Small Business Marketing

Taking Your Business Model To The Next Level
When writing my business plan 9 years ago, I took many things into account like how the business would look in 10 years time, who we would employ, what services we would provide, and how we would expand into new markets.

But what I didn't take into account is how I would actually make it happen. You see, like many entrepreneurs, I have struggled with working in the business and trying to at the same time work "on" the business - never quite getting the mix right.

At long last, since I made some smart strategic business moves last year, including changing management, I have become the entrepreneur I always wanted to be. I am implementing our business plan that was written so long ago, and it feels really good. There is a sense of satisfaction that is growing deep inside me and I believe in every single thing that we are doing.

Beware of the 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. 

"Leadership is lifting a person’s vision to high sights, the raising of a person’s performance to a higher standard, the building of a personality beyond its normal limitations." —Peter Drucker

If you look at Steve Jobs and his role as a leader and marketer at Apple Inc., it's easy to see how the two roles work closely together. Without marketing, no-one would be any the wiser about Steve Jobs role at Apple Inc nor would we have had the opportunity to be captivated by his performances each time he launched a new product. Instead, we would simply wait for a product to be on the shelves and without all the "sizzle" we probably would never have been as enticed to stand in line and buy each product the minute it was launched.

Some leaders fail to see the value in marketing, and although they may have a role in the organisation that is responsible for certain outcomes, they may see it more as a sales related function which is why it often falls under this umbrella.

Smart, insightful, charismatic, thought leaders understand the value of marketing. They use it and often abuse it to become leaders that everyone follows. Rather than focus solely on a product or service marketing campaign, they use it to elevate their position in the market with a double edge sword, by at the same time ensuring that the company brand and positioning benefits from association.

3 Ways Leaders Use Marketing 

How to connect with 7000 potential clients - B2B marketing
I am continually amazed by the number of professional services, technology, manufacturing and logistics companies that fail to see the value in communicating via social media.

The question I pose to you is "how did you find this blog?" and "how do you now know the Marketing Eye brand?" 

I know the answer - do you?

How to get non-sales people to bring in leads
It was 8pm at night and as we boarded the plane at La Guardia Airport in New York, Maikayla (#24yrold), our 24 year old President of US Operations, started a conversation about the things we are not doing as a business to get clients.

Marketing Eye Atlanta has gone from startup to multi-million dollar company in over a year of operations. The company provides SMB's with an ability to have a qualified outsourced marketing department for an investment that any business that has opened their doors can afford.

The goal post has changed from the original business plan of 1,000 clients over 5 years. Our sales targets have been moved by 2 years and now the entire team is in a spin working out how they will achieve this goal in 3 years. 

It's an ambitious task, but one that is doable and if something is too easy, then it won't be as rewarding. Stretching ourselves and pushing limits, dreaming big and opening doors, is something that will keep everyone in the game.

Maikayla's thoughts:
The one thing that keeps me going

Another weekend has just passed, and we went over the same old topic that keeps popping up; what do we want out of life and why do we do the things we do.

We read theories about entrepreneurs and what makes them tick; money, competition and passion. It's like a broken record that keeps on repeating itself. I for one wish that someone would come out with something a little different. Some piece of inspiration that is going to make me stop in my tracks and go "yeah!".

I am not an over-the-top passionate person - or at least that is my self-reflection. While I get up early each morning and race to the office, with a coffee and croissant from my local cafe on the way, its more a sign of routine than anything more "entrepreneurial". Meld that in with organized and fluent chaos, and big ideas followed by what seems like an endless stream of tactical plans - then you have me in one. 

What I do have though is dreams - lots of them! In every aspect of life, I dream and its these dreams that push me to keep going day after day. But that still isn't getting to the route of things and the more I realize it - the more I see things from a different perspective. 

The first point being that no two entrepreneurs are the same. We are all dealing with our own set of influencers and motivators that make us who we are. Just like no two people are the same and let's face it; what makes us different makes us beautiful.

Reality check #1

Reality check #1

Feb 21, 2014 Written by

It's been a roller-coaster of a year already and its only 7 weeks in. Everything imaginable has happened to me this year, and I am already exhausted, but somehow exhilarated at the same time.

There have been so many changes; life, business and game. I feel like I have lived through so much, yet there is still so much more to achieve.

Yesterday, I had the privilege of spending half an hour with a young entrepreneur by the name of Kylie Marie, who is inspiring, ambitious, energetic and ready to take on the world. I now know why older people liked spending time with me when I was new to business, because that energy is contagious. I couldn't help but smile and be totally inspired by what Kylie is doing and her fearlessness in business. Her brow bars, Browco Brow Bar, will be everywhere in the next year or so, along with her eyebrow products that are to die for.

Why buying employee happiness is a waste of money

The other day, a few of us from the Marketing Eye team were at a client meeting and they mentioned that they buy all of their employees an ipad for Christmas.

You should have seen my employees faces! They were green with envy. It was as if they had all been given ferraris.

I thought to myself, "that's really cool" but not for a second did I think that they received something worth more than what my employees in Atlanta received. Perception is an unbelievable thing and more and more, companies are being encouraged to "buy" their employees happiness.

Many new age companies, with venture-backed operations offer:

Sales will NOT fall into your lap by accident

When a business starts a new calendar year with have a business strategy in place, supported by a sales and marketing plan - CEO's expect results.

But what if the results are not forthcoming? What if key people have read the strategy yet are not "making it happen"? As we near the end of January, many companies are realizing that targets are not being met, and while some may scratch their heads, the real leaders are taking action.

Why women need to stop blowing their own trumpet

I get it... women have been left to the way-side in corporate and in life for many years, and now they are in a time where they can shine and take center stage with all the fanfare attached.

