to go to the pub to network. Many long-term clients send Facebook messages to book jobs and, if I am traveling in Sydney and Melbourne, it is used to set up meetings on the hop.  For Perth Media’s Facebook page, I post company updates: great media articles; interesting meetings; and latest press releases.

When some people tell me they don't bother with social media these days, I really don't know what to say, but I am thinking…well you aren’t the sharpest knife in the draw are you? 

12. How do you see the media landscape evolving in the next 5 years?

Integrity and clever factual content will be king. The general public will continue to sniff out spin and become more and more savvy. Perth Media’s will continue to focus on facts and real stories over ramp ups.

13. Of all the traditional media outlets (press, radio and television), which one do you believe has more power in reaching audiences for small businesses?

All three in different ways.

Youtube videos/TV advertisements can prove to be sensational. Just saw one on Richie McCaw, NZ rugby captain. Beautifully shot short film that made me want to run out and buy the headphones. 

Clever creativeness will continue to be rewarded by viewers and clients. The bridge between advertorial and editorial is getting closer. No point in writing/publishing anything if no one reads it. Has to be interesting and real. Nonsense articles that smack of self-interest are not the way to go.  Nor are retelling boring yarns that state the obvious, makes you look like a muppet. Don't do that. There are so many great stories out there, find some that tells your business story in a way that captivates your readers.

14. How do you see both traditional and social media outlets complementing each other nowadays to help companies achieve their business objectives?

Both are too large to ignore. You have to go to where your audience is. No good saying you can't be bothered with Twitter, if all the reporters/customers use it!

Who are you kidding? It is not up to you to tell your clients what social media to use. In Australia right now, you have to pitch to all – from newspapermen, traditional radio to bloggers and TV. 

15. What are your tips for business owners with a small budget to get their services and products covered in the media?

Loads can be done on a small budget, but very important to up-skill so you can do as much yourself as possible.

Perth Media works with their clients to help bridge that gap. Some clients need high-level PR assistance (such as intros to Hong Kong banking feature writers and speech writing) while others could do with a basic press pack course and guidance on how to use the spell check!!

But the point is you have to make all feel comfortable enough to ask for help. What don't they understand? Why aren’t they getting any media coverage? We can put in some systems that may change that. Maybe an editor for an hour a month, is money well spent.

People mistakenly think a quick media training course will fix everything. Nope. A media training course is just the start. Along the journey you will make mistakes, understand all media forms are different, take calculated risks (some will pay off, some won't), you learn not to wear a white dress in the sun as Lady Di did, and hopefully you will improve continually.  No one is the finished artwork, after a media training session.

And then the most basic advice is to read more so you can write better and understand what reporters you should send your stories to.

16. Which books, podcasts or blogs would you recommend to any entrepreneur to help them run their business more effectively? 

Always read and never stop learning. Some of my best ideas come from fiction and listening to others, but both of these talk about the long-term game. 

Sir Martin Sorrel, of WPP, on BBC Desert Island Discs.
Asian financial PR guru Damien Ryan
http://www.businessinsider.com.au/solemates-founder-best-career-advice-2015-9/

For tricky strategy/client issues, I go to trusted, former Shell executive Emily Patterson. Emily has worked in Australia, UK, Nigeria and Europe and has a no-nonsense, highly intellectual approach which I value a great deal.

I also have some small business buddies. We meet for coffee and talk about our plans and that is good for accountability. It helps focus on long-term business strategy, and stops us from getting bogged down in the constant nitty gritty.

Furthermore, I recommend Linkwest governance training and am soon to attend a workshop on that subject in Perth. Understanding how good boards operate can be learnt.

Constantly scan Business Insider (good for picking up trends) – often great reminders of work/life balance there. Because, if my family is not running well, then business will suffer.

On how to resolve conflict, soft skills, and emotional intelligence, Dr Phil has taught me a great deal. 

17. Could you share with us any exciting project you are working on for near future?

Perth Media launched in Melbourne, following a Perth launch last month! Nearly half of the company’s clients are based in Melbourne.

Perth Media is also producing a series of content features for Leadership WA. It has involved recording many of the state’s most prominent leaders and has been a tremendous experience. The work has so far featured US futurist Dr David Martin, Dr Andrew Crane (CEO of CBH), Sven Bluemmel (WA’s Information Commissioner) and Richard Goyder (managing director of Wesfarmers). Details of that will be out soon!

Furthermore, there are a series of films that will shortly be produced for a medical expert on chronic pain. Stand by.

To get in touch with Cate to discuss your media needs, click HERE 

Follow Cate on Facebook HERE

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Entrepreneurial Wisdom with Latasha Menon

Entrepreneurial Wisdom with Latasha Menon

Have you ever wondered what is it is like to give up a highly successful career as a senior executive to pursue your passion and dreams?

This month, I feel honoured and blessed to share with you Latasha Menon's thriving entrepreneurial journey, and I thank her for sharing with us her wisdom, business tips and personal values.

Latasha, you went from being a senior executive at GoldCorp Australia/The Perth Mint, to becoming a successful entrepreneur and running various business ventures. 

After running your highly popular Latasha’s Kitchen restaurant in Leederville, which closed after 10 years in business, you recently launched the also successful range of Latasha’s Kitchen curry pastes, sauces and condiments.

1. How and why did you make the decision of becoming an entrepreneur, and leave the ‘security’ of an executive role in a well-established corporation? 

There was, in me, always a burning desire to cook and get involved in the food industry. At times, it felt more like a cherished sentiment or an unattainable dream. But eventually it was a deep-seated, palpable, pulsating longing that I couldn’t ignore. I just had to birth a new Life to this idea. So in essence it was to create something out of virtually nothing.  

All barriers came down once the dream evolved to a trial run for 6 months cooking for colleagues, neighbours and close friends. I had a gut feel that my concept would be appealing and the decision to quit the corporate life evolved from that point. And in doing so, it created a virtual ball of energy that just kept expanding over the years and still today keeps me growing.


2. Do you come from a family of entrepreneurs? Did you know what to expect from owning and running a business? 

No, the family was not entrepreneurial and was quite horrified at my sudden career change in my mid-30s especially when I was thriving at my role at GoldCorp. We had a banker, a lawyer, lecturers, and semi-professionals in our family of 9.

Did I know about running a business? No, but I was determined to learn all that I could. Fortunately, I had people around me who knew a thing or two about running a business. But that was obviously not enough. Plenty of long hours, hard work (and some tears) were called for.  

