Celebrating Small Business Champion Female Leaders Who #ChooseToChallenge
In this episode, we hear from our very special panel of guests…
- Marvellous Michelle Dall’Ava – Victoria Tourism Industry Council
- Sensational Serena Eldridge – Grampians Tourism
- Superstar Susan Maynard – Connect Tourism
- Charismatic Kerrin Wallace – Left Bank Design
- Fabulous Fabienne Wintle – Tourism Tribe / Navii
- How these women and businesses have been supporting their communities pre, during and post-pandemic.
- Insight into the Trials and tribulations that has devastated the hospitality and tourism industry.
- Marketing and digital advice from experts.
- The top 3 non-negotiable must-haves on any small business website
- and so much more!
Despina Karatzias 0:20
And Top of the morning to you welcome, everybody to our digital discovery show. My name is Despina Karatzias, I am the proud GM / chief navigator here at Tourism Tribe and Navii. And it is my pleasure to welcome you here today to the digital discovery show, which is a show that is really all about the digital transformation of our Australian small business communities. That is brought to you by Tourism Tribe and Novi digital is speak speaking of supporting of small business community communities around Australia. This episode is in honour of International Women’s Day that is coming up on Monday, the eighth of March. And we wanted to invite a panel discussion here today. So it is our inaugural virtual Women’s Day event. And I’m so excited to present to you some leading ladies that are real champions of small businesses in their regions, destinations states, and also this wonderful country about. So we’ve had the pleasure and I know with some of the women that you’re about to meet I’ve had the pleasure of working closely with for over some time now. And what is definitely a glue that unites everyone that you’ll meet today is that they’re fiercely passionate advocates, advocates of small business of tourism of destination placemaking. And it’s a pleasure for me to introduce you one by one. We have the marvellous Michel de lava from the Victoria tourism industry Council. We have sensational Serena outreach from the Grampians tourism. We also have superstar Susan Maynard from Connect tourism. Welcome to you, Susan. We have the charismatic Karen Wallace. Design. And last but not least, we have there’s only one word for Fabie. And it’s fabulous Fabienne Wintle, and she is a co-founder here at Tourism Tribe and Navii, welcome to you all. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you for joining us on this live show today.
Fabienne Wintle 2:57
We need to find a word that you found you know, sensational Serena and fabulous Fabie. But everyone what starts with de our darling, this female we can find something better? Oh, that’s nice.
Despina Karatzias 3:09
I am dynamic, JC. I love it. So we have we titled this show about celebrating small business champion female leaders. And I want to commend you and acknowledge each and every one of you because I see you as leading women and certainly gotten to appreciate that in every one of you in working with you on various programmes, particularly of light, which is fantastic. So I will let you this year being a show about transformation and discovery in small business and growth. Personally professionally. I wanted to just go around the room to start with to tell us a little bit about your part of the world where you are and how you’ve been supporting businesses pre jurying coming out of COVID at the moment, so I’ll start with you, Michelle. Just tell us a little bit about where you’re at at the moment.
Michelle Dall’Ava 4:12
Yes, hi everyone.
Michelle Dall’Ava 4:15
Happy International Womens Day for Monday. Can I first say that I’m thrilled to be in this session with all these extraordinary women in the room What a privilege thanks Tourism Tribe and now V for inviting me. I’m also gonna say I love this hashtag to stir challenge. I know you haven’t said but there was I was reading the document you sent last night SB and I thought that’s it. You know, 21 gonna be the year that we choose to challenge 2020 haters in a way that no one ever expected. And you know as we know, people in businesses fought to stay afloat and reacted so many times so many changes and uncertainties but let’s choose to challenge grow and thrive in 2021. Guys, come on. Hi, I was so energised last night, I was like, Yes, I want to do something tomorrow. Now. Let’s tell him to now. Say I’m Michelle and originally from South America with the 15 year passage through London before I got to the Australian core Australia. I’ve been with the Victorian tourism industry console for two years now. But my previous role was also in industry development, designing programmes to help upskill professionals in the industry, and to support operators across Victoria to develop and grow their business. We work with all sectors of industry, of the industry and all sizes of businesses, but mainly small businesses as they make up the, you know, the majority of the tourism industry, probably one of the best jobs as I get to work with so many operators across this beautiful industry of ours. And although last year was definitely a tough one. But I feel very grateful that I was still in this position where I could at least to support businesses, even if it’s just a little just having a conversation and to help them navigate through so much information that was coming out.
Despina Karatzias 6:28
And you’ve done a fantastic job. And just last week, we had Rob one of the you know, a great v tech friend that’s gone through a recent Digital Bizkeeper Program that we’ve collaborated on together. And if you haven’t had a chance to watch it, just go over onto our YouTube or Facebook channels. Just a great story of a business that started just pre COVID and coming out thriving with all the support that you’ve been able to provide. So great work, Michelle, and waiting.
Michelle Dall’Ava 6:59
Despina Karatzias 7:00
That’s awesome. So we’ll move over to so Rena, um, Hello, welcome to you. separately for everybody that’s never heard potentially. I mean, I don’t know if there’s anyone still in the world that hasn’t heard a little bit about where you’re from and how you’ve been supporting sort of small business.
