Retail Therapy: Getting Retail Ready for Christmas Event Review

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This the Reed Gift Fair was held in the Melbourne Convention and exhibition Centre. In conjunction with the trade show a series of seminars were held for Retail Business Owners. These events aimed to better educate attendees on various aspects of marketing, from Retailing workshops through to Social Media and forecasting.


Today the workshop focused on helping Retail owners prepare for the busy Christmas season. The event was run by Lotco, a business consulting group specialising in retailing. The presenters had 20 years’ experience between them, operating retail businesses and working for larger retailers.


Throughout the session the presenters discussed different ways the retail sector can leverage the Christmas period effectively. Major changes, such as changing the layout, or minor changes, like pre-wrapping popular items, can help Retail businesses leverage the Christmas rush. 


Given their experience the presenters provided many anecdotes from their time in retail stores. These anecdotes ranged from examples of how they changed their retail space to tips to generate a higher profit margin. However, the presenters continually interrupted each other, often speaking over the top of the other, resulting in a workshop that was difficult to follow at times.


The attendees of the workshop were owners of various retail stores. Ranging from furniture and homewares through to gardening supplies. While the attendees all interacted with the presentation, asking questions, offering their own experiences and so on, the networking opportunity was very limited. Once the presentation ended all of the attendees departed immediately.


While the content was relevant to the audience, this workshop did not offer any networking opportunities. As such, I am unlikely to attend events like this in the future.


  Things to Note

  • Location: Melbourne Convention Centre, 1 Convention Centre Pl, South Wharf
  • Highlight: Insight from experienced industry members
  • Cost: $40
  • Hot Tip: Great for Retail to boost their Christmas sales


  • Venue:  3/5
  • Catering: N/A
  • Speaker: 2.5/5
  • Networking Opportunity: 1/5

Total: 6.5/15

The Hunger Project: Event Review

By Business, Uncategorized

I attended ‘In Conversation with Change makers of the Hunger Project’ on Wednesday 1st of August. This event was held at Ernst & Young on Exhibition Street from 5.45pm-8pm.

The Hunger Project is a global not-for-profit organisation that aimed to empower women and men living in rural villages in Africa, Bangladesh, India and Latin America to end world hunger.


This was the first ‘In Conversation with Change Makers’ in the series by the Hunger Project. With more events to continue later in the year due to the number of attendees at the first one. The event was a sell out with about 40 attendees.

The event was targeted to mainly women who wanted to focus more on their entrepreneurial spirit and listen to a selection of positive changing women.


The night begun with 30 minutes of small talk with the attendees. There were a selection of nibbles and beverages that were being served. The food was absolutely delicious.  We were then seated in a seminar type format.

The MC for the night was Cyan Ta’eed, the Founder of Hey Tiger and Envato. Hey Tiger, Cyan’s latest social enterprise start up and Envato, one of the largest digital market places in the world.


We sat down to listen to the panelist discuss why they were committed to empowering women globally. Touching on their personal and professional leadership journey.

The panelist were Lisa Michael, the General Manger of People and Business Improvement at DECJUBA. Followed by Chantal Noble, who was on the Board for the Hunger Project Australia (THPA).


I found the event was worth-while to attend however it was not much of a networking event. Majority of the attendees had some connection to either of the two panelist or just had an interest in raising money and supporting the not-for-profit, the Hunger Project.


Things to Note:

  • Location: Ernst & Young, Level 23, 8 Exhibition Street, Melbourne, VIC, 3000
  • Highlight:  The panel discussion
  • Cost: $30
  • Hot Tip: Wasn’t much of a networking opportunity


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

Total: 14/20

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


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

Total: 14/20


League of Extraordinary Women: Event Review

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On May 9th Natalia and I attended an event hosted by the League of Extraordinary Women. The event was held at the We Work co-working space in Bourke Street from 6pm-8pm.

We Work holds events after work hours throughout the year for various organisations, such as the League of Extraordinary Women.
The League of Extraordinary Women strives to bring together female business owners, entrepreneurs, and start-ups, to connect, share and inspire.
The presenter representing the League of Extraordinary Women was an inspiring business owner, who started a photography business. She directed the conversation with the female owners of two successful businesses. The guests included Alex who founded Her Wardrobe and the two founding friends of Hunting For George.

