Monday, 5 March 2018

Simple: marketing starts with a plan

Keep it simple. Make it easy. Be creative. See the results.

Marketing confuses business owners. I see it all the time. It doesn't have to be. You need to make your marketing efforts relevant to your business. Set objectives you can achieve, without setting yourself up for failure.

Marketing is not sales. Marketing is not about doing everything you can think of. Marketing is not free. Marketing is not a quick fix.

Forget confusing marketing concepts and jargon: let's go back to basics.

Marketing is about getting your customer into your sales funnel and making a sale to them.

You need to ensure you have the right customer in your sales funnel. You need to be aware of your competitors and what they do. You need a strategy with goals and how you will achieve them. You need campaigns. You need a customer focused funnel. You need to measure and review everything you do.

You need a plan.

Not just any plan a strategic marketing plan.

Your marketing plan needs to be aligned with your business plan. Ask what business goals you have that require marketing to see them achieved? There is the start of your marketing goals/action.

Don't have a plan sign up to our free 5 day challenge (for business and marketing plans).

Planning is crucial to a businesses success - you really do need to allocate some time to creating a plan. Think of it as a road map. If you take the 5 day challenge - you spent an hour or two, once a day for 5 days to give yourself a way of moving forward and achieving goals in your business.

I just don't understand marketing
No problem. What you need is the knowledge around the different elements of a plan. Easy. Do what I did - go to Uni for three years, work in the industry for 20 years. Or shortcut it and join the Marketing Accelerator Program. Where in 12 weeks you will receive all the knowledge you need right now to set yourself up for a fabulous future in business.

The 12 week marketing accelerator program, and will move you from being lost in the marketing jungle to business growth. Creating new business habits and strengthening your business core.
All business owners suffer overwhelm, and why wouldn't we. Managing financials, legal, human resources and marketing - all before we have started making our products or delivering our services.

Wednesday, 28 February 2018

A support community— helping you do it all

This article originally appeared in the online version of Bubble Life

We are not designed to be able to do it all – alone. Being a present mum, domestic goddess, super business women – none of it. Super-mum is a myth and kept alive by others highlight reels on social media. When you believe you need to do it all alone, you will only end up adding stress and pressure to your life.

The answer. Ask for help. Accept help. Give help. No expectations. Create a support community.
Where do you need help in your life to ease the pressure? What tasks could someone else do for you, freeing you up to do more of the things you enjoy?

Are there tasks in your business you can automate or outsource? What tasks take you away from income generating – for me it is bookkeeping and social media! Maybe you are doing tasks which you are just not qualified or experienced to do – someone else could do it quicker and with less stress. Do you need help organising yourself or helping to think bigger picture, stay accountable or someone to simply talk with and brainstorm.

What about on the home front – could childcare help you, or reciprocal playdates. What about holiday programs or extra-curricular activities. I have always found these a great way for energy to be diverted and an outlet other than home or school. Could a cleaner help free up your time or maybe you need help in the kitchen – could a timesaving appliance help, meal swapping with friends or even buying fresh pre-prepared meals? Maybe you could invest in having someone help to organise and put systems in place in your home s it operates better. Do you need to organise your family schedules better? What isn’t working, or could work better in your home to ease your stress and free up your time?

Self-care is often what we are missing in our life. As mums we are always giving to others and rarely filling up our own energy cup. Putting ourselves last – all the time. This leads to us burning out and no longer able to give. Stop doing that. What things do you enjoy doing? What fills you up? What makes you happy? Write a list and then every week allow yourself ‘me time’ and do something on that list. Is it meditating, yoga, walking, going to the gym, reading, having a massage, getting your nails done, going to the hairdresser….what excites you, and re-energises you.  Could you ask a friend to do these things with you – making sure you both do them. Even better swap babysitting with a friend so you can both have ‘me time’.

If you think about each of these areas of your life, defining what balance means to you in each. 

Identifying the actions, you need to take to make the changes you need to. Seeing where you need help, defining the type of person you need to help you make the changes. These people are your support community, you may have to pay some or ‘ barter’ with others. You will have your people who you can ask for help when you need it.

Monday, 26 February 2018

Changing Direction

As an ex-sailor, I have always loved this saying:

"When you can't change the direction of the wind ~ adjust your sails."

I would spend every Saturday racing around buoys on a lake ~ sometimes in the ocean. You would be given a course and the first boat home wins. I can remember being so focused on reaching the next buoy. Trying to get to the destination the fastest. Relying, or hoping for a steady wind - knowing there would be gusts, lulls and changes in direction. Always reading the water, watching other boats and reading the sails ~ aiming to keep momentum, be the fastest and reach that buoy before my competitors.

