Ep #22: How to get more visible in your market with Carole Bozkurt

In episode 22 of Micro Entrepreneur: the magic of thinking small, I had a great time talking with Carole Bozkurt – Founder of The Blueprint Practice. Carole is a visibility strategist, who along with her team, brings a breadth of knowledge and experience of global marketing to small business owners. They offer marketing, training, mentoring and practical strategies to ensure your business is visible in your market place and attracts all the clients you could ever want.

I believe every female business owner has the right to be fulfilled and financially rewarded by her business – and Blueprint Practice makes that happen.

Carole and I talked about how to get clear on what you need to do to attract your ideal client and how to create a roadmap to get more visible in your market.

This week’s guest

Carole Bozkurt is the founder and inspiration behind The Blueprint Practice. Carole has over 20 years of blue-chip marketing expertise including nine years spent at GHN (part of Penna Plc), the company that pioneered executive coaching in the UK. She headed up the marketing team at GHN and helped its coaches unlock their full potential in order to generate strong revenue streams, business growth and brand recognition. Prior to launching The Blueprint Practice, Carole led the European marketing arm of Towers Watson’s financial management division. She has worked with clients on global and niche projects sharing a common desire for marketing discipline, innovation and an in-depth understanding of how to plan and implement a marketing strategy that delivers business growth. – See more at on their website here.

What we covered in the show:

  • What a roadmap looks like for small business owners and micro-entrepreneurs
  • How to make sure your strategy works for your business and your life
  • The difference between spending too much or too little time in your business and how to be the most productive
  • Making yourself a priority – looking after your health and well-being for better results

Techniques you can use to build your visibility including the 4 pillars of:

  • Mindset & State
  • Strategy & Planning (including your lifestyle and business objectives)
  • Messaging – different messages for different situations and client stages, Brand values and aligning your tactics
  • Your Toolbox – choosing the tools that work best for your business

What to do if you are just starting out – how the desire to succeed trumps all!

You can find out more about Carole here

The Blueprint Practice

About the Podcast

The Micro Entrepreneur Podcast is your place to come and hear me talk about all things business for the micro business owner.  I speak with experts, authors and other micro business owners and what they are doing to build and grow a successful micro business.

Subscribe to the podcast

For Apple users, you can click here to subscribe on iTunes

For Android and Windows users, you can click here to subscribe via Stitcher

Like the show?  Please tell us on iTunes!

If you liked the show and found it valuable and you haven’t done so already I would really appreciate it if you took a minute to leave a quick rating or review of the podcast on iTunes by clicking on the link below!  It will open up itunes on your computer and you can leave a rating by clicking on the ratings and reviews tab. It would be extremely helpful if you like the show! Click here to leave a review for the podcast! It will only take a second

Ep #21: Supercharge your business with brand partnerships with Susie Burdekin

In episode 21 of Micro Entrepreneur: the magic of thinking small, I had a great time talking with Susie Burdekin from The Drill Company.  Drill is a fantastic business which works with both individuals and companies, and provides a combination of consulting and business coaching for the various stages of running a business; from foundations for start-ups to building teams, planning change and developing growth strategies and plans.

Susie and I talked about how using brand partnerships as a creative marketing device, can help small businesses and micro-entrepreneurs leverage and grow their business.

This week’s guest

Over the past 14 years Susie has worked within marketing and digital agencies helping global and niche brands such as Audi, BBC, Canon, Visa and Royal Albert Hall develop and implement ideas and strategies. Most recently she has been the joint Director of brand partnership agency, Cherry London, and helped take the business from start-up to a 30 strong, profitable, award-winning agency in under 4 years. Cherry is the fastest growing partnership marketing agency in the UK and currently Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) ‘Agency of the Year’.

She is also the Co-Founder for Commercial Break; a charity set up to help under-privileged young people get into the creative and communications industry. Also  a business mentor for the Prince’s Trust and Institute of Enterprise and Entrepreneurs IoEE.

As a qualified executive and business coach, she now specialises in helping people and small businesses get to the next level; whether that be to change direction, grow a team, increase profits and or work out where best to focus their time and energy to move the business forward. She also drinks a lot of tea and dreams of living by the sea.

