Speaker by Various Artists

Read Post

Speaker: Surviving Small

80 Responses

First ←Older Page 1 2 3 4 Newer→ Last

  • Alastair Thompson,

    Well thats interesting Mark (and advertising sales is not at all like you imagine Andrew - thats what I thought corporate training was all about :)

    This bit of your post left me wondering if you could expand a little more mark as it is very much what we have been doing too. I wonder how universal the experience is.

    2. make sure we are bringing in every sale we can.

    We are innovating in our approach to our customers and becoming more customer focussed; we are opening up new revenue opportunities; we are cutting deals;

    ...

    the issue we're facing is in convincing those advertisers who recognise the need to continue marketing work to get the business that is still out there that we are the best vehicle.

    Basically as we continue to chase the sales in this environment we have been finding it necessary/beneficial to get much more personal and close to our clients. I guess that we are facing an environment where everybody is triple checking every piece of expenditure and everything needs to make full sense - not just possibly be a good idea.

    I would be interested if you could expand a little on what you mean by "cutting deals" and see if its the same thing that I mean (without giving away commerical secrets obviously).

    al

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 176 posts Report Reply

  • David Slack,

    Basically as we continue to chase the sales in this environment we have been finding it necessary/beneficial to get much more personal and close to our clients

    The big guys would appear to be doing the same. I have been getting regular attention from Google since late last year - "what can we do to help with your web site? What can we do to up your AdWords spend?"

    First results were not good: they put up an "Optimisation Plan" which was beneficial in some respects - improved search keywords, improved targetting, but also pushed the per-click bid rate beyond a sustainable level. Traded at a loss in January. That won't be happening again. I've re-set the bid rates, and restored profitability, but I'll be more careful from now on.

    All the same, an offer of help is welcome. There's a lot I have been failing to get around to doing on my site, and they're proving to be an effective catalyst.

    Devonport • Since Nov 2006 • 599 posts Report Reply

  • ange wither,

    Hey Ange, I have a friend who could use services like those. How can I contact you?

    Thanks Michael, I have emailed you contacts. An unexpected byproduct of this forum.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 54 posts Report Reply

  • Alastair Thompson,

    David

    I think that it illustrates a point - everybody is looking for solutions and so perhaps the we can take some lessons from that. This is the approach we have been taking to sales.

    1. Make the calls - your clients are interested in hearing from you - and it cannot hurt to talk to them
    2. Offer to help them, find out more about their issues and offer solutions.
    3. Its competitive and if you are to succeed with keeping clients and/or expanding their spend you will need to offer somethig more.

    al

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 176 posts Report Reply

  • RodDrury,

    I'm often stuck in a provincial city with an hour or so to kill with no space and just a bit long to hang in a cafe for. I've found calling up and asking business advisors we use (lawyer, accountants, bankers) if you can camp for an hour or so in their office normally gets a positive response.

    We try to 'pay that forward' to others as well. Especially if they come into Wellington. So we have a visitors network so that people can connect and clear their email etc without being on our network.

    It's also great having a mobile data card. That way you can connect from anywhere and catch up.

    It would be great if each local body would put a free business wifi connection in a cafe near the council offices and promote it as a place where out of towners can get a connection. It would be a greta point to connect to all of those travelling business people and them interacting with local businesses and services.

    Rod

    Wellington • Since Feb 2009 • 10 posts Report Reply

  • David Slack,

    It would be great if each local body would put a free business wifi connection in a cafe near the council offices and promote it as a place where out of towners can get a connection. It would be a greta point to connect to all of those travelling business people and them interacting with local businesses and services.

    That's a great idea, Rod. Mind if I quote it on the radio?

    Devonport • Since Nov 2006 • 599 posts Report Reply

  • Michael Savidge,

    Cheers Ange.