Much like business, having an end goal in mind, actions which will bit-by-bit get me to the finish line. Always checking on my own momentum, those around me. Monitoring competitors and what my customers want. Checking in on myself to ensure I am still passionate about my business and what I am aiming for.

Changing direction if I need to.

I have always been heading to the main goal with my business ~ freedom ~ however my course has changed over the years.

From outsourced event management. To marketing, ebusiness, weddings and running our own events. To digital marketing. To writing a book and creating a business supporting and empowering mums in business to create and grow, not only a business but their family too!

Business encourages you to grow, and you therefore need to evolve your business, mostly so you stay interested in it and passionate about it. Your customers will always pick-up on your lack of interest in your business and serving them.

Sometimes it is hard to let go of a piece of your business. Or make a change that you need to. Sometimes your customers may not like it. Basically, humans do not like change, we long for routine and familiarity.

So change can be hard, sometimes it is necessary.

I have two businesses ~ both are about Empowering women in business to be the best versions of themselves. Do I help blokes, yes I do. Rachel Allan supports mums in business and Visionary encourages business growth through marketing.

Visionary 3.0 (because this is the third evolution) is re-launching, still focused on business growth through marketing. However, we are taking a collaborative approach ~ think co-working space, online, for marketing professionals. We are connecting modern marketing professionals with small business. I can't wait for everyone to see the power of this new business model!

And so, for another time in business, I adjust my sails and keep on heading to my goal. I can't see the finish line, but I am absolutely having fun!

If you would like to hear more about Visionary then drop me an email!

Friday, 23 February 2018

Making your goals happen

This article first appeared on Business Business Business

A person with a goal will achieve more, feel focused and have a sense of accomplishment when the goal is achieved. They will have success because they are stretching themselves and growing their business.

Just writing down the goal however is not enough. You need action to achieve the goal. Breaking the goal down into easy to make steps, so that every day, week and month you are focusing on tasks which step by step are moving you towards goal achievement.

A goal without actions is just words. How many times have you made a goal, and then never achieved it? Were the reasons to do with not having the steps, or maybe not having the right steps.

~ You focus on the tasks which will help you to achieve goals
~ You put in the effort to make the goal happen and you receive energy back
~ You work at overcoming barriers, so you can achieve the goals
Goals = Focus + Energy + Persistence = Success. A perfect recipe.

Let’s work on your goals now so you can have success.

I have worked with many, many businesses over my 14 years as a consultant. Time after time I have seen businesses flounder because they do not have clear goals in place. Goals shared by the entire organisation. Goals which are broken down into actions. Where every day the team are working towards achieving the same goals.

I have also worked with businesses who see out of this world success because the goals they have set stretch themselves, their team and business.


Write down one goal per sheet of paper. Ask yourself the following about each goal:
~ Do they excite you?
~ Do they scare you?
~ Motivate you?
~ Challenge you?
~ Inspire you?
~ Stretch you?
~ Could they be bigger?
~ Are they achievable?
~ Is their too many or not enough?

Make any changes you feel you need to.

What actions do you need to take to make each goal happen? Start brainstorming and writing things on your sheet of paper. I like to start at the bottom of the page and work up – thinking bigger and bigger as I go – you do what works for you. This is about just writing all the ideas down you have to make the goal a reality.

You might choose to use different colours – texta’s, pens, pencils whatever works for you.

Take a look at your brainstorm – highlight or circle the great ideas – those things you feel are going to achieve your goal. The ideas which excite you.

You may wish to use a mentor, coach, advisor or associate to review your brainstorm – add to it or question what you have written and decided on. It is always nice to have another pair of eyes.

You then need to prioritise each action under your goals. For every idea you have decided to make happen you need to prioritise in order of how you can achieve it – so number each idea 1 to whatever.

It is time to prioritise your goals. Giving yourself deadlines helps to keep you focused. What is more you can then spread your work over the year making it easier to achieve.

Since you have your goals on separate pieces of paper you can simply order them by shuffling the paper around. When do you want to achieve the goal by? When is it realistic? Maybe you have goals that can happen quickly, in they don’t have lots of actions? Maybe the goal is in line with an event that you are hosting or attending? Maybe it is a goal that you will need to work on throughout the year?

By understanding when you would like to or need to have the goal completed you can then set your actions for throughout the year.

Take four more pieces of paper and label them Quarter 1 (Jan-Mar), 2 (Apr-Jun), 3 (Jul-Sep) and 4 (Oct-Dec).