What we covered in the show:

  • Why brand partnership still isn’t ‘well understood’
  • What it is and why you would enter into one (more bang for buck)
  • What it delivers and how two can achieve more than ‘one’
  • Examples of campaigns
  • How it works for small business
  • What happens when partners have different reach – what is the value exchange?
  • What ‘You give – we give’ means
  • The trust issue in brand partnerships
  • The spirit of partnership – can we work together?
  • Why it’s important to manage the expectations and rules of engagement – get agreement in a simple contract
  • What to look for in a partner?
  • What some of the biggest mistakes are that people make when entering into a brand partnership
  • How to track your results

You can find out more about Susie here

www.thedrillcompany.com

About the Podcast

The Micro Entrepreneur Podcast is your place to come and hear me talk about all things business for the micro business owner.  I speak with experts, authors and other micro business owners and what they are doing to build and grow a successful micro business.

Subscribe to the podcast

For Apple users, you can click here to subscribe on iTunes

For Android and Windows users, you can click here to subscribe via Stitcher

Like the show?  Please tell us on iTunes!

If you liked the show and found it valuable and you haven’t done so already I would really appreciate it if you took a minute to leave a quick rating or review of the podcast on iTunes by clicking on the link below!  It will open up itunes on your computer and you can leave a rating by clicking on the ratings and reviews tab. It would be extremely helpful if you like the show! Click here to leave a review for the podcast! It will only take a second

Balancing business and family – how do you do it?

It’s a challenge, no doubt about it. Children can be demanding, unpredictable and all-consuming. Come to think of it, so can a business.

If you’re growing a business and a family at the same time, sometimes it feels like there’s just not enough of you to go around.

It’s a learning curve for sure, and the more I work with different clients on this, and the more I deal with it in my own experience, the more I find that there is no one-size-fits-all perfect formula for balancing business and family. Some people find that strict boundaries work for them. Others will say that there’s no such thing as balance.

Different things work for different people. It really depends on your personality and preferences. Here are four different approaches I have identified. See which style suits you best.

The Organiser

Probably the most common approach we think of when it comes to balancing business and family is to “be more organised”, to set aside family time, have work scheduled in an orderly fashion, have boundaries and stick to them. It’s all sound advice, but some people definitely take to it more naturally than others.

The natural organiser loves to have things structured, well thought-out and planned. She likes to know what’s coming ahead and prefers to have a set routine, with distinctly separate times for work and family.

For the organiser, balance is a matter of equation. As long as her time, energy and attention is proportionately divided between each of her commitments, life is balanced, like a set of scales.

If you’re an organiser, your sense of balance depends on keeping things separate. You have high standards and like to be able to devote your full attention to each of your commitments in its own separate place and time. If two areas of life get blended together, you’re likely to get distracted, unfocused and frustrated.

Your less organised friends probably envy how your life runs like clockwork in comparison to theirs, but the tricky part comes when plans change. When the unexpected happens. When life refuses to fit into neat boxes. And life with kids can definitely be unpredictable! That’s when you can end up feeling frustrated and out of control.

Tips for the organiser

  • Build margin into your plans. It gives you room to manoeuvre when plans change, emergencies or unexpected glitches crop up, or our children (or our clients) decide to operate on a completely different timing!
  • Embrace opportunities to create new plans. There’s a great picture that went round Facebook recently that said “If Plan A didn’t work. The alphabet has 25 more letters. Stay cool.” As an organiser, your strength is in planning, so rather than despairing when things don’t go to plan, lean on your strength to plan around the changes. The fact that you’ve planned in the first place means you have a head start in rescheduling, and you’re not starting from square one.
  • Celebrate each achievement. Your high standards can lend themselves to perfectionism, and have you being quite critical of your achievements focusing more on what you haven’t achieved rather than what you have.

The Action Hero

You are direct, decisive and you love to get things done. You’re focused on results, so once you start something you want to see it through. You want to dive in and get on with it. In fact, when you have your eyes set on something, your determination and single-minded focus is really quite breathtaking.