However, are we really that desperate to blow our own trumpets? Do we really think we are better than men? Do we really need to be all over the media saying how wonderful we are or at least think we are - just because we are women?

I am a woman and feel incredibly fortunate that I was born this way. In fact, rather than shed a tear for the glass ceiling, I am swinging from the rooftops thanking everyone who cares to listen for the fact that I am a woman and have been given many more advantages as such than my male counterparts.

The new year pep talk - what makes your team tick?

First day back in Atlanta and I am excited! I cannot express to you how much I love my US team and how inspirational each and every one of them are.

It's been a phenomenal journey, one full of great surprises, obstacles that were easier than expected to overcome and an incredible amount of love and support that has led Marketing Eye's success.

Like all bosses that are a nuisance, I asked for a photograph of a couple of my team members who were sitting in a meeting with me this morning. They are quite use to it - as they know that nothing makes me more happy than to take their pictures and share it with the world.

This year is going to be great. Actually, better than great - it is going to be awesome!

I started the morning with a "pep talk". There are a few changes that need to be implemented and sadly, I have to divide my time more evenly with Australia, so I won't be here so much. 

On-boarding new members of your team - the right way!

It's that time of year where companies are back hiring new recruits.

As someone who is always too busy, I have left the on-boarding to our previous CEO and Area Managers, with my role being minimal other than an introduction.

However, like most entrepreneurs, January is a time to re-think your business in every way; finance, recruitment, human resources, marketing, sales, products/services etc.

This has given me an opportunity to see just what is going on and I have to say, we have some gaps. As a marketing and communications based company, Marketing Eye plays a pivotal role in communicating a company's brand and culture to employees of our clients. We develop and design on-boarding manuals, podcasts, corporate videos and interactive presentations on the company, people and history.

What I have realized is that we are not dissimilar to a mechanic who never finds time to fix their own car. 

With that, off came the gloves and I rolled up my sleeves to have a better insight into our on-boarding processes. 

Here are some clever best practices that we teach our clients and implement on their behalf:

THE INTERVIEW

  • When writing an advertisement for a position, include a link to your website which talks about the company culture and the type of person that will fit in. This is great for the applicant and even better for your company as it sends people to your website and drives traffic and engagement.
  • Ask applicants to like your company on social media. If they don't want to do this, then they are definitely NOT interested in your brand, culture or the future promotion of your company - so strike them immediately off the list.
  • When an applicant comes for an interview, ensure that someone from your team rings them the day before, introduces themselves and talks to them about a normal day in the office. It's a great way to give the applicant an idea what it is like to work for your company and also shares with them an insight into the culture and type of people that they need to fit in with.
  • Do something clever to get the applicant to remember your company like sending them an inspirational email with a famous quote. Ensure that it is written on a picture to give your brand  a "lift"
  • On arrival at the interview, give them an iPad with a presentation and video of what it is like to work for your company and what type of people perform best. 
  • In the interview, present your company like you would present the company to a client. Then ask for the applicant to talk about themselves; share insights that do not come across clearly in their CV's and ask them to explain why they think that they would be a good fit.
  • When they leave, give them a company brochure and any literature related to your company that may be of benefit to them.
Some people surprise me

I am curious to know what makes one person in an organization really stand out from the rest. As a seasoned entrepreneur with more than 10 years under my belt, I am constantly being reminded, if not surprised by the most interesting individuals in my team.

Today, I found out two things; the first is that I am not as bad as I thought when it comes to finding a solution to a problem and secondly, that if you give someone an opportunity, its the only way to see if they have the ability to shine or not.

As a person who is no stranger to having to pull up my sleeve, my first thoughts are always that I have to do it on my own - but I have something to share with you and it is that that is not always the case. In fact, if you reach out to your team and share your experiences and problems, they are usually the ones who come up with the solution that is best suited to your business or you personally. Your staff know you better than you think, and if you are delusional enough to think that by hiding in your office, that they don't, then you have a lot to learn.

I have been in Sydney for the last few days and I am so happy to experience the city that I love dearly, with my team. I usually waltz in and waltz out, within a day or two, and have my time so filled with meetings that I don't spend enough time getting to know the people around me.

How to start the new year strong : Business

It's a catastrophe in the making. Already you have eaten one extra scoop of ice-cream that you really did not need, and the vino - well, it was just there and it had to be drunk.

New Years Resolutions are renown for being thrown in the bin and rightfully so, because few of us really commit to them for longer than a day or two. In fact, statistics show that New Years Resolutions are not kept with only 8% of people keeping them past the first few days according to Times Magazine.

When you try and tie a behavioral change to a specific date, you tend to rob yourself of an opportunity to fail and recover and many who believe that they will change, and fail, tend to believe that they have to wait another year to try again. It's a weird psyche that many of us share.

This year is my year. I am dedicating it to achieving everything I ever dreamt of and more. There is no second place and certainly no throwing in the towel. Instead, I am committed like never before to achieving all of my goals and ensuring that I live life to the fullest encapsulating all my dreams in one forward movement into the future. 

I am not getting any younger - and neither are you may I add, so there is no time like the present to get off my fairly ample bottom and put those trainers on with that Nike exercise outfit that has been gaining cobwebs and start the race on high speed with milestones every day of the year, that need to be met.

What really happened this year

"Onwards and upwards"

It doesn't take much to realize that 2013 has been the biggest roller coaster of my life. While I have had many wins, I have had equal losses that have been harder to swallow than I would have liked.

Building a business isn't easy. In fact, it is damn hard. You get on a roll and then one thing happens and it crashes downward until somehow you find the strength that you didn't know existed, then you pull it back in line and then start all over again, hopefully learning from those mistakes and taking the business in a slightly new direction albeit one that has the same end result.

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