Having run a small business myself for 13 years, I can identify that at the end of the day, unless you have a business partner, it can be quite lonely.
Yesterday, was particularly stressful.The business is going so well, and clients are literally running through our doors. Although we have mechanism in place for growth, there are always things to do, that when you add it to your own daily jobs, becomes overwhelming - if you let it.
On top of running a business, we have an issue with a client who is happy with the service, but owes us $80,000. And this is just for invoices raised in the month of February. After, continually asking about when the invoices will be paid as we have a strict 7 day policy, they keep replying that it is coming in the next few days. That started 6 weeks ago. I am sure they will pay, but the situation is stressful nevertheless because after years of dealing with business owners who spin stories, the trust factor on such things has somewhat diminished.
Blogging isn't for everyone. In fact, few people can pull it off and actually get a reasonable return on investment. While it can be fun to share your ideas, there is a whole world out there whose ideas differ from that of your own. And beware... sometimes they are even happy to tell you about it.
But it isn't all doom and gloom.
Blogging can be quite lucrative from a brand profile prospect and for some, financially. Successful bloggers don't just make their livings out of blogging, they quite often make their fortune. Think Mia Freedman (www.mamamia.com.au) and Seth Godin.
So, you gave it a bit of a push. Here and there. Everywhere. Networking. Business cards. Advertising. Facebook. You name it - you've tried it.
And then what?
Coming from a European family, where the men rule the roost and women play the pivotal role of supporting their man, I am an advocate of women doing what it takes to support their families and in particular, the men in their lives.
When I grew up, my father was the provider. He took the rubbish out and mowed the lawn. He fixed anything that needed to be fixed.
To have success though, you need to have a reason. Every successful person has a reason as to why they want to be successful.
Yesterday, I wrote a blog on how women can help their man be more successful. As promised, today I am publishing how men can help their women be more successful (in business).If you are a man and lucky enough to have a woman that is determined, ambitious, talented and intelligent - as well as owning their own business or having a high flying career - then count your lucky stars. You are in the minority,
When you look at a top sportsmen or women, they have two things that resonate with entrepreneurs; the first is the desire to be the best, and the second is that they believe in themselves enough to win.
In no time, I responded. "Depends on whether I am married and have other plans" or something to this effect.
Today, I had lunch with a girlfriend. She is super smart, entrepeneurial, full of life and just a wonderful person.
I met her in Houston at a business conference and got to know her over a week because she was good friends with a friend of mine. Actually, our mutual friend insisted that we meet and catch up. Which we did and have never looked back.
Her name is Michelle Carden and many people may remember her when she gained profile and respect for building a very big company in Australia and selling it off for millions.
She sent me a text this morning to see if I was available for lunch. I hate doing lunch during the work week because it takes me away from my beloved computer, but she said she had some feedback on my IM for me, so it really was in my best interests to go.
5 Minutes with Michelle is worth a fortune. If you don't become so inspired that you are literally jumping up and down on your chair, you are certainly getting insight into her brilliance as a business woman and as a human being.
She is dynamite. Her energy is completely contagious and she has so many business ideas up her sleeve, that I am surprised how she can possibly walk around.
What I learnt today was simple; A lunch date with someone can change your outcomes.
She gave me some advice that superceded that of everyone who has been speaking to me about my Information Memorandum to date. Now, I have taken that advice, raced back to the office and I am straight back to work.
Thanks Michelle. You rock!
However, from a marketing and creative perspective, is it allowing itself as a city to be second best?
It's hard to compare to New York - let's face it, but when it comes to business, why should New York companies have greater access to the talents of the world's best creatives and marketers and Atlanta be left to those who couldn't make it in the city that never sleeps.
That's the same for Investment Bankers and a whole host of careers, I know, but it saddens me that Atlanta hasn't used its critical mass of 6 million people to produce some of the world's most distinguished and talented creatives.
How can we as a city change that? How can we make Atlanta the US' hub for marketers and creatives? I don't have an answer, but I will have one tomorrow. Food for thought.
This blog is getting more and more personal, but through sharing real life experiences, entrepreneurs and business leaders are hopefully able to gain some insight into what makes an entrepreneur tick, mistakes that some of us make and some real life business goings-on that affect us in so many ways.
Last week, I sent my Information Memorandum out to a number of my friends. When I say friends, they are business leaders, and some of them are in the most successful 50 business people in Australia. The first lot of feedback was awesome. Immediately I was put on a high with positive comments and encouragement.
Yesterday, I received from 3 different parties some constructive feedback; Information Memorandum is too long, you need to have the financials in the IM, covering letter needs to say what the financial upside is and where's the Gantt Chart?
While the financial projections have been done for 5 years, I was told by a couple of parties that you only send this in the second contact after the person/company has read the IM. So, I have held off on this. I was also notified that I only need 3 years, but I am a bit confused because it is a 5 year plan. Not sure who to listen to here.
The Gantt Chart and manuals are all complete, but as with the financials, I was told not to send this through in the first instance.
There are so many differing opinions that it is hard to work out which direction to take. Perhaps a bit of everything is worthwhile taking into consideration afterall, these people do this everyday. Like most things, it is subjective to the person looking at the IM.