Serena Eldridge 7:23
Yeah, thanks despi and echoing Michelle sentiments to around being invited. So really thrilled to be part of this. So that’s great. Thank you so much for the opportunity. So I work for Grampians tourism. So the beautiful Grampians region is three hours west of Melbourne. The centrepiece I guess of that region is the Grampians National Park, which is one of I would arguably say one of Victoria’s most beautiful and accessible national parks. But the Grampians region takes in as a whole takes in a huge area goes all the way up to Horsham takes in Hamilton down in the south, takes in our reps and which is two hours west of Melbourne, and also takes in the northern Grampians region out to Santa Ana, etc, which is where the start of the silo art trail is in the southernmost silo art trail paces banqueting covers a huge expanse. My role is the business manager for Grampians tourism. So a big part of what I do in my day to day activities is actually going out and visiting operators. And it’s one of the things that I love about it. Some people say to me, that’s, that’s not working. And I’m like, well, it is, but it just happens to be a lot of fun, in that I do do a lot. I do do a lot of time in the car, but it’s out visiting people going and seeing operators at their business and understanding what it is that they do and what I have on offer for people in the visitor economy. So and then I take time to work with them on what are the product opportunities? What are the professional development opportunities for them? And what are the grant programmes that are available. And quite often, it’s just the little things. And what I’ve actually found is a lot of operators just love having someone come out to see them and say, This is what I do. This is what my business is about. And and this is why I do what I do. So I think that you know, there’s a lot of stuff that happens day to day, but that is the key part of the role that I really love. And we have so many operators out there, which I like to refer to as local secrets, but I guess my job is making sure they’re not secrets anymore. Yeah, so that’s, yeah, that’s my role. Yeah.
Despina Karatzias 9:43
Love it. Well, we actually have one of your great businesses that you’ve supported. came in and kayleen in that next weeks. Yeah, that that then
Despina Karatzias 9:56
will happen beautifully because they they’re doing some great work. They’ve come out and grabbed all of the information and support by you know by the horns and doing some excellent work. So stay tuned for Kayla’s and story. Thank you so wonderful to have you here now all the way down from Surrey will be like The Brady Bunch he now sixth grade will look down now offer me across Susan welcome. Tell us from so you’re going now up north to to you tell us where you’re from and a little bit more about Connect tourism and how you’ve been supporting small business all-around your
Susan Maynard 10:36
thanks despi in a again, echoing everybody else as well, you know, thank you very much for having me here today. It’s been, it’s an honour to be amongst some amazing women today. So and obviously in light for Mondays International Women’s Day. But I’m actually based on the Sunshine Coast in Queensland, about an hour north of Brisbane for those who don’t happen to know where the Sunshine Coast is. And I’ve been lucky enough in my I’ve been in the industry there for about 30 years, and I’ve worked across many sectors, but probably the biggest ones. For me, we’re working with tourism in Queensland, and then on to the RTO hearing in on the Sunshine Coast visit Sunshine Coast. And from that, I’ve been able to foster a lot of great relationships with businesses across Queensland, and especially here on the Sunshine Coast. And then after that, moving into my own business Connect tourism, where I continue working with these businesses on the ground and helping them in their business. And I think from those previous relationships, and after everything that went down last year, it gave me the ability just to pick up the phone and go, hi, how are you? Are you okay? And a lot of them really appreciated that just the fact that someone out of the blue just rang them, not wanting anything from them, other than the fact that you know, how you going and, and a lot of them were in a position here, as we will know, with tourism being hit so hard that they were some of them were just lost. And we’re just happy for someone to lean on and have a discussion and, you know, ask them if they were okay. And you know, if I was able then to move that conversation on and to help them even further, you know, getting back on track and getting them back to where they needed to be then that was my privilege. I absolutely love that. And I think and I hope that that was something that they actually appreciated does for somebody just to bring them out of the blue
Despina Karatzias 12:33
100% I love it. Susan, I see that again. Like I’ve known working with you all individually seeing that it’s not just support from you know, just ticking boxes, there’s and there’s deep, this deep genuine care factor for for people outside of business just caring for people and what they’re going through and that level of connection to be to be reaching out like that, which I know everyone has has been doing and I love that Susan. Thank you. It’s wonderful. And yeah, to have you on your first digital discovery, um, show and something else have been both Susan and Karen, that to hear from have also been incredible coaches in a significant state wide programme in Queensland where it involves daily group coaching sessions. So these two women have really joined the team that we kicked off on the fourth of January, we’re still going to the end of March. So I just want to thank you both as well for that amazing work that you’ve been, you’ve been doing with us on the Queensland business revival. So get our charismatic wonderful Karen Hello to you and welcome to the show. Thank you for taking part tell us which part of the world you’re at and how you’ve been helping a lot of small businesses decode their websites and and to that extent, their search engine optimization.
Kerrin Wallace 14:12
Yes, all the exciting stuff so from the Yarra Valley so we’re based an hour outside of Melbourne and Firstly, thank you very much for inviting me here to speak today and it is wonderful to be here with these fantastic women to so yeah, so back to the Yarra Valley so Yarra Valley is famous for its premier wine growing region. It’s also a big tourist destination for melburnians unfit for international travellers. So, of course, businesses here we’re really you know, hardhead My company is left by design and and we are a boutique, web design and digital Mart. Cutting agency and we were founded on helping small businesses how we started out about I don’t know, about 12 years ago or so. And so during the COVID period, we just had to help people pivot to e-commerce. That was the that was sort of our major effort during COVID. Just looking at, okay, what part of their business, you know, where they a restaurant that could start start selling takeaway. And just looking at, you know, we have one very big tour operator here, and whose business was predominantly International. And so we transformed their business into a online grocery delivery service. Throughout Victoria. So, yeah, so good. It’s been, it’s been heartbreaking in one sense, you know, to see how hard some of the businesses were impacted. But we’ve, you know, tried to help where we, where we can and get these businesses up and running. And then and now we’re seeing, you know, businesses have got this extra revenue stream, that the pump is hard working over the pandemic and starting to, you know, get back on track.