    Somewhere near Wellington… • Since Nov 2006 • 310 posts Report Reply

  • Mark Cubey,

    It would be great if each local body would put a free business wifi connection in a cafe near the council offices and promote it as a place where out of towners can get a connection. It would be a greta point to connect to all of those travelling business people and them interacting with local businesses and services.

    Maybe Greta Point is a bit too far out of town;.... but yes, and while they're about it (and until we get that universal mobile charger thingy that the telcos are talking about) have a Charger Pole with many charger cords that folk can use to recharge their phones. And yes, David, steal that one too :)

    Wellington • Since May 2008 • 51 posts Report Reply

  • ange wither,

    and while they're about it (and until we get that universal mobile charger thingy that the telcos are talking about) have a Charger Pole with many charger cords that folk can use to recharge their phones

    and laptops too, just while we are wish listing.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 54 posts Report Reply

  • Don Christie,

    Fortunately it's a nice space and we have now rented out our house and moved into the office.

    Did that once. It was better than having a flooded ceiling collapse on us.

    One thing we are terrible at is telling our customers and friends what we are up to and what ideas we have that could help them. It is a feedback loop a lot of them crave.

    I think we have an image of ourselves that is basically "do our job really well, and try not to be noticed". Clients want more than that.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1615 posts Report Reply

  • David Slack,

    a Charger Pole with many charger cords that folk can use to recharge their phones.

    Vodafone on Lambton Quay were good enough to let me use theirs yesterday.

    And yes, David, steal that one too :)

    For a competing show? You're too kind : )

    Devonport • Since Nov 2006 • 599 posts Report Reply

  • Mark Graham,

    Innovative in our communications with our clients, which, I must confess, we got a bit slack on. One of the issues with the Building Guide is that it's not ten national monthlies - it's ten regional annuals, so for many clients we only see them once a year and then it's a ..."Hi - can we sell you an ad again?"... Also, given it's distributed through councils and we find a disconnect between the customer service manager/building consent manager and the customer service staff who hand the publication out, so we need to start communicating to them - and yes, the ubiquitous email newsletter is the obvious solution but it must be fun, useful and entertaining and educating and all the rest that will get them reading it and remembering the magazine. Technology will enable us to help overcome a resource shortage.

    Cutting creative deals means increasing discount levels but requiring early payment terms or guaranteed payment terms. Cashflow is king.

    There's so much more - our own promotional activity for instance, which for us is hard because we're still quite new - not yet 3 years and costs money but is essential. I've decided that taking the leadership position is where we want to be and that necessitates providing insight and knowledge we're gaining on the trends in the industry (and we are) and demonstrating that knowledge. And just getting on the phone and calling people. You still need to bring sales in.(And I noticed Rod didn't take up my opportunity to talk about advertising in my magazine.) :)

    Also, looking at other opportunities as they come through that employs your skill set but may not be exactly what you set out to do in the meantime - although this is at the risk (see my first post) of spreading too thin...

    I must say, I'm pretty over the whole thing, though. And I find it bloody frustrating that large corporations who are still making good if not great profits, are pulling back from marketing activity thereby actually contributing to the slow down.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 176 posts Report Reply

  • Hilary Stace,

    Just been to a presentation by Kim one of the librarians at the business reference service at Wellington city library (they use the term business in the broadest sense - can be a student). Anyhow they have a whole range of useful services including a meeting room to hire for $10 an hour, and a fully technology equipped one for $30, and a 2 hour free research service, and access to a vast range of non-googleable databases. Can even get international newspapers full text facimiles the day they are published. Other city libraries have similar services (it's paid by rates).
    And there's Clark's cafe in the same building.
    . hqcbd@wcl.govt.nz or www.wcl.govt.nz/business
    I told her about this discussion so they might do a post.

    Wgtn • Since Jun 2008 • 2024 posts Report Reply

  • Jason Kemp,

    Some business trends in my patch...

    My business is primarily online marketing and that is mostly for smaller companies. It is always hard getting them to invest in marketing work but now they often have difficulty with debt collection and that flows through to all service providers.

