Here is what I had to say:
"Small businesses are the backbone of the Australian economy.
There are over two million small businesses in this country, which provide approximately seven million jobs and comprise up to 20 per cent of the national economy.
With a Federal election looming and a new Prime Minister to be appointed (or, in Kevin Rudd’s case, a returning Prime Minister), small business owners will be eagerly and nervously awaiting party platforms that impact them.
I understand the pressure and considerations of running a small business more than most. I founded my first business at age 25, and in 2004 established Marketing Eye, Australia’s leading marketing consultancy firm for small to medium businesses.
#24yrold downloaded two television series for me. The first was Revenge, and I was so absorbed by it that I couldn't go out for an entire weekend, preferring to watch show after show with my dog by my side.
Then came Suits and I was mesmerized. You see, Harvey Spector and Mike Ross, are the lead characters and my own relationship with my number two in Atlanta is incredibly similar. It's really like looking in the mirror or watching a video of ones' self and seeing so many similarities that you actually learn a bit more about your #2 through a better understanding of the characters.
At first, my design department sourced quotes. They ranged from $18,000 up to $33,000 for exactly the same product. I was fine with paying $18,000 but not so fine to find my normal printers quotation significantly higher at $33,000. It literally had me stopping in my tracks and evaluating what I was doing and whether it was worth it.
Then, as if someone was looking down on me, a company was referred to Marketing Eye to do some of their marketing. It was an online print automation company that specialises in reducing the cost of printing so that marketing departments can reinvest the savings back into their marketing campaigns. I personally worked on this account because I was interested in seeing what they did differently. In the end, I became as passionate about their business, as they became of ours. On top of that, they saved us 45% of our printing costs.
Today, I thought I would give the founder of this business, Mark Alioto a call to talk about what they do differently at ECM.
Like most entrepreneurs, I have failed more times than I have succeeded and every single time I have failed I have thought back to how I could have done things differently. 9 times out of 10, it was because I didn't trust my gut instinct.
Trusting in yourself and your intuition is important, but if you are anything like me, you second guess what you think you should do and find reasons as to why you should do something a different way. It's not too indifferent from taking a risk. We are all reluctant to take risks but sometimes there is this thing inside us that tells us that we must do it - even though there a thousand reasons why we shouldn't.
The Bond Street Group is a company that provides private and public institutions advice and support in enhancing outcomes through leadership, strategy, people and equity effectiveness. Their team is made up of senior professionals that have excelled in their given fields.
It was a big step for both of them to take to hire a marketing company as it isn't something that they had done before.
"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.
In just six short months, we have embarked on changing the mindsets of many small businesses in Atlanta, that have been pressured by the Global Financial Crisis and are reluctant to ease their way out and invest in marketing.
As we know, many companies that increased their investment in marketing during this period grew significantly. It's just like when everyone is walking one way and you are walking the other. You all of a sudden stand out and people take notice of you. If they like what they see, then you make connections.
The past few months, we have been working with one of the most impressive companies in the US - Accretive Solutions. They provide consulting, staffing and outsourcing solutions to companies and have 11 offices throughout the country.
What impresses me most about Accretive Solutions is their people. If you ask any of their clients, they all say that it's their people that set Accretive Solutions apart from competitors. They don't hire juniors, and instead invest in people with experience and passion for doing challenging, interesting work.
My friends keep telling me that "life begins at 40". To be brutally honest, I am not so sure. How can someone think that is the case, when in your 20's you made all your mistakes but had the time of your life. In your 30's, you made some more, but they were far more manageable and life was pretty good. You had more money than in your 20's, more experience and had fewer issues. You felt as though you were more comfortable in your own skin and you came to terms with your flaws.
Then you started approaching 40. Somehow everything went back a few steps. Firstly, just when you thought you were comfortable in your own skin, you realized that there were a few things you wanted to change. For instance, your appearance. Do those wrinkles really belong to you? Have your eyebrows really drooped that much? Are your boobs really that saggy?