Marketing Eye

Management - Page 3

Guts, determination and fearless ability to pick ourselves up off the ground

We are at the pointy end of the year, and it's without doubt my most reflective period. It's 10 years since I registered the Marketing Eye business name, and it's been a long, arduous journey, but one that I don't regret.

Marketing Eye started with investment money. The first few years, we had some tweaking to do, which was stressful, because I wasn't just playing with my money. Bringing a new model into a mature market is just a case of rolling the dice, seeing how they fall and hoping for the best. But I believed in it with all of my heart. I thought I knew something that others didn't and that was that all small businesses need to manage cash flow with no surprises and they all need marketing. This is a formidable combination, capable of allowing small to medium sized businesses the freedom to do what they do, without being held to their next invoice.

There were changes that needed to occur in the business model, but the day we got it right we never looked back. In the time leading up to this moment, I doubted myself, cried myself to sleep because I felt like a failure and constantly put myself in situations where I was uncomfortable. I was stressed off my head and didn't know how to deal with it. No one taught me how to do this. Often, a simple thing that would go wrong, would seem to me like the end of the world. Once, some hackers hacked into our bank accounts and emptied them. I had a public speaking engagement only an hour later. Instead of dealing with it later, I cancelled the engagement. I didn't know what to do and I didn't have the hindsight to know that it could wait an hour or two. It was the wrong choice and something that I now realize was not how an entrepreneur acts. They are supposed to suck it up, put on their good shoes and show the world how things are done.

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I am not a born entrepreneur. In fact, I am anything but. I am more like a person who has an idea and just wants to see it through. It's like finishing a mathematics equation. I wish I could say that I had undying passion for business, but instead, I feel gratitude that I am able to provide myself with a great life, as well as the ability  to employ people and provide them with a secure income and an opportunity to see themselves shine.

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Being a woman should never be a disadvantage and I am the last to hang my hat on the entire equality equation. I believe in 'the best person for the job' regardless of gender.

But being a woman is hard. Being a single woman in her early forties who hasn't had a family yet, is even harder. You are placed in a category by people with a certain distain for you. It makes people feel sorry for you. It makes people think that there must be something wrong with you. If you haven't done it at all at least once, there must be something wrong with you mustn't there?

I am speaking from first hand experience. I am that girl. I am that woman. I am that sister. And I am that daughter. What went wrong? Was she so career-obsessed that she thought it would be around forever; that looks, availability, men and a never ending line up would stay around forever? Or is she just plain hard work?

Having done a lot of soul searching, I have found the answer: I forgot to stop and smell the roses and keep myself open to possibility.

In my case, my 30's were spent building a business -- this business, Marketing Eye. And it was spent being in love with two men and not looking elsewhere. Two that just kept the carrot dangling enough so that while I was so busy working, I had no time to look for anyone else. Instead, I had someone when I needed them and I had my business that I could dedicate my time to. One was during my early 30's, the other in my late 30's. They were narcissistic men who knew how to manipulate. I was vulnerable and weak. They were both the wrong men and twice I made the same choices. If nothing changes, nothing changes. You would think a smart woman like me would know better.

I woke up one month ago. I realized that growing a business is hard work and I have given my heart and soul to it. I also become acutely aware that I have been played by people smarter than me because I am easy prey. I am that career woman who has a dream and has so many moving parts that she will never have time to open herself up for possibility. Instead, when she catches her breath, she just wants the person who is most comfortable to her.

I am telling a story that most women would be afraid to tell. The story of how we miss things because to run a business, we not only have a vision and a plan, but we have to have the guts, determination and fearless ability to pick ourselves up off the ground over and over again when no one, and I mean no one is going to give us a hand. 

We may have family who love us; but they too think something is wrong. They can't quite figure out how we don't 'have it all'. I am someone's daughter and someone's sister. They love me like no one else is ever going to love me - unconditionally. But they too look at me and wonder what went wrong.