By breaking your goals and actions into four quarters means you are narrowing your focus.

For each action step you have under each goal consider when you need to have it completed. Consider the deadline of the goal and then work backwards, thinking about how long you think it will take you to complete the action. Will the action fit into quarter 1, quarter 2, quarter 3 or quarter 4.

Start to write out your quarterly actions. Is one quarter looking busy – can you spread your actions over to another quarter that doesn’t have as much happening?

Always remember your life balance also when you are setting up your year. Don’t set yourself up for failure by trying to over achieve with no support or at the risk of something else.

Now you have a snapshot of how your quarter will look – start putting months next to each task. Those tasks will become your focus for that month.

You can further break them down into weeks – then every week you know what your focus needs to be – and by having this focus and tasks you are working towards your goals.

Remember to consider school holidays (if the affect you), public holidays and anything else which will see you under resourced.

Spend some time planning out your months. Automate your marketing to support the achievement of your tasks. Make appointments with people who you would like to collaborate with to help you achieve your goal. Take time to breath understanding the bigger picture is being looked after.

This is what works for me:
~ I use a paper planner to keep me focused.
~ I use insightly to manage my daily tasks – it is free!
~ I have a group that I meet with regularly who I am accountable to

While it is great to be focused, it is still important to remain open minded and to look at opportunities at just that. Don’t become so focused on your goals that you miss something else that appears in your peripheral.

It could be that this new opportunity will allow you to still achieve a goal – but in a much bigger way. Maybe you will learn new skills that will enhance your business and you can make more money. You could also look at the opportunity and decide that it is not for you at this time – inviting it back into your life in the future.

Be careful to not chase the shiny objects however – make wise choices about how you use your time and use your clarity of your own goals as a way to help guide you.

Wednesday, 14 February 2018

The lifecylce of a mum in business

This article originally appeared in Inside Small Business

One of the many questions I pondered when writing When Business Meets Baby was when is the ideal time to start a business – before or after you have a baby?

I considered the motivations people have for starting a business and the lifecycle of a business. I also considered why people have babies and the growth stages of a baby. I concluded there was no ideal time to be mum in business, all you have is today.

Being flexible
When you look at the life cycle of a baby, every month, week, day and hour bring more developments. At each stage their needs and wants change, and it is different for every child. While the journey may not be an easy one, and you will make sacrifices, it is possible to balance raising healthy, happy children and growing a business.

Maintenance vs growth
When you have a baby, you’ll need to make the decision about whether you put your business into either maintenance mode or growth mode. Your decision will depend on so many different factors – the stage your business is in, the staffing or resourcing you have available, finances and more.

Maintenance mode – This mode will only really work if your business is already developed. Think of it as pressing the “pause” button. It is not viable to keep the business in this mode for too long – business basics say that we need to continually develop, market, and give effort to the business.

Here are some tasks that will help you maintain your business:

  • Before baby is born, create marketing content and schedule their release.
  • After baby is born, answer emails, Facebook messages and other forms of communication.
  • Send a couple of newsletters.
  • Update your social media a couple of times (just automate it!).
  • Refresh your website and all your social media.
  • Look at your accounts – assess each service or product, examining what is making money and what is not.
  • Complete any legacy work from before baby was born.
  • Revisit your business plan and consider what is your core business.

Growth mode – Employment of this strategy will depend on whether you have a start-up business or an established business. It will also depend on the funds you have available to invest. Here are my three top tips for implementing growth mode after the baby’s birth:

  • Work out how much time you will have available for the business and then commit to using that time well.
  • Surround yourself with the right people, in terms of business support. You need people who are both clever at their area of expertise and who also understand your business.
  • Develop the business. Always think big picture. If this strategy is going to work for you then you need to make sure that your limited time is spent working on – and not in – the business.

Remember, too, that it’s OK to grow slowly – at the end of the day, you can only do what you have time to do. While focusing on growth in your business, it’s also important to ensure that you are engaged and present with your children when you are with them.

Rachel Allan, marketing consultant and author of “When Business Meets Baby”

Monday, 5 February 2018

Choosing Success

Being an entrepreneur and business owner is challenging. There are amazing ups, but terrible downs. For some,you may get stuck in the downs. I am really interested to understand the difference between those who climb out of the downs and those who choose to exit their business at this point.

Of new small businesses being started, 70% are owned by women. Sadly, 1 in 5 of these businesses will fail in their first 5 years. These women can not make it out of the downs, to experience enough ups.