You prefer to work spontaneously, rather than to a set routine. You’d rather go hell for leather than take it systematically and while you can see the logic for planning, you can get frustrated or bored if things get too structured. In fact you probably thrive on a bit of time pressure.

Taking action is not a problem for you. Stopping is.

Stopping and starting, switching your focus between family and work, can be really frustrating for you.

When you’re deep into a business project you might find it difficult to switch off, and even when you’re with your family you find you’re still thinking about your business. Your single-mindedness is a talent, but taken too far, your focus can become all-consuming.

Tips for the action hero

  • Work in bursts of action. Focus on high impact tasks that make up the overall project, so that you get a sense of completion every step of the way. This can help you to find more natural pauses to switch off, celebrate, reward yourself with some well earned time with your family.
  • Be equally intentional about your family time. When you get down to business you probably know exactly what you’re going to do, what impact it’s likely to have, and be raring to go. Get the same energy going with your family time by having some high action, high impact family fun together. The kind that you find yourself eagerly looking forward to and become fiercely protective of. Chances are, it will also fuel you with fresh energy and motivation when you get back to work too.
  • Do it your way. Design your business and your goals around what’s important to you – your family. Rather than keep them separate, and trying to split yourself between the two, keep your family central to the business goals that you set and how you go about achieving them.

The Juggler

Jugglers like to keep everyone happy. That’s why they would rather juggle than to drop a ball or put one down. In fact, they are more likely to pick up another ball than to put one down. If you’re a juggler you probably find it easier to say ‘yes’ than to say ‘no’.

You value relationships, so you always make time for your children, your clients and other people. The one thing you hate more than feeling time pressured is when someone you care about is feeling under pressure, so you often juggle your own commitments with helping others too. You get a great sense of satisfaction from helping people, even though you probably suspect you’re a bit too soft at times.

You’d much rather take things at a steady pace, so that you can have the best of both worlds – grow a business and a family at the same time. However, your reluctance to say ‘no’ can lead you to over-committing and becoming overwhelmed with responsibilities. And when something’s got to give, your own needs are often the first to go.

Tips for the juggler

  • Repeat after me “Let me have a think about it.” Rhythm is vital to a juggler. When something new comes up, give yourself time to decide how it will fit in with your existing rhythm, where it will fit within your busy schedule. Resist the urge to say ‘yes’ straight away. If something’s worth your help it’s worth your considered, thoughtful help – not just a reaction. And sometimes, for their sake and yours, it’s worth saying ‘no’.
  • Schedule in me time. If you’re the juggler, then the only person keeping all those balls in the air is you. If you fall, so does everything else. You can’t expect to disconnect from yourself and stay connected with everyone else, so take some time to look after you. Make it part of your regular rhythm, so that you can give from a place of plenty.
  • Ask for help. You know how much of a gift it is to be able to help someone else don’t you? Wouldn’t it be selfish of you not to let someone else have that gift once in a while? Having the wisdom and humility to be on the receiving end of help, can be just what you need sometimes to be able to continue helping others.

The Dancer

Dancers love movement and variety. These are our natural multi-taskers. They can’t help but get involved with lots of different things, involving lots of different people, often all on the same stage.

You’re at your best when you are passionate, expressive and creative. You get bogged down with too much structure and detail, preferring instead to go with the flow and live in the moment. In fact, if you were to try and achieve balance like an equation, you’d probably find that you’re forever tipping the scales one way, then running back to the other side to balance things out, putting your focus more on what you’re not doing than what you are.

As someone who values flexibility and freedom, the idea of putting things and people in boxes goes against the grain. You prefer to see things as inter-connected, looking for ways of doing things that benefit everyone – time spent on your business is time invested in providing for your family. Time spent with your family is time spent connecting with your motivation. Time spent on you refuels and recharges you to be the best mum and business owner and the best you that you can be.

Your idea of balance is more fluid and intuitive than measured. Life as a dancer can be pretty intense. There are times when you’re working hard, there are full on family days, days where you make it up as you go along, and everything in between. Trusting your intuition, adapting as you go along and being creative in designing family life and business around what’s important to you, are some of the fundamental steps in mastering the dance.