I knew I wanted to work on my own terms and not be dictated by the industry norm and so I seriously felt that I could do whatever it took because it was such a burning desire within me to fulfill that passion.

I was practical about it though and planned an exit strategy should things not work out as planned within 6-7 months of my initial capital. So making it successful from Day 1 of operation was an imperative.


3. What is the part that you like the most about what you do? What is it the part that you dislike the most? 

I am a creative person and happiest when I make things for others. It fulfills a deep part of my soul in giving joy to others. I generally do not like taking care of admin work such as filing, completing forms and documents or managing technical issues pertaining to websites and the various e-commerce channels. And so I outsource much of this work.

4. What are in your opinion, the key planning aspects before starting a business? 

A vision of what really makes you YOU. Knowing yourself in a frank and open way and approaching that knowledge with what you can do to fulfill a need out there in the domain. It is an essential part of what kind of business you wish to start and it starts from a basic and honest approach. Some of the following are other key planning aspects:

1. Understanding your product or the service you are offering and where it sits in the marketplace.

2. Knowing your target area well i.e. the demographics and socio-economic characteristics.

3. Financial implications.

4. Being flexible and responsive to changes.

5. Being bold.

6. Knowing when to call it quits and/or diversify.


5. Which were some of the main challenges that you ran into after launching your business and how did you go above solving them?

As mine was a food business, the main challenges always centered on educating some patrons why we did things differently to other ‘Indian’ restaurants.  Some didn’t like the fact that we didn’t have a menu or that there weren’t table service or that we cooked dishes in such an authentic manner and it wasn’t toned down to their requirements.

I solved the issue by staying true to what was real in the first couple of years and not be dictated by the minority I encountered. Eventually the fact that we were different was what made us successful and stay the course.

6. To grow awareness and to increase your clientele, what tactics did you implement and which were most successful? 

I recall I wanted to introduce Perth to the flavours of my childhood. I was also very aware that most Indian and Asian restaurants didn’t offer their customers food that they cooked at home for their own families – simple, honest, everyday food. I wanted to change that.

I wanted to shake things up a bit and shock them with some of our food choices such as mango curries, lentil and banana blossom dishes, curried chicken livers and fish head and wing curries.  It wasn’t sexy food but it was wholesome and natural and real food bursting with flavours and very moorish.

This kept our customers coming back for more discoveries and with their families, friends and colleagues in tow. It was so successful and I was the one left gobsmacked. I had a daily changing Bain Marie menu housed in customised terracotta clay pots handmade by a local ceramic artist which further enhanced the appeal of the dishes. 

6. With your marketing and advertising background, what advice would you give to business owners on a tight budget, to increase awareness of their products/services? 

Keep it honest, keep it real, and that is easily achieved if you give your passion, your all. This meant I chose not to turn everything into a profit and some were loss leaders like our Masala Chai. We made each cup by hand and it can take 15-20 minutes to brew it well. So I chose not to make a huge profit at the expense of growth in the first year or two to grow my range of customer base.

I chose a spot that had huge foot traffic during the day as well as evening and weekends so it meant working long hours until we had the word of mouth referrals going. That in itself generated media interest, and we had many glowing reviews which all helped to get us to where we are now. 

7. How important is social media for your business? Which social media platform shows more engagement with your desired audience?

I believe social media is extremely important to keep abreast of everything that is happening around us.

We use Facebook to update our followers with our events and social calendar, Twitter, You Tube and lately Instagram. However we chose very early to engage with our loyal customers by regular newsletters, and an informative website.

Social media helps us engage with our stockists and their customer base as well as our other support partners like primary producers of fresh food, bloggers, and other local food businesses.

8. What distribution channels do you use to sell your products and which ones are more effective for you?

In my first year of operations as a food manufacturer I chose to manage and grow my own distribution channels. I did this so I could have first-hand knowledge of how that side of things worked.

It was successful and it was only when I could no longer handle the orders and restocking that I started looking for a distributor to help manage it. I now have 4 distributors handling various channels such as local in WA, interstate in Canberra/NSW, one in Queensland and one in Singapore.

Collectively speaking, the strategy I have employed is proving fairly effective in organically growing our reach. I know this because we keep getting approached from all over Australia for supply of our products.  I’m still very much a small batch manufacturer and sub manufacture my products in Australia using a contract kitchen.

The fact that I hand make my own products is the most appealing part and thus I feel the most successful.  

9. Your brand has been a great example of business diversification. In your opinion, is diversification a ‘must’ to explore by any business? 

I don’t personally feel there is a need for every business to thrive on diversification. I believe for a business that grows organically such as ours, diversification is a blessing as you may not always be able to do what you want to do long term.

In my case, I had a 5-year plan for my restaurant as I didn’t want to burn out from doing what I did. I wasn’t really looking to sell the business either as my brand was my name so I chose that deliberately. I felt if I had my name up as the brand I’m revealing myself to the raw truth of my personality and vision.

At the end of that first 5 years, I felt compelled to teach our customers our recipes so they wouldn’t miss us too much and so I diversified and started cooking lessons. My cooking class and restaurant customers went on to encourage me to bottle my pastes and condiments as they were time poor to cook from scratch.

Although I didn’t pay much attention to this proposal initially it became obvious before too long, of the potential opportunities it could bring forth for business growth.

10. What is your key piece of advice for companies who wish to start diversifying their services or products? 

Start small with an achievable goal and then gradually expand from that.

My 5 key advice would be to have a vision (for what you want to do), have faith (on the offer), stay the course (perseverance), sacrifice for your believe (dig deep esp. when the going gets tough) and be honest (true to your offer) then set sail, start your journey and be prepared for a ride of a lifetime.

11. In these times, where we seem to need to be connected 24/7, what is your rule to make time away from the emails, orders, calls and all the rest of demands that come with running your business? 

Tackling the urgent or important stuff is always a priority for me. I don’t carry work over that I don’t have to. I tend not to procrastinate or be slothful. So no naps or long chats over the phone.  

Decisions are taken decisively. I keep lists. I answer phone calls and emails quickly. I don’t give time to unnecessary issues.  

My weekdays start at 6am. 6am-9am are for family and pets, prepping meals and getting the house ready for the day. The TV is rarely on apart from the morning and evening news.  Mid-morning to 3pm, is all work time with a short break for lunch and walking the dog. Then from 3-8.30pm it is generally back to being mum and wife again, cooking and pottering around with house and garden. I usually continue to work again from around 9pm till midnight or 1am.

