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.

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?

Handling Work Conversations With Family and Friends

lamb roastImagine this scenario:  Jenny and Bill had 15 people for dinner at their place recently to celebrate Christmas in July. Jenny was busy with preparations for weeks leading up to the event and Bill was determined to get the house and yard looking great – as well as cooking his famous roast lamb.

The guests began to arrive and Bill was pouring champagne. It had been a busy start to the year for him and Jenny had started a new job, so it was great to have time to stop and catch up with everyone.

‘How’s the business going Bill?’ each guest would ask in turn.

‘Pretty good – busy,’ Bill would respond.

‘What about you Jenny? How’s the new job?’ they asked.

‘Fine,’ said Jenny. ‘I hit the ground running.’

And on they would move to the next topic.

Both Bill and Jenny missed a great marketing opportunity here.

Bill could have elaborated, ‘Our numbers were down after Christmas and New Year, so we launched a new software product that is particularly helpful for services providers like doctors, accountants, lawyers. Our new clients are really loving it. I’ll flick you an email next week in case you have any contacts that might be interested.’

Jenny might have said, ‘Yes I started as office manager for a local group of health practitioners. It’s a great bunch of really experienced and energetic physios, sports medicine specialists, a podiatrist and a nutritionist. The business is growing fast so my job is challenging, but in a good way. We’re looking for new premises soon because we’re running out of space.’

In just ten seconds, Bill and Jenny might have told their guests a lot more about their work which may even had generated some business, advice or assistance. You see among their guests were:

Harry – a real estate agent with back issues
Bella – returning to work at a law firm and wearing heels again was agony
Simone – an architect who recently ran her first marathon and is looking to do more
Stuart – a struggling artist from a family of medical specialists
Peter – an accountant who is looking to lose 25 kilos, starting tomorrow
Kate – has 1,200 friends on Facebook and 1,480 Linkedin connections.

Many people are reluctant or even embarrassed to tell their family and friends about work. They think no one will really understand what their do so they don’t bother explaining. They might not want to be seen to be ‘talking themselves up’ or ‘getting a big head’.  They might be concerned about conflicts of interest or jealousy. Maybe things are not going so well and they don’t want to worry people? Or perhaps they don’t want to think or talk about work in their down time?

But you just never know where and when you might come across mutually beneficial opportunities or a way to help each other out – professionally as well as personally.

Tell them your story in a quick, informative manner – you don’t want to be a bore. Then ask them about themselves until you have a clear picture of what they do and who they do it for.  It would feel great to be in a position to send some business to a mate or put a family member in contact with someone great.

Think about your recent gatherings with family or friends. Did anyone ask you about work? If not, why? If they did, how did you respond? Do you think your mother, or brother, or best friend could describe what you do for a living? If not, have a conversation soon so you can help share each other’s stories.