    I still do some work for larger US owned companies in Australia but they have all had their budgets "reviewed". It seems the larger the company is the more momentum they have so they think they can coast a bit and cut marketing.

    However of late larger ones are also dropping direct sales staff but still need marketing activities to continue as they all need larger sales pipelines to account for the lower actual number of projects going ahead.

    The other big difference between last year and this year is length of sales cycles. That is the time between first intro and actual project go ahead. In some cases projects need extra sign-offs by boards or group financial controllers.

    One of project items we tend to discuss more fully is payment terms. Much better to be realistic on this as early as possible. In some cases budgets get scaled back and we need to resize projects all standard.

    On marketing cycles one of the better outcomes is that some companies are understanding the need and discipline of more regular communications cycles so ultimately that is looking to mean smaller projects but more of them.

    Re: virtual offices - I expect more companies will look at some variation on this. I have been mostly telecommuting to various projects for 5 years now with some on location time needed in the early phases of projects but Auckland is so big that much work is via phone and in some cases video / although that isn't so useful yet.

    I've found that some clients have meeting /board rooms they are happy to book out and there are some surprisingly good local services as well.

    As an example the Grey Lynn Community Centre has a couple of smaller meeting rooms that can be booked ahead of time.

    Over at greylynn2030 there is quite a lot of discussion on transition towns thinking and a generally much talk about local businesses working together.

    One of the bug differences between this downturn and others is that the news generally travels faster and there appears to be more flexibility and a more of a border-less economy approach.

    From talking with other businesses who are in the online sector we are often dealing with decision makers whose local economies have been hit hard. They want to defend home markets and as ANZ is very small global terms we may get cut adrift to some extent.

    The upshot of that is we may need to spend more time on working locally and that might mean we have to adapt / develop different services and products.

    One last idea is what is the equivalent of the 5 stages of grieving / when going through these transitions?

    That is the denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance processes. No-one like having to go through such extreme changes and it might be that we need to step back a bit and see if we can improve our resilience by perhaps understanding a bit more about the emotional impacts on ourselves and our staff.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 215 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    This week's BBC Panorama programme, Credit Where It's Due , looks interesting, although is possibly a little hysterical, as Panorama can be these days.

    It asks whether Britain's banks are doing enough to help small businesses, which are failing at a rate of 120 a day -- even though the government has instructed the banks to do so:

    http://www.megavideo.com/?v=2UNN9FZE

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18656 posts Report Reply

  • jon_knox,

    possibly a little hysterical, as Panorama can be these days.

    A little hysterical, not the BBC's flagship current affairs show. It's some odd forces that have resulted in Panorama's current dire state.

    Osterreich • Since Nov 2006 • 460 posts Report Reply

  • Alastair Thompson,

    ANNOUNCEMENT.....

    Chapter 2 of this exercise has been kicked off http://publicaddress.net/system/topic,1685,speaker_surviving_small_ii_changing_process.sm in a thread started by Rod Drury - CLICK HERE

    You are of course also welcome to keep talking here also.

    Alastair

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 176 posts Report Reply

  • Alastair Thompson,

    Oh dear mucked that post right up.. * memo to self * always use preview before posting.

    Lets try again.

    Rod Drury's new thread is here

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 176 posts Report Reply

  • Alastair Thompson,

    Jason:

    Lots of interesting ideas there....

    One of the big differences between this downturn and others is that the news generally travels faster and there appears to be more flexibility and a more of a border-less economy approach.

    From talking with other businesses who are in the online sector we are often dealing with decision makers whose local economies have been hit hard. They want to defend home markets and as ANZ is very small global terms we may get cut adrift to some extent.