Tips for a dancer

  • Blend rhythm and variety. Every dance needs a beat, so don’t be afraid to build in some regular rhythm, with lots of room to be flexible. It can help to set a pace, maintain momentum and give you the freedom to invent new steps rather than constantly reinvent old ones.
  • Embrace the beauty of simplicity. Sometimes creative, impulsive multi-taskers can get carried away and make things far more complicated than they need to be. Take the time to step back, strip away all the trimmings and get to the core of what you’re doing to restore your clarity.
  • Invite others to dance. Let’s face it, it’s much more fun. Your enthusiasm, energy and natural way with people can bring many projects and collaborations to life, while allowing you to draw on other people’s strengths and style, rather than try and be an all-rounder yourself.

Which of these styles resonate with you?

Are you an organiser, action hero, juggler or dancer? How do you balance business and family?
Let us know in the comments below – we’d love to hear from you.

 

Ep #20: Small business SEO with Tom Jeffs

In episode 20 of Micro Entrepreneur: the magic of thinking small, I had a great time talking with Tom Jeffs from Lucidica, a fantastic small business IT support company based in London. Tom and I talked a lot about how to get higher up the Google rankings, the importance of content marketing and how to get started, simple tips and tricks to improve your SEO on your website.

This week’s guest

Tom Jeffs is a technologist and entrepreneur, is the CTO for a number of companies and is the founder of Lucidica – The IT Department for Small Business. Lucidica offer all kinds of IT support from social media, website design to setting up IT systems for small businesses.

What we covered in the show:

Tom has managed to get his business to the top of Google for his number one key word term IT Support London. This is worth over £600,000 to his business. In this episode of MicroEntrepreneur Tom shares with us some of his tips and strategies for getting to the top of Google

You can find out more about Tom and Lucidica here

http://www.lucidica.com

About the Podcast

The Micro Entrepreneur Podcast is your place to come and hear me talk about all things business for the micro business owner.  I speak with experts, authors and other micro business owners and what they are doing to build and grow a successful micro business.

Like the show?  Please tell us on iTunes!

If you liked the show and found it valuable and you haven’t done so already I would really appreciate it if you took a minute to leave a quick rating or review of the podcast on iTunes by clicking on the link below!  It will open up itunes on your computer and you can leave a rating by clicking on the ratings and reviews tab. It would be extremely helpful if you like the show!

Click here to leave a review for the podcast! It will only take a second

 

Ep #19: Getting your product ideas out into the market with Sam Fountain

In episode 19 of Micro Entrepreneur: the magic of thinking small, I always love talking with smart business women and Sam Fountain is one of those.  She is the inventor of the Shewee, an amazing product that was born out of frustration and spotting an opportunity in the market.

This week’s guest

Sam Fountain is an inventor, a mother and a very smart business woman.  Starting from nothing, she has managed to carve out a market and dominate a niche with a very unusual product.  If you’ve not hear of the Shewee before, it’s a small plastic device, like a funnel, which allows ladies to go for a very discreet wee, standing up or sitting down and without taking any of their clothes off. Effectively allowing us to wee standing up!  It’s great for women at festivals doing outdoorsy activities or even when you are stuck in a traffic jam… though according to Sam, it’s best not to use it pointing up hill (top tip there ladies!).

What we covered in the show:

Sam’s entrepreneurial journey including –

  • The importance of choosing  your mentors and advisors wisely
  • Don’t be afraid to give away equity if it is going to accelerate your business
  • What it was really like facing the Dragons in the Den
  • Why you shouldn’t be worried about big companies stealing your ideas
  • Why you need to get your your ego out of the way to be successful
  • The importance of staying on top of your numbers and creating a business plan
  • How to sell your product on Amazon

Great Quote

“You have got to look at your accounts at least once a month, even if someone else is doing it, because its stupid if you don’t.”

You can find out more about Sam and the Shewee here

http://www.shewee.com

About the Podcast

The Micro Entrepreneur Podcast is your place to come and hear me talk about all things business for the micro business owner.  I speak with experts, authors and other micro business owners and what they are doing to build and grow a successful micro business.

