Everyone has a story. It is how we tell that story that matters.
First on Deb Morandin's Entrepreneurs Paradise, Shine Bright Like A Diamond stage was Julie Cross. She didn’t need that microphone, her voice projected itself with confidence, passion and transparency as she sparkled in her little black (sequenced) dress. She has met great pain in her life however has chosen to stop and ask herself in ongoing anguish, “does this serve me any more?”. Then armed with clarity she gets back up. Again and again she got back up and trained herself into the resilient, confident, unapologetic woman that stood before us.
Listening to Julie really got me thinking about my own story. I find myself (way too often) second guessing my decisions, taking the less risky option, talking down what I am capable of and before I know it I feel small and useless. Julie reminded me to “take where you are now and work with that.”
The more you train yourself to snap out of it the more courage, confidence, resilience you will develop. She also emphasised in a world full of fake that the other most important thing to do is to “look into yourself, not at yourself”. Look in the mirror look into your eyes and celebrate all that lies within because the physical thing is not what people remember you by and it is not what people really care about.
Her main point was that every time you get back up you get stronger at it. So don’t beat yourself up if you fall off the track. Every baby is born perfect but they fall and fall and fall and each time they get back up. Brush yourself off and get back up. You won’t fall as often if you practice and before you know it you'll be running.
Next on the line up was the powerhouse group of “wonder women” and what a team!
Michelle Evans has helped build 4 Ingredients to the success it is today. Michelle attributes intention and effort has two key factors to success. She mentioned that you have to love what you do, or find the love with in it (as later clarified by Roz – see below). Speaking from a more sales based perspective Michelle highlighted that it is fundamental to know your customer, to use the power of media and to motivate them everyday with useful content. People need useful and well timed content otherwise they won’t see what you are offering and cannot engage. If they cannot engage than the solution that your product offers will not reach them and therefore you cannot help them.
Michelle stated to provide a solution that attaches itself to your product. People want to find things to provide solutions in their lives, so give solutions. Keep it fresh and be there because you want to be there. Tie the problem people may be having into what you do and what you sell. Make it obvious and time your content release well so it aligns with the daily routine of your target market. All this led to what Michelle sees lacking in today’s entrepreneurial scene, that being financial education (especially for women). Financial education, by way of budgeting, saving and strategic spending is lacking in start ups and a lot of business. People get to where they are because they know how to work it, so learn what you have to learn to make better choices with the resources that you have.
An extremely interesting point and one that I have really noticed makes a difference with Eco Bling is collaborations. Collaborating for more success by partnering with bigger business (business to business solutions) is one sure way to kick massive goals and tap into the networks that these businesses have. Continuing to leverage off these networks will continue to open more and more doors. Michelle emphasises that 1. It is never about you. Always offer a solution to the customer’s life and pitch to potential collaborating businesses how you are going to make THEM better (not yourself better). 2. Be useful. Have the most useful content, content that engages and add to people’s lives. Build on growing a direct audience. It is better to have a small following that is highly engaged and grow from that than a large audience that doesn’t listen. So, listen to your customers and be useful to what people want/what they are asking for. Don’t complain in the process. Just be agile.
Now to say meeting Roz White was incredibly amazing would be an understatement at an epic proportion. Roz has spent decades at the helm of IGAs across the Sunshine Coast. Her expertise and success in franchising, an option of business that provides lots of support and frameworks to succeed, is phenomenal. Roz’s first diamond advice was to seek opportunity AND act on it. Many people, including myself, find it difficult to act. For me, self doubt creeps in and all of the sudden my creative, unique and fun idea seems silly.
Roz empathised the need to draw your strength from somewhere and invest the time in finding your somewhere. For me it is my successful and entrepreneurial friends and nature. I asked a question to the group as I keep hearing “you HAVE to do WHAT you love”. I asked “Do you HAVE to do WHAT you love or can you love WHY you do it?”. Refreshingly my answer came from Roz where she opened up about not loving what she was doing until 15 years in where she found a love for customer service. She said to step back away from the grind and look into the blue and you will find what you love. If you can’t find it change.
Well, didn’t that work quickly. After a quick tea break and a debrief what with a lovely lady sitting next to me, my world shifted. I was already doing what I love I had just been focusing on the grind! My love is to do conversation work, plant trees and help vulnerable communities in developing countries. That IS what I do and the accessories (although I love creating beautiful things) is the HOW. WOW. This was transformational for me. I had been falling out of love as I got bogged down in admin and emails. I need to communicate my new WHAT, and that is making the world a better place through eco enterprise.
Roz also touched on why it is important to find out what problem you are focusing on then reverse engineer to create a solution. She solidified in me that one must have a drive of purpose, be goal driven and see yourself as a vehicle to bring the solution into the world. There is a humble quality about Roz that I really related to. For a long time I didn’t take credit I said I am just the vehicle that is bringing these things into the world then with more and more media attention shining the light on ME as the powerful sole creator of this enterprise it distracted me from my WHY and my real WHAT.