Her Wardrobe is a women’s outfit rental brand, operating out of a physical store on St Kilda road, with Alex managing the business whilst focusing on growth.
Hunting For George was represented by Jo who specialises in customer service and Lucy who works within the design and communications department. They discussed their online business which primarily offers homewares to Australian’s.

The two guest speakers were great at public speaking and didn’t need much guidance from the host. They discussed where they were when they started their businesses, both physically and mentally, the transition from working for someone to being a business owner, how important their staff are in order to run a small business successfully, and the challenges they faced when trying to grow their businesses. The event was informational, with The Hunting For George speakers discussing what it is like to operate a business through an e-commerce platform, comparing their retail experience to Her Wardrobe’s physical retail business. With e-commerce impacting the retail industry, it was interesting to hear their perspectives on successfully navigating the retail space. Aligning communication channels and content with business goals is crucial, and the speakers briefly explained their choice of channels and the type of content they share to their consumers.

Whilst the event promoted a networking component, the We Work event space is part of the reception area, so it was unclear who was there for the event. Secondly, to use the lifts required a key card, and a designated staff member buzzing attendees to We Work on Level 4 would have been beneficial, as we relied on a passer-by buzzing us up. Lastly, the event did not provide food, and there were limited drink options.

Who attended the event
The only attendees at the event were women, determined to start their own business but slightly overwhelmed by the decision. They wanted advice and a support network from other women who have been in their shoes, and successfully navigated the market.

Take outs 
Test the waters and experiment with your business idea to understand its viability.
Maximise your resources before growing.
Focus on understanding your type of customer and how to reduce their pain-points.
Whilst E-commerce is altering the retail industry, physical store presence gives the brand a stronger personality.



We Work
152 Elizabeth Street, Melbourne, VIC 3000


Venue: 4/5Catering: 2/5
Speakers: 4/5
Network Opportunity: 2/5
Total: 12/20

DM Forum: Dando and LinkedIn Present: Event Review

By Business, Uncategorized

On the first Tuesday in May, Business Growth Partners attended the DM Forum hosted by Frank Chamberlin. The event was held at the Monash Conference Centre on Collins Street from 6-8pm.

The DM Forum is an casual after-work function that is held quarterly on a Tuesday evening throughout the year.

The presenters for the event were Steve Crough, Founder of the Dando, as well as Helen Hollins, the General Manager of Dando.  A digital agency in Richmond. The second speaker was Kae Hum, Head of Enterprise Sales for LinkedIn.

Kae Hum was a great public speaker and kept the audience engaged through his presentation. LinkedIn has over 550 million members globally. ! As majority of individuals and business owners have a LinkedIn presence, it was interesting to learn about the tactics for businesses to reach their marketing objectives through LinkedIn.

The DM Forum is always great to attend, Frank makes such an effort to connect individuals and businesses owners together. Every time I go, I meet a selection of interesting attendees who are at the DM Forum out of interest of the speaker and enjoy the great event that Frank hosts.

The sandwiches are a favourite and a highlight with the crowd.

There is limited time to network at the event – it is key to get to the venue before 6pm to have a opportunity to network with like minded individuals. The type of attendees were a lot of Monash marketing students as well as digital agencies. The key speakers tend to speak for about an hour and a half. In this case, make sure you get in early to network and to eat some of Frank’s sandwiches!

Things to Note:

Location: Monash Conference Centre, Collins Street, Melbourne, 3000

Highlight: The sandwiches and speakers

Cost: $32

Hot Tip:  Get in early to network



Venue: 5/5

Catering: 5/5

Speakers: 4/5

Network Opportunity: 3/5

Total: 16/20


Steve Crough from Dando presenting

Kae Hum from LinkedIn presenting

Melbourne Business Networking: The PM Club “Autumnal Networking” Event Review

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On Thursday the 22nd of March, I attended the PM Club “Autumnal Networking” Event hosted by Melbourne Business Network. The event was held at the Courtyard in the RACV Club on Bourke Street.

The event started off with an opportunity to network. As you walked in you were given two drink tickets for the bar. This was shortly followed by platters of canapes that were brought around by waiters.