I generally need only 5 hours of sleep. Weekends can start as early as 4.30 or 5am as I’m mostly taking part at events and farmers markets so the routine is a welcome change and takes me outdoors, there’s a lot of physical work and when I get home at around 2pm I usually take it easy for the rest of the day, and we have take-outs or dine out.

12. If you had to pick one or two, which book, podcast or blog would you recommend any entrepreneur to help them run their business more effectively? 

The holy bible is my essential tool! It is my daily reference book and continues to be my guide in everything I do. In both, dark and happy moments it has never failed me. 

I also follow blogs of inspirational people like Sandi Krakowski http://www.arealchange.com/blog/


I also follow forums, articles & inspiration at Flying Solo. It is an Australian based micro-business community with over 75,000 members. I highly recommend it www.flyingsolo.com.au

13. At a personal level, how have you balanced your professional life with family life?  

I always kept Sundays for church and family, and Mondays for myself and pottering around my quaint home. It kept me connected and grounded. My family ate at my restaurant almost daily and many significant milestones and other occasions were celebrated at the restaurant with friends and family. What many didn’t realise was that my restaurant in the heart of Leederville was just a 15 minutes’ walk from my home in Mt Hawthorn. So a daily routine would see neighbours, family friends, my daughter’s school teachers or classmate’s families, church friends and my husband’s colleagues in the restaurant either dining or taking out or stopping by for a friendly chat. It really felt like an extension of my home most of the 10 years I was there. The work I did at the restaurant also blessed us with travel opportunities and we enjoyed many memorable holidays together. Now I work from home and balancing my home life is that much easier. Not every day is perfect, but it’s never boring.

14. What aspects of your career as a business owner are you most proud of? 

I have become that more enriched by the varied experiences and challenges that life has thrown at me.

My personal growth as an individual, friend, wife, mother and mentor and I hope a role model for others who want to start something out of nothing.

All this coupled with the fact that I have been able to run the business without going into long-term debt and being able to be sponsor charities and provide support to various causes are aspects I’m most proud and thankful for.

15. What have been your greatest joys during all the years as an entrepreneur and business owner? 

From my perspective, the best part of the journey has been the connection I got to form with customers as well as the general public wherever I go. Although it may sound like a cliché or contrived - customers have indeed been our greatest source of joy and the reason I continue doing what I do.

It is a fact I don’t take lightly that I couldn’t have made it thus far if they hadn’t embraced me from the very beginning of this journey. They have challenged me, they have applauded me and they have followed me faithfully. They inspire me and they have made me aspire to do more and be more. The fact that they are so proud of me and continually tell it to my face or via email or text has been my greatest joy and the most humbling of experiences. They have really owned my every little success.

16. Lastly, what is your key piece of advice for anyone wanting to start their own business? 


Follow your intuition, be led by your gut instincts, research well, find a good mentor and don’t lose sight of your dream when it starts to look impossible. Water it, feed it, talk about it, day dream about it if you have to and then do whatever it takes to nurture and give Life to it.

My 5 key advice would be to have a vision (for what you want to do), have faith (on the offer), stay the course (perseverance), sacrifice for your believe (dig deep esp. when the going gets tough) and be honest (true to your offer) then set sail, start your journey and be prepared for a ride of a lifetime.


You can find Latasha’s delicious products HERE.

To learn more about Latasha, head over to her website HERE.

Entrepreneurial Wisdom with Josh Horneman

entrepreneurial wisdom enovate marketing and josh horneman

Welcome to this month's edition of the Entrepreneurial Wisdom series!

After learning from several successful entrepreneurs, that a key to their success and business growth was to engage with a professional coach, I was just delighted to have the opportunity to interview Josh from Josh Horneman Coaching.

Josh works with talented business owners to help them achieve their growth aspirations and/or overcome a variety of day-to-day commercial and operational challenges.

Josh’s father, Patrick Horneman, has a long history in the professional coaching and mentoring fields through his involvement in the Australian Institute of Management (AIM) mentoring program over the past 7 years.

In this interview, Josh shares with us some nuggets of advice on being an entrepreneur and starting a company and, the world of professional coaching and how it helps companies and individuals grow.

  Josh Horneman and Ester Gomez during the interview at Spacecubed in Perth

 

Josh Horneman and Ester Gomez during the interview at Spacecubed in Perth

1. When and how did your own journey in professional coaching begin?

I have been coaching in some form since I was a teenager, as I regularly found myself in conversations that saw me working with someone to achieve an outcome. I just didn’t know it was actually called coaching until I was in my early 20’s when my father explained it was something he does and I did a bit more research into it!

2. Your father, Patrick Horneman, has been helping business owners and professionals in various capacities over the past years. What influence did he have in deciding your career path?

I was very fortunate to have the parents I have. They have both been extremely supportive. Patrick has had a hand in almost every job I have ever undertaken and has always been a strong supporter of the direction I have headed with my career. He has certainly been an influence in who I am as a coach today.

3. For those unfamiliar with the term ‘professional coaching’, could you explain what it is and how it differs from ‘mentoring’?

In recent times coaching and mentoring have started to mesh into a bit of a grey area. Traditionally, mentoring is an interaction between two people where one has had more experience in a certain area and shares this experience with the other person to help them succeed and avoid unnecessary mistakes. It is generally informal and coordinated by a workplace or organisation to empower the younger employees or members.

Coaching differs as it is a much more formal and structured engagement. There is no need for a coach to be “older and wiser” as the relationship is driven by methodologies and outcomes. The coachee may be seeking assistance overcoming a challenge or setting goals, so the coach will use a methodology to assist the coachee in defining a plan to achieve what they desire. Coaching is less about sharing experiences, and more about empowering a coachee to define a solution themselves.

4.  What were the biggest challenges that you faced when you started Josh Horneman Coaching?

The biggest challenge when starting any business is usually how to make it sustainable as soon as possible. Whilst still employed in other jobs I continued to focus on coaching to ensure that I had the experience behind me and a network that would be able to support my business growth when it officially started.

5. What have been the biggest joys thus far?

I am always happiest when someone I work with achieves what they set out to. Seeing others succeed is the reason I started coaching and is an awesome reward.

