Kyneton Community & Learning Centre and Straight Shooter Introduce Marketing Course for Regional Businesses

A new course starting in July will help local business people in regional Victoria become more comfortable with marketing – a topic that has been identified as a key skill gap for businesses in the Macedon Ranges region.

Run through Kyneton Community and Learning Centre (KC&LC) and delivered by marketing consultant, Leah Taylor from Straight Shooter Marketing, the D.I.Y. Marketing course will give participants specific, realistic and achievable tools and techniques to market their businesses.

According to Leah Taylor, most business people recognise that they need to do some form of marketing, yet a full strength marketing program seems out of reach – particularly when resources and budgets are already stretched just getting the work done to deliver to customers.

“I’ve worked in marketing for 20 years in companies of all different shapes and sizes. Consistently, business people have said to me that they would like to do more marketing, but they are not confident that they have the skills or the time required,” she says.

“Simply put, marketing is telling and selling a compelling story about your business to the right people, at the right time and for the right reasons.”

“Great marketing doesn’t necessarily need to be costly, complex and time consuming, but it does take a steady commitment and clarity of purpose.”

The D.I.Y. Marketing course highlights that the same core skills that are necessary to be a successful business person can also be used to efficiently and effectively market a business.

Participants will be encouraged to work to their strengths first in order to build marketing momentum, then use those successes to push beyond their comfort zone to try new methods, including online marketing, that have the potential to produce great results.

According to Mary Hogarth, Centre Manager at KC&LC, the introduction of a marketing course for local businesses is a direct response to specific demand within the region.

The 2013 Macedon Ranges Business Survey identified Marketing (50%) and Social Media (38%) as the two most important topics sought for professional development workshops in the region.

“KC&LC aims to provide education and training programs that are relevant to the changing needs of our community,” Mary Hogarth says.

“The DIY Marketing course is a great example of a new program that will deliver support for local businesses where it is needed most.”

“Investing in this course will provide a great opportunity to review and refine objectives for yourself, your business, your customers and your community.”

D.I.Y. Marketing will run for four weeks starting from Thursday 31 July. It comprises a two hour session each week in the evening from 7pm-9pm at the Kyneton Community and Learning Centre, 34 Mollison Street, Kyneton. The Special Introductory Price for this course is $495. Spaces are limited. Go to www.kynetonclc.org.auor call (03) 5422 3433 to book your place.

For more information contact Leah Taylor, Straight Shooter Marketing on 0403 576 925 or email leah.taylor@straightshooter.com.au or Mary Hogarth, Kyneton Community & Learning Centre on kclc-manager@bigpond.com or call (03) 5422 3433.

Advertisements

Making Dreams Come True

Darren Rowse, ProBlogger

Darren Rowse, ProBlogger

Today’s post is a great video to help you get your dreams happening. It is a presentation by Darren Rowse from ProBlogger, delivered at the World Domination Summit held in Portland, Oregon in July this year.

First of all, how great is it that there is actually an event called the World Domination Summit? Looks and sounds like a terrific forum full of inspiration and ideas that I’ve placed on my wish list to attend some day.

I saw Darren Rowse speak at Clare Bowditch‘s Big Hearted Business Conference earlier this year and I’ve followed him on Twitter for some time (@problogger). As a new blogger, I’ve found Darren’s advice to be incredibly honest, practical and generous. His successful blogs and the communities he has fostered are amazing examples of what is possible. Darren proves that what goes around comes around – if you put great energy out into the world, the opportunities and positivity come right back to you.

So check out Darren’s thoughts on making dreams come true.

Please note: This video is almost 50 minutes long, so get yourself a cuppa and take some time out to imagine what is possible for you. And make sure you watch right to the end as Darren invites a very special guest on stage.

Thanks to Big Hearted Business for providing this link.

What can you do today to make your dreams come true?

Power Stories By Valerie Khoo

Valerie Khoo's book. Got to get a copy.

Valerie Khoo’s book. Got to get a copy.

This morning I was part of a webinar where writer, businesswoman and all round inspiration Valerie Khoo, challenged us to think about the way we use storytelling in our businesses.

