I was not always a digital marketer. My first role out of uni was as a Personnel Officer with 500 staff in freshly built retail store in Bateau Bay on the NSW central coast.
In that role, I had the dubious honour of sacking Santa the week before Christmas (more went into his sack than came out). I also manually calculated and counted out wages for all my staff into little beige pay envelopes each and every week (this was pre-computers and direct credit banking); and recruited for every role from pastry cooks through to checkout operators.
Let me tell you a tale of three different business owners.
The Fabulous Creative – The first business owner is a highly talented designer that runs a creative business. While her business name was perfect when she first started her business, as the years progressed she found that the name felt like a tightly laced corset.
Ask small business owners why they started their own business, and in amongst the desire to make a difference or to deliver a better service for people, you will also find a hunger to have a better work/life balance or live an improved lifestyle.
My own journey into business had the same blend of reasons. In my early days as a single mum, traditional wages employment was simply not working in making the balancing act work. So, I went into small business.
I was wondering why one of my favourite long term clients had not paid their monthly invoice. Sometimes they were a few days late when things got busy for them, but this was out of the ordinary.
And then I opened the email from their accounts team.
“Gee they’ve got a great personality!”
When you first meet someone and get that magical “click” with them, often the first thing that you comment about is their personality. Yes, you may go on to rave about their looks or something funny that they said, but your first comment is about their personality.
Every business also has a personality (also known as your brand). People look at your business and are either attracted to the business personality or repelled by it. It’s what makes people want to find out more about what you offer and helps make people want to connect with you.
If you have the business equivalent of a great personality, then your business is heading down the fast track to a happy bank balance.
Are you a leaper or a planner? The first version of my small business came about after I had burned into a tiny frazzled husk from working in government. Pretty much any other option (including weapons check assistant for the zombie apocalypse) seemed like a good alternative.
I meant how hard could it be? You just think of an idea, register a name and head off into small business nirvana.
Nirvana turned out to be a bad 1990’s rock group, and the first iteration of my business self-destructed in a cloud of burned money and self-loathing. It was only marginally less memorable than the permanent exit of Nirvana’s frontman, Kurt Cobain.