Can you tell our readers about your background?
I am originally from New Zealand which is an incredible country to call home. It’s beautiful scenery, multi-cultural cities and clean; green laid-back lifestyle is genuinely one-of-a-kind. I loved growing up in NZ but like all true ‘kiwis’ felt the pull to experience other parts of the world.
At 22, I left to travel the world, and after seven months of exploring, I settled in London to experience big city life. It captivated me, and I saw endless opportunities, it is where my entrepreneurial spirit came to life, and after moving around the corporate world in various financial institutions and then experiencing three redundancies in less than 12 months, I was driven towards the digital sector. It felt safe to me compared to some of the traditional fields I had worked into to date. I quickly saw how out-of-date the world of sales, finance, and property was and spent much of my time trying to convince the leadership teams around me to embrace this new world. By 2011, I had experienced many successes in this area and decided it was time for me to turn this into a business of my own. Brandlective now serves businesses across, the UK, USA, and Australia.
What inspired you to start your business?
I saw a gap in the market for a specific sector. They say 97% of businesses fail in their first five years and I think a big part of our survival has been delivering a service that speaks directly to a micro-niche. We are a digital marketing agency, and even though as an industry; digital is growing – it is a very saturated market. On top of that most businesses don’t know how to hire a digital marketing agency that is right for them.
I was inspired to start my business for these two reasons; firstly, I saw these were two industries failing to keep up with the need for digital marketing – Direct Sales & Property. As someone who worked in these industries, I could see exactly where they were going wrong and was able to create a very micro-niche marketing package to serve these sectors. Secondly, I could speak their language, I understand them inside out and could, therefore, present my agency as the best fit for their business. Being able to deliver a service that truly helps these businesses get the limelight they deserve and thrive online is what continues to inspire me.
What advice would you give to other female leaders about the best way to succeed in business?
The first point I’d like to make is it depends on what success means to you. I believe that it is essential to know that we each define success differently – so don’t feel the pressure to conform to someone’s definition of success.
Secondly, I think to be successful you need to understand people fundamentally. Succeeding financially in business requires the ability to adapt to changing market conditions, trends and perhaps most importantly public perceptions. To sell a product, lead a team or win a contract you must be able to listen and relate to people. We all understand the concept that customer must get to ‘know, like and trust before they will make a purchase decision and all of that comes down to how well do you understand your audience.
As women, it is crucial that we demonstrate more confidence in our ability to do this. By listening to your customer’s needs, wants and struggles, we can use that information to tailor an offering.
Most businesses that fail have developed a product or service and then try to sell it without listening or understanding the market. By understanding the pain points customers have and then building a solution for them you are far more likely to succeed. The same principles apply to leading a team, understanding how each team member processes information, reacts to changing conditions, manages their time and reacts to criticism can help you to adapt your leadership approach. So, the takeaway for female leaders who want to be successful is to learn more about people – invest in understanding psychometrics and what people need from you and use that information to carve out the best strategy for you.
What does ‘thriving’ mean to you?
Surviving is not enough for me – it feels like only just keeping my head above water. To thrive means to be successful in all areas of life. To live freely, to be happy, healthy and attracting positive experiences and opportunities directly to me. Thriving, of course, is not easy. It requires energy to be invested in our personal mental and physical wellbeing before we can consider focusing on business, financial, social and sustainable activities. I believe that as business leaders, only when we feel mentally and physically well are, we in a position to be able to thrive in other areas of our lives and create opportunities for those around us.
Do you feel a sense of responsibility to help others to thrive?
I suppose I do. I am still on this journey myself, so I don’t have it all figured out, but I think we should all feel a sense of responsibility to help others if we are in a position to do so. Just by being born and living in a 1st world country we are privileged, and I think that is an important thing to remember.
In 2017, my digital marketing agency committed to supporting the 2030 UN Sustainability goals. I have a special affinity to Goal 10: Reduce Inequality. I have worked with my team over the last 12 months to understand what sort of contributions we can make to help achieve this UN initiative by 2030. This led to the launch of our #1MillionDays campaign, where we plan to give 1 million days of human rights workers wages, education to disadvantaged children and access to basic living requirements such as food, shelter, and water by 2030.
Why does your agency focus on serving small-to-medium size enterprises?
It’s where we see the most significant uplift in successful marketing. Digital marketing has helped to level the playing field for all businesses. Before the internet, it was difficult for small companies to get the exposure they need to scale and become a household name. That is no longer the case – social media, podcasting, YouTube channels, and online media have changed the game and, in many ways, have made it easier for small-to-medium sized businesses to succeed.
A small to medium size business is roughly considered to be doing between $1million to $100 million in revenue. I love this size of business because they have proof of concept and require assistance scaling their inbound leads and brand positioning. I do also have a fondness for micro-businesses which is why I launched my podcast, and we have a membership website in the plan for 2019. These are both designed to offer support and advice to start-ups and micro-businesses.
What do you have planned for the next six months?
My book, Get Online: 6 simple steps to launching a digital marketing strategy for the non-tech savvy is launching in March 2019, so I will be kept busy with lots of speaking engagements, travel, and promotions around the launch.
Our #1MillionDays campaign is also high on our agenda at the moment as well as a growth strategy to ensure we can continue to serve our digital marketing services to more clients.
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