Like the show?  Please tell us on iTunes!

If you liked the show and found it valuable and you haven’t done so already I would really appreciate it if you took a minute to leave a quick rating or review of the podcast on iTunes by clicking on the link below!  It will open up itunes on your computer and you can leave a rating by clicking on the ratings and reviews tab. It would be extremely helpful if you like the show!

Click here to leave a review for the podcast! It will only take a second

 

Ep #18 How to become a game changer with Karen Darby

In episode 18 of Micro Entrepreneur: the magic of thinking small, I had a great time speaking with millionaire Karen Darby, Serial Entrepreneur and Pioneer .

This week’s guest

Karen is the founder of the exciting crowd funding site Crowd Mission which help social and ethical businesses get crowd funding for their new business. It’s a really exciting way to get initial finance for your business… to see how their crowd funding works, check out one of Crowd Mission’s current crowd funding projects Big Blue Cuddle here.

At the age of just 22, Karen became a young entrepreneur. She set up one of the country’s first telemarketing companies, the Decisions Group, now part of Sitel. Within seven years the company had more than 200 staff and sales in excess of £4m.

By 1990, she had decided it was time for a new challenge.  She sold her share of the company and set up her second business, a firm providing training for call-centre staff; Karen Darby Direct. With two young sons and working from home, Karen became a “mumpreneur”. She personally trained hundreds of people in the call centre industry and for many it was a life changing experience. In fact, many champions were raised in ‘Karen’s Stable’, several of whom have gone on to set up their own highly successful businesses.

In 2003, Karen launched her third and most successful venture, SimplySwitch, a price comparison service. She secured venture capital funding from Bridges Community Ventures, which was subject to the business meeting certain social criteria such as being based in one of the most deprived areas of the UK. Initially launched as Simply Energy Ltd offering consumers a free and impartial switching service for gas and electricity, it quickly extended its portfolio of products to include home phone, mobile, broadband and a range of financial products and was re-branded SimplySwitch. The company created over 100 jobs and helped thousands of consumers save over £20m on their household bills. In August 2006 Karen sold SimplySwitch to the Daily Mail for £22m.

What we covered in the show:

Karen’s entrepreneurial journey including –

  • How she sees the trends and rides the wave, rather than swimming against the tide
  • How putting a proposition together that’s easy to understand and addressing a specific need is a no-brainer
  • Why selling is simply giving the people an opportunity to buy what they need, and why selling is a noble art and an essential skill
  • Why you need to be able to embrace failure as a business owner and get out of your comfort zone
  • Why clients need to hear you ‘passion’ not your ‘technique’
  • How being a success is about living it on ‘your own terms’
  • Her experience of VC’s and why you need to be careful who you partner with and how much control you give over
  • Her latest venture Crowd Mission – creating a financial and social return that benefits society

Great Quote

‘Our future life is in the hands of entrepreneurs, scientists and game changers and if you aren’t one of those for goodness sake back someone who is!”

Links

CrowdMission

SKY – Crowd Box TV (see exciting pitches from entrepreneurs)

Contact Karen

About the Podcast

The Micro Entrepreneur Podcast is your place to come and hear me talk about all things business for the micro business owner.  I speak with experts, authors and other micro business owners and what they are doing to build and grow a successful micro business.

Like the show?  Please tell us on iTunes!

If you liked the show and found it valuable and you haven’t done so already I would really appreciate it if you took a minute to leave a quick rating or review of the podcast on iTunes by clicking on the link below!  It will open up itunes on your computer and you can leave a rating by clicking on the ratings and reviews tab. It would be extremely helpful if you like the show!

Click here to leave a review for the podcast! It will only take a second

 

Ep #17 The 7 F’s to Fine Tune Your Business with Rick Lowe

In episode 17 of Micro Entrepreneur: the magic of thinking small, I had a great time speaking with Rick Lowe, a speaker I heard recently talking about the 7 F’s To Fine Tune Your Business. He presented 3 of the F’s and I was hungry to learn more about the rest. So I invited him to come on the show and spill the beans!

