When was the last time you attended an expo? Maybe you even had a site at one. Whether you were a visitor or exhibitor, did you maximise the opportunity? If you didn’t, this article is for you.

First, it’s important to get clear on why you’re part of the expo. Know what outcomes you’d like to achieve and the response you’d like to give people interacting with you. Outline the content and messages that need to be created to generate these connections. In the greater scheme of your branding, how will the expo help achieve your business vision?

See, preparation is the key of any successful expo. Most businesses forget this part.

What do people want? 

Times are changing. This, we know. But what does this mean for businesses presenting at expos? Let’s look at a few of the key factors that determine engagement with you and your site.

  • The quality of your people, branding, marketing and products or services
  • How interesting but authentic your story is
  • Offering choice in product or service (two or three options)
  • Whether you can inspire and surprise people
  • The manner in which you express value – without being ‘cheap’
  • The level of co-creation and buy in people have with you while interacting
  • Storytelling of your brand, verbally & visually
  • Hands-on interactivity with the product or service
  • Your ability to educate and challenge perceptions with confidence and conviction.

It all comes back to that human connection we always talk about. Expos are a rare opportunity to connect face-to-face with your current and potential customers. How do you want them to feel as a result of interacting with you? What will it require from your business to be able to create this response?

Next week, we’re going to focus on developing a cohesive expo experience. The most important factor to consider is who you’re targeting. Sit with this for a week or two, until the next article. We’ll also cover the importance of following up, post-expo.

And don’t forget to check out our recent four-part series on how to modernise your mainstreet. Even if you don’t operate a business on a mainstreet, you can still learn and benefit from the concepts we explore.

At Kiikstart, we’re dedicated to helping people create more choice, influence and control about how they live, work and learn. If you’d like to hear more about what we do and the benefits for our clients, contact us today on 0428 593 400 or email enquiries@kiikstart.com.

In the last two articles, we’ve explored how modern mainstreets need to innovate and go beyond the expected. But exactly how can towns do this?

Your mainstreet needs to become a destination of experiences, not just a place for visitors to consume ‘stuff.’ Offerings will be developed faster, with ongoing change among traders. Think of it like a constant start-up phase that celebrates newness. 

Consumers care where they spend their money so, regional uniqueness will be the point of difference – with hands on interactions.

Innovation in action. 

When we talk about innovation, we don’t necessarily mean a new, industry-shaking invention. It can be as simple as offering more choice in terms of the hours you open and products you offer. Like 24/7 ‘swipe-in’ gyms! Innovation and creativity can relate to processes, too. Explore different ways to deliver the service experience.

Consider how your staff connects with your guests. Do you offer samples to create a sense of involvement? Is it possible for guests to make their own product?

Think about product ingredients or equipment to keep ahead of the crowd. Strike a balance between connecting online and in person via traditional means.

What’s your level of follow up like? How can you keep people up to date with your product or service delivery? Can you make them excited to visit before even arriving? And, how can you give them a guarantee so they feel comfortable buying from you?

Innovation can be responding to skills gaps in a way that others have not. What are those little extra bits of love that other brands don’t offer? This is innovation.

The leaders of main streets in the future will challenge the commonly held perceptions of what it means to be part of this space. While this will not be necessarily comfortable for the status quo, it will be vital for the ongoing relevance of the main street space and attracting the next generation of thinkers.

An entrepreneurial mindset will create great places to be. Not just great places to shop. There is a key difference between the two. The businesses and brains that excel in a competitive environment will work with purpose and create a distinctly different environment in which to be part of.

At Kiikstart, we’re dedicated to helping people create more choice, influence and control about how they live, work and learn. If you’d like to hear more about what we do and the benefits for our clients contact us today on 0428 593 400 or email enquiries@kiikstart.com.

Modern mainstreets need to go beyond what’s a ‘normal’ retail strip, becoming destinations of experience. They need to offer more than just selling ‘things’, with offerings that constantly change. A ‘constant start-up’ strategy is required.