It was a great chance to be able to have a chat to the other attendees. The live music gave the event a relaxed feel. However, it was slightly too loud and made it difficult to have a meaningful conversation.

Following this, President of the MBN, Bev Friend, made a small speech about the importance of making valuable connections during networking events. She also talked about how important it is that we are happy at work. During her speech, Friend mentioned that she did not wish for attendees to swap business cards, rather, she wanted the crowd to have meaningful interactions. Unfortunately, this set an atmosphere that made it difficult to collect business cards.

As usual for a Melbourne Business Networking event, we played a few games that involved the coloured sticker on our name tag. As we paired up with people with the correct colour, we talked about ways to improve the happiness at our respective work places.

Primarily, the people that attended the event were employees of various Not-For-Profits, and a few people who worked in small businesses. Although these kind of games can make people uncomfortable, everyone enjoyed talking about ways to create happiness during work.

I would attend this event again, as it was a good venue, good catering and all the attendees were really nice. Bev Friend is a good host and always has something to say from the heart.

Things of note:

  • Location: RACV Club Courtyard
  • Highlight: The Food
  • Cost: $30
  • Hot Tip: Have some fun things about yourself ready to say!



  • Venue: 4/5
  • Catering: 4/5
  • Speakers: 3/5
  • Networking Opportunity: 3/5


Total: 14 / 20

Neil Waterhouse: eBay and Amazon Australia – Winning the Game in 2018 Event Review

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On Tuesday the 21st, myself and Business Growth Partners Director, Natalia, attended the Winning the Game on the New eBay – What’s working in 2018. The event was hosted by guest speaker; Neil Waterhouse, a multi-million dollar seller and author of Million Dollar eBay Business From Home. The event was held at the Institute of Chartered Accountants, 600 Bourke Street, Melbourne, VIC 3000.

Unfortunately, our experience did not start off positively. Natalia and I arrived at the venue at 6:30pm to find that we were unable to use the elevators and there was no one in the lobby floor to guide us to level 3. We walked around the lobby floor but could not find an alternative way to get to level 3, or did we see any signage to direct us.

After this, we were slightly annoyed and decided to recheck the Eventbrite event page as well as the tickets we pre-purchased. We had the address, date and time of the event correct. 20 minutes had passed since we’d first arrived and we were close to leaving when Natalia spotted “level 18” in one of the last paragraphs on the event page. We were confused, as both the tickets and the location listed on the event stated “level 3.” Fortunately, the elevators carried us to level 18 without an incident.

Our evening’s bad start was indicative of the event ahead. Frustrated with the unprofessional management of the event, we slipped into the room which was set up as a lecture hall, and took our seats. Neil Waterhouse, the guest speaker was already underway with his presentation. Although it seemed as though he was extremely knowledgeable and experienced in developing a business model around selling on eBay and Amazon, he was not a very engaging speaker.

Almost immediately, Natalia and I realised that the people attending the event were those who were looking to make a quick dollar online, rather than small business owners that were invested in their businesses and looking to develop another channel to market. We also realised, that there wasn’t going to be a networking segment of the event, as much of the time was being taken by tedious questions from the crowd. At 7:10pm, we decided it was a waste of time and left.

In conclusion, we were disappointed with event. The management of the event was unprofessional, the speaker was unengaging and there did not appear to be any attendees that we would be able to create an exchange of value with.


Summary of event

  • Location: Institute of Chartered Accountants Level 18, 600 Bourke Street, Melbourne VIC 3000
  • Cost: $10 per person
  • Highlight: No highlight.
  • Hot Tip: Do not attend this event if you want to network.



  • Networking opportunity: 0/5
  • Speaker: 2/5
  • Venue: 2/5
  • Food: 0/5


Total: 4/20

Welcome Back to the New Year Celebrations

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Business Growth Partners hosted a Welcome Back to 2018 celebrations on Friday 16th of February.

The event kicked off at 4pm and finishing up at 7.30pm at our office in South Melbourne.

Similar to our successful Christmas/End of the Year event that we hosted in late December. Business Growth Partners decided to host these celebrations to start the working year off with some fun and networking.

As tradition, the prize was a voucher to the Kelvin Club, a heritage 150 year old private club located on Melbourne Place.