6. What can small business owners gain from engaging a professional coach?

Many benefits can come from coaching but one that I think really assists small business owners is having a sounding board to work with when defining the steps needed to achieve their goals. Coaching is extremely powerful when it comes to keeping on a focused path, but also allows prompt and effective re-direction if a new hurdle arises as the business owner has the tools to reassess and make the best decision for their business.

7. What are some key questions every business owner should ask a professional coach, during the ‘interview process’ to ensure it will be a good fit for them and their business?

It is helpful to understand how a coach works outside of the set face to face sessions they have with you, how available they are for a call or sms to help clarify your thinking if you need some instant assistance. I am also a believer that his goes both ways and a coach should be honest with a coachee and not continue an engagement if there is not a good fit.

8. What are the essential ingredients for a successful partnership between a business owner and their professional coach?

Honesty is a must. Without it you will not be able to truly succeed in a coaching relationship. It can take time to reach a point at which you can truly share your thinking, but you will find much greater clarity as soon as this occurs. The other key element is commitment to action, so if you set the steps to a goal ensure that you make your best efforts to undertake the actions required to reach it.

9. How would you describe a typical professional coaching session?

I wouldn’t say there is a typical session as my work is tailored to each individual or business. Early on you go through a phase of discovery with a coachee and get a feel for what is at the forefront of their mind. From there you develop a process that best suits them.

10. What are the most common pain points or pressing issues that small business owners come to you with?

In the current economic climate most business are recognising a need to diversify but may be unsure how to. This is something that can be daunting and coaching can certainly help a business owner better structure their approach and lead the business forward. The other key challenge is managing costs. The trend is certainly lending itself towards doing more for less; so many small businesses are leveraging new solutions to achieve this. Coaching can definitely assist a business owner’s thought process to ensure the direction they head is truly what is right for their business.

11. Could you briefly share with us a successful professional coaching story and what were the key outcomes?

I spent some time with a business owner who was unclear on the best direction for growth for their organisation. In our conversation it became clear to them how they would best be able to see the growth they were seeking because we stopped to walk through some of the financial data at hand. The thinking of the owner changed because they were not truly considering this data but stuck on how they achieved past successes, even though the data showed a trend that would lead to greater success from a different area of focus. With this new perspective the owner set some goals, worked towards them, has adjusted the whole businesses focus and is reaping the benefits.

12. What are the most rewarding aspects of your job and what keeps you motivated?

My motivation is helping others achieve things they may deem too far from their reach. And seeing this achievement occur is definitely the most rewarding part of what I do.

13. What would you tell business owners, who are experiencing difficulties to take their businesses to the next level, to encourage them to engage a professional coach?

Consider the ability to look at things from a different perspective and how this might affect the decisions you make about your business. Coaching is an excellent tool to facilitate this and really support your business getting to the next level and beyond!

14. What trends are you noticing in WA right now in your industry?

Coaching is gaining some ground in WA. Business owners and managers are starting to see the value in the change of perspective and how it can truly help. I believe we will see some great things in WA in the coming years, particularly around innovative ideas that change the way we live our lives.

15. If you had to pick only one, which book/podcast or blog would you recommend any small business owners to help them run their businesses more effectively?

Picking just one is cruel! I love listening to the StartUp Podcast by Gimlet. And can I sneak in a book on leadership - Humanise: Why Human-Centred Leadership is the Key to the 21st Century by Anthony Howard. Great learnings can be gained from both of these for business leaders.

16. What key advice would you give to anyone who is thinking about starting his or her own business?

Talk about it, lots, to anyone who will listen. So many people keep a new business secret until the launch, but I have found the benefits of sharing the journey you are on to get your business off the ground can be extremely beneficial.

17. Where do you see your business in 5 years from now?

I am developing a process that I hope will be able to support many other coaches deliver their services more effectively so in 5 years it would be awesome for that to have taken off. I will also still be doing what I love and working with people to achieve success in all they do.

18. Any exciting near future projects that you can share with our readers?

The process I just mentioned will hopefully be up and running soon so watch this space!

19. Outside work, what are the things you enjoy the most?

Sport, I am a fanatic and will watch or play anything. Travel, my wife and I love travel and so planning the next trip is always at the top of our minds.

20. For those interested in working long-term with a mentor, what source would you recommend they go to first?

To find a mentor I would suggest looking to your close friends and family, seeking out anyone who may be in a similar job or industry that has more experience than you and can share their knowledge. Otherwise joining an association or organisation with others in you industry can lead to you meeting people with vast experience too. I believe people are inherently good and love sharing what they know; it just takes a little bit of confidence to ask them to share it with you!

To get in touch with Josh, you can visit his website www.joshhorneman.com

To learn more about Josh, you can visit his profile in LinkedIn

Entrepreneurial Wisdom with Karen & Georgina from CONVICT

Entrepreneurial wisdom blog series enovate marketing

Do you love learning about successful entrepreneurs who have made their dreams come true and their brands not only a recognised name in their industry but a true experience for their clients?

The ENTREPRENEURIAL WISDOM series are back another month, and this time I am delighted and honoured to have Karen Adie and Georgina Lewis from CONVICT, sharing their entrepreneurial journey, business tips and new projects with us.

I don't only find their journey fascinating, but I highly admire them as 'women in business', how their creations truly connect you with the magnificent land that we live in and, how their brand is contributing so admirably to the Australian handmade industry. 

I hope that you enjoy this interview and I invite you to share any feedback you may have in the comments section at the bottom of the page.  

Entrepreneurial wisdom CONVICT interview with Enovate Marketing

How did the CONVICT journey begin?

As friends, we share a love of creative ideas, design and the raw Australian landscape. We had worked together on a number of small projects and often discussed doing something bigger together.  But it wasn’t until we were both at a personal crossroads that we decided to jump.  CONVICT wasn’t the first idea, and, as luck would have it, that initial idea fell through and we decided to pursue another mutual love, handbags!

Did any of your (or any of your family members) already have experience in the industry?  

No, we had no previous experience in the making of handbags (and we’re still learning), but we both have complementary experience and skills that we felt confident would transfer to the accessories category.  That hasn’t always been the case, so when we don’t know, we reach out to others.

Why did you decide to use the name CONVICT for your brand and in which specific way/s is the brand reflected in the CONVICT products?

We believe customers are looking for more in a brand, they want something that has meaning, a connection to the land we live in and our culture.  So, we had this in mind when developing the brand.  We brainstormed and discarded a lot of names, but as soon as Convict tumbled out, we knew it was the one! 

