All Posts By

Natalia Perera

Club 3004 July 2018 Networking Event

By | Business

I attended the Club 3004 July networking session at Lakeside Business Centre. Club 3004 is a networking group aimed at business owners based in the 3004 postcode precinct. The business network also attracts business owners based in surrounding suburbs and has been in existence for a substantial amount of time.

The event commenced with networking where we got to know other participants at the event. There was a large spread of cheeses and snacks available as we networked. I had previously attended Club 3004 about a year or so ago. Most people at this event were the same as those that had been there previously.

We were then ushered into a boardroom at the event where Mike Williams from Exit Value Advisors spoke about how business valuers evaluate the value of businesses. The discussion was insightful and raised important points around exiting a business, including the fact that there is a difference between a business valuation and the way that a business broker values a business. Most attendees at the event were service based business and Mike mentioned how these businesses need to separate the value that the business owner provides from the ability for the business to function on its own.

Once the formalities of the event finished, there was more time for networking, with most attendees choosing to remain at the event.

Over the years, Club 3004 has transformed from being a business group to very much a social group – where business owners can catch up for after work drinks.

Things to Note:

  • Location: Lakeside business centre, 4/150 Albert Rd, South Melbourne VIC 3205
  • Highlight: Topic covered was universally useful to all business owners
  • Cost: $25.00
  • Hot Tip: If you are a local business looking for an outlet – this is a great networking group for you

Ratings:

  • Venue: 4/5
  • Catering: 5/5
  • Speaker: 4/5
  • Networking Opportunity: 2/5
  • Total: 15/20

nem Wine Tasting Evening Event Review

By | Business

Alex and I attended the nem Wine Tasting event. We were invited to this event by Steven Lamande who is a partner at the firm. nem is a management consulting business that primarily works with small and medium enterprises.

The event was held at Berth, a venue in the Docklands that overlooked the harbour. The venue was beautifully decorated and looked kind of like a ship from the outside.

The evening began with networking. We were then ushered into the main dinning and were seated with the nem partner that invited us.

The speaker was the owner of Armidale Cellars. He had a in-depth knowledge of wines and was able to talk us through the different varieties. His approach as MC was light and informal with many jokes in between.

The event provided guest with a blind tasting from which we had to guess what type of wine we were being served. There were also cheese platters that were placed on every table to accompany the wines.

I enjoyed the aspect of blind tasting the wines as it provided the opportunity to get to know the other people on the table. We were able to watch the sunset as we were guided through the wine tasting.

The event attracted a mix of the firm’s staff, clients as well as their extended network.

I thought that the event was well planned and innovative in its approach.

Things to Note:

  • Location: Berth Restaurant & Events – 45 Newquay Prom – Docklands, VIC 3008 – Australia
  • Highlight: The variety of wines showcased
  • Cost: By invitation
  • Hot Tip: Brush up on your wine knowledge before you go to this event to add to the conversation

Ratings:

  • Venue: 5/5
  • Catering: 4/5
  • Speaker: 3/5
  • Networking Opportunity: 3/5
  • Total: 15/20

Lunch with Yamini Naidu – Women Behind Closed Doors Event Review

By | Business

I attended the Women Behind Closed Doors Lunch with Yamini Naidu event at the Stamford Hotel.

Women Behind Closed Doors is a networking group aimed at entrepreneurs and executive women. The group hosts regular events across the country. The event that I attended focused on a speech by Yamini Naidu a consultant who works to make workplaces a happier place.

I was early to the event and was one of the first people there, I was warmly welcomed in by Yamni and a event manager from Behind Closed Doors. The room was arranged into round tables that faced the front of the room so that everyone in the audience could see what was happening regardless of where you were sitting.

A diverse group of women trickled into the room by 12pm. However, I could not find any that were executives, with most of the corporate set being middle management. There were however, quite a few business owners – I am not sure though if they would fit the definition of an entrepreneur – I guess I would have to get to know then a bit better.

