I get it. It’s tough out there as a business owner in Lake Mac. In today’s reality, as business owners we’re scrambling to hold on to any type of operation so we can retain staff and bank something…anything.
Being a business owner in Lake Mac
Congratulations, you’re a business owner in Lake Mac. Not only do you now have the freedom to work your way, but you also live in one of the best places in Australia. It’s called “living the dream, Barry!” I mean sure, you’ve certainly got the freedom to make choices, but easily growing your business in a regional community is a different story. Running a shop, cafe, office, having a trade or any business really, takes more hours than 9 am – 5 pm. It’s especially so in the first 3 – 5 years as you find the balance between work and family at the income you want. Some of us find this harder than others.
Do you need a business plan?
My background is in traditional marketing, and part of any new business was a big document or presentation of a Business Plan. It had all the bells and whistles in it. It’s definitely still got a purpose but the most important thing is just having a goal and a roadmap of how you’re going to get there.
It doesn’t have to be elaborate and fancy. Sit down and summarise what worked and what didn’t. Look at your P&L, and learn about your income streams and expenses. A good accountant or bookkeeper can help you with this. Plan to improve your financial position by implementing new ideas and ways to do business to increase your revenue. You can get help with this from a business coach or mentor. Always put a timeframe on your roadmap and review it as you go.
Finding new customers
Word-of-mount (WOM) and referrals are what we’ve come to accept as the main form of advertising in Lake Mac. It’s definitely very powerful because it comes with proof and trust that your business has satisfied others. Trust and satisfaction are essential outcomes for your customers along with the new relationship.
The only problem with WOM is that is can be slow, especially if you’re starting out. So supplementing it with advertising or promotion is a great way to expand your reach and attract new customers to your business.
Here is where most people stop because it’s a jungle out there!
Where can you advertise in Lake Macquarie with a small budget?
You can try Facebook ads which are much harder to narrow your audience in regional areas. It’s nowhere near as cost-effective as national Facebook advertising. Maybe an ad in the paper? Who reads them anymore? Radio is out of your price range. The same for wrapping a bus in graphics, especially when it ends up in Mayfield and you’re in Warners Bay. Bus Shelters, you’ve got a long-term position but the same route everyday. You could hire a PR agency to find you some community feel-good stuff, but get your wallet out because it isn’t cheap.
All of these advertising options are viable and do work, but you need a big budget and a long-term plan. They build exposure over time. This is why they cost so much. They take professional’s, time, and expertise to plan and execute.
Lake Mac Family Life
The reason we started Lake Mac Family Life was to connect our community with everything local. How do you find the dressmaker who works from home in Toronto or the plumber who fixes hot water systems in Valentine? If they haven’t invested in advertising, if they don’t have a website, or if they aren’t on Facebook? Our community has been missing out on supporting local, simply because we didn’t know they existed!
When we honed in on this we knew we needed to give local businesses an affordable platform to be heard, seen, and represented. That allowed them to build trust and relationships. A platform that also gave parents the opportunity to share their satisfaction and recommendations.
Lake Mac Family Life is more than a directory. It’s more than a targeted advertising platform. It’s more than a place to build relationships and trust.
It’s our community, supporting local first.