I loved Valerie’s presentation because I am also a big fan of using stories as the basis of any marketing strategy. In fact, the work we do at Straight Shooter is based on our theory that ‘Marketing is telling – and selling – a compelling story to the right people, at the right time and for the right reasons.’

If you are interested in learning more about the types of stories you can develop for yourself and your business, check out Valerie’s book Power Stories: The 8 stories you MUST tell to build an epic business.

The webinar was run by the Australian Businesswomen’s Network. This organisation has terrific resources for businesses of all stages and sizes, with more webinars coming up soon.

Finally, Victoria’s Small Business Festival is underway with hundreds of events, exhibitions, competitions and ideas to choose from. Check out the program and book yourself in for some time to focus on you and your business.

Do you use storytelling in your business?

Does Your Marketing Plan Support Your Business Goals For The New Financial Year?

Leah Taylor is an accomplished marketing professional who helps people frame stories – about themselves, their careers and their companies – to set a marketing direction that makes sense and has a great chance of success.

Professional Services Marketing Experience

Leah has almost 20 years of experience advising and educating professionals to define and market their expertise. She has worked across industries including professional services, finance, not-for-profits and government.

Leah Taylor - Director Straight Shooter Marketing
Leah Taylor – Director
Straight Shooter Marketing

Leah has held senior marketing positions in these leading international and Australian organisations:

  •       Ernst & Young
  •       Baker & McKenzie
  •       Victorian Department of Justice
  •       Godfrey Pembroke Financial Planning
  •       McLean Delmo Accountants & Business Advisers

Services

Straight Shooter Marketing will help you assess your marketing and communication activity and set you on track to reach your goals.

  • Marketing Coaching is available for individuals or organisations that need a cost-effective plan and some ongoing guidance, but are happy to take responsibility for the implementation of marketing activities.
  • Marketing Consulting is offered to businesses that need campaigns and programs developed and project managed from beginning to end.

All of the services are delivered with specific and practical advice for maximising the return on your investment. In other words, the aim is to have you using all that you have learned so that your investment pays for itself many times over.

Contact

Leah can be contacted on 0403 576 925 or leah.taylor@straightshooter.com.au.

Why Straight Shooter?

Melbourne Business Center

Melbourne Business Center (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

For those of you who have ever named a business you may agree that if can be a very difficult thing to do. The company name is a key component of your brand, so you want it to be authentically representative what the business is offering. You want it to be original and clever enough to be memorable for your audience. And practically speaking, it needs to be available for corporate registration.I registered Straight Shooter as a business around ten years ago. My husband and I had just moved from Sydney to Melbourne with our 7 month old, first-born son. Starting a consulting business seemed like an obvious option for me. I felt I had the knowledge and the confidence to work with clients and began ticking off all the tasks required to start a small business.

Deciding on the name was the hardest task. Because the consultancy was all based around me and my experience, it was really important to get a name that reflected who I am and what I stand for. It took a few weeks of discussion. Over this time I did all the things I now recommend to clients.

I thought about my skills to come with a list of words to describe myself. I considered what I wanted to achieve with the business and how I wanted to be perceived by potential clients. I added more and more words to the list.

For interests sake, I thought about Leah Taylor Consulting – an obvious choice yet one giving no actual indication of what my clients should expect. This name was discarded as I felt I could do better.

Straight Shooter was on the shortlist as it captured things about me which I perceive as valuable – and I hoped others would too:
• I am compulsively honest
• I am not afraid to share my opinions based on my experience
• I believe that simple solutions that get to the heart of a matter have more chance of succeeding than plans based on convoluted theory and rhetoric.

Armed with my shortlist of options I began to test market my ideas. I spoke to family members and friends to determine their ideas about me and how these might be translated into a business name. There is certainly a risk in approaching family for comments and criticism of your ideas and I’m sure some families can be worse in than others. Of course you need to be prepared to wait a few minutes as your nearest and dearest take the ‘give me’ opportunity to highlight your best and worst characteristics – sometimes in a not so constructive manner. But in the end you should break through to get heartfelt and valuable words and ideas from those who know you best. Thankfully my experience was positive and the feedback I received was useful.