In any case, it was my first piece of constructive criticism which set me back momentarily and had me second guessing as to whether I should have sent it out without taking it to someone and going through it page by page.
Overall, I am happy with the result, but feedback should always be considered and if you put yourself out there, then you have to expect sometimes you won't like what you hear.
We have all been through it in one way or another.
I am. My employees rock. They are the heart and soul of our business. They work darn hard and as a former employee and now editor of a top business magazine once said to me, "if you work for Marketing Eye, you really work".
It's certainly no holiday. Clients are everything. This is drilled into every single person who works for Marketing Eye over and over again.
In fact, I have been incredibly reluctant to show anybody. I have held onto it tightly and when people have asked, I have said "I will get it over to you" and then it has taken weeks to attach it to an email and press "send".
My cousin's husband, a father of 3 beautiful children, decided to unexpectantly end his life today. As you can imagine, his family is devastated. We all are. He was such a wonderful man, who loved his family dearly and was full of spirit. Now, he is gone and only his memories remain.
Mental health is a real issue in our community. I started to think about the number of people, who I know who have chosen to take their own lives. Unfortunately, I can't count them on my hands as there have been too many. Yet, for some reason, we still are not doing enough. We should all do more to help those around us deal with depression.
If you have a family member or a friend who is down, be there for them. Support them even though you may feel there are other things you would prefer to do. Encourage them to seek help and give them an ear when they want it.
Life is precious, and suicide can happen to anyone.
Jeff Bezos quit his lucrative job on Wall Street to drive to the other side of America to start Amazon.
Donald Trump faced personal bankrupcy at one stage taking risks.
So, is moving to the US and starting Marketing Eye, such a risk afterall?
And, advertising executives the world over will tell us that "sex does sell". They have a long history of showcasing scantily clad men and women in advertising with great success.
But, does it still work?
What keeps you awake at night?
Some say a sales manager never sleeps. Constant questions seem to plague their minds - will I make that budget? How will I close this sale? Have I got the right team for the right job?
What if there was a way to help answer these questions? Some miracle program whereby sales managers no longer have to stress about the duties and targets of their entire sales team, but just focus on their own task at hand. A program which can change those plaguing questions from “Will I make that budget?” to “we will make that budget”
I received an email from the Sales Coach Academy, who provides a powerful and proven sales coaching program for sales managers. I was asked what are my biggest sales frustrations? What traits my ideal sales team would posses? And pretty much what keeps me awake at night?
The aim of the short survey is obviously to work out the needs of Sales Managers, what frustrates them and what concerns them most about their sales team. It provides questions that more or less allow you to vent your sales frustrations, so that the Sales Coach Academy can base their coaching programs around the areas of high interest to sales managers.
I strongly suggest you take the survey if you have been involved in the sales industry throughout your career – which most of us have! Perhaps we can finally get some answers to those questions that keep us awake at night!
Alison Lovatt, Marketing Eye.
It is remarkable how much you can fit into a day, let alone a week.
I am travelling to the US on 22nd March to meet with some people over there; potential investors, key influencers, government and industry leaders. Organising my schedule and fitting everything in is near impossible. 10 days just isn't enough. But for this trip, it will have to do!
There are many fears in making a move like this, but mainly there is a lot of positivity around the big move.
Firstly, Marketing Eye is awesome. It's a brand that excels in small business marketing. I can put my hand on my heart and say that we help small businesses grow. I also believe that it is a 'no-brainer' to engage Marketing Eye because of the amount of extra marketing activities and programs that companies get for no additional cost.
I sat down with my friends who were also in business and watched Jack Welch talk about his story of how he changed GE and his philosophies on business.
While we may learn history throughout our education, as an adult, unless you are particularly interested in historical events and people, knowledge on the past can be somewhat limited.
Today, I was asked to market something that has so much historical significance in Queensland, but is yet unknown by most of Australia. It is perhaps some of the best poetry that I have ever read. Up there, in some ways, with Keats, Shakespeare or Blake.
If you haven't read it already, pick up a copy of Pen Blossoms by Mary Rattenbury, published in 1936. It will literally take you to another place.
Like Nostradamus who predicted the French Revolution, Adolf Hitlers ruling and the death of Princess Diana, Mary Rattenbury predicted an invasion of Australia by the Japanese.
Sometimes the best marketing for the future, is to take a look at the past. Look at past authors, poets, artists and gain insight into their work. You never know what piece of brilliance you may pick up and how relevant it is to today's market.
Rugby is the sport of gentlemen. I remember years ago going up to Brisbane to watch Australia play Italy at Ballymore Stadium. Everyone was well dressed, drinking champagne and premium beers, chatting away. The stadium was full of professionals and die hard rugby fans. The atmosphere was exciting and full of life.
Of course the Kiwi's vs the Aussie's is the biggest match in the game particularly if you are from either of these countries.
Sponsorship is a hard one to measure. I know Qantas do an amazing job with their sponsorship of the Formula One in Melbourne each year. You would have to be sleeping under a rock if you didn't associate Qantas with Formula One in Australia. Their marketing team does a phenomenal job of maximising their sponsorships.