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Michelle Allbon

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    Hi Michelle – absolutely brilliant website and content, and a really innovative take that I haven’t seen before in US-based learning content! (Which is the market I’m the most tapped into). Adding advice here based on my knowledge of friends/extended network currently with school aged children in the US that are either still stuck at home after 8 months without physical school 🙂 or are actively opting to homeschool. First: there are MILLIONS of high potential consumers for your platform in the US, so it’s an excellent market to place your focus. New Zealand is also widely perceived as a nirvana for child development and learning, so brand-wise you will do well as a NZ-based learning company (the novelty alone of not being American carries more weight than most people realize).

    Per others’ advice, I agree that targeted marketing is an easy way to filter the right people to you. However, I would suggest as a start that in the US you target regions with close proximity to top tier universities. (Ex: Boston Massachusetts, San Francisco Bay Area California, Los Angeles Area California, Portland Oregon, Seattle Washington, New York, Austin Texas, Anne Arbor Michigan, Providence Rhode Island, New Haven, Connecticut… etc.). These are areas that tend to attract young and innovative teachers, and also parents who highly value creative educational approaches.

    There also are numerous STEM-based organisations in each of those regions… getting networked into a couple and being a virtual guest speakers would give you exposure, and everyone is always happy to have guest speakers! So if you’d like more specific suggestions on where to network for that, happy to get more granular with you and I can share what I know about – especially in the Bay Area. Feel free to email me: michelle.claire.allbon@gmail.com and always keen to give advice that helps more innovative learning approaches like this get back to my home country!

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    Hi Patrick. You already have some great advice here, but adding a bit more for the US specifically as this is where I’ve spent the majority of my career. Because it is such a big market, everything operates by industry — so how you would approach positioning a software product in building/construction, education, commercial cleaning, manufacturing, events and venues would be completely different. My advice would be to figure out which ONE it resonates strongly with, and as a first milestone secure a validated use case using all the advice above in that single industry. (Ex: if you’re going for manufacturing: start by listing the top manufacturing companies in each region of the US and see on LinkedIn if you have second or 3rd connections in any of them. Also research who you think the target person would be at each company that might be interested in your tool. Message each with a link to a demo of your product or an easy summary of what it does/what problem it solves and ask them if they know anyone who would be interested in learning more. Set a goal for yourself to secure a demo or trial in one company, and that’s your first marker of success!) Start small, and once you have a validated use case other people will give you referrals and you’ll organically secure momentum.

    Also, as a side note with COVID-19 and the general political climate in the US right now, I would avoid both education and events + venues. Commercial cleaning, manufacturing and building/construction (which we call “Contractors”) are better targets. Hope that helps! Feel free to email me if you have any other US-market specific questions: shell.claire.allbon@gmail.com

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    Hi Chris – a couple more ideas here, Amazon as a platform is easiest to use when you can target specific buyers, as it can be overwhelming for people to stumble across your book in the sea of everything available as Vicky mentioned. What topic/genre are your books? I would consider who your target readers are, and consider adding keywords in the platform and in your description to help them find it. (ex: science fiction, aliens, philosophy – or – pets, pet care, pet breeding… etc. The more keywords you add, the more likely you will to show up in search.) Also, as Vicky said – reviews are everything, especially on Amazon. Have people you know that have read the book write you a genuine positive review, and have a minimum of 3 to get you started. Follow up directly with people who purchase your book, and ask them to provide a review that is positive if they enjoyed it 🙂 People are usually happy to hear from sellers/authors and provide support. Best of luck!

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    Hi there – similar feedback to Leslie, would be easier to provide support with a bit more detail. I’ve worked extensively in North America, and also Europe + Middle East markets, so if you’re looking for advice for either happy to share what I can contribute.

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    Hi Hamish! First off: looking at your website and the causes you support through your company, you have the foundation of something really great which I have no doubt more people would love to support. Since you’re a young business owner and passionate about supporting your community, I’m sure there are many marketing opportunities you can network your way into with a bit more strategy.

