Tuesday, 29 January 2013

When A Business Gets Stuck



Often I look at businesses and wonder how they are surviving – their windows are covered in A4 computer print outs, they don’t have a logo – or have 4 – no website, no social media, grumpy staff. They do everything that you shouldn’t. In truth the owners have struggled with keeping up with the way business has changed and more to the point they don’t want to change – they are stuck – and what is more they are happy with how there business is - or seem to be anyway!
We spent our Christmas holidays travelling through parts of Tasmania and I was struck by this theme of business struggling to develop and position themselves to attract a newer more sophisticated market.
Take this beachside place we spent 3 nights in. There was still plenty of the beach shacks, but they were fast being replaced by renovated shacks and new modern housing, indicating more money in town and probably transient residents as most of the new houses tended to double as holiday rentals. The original takeaway shop that had everything was promoting themselves as making the best pizza in town, most likely in a last ditch effort to retain market share from the new fancier Italian restaurant that did wood fired pizzas.
The resort that had prime beach frontage was falling into disrepair with echoes of its hay day in the 80s. The pool had fallen apart to the point it was cheaper to deck over it and the bar and lounge area had been taken over by a junk shop.
Tourism is supposedly one of Tasmania’s largest economic drivers, but what I witnessed was an industry, largely stuck in a time warp, people too tired to put in the effort, and as a result being left behind. The multi nationals will develop and create accommodation and other product for the more sophisticated traveller, smaller business need to provide quality product and services to support this or risk not surviving.
I am not talking about all business in Tassie – we managed to find a couple of hidden gems, like a brewery and accommodation place we stumbled over on a random drive one day, quietly becoming successful and not resting on their laurels.
Having worked in the tourism industry and seen the need for operators to evolve on the mainland this is where I see Tasmania – the need for quality product to provide a lifeline to an industry trying to survive in an ultra competitive world wide industry.

Friday, 25 January 2013

Who You Are



Our world puts people into categories; you are a child, a student, baby boomer or Gen X, Y or Z, a worker, traveller and parent. You are this religion or that; you are put in a social class. Your family values determine if you marry and have babies; if you go out and get a career or follow the winds and travel round the world. They will determine how you treat money, other people and most often how you treat yourself.

For most people you get caught up in the daily grind of going to work, joining the march of commuters every day, taking home the pay packet. You pay the bills, mortgage and try to put some money away in ‘savings’, week in and week out the same thing. And so it goes on; you get safe and cosy in your world, you forget to stop climb out of the rabbit fur and take a good, fresh look at the world around you (as quoted from a lovely book called Sophie’s World).

Does it matter how people see you, what category they put you in, is it not most important to be totally happy and comfortable in the person that you are. For you to create and continue to re-create your identity as you see fit. Should you then in turn put people into categories of how you see them...think about it I am sure you do?

I have recreated myself a few times – career girl with the tailored suit aiming high to traveller with my life in a back-pack to business owner and most recently – and the hardest (but most rewarding) transition – mother!

For me this last time has been the hardest transition for me, for a start it was the first time I didn’t leave my old life behind me – my old life was still there (busy business owner; domestic life; friend etc) but add to that a baby who needs you, so much, that adds to the washing and the dishes and as she grows contributes almost solely to the mess –creating a cyclone effect as she moves through the house. Most importantly she adds this whole new dimension of love, laughter, satisfaction and challenge as she takes you on a rollercoaster ride of emotion.

As I awake from the daze and pressure that is those early precious years of a little one’s life, combined with co-managing a growing business and household, some days on little sleep. Realising I have survived and what is more I have become a better person for the experience. I have realised that I have more to give my world and the people in it. So I am re-creating my identity and designing new categories for what will be the new me...for the first step was to create this blog....the second step is still in the making.....but is starting to evolve.....
Who you are....

Our world puts people into categories; you are a child, a student, baby boomer or Gen X, Y or Z, a worker, traveller and parent. You are this religion or that; you are put in a social class. Your family values determine if you marry and have babies; if you go out and get a career or follow the winds and travel round the world. They will determine how you treat money, other people and most often how you treat yourself.

For most people you get caught up in the daily grind of going to work, joining the march of commuters every day, taking home the pay packet. You pay the bills, mortgage and try to put some money away in ‘savings’, week in and week out the same thing. And so it goes on; you get safe and cosy in your world, you forget to stop climb out of the rabbit fur and take a good, fresh look at the world around you (as quoted from a lovely book called Sophie’s World).

Does it matter how people see you, what category they put you in, is it not most important to be totally happy and comfortable in the person that you are. For you to create and continue to re-create your identity as you see fit. Should you then in turn put people into categories of how you see them...think about it I am sure you do?

I have recreated myself a few times – career girl with the tailored suit aiming high to traveller with my life in a back-pack to business owner and most recently – and the hardest (but most rewarding) transition – mother!

For me this last time has been the hardest transition for me, for a start it was the first time I didn’t leave my old life behind me – my old life was still there (busy business owner; domestic life; friend etc) but add to that a baby who needs you, so much, that adds to the washing and the dishes and as she grows contributes almost solely to the mess –creating a cyclone effect as she moves through the house. Most importantly she adds this whole new dimension of love, laughter, satisfaction and challenge as she takes you on a rollercoaster ride of emotion.

