April 8, 2020

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You know small businesses are suffering,

You know small businesses are suffering,

But how can You help? 

It’s no secret that COVID 19 is hurting many businesses here in New Zealand and all round the world.  Stuck at home in Alert Level 4 you may be wondering how you can do your bit.

Well, here are 8 ways that you and your smartphone can support your favourite local businesses from the comfort and safety of your couch. And they don’t have to cost you a cent! 

Get active on Social Media.

Hit up their Facebook, Instagram and Twitter pages and spread the engagement love. Many small businesses are doing their very best to get attention and will be posting regularly. If you are their customer then chances are that you are part of their target audiences and so are a lot of your friends. Your likes, comments and shares on their social media posts will help increase their brand awareness across your social network. Helping with the organic reach of pages will also help their promoted posts go further.

Get active on LinkedIn.

Again engaging with posts is very helpful but go a step or two further if you can. If you know individual business owners and contractors connect with their personal LinkedIn accounts and give them some endorsements to help boost their profile. Invite them to relevant LinkedIn groups you are active in. If you can use your professional network to help people make some connections, please do so. This is particularly helpful for the contractors, sole traders or employees of small and medium business who are on shaky ground in terms of job security.

Write reviews.

Smother your favourite businesses with review love. Facebook, Google, Yelp, Trip Advisor, there are loads of review options out there – just get typing! Customer testimonials are marketing gold for a small business (or any business for that matter) and they cost you nothing but a few minutes of time.

Give them content they can use.

Videos and photos of people enjoying their products is another form of marketing gold for small business. If you are comfortable letting them share your images/video this can be such a valuable tool. This works well for trades to especially if you happen to have before and after photos of the work they did for you.

Show Up.

Many trainers, performers and fitness instructors are doing online performances, classes, webinars or live Q & A sessions. Make sure you show up and get involved. Let them feel heard, make comments, add to the buzz around their live events. For many, trying to move their business online is pushing them way outside their comfort zone. They will be very grateful for the support that your presence offers them.

Buy Vouchers.

I know, I know I said this wouldn’t cost you a cent – let’s rephrase that to it won’t cost you a cent that you wouldn’t have spent anyway.

If you know anything about business finance you will know that bricks and mortar businesses are taking the biggest hit right now. Yes there is the government wage subsidy but many have massive overheads they are trying to cover with very little money coming through. Many are also doing their best to support their employees through this difficult time. Buying vouchers will give them some much needed cashflow and hopefully help prevent further job losses.

Got someone you love celebrating their birthday during lockdown? Buy them a voucher to use at their favourite local business once the lockdown is lifted. As a bonus you will be able to send the voucher to them on the actual day of their birthday without breaching any lockdown measures. Beats a pair of socks from the supermarket any day!

Planning a meal out to celebrate the lockdown being over? Buy a voucher for the restaurant now.

If the business doesn’t have their own obvious eCommerce platform set up for vouchers send them a message – I’m sure they will figure something out. There are a few sites like SOS Cafe popping up to help with this.

Order now – receive later.

Missing your favourite retailer and craving some non-essential stuff? If they are set up for it, shop in your favourite online stores now. Sure it won’t be sent till after lockdown, but you have the joy of knowing it will arrive eventually so fill that shopping cart!

Book Appointments.

Make sure your favourite service providers have work to come back to. Book in your haircuts/ spa treatments/ home improvements now.  Being able to forecast future work will allow these small businesses to get the right business strategy in place to carry them through the remainder of what will be a difficult year. Do keep in mind you may have to reschedule if the alert levels stay high.

Now I’m not saying that throwing out a few likes and shares is going to take the pressure off a struggling business, I’m not suggesting it is going to result in massive growth, but I promise you it will make a difference. If even a few of us care enough to make an effort to offer some not-so-random acts of kindness then we might just be able to give our favourite businesses a fighting chance.

Published by Kiri Mayers


April 8, 2020

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2 Experts give advice on COVID-19

2 Experts give advice on COVID-19

Your company’s marketing during the crisis

“Be kind to one another, think not only of yourself but of those around you.”

This message has been ringing loud and clear from all sources, most notably from our Prime Minister. In these uncertain times, consistent messages are comforting, giving us set of expectations which enable us to rally and support one another.

So, as business owners, how can we provide the same level of support to our customers who likely share the same sorts of anxieties we’re experiencing?

