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 realise 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.
The past six months have been exhausting. It has tested me in ways that I never imagined possible and at the same time, made me realize a few things about myself that will help shape the person I am moving forward.
I have learned:
As we watched on as Leonardo DiCaprio spruiked, "The way I look at it, their money was better off in my pocket," many of us couldn't believe that world existed quite like that. But it does. And it's right here on our doorstep too.
Australia and America have long been tied
Historically, Australian companies that have expanded into the US have benefited immensely from foreign exchange rates. After the initial shock of start up costs, companies see the silver lining of building businesses in the US and bringing US dollars back to Australian shores.
Who would have thought that a blog titled "Why married women are more successful" would receive 54,256 views in less than 24 hours, 555 likes, 634 comments, 702 Facebook likes, 2,632 shares on LinkedIn and 79 retweets on Twitter? I did. And that's exactly why I wrote it. I am a new author on LinkedIn and I know a thing or two about blogging and going viral. If I just write about marketing, at most, I will get between 1,000 and 10,000 views over a week. If I write about something personal - more. But if I write about something that people have strong opinions on or that hits a raw nerve - the sky is literally the limit.
As seen in LinkedIn:
When examining Marketing Eye’s culture, one idea usually sticks out at people; that is, our stance on bad ideas. Taking a unique approach (remembering nothing we do here is status quo), I encourage my team to share their ideas daily; the great, the good and the terrible.
Why? Because I firmly believe there is value in bad ideas.
If you look in to the journey behind the biggest accomplishments in the world, they’re littered with bad ideas. In fact, it’s the mishaps, the arduous trial and error procedure that leads to greatness. A bad idea simply paves the way for a new and improved one. Bad ideas are often discouraged and quickly discounted as failures, but in reality, they identify solutions.
I need my team; from the marketing managers to the interns, to feel that they have an open forum to exchange their ideas freely; we are, after all, a creative company. And during a consultancy, our marketing managers will implore our clients to lay all of their ideas on the table. And often we harvest gold from the very idea our clients are hesitant to tell us.
I know - when you shut down the idea on bad ideas, you close it on future good ones too.
Marketing maven, Tegan Addinsall, a senior marketing manager at Marketing Eye Melbourne came blasting through the front door of the office today with the biggest smile on her face. It was 7.30am in the morning, and although I was at work, I hadn't even put my makeup on and certainly hadn't finished my first cup of coffee.
"I love my job!" proclaimed Tegan. And indeed she does. Every day she comes to work with the biggest smile on her face. She is incredibly smart, and knows her "stuff" better than most. Sometimes annoyingly, she smiles and laughs so much that I want to hit her over the head with a book, so she can come down to my level (not really!).
The way your business wins in the future is very different than the way it has won in the past
Just when we think we have got it 'sorted out' something else comes along and again, small businesses fall behind the eight ball.
If I look back on the past 20 years or so, business has changed dramatically.
- Globalization is changing the way we work, play and learn
- Technology affects every element of our lives and being
- Employees have become the single most important part of any business
- A person can no longer just blunder into business and expect to survive
- Old business models and paradigms have changed and will continue to do so
- Connecting with customers doesn't come just by word of mouth, a strong sales team or advertising in the local newspaper
- People have changed.
"Same bed, but it feels a bit bigger now" is the lyrics in the famous Bruno Mars song "When I was your man". An apt description of Marketing Eye's business expansion into the US market. It's the same company, but its a bit bigger now.
What started out as a step to expand the international footprint of our brand, has taken on a whole new dimension. Australian and America have long been tied and now more so than ever. The ebbs of the economy has led to an opportunity for Australian companies that are geared for expansion to leverage the strength of the Australian dollar, and affordable set up costs in the US market without breaking the bank. The downside, is US dollars are not worth as much, as the dollar loses its grip on parity.
Over the years, I have been dumb-founded by what former employees have written on their LinkedIn profiles about what they did while working at Marketing Eye.
The first one that had me gob-smacked was a French assistant, who wrote that she had developed and managed the Marketing Eye brand, building the company’s marketing strategy and executing it.
In reality, she was a personal assistant, who had poor English and was struggling to do any task at all from an administrative perspective. She didn’t write anything, had no contact at all with design or branding but was excellent at organizing my dinner appointments, assisting me with my wardrobe and in general being a great personal assistant, albeit one that could not write on an email on my behalf because of the poor English factor. She worked for me for a few months only which I did it as a favour for her boyfriend who was a good friend at the time. In the end, I had to tell him, that her English was so bad, I couldn’t afford the luxury of her impeccable taste in clothing, makeup and picking restaurants at that stage of my life.
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