We name each of our designs after a Convict from the transportation era and on purchase you receive their story. We’ve worked closely with the Female Convict organisation, Fremantle Prison and our friends and customers and are very proud to continue to tell their real life tales.

Neither of us knew of any ‘Convicts in the family’ however Karen recently discovered a great, great grandfather who was transported to Western Australian in 1858.

Which were the biggest struggles when you were starting your business?

Cashflow, time and confidence. Be prepared to put everything into the business for quite awhile before you expect a return. Keep your confidence, review and adjust your business plan as you learn.

What have been the greatest joys so far?

Undoubtedly seeing how our handbags are received and the great feedback we get from our customers.  

How does CONVICT go about building a great team?

It’s just the two of us. We meet weekly for meetings and are constantly in touch. But it’s very important to remember to have fun, to celebrate successes and not always talk about business! 

For anyone thinking about starting a business with a business partner, what would be your key piece of advice before committing to this type of business structure?

Have a broad structure on roles, be tolerant, respect what the other does, be prepared that it will not always be smooth, and also to let things go.

Entrepreneurial wisdom CONVICT interview with Enovate Marketing

In your industry, how do you stay in the know about how to attract more clients and to convert them into loyal clients?

Through mentors, workshops, online courses, and following companies and bloggers with the expertise we may be seeking.

What distribution channels do you use to sell your products and which one is more effective for you?

We have a multi-channel distribution which reflects our target market segments: Convict online store, wholesale (by target customer type), design markets nationally, and from September, a Convict retail outlet.  

We think you need all of them to build your brand awareness. Retail direct to customers is more profitable from the bottom line, but wholesaling spreads your distribution much further.  We also find our customers love meeting us in person and hearing our story.

What marketing tactics work best for your business and why?

We’ve used PR and Google Adwords from start up and they remain top priorities. PR builds credibility, awareness, shows your brand in the right context and supports your wholesalers.  

Adwords as we are in a very competitive category with much bigger brands – we need to ensure that when you search, you find Convict. There’s much more that we need to do either better or implement as we grow.

What trends are you noticing in Western Australia right now in your industry?

We don’t want to be trend focussed or part of the disposable fast fashion sector, we’d much prefer that our handbags last many years and become a treasured item!  

Have any books, in particular, helped you run your business better and if so, how has it done it and what are the names of the books?

Yes, a book I loved was from the founders of Innocent Juice drinks. A Book About Innocent:  Our Story and Some Things We’ve Learned.

It was about the passion behind a concept and building their brand. I read it quite a few years ago, but it stayed with me.  It was inspiring with great tips and how to sections.

You both must have learnt a huge deal about starting a business since launching CONVICT. What advice would you give to anyone who is thinking about starting their own business or to those who have just started?

Have a business plan and constantly review as you grow, you will make mistakes – learn from them, keep your vision and you have to take risks sometimes.

Moving forward, where would you like to see the CONVICT brand heading?

We would a little hole in the wall in each Australian capital city, we also see brand extensions into other categories and exporting.  It’s one step at a time.

Any exciting near future projects that you can share with our readers?

The launch of our very own retail space in the State Buildings on St George’s Terrace.  It’s a beautiful renovation and very exciting concept that will attract a lot of people.  Pop in and say hello from September 1.

Links & special thanks: 

CONVICT online store

Sincere thanks to: 

Karen Adie and Georgina Lewis from Convict

Matthew Jordan and Melanie Brown from MotherandFatherPR agency.

Productivity Boosting Tools: Time Management

Since starting my practice, one of the most time consuming tasks has been keeping track on countless sheets of paper, of the different jobs that I work on, the time spent on each one and for which client, calculating costing, creating invoices or sending receipts…

If you are the owner of a small business, you will know that time is money. It’s important not just to properly manage time but also to accurately log actions, become more efficient and keep employees (and yourself) accountable.

What better way to do just that than going digital with an application developed solely for timekeeping?

In this post, I share with you the tool that I have been using at Enovate Marketing to do just that.

Toggl.com provides a simple interface packed with useful features including a day-planner built into it with “time budgets”, menus to add your projects and clients or the ability to generate graphic reports showing billable times and team progress.

You can access this tool in the FREE version or go PRO to access premium features.

Toggl, which works on Android, iOS and desktop and it’s compatible with other programs, such as Quickbooks or Basecamp. Keep track of how you — and your team — spend the day, and maximize how your business operates.

I hope that you find this app as useful for your business as it is for EM!

Entrepreneurial Wisdom: Marina Ambrosia

entrepreneurial-wisdom-blog-series-banner-enovate-marketing.jpg

Hello and welcome to the exciting new series Entrepreneurial Wisdom, which you will find in the blog twice a month.

Since starting Enovate Marketing, I wanted to ask other entrepreneurs about their own journeys, to learn from what it is like to start a company and to share their stories and wisdom with others who may be in the same path or perhaps thinking about embarking in the exciting journey of entrepreneurship.

I must thank every guest in these series for being so amazingly sweet, honest and open to share their stories together with some great nuggets of advice!  

Our first guest is the wonderful Marina, the founder and mind behind organic skincare brand Marina's Ambrosia. 

Marina Ambrosia Entrepreneurial wisdom

I have known Marina for over 3 years and I could not be happier to start these series with her story of how she has grown her company from being a home-grown business to being on her way to launch her products to the international markets.

I hope that you find her story and advice as inspiring and helpful as I have.  

To begin, how and why did you decide to start Marina’s Ambrosia?

Marina’s Ambrosia started by accident when I created a completely natural cream purely out of a need to repair my own skin after acquiring a contact dermatitis, which later developed into allergic reactions due to synthetic chemicals found in the skincare I was using.

After repairing my skin and others seeing that I had in fact discovered something frightful in personal care products, people starting coming forward wanting the cream I was using myself and this is how the brand began.

Why did you decide to use your own name for your brand as opposed as creating a brand name for your products?

I decided to put my own name on the products because it was created for me. It was a personal cream for no one else but me. I was in a way forced to share it around and it gave me such an incredible boost of joy to see that it was also working for others who were suffering the way I was. The ingredients which make the cream are from food, cocoa butter, Rose Hip oil, coconut nut oil, they are all food ingredients and Ambrosia is a word from the ancient Mediterranean meaning Food Of The Gods.... The name Marina’s Ambrosia fit perfectly because it was MY SKINFOOD for YOU. 


What were the biggest struggles with starting your own independent business?