Despina Karatzias 16:22
So very true. Through crisis, we’ve seen a lot of great opportunities being seen, being created. Great work. Great work. And welcome to finally Miss Fabienne Wintle, who is our co-founder? And do you want to share with us for anybody that doesn’t know which part of the world that you’re beaming in from D fob,
Fabienne Wintle 16:48
so I’m about five hours further north than Susan. So if you go from Brisbane and you keep on going towards kids, you will find Agnes waters slash 1770, which is the birthplace of Queen slay, where Captain Coco Lieutenant James Cook arrived. Children 51 years ago, we had a big celebration that was cancelled due to COVID last year.
Fabienne Wintle 17:15
I decided to move here around town after travelling around Australia and my husband wanting to move closer to the beach with waves because in we used to live in Brisbane, but there was no waves. And my best friend lived here and I said, Boy, you know, with our jobs, we can live anywhere. So when I walk on the beach in the afternoon and our FaceTime Desi she’s like, how far is this from your house?
Fabienne Wintle 17:41
Yeah, very lucky to have made that move five years ago. And yes, some talking to you from my kitchen table at the moment, I kind of move move around the property, ways of finding inspiration and it’s just awesome to be able to talk to you ladies and you know, know more about one another. I’ve already learned so much about everyone in the last five minutes. We’re always talking to businesses and to operators. But this is roped me in and given me the ability to stop working on the computer in mine going, which is
Despina Karatzias 18:21
heavy and something that reminded me in speaking with Rob last week, I love what you had said in in our in the very first episode that we do together. And therapists got this great, real great purpose for starting Tourism Tribe. for allowing businesses to live off tourism We exist to give them the capabilities through digital support and technology to keep propelling them to stay in business and live their best life running delivering these experiences. I love that Fabienne I saw it firsthand in Rob his stories and what he shared that he have a lifestyle business in pursuing something he’s passionate about. And that’s that reminded me of all your, your great words of wisdom.
Fabienne Wintle 19:18
I’ll show you the sights, everyone.
Despina Karatzias 19:21
Absolutely. So I’m gonna put in the focus now we’ll just have a little chat with Michelle so we’ll just pop pop out lovely ladies and they can have a little cup of tea or, or have a little drink. So Michelle, I wanted to just focus on and ask you three lockdowns, your team with Felicia and Chris and the team and yourself. I mean in terms of a state tourism organisation and the work that you’ve had to do to put a lot of businesses on your shoulders. Tell us a little bit more of how you Seeing these devastating impact of month long on months plural impact they’ve had on the tourism, hospitality and events sector, we should add in there that they take very much covers. Tell us some key initiatives and these innovations that you’ve seen, because you’ve told me about some beauties of what, you know, when we talk about crisis and opportunity, and really keeping us focused on what is possible through your championing and your support. Could you speak speak a little bit to that and tell us? Yeah, what what you’ve observed about businesses? And what they’ve been able to really come out of this?
Michelle Dall’Ava 20:41
Yeah. And you? You’re right. despy? Like 2020 was, indeed the year that, you know, we’ll never forget, and definitely not for the tourism industry as well. It’s been, it’s been very tough. And do you remember when we are talking about overtourism? It seems so long ago, doesn’t it? It was, you know, just two years ago, there was I started the research and trying to explore a little bit more about all the tourism. Now, obviously, we faced with a decline of 80% in international arrivals around the ward. So it’s, it’s even hard to believe that this is possible. But as you said, vtk also had a very different year. So I guess our role remained the same. So advocacy, industry development, business support, but the environment that we were was, were obviously very different. So all of the usual programmes and events that we would normally run was cancelled. Our attention and focus completely shifted to supporting businesses during lock downs, helping them to understand the restrictions and the requirements that were constantly changing. And there was such an overwhelming amount of information for businesses, it was so hard to navigate through and which one do you trust. And also, we created new initiatives to just support and assist them to stay afloat. And you said before this be we had Rob who was one of our big champions, and part of the Digital Bizkeeper Program that we ran in Victoria for 50 businesses, we had the tourism recovery consultations, we now running steel, a programme called the business think tank to really help some operators relook at their model their business models and explore new ideas. So there has been quite a few new programmes that we ran, but we also had daily conversation with operators across the state during the during this time. Yeah, it’s been a massive impact in the industry. And we continue to see that, unfortunately. But I think we also especially with the conversations that we had, we also had experience we had the opportunity to, to experience the strength and the resilience that our industry and our peredur has, which it’s truly inspiring to have these conversations and you know, you’ve made them before, there’s been there’s this same from iced and Alberta iced and that I heard in the middle of all of these and I just thought it’s so true, that in the middle of every crisis, lies great opportunity. And we have seen many operators in Victoria embracing opportunity, reevaluating their business model, their offering their systems, their processes. And sometimes we think of innovation as this being this massive beast, but it’s actually it starts with the small steps of improvement. And that’s what we have seen a lot during this time for many of operators that embrace that opportunity and just try to do something anything for their business just to stay afloat and survive.