This week’s guest

Rick Lowe is Joint MD at Brands In Limited and MD of Joystick Junkies and has an enviable client list including EA Games, River Island, Next, Topshop and Topman.  Rick developed his fashion and lifestyle brand called Joystick Junkies and took the brand from making ‘dodgy’ tee shirts to becoming fully fledged fashion brand, sold in retail stores across Europe and the USA. He raised both private and bank finance to fuel the growth, as well as built a team of talent to drive the enterprise forward.

What we covered in the show:

We looked at the game changers – what you can apply in the modern business world and manage the shifting sands

And the 7 F’s including:

  • Fearlessness and why you need it
  • Focus and mindset
  • Fast – you need to keep moving
  • Flexible – is the best approach
  • Failure – why you need to look for the lessons
  • Fuel and fitness for the body and the mind
  • Freedom – financial, spiritual, creative – it needs to be enjoyable

Contact Rick at…

rick@joystickjunkies.com

https://twitter.com/ricklowe99

Great Quote

Rick’s favourite quote –

‘Wisdom is avoiding all thoughts that weaken you’ – Dr Wayne Dyer

About the Podcast

The Micro Entrepreneur Podcast is your place to come and hear me talk about all things business for the micro business owner.  I speak with experts, authors and other micro business owners and what they are doing to build and grow a successful micro business.

Like the show?  Please tell us on iTunes!

If you liked the show and found it valuable and you haven’t done so already I would really appreciate it if you took a minute to leave a quick rating or review of the podcast on iTunes by clicking on the link below!  It will open up itunes on your computer and you can leave a rating by clicking on the ratings and reviews tab. It would be extremely helpful if you like the show!

Click here to leave a review for the podcast! It will only take a second

 

Ep #16 Smart tactics for hiring freelancers – MicroEntrepreneur

In episode 16 of Micro Entrepreneur: the magic of thinking small, I had a great time speaking with Annabel Kaye. Annabel is a speaker, consultant and trainer with expertise in employment law and structuring profitable relationships in the workplace.

This week’s guest

Annabel is the Director of Irenicon Ltd. Founded in 1980, Irenicon helps employers make employment law work for them.  ‘We were always a mixed disciplinary practice – something quite revolutionary at the time.’ says Annabel.

Over the years Irenicon have worked with some wonderful organisations, pushing the boundaries of how employment law can really be made to work without restricting the flow of the organisation. They continue to offer creative and tactical support to clients, who contact them for as little as three minutes of advice.

‘During 2009 we had some heartbreaking calls from organisations who really needed our help but couldn’t afford our services. We looked at ways of providing the service we take so much pride in, in a cheaper way. We didn’t want to hire cheaper employees with less experience, or dumb down what we do.  We didn’t want to make you buy manuals, read lots of paperwork or follow our ‘rules’ and policies. We  created a KoffeeKlatch where we can offer fixed price support and enable groups of clients with common problems to club together to share the cost. So now you can chose – a full service Irenicon proposition working up to the standard you specify, or a budget KoffeeKlatch option where you stay in control of your costs!’

What we covered in the show:

  • Major challenges with working with freelancers
  • Pitfalls of working with family and friends and how to maintain boundaries and put agreements in place
  • The importance of giving a specific brief to your freelancers – Give them what they need to get the job done not what you think they need
  • What to consider when recruiting your first few team members
  • Managing the freelance relationship

Useful links

http://irenicon.co.uk/

http://koffeeklatch.co.uk/

http://balancingthebump.com/

http://irenicon.wordpress.com

Great Quote

‘From managing volunteers, to freelancers, to family members, professional practises, or corporates – you can’t just take what works in one and place it in the other and expect it to work’

About the Podcast

The Micro Entrepreneur Podcast is your place to come and hear me talk about all things business for the micro business owner.  I speak with experts, authors and other micro business owners and what they are doing to build and grow a successful micro business.

Like the show?  Please tell us on iTunes!

If you liked the show and found it valuable and you haven’t done so already I would really appreciate it if you took a minute to leave a quick rating or review of the podcast on iTunes by clicking on the link below!  It will open up itunes on your computer and you can leave a rating by clicking on the ratings and reviews tab. It would be extremely helpful if you like the show!

