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Russell Douglas

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    Hi there,

    It sounds like you’ve got an exciting story to tell and an awesome product opportunity.

    I think the key challenge is in building your business and growth strategy so if that’s the case I’d recommend you work through the steps below as a kickstarter.

    I’d start with the lean canvas which can help you to determine your own angle. How you’ll stand out vs the competition. Who your competitors are. What your unique value proposition is. What your unfair advantage is. How you’ll price your services to be competitive and sticky. https://leanstack.com/leancanvas

    Once you’ve had a crack at the top line canvas I’d then suggest developing a more detailed plan using an old marketing framework: SOSTAC, which stands for Situation, Objectives, Strategy, Tactics, Action, Control.

    * Situation assesses where a business is presently (Where are you now? Who are the competition? What’s the market size? Who are your target customers and where are they? Are there any gaps your business could fill? Etc)

    * Objectives sets the mission or goals for the business (Where do you want to be? What are the 3-5 objectives you have for the business? E.g. For the first year: To grow the business revenues from $x to $x with a profit of x%. To achieve a product sales target of $x. To grow our customer base to x. To drive brand awareness by x%.)

    * Strategy is an overview of how to achieve the objectives (How do you get there? What are the high level strategies you’ll deploy to reach your objectives? E.g. Target customers and drive product sales through launch offers. Raise brand awareness in the community using targeted comms, etc etc).

    * Tactics are the details of strategy (e.g. the marketing mix. These are the specific initiatives you’ll employ to deliver on your strategies. E.g. Targeted FB ads, join local business networks, conduct door flyer drops, write articles for local press, offer a recurring revenue bundle such as a subscription to your honey that comes with associated products (this will assist with managing cash flow and provide some predictability on revenues), raise your own profile in the community through social good etc etc).

    * Actions how do you ensure excellent execution of the plan. (E.g. Using simple planning tools you can plot your tactical initiatives across a calendar).

    * Control establishes how you know whether you are getting there (What do you need to monitor? E.g. Put in place simple measurement tools to allow you to understand what tactics are achieve if the best outcome for your business. Use A/B split testing with your ads on FB, monitor if there was a spike in website traffic or sales after an article was published in the local press, after promoting your subscription based offer via, say a member get member offer, did you see a significant uptake? Etc etc).

    By systematically working through each of the areas above you’ll land on a clear direction and the tactical efforts you need to take the business forward.

    Further information can be found here;

    SOSTAC® marketing planning model guide

    When it comes to bringing it all to life it’s really down to yourself and your family to get creative and think differently to your competitors. What are they doing on the socials, who’s demanding the best position in the market and why, how are they turning up differently. Considering these questions will hopefully lead you to a set of smart strategies and tactics (as part of your sostac plan) to smash the competition!

    Good luck,
    Russ

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    Thanks for sharing my previous advice @Vicky-Taylor. 👍

    A couple of builds.

    Firstly I struggled to find any information online about Branching Out or your own credentials so as a number one priority I’d recommend promoting your business via the usual digital channels, e.g. your website, local community boards and networks, tapping into any govt/local council promotional support, get onto Facebook, Insta, LinkedIn, email marketing, etc etc.

    In addition to the canvas and SOSTAC model the thoughts below are a couple of practical tools to help you and your team collaborate, generate ideas and push you to consider new ways to drive the business forward.

    Firstly, have a crack at an empathy map for each segment of your customer base. ( https://miro.com/templates/empathy-map/ )

    An empathy map gives you the head space to really consider what your customers are thinking, feeling, hearing, saying and doing at this time. As much as this will be an assumed exercise, i.e you won’t have conducted qualitative research, it might provide you with a different perspective, territories to explore and raise some key questions.

    Cluster these questions into a series of how might we (HMW) statements. We call these statement starters. e.g HMW offer businesses that are ‘thrivers’ at this time with tea tree services? (See Andy’s LinkedIn article describing the thriver segment – https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/covid-19-response-some-thoughts-how-business-economy-can-hamilton )

    Consider these types of businesses and target them with fresh thinking, a fresh perspective and a fresh pricing strategy.

    That’s just one HMW. Come up with 5-6 per customer segment. Once you’ve created your HMW statements get your team together on a call and using collaboration tools such as Miro come up with as many ideas as you can for each HMW. As a rule articulate your idea as a single sentence. Run these as 5-10 minute sessions with your team. You could use Google Sheets which we’ve found can work just as well as Miro for live ideation.