Lessons learned from marketing during the Global Financial Crisis

Research by the IPA (Institute of Practitioners in Advertising) UK after the GFC showed that businesses who continued to market during challenging economic times were able to pick up more quickly than those that chose to hibernate. The main findings were as follows:

  • Cutting budget in a downturn will only help maintain profits in the short term.
  • Ultimately the brand will emerge from the downturn weaker and much less profitable.
  • It is better to maintain SOV (share of voice) at or above SOM (share of market) during a downturn: the longer-term improvement in profitability is likely to greatly outweigh the short-term reduction.
  • If other brands are cutting budgets the longer-term benefit of maintaining SOV at or above SOM will be even greater.*

With the effect of Covid-19, a large number of businesses have been wondering what the best strategy would be right now and how to allocate their scarce resources wisely. Right now is NOT the time to slow your marketing efforts. Now is the time to tweak your marketing plans to gain more value and get out of the crisis and become even stronger. Here are a few things you should be doing to manage your company’s marketing during the crisis:

Keep marketing but adapt your tone

Continue marketing but adapt your messaging and your expectations to suit the times. Now more than anything, being “helpful” will be one of the best ways your business can support customers and build prospective customer lists for later, when customers are ready and able to move to the next stage in their relationship with you. Content creation that is empathetic and helpful is far more important than customer acquisition campaigns.
The last thing you want is to sound heartless, snobbish and money-driven. Do not use heavy sales techniques in order not to be criticised by your audience. Act with empathy, sincerity and spread some positive thinking.

Adapt the marketing channels you use to fit the current situation

With many of us in lockdown locally and overseas, we are searching for reliable information that will help us deal with a new Covid 19 environment. People are watching more videos, podcasts, taking up online educational courses to up-skill and reading content that directly answers their questions. Face to face has been replaced by facetime and live video streams for anything from professional services to exercise classes. Think about what you need to change to still be accessible to customers.

Use the right visuals

Think of all those people in isolation right now, and please do not use images of crowded places, people partying or at large gatherings. It just looks odd. We all know that our life will get back to normal, so inspire your audience instead. Mirroring the reality is great, and I love unique content, but do it in a bright and light way.

Expand your audience

Think of your audience as being connected right now even more than ever. They gather information every minute. You, as a business, can benefit greatly by a huge number of people being available online much more than ever. With the right communication techniques, you have the potential to grow your audience and gain not only followers but brand advocates.

Make sure you can be found

Now, more than ever it’s important for your business to be found through Google Search. Make sure your website is optimised. An SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) Audit can identify where there are gaps and how you can rectify them yourself or by using a specialist. Use the time to update your content, load up the projects and case studies which reinforce the value you provide and update your keyword search terms into your page headings, content and meta descriptions. If you provide products or services to companies categorised as an essential service, make sure your content and meta descriptions are optimised so that they can find you, ensure your listings are up to date in online directories and that you link to reference websites they may be using to drive inbound traffic to your website.

Ask your customers what would help them right now?

Doing some informal research with your key customers will help you to keep connected with them and learn how best you can provide value and assistance. By making some subtle changes like making it easier to do business with you, or providing better training or customer support, you can demonstrate your willingness to adapt and serve your customers when they need it most.

Create value through online platforms

If you ever contemplated whether it was worth your business to go online, now is the time to put that in action. Provide valuable advice to your audience, create programs, launch apps, i.e. add more value! We see numerous examples of businesses creating value through providing exercise programs, distance learning, online courses and others.

Offer value

Look at your offer as it stands today. Is there anything you can add in that would help your customers right now? Can you offer existing customers a free month’s extension on a contract or service you provide to keep them on board? Can you produce content that provides tips on how to get the most out of your product or service? If you provide a professional service, run online seminars about topics that are important to them and their businesses. Sharing your expertise through a seminar can be a great way to provide value, build customer loyalty and grow your list of prospective customers.

Get creative

Help communities, provide free advice and service, offer free delivery. Help those who are in need the most. A large chain pizza company offered free pizzas to the elderly population. How can you help the locals? Donations for goodie bags for health care workers are being created daily. No, you don’t have to be physically present somewhere right now but you can still help with a huge benefit for your business.

With COVID-19 marching around the planet, in the next few weeks, we are all going to be called to sacrifice something and it won’t be easy. However, you can make it easier for your business and your team to come out on this even stronger. Soon it will all be over, so let’s use the chance to learn and grow, here and now.

Even in unsettling times, small changes can make a difference. Keep calm and connected.