The biggest struggle for me in the beginning was keeping my customer base small. That sounds absurd to many people starting out in business. During the time of the conception of the brand, there was only 1 product and it was the Raw Organic All Over cream, which was then formulated to the Primrose Moisturiser. This was the product I first developed.

During this time I was setting up house and having children as this was my first priority and I didn’t want anything to distract me from what was most important in my life. I had customers telling other people and the orders came through hard and fast in the first year and I had to tell customers to keep it a secret. Then another realization was that I had to look at was, the customer demand. Customers were demanding the Primrose Moisturizer, more than my services as a practising Naturopath. Expanding the product range was another obstacle which required a lot of time researching and experimenting. For the business, the client base and demand was there, it was all about filling in the gaps and to make it a real business.


What have been the greatest joys so far?

The greatest joys so far have been the stories from customers. Seeing a customer come through the door presenting very upset skin and then coming back in a week or two with clear happy skin just releases in me happy fireworks.

About 2 years ago our logo changed and that was hard for me to come to terms with as I had to let go of what was so familiar to me and give the brand an international look. Just recently we are giving the skincare a new look packaging which we designed and have had manufactured and customers love the new look. 

What do you look for when looking for people to employ or work with?

Trust is the most important thing for me when I look for someone to work with in the M.A business. There is an emotional attachment for me as there is a story behind each product in the brand. I love hearing new creative ideas and different ways of doing things, but at the end of the day everything we do has to be in line with the ethics behind the brand.

How do you balance your work with your family life?

It is always tricky when it comes to family life and I have from the very beginning put my family first before the Brand. Sometimes it gets difficult when something needs to be done during family time. Ultimately I make a point of not going online before 8.30am and I continue to be available online till 3pm. After this time, emails are not checked, but phone calls continue to be answered. All orders on the phone are not actioned till the next day unless it’s a pickup and that is fine, but mostly everything happens onlline and general walk-in customers happens during school time. I love that I can stop working when I want and resume when it suits and customers are very understanding.

What would be your ultimate project or client?

My ultimate client would be points of distribution in different countries. We export a lot of retail sales to customers purchasing online and mainly through email, it would be wonderful to secure more distributors in Europe, US and New Zealand.

As a company, how do you stay in the know about how to attract more of your potential clients?

I try to keep my fingers on the pulse as to what other new chemicals are finding their way into skincare and telling people about them. Everything starts with education and so you need to peak the interest of customers as to what is out there so that they too can pass the message on. I also like to see what other new products are coming out onto the market and if it is possible, whatever is seen as very popular, try to re-create the product using plant or mineral ingredients so that there is a safe alternative to that product. Ultimately the main aim is to keep our products exceptional with top quality ingredients and remaining consistent with our pricing and being affordable.

This in turn,  maintains customer retention and builds trust with new customers contemplating using our products. Our priorities are the quality of the products we sell, customer satisfaction, service, stock reliability and then sales, always in that order.

What channels do you use to sell your products and which one is more effective for you?

Online channels are the best areas to sell products and this is perfect for Marina’s Ambrosia, trailing very closely behind are the free product classes that we do. I basically go to homes or workplaces and give a presentation on all the products and give vital information about the ingredients and blend formulation of the brand. In turn, customers take that information away and then research it and tell others and these results in excellent sales. But the most important thing for me is that people that are making a purchase, want to purchase and then enjoy the products they are using, this typically results in repeat business.

What trends are you noticing in Western Australia right now for your particular industry?

There is a big push at the moment for natural products and I am finding new brands coming on the scene and some are lasting more than others. New handmade skincare brands come in and then within 5 years they are gone. The trend is that everyone has a great idea for a cream, but the push sell doesn’t last long. Everyone is looking for a natural alternative and something that is affordable and is going to suit their skin.

What book would you recommend to any new entrepreneur?

I have tried many times to read books about people whom have started their own businesses and I can say that what has worked for one person, hasn’t worked for others. Gut instinct and talking face to face with someone who has been there, done that and not selling you advice, is what I strongly recommend.

You must have learnt a huge deal about starting a business since starting Marina’s Ambrosia. What advice would you give anyone thinking about starting their own business or to those who have just started?

Great question...... firstly you need to be passionate about something. Start small and start for yourself, look at what is already out there similar to what you have in mind, be different and follow your gut instincts.

Any exciting near future plans for the company?

We have recently released a new product called the XtravaLASH which is a fiber lash extending mascara made from Olive oil and Green Tea. This product is something very new and very different to what is already out there in the market. Our packaging change is also something that we should hopefully complete by the end of the year with all the skincare products which need repackaging and labelling. This is taking up a lot of time, but it will all be worth it in the end. 

To learn more about Marina Ambrosia and her products, follow her on Facebook page. You can also visit her store http://www.marinasambrosia.com/

 


If you wish to be featured in these series, I'd love to hear from you. Please get in touch HERE

Tips to succeed as an entrepreneur

Are you one of those people who prefer to leave behind the ‘security’ of a corporate job in favor of your passion?
Are you someone who likes to challenge yourself, who doesn’t mind how many hours you have to invest into your new venture or how hard it may be to overcome the hurdles of setting up your own business?

If you fit in this category, you will probably already consider yourself an entrepreneur.

It also seems to be the case that more often than not, entrepreneurship is in one person’s DNA and tends to run in the family.

In my own very particular case, I come from a family of strong willed entrepreneurs and it did not come as a surprise that since an early age, I knew that I wanted to be like my dad and wanted to run my own business.

I still even remember how in my first job interview, when asked ‘where do you see yourself in 5 years time?’, my response was “running my own business”. I must confess that at the time, I felt like I was giving the wrong response but I knew it was what I wanted. And I am not sure if it was because of that, because they saw it as a sign of ambition, that I was hired as a marketing assistant.

I was only 20 then and it took me a bit longer than those 5 years to start my first company. However, that time in between helped me gather an incredible amount of marketing experience, I learnt the ins and outs of working in small, medium and large size companies and how it was like working with teams and directly with clients.

Even though it did not feel like it at the time, I know realize how lucky I was to have the opportunity to help my parents in their various business ventures, from the early age of 17, which added incredible value in dealing with clients face to face, understand a bit about the importance of expenses or cash flow and it even gave me the chance to come up with my first and very modest small marketing campaigns…

You may have had a similar journey or may be about to embark in a new business venture. Congratulations on starting on this exciting journey!

