To celebrate Global Entrepreneurship Week, we asked some small business customers from all over the world to share the highs and lows of their experience with aspiring entrepreneurs of the future. Today, we hear from Matt Jones, co-founder of the Australia’s Chatterbox Marketing.
So you want to start a small business?
Our business started with a simple idea of encouraging people and businesses to share their story. Everyone has a story to tell and a captive audience waiting to hear this story. The catalyst for us was combining the fundamentals of storytelling combined with marketing and PR prowess, and now, six years later, I run a full-service marketing agency with my wife and co-founder Meg Law. Here are the lessons that really stick in my mind today. I hope some of them help to inform your own path in business.
Surround yourself with skilled suppliers
Back at the start of Chatterbox Marketing, Meg and I were very raw when it came to our knowledge of running a business. While our marketing skills were strong, there was a lot to learn from the business and financials perspective. Early on, we understood the value in getting a team of people around us who are good at what they do, and to outsource what we aren’t experts in – like hiring a good accountant and bookkeeper. In hindsight, this step is critical.
There are no stupid questions
Our business grew relatively quickly and we had to make decisions on the fly, take risks and truly experience that learning curve as we went. This worked out for us but I encourage you to be prepared to ask questions of others – whether it’s other friends or business networks. Don’t be afraid to ask and learn.
You can nurture a remote team
We have chosen a team who has complete flexibility. Whether they choose to work from our Richmond office in Melbourne or from home, it’s their choice. But we find it important to mix our Skype meetings with regular face-to-face meetings. This connection is really important, to make sure we are bonded as a team and still having fun.
Chatterbox was inspired by the passion Meg and I have for travel and tourism. Now we operate as a full-service agency across marketing, PR and social media across the tourism space, but we also branch out into other sectors like health, education and retail. We never would have foreseen this shift at the start. Be nimble in your approach, and always listen to the needs of your market to inform your next steps.
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