Kjetil Pederson from Exova was the winner of this prize!

We had a wide selection of food and refreshments available throughout the night.

All food was locally sourced from the iconic South Melbourne Market, located on Coventry and Cecil Street.

Over 50 attendees joined us to celebrate the beginning of 2018. The selection of businesses who attended including University professors, management consultants, architects, barristers, IT and web designers as well as engineering, law and accounting professionals.

We will be hosting various events throughout the year of 2018.

Business Growth Partners looks forward to an exciting and busy year ahead!

Anton Nekic and Craig Rispin Present: Albert Park Chamber of Commerce Event Review

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On Tuesday the 13th February, I attended the Albert Park Chamber of Commerce event. The event was held at Priscilla Jones at Gasworks from 9:15 – 10:30am, which was great for a mid-morning coffee and chat. The event focused on providing an opportunity to discuss how businesses can work together to create mutual value, and a better community.


The meeting was organized by Anton Nekic, Chairman of Brighton Chamber of Commerce and Craig Rispin, Business Futurist. However, Craig was absent and only Anton hosted the event. The event was of interest to Business Growth Partners, as we believed we would be able to network with small businesses in the local area that make positive contributions to the community.


Anton was an attentive host and great communicator, bringing attendees together to talk about business and our community. He believes that all businesses in Albert Park and surrounding suburbs can help to grow each other’s businesses, creating a healthier and more connected community.


During the meeting, each attendee introduced their business and the projects they are currently working on. Together as a group, we then all discussed how each business and project could be improved, and most importantly, how we could help each other to improve our businesses. To improve the community, Anton suggested a system of referrals whereby when a business refers a client to another business, the cost of referral will be donated to an institution that is working to build and foster the community.


Unfortunately, for the first 45 minutes of the event, there was only 3 attendees including myself, however another 2 arrived towards the event. Even though there was a small number of people present, every attendee was able to bring a different opinion to the table as we were all involved in a variety of industries.


Anton is hoping to further build and improve the event to bring all businesses in Albert Park and surrounding suburbs together to foster a growth in the region’s businesses as well as a happy, healthy and thriving community.


In conclusion, the event had a very positive and practical intention, it only lacked the appropriate number of attendees to be able to turn the great ideas said at the table into actions.


Things of note:

  • Location: Priscilla Jones at Gasworks
  • Cost: FREE
  • Highlight: Engaging conversations.
  • Hot tip: Bring along others you think would benefit.


  • Networking opportunity: 2 / 5
  • Speaker: 4 / 5
  • Venue: 4 / 5
  • Food: 0 / 5 (no food present)


Total: 10 / 20


End of Year Christmas Celebrations – December 2017

By Business, Uncategorized

Business Growth Partners hosted a End of Year / Christmas party on Wednesday 6th of December. Celebrating the end of the busy year and sharing the experiences of 2017 – the year that was.

The event was held at our South Melbourne office.  Starting off at 4.30pm and finishing up at 8.30pm.

Our celebration allowed us to mingle with our current and past clients, our partners, friends and colleagues which was a great way to re-connect towards the end of a long year.

Hosting a prize draw towards the end of the night. The prize was a dinner for two voucher from the Kelvin Club, a 150 year old private club located in the City of Melbourne on Melbourne Place.

Fil Strati from TechSeek won the draw prize.

Food and refreshments were available throughout the night.

The food was all locally sourced from the South Melbourne Market, with an array of cheeses, dips, chips, biscuits, baked goods and fruit.  The refreshments were beer, wine and soft drink.

With approximately 60 attendees in the room joining in on our festive cheer, there was a variety of different business owners. Having the weather as an advantage with a sunny night. We were able to spread the celebrations outside the office and onto the front porch for more space.

The mix of businesses included business coaches, accounting firms, consultancy agencies, engineering and law firms, University professors, IT and web designers and start-ups.

There was an opportunity for attendees to network and form meaningful connections with like-minded individuals throughout the event. As well as to learn more about who Business Growth Partners is and to be apart of the festivities before Christmas.

We will be hosting a New Year event to kick off the business year in early 2018.


Co-Founder Natalia on the right


Party Attendees