    I very strongly feel that it would be good if this idea were openly acknowleged and acted upon here in NZ. This is where our cultural cringe really gets us - in my business (online media/advertising) we are completely dominated by overseas players(Google, Facebook, Yahoo, Fairfax -including Trademe, and APN) all of which are understandably using their NZ cash producing assets to help their more strategically important domestic operations going in the US and Australia.

    Unfortunately far too many of the buyers in the NZ market - includiung Govt agency marketing managers - are convinced that the offshore advertising providers ar the bees knees and as a result most of the spend 90% plus is therefore heading offshore. This sort of thing can be very frustrating for NZ based businesses.

    The upshot of that is we may need to spend more time on working locally and that might mean we have to adapt / develop different services and products.

    Lets hope so.

    One last idea is what is the equivalent of the 5 stages of grieving / when going through these transitions?

    That is the denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance processes. No-one like having to go through such extreme changes and it might be that we need to step back a bit and see if we can improve our resilience by perhaps understanding a bit more about the emotional impacts on ourselves and our staff.

    This idea intrigues me greatly. It is definitely true that the emotional impacts of financial failure and/or vulnerability are huge. On top of that there is a probably more of a "show no weakness" approach in business even more so than in general life (and thats always been part of the bloke pshyche here anyway). I don't know what can be done about this but I think that diuscussions like this one certainly help.

    al

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 176 posts Report Reply

  • Patrick Hackett,

    As a mortgage broker, I have a suggestion for small businesses who are not getting much joy from their Bank, and have their house mortgaged to the Bank as security for the business lending.

    BNZ (who do not deal with us "vermin" the brokers) are doing some ridiculous lending at the moment, now that they have brought out their 4.99% housing rate. So I suggest you call up a BNZ Mobile Manager, and ask him to refinance all your lending into one home loan. Give him your March 2008 financial accounts and the most recent GV on the property, and a printout on your loans showing you have been meeting the repayments.

    The key is to treat this as a home loan, and not any business refinance. So if you have a business overdraft at the moment, you will need to incorporate the debt into the loan amount, and operate your business accounts in credit without any overdraft limit. This is a great chance to roll all the debts together into one loan at 4.99% and also release some working capital for the business.

    You may also be able to get more than 80% of the value of your home, although the interest rate may then be a little higher.

    Auckland • Since Feb 2009 • 1 posts Report Reply

  • Alastair Thompson,

    Patrick.. this is a fascinating post... I might move it into the current thread where it is more likely to get noticed.

    regards
    Alastair

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 176 posts Report Reply

  • steven crawford,

    I like that Mint Chicks up add up top. Its got a bit of that BFM, alternative advertising flavor to it. I for one, would like to see more amateur looking advertising on these pages. Is that normal?

    I do have a service that might justify my making an add. It is a digital to slide film printer. I can take your emailed Jpegs, Tiffs or what ever and render them to 35mm photographic film at the same resolution as the Lord of the rings films, then have them in the mail within 24 hours. This is most useful when you have a presentation that needs to be cutting edge and reliable.

    What do we think? should I take the plunge. Should I have a go at illustrating the Public address system. Will anyone buy a service such as that, in patronage of the PAS artists gallery?

    Since Nov 2006 • 2562 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    It is a digital to slide film printer. I can take your emailed Jpegs, Tiffs or what ever and render them to 35mm photographic film at the same resolution as the Lord of the rings films, then have them in the mail within 24 hours.

    How bizarre - converting to technology that is no longer produced!

    Do you go the other way, surely that would be more useful. I scan a few thousand slides to digital each year, and haven't ever found a NZ company that would mass scan them.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6157 posts Report Reply

  • steven crawford,

    How bizarre - converting to technology that is no longer produced!

    I can supply stylish magic lanterns.

    Since Nov 2006 • 2562 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    I'll bear that in mind.. :)

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16419 posts Report Reply

First ←Older Page 1 2 3 4 Newer→ Last

Post your response…

Please sign in using your Public Address credentials…

Login

You may also create an account or retrieve your password.