So, can you choose success? Is it really that easy? What is at play, in your mind and in your physical environment holding you back from being the absolute best version of yourself. Here are some of my thoughts. I also want to hear your thoughts - you might choose to comment on the blog, email me or take our survey.

Here are my seven reasons I believe women are not seeing success:

1. Feminine Vs Masculine energy
Men and women are different. We see the world differently. We have different ways of approaching problems. We have different emotions, and respond differently to those emotions. It makes sense that we do business differently.

One is not right or wrong, better or worse. It is just different.

In my experience, I have seen women become incredibly successful within a male dominated corporate world - I have also seen these women have to use masculine energy to make it.

Increasingly,  I am seeing women who are clear on their identity and choosing to enhance and utilise their feminine energy. Showing up in the world authentically. Time will tell if this will have the same success as trail blazing women before us who have shattered glass ceilings and led the feminist movement.

Statistics are showing that increasingly women are leaving the workforce and corporate world, choosing instead to create their own small business. Gender equity is becoming an issue because women don't want it - this world is not aligned with growing a family and creating a work life balance.

I believed that the old boys club was being broken, and that old money in communities was not dominating. However, I recently had a conversation with a local business women, whose business survival was in doubt because of the 'old boys club'. She even told me that one of them walked out of a meeting with her because she was 'a woman' - yet he was happy to take rent money from her!

How should women show up in their business? What energy should they have? How do you show up in your business? Jump into the survey to answer these or comment below.

2. Lack of Confidence
This is so common with women. Starts with statements like - I am just a.....mum, housewife, volunteer, secretary - whatever! No person is 'just a' all those jobs have amazing skills, skills and experience you bring to the role.

Women feel the need to be perfect and have all their ducks in a row before they hit the go button. Have you heard yourself say 'I just need to do X, before I could possibly do Y and Z'. Believe in yourself, back yourself and just do it!

Here are some other things that are confidence killers:
Guilt. I have spoken so many times about guilt, it is a wasted emotion, it is seeing the world through old fashioned societal views of the role of women, it is comparing yourself to others highlight reels on social media. Bin that guilt!! Believe in your purpose and big picture.

Lack of purpose. Understand that every single person on this earth has a purpose, a mission. What is yours? Become aligned to it. Show up every day being connected to your purpose.

Lack of passion. I believe confidence comes from being authentic, acting with integrity and having a passion. A passion that drives you every day to achieve your mission. Stretching yourself, standing out - because you believe in your purpose, you are backing yourself and showing up confidently in your world.

Ego. By being confident you have more people you are reaching, this good right. Them someone says something to you, disagrees with you, unsubscribes or stops following you - you hurt your ego. Only your ego, but your confidence gets hurt too. Self-doubt creeps in. DON'T LET IT! Remember your purpose and your passion.

Competition. Then you find someone is doing what you are doing, or running programs you want to run, written a book you want. Again, you decide it is not worth it - ego gets hurt again. What if you make the choice to show up in the world and do it your own unique way. In a world of abundance there is enough for everyone. Will you allow competition to stop you being successful?

Ability. Our final reason for not being confident in our own ability, I believe, is we are not aware of our strengths and weaknesses. We do not play to our strengths and acknowledge our weaknesses. We do not believe that we can do it.

Do you agree with these statements? Maybe you can think of others. Jump in and answer in our survey or comment below.

3. Lack of a Support Network
I have said this before and will say it again - there is no way that we can do all of this alone. Women we need support in our homes, with our children and in our business.

Join supportive networking groups, take part in a mastermind or coaching program. Go to workshops or conferences. Meet people. Connect with likeminded business owners. Get a coach or mentor or both. Become accountable to someone.

Get a cleaner. Babysitter. Someone to wash the car, mow the lawns, walk the dog. Whatever you need to maximise the use of your time.

Create strong relationships with your child's friends parents. Your mummy and daddy network will be there to help you over and over again. Picking up or taking to school. Play dates. Cooking.

Look at help you need in your business - can you automate or outsource to ease the pressure. Do you need to hire a staff member.

Do you agree that you can't do it all alone? What support do you find beneficial. Jump over into our survey or comment below.

4. Work Life Balance
I hear so many women say 'I have no work/life balance and that is the way it is'. I don't agree with this statement. I have many pieces of writing talking about this.

I believe we have changed the way we think about 'work' - what we do for a living and to earn money does not shape who we are - it is not our identity. Also business progression and success is not linear and rational - especially when you are juggling a family and possibly even a part time job. It is like waves - there are the up times and the down times - when you have the down times you need to give more to your business. Does this make it feel unbalanced?