Given that it’s, uh, you know, we’re talking about digital. I think that may be you know, I could potentially list so many, but it might be a good one for, you know, to to for me to sort of highlight. As we know, digital, the digital world obviously has transformed the tourism industry. You know, how much we know about our customers and how much they know before they travel. And although some businesses have been performing really well in their digital path, a big percentage still says or said that they did not have the time the money or the incentive to move into this digital world. So COVID has changed I think and has definitely accelerated the adoption of digital and technology now industry, I think, many, we’ve seen many businesses focusing and wanting to learn more to invest in digital. And I think what’s being really great as well is that in search of these new opportunities in in the digital space, many of the complexities and challenges around each stone technology were also the mystified. They’re too hard, too expensive. I don’t know where to start. We have seen lots of virtual experiences, I’m sure all of us across the country. But I have two beautiful examples with 3d that maybe I’ll share with you so we had Melbourne river cruises that produce the 3d veeder so customers could experience a bit what avoid a cruise along the Yarra River would be and what you would see along the way, and it’s obviously great, it was great during lock down when no one could go anywhere, but it’s also a great marketing tool for them now for their business. It doesn’t take away from these the you know what the crews or the the actual experience the ease but it just makes you want to go and do it. And they only took a day of shooting the along the way when the cruisers like the cruiser pass by some of Melbourne’s main attractions and landmarks. As we know, Melbourne river cruises also tagged these attractions. And they included their website, which I thought it was so good. You know, it wasn’t just about their business, it was about the entire experience, as if you were coming to their tool, what you would see and just making that journey easy for them if you know they see see life if they see Eureka, skydeck I want to know more, they could just click on their video and it straight into their website. So what a great way to support although paraders. And also in the same area of the 3d we had dumb King, like six operators and King Valley, they collaborated to create a 3d virtual tour of the Sacre road. Again, a great promotion for their businesses, but also for the destination. So it was just six operators a mix of wineries, there was an accommodation, and it was just creating you go and visit these different places along the press secretary then all of them have links to website or wherever you wanted to put tell your story about your business. So really, really good. new initiatives and technology and small operators, especially around King Valley, they you know, before didn’t think it was possible, but they were just looking for new opportunities. What can we, you know, during during this time, and and i think like we’ve heard of so many nice, like really good collaborations like this one between your paraders. I think as businesses adapted and created new products and experiences in the last year, they’ve also learned to seek collaboration with businesses that they haven’t considered before. So we’ve seen potentially more willingness to support each other to not only consumers, I think we’ve all heard about consumers wanting to support local businesses, but also businesses supporting other businesses. And hopefully, we’ll continue to see these into the future at potential shift from me to we so we can continue to move forward together and strengthen our industry. But like I said, I think I could list maybe quite a few initiatives in this space. But maybe I’ll just say I’m not a quick one, that I thought it was so simple, but so special and not in the digital. But there is a small business owner that really took the time and opportunity during the lockdown to connect back with some previous customers and just check in how they were doing. She just like genuinely wanted to help and say I’ll just have a conversation and and she said she would that hair customers were so surprised and really appreciative of just getting that call or that or that email just with a personal message. How are you doing? I think just I thought it was so nice. Such a simple gesture. But that could definitely go a long way for her for her business. Like who wouldn’t want to go back to that business after you know a message like that. So I think we can underestimate what some small changes and initiatives could do to to your business.
Despina Karatzias 29:55
100% like we’ve said digital has been a big player. In small businesses saying, Okay, now it’s time all that stuff I’ve been putting off. But collaboration and just the human spirit. I mean, particularly after just watching Come From Away in Melbourne, the first my first city outing in over a year, just how everyone’s come to back each other. Fantastic. Michelle, thank you for sharing, I’m going to pop you back into the green room and and have you come back, come back a little later on. I’m going to be mean to Serena now Serena amazing wealth of experience in what you do in many different roles over your journey. In your experience over the last little period, what have you identified as the difference that’s made the difference in mindset, and the way to be able to take action to create lasting change to come through and thrive and seize those opportunities? What are some things that you’ve seen that the successful ones have in common?