Published by Maria Albert & Maria Holic

* Source: Advertising in a Downturn- A report of Key Findings from an IPA Seminar.


March 11, 2020

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6 Steps to prepare your marketing for the Coronavirus

6 Steps to prepare your marketing for the Coronavirus

 

Over the last few weeks, our clients have been asking us for help to avoid a downturn in their business due to coronavirus. During any crisis its important to have a communications plan to explain to customers how your business will trade through the crisis, and give existing customers reassurance that you are managing any risks that might affect them. For small businesses in New Zealand, this can be hard to navigate, but there are steps you can take with your marketing campaigns that will ensure you emerge from the crisis stronger.

What could you do?

1) Develop a clear Campaign Message

Proactively contact your existing customers and explain to them how you might make changes to keep them safe. This can include protocols around the retail space or switching from face to face meetings to video conferencing. Make it clear that you have a plan for the business to continue through the crisis including how you will manage any servicing that would normally take place face to face or how you will manage stock of products that would normally be coming out of China or other affected countries. If you anticipate a shipping delay, be clear about your response to this and see if you can divert customers to another product line whilst you try to source products locally.

2) Focus on Digital Marketing

Improve your online marketing to ensure customers can still trade with you. If you have a retail store, consider improving your ease of use of your website, run an email marketing campaign to let customers know they can shop online, and consider including shipping costs to limit barriers to trading with you. Now is a great time to ensure your key words are adjusted for search engines so that you also pick up traffic that is looking for ways to purchase from you or your customers. Hand Sanitiser received 10,000 searches per day last week – and was the most searched for product on Google. Make sure Google knows where you are!

3) Use Social Media to your advantage

Be active on Social Media Marketing so that you remain top of mind for your customers, let them know you are still trading and remind them how to engage with you. People aged 35-55 years are still avid users of Facebook and Twitter, and are busy using these tools to keep up to date on covid-19 cases, so this is your opportunity to turn those eyeballs to your messages.

4) Innovate your offer

Necessity is the mother of invention. Now is the time to consider how you can change your products or services to respond to people’s need to stay inside. If you are a restaurant can you create an UberEats offer for your customers? If you are a beauty salon, perhaps you can offer automated subscriptions to your product ranges that are sent every month. If you are in travel, can you offer local trips or tours to customers not wanting to fly overseas? Can you help people to buy your goods or services by creating an online self-select tool that makes it easy for customers to say yes? Your loyal customer base may be willing to spend money with you on an alternative product or service so now is also the time to consider what business you are truly in, and whether there are any adjacent products or services that your customers could benefit from that they would be happy to buy from you. For example, if you are selling vehicles, could you offer a service to search for customers requirements from the comfort of their homes, instead of getting them out to look at your stock? Or can you move your business into finance or insurance from your customer base?

5) Consider your Sales Promotions

In the event of a short-lived dip in sales, a specific and targeted offer can be appropriate to ensure your business survives the mortality rate. Without resorting to price discounting, there are many other levers you can use to drive increased sales through offering product or service bundles, or rewarding customers who are demonstrating loyal behaviour. Make sure your marketing goals are clear around what you hope to happen with your promotion, and once the crisis is over, the campaign should be too. Reliance on offers and discounts is a sign that your marketing strategy may need a review.

6) Laying off staff

Before you consider laying off your staff due to a downturn, now is a great time to engage staff with other proactive tasks that will help you to grow, including contacting customers for market research, or training them in other skills such as creating content. There are lots of great training courses online that staff can do at home around content marketing whilst they are self isolating, or looking after family members in the event that school closures occur further down track.

Ultimately, it’s about having a marketing plan that is set to guide you through the crisis. We are offering FREE 30min video meetings with our marketing experts to help you create a marketing communications strategy that will ensure your business not only survives the Coronavirus crisis, but is able to thrive through it. To book, call 09 4761921 or start our FREE online Healthcheck now.

With the media focused firmly on public health, our focus is on ensuring your marketing efforts remain strong and healthy during the Coronavirus pandemic.

March 7, 2019

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Marketing your Assets

January 14, 2016

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Designing your Marketing

Designing to grow

Design thinking, or design planning is not a new approach for businesses.  However, a new wave of thinking is applying the processes that what we think of as creative designers and architects go through, to Business Planning.

How can Design help my business?

When a business is well thought through, there is a seamless beginning to end customer experience.  The information on the website clearly explains the product and where to buy it.  The directions are easy, or stores very accessible – and finding the product in store is easy too.