It’s more about the experience and less about the shops. Where place and people are just as important as quality and communities benefit more than just individual businesses. These areas celebrate the authentic, bespoke and personalised experiences.

Storytelling connects visitors with local identities and creatives working side-by-side. That’s when mainstreet ‘legends’ come to life. Everything is hands-on and nothing is observed or experienced from a distance.

Let’s talk emotions. 

For businesses and traders, it’s important to consider how you want your visitors to react, think or feel. They want to feel important and valued, part of a unique group, remembered, accepted, educated and inspired, and part of something bigger – a community.

Once you know the answers to these questions, you can help create these emotions. This helps consumers care more about where and how they spend their money, as there’s greater soul and personality in the brand offerings.

Experiences become intimate and there’s a sense of rarity and scarcity among traders. Artisan products will take over mass-produced.

Tactical partnerships. 

Modern mainstreets unify traders. And tactical partnerships allow two parties to create product and service offerings that don’t currently exist. Businesses work together to identify key gaps and continue to de-construct and re-build experiences on an ongoing basis. It never stops.

People visit more regularly because they experience something they can’t find anywhere else. As a result, partners access new markets that may not be possible if working alone.

As you start thinking about evolving your own mainstreet, first consider these potential roadblocks:

  • Attitude of unhealthy competition amongst traders and unwillingness to explore partnerships
  • Unwillingness to invest in infrastructure, product and people capability
  • Believing your own hype and resting on what has worked even last year or the year before for your business or mainstreet
  • Not understanding the real desires and hot buttons for your most ideal customers
  • Not knowing who your ideal customers are
  • Inability to define brand personality and how this can be leveraged to shape modern environments, people and product offerings
  • Inability to showcase new and emerging offerings. Sticking with tried and true.

Next up, we’ll be covering what a dynamic, ever-evolving mainstreet looks like.

The modern mainstreet is more than just shopping, now. It’s about creating a mini destination.

At Kiikstart, we’re dedicated to helping people have more choice, influence and control about how they live, work and learn. If you’d like to hear more about what we do and the benefits for our clients contact us today on 0428 593 400 or email enquiries@kiikstart.com.

We talk about the value of applying an entrepreneurial mindset, no matter what stage (or type) of business you’re in. The same goes for the modern mainstreet.

Mainstreets are an interesting place. Often, they’re located in regional areas, featuring a collective mix of businesses. Kiikstart is launching a series to help mainstreets modernise their offerings and remain thriving hubs for towns, attracting both locals and tourists.

In this article, we’ll introduce you to a few of the important takeaways to warm you up.

Mainstreets need to innovate, too. 

Innovation in a modern mainstreet environment is about becoming a distinctive place that’s a destination in itself. Diversity is the key, especially beyond just food and wine. You need to listen to what your visitors are telling you.

This is what Barossa Visitor Information Centre did. They’ve created experiences relevant to the region, giving thought to what’s curated within the space. People get to choose their own adventure, a rarity in tourism offerings. There’s greater choice in events and retail, using both verbal and non-verbal storytelling to connect with guests.

The region celebrates co-location and co-creation within the VIC – through the cycle hub (that allows people to secure their bikes, pump up their tyres and buy accessories), the library, outdoor meeting space with games and chill-out areas, and a dedicated spot for events, markets & licensed bars. This multi-purpose approach with a commercial spin is what’s leading to its success as a region.

The product mix has evolved. There’s a product shift to hand-making modern, contemporary experiences with residents, visiting family and friends and guests.

Bring local producers together in a way that doesn’t currently happen, so new experiences are created. What are other businesses doing? Avoid overlapping offerings. Don’t be afraid to think about how you can generate revenue. The regional brand values should always be in the back of your mind, as the bigger picture.

Final takeaways. 

Modern mainstreets are real destinations, not just another retail precinct. Work to become authentic and grounded in the regions uniqueness. Get hands-on in your product and service interactions, instead of having people observe from a distance.