Yamini spoke before lunch. She discussed hygge which is a Danish word that means living with joy and happiness and the importance of incorporating it into the workplace. He intention with her speech was genuine. She spoke with confidence and from a good place. Discussing that humour should be an integral part of the workplace, and that everyone has the potential to drive humor in their workplace either through their actions when interacting with other colleagues or digitally through the use of emoji’s and Gifs.

I was unsure about the practicality of her advice given recent Fair Work rulings. There is also the challenge I personally find as a leader in maintaining respect and being considered humorous.

One of the attendees that I met was a middle manager at Seek. She told me that the business has always had humor in its culture. There are merits of being humorous for a brand such as Seek which began as a challenger in its industry. They must have great HR practices there to ensure that it is properly contained and does not offend anyone, which is great to see from a corporate organisation.

After Yamini’s speech lunch was served. This consisted of platters of sandwiches and salads as well as little cakes. Normally I am a huge fan of this type of food at events, however it tasted cold and rather… er… stale for some reason. I was surprised of the quality of the catering given that the Stamford is usually a great venue to host events.

As we were having lunch many attendees started leaving the room. We were supposed to have a session where people moved tables and networked with others but by 1:30 I was unsure of if this was going to happen, or if I would be better off going back to the office.

I decided to leave at around this time as I was not sure if it was worth staying as half of the room was gone.

There was a sense of the women in the room holding back at this event and not genuinely engaging with the content. I think some of this came from the fact that the group was marketed as being for women who were executives or entrepreneurs and the event instead attracting middle managers and business owners.

The most meaningful conversation I had at the event was on the elevator ride down where two women opened up about the topic and the event organisation.

Women’s networking events are always challenging I find. Either they are discussions time and time again about the continued lack of gender equality that continues to exist; or they are like this one that seeks to bring women together but then creates a barrier from having real, meaningful conversations.

Things to Note:

  • Location: Stamford Plaza Hotel, 111 Little Collins St, Melbourne VIC 3000
  • Highlight:  The diversity of the people in the room
  • Cost: $47
  • Hot Tip: Great for middle managers

Ratings:

  • Venue:  3/5
  • Catering: 2/5
  • Speaker: 4/5
  • Networking Opportunity: 2/5

Total: 11/20

 

 

PM Club Melbourne Business Network June Event Review

By | Business

I attended the PM Club networking event at the Cluster.

The PM Club is part of the Melbourne Business Network. A not-for-profit organsiation that exists to facilitate networking and connections for Melbourne based businesses.

The Melbourne Business Network is often a staple for small business owners who are just starting out in business and hosts events both in the morning through its AM Club and the evening.

The event that I attended was smaller than most of the other PM Club’s that I have been to in the past. Usually there are about 40 attendees at these types of event however this event seemed to have about half the number. I think the low attendance numbers may have had something to do with the weather as it was a freezing Melbourne day.

As with other PM Club’s there was the opportunity to easily network with other people in the room as they played games where you met people with a different colour dot to the one on your name card.

I knew quite a few people in the room having seen them at other networking events. The think that I like about the PM Club is how friendly the atmosphere is and the genuineness of the event organisers, most of whom are volunteers.

However, I find following leads up from this event very difficult as many seem to forget meeting at the event. So if you do go make sure that you follow up within a week otherwise it can be difficult to engage.

At the event they also presented awards to the winners of the 3000+ awards who were unable to make to the award ceremony.

Things to Note:

  • Location: The Cluster, 17/31 Queen St, Melbourne VIC 3000
  • Highlight:  The opportunity to network with almost everyone in the room
  • Cost: $40
  • Hot Tip: Make sure you follow up contacts within a week of meeting them

Ratings:

  • Venue:  4/5
  • Catering: 5/5
  • Speaker: NA
  • Networking Opportunity: 4/5

Total: 14/15

 

 

ACBC China Business Essentials – Know Your Customer

By | Business, Uncategorized

I attended the Australia China Business Council Know Your Customer event. The event was held in conjunction with the Victorian Business Confucius Institute and was a lunchtime session that was aimed at members of these organsiations. We are a member of the Australia China Business Council through Syneka our parent brand.