When you get it home, the usage instructions are easy to follow, and the product experience matches the idea you had about the product when you first discovered it, leaving you feeling – satisfied.

It sounds simple enough doesn’t it?  Yet many businesses struggle with ensuring all the elements of their company are designed to fit together.

Let’s use an example of Design around a brand proposition – such as Speed and Ease.

Bank A and Bank B both claim that working with them is fast and easy.

Bank A has developed an online portal for credit card approvals. They have spent time and money on a fully optimised website that they have researched for style approval with some customer focus groups. Everyone loves it! However, their back end processes required that a physical image of the applicants drivers licence is uploaded for approval, and 40% of applicants don’t have a scanner, or means of uploading this image – and another 15% don’t drive! Once the application is loaded, the senior manager has to run a credit check and offer approval.  Typically this is done in 3hrs, but it can take longer, especially if more questions are needed to be asked.

Bank B increases the number of branches it has around the country, by teaming up with a well known supermarket chain and setting up a desk in store which is manned by someone who has the authority to approve credit card limits on the spot.  The local person has a portal into Bank B’s server directly and a hot-line for approvals which are borderline or required additional spend.

Which company has applied Design thinking processes?  Initially, you would assume the Design-focused business is the one with the aesthetic website. However, it is Bank B who have looked through the problem and considered how their brand promise of ‘Speed and Ease’ works functionally in the market place with their customers. Everything from the customer enquiry process through to the approval has been designed both to maximise the opportunity for the bank to grow its business and for the customer to have an enjoyable experience that is in alignment with the Speed and Ease promise.

To be a great business and to find a growth spurt that out paces your competitors, apply the principles of Design Thinking strategy to your business.

January 14, 2016

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Designing your Marketing Strategy

Designing to grow

Design thinking, or design planning is not a new approach for businesses.  However, a new wave of thinking is applying the processes that what we think of as creative designers and architects go through, to Business Planning.

How can Design help my business?

When a business is well thought through, there is a seamless beginning to end customer experience.  The information on the website clearly explains the product and where to buy it.  The directions are easy, or stores very accessible – and finding the product in store is easy too.

When you get it home, the usage instructions are easy to follow, and the product experience matches the idea you had about the product when you first discovered it, leaving you feeling – satisfied.

It sounds simple enough doesn’t it?  Yet many businesses struggle with ensuring all the elements of their company are designed to fit together.

Let’s use an example of Design around a brand proposition – such as Speed and Ease.

Bank A and Bank B both claim that working with them is fast and easy.

Bank A has developed an online portal for credit card approvals. They have spent time and money on a fully optimised website that they have researched for style approval with some customer focus groups. Everyone loves it! However, their back end processes required that a physical image of the applicants drivers licence is uploaded for approval, and 40% of applicants don’t have a scanner, or means of uploading this image – and another 15% don’t drive! Once the application is loaded, the senior manager has to run a credit check and offer approval.  Typically this is done in 3hrs, but it can take longer, especially if more questions are needed to be asked.

Bank B increases the number of branches it has around the country, by teaming up with a well known supermarket chain and setting up a desk in store which is manned by someone who has the authority to approve credit card limits on the spot.  The local person has a portal into Bank B’s server directly and a hot-line for approvals which are borderline or required additional spend.

Which company has applied Design thinking processes?  Initially, you would assume the Design-focused business is the one with the aesthetic website. However, it is Bank B who have looked through the problem and considered how their brand promise of ‘Speed and Ease’ works functionally in the market place with their customers. Everything from the customer enquiry process through to the approval has been designed both to maximise the opportunity for the bank to grow its business and for the customer to have an enjoyable experience that is in alignment with the Speed and Ease promise.

To be a great business and to find a growth spurt that out paces your competitors, apply the principles of Design Thinking strategy to your business.

 

May 11, 2015

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The 3 Google Analytics metrics you must know

What are the most important Google Analytics metrics every SME should be checking?

being-found

Why use google analytics? Why wouldn’t you? Is a more appropriate question..Why would you put up a website onto the wide world of web and not want to know who is looking at it – when, and why? It amazes me how many small business owners invest in a website but fail to either install Google Analytics, or know what to look for, preferring to leave that magic in the hands of a digital or SEO expert.  Yet Analytics is a simple to install and simple to use tool that is essential for anyone hoping to use the web to connect with potential customers.