Every single time that I think that everything is going to work out fine and things are falling into place - something falls apart. And it's never small. It's big. It brings me to my knees and it is excruciating. Worse still, I am dealing with this by myself, internalizing the pain, the hurt and the disappointment. I know tomorrow that I have to get up and do it all over again and I have no one who is going to do it for me. I mean no one.

Being a woman in business, whether you have five children and a loving husband, or you are like me - single and not sure where you fit in the world - is challenging. 

Next time you look at that female entrepreneur that walks into the room in her designer outfit, head held high, navigating her next move; spare a thought for the fact that she has a role to play and she is doing it to the best of her ability. She will fall down, make the wrong choices and come across as if her world is perfect - but she is human, and the truth of the matter is that it isn't easy being her. It isn't easy being me.
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5 Things I learned from clients this week

We are in professional services and as such our job is to ensure that our clients always receive a "professional service" at the standard that they expect.

At Marketing Eye, we spend time training our team to be better at managing client expectations and delivering best-in-class marketing services on an ongoing basis.

Our model is simple; We provide an outsourced marketing department for small to medium sized businesses.

Our clients are predominantly entrepreneurs who once had an idea, developed it and then became successful in their pursuit to realize their dreams.

Here are 5 things I learned this week:
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5 Winning Ways To Turn Your Business Around

'Anything is possible' and if you truly believe it, you can see it.

The world is full of pessimistic individuals who are tirelessly working to pull you down, but if you are a real entrepreneur with a BIG DREAM and determination to make it happen, then you may be in the minority of business people who achieve success.

Business can be a rollercoaster and there is always something that pops up that will challenge you and make you dig deep for solutions that may not be obvious at the first glance. It's part of the journey that both you and I have signed ourselves up for.

Creating a winning formula for business isn't easy and the reality is that for most, it is near impossible. But if you are serious and you have the vision to take your business to the next level, from whatever position you are in today, then you may be someone we will all read about in Forbes or Inc Magazine in a few years time - and I can't wait to see that happen.

This blog '5 Winning Ways To Turn Your Business Around' is my story - not necessarily yours. I will share with you my insight into what I believe to be the future of Marketing Eye and how we are going to cement ourselves a global small business marketing company that is unparalleled in the market place.
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5 Ways you can have a stress free project delivered on-time, every time.

Last month I sent a team member to a two-day class to learn about "The Project Success Method".

As a company, we handle many projects, all at the one time, for multiple clients across multiple offices. Ensuring that everything runs as smoothly as possible is critical. 

I had read quite a bit about Clinton Padgett and his proven Project Success Method. What prompted me to take action was the fact that our company is growing exponentially and we have so many international projects on that unless our people are equipped to run these projects, something will fail. Most importantly is that qualified people train the project leaders, who then in turn work with their teams to train them.
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Why your marketing agency needs a flat organizational structure

The next 12-months is going to be incredibly different for people who work at Marketing Eye. After years of working hard at establishing a product and service that is unsurpassed by industry standards, driven by technology, systems and processes, we are now working tirelessly on how to build the right culture going forward.

There have been many hit and misses and lots of unnecessary frustration, but finally I think as a team we have hit the nail on the head and I am about to test it to the enth degree.

Flat Organizational Structure

Weaning employees off hierarchy-driven decision making has been a test of both patience and perseverance. Gen-Y's have been told that they need leadership in order to be successful, yet some of the most successful companies in the world, like Google, are saying quite the opposite. Their investment in a flat organizational structure has not only shown dividends on the balance sheet, but it has created a workplace and culture that the world-over admires and respects.
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Happy clients = Happy Employees = Happy Boss

I had to laugh when I came into work today and found these three balloons. It's so true that in a consulting company, if clients are happy, employees are happy and the end result is "boss is happy".

But it is a tough gig and anyone who says otherwise must know something that I certainly do not know.

Today, I have an amazing team of people. They are bright, energetic, young, vibrant, thought-leaders. That's right... thought-leaders. They are not just sitting there doing their jobs, but instead they are thinking about what's next for our clients and how can they help grow Marketing Eye in new, exciting directions while fulfilling their own career goals.
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Is your business a global startup?