Serena Eldridge 31:02
Yeah. Thanks, desperate. Yeah. And look, some of it it? Absolutely, I’d say the two things would absolutely be, as you say, mindset, and innovation. And Michelle touched on that a little bit. So. And I don’t think this is exclusive to COVID, either. So in other roles that I’ve been in, in the visitor economy over the years, you know, we saw SARS, we saw collapse of airlines, we’ve seen all sorts of things come and go nothing quite as broad as the impacts of COVID-19. But I preface this by saying I know it’s been really tough for operators and closing their businesses is absolutely being rugged. So I don’t want to downplay that at all. But the ones that seem to have fared the best and are recovering the quickest are the operators that I think have sat down, and not only said, How are we going to survive this, but what what’s the opportunity that we have right now, because, you know, I think they’re as tough as it is that has been opportunity. So those operators that seem to be doing really well, they’ve, they’ve either use the downtime to upgrade their facilities. And it doesn’t have to be significant infrastructure projects, it might be as simple as having that time to get in there and repaint your accommodation rooms, it’s really simple. Some of its really simple stuff that Michelle was talking about, you know, it’s always incremental, small things that go to making up a significant difference overall, you know, one of my favourite sayings is how we’re going to eat the elephant. You know, you can only eat an elephant one bite at a time, you know, you just take a little bit each day, and you start making those changes to business. So they’ve used downtime to upgrade facilities, they’ve invested in new technologies. Absolutely. You know, and we keep talking about digital, given the, given what we’re talking about today, but digital has been a really key part of that. And more so than just, you know, it is about social media and Facebook, but it’s about e commerce, it’s about operators that don’t understand SEO. It’s as simple as claiming your Google My Business listing, you know, I’m talking to operators where they go, I’ve got Facebook, so I’m okay. It’s like, well, you need a little bit more than that. And especially now that’s I think COVID has highlighted the need for a broad range of digital technologies. The ones again, that are doing really well have identified new audiences or new target markets, you know, particularly I’ve got a handful of operators was international visitation to the Grampians is only a small percentage overall. There are some operators who rely really heavily on the inbound market. And, you know, as soon as inventor operators stop making bookings, you know, 80% of their business is gone. The successful ones have turned that around. And I’ve actually had one operator beside me for the first time ever. We are seeing people from regional Victoria come and stay with us. Normally they would get them out of Melbourne, but they’re getting people from Bendigo. They’re getting people from warrnambool. They’re getting them from Joel so which is fantastic to see that so I think they’re the ones that have done well. others that have invested in professional development. So right back at the start of COVID-19. Grampians tourism said, Okay, we’re going to use this time to talk to operators, obviously, we’re sitting at a hell of a lot of communication, a lot of stuff from Vedic around upgrading of the these are the current restrictions, this is how you can continue to run your business but we send out a survey saying, What has this highlighted for you that you are lacking in terms of professional development that you need? Need for us as a regional tourism body to deliver. And the number one thing over and over again, yes, there was marketing, but digital marketing. And as I say it was SEO was search engine marketing, it was more than just far more than just how to set up a Facebook page, how to create engaging content, reputation management, it was all of those things, which is some of the work that we’ve done with yourselves with Tourism Tribe. And like we say, you’ll hear from Matt and kailyn, next week. So it’s those people that have grasped the opportunity available. And they’re the ones that have gone, we’re going to take this, we’re going to run with it. And they’re the ones that are emerging as the leaders in our industry in our region currently. I think, as I mentioned before, a big part of my day to day is visiting operators learning about the product, you know, working with them to say, Okay, what, what are we going to do to take your business to the next level.
And my fear my experiences that can tell you, within a matter of minutes of arriving at their business or their location, I can pick which are the operators that are going to do more than just survive, I can tell by the attitude, by the way they have engaged have used this time, who’s really going to thrive who’s going to still be there. And that’s fantastic, because we need a broad, you know, range of product for the region for visitors to the region. But you can absolutely pick whoever the ones that are going to absolutely thrive through this and emerge as the leaders for the industry in the region, which is what we need. We need poster children. So that’s great.
Despina Karatzias 36:41
That’s what I love about what you’ve shared. For any, any business that’s, that’s tuning in or watching the recording. It’s also about just taking that opportunity to leave taking and taking action. And yeah, I mean, who doesn’t like to be a poster child for any region or any comes with great benefits. So you see, universe rewards that you see someone quote, our coach, Claire that works with kailyn. And Michael, she was so proud to see them like take on board after a one on one coaching session. She’s like, you should see this video that they’ve created the back because I went into kind of let’s explore video content for your business. So I think right on there, there’s a great opportunity to to lead in that way. Thank you thin. No, thank you very much. faiman dia Susan, hello to use Suzanne.
Despina Karatzias 37:48
Welcome to you. So you’ve been working daily with our Queensland business revival programme. You’ve been doing a few sessions every week. So you’ve you have now seems a trend in some challenges of what’s challenging businesses? Can you highlight a few of those challenges, and I think a lot of our audiences will relate. And what we’ve done with the sessions is that we always leave a little bit of homework, there’s no learning without action. Right? So what have been some of the challenges and some of the choose? How have you chosen to challenge them? in overcoming them? Could you share a little bit about that with us? Yeah,
Susan Maynard 38:31