Analytics will be able to tell you hour by hour who is looking at your website, where they came from (is your social media or tv campaign working) which pages they came in to (great if you are running an Ad words campaign) and which pages switched them off.  You can see page by page which articles they took one look at and thought – yeah…nah.  Leaving you to update, edit or delete parts of your site that aren’t working and promote parts that are.

Is anyone going to your contact page?  Where did they go after that?  Did they submit an enquiry?

Google Analytics is FREE and although it is fairly easy to set up, to get the best out of this extremely useful and intuitive tool, you need to have a bit of in-depth knowledge and a little bit of time. There are plenty of self-help videos on YouTube that will teach you the basics and certainly enough for you to be able to make decisions like a CEO around what is working and what is not.

 

Just spending a little time learning how to work the intuitive user-tool will soon help you understand the interface, the different report sets and how to work with your site to make decisions on what to do next.  Like all good information though, it’s what you do with it that counts. There is a raft of information for the decisioning junkies amongst us, but if you are a typical time-starved owner of a growing business, there are a few metrics that you should have on your dashboard to keep the performance of your site on your radar.

It’s easy enough after a bit of practice to get sucked into the metrics and go back every day to see what has happened the night before. BUT if you are a beginner and just want to grasp the basics – here are the things you want to monitor.

1) Bounce Rates

This is pretty much the one metric to get to grips with asap – it tells you how ENGAGED people are with your site.  The bounce rate will tell you how many people took a quick look at your page and decided not to read it.  Ouch. If you are driving 500 people to your site a week at a cost of $2 per click, and your bounce rate is at 90%, I’m sorry to say that you just poured $900 straight down the toilet.  Check your bounce rates regularly and if they are higher than 50%, review your content and make some changes.  Bounce rates change by industry, and by the nature of your campaign and so it is hard to work out what an acceptable bounce rate is for you.  However, keep on top of this one and always aim to develop a message or site that engages with your target audience.  If you want help with that  – then it’s time to pick up the phone.

2)Visitors and Unique visitors

2nd on the list?  Well obviously it matters how many people are coming to your site each day, and how many of them are returning – how many come back on the same day and how many are brand new.  Analytics will tell you all of this, but what does it mean?  It doesn’t matter if 100 or 10K visitors are coming daily, if your bounce rate is at 100% it’s kinda useless information anyway.  However, assuming your visitors have something to read that motivates them into action, you’ll be wanting to ensure that your daily visitor numbers are going up. You want a nice healthy ratio between those coming back for 2nd and 3rd viewings (meaning they are moving along the sales cycle and increasing their engagement with your brand) and those who are brand new and wanting to be entertained by you.

3) Time on site & pages per visit

How long are people spending reading your stuff?  When crawlers are looking at your site they are making note of the amount of time the traffic they send is spending with you.  Like all good word of mouth people, the referring sites want to only send visitors to sites that will stimulate, engage, and answer the query that they put into their original search.  If your site shows that people are spending time on your site and then going to subsequent other pages, the crawlers and bots will have to assume that your site is valuable – and so will send more traffic your way.

If you are running a Google Adwords campaign, then you will want to look at acquisition tools to find out how your campaign is going, based on your key words and your criteria, and if you changed something on your site recently you may looking at sources, telling you where people are coming from, landing pages – which pages they came into (especially useful for campaigns from other media) and conversions if you have an e-commerce site.  But for now, master the basics and have a play around with your site and your off-site engagement campaigns to see what happens.  Before long, you will become a google analytics junkie too.

If you need help with this or any other aspects of your marketing, get in touch with the team today on 0800 GETMAX or see our plans for more info

 

 

April 10, 2015

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The top 5 mistakes most SMEs make with their marketing

Here’s how not to suck at marketing your small business

Open_SME

 

When you are a small business owner, your business can succeed or fail in a season and mistakes can be extremely costly.  Fortunately, if you know the things to avoid, you can plan ahead and make sure you don’t become one of the 50% of businesses who fail in their first two years of trading.

 

1) Believing everyone is a customer

When we ask a business ‘who is your customer?’ and the answer is ‘everyone’ then we know we are already in the red zone.  This just means you’ve not done the work to really understand who needs your product or service and why.  If you get this wrong and fail to identify the specific groups of people for whom your particular widget is essential and necessary, then you will be ever-pouring your advertising and promotional dollars straight down the drain.