Finally in a conversation with my older brother, the name of my business was decided when – unprompted by me – he said he thought I was a straight shooter. I trusted that his opinion matched my gut feel on the name. I felt sure enough to move forward. I held my breath until the final ASIC searches confirmed that the name was available and that the registration process could begin.

So I was all ready to roll with Straight Shooter Marketing and Communication Pty Ltd. Until I was offered a new in-house Marketing role that was too good to refuse and I rejoined the corporate world, shelving the consulting business indefinitely.

So ten years on from its instigation the Straight Shooter story continues. The intervening decade has taught me so much more about marketing and how it can be applied for different individuals and businesses. I have so much more to share now.

Whether you are just starting out in business or are decades into your career, I’d welcome the opportunity to talk with you about your story – and perhaps even tell you a little more of mine.

Life can take you where you least expect it, but it certainly makes the big picture story much less predictable.

What do you think of the name Straight Shooter? Leave your comments below.

Learn to Love Marketing

If I told you that there was something you could do to build your business or your profile – every time and without exception – would you do it? Of course, the answer is marketing. Marketing is one thing that you can do to actively build your business or your profile. I suspect you already knew this, right?

Now if I said there was a way of marketing that you could do without going too far out of your comfort zone, would you believe me? If you’ve ever felt uncomfortable about marketing, you need to know that there is a better way. There are simple activities and habits you can apply that plays to your particular strengths and they will work.

There are a lot of businesses that simply do not do enough marketing and there are even more people who will do everything to avoid marketing. There are lots of reasons for this and throughout a twenty year professional services marketing career I think I have heard most of them.

Have you ever thought or said one of these?:
• I don’t know anything about marketing so I wouldn’t know where to start
• I don’t have time for marketing – I am too busy running my business
• We’ve tried marketing in the past but it never seemed to work
• We don’t need to do any marketing because we already have enough work coming in
• I can’t afford marketing. I don’t have a marketing budget
• I pay a marketing manager to do it for me
• Marketing is not the sort of thing we do in this industry. It’s just not the done thing
• I can’t charge back marketing time to my clients so I can’t justify doing it
• I did some marketing at the start of the year and I’ll do a bit more next year
• My customers can find me so that’s all that matters
• I’m just too busy. Marketing is not a priority in my business.

For a long time as an in-house Marketing Manager I pushed my internal clients to use traditional marketing methods. For a long time I asked my clients to trust me and let me prove that if we stuck to the marketing plan, the results would be clear. I employed all the tenacity and creativity in my Marketing Manager Bag of Tricks. I came up with great marketing programs that I knew would work, did all the legwork, rolled them out and asked for support from my colleagues who seemed very enthusiastic. But when it came time for them to step up and do their bit, things fell flat.

I could see that my clients were uncomfortable. There were times when I saw colleagues avert their eyes as I passed them in the corridor in case I asked them to do something marketing-related. Some were upfront and told me marketing was not their thing. Others made half-hearted attempts to do their bit just so I would tick them off my follow up list. In organisations big and small, only a very small number of clients ever went the full distance, did what was required of them and boosted me as I battled through from one campaign to the next. To them I will always be grateful.

I have been lucky to work with brilliant, educated people throughout my career – successful businesspeople that had achieved great things. Yet these same people were clearly put off by marketing. They weren’t being lazy or rude towards me, they just couldn’t bring themselves to do these tasks that made them feel so out of their depth. Even small things like making a call or setting up a meeting with their clients seemed an insurmountable step for some to take.

I knew there had to be a better way. So I’ve given up the daily fight to push traditional marketing to the masses. I’ve set up Straight Shooter to teach a better, more comfortable way to market.

Through Straight Shooter I can show you how Marketing can be practiced as a series of ongoing habits or behaviours. These habits can minimise the stress and eliminate the “hard sell” that so many professionals dread.

And through this blog I hope you will teach me. Leave a comment and tell me what is working for you or what isn’t.

So let’s start this journey together as we get our story straight and learn to love marketing.