it’s been it’s been a great experience, actually, because it’s been a broad range of product. And it’s been outside many outside of the tourism realm as well, which is good for me to understand and get to know a lot of businesses outside of tourism. But the one thing that I noticed over the last few weeks in doing these sessions is how many people how many businesses actually were not involved in digital, and how many were actually starting from the bare bones. And these daily sessions that we’ve been having that though the feedback and the questions we’re getting is, we just want more, we just want more because I have no idea where to go next door, I have a don’t understand how this works for my business and what we can potentially do for my business. And that was quite surprising for me how many people were not in this space already. And then on the flip side of that there was a number of people as well who are in this space but going I’m lost. I don’t know where to go. I don’t know how to get this to work for my business. And I found that these daily sessions for both of those different aspects of people’s knowledge have been great because we’ve got different levels. So we do Facebook for beginners. We do Facebook, intermediate, we do the websites, which Karen will talk to you about we’ve got you know even these tools knowing what tools to use for your business. will make their lives more time Time management is a big one for them, because a lot of them wear multiple hats. So they did again, they just don’t know which way to turn. So the sessions have been really good in that respect to be able to give them little tidbits of information. And if they want more, they can go and find more and, or they can ask questions, and we can delve a little bit deeper. And then on the back of those sessions, as Debbie was saying, at the end of them, we go right now, you know, this little bit of information. Now, what are you going to do so we set these little small tasks, and they’re not huge, so they easily achievable, but it gives them something to look forward to, and to be able to create for their business, and potentially use and then we tell them, you know, tag us and let us know what you’re doing. So we can see and give you feedback and, and help you through the process if you get stuck or anything like that. So, you know, just these little tiny little activities, I think helped tremendously. because it not only gives them a little bit more confidence in using whatever it is that they’re what they’re actually trying to do. But it actually works for their business as well. And they can implement that into their business. So now the challenges that they’ve had, you know, over the past 18 months have been extraordinary. And, and some of the things that I’ve noticed a lot too is that the sessions are daily as we know, but the number of people who come back every day, so they’re hungry for the information even more so. So that it to me is just astounding, the fact that they’re taking an hour out of their day, every day. And to join us on these sessions is just it’s amazing that they’re doing that because they can see that they need this information to help their business get through this and to help them to continue to grow and develop new products or services, whatever the case may be. So it’s just been, it’s been tremendous to watch these businesses grow from day one all the way through, and I can’t wait to see at the end of the programme to see the results of some of these businesses and what they’ve been able to achieve. And just the and the confidence, we’ve been able to give them a knowing that you don’t have to know it all. You know, take the bits and pieces that you know for your business fit well and be confident in those smaller chunks that we’re providing, and then take those away, and then maybe long term plans introduce the other things that we’ve spoken about. But I think that’s another big one is people go, well, everyone’s telling me, I have to do this, this, this, this and this, and I’m going, No, I don’t have to do it all. And I think that’s the part that people need to realise your business doesn’t or you don’t have to do it all. You’ve got support, but you can do one thing at a time do them well as you go. And then that way, you’re so confident that yes, you will be able to move forward to the next bit. So that’s some of the things that I’ve noticed a lot over these last few weeks with people and how they are trying to get their business back into a normal. A normal thing, I suppose is one of the better word
Despina Karatzias 43:08
I’ve just popped up on the screen just to give our audience a bit of context. This is 2000 small businesses from around Queensland. It was oversubscribed. And the programme is now full. And we’re taking whitelists. But this was a programme that involves a whole lot of education. But then these daily group coaching sessions where there’s a there’s a teach segment, and these are the topics that were covered that Sue, Susan is referencing. And you’re right, there is daily tech, you know, businesses coming daily, it has been an incredible amount of Yeah, I guess it has been it’s given us it’s been empowering that all the work that we’re doing collectively to support businesses is what is needed. And we keep asking those questions and doing the same thing and there’s a lot more support coming out. Coming over your way too. For anyone that’s listening and wanting to know some more information that we’ll be able to share with you. Keep up the great work you’re not on today. Are you known back on.
Well, thank you so much. I’ll pop you back in and we’ll just have Karen on now to come and join us Hello, Karen. Wonderful. SEO and website. Specialist coach. What have been some of the non negotiable so you’ve had a similar experience like like Susan where you’ve seen a lot of you’ve you’ve been in front of a lot of businesses and feeling a lot of the fielding questions because that’s something with these group coaching sessions. It’s not just doing a presentation, they sending their challenges of questions or things that they want to focus on. And there’s a lot of group discussion. What I guess the question for you is, what are some of your non negotiables that you can share with businesses in terms of choosing to challenge them around website or SEO? What are some top three, nine non negotiables that they could take away? Hmm,
Kerrin Wallace 45:32
I’ll dive into that. But I just wanted to confirm what was said before about, I’m finding people are this a lot of information and people are feeling somewhat overwhelmed. And I think, yes, that step by step approach to what people are learning and implementing, that goes a long way, you know, to, to just your take that step by step approach, but as far as non negotiables, with web design, and obviously, SEO, feeding into that. So my top three, non negotiables. Number one is planning. So if you’re starting a new website, or doing a refresh, is to get into plan is to do planning, and that’s in three stages that I like to do it. So number one is doing your keyword research, it’s really important. And that’s what I’m noticing is, you know, a lot of people find it overwhelming. It’s the sort of, you know, boring bit of, of marketing, but it’s invaluable, it sets the foundation for your marketing. So getting in before you do your web design, a new site or a refresh, get that keyword research done. And then I like to get people to do competitor research. So look at who your competitors are, what are they doing? Well, what are they not doing? Well, what could you learn? Is there extra functionality that you might like to add to your website? Look at you know, what, what are they saying, you know, what copy? Are they using, what, in what style, and so on. And then what I also like to do is, I think this is really useful if you’re Have a look, and not necessarily just in your industry, but have a look in overseas, you know, have a look in, if you’re a winery, have a look in the Napa Valley, see what other businesses are doing outside your industry, we tend to get stuck at just looking at our direct competitors, but have a look at what’s going on outside your industry. And then put a list together of what you like, this helps you give creative direction to your web designer. And it will really aid the communication with between you and your web designer.
Despina Karatzias 48:17
Excellent eating roll to share with you exactly and for you to get into their into their brain almost to be able to unpack that.
