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?

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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.

Communication is Key for Kyneton Community & Learning Centre

The Kyneton Communication & Learning Centre, Mollison Street, Kyneton

The Kyneton Communication & Learning Centre, Mollison Street, Kyneton

I was a very proud Marketing Coach on Sunday when one of my clients, Kyneton Community & Learning Centre (KC&LC), celebrated their 25th anniversary with fun, food and music at a Community Open Day.

Kyneton is a thriving country town between Melbourne and Bendigo in regional Victoria. Kyneton Community & Learning Centre provides a range of services covering education, care and community services for participants of all ages from Kyneton and the wider district.

KC&LC has an amazing group of dedicated staff and volunteers who are doing an incredible job building the range of services on offer and delivering these services at the highest level of quality.

Everyone in the Kyneton community is welcome at the centre. Yet, research revealed that while 90% of residents in the Kyneton district were aware that KC&LC existed, only 10% of them had used the services provided.

I worked with the Committee of Management and staff earlier this year to put together a sustainable and manageable grassroots strategic communication plan to help them achieve their business goals in the short and long term. The challenge is to engage the community through effective communication to encourage greater and ongoing participation in the centre.

Creative kids won prizes for their art.

Creative kids won prizes for their art.

The upcoming 25 year anniversary was a perfect way to kick off the KC&LC communication campaign. Committee members and staff implemented each element of the communication plan which involved running a community art competition, organising lots of local promotion and publicity, gathering sponsorships from local businesses, all culminating in a Community Open Day where residents were welcomed, fed and entertained as they visited the centre – many for the first time.

This is the first phase in the ongoing implementation of the strategic communication plan for KC&LC. As a not-for-profit (NFP) organisation, we agreed on a model where I am a Marketing Coach – I drafted the plan in consultation with key stakeholders – but the implementation is the responsibility of nominated members of the KC&LC team. I am always available to answer questions and support them as the projects progress. And I was very happy to attend their party, eat a piece of birthday cake and celebrate all the work that has already been done. Well done team!

I look forward to more trips to KC&LC as future phases of the Strategic Communication Plan are put into place.

Do you know someone who would benefit from Marketing Coaching? This is a great way to get your marketing approach on track, without the need for expensive ongoing consulting fees or retainers. Contact Straight Shooter today for more information.