The event focused on how Australian brands establish a presence in China. Associate Professor Claire Wang who is the Victorian Confucius Institute and Bill Lang from the Human Performance Group of Companies presented at the event.

Claire discussed the Chinese context. She spoke about how the Chinese considered shopping, including online shopping as a social activity. Her presentation was similar to that which I have seen in my postgraduate marketing studies, so it was very informative. It may however have gone over the heads of some of the participants in the room who were not that well versed in marketing. Of note was the fact that there are opportunities for Australian apparel brands to enter the Chinese market.

Bill spoke about the Australian context and the future. His content was similar to what would be covered in an international marketing lecture, and like Claire’s was very academic.

Networking opportunities at this event were limited. There was a light lunch that was served and networking naturally occurred around the food. Most attendees were members of the organisation – so we knew most of them well.

Things to Note:

  • Location: Victoria University, 300 Flinders Street, Melbourne VIC 3000
  • Highlight:  Content covered was very informative
  • Cost: $65 for members
  • Hot Tip: This event is a seminar that is best suited for attendees with existing marketing knowledge

Ratings:

  • Venue:  5/5
  • Catering: 4/5
  • Speaker: 4/5
  • Networking Opportunity: 1/5

Total: 14/20

 

Family Business Australia Women in Family Business Event Review

By | Business

I attended the Family Business Australia Women in Family Business event.

This event featured a panel of three family business owners Angela Ciliberto from C-Direct and her daughter Danielle Renner who run a distribution business, and also Lisa Wynmond from Eyes Right Optical who works with her brother.

The speakers were candid in their discussion about running a family business including the dynamics that play out in the business. Tips that they provided were to concentrate on business and leave family issues in the home and also start succession planning when children are young. Danielle discussed how she worked from packing boxes to working in Human Resources for the business.

Many of our clients are family businesses. Often emotions, strengths and weaknesses can become exacerbated in a business context, in a family business this can sometimes have detrimental impacts on relationships with family members. This is why it is important to be strategic – in particular with the marketing function. The marketing role from experience is often an area we find family members put into due to its lack of professional rigour. This can lead to less than optimal outcomes as the family member may not have experience in marketing.

The event featured a breakfast as well as the beautiful views of Albert Park Golf Course.

Attendees at the event were mostly female with a scattering of males throughout. There were a mix of family business owners and professional business firms. From experience, while we are a member of Family Business Australia, we have found the association to be quite insular. It can be hard to build connections as it seems like the professional service firms are constantly trying to sell their services and the family businesses as a result tend to be standoffish. I do think however, that it is a good association to belong to if you are a family business as events like this one provide valuable insights.

Things to Note:

Location: Greenfields Albert Park, Lakeside Dr & Queens Road, Albert Park VIC 3206

Highlight: The speakers and their candidness

Cost: $65 for members, $80 for non members

Hot Tip: Don’t be afraid to ask questions

Ratings:

Venue: 4/5

Catering: 5/5

Speakers: 4/5

Networking Opportunity: 1/5

Total: 14/20

 

Australian British Chamber of Commerce Economic Outlook 2018 & Beyond

By | Business

I attended the Australian British Chamber of Commerce Economic Outlook 2018 & beyond event.

The event was held at Zinc in Federation Square. We are a member of the Chamber through our parent brand Syneka. The event was set out over lunch with the main meal and dessert provided.

When I got to the event it was raining heavily. The entrance to Zinc was blocked off by some construction work so I had to wade my way though mud and water to get there. Attendees at this event were mainly corporate organisations. There were many tables where people form the same organisation sat together.

I was put onto a table where the majority of attendees were from the University of Melbourne. Often with sit down events this can happen. If you are ever at an event such as this I would recommend that you contact the event organiser and arrange to be put on a table with a mix of businesses – otherwise it can be quite a lonely experience.

The speakers at the event included Richard Yetsenga from ANZ, Grant King from BCA, Louise Lovering from KPMG and Patrick Durkin from the Australian Financial Review. They spoke about the impact of the 2018 budget. There were a diverse range of opinions about the topic from the speakers and the discussion was highly intellectual. Having come from an accounting background I was able to keep up with the conversation, however, I do think that it would have been difficult for someone with another focus.