    After each session you’ll have generated a significant volume of ideas. Now refine them.

    As a group discuss the ideas and vote on the top 3 per segment you’d like to take forward.

    These are a couple of simple tools to help you to think differently and generate fresh thinking.

    Once you’ve got your refined list of ideas you can explore ways to bring them to life with your team, generate simple storyboards or prototypes of your ideas and test them with customers in your current segments and perhaps some new segments you’ve identified. See what gets a nibble and iterate your thinking until you hit on an idea(s) that gets your customer buying again.

    All the very best of luck.

    Russ

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    Hi there,

    I agree with you and it’s about mindset, tenacity, inventiveness, determination and a chunk of luck too.

    Consider this story and perhaps share it to the business owner you were chatting to.

    When the NZ government locked down the country Snap Rental, a Deloitte Fast 50 car rental business, was essentially shuttered overnight.

    Tourism amounts to circa 10% of NZ GDP and with hubs in many of NZ’s major tourist destinations Snap Rentals needed to pivot and pivot quickly.

    The governments business support life line gave the founders 8 weeks to mobilize and reimagine their destiny.

    I volunteered the boys 40hrs of free D&Co time to support them. We assisted with business strategy, monetisation ideation, mvp design and digital replatforming. That gift of time led to me being consumed by the business and over the Easter weekend became thoroughly embroiled in developing the mvp offer. A same day, personal shopper, delivery offer.

    We started with Farro and have since added a number of other outlets across NZ. We’re now a little over 4 weeks old, and have started to get drivers onboard to support the growth (we’ve got ex airline pilots, business execs, restraunteurs as drivers – many of whom we will promote into the business as it grows) with major NZ brands onboard and operating across NZ.

    What impresses me about this story is the resilience and balls the Snap Rental boys had. Their tenacity and determination to save their livelihood and the livelihood of their employees.

    There are of course disparate stories out there and many, many businesses shuttering but creative thinking can result in the identification of new opportunities to prosper and grow both personally and in business.

    All the very best to you and stay positive my friend. It’s important for you, your family and this country.

    Russ

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    Hi there,

    If you’re on a super tight budget I’d recommend http://www.fiverr.com for very basic, entry level graphic design services. You will however get what you pay for but it should see you get off the ground at this early stage.

    All the best for your new venture.

    Cheers,
    Russ

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    Hi there,

    Great question and one every business needs to spend time working through and strategizing over. I’d split the ask into 3 areas; building your brand, finding your unique customer value proposition and marketing your services.

    Depending on the time you have to dedicate to this will determine how far you take my recommended approach below.

    I’d start with the lean canvas which can help you to determine your own angle. How you’ll stand out vs the competition. Who your competitors are. What your unique value proposition is. What your unfair advantage is. How you’ll price your services to be competitive and sticky. https://leanstack.com/leancanvas

    Once you’ve had a crack at the top line canvas I’d then suggest developing a more detailed plan using an old marketing framework: SOSTAC, which stands for Situation, Objectives, Strategy, Tactics, Action, Control.

    * Situation assesses where a business is presently (Where are you now? Who are the competition? What’s the market size? who are your target customers and where are they? Are there any gaps your business could fill? Etc)
    * Objectives sets the mission or goals for the business (Where do you want to be? What are the 3-5 objectives you have for the business? E.g. For the first year: To grow the salon business revenues from $x to $x with a profit of x%. To achieve a product sales target of $x. To grow our customer base to x. To drive brand awareness in our local community by x%.)
    * Strategy is an overview of how to achieve the objectives (How do you get there? What are the high level strategies you’ll deploy to reach your objectives? E.g. Target customers and drive acquisition through onboarding offers. Raise brand awareness in the community using targeted comms, etc etc).
    * Tactics are the details of strategy (e.g. the marketing mix. These are the specific initiatives you’ll employ to deliver on your strategies. E.g. Targeted FB ads, join local business networks, conduct door flyer drops, write articles for local press, offer a recurring revenue bundle such as a subscription to your salon service that comes with associated products (this will assist with managing cash flow and provide some predictability on revenues), raise your own profile in the community through social good etc etc).
    * Actions how do you ensure excellent execution of the plan. (E.g. Using simple planning tools you can plot your tactical initiatives across a calendar).
    * Control establishes how you know whether you are getting there (What do you need to monitor? E.g. Put in place simple measurement tools to allow you to understand what tactics are achieve if the best outcome for your business. Use A/B split testing with your ads on FB, monitor if there was a spike in website traffic or sales after an article was published in the local press, after promoting your subscription based offer via, say a member get member offer, did you see a significant uptake? Etc etc).