When I started Marketing Eye more than 9 years ago, I had a vision to be the world's best small business marketing firm. I dreamt that I would open offices all over the world that would sell marketing services backed by sophisticated technology platforms, media and education, to businesses that had revenues of $1 million to $200 million.

Primarily, the companies that would be ideal clients were one's that were entrepreneur-led, like me, and who had a dream to significantly grow their businesses and mostly be industry game-changers - although the latter wasn't exactly necessary.

In the early days, we had hurdles. The first was our own mind-set of being use to working with funded startups or medium to large corporations and shifting the way we interacted, engaged and nurtured our clients to success to cater for burgeoning SMB market.

It took time. More time than I ever imagined. 


It wasn't until more than 5 years later that things took real shape and my original business plan came into play. There wasn't an obstacle that I didn't face and no amount of hours in the office seemed to help get Marketing Eye to the level that it needed to be to fulfil our business plan.

Then, somehow it became easier, and I had more time up my sleeve to get back to doing the things I should have done in the start and that is "working on the business, not in the business".

This is where my life became very exciting and every single time I achieved one more piece of my business plan, I had a real sense of accomplishment. Suddenly everything became easier and there was enough money in the coffers to do what we needed to do. No more watching cashflow to the level that we needed to do in the early stages, and more investment placed in areas of the business where it needed it most.

We had a lot of changes that we needed to do in the business. I had made a lot of mistakes particularly in the recruitment stakes and had senior management who were not well-suited to marketing, let alone a senior management position, that were steering the ship.

Hard decisions needed to be made and I was making them - with confidence.

Now it's a different story. I can safely say we are well on our way to realising our business goals and achieving everything that I set out to achieve in that very first business plan. 

We are smarter, faster and better than any of our competitors, and on top of that, we do everything in-house with no outsourcing and have our own proprietary technology to back it up. Then of course, we have a company magazine which is really taking shape, and I love the fact that we are able to give our clients a voice.

Expanding to the US market has been very hard both personally and professionally. I have lost the last few years on planes, living in hotels and putting myself out there in very uncomfortable situations.

One of the big changes for Marketing Eye right now is to forget that we are a small business, and to act global. If you want to be global, you have to behave like a global company. That means business structures, management structures, planning sessions, meetings, reporting and so on.

The knowledge that you need to have to expand globally is exhausting. I still cannot get my head around all the different tax laws and government regulations of the US, preferring to hire it in rather than invest the time in expanding my knowledge in this area. Somehow I took for granted the fact that in Australia I seem to know more about tax and business structures than some of the outsourced companies I employ. Likewise, with law, it feels like I am telling the lawyers what to put in contracts and they are just taking orders. Both of which may mean that there needs to be a change, but nevertheless, this is how I feel.

Finding the right partners in overseas markets is imperative, but remember, the partner you have today may not be the same as the one that takes you to where you want to go. Make sure you learn as much as possible and give them every opportunity to be successful in what they do, powering your company to the next level.

Get across foreign exchange because currency can make or break you - and you just have to ask Billabong about that one.

Marketing in the US is different to Australia. It is far more aggressive, technology savvy and immediate, whereas in Australia, it is more relaxed.

This journey continues to be exciting, but it is important that if you are a global startup, beware that you don't act like one. Fake it until you make it and treat your company like an entrepreneurial corporation that is fast tracking global expansion.
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Some entrepreneurs are neurotic

It's a Saturday and I am sitting in my friends living room talking business while at the same time reading emails and catching up on the latest in business news.

As we talk I realize that entrepreneurs are no different from celebrities, movie stars, singers, musicians or any other career that is centre stage.

The reality is we all have a bit of neurotic behaviour in us - whether we like it or not.  Some entrepreneurs are more neurotic than others - micro-managing, controlling, double A-Type personalities that find it hard to accept another person's way of doing things, and then others just tip the iceberg.

Many entrepreneurs have a goal, or an idea of where they want to be. They are achievement orientated and often lack discipline, needing to hire the latter in to complement their existing skill base.
 