Click here to leave a review for the podcast! It will only take a second

 

Ep #15 How to dominate a market with the founders of Jing Massage – MicroEntrepreneur Podcast

In episode 15 of Micro Entrepreneur: the magic of thinking small, I had an absolute blast speaking with co-founders, Rachel Fairweather and Meghan Mari of Jing Massage. It’s a double shot of energy as these 2 wonderful ladies have such a strong business model and a powerful business that’s achieved amazing results. And today we’re going to find out how they have been able to dominate their market and give you plenty of tips and advice on how you can too!

This week’s guest

About Jing

Jing was founded in 2003 by directors, Rachel Fairweather and Meghan Mari, who met in New York City while working as massage therapists. Both Rachel and Meghan have extensive experience in teaching, community development and business and between them have more than 30 years experience in the massage industry working as advanced therapists and trainers.

Their aim was to start a revolution in the massage therapy in the UK and provide the type of advanced massage training available in other countries such as the USA.

Ten years on they now offer over 30 CPD courses and several longer advanced postgraduate qualifications including their acclaimed degree level BTEC level 6 in advanced clinical and sports massage. Rachel and Meghan are sought after guest lecturers for institutions such as the International Dermal Institute and the FHT, write regularly for professional trade magazines including Choice Health and Wellbeing, and annually contribute to a large workshop programme at the CAM Expo tradeshow. Their student body is ever growing and expanding and they have trained over three and half thousand students.

What we covered in the show:

We started out by talking about how Jing came about and then moved on to cover:

  • How they built their Institute by building out from workshops and courses (starting in their own home!)
  • How they wrote their own degree level course
  • How they ‘created’ their own market by being ahead of the curve
  • Why passion and joy are part of their business model
  • Why they work in collaboration to create a bigger pie to share and work with other like-minded people
  • How they had a vision not a plan
  • How they built customer delight one step at a time
  • How they went where they were invited and grew their network and always showed up, with energy!
  • How organic demand grew their business
  • Why quality always comes first!
  • How they learned to manage change
  • How they built their business within their means without being owned by investors
  • How they kept income coming in whilst they were building their business
  • Why investing in yourself is important – “Jing built Jing”
  • Why they are more ‘inspired’ ten years on than they were in the beginning
  • How they honour how much their students give up, in order to study with them
  • How the web is intrinsically a ‘female’ business model
  • Why passion is your USP

Useful links

Jing Website

Great Quote

“We’ve both always been really interested in working with people (especially from disadvantaged backgrounds) so the next step into a business was quite a natural progression because we’d already been doing the work out in the community anyway…”

“How do you dominate a market”… For women it’s all about being passionate about what you do!”

About the Podcast

The Micro Entrepreneur Podcast is your place to come and hear me talk about all things business for the micro business owner.  I speak with experts, authors and other micro business owners and what they are doing to build and grow a successful micro business.

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So you want to be a billion dollar brand?

Do you dream of being the biggest name in your industry? Let’s be honest, don’t we all? But creating a successful brand takes time and hard dollar investment and you have to be able to back it up with a great product or service. When you look at successful brands like Apple, how excited do you get about buying the latest iPad or iPhone? How sure are you that the next time you drink Coca-Cola it will taste exactly the same as it did before?  Are you certain, every single time you shop at John Lewis that you’re “Never Knowingly Undersold”? Most of us are pretty sure about how we feel about these brands and the experience we receive when engaging with them. What do you think would happen if you took the key ingredients these giant brands use to create their success and apply them to your business? This article looks at three of the activities these companies focus on; apply them to your business and watch it eclipse the competition.