    My first suggestion is to boost your social media presence I see that you have a Facebook page, but have you considered creating an instagram? On LinkedIn, it’s also difficult to see your company your “story” (which is much more obvious looking at your webpage.) To get yourself a strong marketing baseline I’d suggest the following:

    1. Create an instagram (if you haven’t already) and structure ±6 posts that each have a “story” or interesting piece of information about your company. Some ideas: a profile of you and your co-director, who you are and why you started the company. A review of a piece of gear and why you love it/sell it on your site. Your favourite trail and tips for someone who might want to camp or hike on it, etc. Consider useful content that someone would come across and find interesting and authentic, instead of it being seen as “advertising”

    2. On instagram, follow all your local outdoors outlets and brands, vendors who provide tourism and outdoor activities, and business groups in the communities you’re part of. Following people helps them to see that you’re invested in getting to know them, and you have something to contribute.

    3. Make a company page on LinkedIn that reflects the same content you have on your website. This way it’s easier for people to find you (and you appear more credible to vendors like macpac and kathmandu if you would like to become a reseller of their products.)

    4. Set goals around number of followers you would like to attain, number of views of your LinkedIn page and also views of your website (all things you can track) . Come up with ideas for campaigns to increase these numbers over short periods of time – ex: a sale, a story or set of content you plan to publish over 2 weeks – then measure the results. Do this for 4-6 weeks and every 2 weeks try something new. Get scientific about it, and figure out what works best.

    If you follow some of the advice above, you should get a bit more momentum going! Best of luck, and if you’d like any more specific advice, feel free to reach out: shell.claire.allbon@gmail.com

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    Hi there – exciting to hear that you’re venturing down the path of purchasing an core tool for your charity! This is always a big milestone to get organized technically, but one that can be more complicated than people realize.

    I haven’t personally worked with an “conservation activity management system” but I have worked in various fields where we’ve needed to document certain activities – ie: client or donor information, attendee information from events, revenue sources/streams from events, documents related to events or programs, etc. and there is a whole rathole to fall into when you’re buying any software in this category. There are usually many tools for the job, and some companies who are smart enough to market themselves specifically to charities or certain industries 🙂 when an industry agnostic tool would also work just fine (and sometimes be less expensive.)

    The rationale I always advise people to start with when purchasing ANY new technology tool is to consider:

    – Big picture: what FUNCTIONS do you need your activity management system to perform for you? (Think of a machine: sort and filter information, house it, make sense of it through dashboards and logic, etc)

    – Who will be using the system? (How many people, what are their roles, will it be an internal tool for your employees, an external tool your donors/clients with also use, or both?)

    – How advanced of a technology skillset do the people on your team have? (Have they used Microsoft office products before? Have they used a tool like Salesforce or a content management system?)

    Start there – then consider what tools exist in the market and how much each roughly costs for the number of licenses you’d want, and THEN build a budget is my advice. Reason being: all the above factors will determine the cost. If you start with a budget and give it to a vendor but don’t have a clear idea of what you need, as with anything you’re more likely to be “up sold”. Similarly, if you have too low of a budget but you do need the extras, you’re not helping yourself by compromising on quality for price.

    More than happy to give any other follow-up advice if this is helpful, just email me: Shell.claire.allbon@gmail.com

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    Kia Ora Terina! In addition to Andy’s advice, HERE is a link to a very simple framework you can use when exploring ideas for your business. There are 4 categories, which you can brainstorm in this order:

    – The Strategic Outcome – what is your “vision” that you’re looking to accomplish?
    – Tactical Needs – what items do you need to buy or obtain to start your business?
    – Soft Results – if acquired, what do those items allow you to do?
    – Quantifiable Results – how will you measure the success of your business?

    The link is a google doc example for opening a coffee shop, but this can be done for any business idea. Have a look, and if you’d like me to walk through it for your idea happy to help: shell.claire.allbon@gmail.com. Good luck with getting your idea off the ground!