Kerrin Wallace 48:28
Yes. So that was Do I have time for two more, it just
Despina Karatzias 48:33
was getting a little bit worried because you were dropping out a little bit. I thought I may have lost you for a second there. You can quickly go through a couple more,
Kerrin Wallace 48:43
just to two quick points. One is images for your website. Images are an investment in your business and to have strong stunning images that that goes a long way for you know driving your product sales or your services sales. So that’s number one. Number two copywriting This is the biggest challenge people have with getting one of the biggest with getting their website up and running. And it’s always where the delays occur about 80% of the time. If you can’t afford a copywriter, what I recommend is doing a brain dump and getting all your thoughts down and then getting a copywriter to do some editing. So there you can instead of getting them to do the whole project that you can get them to really go through and create copy that is suitable for for a website and following best practices there. So they would be my non negotiables when you’re for your your new web project or a web refresh.
Despina Karatzias 49:52
Excellent top tips. Look around do some competitive benchmarking really good. quality images never take for granted, you know, never get a second chance to make a good first impression. And look at your copy to to complement the images. That’s excellent advice. Thank you, Dr. Karen. And I’m just now going to be mean febby. February over here, Hello febi. So just to finish up on some good gold nuggets to help everyone in the choose to challenge now you the way you have taken on board, not just digital, but using technology and automation within the business. Working now what, seven, eight months, it feels like a lot longer. It feels like years, but we’ve always been together. But the way I’ve been able to really implement, embrace and implement automation in the business, it’s really catapulted us and been able to scale and more importantly, help more people and work with more leading champions like the girls you’ve seen today. And that’s all because of you know, I guess the technology that we’ve been using and working remotely from all different parts of the country. So what would be some of your advice and some tools, some tools that you could share, that have changed the way that we roll, and that literally we call our ops manuals, how we roll? And how others could potentially roll as well? Could you talk to that a little bit and share some of that, you know, some of the magic that has really been able to help our business become smarter in what we do.
fabbi, you’re just on mute there, you’re just on mute,
Fabienne Wintle 51:46
great guy can start again, talk to you when I was in the green room. Now that he can hear me is that if you think smart automation tools don’t apply to your business, think again, because they will you if you’re running a small business and medium or large business. You just look at your customer, you look at all the information that is out there, you look at all the different ways we need to market a business, unless you have twins or triplets of you, you’re going to need to find a way to spread yourself. And the best way to spread yourself is to use automation tools for your business, there is no way we would be able to deliver all the programmes that we working on at the moment without having implemented all that automation. When I talk about automation, and it was what was great listening to Karen before, you know talking about web development tips. And not once Has she talked about coding a website, it was all about smart business practices. So like great images, select content. But some of you listening to us might be thinking, Oh, I don’t have the skills to do that. If you understand business and you want you have the skills, the tools that are available now are really easy to use. So if you feel that you’re doing something twice, it could be such a simple thing as you know downloading an attachment in your email every time or you see you’re doing something more than once during the day. There is an effect on a computer. There is a way to automate that and you need to teach yourself or attend some of our training to learn about these tools. The most simple one is Zapier, that’s that’s you know, we’ve been using it for years, but now it’s getting really popular, because there’s too many things to do. Zapier is the glue that holds all your different pieces of software together. I’ll give you an example. In the tourism industry, an operator that I know works on an island and their booking system obviously reminds people that they need to book the boat trip to go to the island. But what’s happening is their booking system user friendliness is not good enough to remind them that is not one way that they have to book they have to book the return as well. So what happens to this business is they have a lot of people that think they’re leaving, but they hadn’t actually booked the trip to go back and they can’t go back to land. So we set up an automation with Zapier so that every time there’s a booking that comes in and is only a one way or an email automatically gets sent to the client to remind them that they forgotten to book their return trip if we didn’t have that. That would be the role of someone to be on the phone for two, three hours a day. How much did that cost to build maybe 20 minutes. Or if you do it with an expert, it will be five minutes after you’ve created your account. It will mostly be free unless you want to be on the paid plan of Zapier that might cost you 20 bucks a month. But you’ve taken away a huge problem. So what do you need to understand yourself as a business owner if you don’t want to pay consultants to to get you there is be aware of what systems exist online now to run a better business. You know, they might not be super fancy. They might get you more bums on bed, but they’ll certainly take away the pain of doing everything else you need to do to run the business and leave you more time for marketing and putting bums on seats. You still hear they’re saying what are the tools? Shall I be taking a
Despina Karatzias 55:16
look, we’re just running a little bit long time. But I love what you’ve shared. I mean, Sofia is a big one, like you said, it’s cost effective. And I love share, you
Fabienne Wintle 55:28
want to mention, I am example with a business yesterday, you need to have a dropbox folder or whatever system you use with all your logos, all your colours, all your insurance policies, everything that you need to have it nicely organised because when there’s an opportunity to do an ad somewhere, and you realise that you haven’t got the right photo in the right size, or the logo and a transparent background, you’re not going to do it. So do some back office cleaning and organise all your digital assets in a folder.