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Why juggling too many balls is bound to make you 'drop the ball'

Deep sigh!

It's Monday, and I have already worked one day of the weekend, yet I haven't touched the surface.

Why is it that when you really are passionate about everything you do in life, that something always holds you back. In my case, it's time.

I always say, that time is the most important thing you can get from someone in your life. If you have their time, there is nothing else you will need. But time is harder than you think. With running an international business, having my fingers in quite a few different business pies, dedicating time to charity, trying to get a little bit of training in and developing technology - writing books and painting has definitely been put to the way-side.

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Why you can't do business with liars

Today, as I was making a post on Facebook with one of my marketing blogs, I noticed a headline from one of my friend's wives: "I lied to my child."

Apparently, as I read further, she had lied to her child by saying that she couldn't wait until her 5 year old started school, when really she knew that she would miss her dearly and would prefer for her small, adorable young daughter to continue to stay home.

There are many types of lies, but statistics show we all tell several lies per day, often without realizing it.

Lying is so common, yet for many of us including me, it drives us crazy.

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My world is getting a little more clearer

I realized on the weekend that I have been fooling myself. In my mind, I have told myself that everything is fine and as it should be - but the reality is that it isn't. There are things that are not being done or are not going ahead at the rate I would like them to - and that's just my personal life. 

In business, its a huge mistake as a small business owner to not be on your game. I put things that pop up, to the way-side - and pretending that they never happened. Constantly, make other things priorities over things that should be at the top of the list and I still don't trust my gut instinct - because if I did, my life would be easy.

We are all in this game to win; whether it is creating a lifestyle business, building an international empire or making huge profits. 

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How employees have business owners up against a wall

If you can't beat them - join them.

I am not sure about you, but I have often been completely dumb-founded by the way some employees believe the world revolves around them and working for an organization isn't a two way street. I am sure every entrepreneur and business owner can attest to having at least thought this at some point in their business life.

The truth I have learnt - the hard way, I might add - is that all employees have employers up against the wall.

We all know:
  • It's easier to work with what you have and less costly then employing someone new
  • Hire slowly, fire fast
  • One negative person can cause a virus
  • Performance is linked to employee happiness
  • Some employees feel "entitled" and there is nothing you can do about it other then put bandaides on it

With all of this in mind, smart employers are realizing that if they don't like being up against the wall, then they have to lay the right footprint to exceed employees expectations and deliver an environment conducive to productivity and excellence.

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Why you won't climb the corporate ladder unless you sleep with someone

Over the years I have worked with literally hundreds of marketing people and I am never surprised by who goes on to become a marketing superstar and those who never make the mark.

Wanting to be successful and actually putting the hard yards in to achieve your dreams are two different things.

I read "10 Reasons Why You Will Never Be Successful" recently as published on www.addictedtosuccess.com and it really resonated with me. What makes one person climb the corporate ladder and not another, depends on how much that person really wants to make it.

I took the liberty of doing my Top 5 Reasons:

1.  Not willing to do the hard yards: People want everything yesterday and are no longer prepared to work hard for it and make sure that they have ticked all the boxes to get to where they want to go. Instead they believe "their own bullshit" and think they have already made it and are good enough - yet the proof is in the pudding that they are perhaps a bit short of where they would like to go.
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Are you ambitious enough?

Last night I caught up with my good friend, recruiter Michelle Fish, a new friend Chocko Valiappa and a couple of other people. 

As we sat down and enjoyed a bite to eat and a glass of wine, I began to talk to Chocko about Ashrams in India. I have been wanting to go for some time and wanted his insight into which ones were the best to investigate. 

Chocko is a spirital man - and although he didn't say as much, I could tell. I gravitated to him and before long we talked about different aspects of spiritality. He then mentioned that he read handwriting. Within seconds I was writing on a napkin hoping that he would pass on some wisdom about myself that would enlighten me.

He said:

"I am level headed and connect well between my head and my heart"

"I need to celebrate my highs more"

"I have discovered myself, but not other people"
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