After the panel spoke there was a business card draw which I was fortunate enough to win!

Things to Note:

Location: International Chamber House, 121 Exhibition Street, Melbourne

Highlight: The round table discussion – very robust and intellectual

Cost: Member rate

Hot Tip: Arrive early so that you have time for networking

Ratings:

Venue: 4/5

Catering: 4/5

Speakers: 3/5

Networking Opportunity: 1/5

Total: 12/20

Victorian Chamber – After Dark at Mercedes Me

By | Business

Ruby and I attended the Victorian Chamber after dark event that was held at Mercedes Me.

In the marketing world Mercedes Benz is well known as being a pioneer in defining the customer experience across their purchase journey from pre purchase activities to purchase and post purchase.

As part of the pre purchase and post purchase phase of the customer journey the brand has created Mercedes Me cafes. These cafes provide potential and existing customers the chance to experience the brand and what it stands for.

The venue itself looks kind of like a giant tree house with wooden paneling, plenty of plants and sleek bars on both the  top and bottom levels. There was also a car situated on the bottom floor that was part of their AMG range.

The event was packed with close to 100 people in attendance. When Ruby and I got to the event the top floor looked like it was already at capacity. Catering for the event was provided by South Melbourne local St Ali- so the food and wine were a great complement to the event. St Ali has a cafe within the venue.

The CEO of Mercedes Benz Australia Horst von Sanden spoke at the event. Horst is an unusual CEO as he rose up the ranks by holding marketing roles. Often we find from our experience CEO of organisations of the breadth and depth of Mercedes Benz usually have CEOs with and Accounting or legal background so Horst was a refreshing change. He spoke about the fact that he came from marketing being something that really helps him to get ahead in his role.

 

Attendees at the event were a diverse mix. As with many other Victorian Chamber events, there were plenty of Business Development Managers. I have to admit that the presence of so many business development managers in some way as a business owner is a bit off putting as everyone is very “salesy”. There are the usual screening questions of name, position, organisation size and clients that we work with and when they don’t see the opportunity, they move on. If I was a business development manager, I would find this event a waste of time as it would not have been of value for me to network with other business development managers.

The event also attracted business coaches, lawyers and bank managers. I found that they seemed rather out of place within the glitz and show that the business development managers were putting on. It was quite awkward going to this event as a business owner – and I am not sure if I would go to this type of event again. We have in the past spoken to the Chamber about this however they continue to run their events this way which would most likely lead them to have a high turn around in membership numbers. It is like hitting brick wall sometimes speaking with the Victorian Chamber when making suggestions on how to improve – perhaps looking at their marketing governance/ marketing strategy may assist them? Eventually things will need to change.

The speaker at the event had a fascinating story, and so does Mercedes in terms of its customer experience and brand promise. It would have been great if they could have spoken about this more, and perhaps provided a tour of the venue and why it has been designed they way it is set out. I think this may have also led to a different crowd attending the event and also enabled Mercedes to really shine.

Things to Note:

Location: Mercedes Me Store 525 Collins St, Melbourne VIC 3000

Highlight: The amazing Mercedes car in the cafe!

Cost: Member rate

Hot Tip: This is an event more for a networking pro as many of the attendees were business development managers

Ratings:

Venue: 4/5

Catering: 5/5

Speakers: 3/5 – Liked the Mercedes speaker

Networking Opportunity: 2/5

Total: 14/20

 

Event Review: ACBC Medicinal Cannibis Opportunities for Australia and China

By | Business

I attended the Australia China Business Council Medicinal Cannabis Opportunities for Australia and China event.

The event was held at the home of the ACBC located at International Chamber House. Business Growth Partners is a member of the ACBC through Syneka – our parent brand.

This event was one where I did not know what to expect as it is a very new industry in Australia. The speaker at the event was Charles Koves from the Australian Industrial Hemp Alliance. Charles spoke about the various uses of the plant and its versatility including the uses of hemp.