Despina Karatzias 55:58
And there’s nothing better right than feeling when you organise your digital stuff, folders, a nice leave, it’s it’s the best
Fabienne Wintle 56:07
digital skills, business skills,
Despina Karatzias 56:10
business skill. And I think that’s the really important one, too. Sorry, I took you away. That’s a really important one to know that digital is not just all about the sexy Facebook and Instagram and the marketing. It’s in turn efficiencies that will help you save our most precious commodity our time. And then we’re able to free ourselves up to do more things that we love. I have some look at I’ve got Joe Pincus, we love Joe from a she heads up the Victorian tazzy branch. Hi, despy. She was saying really looking forward to today’s session. And absolutely we do have a lineup of chairs. Joining us, Joe. Lovely Polly Gibson, thank you love it choose to challenge your Hannah. She’s just saying so true to you, Susan. She loved everything that you’ve had to share about taking things in small steps and not in eliminating that overwhelm. And thank you, Julie, for joining us. She’s saying some golden insights here. It’s wonderful. And if anyone else has got any questions while we start wrapping up, please send them in the comments. So quickly. I want to go around the room now starting with Karen, what is your your What will you choose to challenge within yourself and for others in this around the spinner, I
Kerrin Wallace 57:47
think you already know this one of me is allowing you to push me out of my comfort zone.
Oh, cool. Yeah, so that’s an yet so just being as always pushing me out of my comfort zone. And I really appreciated I might at the time, but afterwards, I do. And, and then, you know, for small businesses, it’s the same thing you we get this feeling of I can’t do it or I’m I’m scared. You know, I can do it. There’s, you’d be so surprised. You know, the pandemic has shown us that we really, you know, what we can do when we need to and to push ourselves into just, you know, to embrace digital. And even if it’s, as Susan said, you know, one one step at a time, just embrace it and push yourself out of that comfort zone.
Despina Karatzias 58:46
Love it. That’s where the magic is all the growth outside of our comfort zone. So my matching names and stuff. So Reena, what is your what’s your you choose to challenge?
Serena Eldridge 58:57
I think it’s one that applies for small businesses as well as me personally and people who know me, well would say this would be the case, sometimes irritatingly but I always choose to challenge the status quo. It nothing irritates me more than someone saying, I’ve always always done it that way that is just a red rag to a bull. And I’m like, Why? Why? That’s just and it drives people crazy. But but I think it’s the same for business, you know, if you’re just doing something because you’ve always done it that way. But you might come full circle and say yes, that’s absolutely the way that we should do it. Great. But I would guess that if you got right down into it, and you ticked everything out and started again, you’d probably do things differently. So that’s my blind acceptance.
Despina Karatzias 59:49
Look, everyone’s going like this to you.
Michelle Dall’Ava 59:59
I think I’ll do One for the industry. So I will choose to challenge that we don’t just do recovery, let’s choose to challenge for a better and stronger future of the tourism, industry and businesses. So for what 2021 and beyond brings us Let’s not just recover let’s just build rebuild something stronger and better.
Unknown Speaker 1:00:24
Despina Karatzias 1:00:30
So good. Choose to challenge rebuilding better, stronger industry. So good. There’s, there’s a blog out of this, right? This is, yeah, I’m just I, we’ve got to do more with this. Love it, Susan, what’s yours.
Susan Maynard 1:00:45
So all those are great. And I’m going to pick one of those as well. But I think also at the end of the day, we need to choose to challenge me. So find the time to look after yourself. And there’s nothing else is going to work. So we need to take time out. And I’ve actually realised this for myself, very recently that I need to take that time for me. And so I choose that challenge for myself. And I hope I stick to it.
Despina Karatzias 1:01:16
I love that is such an important port and one it’s the old that put the face mask in you know the oxygen on yourself first before you put it on any everyone else really good one. Thank you and Fabie. What’s your What do you choose to challenge?
Fabienne Wintle 1:01:35
I would say challenge yourself to use high tech to be high touch. Otherwise, you’re not going to have enough time for yourself with everything as women in a day, on top of work, being creative, coming up with awesome solutions for our clients, keeping our business going. So smart enough technologically so you can have more time with you. Your clients are doing whatever you like,
Despina Karatzias 1:02:03
Oh, I love it and mine to contribute mine away. We did some work around this the other day and what came to me was choose to challenge the imposter syndrome. So when we’re getting overwhelmed, or when we think this isn’t for me, why do you know? I was just saying who says you can’t and act as if you can. So what if you’re a business that can do digital? What if you’re? What if you’re a professional that can go after that grant? You know, like so let’s choose to challenge the imposter. We’re going to wrap things up. Thank you for hanging around. I think it was well worth staying a bit longer with us. Thank you to everybody who has joined us and commented on the stream. Keep the comments coming if you’re watching the replay. Thank you, dear Karen. Thank you, Serena. Thank you Fabie. Thank you, Susan. And thank you Dr Michelle. This was a great way to start our inaugural Women’s Day special feature. And so with that said, I will say goodbye to our wonderful ladies and I will say goodbye to you, our audience. If you have been inspired to get your digital discovery on we do have a Digital Bizkeeper course coming that will be open up to everybody. And starting on the 20th of April. everybody’s welcome to join the programme. And you’ll find more information on Tourism tribe.com. And I’ll pop the link into the comments when we wrap up as well. If you want to know some more information, we’ve got some information sessions. Also coming up if you want to know a little bit more about that. Otherwise choose to challenge yourself to choose to challenge your businesses and choose to keep choosing to challenge each other. Thank you, everybody, and see you next week, same time, same place with our special guests from the Grampians Matt and Kayleen. Until next time, here’s to your digital journey. Bye for now.