    By systematically working through each of the areas above you’ll land on a clear direction and the tactical efforts you need to take the business forward.

    Further information can be found here;

    SOSTAC® marketing planning model guide

    When it comes to bringing it all to life it’s really down to yourself and your sister to get creative and think differently to your competitors. What are they doing on the socials, who’s demanding the best position in the market and why, how are they turning up differently. Considering these questions will hopefully lead you to a set of smart strategies and tactics (as part of your sostac plan) to smash the competition!

    Good luck,
    Russ

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    Hi there,

    The right approach depends on your organizations broader objectives and what your looking to achieve by setting up a website. The first question I’d ask is ‘what purpose the site is going to serve?’

    The answer to that question (and a number of others) will determine the approach.

    If a website ends up being the right decision then I’d suggest a simple platform like http://www.squarespace.com – it’s very easy to set up and update with a reasonable subscription fee.

    However, if budgets are tight and you’re looking to grow your reach then an alternative strategy might be to simply use Facebook to create a community of interest around your fitness offering with links out to google docs/sheets/slides for deeper content, e.g. fitness program schedules etc.

    Happy to help further if you’re able to provide further clarification.

    Thanks,
    Russ

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    Thanks for reaching out.

    The first thing that came to mind was targeting. Some industries will thrive during this time and you may have already considered this but it might be prudent to draw up a list of those industries and the businesses that operate within them using a simple framework:
    Essential services//Grocers//New World etc
    E-commerce//Retailers//MightyApe etc

    Once you’ve created a spreadsheet with a long list of potential ‘thrivers’ start to consider how you might position your business and how you’ll target these businesses. (See Andy’s LinkedIn article describing the thriver segment – https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/covid-19-response-some-thoughts-how-business-economy-can-hamilton )

    What’s your angle? How will you stand out vs the competition? Who are your competitors? What’s your unique value proposition? What’s your unfair advantage? How will you price your services to be competitive and sticky?

    If you have clearly articulated answers to these questions then it’s time to consider your brand and marketing strategy as it relates to each segment you’ll target. If some of the above questions are a little loose then I’d suggest working through a lean canvas ahead of preparing marketing materials – https://leanstack.com/leancanvas

    Shout out if you need a hand and I’ll help out as best I can.

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    Hi there,

    This might help: https://www.myshoehospital.com/how-shoe-repair-works/

    Obviously you’ll need to add in any specifics relating to your business and some assurance around the safety measures you’re taking at this time as well as contactless delivery etc.

    All the best,
    Russ

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    Hi there,

    Thanks for reaching out.

    My first thought is to offer your customers some photography tips to help them take their own shots while you can’t be at the hospital with them supporting this amazing moment in their life. You could also offer to retouch the shots they take.

    By providing them with some great smartphone photography advice you’re helping them to shine during this anxiety ridden time and giving them a gift that might mean the difference between capturing a few terrible shots, or none at all, to capturing amazing memories.

    I picked up an article out of the U.S which is worth a read – https://www.rangefinderonline.com/news-features/industry-news/how-portrait-photographers-are-pivoting-in-the-time-of-covid-19/

    One relevant piece of advice from the article reads;
    Lange advises newborn photographers to reassure clients that sessions can, in fact, be pushed until closer contact is deemed safer. “The photos you take of them with their babies are going to be cherished at whatever age,” she says. “Your clients may be really disappointed if they were hoping for a true newborn session, and we need to be there to support them mentally and reassure them that photos when their baby is 4 months old will be just as important to them as when their baby is two weeks old.”

    So my advice would be to offer a support and guidance service for now that could be pulled into a series of short support documents and shared with current bookings. I’d then use these guides to create content snippets for use across social media, your website and other channels to help grow awareness of your brand.

    When the time comes, where you’re able to operate at close quarters again, you’ll hopefully have built up a following and some advocacy from the parents you helped from the sidelines.

    If you wanted to push this further you might consider offering some paid for photography coaching services where you teach a wider audience via an online learning platform.

    Alongside this, is there an option to use this time to build up a portfolio of backlog and new images that could make some additional revenue through sites such as i-stock or shutterstock?

    All the very best,
    Russ

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    The ideas above are an excellent round up of new considerations so I’ll come at this from another angle.