1.       It’s time to get personal

As consumers of products and services we tend to have an emotional response to the brands we like. Although there is no formula for edging your way into the warm embrace of your customer, people connect to the brands with human characteristics. Ever noticed how often Richard Branson appears in Virgin’s TV adverts? I’d suggest it might have more to do with the fact that he’s seen as the peoples’ champion rather than the figure head of a global business and like all knights in shining armour you want to see them as much as possible. Connecting with your customers is vital in creating a successful brand. Face-to-face meetings are the best way to cultivate lasting relationships as it helps to build trust and forge strong partnerships. However, if this is not a viable option then you need to make sure you connect with your customers in other ways on a regular basis.  Amazon is a great example of a company that remains on the whole faceless to the outside world but provides a service that builds strong and loyal relationships with their customers.  For example, they help their customers to make decisions through book recommendations eg people who brought this book also brought this one. Amazon allows people to write reviews about the books they’ve read and rate them, they send out feedback forms asking you to tell them about the Amazon experience you received.  The bottom line is you need to get up close and personal with your customers and connect with them on a regular basis. The more you connect the stronger the relationship will become because it tells your customer that you are interested in them and that they matter.

 

2.       Making your message as clear as water

The one thing the giant brands do really well is they are very clear about what they are offering and what they want to be known for. You don’t have to be a conglomerate to apply this to your business. The biggest brands recognise that mass appeal is no longer a viable strategy today; everything is about having a niche. Laser focusing and targeting your efforts means your energy and hard dollar expenditure is concentrated on a group of people that will hopefully overtime become loyal followers and customers. Apple is one of the most successful brands that do this well.  Apple’s products are smart, sleek and they have the added benefit of having the cool factor; they are also one of the largest music retailers in the world. The word that springs to mind when thinking about their products is ‘Revolutionary’. Other firms make similar (if not better) products but look at the Apple devotees queuing round the block to buy the latest gadget and hi-fiving each-other on the way out. Why? Because they know what they’re getting from Apple; they’ve already bought in to the brand. Small business can apply the same strategy. Create some time and sit down with one or two of your trusted business friends and get clear on what your business is about. Get them to ask you the difficult and challenging questions you may not ask yourself.  A tool to help with your thinking is a messaging map/grid. The map focuses on one single key message for a single product with supporting attributes. The grid takes it a bit further and looks at the different target audiences for your products/services and identifies how the message differs for different groups.

The most important element is defining your “sweet-spot”. This is the factor that makes your brand memorable. Like John Lewis it might be customer service? Could it be like Ikea and the flatpack revolution? Your sweet-spot might be something that only applies to you and your business but like those of other brands it will be the thing that makes you stand out and makes sure that when they are looking for a service, they call you rather than your competitor.

 

3.       Living up to your promise

FedEx is one of the world’s largest express transportation companies, they recognise that their business is more than just about delivering something from A to B. Reliability is a key element of their brand promise, however, they understand and appreciate that it’s about delivering items that matter to people; like their customers’ treasures, livelihoods, an important business document. As a result they have been able to elevate their brand in the eyes of their customers. So what can small businesses learn from a global organisation such as FedEx.

  • Make a promise your customers aren’t expecting. Speed and delivery are probably a given for all express transportation companies. FedEx focuses on the ‘We understand’ campaign and as a result they’ve been able to give their brand more prominence in the market place.
  • Make your benefits clear. Why should your customers work with you rather than someone else? When you are clear about them wrap your brand promise around these key benefits.
  • Make your brand promises short, simple and direct; Volvo ‘Safety’, Apple ‘Revolutionary’, Facebook ‘Staying connected’. They are simple statements that are embedded in everything they do.
  • Make your brand consistent. From products and services, strategy and execution, consistency needs to reach all corners of the business. If you are not consistent you will lose credibility, you will look confused and vague to your clients and the impression you will leave them with is that you haven’t been in business very long.

The fact that you’re small is no bad thing but if you want to be big, then you have to start thinking big. Big brands and big companies can teach the small start-ups a lot. Yes, they might have more money and resources to play with. Yes, they might have offices all over the globe and the numbers of the world’s most important people in the mobiles. But even Steve Jobs started out of his garage. Brands have to start somewhere and sometimes it’s worth pointing our gaze in the direction we want to travel and if we want to be bigger, than that’s up. The brand principles the biggest firms stick to can be adapted whatever the business. If you want to stay small then stay on the side-lines. If you want to grow then you have to get into the game and start playing; it’s the only way to succeed.