As I awake from the daze and pressure that is those early precious years of a little one’s life, combined with co-managing a growing business and household, some days on little sleep. Realising I have survived and what is more I have become a better person for the experience. I have realised that I have more to give my world and the people in it. So I am re-creating my identity and designing new categories for what will be the new me...for the first step was to create this blog....the second step is still in the making.....

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Whitepaper: 5 Basic Steps to Effective Website Optimisation

By Craig Allan
promoting-your-website
Ever wondered how to get started in promoting your website online?

Visionary eBusiness have developed a resource to get you started on the path of Internet Marketing, this is just the start but it's a good start!

Please note: The world of Internet Marketing is changing quickly, some areas discussed in this article may not be as effective as they have been in the past - we recommend that you consult up-to-date advice and we are happy to assist!

Download Whitepaper: 5 Basic Steps to Effective Website Optimisation - Download Whitepaper Here

We can also work with you and your team to develop a customised campaign for your business - Contact Us Now!

Challenges for a Business in a Facebook World

By Craig Allan, Visionary Group
fb-business

When I sat down to write this article I recalled numerous conversations about Social Media, and Facebook in particular. We’ve reviewed some of the finer issues that consistently emerge in talks with our client partners... most of the ‘burning questions’ are responded to in the issues described below, but also at our Masterclasses and Workshops (more details here).

Do I really need to get involved in Facebook?
The main challenge for business owners is how to best use their time to best serve the business – we often hear “just because it’s the latest thing doesn’t make it right for my business”, or “... my customers are not on Facebook”.
A few points of fact may help if you find yourself in this dilemma - with over 800 million people across the world using Facebook and over 60% of Australians being regular users, your customers are already there. Age breakdown of Facebook users is also evenly split between Baby Boomers, Gen X and Gen Y, making Facebook one of the most broadly adopted communication channels.

Facebook as a marketing vehicle:
Many sole traders, micro businesses and consultancies are finding that Facebook is all they need for promoting their business and attracting clients. Marketing and promotion costs have always been a headache for small business and Facebook has been a saviour... however this strategy may not be appropriate for many operators. Great for micro-businesses, but is the corporate world using Facebook?

It’s been reported that 54% of Global 100 companies use Facebook, however in Australia only 30% have indicated use of Social media. It seems that while more small to medium Aussie businesses are promoting their Facbook presence, many boards of top companies are hesitant to embrace social media... possibly due to lack of understanding as well as the age and gender of board members?

For all other businesses, Facebook has a competitive advantage that is cost effective and relatively easy to manage, both as a promotional and relationship platform, but it is also a support network for customer feedback, product/service development and to ‘keep your finger on the pulse’.

Protecting your company brand and reputation:
For businesses willing to invest in Facebook there are a great deal of benefits, however there are a few issues regarding security and privacy that need to be considered.  The level of exposure that a company places itself within social media is a genuine concern, for example how do you stop negative comments from trashing the good name of your company?

Business page owners can always remove content and (as a last resort) report users to Facebook, however sometimes a negative comment (if constructive) can be a blessing in disguise... an opportunity to showcase your customer service skills and how you care.

Every now and then we hear of Facebook users having their accounts or pages hacked, invariably we find that simple passwords are the root cause. Use solid passwords and change on a regular basis, also if you’re not sure it might pay to get some support in setting up the security settings of the business page, however it’s been streamlined and with a little time and effort most business owners will be able to get the settings right.

More now than ever, the distinction between our personal and professional lives are blurred and operators of smaller businesses will find this a big challenge. Consultants and professionals need to market themselves as the business. To combat this some people will either have a private profile (for friends and family) and also a public profile to run the business page with.

Best use of time and return on investment:
As with almost anything online or technology based, time tends to get away from us all, time management is essential to attain a balance between maintaining communications on Facebook and not letting it take over...  we use and recommend setting up a schedule within your diary when you are going to work on Facebook... and trying to stick with it!

Facebook can be a great way of receiving referrals and positioning yourself or your business as an expert in your field; it does take time and consistent effort... the main key word is ‘consistency’.

How do I keep up-to-date with all the changes?
There have been a number of significant changes to Facebook over the last 12 months, including new layouts such as timelines, new pages such as business pages and also changes to privacy and security – keeping up to date with these changes and how they impact end users is difficult. Business owners can subscribe to a number of newsletters, blogs etc to be kept informed, however sometimes it’s more effective to seek professional advice.

Develop a Digital Strategy now!
Internet technologies (especially Social Media) have changed the landscape of how companies speak and relate to consumers... the Internet also furnishes the consumer with knowledge and choice never seen in the past – with this in mind companies require development of a digital strategy of how they operate online.

Business operators require a paradigm shift in their thinking regarding how they communicate to consumers, social media technologies are the vehicle that allow relationships to develop with virtually 1 on 1 communications with each consumer – relationship marketing is the norm in social media for business.

Other areas to consider when developing a digital strategy for your firm is to how to integrate social media activities with other marketing channels, this includes the need to co-ordinate campaigns across all channels and the frequency of communications within each channel... very few firms have mastered this successfully without concerted effort and planning with support from professionals.

Want to know how we can help? Contact us how we can partner with you to reach your goals!

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