In a way, it is almost like having a baby! You are excited; you think you are prepared, yet you wonder if you have all the knowledge, skills and tools you will need when it becomes a ‘living thing’ …  As in having a baby, you will be prepared in many ways, but you will at the same time, you will have to adjust and work around all the unexpected things that sometimes do not come in the books because they are just so specific to your business! And this is one of the many things why being an entrepreneur and starting a new venture is so exciting! And rewarding!

From my own experience and that of other entrepreneurs that I have had the pleasure to know or work with, I have put together a list of tips on being a successful entrepreneur which I hope is helpful to you.

1. Find your passion and let it drive you. If you do what you truly love, work will feel like a joy every day.

2. Make sure that you have a solid plan. Having a solid plan and path to follow are essential in giving your business the best chances to succeed. Developing both a business plan and a marketing plan are crucial steps to take.

3. Follow your plans and take your business seriously. Having a plan is essential, however futile if not implemented.  It is also important to take your business seriously as that will be reflected in everything you do. From how your company is presented through your website to the way you interact with existing or potential clients.

4. Use and grow your connections. Use any contacts you have to promote your business and attend any networking events that will allow you to promote your brand and to identify new leads.

5. Have a mentor. There is something incredibly rewarding about having a great mentor. Not only they will empower you, they will also be able to guide you and provide advice on how to deal with difficult situations, how to go about new deals or tactics you wish to implement to grow your business amongst many other topics. Make sure you find a mentor that you feel comfortable with and with whom you can talk openly about your business to help you grow it.

6. Be persistent and don’t lose focus. When being an entrepreneur it is easy to feel despair when a project doesn’t go according to plan, or when we lose a customer that has received much of our attention and time. Although these scenarios may make you feel defeated, never lose focus on the overall goals of your business.

To help you regain focus, go out for a walk, a run or do anything else that helps your mind refocus and see things in perspective. Remember that entrepreneurship is a journey and there will be many bumps along the way. The key is to keep focus and not to forget the big picture.

8. Promote, promote, promote yourself and your business. Yes, that is right never stop promoting yourself. Always carry with you business cards and remember to give one to prospects, people you meet at networking events, friends and anyone who you think may be in need of your services in the future – or anyone they know-.

Don’t be shy to talk about your company and what you do. If you do, you are probably losing opportunities without knowing it.

There are many other ways to promote yourself and your business. We will cover this topic in more detail in a later post, so keep an eye for this in the blog.

9. Give back. Yes, I know this may sound strange when you starting your own business, but giving back can be done in many different ways, and it will make you feel fantastic about yourself and the value that your business provides.

You can give back by sharing some of your knowledge and wisdom with others using your blog, you can give back to the community by making a small donation to a charity that means something to you or that aligns with the mission of your company or by opening doors to others in the form of offering volunteer positions at your company once this has grown sufficiently to add enough value to that person’s professional journey.

10. Never stop learning.  Learning should be also part of the DNA of every entrepreneur. Being an entrepreneur is a journey and along the way, you will be facing many different situations that you did not expect. Some of them will be extremely rewarding, some other not so much. Whichever the situation, the key is to have an open mind and to question things, what you are doing, why you are doing it, if there is a better way?

And don’t forget to keep up skilling. Now more than ever, there is an incredible amount of online resources that allow anyone to up skill in their area of expertise, from any location and at any given time.

I hope that you found this article useful and I look forward to your comments.

Ester

What is online marketing? Should I consider it for my business?

With such a myriad of channels to communicate with clients today, many small business owners often wonder:

  • What is exactly Online Marketing?

  • Should I be investing in online marketing?

  • What are the best channels my business should be investing in?

Firstly, let’s start by defining what Online Marketing is:

Online marketing is about promoting your business online using a variety of channels, including your own website, email, blog, social media, search or video to identify, attract leads and convert them to sales.

If you are wondering if your business should be investing some of your marketing $$$ in online marketing, the answer is absolutely YES! It all starts with having an online presence with your website.

As Bill Gates once said, ‘If you are not on the Internet, then your business will be out of business’ 

The good news is that most likely, your company is already using some of the online channels available, such as email marketing – communicating with your audience via emails – or through your Facebook page to reach and engage with clients.

If you are considering reviewing, optimising and improving the way you try to reach potential customers online, keep reading to get tips on ways to achieve this!

In the past 10 years, the Internet has completely transformed the way in which people buy products or services, putting the customer in charge of the buying process. People are armed with an array of platforms that allows them to research products, find and share product reviews with others, including those in their immediate networks.

Understanding how your existing and potential customers use and interact with these channels in their daily lives is the first step in your online marketing decision-making process.

Whilst a large number of people will check emails, their Facebook or Twitter accounts, or use Google to search for products on a regular basis, it is important to know HOW, WHEN and for what PURPOSE they use these channels.

Depending also on the demographics of your target audience, these may be more inclined to use and interact with some specific channels.

For instance, teenagers between 15-17 years old (the highest active user demographic on the internet today at 97%*) are using channels for social and entertainment interaction, visiting Facebook or YouTube various times a day. These two channels alone receive visits of over 26 million users every month in Australia only.

On the other hand, users between 30-45 years old may be using the Internet for business research and deals, business social networking or to pay bills using internet banking.

An online marketing strategy aims at finding the most efficient ways for your brand to be present in some or most of these online channels to capture the customer at the right time.

Depending on your objectives and the specific audience you wish to reach, some online marketing channels will be more appropriate and will provide the highest results or return on investment.

Nowadays, there are some basic yet crucial channels your company needs to be present in and use online, in order to capture clients and help you achieve your business objectives:

  •  Have a website

A website is your own piece of real state on the Internet. Your website is your hub, the place where people can learn about your brand, what you offer and where you can showcase the benefits that your customers will receive from your services or products.

Getting the right look and feel for your website, including a strong brand and a studied branding style, as well as communicating the values and unique proposition that your brand offers are a great start to start building a strong online presence.

  • Focus on growing or start an email subscription list

Email marketing is anything but dead. In fact, email is one of the first things people check more often throughout the day.

Having a mailing list, nurturing those contacts through relevant communications and growing your list by using different tactics can increase leads and drive sales dramatically for your business.

Keep an eye on our blog for an upcoming post on what tactics you can use to grow your list of email contacts.

  • Have a Facebook page for your business

With over 13 million users visiting Facebook every month, you want to make sure that your business has a Facebook page where it can communicate with your target audience, share content with them and interact with them in an engaging way.

