When you are made redundant you can emotionally go one of two ways:
“I wasn’t good enough; I was a failure and now what will I do?” Or “They didn’t appreciate my ability, that’s on them and I’m going to do something about it”.
For Michelle Fragar this was the moment she faced 5-years ago when she was made redundant for succeeding too quickly as she met her KPI’s within 3-months of what they expected as a 2-year project and the company deciding to utilize her salary elsewhere. By this point, Michelle had worked her way up through male dominated companies, proving her ability and worth. It was a turning point in her career, where she decided to take control of her own capabilities and start her own business. On her way home from that fateful day of being made redundant, Michelle went straight to Harvey Norman to buy a new computer and get started on taking a risk and going out on her own.
With over 18+ years’ experience, Michelle created ‘BRANDiT’ to help new or smaller businesses with their Marketing, Strategy and Branding.
“It was important for me to educate businesses starting out or on a growth path to understand the importance of having a business architecture and marketing strategy. The importance of knowing your brand, identifying your customer, and understanding your strategy could be the difference between make or break. Invest the money in getting it done right, from the start. This doesn’t mean investing your life savings into flashy logos and websites. It’s understanding what you need right now and what the next phase can be. Once you have your marketing strategy and roadmap, you will have a better understanding of your business goals and you’ll learn that there are free business tools and platforms out there to help you too.”
Last year, Michelle was awarded the highest award for a Marketer in Australia, winning the Australian Marketing Institutes “CPM of the Year” – Certified Practicing Marketer 2021.
For Michelle, she not only started her own small business, which is now thriving with 17 clients, but she needed to take her own advice when starting out and build her own marketing strategy which has contributed to the business succeeding and thriving through a Pandemic. From redundancy to success, Michelle says that if you are thinking of going out on your own, this is how to get started.
I HAVE A BUSINESS IDEA, NOW WHAT?
BUSINESS NAME Work out a business name and search to see if it’s available as a business at ASIC and trademark at IP Australia. When choosing your business name, remember that simple is often best as people will need to search for you online and of course you’ll need a business website (which won’t be easy or memorable to find with too many acronyms and numbers).
WHAT ARE YOU SELLING AND TO WHOM? What exactly are you selling? Is it a product? Service? Both? Is there a current gap in the market for it? Or who are you competing against? Once you know that, it’s vital to know who your customer is and that’s because with marketing and advertising, you need a bullseye customer that you are targeting. Keeping it broad and saying ‘I guess everyone might like this’ will drive your budget up and confuse your branding as your approach and platforms of selling to a 21-year-old would be completely different to selling to a 60-year-old.
MARKETING PLAN Find an accredited marketer to come up with your marketing and brand strategy. Now that you know what you are selling and who you are selling to, the Marketing Plan will create your business architecture and your very own brand archetypes by personas, touchpoint analysis, target markets, style guide, channel selection, and wonderful free tools available so you can implement the marketing strategy once you have your own roadmap. Because what a lot of people do is skip the strategy part and go straight to a graphic designer and say, ‘I need a logo’ and then think that they are good to go.
MENTOR Investing money and time into finding a mentor could prove to be priceless, somebody who is running a business for 10-20 years that you either think has a really cool business model or that you think you have a lot to learn from. Learn the basics of running and owning your own business, which can seem simple, but sometimes the basic things are what you need to know like the accounting and when to deal with the ATO and how to access grants. Talk about the things that could go wrong and prepare for that, and don’t be scared to plan your exit strategy if there are partners.
CULTURE One of the biggest mistakes a business can make is with their ‘Culture’ because if the staff aren’t happy, it will affect your customer’s experience. People need to feel engaged, valued, respected, and empowered. Treat staff like your best growth opportunity rather than a cost centre. Build a business where people want to work.
Finally, do not let fear hold you back from trying. It is incredibly daunting to take the first step into creating and running your own business.
It’s easy to think “What if I fail?”.
Get out of your own head and instead think “What if I SUCCEED?”