There is also this thing called - Superwomen syndrome or Super mum - and I say NO WAY to that. Again I have written heaps on this. Does putting too much expectations on our self mean that we don't feel balanced in our life?

Your life doesn't have to be 'perfect' by others standards it only needs to be perfect by your standards. And if your standard of perfect is making you feel unbalanced and stressed then it is time to change your standards.

What do you think about balance? Can it be achieved? Pop over and complete the survey or comment below.

5. Fear
So many fears in our life. Being too successful. Being seen as too ambitious. Fear of failure. Being judged. Taking on too much responsibility. Being found out as a fraud (the 'impostor syndrome'). Fear of being invisible and the list goes on.

Can you relate to any of those?

People are afraid of no. They won't stand out from the crowd. Fear stops them being confident. Ego feeds the fear. Squash that fear I say. Live your purpose and be strengthened by your passion.

What fears do you see in yourself or others? Comment below or jump over to our survey.

6. Planning
I am a planner - so I can relate to too much planning and not enough doing. I will often say to myself 'stop dreaming, thinking, planning, mapping and JUST DO IT.' There is no point doing all the planning if no one hears about, buys it, uses it!

At the other extreme, jumping in and doing something with NO planning can be equally as bad. You will be seen as always reacting, jumping from one shiny thing to another. You will not be focused in your business. You won't see milestones or achievements. You won't know what is working and what is not. Basically you will be stumbling around in the dark.

Which are you? What is your thoughts on planning? How essential is to business? Comment below or in our survey.

7. Money Mindset
Having a good relationship with money, accepting wealth, welcoming money into your life. Saving, budgeting, pay yourself, do not over commit. Outsource, get a coach, spend money to make it. Have you heard all of these things and been totally confused and lost on money.

Maybe you have tried a program and every day you tell money how much you love it and still nothing. You ask the universe and you can not see how it delivers. Maybe this works for and maybe it doesn't.

What works for everyone is knowing your numbers. Where does the money come from, what are you spending it on. Understand where your customers are in your lead funnel and how many. Pull more of those people through your funnel to sales.

Get control over your finances and stay on top of your numbers. Understand the flow of and value of money in and out of your business.

What is your money mindset? Do you have a good relationship with money? Is this important? Do you know your numbers? Comment below or take our survey.

8. Lack of Understanding Marketing
Formal qualifications and over 20 years marketing experience is telling you to understand marketing. Who is your customer and what appeals to them. Your products and services - are they what your target market wants? How are you communicating to them? What is your mix - online and offline? Your lead funnel? Measuring and reviewing it? How about your messaging is it clear?

I believe you need a marketing strategy, which is well thought out and considered.  A strategy, backed with sound research, giving campaigns which are measurable - all feeding your customers into a lead funnel which provides sales and customer retention.

If you do't understand marketing then you need to learn. You don't need to do it yourself, you can outsource. To effectively outsource you still need to understand what it is you are outsourcing and how it fits into your businesses bigger picture.

Comment below your thoughts on marketing or complete our survey.

Do you agree or disagree with these thoughts. Share your own thoughts below. I would love to hear them!

Monday, 29 January 2018

Doing it alone......

The fastest growing business sector is that of Women in business - and women who are also mums. And they are starting micro-businesses in droves from their kitchen table - often with a child hanging off their leg.

Too many of these businesses will fail. Businesses with awesome concepts and ideas. Filling a need in our society. Failing because of a lack of support, not believing in themselves and lacking the confidence in their knowledge.

Many of these businesses leave it way too late to get help. And when they are getting help they are stumbling around in the dark, often not with the type of help that they need.

You can't do it alone. No single person is an accountant, lawyer, marketer, HR, manufacturer, distributor and so on. You will need support with the day to day things and also the big picture business development. Do you know people who are trusted and real experts and who you like? Do you need to find them?

More importantly, do you understand the concepts behind the tasks that you are outsourcing or employing someone to do? For too many years, I just outsourced my books, then wondered why they were such a mess and I had no clue on how I was going financially in my business. When I took the task back, understood the process and also run the reports I needed to, I could then look at having someone else help me.

Once you start to gain support in your business, you will find you will achieve balance also. When the big picture is clear, and the daily tasks are being completed, with a focus on achieving the big picture - then your business is set for both growth and success.

Having a coach or group you meet with is invaluable to help your confidence grow as a business owner - tapping into the knowledge and skills you already have and guiding you to upskill where you need to. Rachel offers a range of coaching programs that you maybe interested in - take a peek here