Depending on the nature of your business, the tone to be used can be more or less casual.

Remember to use this channel for a wide variety of content and tactics. From sharing information about products, to promoting events, to sharing videos, run competitions, run surveys, sharing your latest blog posts, etc.

Tactics to consider for your online marketing strategy may include many (see graphic below). However, how and which channels to use for your business will depend primarily on:

  1. Your goals
  2. What your target audience is
  3. The nature of your business and
  4. Your budget and resources

Based on the above, a strategy can be put together to focus on those channels that make more sense for your business, and which will provide the best results based on the objectives you are trying to achieve and the budget and resources you count on.


Next week, we will be sharing an online marketing checklist to help you in planning for your online marketing efforts.

Welcome to behind the scenes!

It is always exciting when, after a lot of thought and planning, a project sees the light and starts taking shape.

In this case, this blog has been in the making for quite some time now. Deciding on a meaningful name for it, what content to develop, making sure that it would be relevant and useful to the readers, the frequency in which it should be shared… so many thinks to take into consideration!

Finally, here it is!

In our blog you will find mainly two types of content:

1. What happens behind the scenes at the studio. – We will share projects being developed for clients, tips on productivity and on the daily running of a business. In some cases, we will delve into the challenges that clients are facing and we will explain what strategies have helped them solve their problems and achieve their marketing and business objectives.

2. What happens in the marketplace. – We will be sharing tips on entrepreneurship, running a business, starting one, best practice examples in the web space, the best marketing tactics and more….

Watch our for our monthly interviews where successful entrepreneurs will share their learnings and insights on their entrepreneurial journeys.

We hope that you enjoy this content and please share your feedback or suggest topics that you are interested in by using the comments box below.

I hope that you enjoy this space!

Ester Gomez, Studio Director

A talk by the 'shark'. The 3 things every start up founder must do

Want to win. Plan to win. WIN. - Steve Baxter

Earlier in the week, I had the chance to attend an exclusive talk on start-ups and entrepreneurship presented by Steve Baxter, investor and entrepreneur from Queensland, and 'shark' investor in the popular Australian TV series 'Shark Tank'. In this post, I would like to share with you some of the key takeaways from this session.

During his presentation, Steve talked about his journey as an entrepreneur in the tech industry, his experience working at Google, his portfolio of investments, what it was like being part of the 'Shark Tank' team of investors, what he believes are the 3 fundamental things every start-up founder must do, and his current involvement in the Australian start-up scene.

In this post, I will be focusing on the 3 things that Steve strongly believes every start-up founder must do and, in particular, the crucial role that planning plays to help you achieve success.

According to Steve Baxter, the 3 things every start founder must do are:

1. Want to win. 

I think the statement says it all. If you don't start your business with this in mind, you are not giving yourself your best chances to succeed.

2. Plan to win

  • Define your goals
  • Make sure you have a plan, execute it and if it something in it does not work, fix it.
  • No plan survives contact with customer
  • Ensure that everybody knows your plan and that everyone is working towards the same goals

3. Win

  • Know management accounts. Get some basic understanding on how accounts works and if needed, work with an accountant to manage the finances of your business.
  • Look at your bank balance daily as this will tell you if you are expending more than it is coming in.
  • Have in-house tech ability
  • Talk to your investors (if you have them) every month
  • Find the metrics that count for your business. There are lots of metrics that you can come up with to measure how your business is doing. Stay with those that will give you crucial information about the performance of your business.
  • Execute according to your plan and change it when needed
  • Understand equity
  • Be honest with yourself and anyone around
  • Network. Attending industry events, keep in touch with your existing customer or attend events where opportunities exist to meet prospect clients.
  • Highly value customer/paid opinions. There is nothing like feedback from your clients and people who have tried your service/product. They will help you refine your offerings and even identify new business opportunities.
  • Empower staff. Share all you know with them and give them ownership of projects. Help them grow by being their mentor. 
Ester and Steve Baxter

KEY TAKEAWAYS

1. TEST YOUR PRODUCTS/SERVICES BEFORE GOING BIG. In Steve's own words, in order to avoid the risks of building a start up without gaining traction, test, test and test more. Once you start getting more demand for your products and/or services, you will get a feeling of what traction is like. That is the time to start looking at taking your business to the next level. 

2. LET OTHERS IN, IN ORDER TO HELP YOUR COMPANY GROW. Steve Baxter argues that entrepreneurs must move beyond their 'flying solo and do-it-yourself' mindset and they must surround themselves by experts in different fields such as marketing, patents and trademarks, accounting, investments, professional coaching or mentorship to guide them to achieve business growth. Keep an eye for our upcoming 'Entrepreneurial wisdom guest' who is an expert professional coach and will share valuable information and tips on this very important topic for business owners wanting to take their businesses to the next level.

I am a huge fan of plans and manuals. If a plan doesn’t work, you fix it. - Steve Baxter.

3. PLANNING IS CRITICAL TO SUCCEED. Many business owners only find the need to write a business plan when they need to seek investment. However, if this is not your case, it is still as crucial to develop a plan for your business. You can purchase our business plan blueprint and financial planner below.

Writing a plan will not only help you determine your company's goals and objectives, but it will force you to think through all the components of your business and to create a roadmap to follow in order to achieve the success that you have set out for your business. It is also a key resource to refer back to frequently to gauge if you are achieving your objectives. Lastly, it is an important tool to share with your management and staff teams to keep them informed and engaged about where the company is heading and how to get there.   

Business plan template Enovate Marketing
Steve Baxter Shark Tank

About Steve Baxter

Steve Baxter started his own entrepreneurial career at the early age of 23 by launching his first start-up, the Internet service provider SE Net, which he later sold to OzEmail/UUNet.

After taking some time off, he was back founding his second start-up, PIPE networks, which he also later sold to TPG telecom for a whopping $373 million.

An enthusiast of aviation (he holds his own private pilot's license), Steve is currently a very active member of the start-up Australian scene, he gives regular talks on start-ups, entrepreneurship and early-stage investments all over Australia, he helps running 'River City Labs', a co-working space he founded in Brisbane and which fosters collaboration and the coming together of entrepreneurs in the mobile and internet industry to collaborate and bring ideas to life. Lastly, he manages together with his team, his large portfolio of investments in a wide variety of Australian start-ups.

To learn more about Steve Baxter and follow him up on social media, check the links below.

Steve Baxter website

Twitter: @stxb