This amazing woman has always had her eye on the goal and stressed the importance of making sure that the goal is clear. She said the path to success it to identify a purpose, know what you need to achieve (get a business plan with input from those more experiences than you) and act. Full perspective requires balance so make sure you let in people who know more than you and LISTEN.
Roz encouraged everyone to get on a board (or start as a member). It is great for networking and different perspective to a problem. It is also a great way of having a support network, as mentioned by Jane from the Prop House (below). Do what you need to do to become well known in your business.
Taking things up a notch professionally will result in success. Every meeting you have should have structure and relevance. Know who to invite, take minutes, note outcomes, actions and timelines to achieve these. Hold yourself and others accountable and don’t let things slide. Don’t apologise for having high standards. If you give 100% then others will rise to the occasion or fall away (and you don’t want those people anyway). Keep composed, but confident in what you know. Make the call.
I was honoured to be partnered with Tracey Mathers from Mathers Shoes (yes she had phenomenal shoes on!) in a group activity, more on that later. She is strong, focused and bloody hard working. She encouraged everyone to stand up for themselves and know exactly where you want to be. Her directness was contagious and when she said surround yourself with those that will help, ask them, but don’t forget to GIVE and then RECEIVE. I get approached all the time by people I have never met going straight in to “let’s catch up, I need what you know”. Are they serious? It doesn’t work, trust me. You are not entitled to anyone’s time or experience so concentrate on developing a relationship not on what you can take from them to speed up your agenda. What can you give them?
Tracey reiterated the importance of forming a clear vision and being relentless in the pursuit of it. “Don’t delay, just do” was something that really landed. We have such little time here on earth so be bold. I also LOVED how she approached the word NO. She said to NEVER be afraid of the word no. Every time you hear a no, strategise with how to turn it into a yes. Learn what you can from why someone is saying no and listen! Implement what you learn then go back again and again until they have no more “no”. Not only have you won that client/customer but you have won all future clients/customers with the same reasons.
The message from Jano Dawes from The Prop House was simple, efficient and powerful. Don’t be lazy, always be kind and be honest and real. Don’t burn bridges as you don’t know how that person or company will look back into your company at some stage. She emphasised to spend time investing in making magic! The best ideas happen when we are psyched up.
Next we heard from Anton Richardson from MBA Lawyers, Tracy Constable and Courtney Ford from Trade Start and Aus Trade. Anton went over the many reasons why we need to take legal arrangements into consideration when entering business with people or protecting our own businesses from others or future scenarios. Tracy and Courtney highlighted the MANY options and help available to business, including how best to export (yes I was listening in very closely to this).
Media was next on the agenda and we had powerful stars there such as Matt Collins from Coffee Chats with Matt, Karl Schwantes from Xennox Diamonds, Tam Wrigley from The Wine O’clock Show, and Peter Gleeson, Editor of the Sunday Telegraph. They all had different journeys and roles but the core message was clear. A good interview covers a good journey, people want to know the person behind the company, not the product of the company. Story telling, celebrating inspiration and captivating people are what journalists are looking for, so pitch that to them. Something I underestimated was how important relationships are in media. I personally thought journalists would be meeting so many people all the time they didn’t want to develop relationships with their stories. WOW was I wrong. Apparently it is all important.
In summary all the speakers were asked to share any final diamonds… Here they are.
- Transparency, consistency and persistence are keys to success
- Form relationships – spend 90% to form relationship to get to media coverage/deal/contract
- Prepare and know what outcomes you want before you start (if it is a meeting or a new venture, know what you want)
- Be fearless, life is too damn short.
- Be innovative, creative, enthusiastic. Just have a crack, enthusiasm will especially get you so far.
- Persevere – aim to finish hard every day. Treat each day like it is the first day (fresh and excited) and the last day (aim to close deals every day).
What happened next with the closing speaker, Dr David Dugan, was beyond expectation. That deserves a space of its own. It will make you never fear anything ever again…
Deb Morandin, the biggest thank you in the world wouldn’t be enough so…. I am giving away goodies! Read more below.
I want everyone to go into the draw to win a BMW FOREVER (I won it for a weekend – follow my road trip on Facebook and Instagram) at www.eparadise.com.au/win-a-bmw-x2.php I have already got my tickets and there are only 2000 tickets being sold – I like those odds!
Profits raise money to build schools in the British Virgin Islands after being devastated by Hurricane Irma AND the Maharishi Institute in South African whose focus is to educate the most disadvantaged children.
I am going to GIVE a piece of Eco Bling to anyone who reads this and can show me you bought at least 3 tickets. Choose from a recycled glass necklace or recycled wooden cufflinks. Just share the image below, tag Eco Bling (@ecobling.com.au) and Entrepreneurs Paradise (@entrepreneursparadise), and say you have got your tickets for your BMW with hashtag #alreadyawinner #epshinebright #ecobling and #BrisbaneBMW and I will be in touch (after checking with Deb) to organise your gift!