    The thoughts below are a couple of practical tools to help you and your team collaborate, generate ideas and push the business to consider new ways to drive the business forward.

    Firstly, have a crack at an empathy map for each segment of your customer base. ( https://miro.com/templates/empathy-map/ )

    An empathy map gives you the head space to really consider what your customers are thinking, feeling, hearing, saying and doing at this time. As much as this will be an assumed exercise, i.e you’ll not have conducted qualitative research, it might provide you with a different perspective, territories to explore and raise some key questions.

    Cluster these questions into a series of how might we (HMW) statements. We call these statement starters. e.g HMW offer businesses that are ‘thrivers’ at this time with ‘insert aspects of your offer here’? (See Andy’s LinkedIn article describing the thriver segment – https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/covid-19-response-some-thoughts-how-business-economy-can-hamilton )

    I recently helped Snap Rentals pivot to Snap Delivery; a same day, personal shopper, grocery delivery service starting with Farro but expanding nationwide. They’re classic ‘thrivers’.

    Consider these types of businesses and target them with fresh thinking.

    That’s just one HMW. Come up with 5-6 per customer segment. Once you’ve created your HMW statements get your team together on a call and using collaboration tools such as Miro come up with as many ideas as you can for each HMW. As a rule articulate your idea as a single sentence. Run these as 5-10 minute sessions with your team. You could use Google Sheets which we’ve found can work just as well as Miro for live ideation.

    After each session you’ll have generated a significant volume of ideas. Now refine them.

    As a group discuss the ideas and vote on the top 3 per segment you’d like to take forward.

    These are a couple of very simple tools to help you to think differently and may help you to our up some ideas that assist in your pivot.

    Once you’ve got your refined list of ideas you can explore ways to bring them to life with your team, generate simple storyboards or prototypes of your ideas and test them with customers in your current segments and perhaps some new segments you’ve identified. See what gets a nibble and iterate your thinking until you hit on an idea(s) that has the desired outcome.

    All the very best of luck.

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    Hi Grant,

    The ideas above are an excellent round up of new considerations so I’ll come at this from another angle.

    The thoughts below are a couple of practical tools to help you and your team collaborate, generate ideas and push the business to consider new ways to drive the business forward.

    Firstly, have a crack at an empathy map for each segment of your customer base. ( https://miro.com/templates/empathy-map/ )

    An empathy map gives you the head space to really consider what your customers are thinking, feeling, hearing, saying and doing at this time. As much as this will be an assumed exercise, i.e you’ll not have conducted qualitative research, it might provide you with a different perspective, territories to explore and raise some key questions.

    Cluster these questions into a series of how might we (HMW) statements. We call these statement starters. e.g HMW offer businesses that are ‘thrivers’ at this time with branded apparel? (See Andy’s LinkedIn article describing the thriver segment – https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/covid-19-response-some-thoughts-how-business-economy-can-hamilton )

    I recently helped Snap rentals pivot to Snap Delivery; a same day, personal shopper, grocery delivery service starting with Farro but expanding nationwide. If they grow the way we expect they will then they’ll need thousands of t-shirts, caps, name tags etc.

    Consider these types of businesses and target them with fresh thinking, a fresh perspective and a fresh pricing strategy.

    That’s just one HMW. Come up with 5-6 per customer segment. Once you’ve created your HMW statements get your team together on a call and using collaboration tools such as Miro come up with as many ideas as you can for each HMW. As a rule articulate your idea as a single sentence. Run these as 5-10 minute sessions with your team. You could use Google Sheets which we’ve found can work just as well as Miro for live ideation.

    After each session you’ll have generated a significant volume of ideas. Now refine them.

    As a group discuss the ideas and vote on the top 3 per segment you’d like to take forward.

    These are a couple of simple tools to help you to think differently and generate fresh thinking.

    Once you’ve got your refined list of ideas you can explore ways to bring them to life with your team, generate simple storyboards or prototypes of your ideas and test them with customers in your current segments and perhaps some new segments you’ve identified. See what gets a nibble and iterate your thinking until you hit on an idea(s) that gets your customer buying again.

    All the very best of luck.

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    The good news is that we’re relatively immature in terms of great content for social and other channels. The better news is that you have a talent that is going to be in great demand if it’s packaged and positioned well.

    Contact me at russ@dandco.nz as I’m currently working with some publishing fall out businesses on new opportunities which we’re hoping to support.