2) Building a website

Building a website is the LAST thing you should do.  Really?  Most SME’s now know that in order to be found and trusted by potential customers, they need a website. Quite right. So they rush into making this the first thing that they put together. Unfortunately, if they have already fallen into trap 1) then the chances are they aren’t even directing this site to the right people – and will spend lots of money on the wrong thing. Also, businesses make the mistake of building a site that tells customers exactly what they are all about, instead of trying to understand ‘What would someone searching for a solution to X need to know in order to buy from me?  Build your website at the end of the process of knowing who you are talking to, what they want from you and how much they are prepared to pay for it.

3) Focus only on leads and not on conversion

Many businesses are so focused on getting new leads, that they forget all about the conversion process of the existing leads.  It’s all well and good to have a promotional campaign, but if you don’t contact those people who have engaged with your business within 24hrs, chances are you are pouring money down the drain again.  One client improved his business by 200% revenue in three months, just by putting in a telesales follow up call to the leads he had already generated.  If you are a B2C business (business to consumer) you need to work doubly hard to ensure that the customer experience is strong at the point of sale.

4) Taking the eye off the customer

It is easier to generate additional spend from a happy, existing customer than it is to find and build loyalty in a new customer. Happy customers will bring back friends, will willingly up-size and add-on. Happy customers will sing your praises and do the job of promoting your business cheaply and with more conviction than promotions can. Many businesses fail to really make an effort to treat their existing customers as if they were brand new customers – nurturing them, checking they are (still) happy and telling them about other existing and new products and services.  a reminder to an existing customer that you also can meet their X,Y and Z needs is 65% more likely to get a response than if you tried the approach on a brand new prospect.

5) Missing out the Call to Action (CTA)

What do you want me to do? Did you ever see a great advertisement and then realise there is no phone number?  Or visit a lovely website and come away without engaging with the company?  Customers mostly do what they are told to do – you need to plant in their minds exactly what it is that you expect them to do and make doing that process as EASY as possible.   If people are coming to your website, make sure you explain on each page what you expect them to do with the information they are receiving and tell them how, when and why to contact you (if this is what you want). KISS – Keep it Simple, Stupid. Make sure your message is easy to understand , easy to follow – and requires little effort on their part to do it.  Make some smaller steps to your main goal if it’s a big thing like driving out to see you, that will start the relationship with them in the right way right from the start.

 

MaxMarketing programmes are designed to help SME’s to make their businesses better with a few small steps. These actions can be the difference between staying in business and doing great in business – so find out more about how we can help your SME here.  You could even qualify for NZTE funding support if your business meets the programme’s criteria.

You can call today on 0800GETMAX or contact a strategist to get in touch for a 2hr free consultation and health check of your business.

Call today – office is open 7 days.

 

 

October 20, 2014

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Words are cheap. That’s what makes them valuable.

Luxor-649-Red-Finewriter-Ball-Pen_9000006622-300x257A successful film director once gave a piece of advice to aspiring filmmakers.

The gist of it was simple: you don’t have money but you do have words.

To put it another way – treat your time as a penniless outsider as an opportunity to hone and polish your script.

Don’t fret about lack of resources. Don’t turn your idea into a draft and then hawk that precious first draft around the industry as if it were the finished product. Instead, focus on making the script utterly compelling. Revise, rethink, polish and refine.

Read full article here

April 28, 2013

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A bit of small-business inspiration

It’s your marathon – run it!

People say to me starting a business is hard.

Starting a business isn’t hard at all – you get an idea, a shop and you put your clever hat on and you build a business. Starting a business is fun, it lifts your energy and you create something that is all your own.

Staying in business is the hard part. Once the creative piece is done, once you have your fabulous products and services and your doors are open and your friends and family have patted you on the back for a job well done, then the hard part begins.

Someone one said to me that running a business should be approached like a marathon, rather than a sprint. Having never moved my perfectly rounded self 42 kilometers in anything other than a car, I did have to speak to a qualified and experienced marathon runner to explain.

He said ‘You just keep going through the couple of km’s that is tough because the fatigue drops away, the pain disappears and then you are enjoying it again. You just push through it. It is a mental game more than anything – your mind controls how successful you are.’

I think the analogy is perfect. What keeps me going for my business is inspiration – the people on the sidelines shouting at me to push through the fatigue and get back to the exciting part of the journey again, or inspiring stories from people who had trodden that path before.

Of all those people, there could not be one more powerful for me than the late Steve Jobs. Here is what he says about being in business, and I hope it provides some inspiration for everyone at whatever stage of business they are in.

written by Louise Maxwell