There are 650 Australians who take medical cannabis. It is a very small market, however the products from the plant have greater uses. For Australians it appeared that there were opportunities to sell medicinal cannabis raw materials to pharmaceutic suppliers. However, this opportunity came with a large amount of regulations. The China connection was not particularly clear at this event.

In the room, there were a mix of lawyers, investment organisations and business development managers. The session was highly interactive and intellectual, with most attendees staying after the event. We sat around a table and the conversation was more of a round table discussion rather than a seminar. Some attendees had a significant amount of experience and expertise with the topic and there was a large amount of collegiality.

I would attend events similar to this one again but more from an interest perspective as it was not necessarily geared around networking.

Things to Note:

Location: International Chamber House, 121 Exhibition Street, Melbourne

Highlight: The round table discussion – very robust and intellectual

Cost: Member rate

Hot Tip: Arrive early so that you have time for networking

Ratings:

Venue: 4/5

Catering: 4/5

Speakers: 3/5

Networking Opportunity: 2/5

Total: 13/20

 

Vanity or Value – the truth about social media marketing

By | Business

A long time ago a man was led to a pool. It was a bright sunny day and there was not a cloud in the sky. He was hopeful and optimistic. He peered into the water which was as reflective that day as an endless mirror.

He saw himself. In those days seeing your refection was not something that was common. At first, he did not realise it was even him, so overcome with emotion, he could not believe what he was seeing. The day went on, clouds crossed the sky as the day turned into night. However this man could not look away, he saw beauty, talent and charisma – it was him. The more he looked, the more he liked what he saw. Soon, days passed and the man became increasingly unhappy, nothing could compare to what he saw in the pool and slowly looking at his reflection became an obsession.

Unfortunately for this man time moved on, seasons changed, new alliances were formed and trends came and went. However, he continued to be obsessed with the reflection he saw in this pool and wanted more. He wanted it brought to life, to accompany him everywhere – the perfect companion. Eventually, he could not take it anymore, his obsession turned deadly as he became so dissatisfied with life because nothing else could compare. His name was Narcissus.

While this story is dramatic and contains a character that no one these days wants to be (or pretends not to be), in truth there is an increasing number of vanity based marketing tactics that are now becoming mainstream. The main culprit is social media, where everyone has the opportunity, at a perceived low cost, or even at no cost, to promote themselves and what they do.

Before the days of social media the opportunity to be seen by the masses was rare since it either cost a lot of money or required doing something newsworthy – either good or bad. Social media has broken this down, putting control in the hands of business owners and individuals. Now with social media, you can share your accomplishments with the masses with one single post or advertisement.

However, I have to ask you, dear readers – the question remains, do your customers care? And more importantly – will this spur them to engage with your business.

Over the years as a marketer, I have seen accountants, lawyers, cafe owner, human resource consultants and coaches advertise and promote themselves on social media.

I have come to the conclusion that for most businesses, social media is what we at Business Growth Partners refers to as vanity tactics. Vanity tactics are marketing activities that generate no value but have a great way of bolstering a business owner’s ego. Social media for most businesses, and in particular, service-based businesses is so good at doing this by padding egos but failing to bring customers.

 

Being seeing is great. In marketing we call that brand awareness, but if people become aware of you don’t see the value in what you provide, what is the point?

The fundamentals of marketing have not changed since the 1960s. Marketing begins with identifying what value you deliver to your customers. A vanity tactic, while potentially raising awareness of your brand, may not be targeted at your customers. Facebook, for instance, is a platform where it can be easy to be seen with the right advertisement. But do people really go on there looking for business advice? Or are they more focused on checking out what their family and friends are up to and looking at pictures of cute puppies and kittens? LinkedIn conversely is not the place where you post family photos and inside jokes, however, I see this countless times from mature, non-millennials who treat the platform in a similar manner to Facebook.

It all goes back to your customers and what would make them undertake a purchase. It’s time to get real and not get caught up in the vanity but instead use marketing to demonstrate your value to your target customers.