Before our next article, think about these points:

  • Continuously challenge and review what you do, how and why
  • Always adopt a client-centric approach
  • Be brave and courageous in your business decisions
  • Ensure internal and external environments are user friendly and accessible
  • Never rest on your laurels – work hard to create an incentive to return repeatedly.

At Kiikstart, we’re dedicated to helping people have more choice, influence and control about how they live, work and learn. If you’d like to hear more about what we do and the benefits for our clients contact us today on 0428 593 400 or email enquiries@kiikstart.com.

We’ve all done this. Stood in an aisle, with hundreds of choices staring at us, only to make a choice based on packaging alone. For wine, it’s the label that we see first. For producers, this is why the branding is so important. It has to tell your wine’s story, in a matter of seconds.

At Kiikstart, we talk a lot about the story. The verbal and non-verbal cues. The way your customers (and potential customers) perceive you.

Think of your label as an advertisement for what’s inside the bottle. You’ve got to spend time finding out what your current label really says to your customers. And more importantly, what do you want it to say? This will guide your design choices.

Wine packaging gives cues to buyers about what to expect inside. The bottle shape, colour, how it’s sealed and the label all serve as ‘chapters’ in the story. Does your label illustrate homemade wine or a corporation? Will it be for millennials or baby boomers? Is it fruity or heavy? For a special occasion or an afternoon BBQ?

Know what you want to say about the wine in the bottle. Once you’ve got your main message, you’ll have a basis for designing the personality of your bottle. By focusing on a deliberate visual message, you’ll be amazed at what the right label can do for your wine.

Have fun with it and push the envelope. Put yourself in your customers’ shoes – someone who knows nothing about your wine. How can you use imagery to get them to purchase it? What would stop you in the aisle?

Consider how your label fits in with the rest of your brand experiences. Will they get the same feeling walking into your winery for tastings? What about your website or social media – does it have a similar vibe? While your label might only seem like a small part of your overall communications, it plays an important role. It’s the first thing people will see.

Aim to appeal to a problem you’re trying to solve. There are five basic stages which a customer usually goes through when buying a product.

They are:

  1. Need recognition
  2. Information search
  3. Evaluation of alternatives
  4. Purchase
  5. Post-purchase evaluation

Your label will help you standout when they’re evaluating alternatives, but the rest of the steps can’t be forgotten either.

At Kiikstart, we’re dedicated to helping people have more choice, influence and control about how they live, work and learn. If you’d like to hear more about what we do and the benefits for our clients contact us today on 0428 593 400 or email enquiries@kiikstart.com.

What’s the best customer service you’ve experienced? What made it a standout? Now, flip that and think about the worst scenario. Why was it so bad?

If you run a winery, you’re not just producing beautiful wine. You’ll have customers coming to you to enjoy the full experience – tasting wines and food as well as seeing where the grapes are grown. Today, the winery business is more dynamic than ever before, especially in prominent regions like South Australia.

It takes smart strategy, unique branding and creativity to make your ‘drop’ stand apart from the rest. So, how can you do this? As we’ve been realising across the tourism industry, involved experiences are the future.

For example, you could offer smart, complimentary tours and services that encourages people to stay longer, and spend more. Be diverse in the type of tours, shows, and food offerings to provide choice and multiple income streams. Use content to make recommendations and suggestions, so it educates and makes it easy. Use local ingredients linking history and cultural elements back into the present day.

Don’t be afraid to ask for feedback to build on these experiences. Ask questions such as:

  • Why have you chosen our business or region? What is of interest to you?
  • Describe what the perfect offering/experience looks like?
  • What experience don’t you want to miss out on – must do’s?
  • Is there anything in particular that you do not have an interest in?

It’s all about the personal connection. How do you want people to feel as a result of the end-to-end interactions with you? This is referred to as the UEP (unique emotional proposition).

Be specific to your market, focused on being interesting while still authentic, and providing real value for money (this doesn’t mean being cheap). Allow for greater personalisation of experience by allowing staff and guest to co-create what is delivered.

Think about how you can make every interaction unique. Tell your story, both verbally and physically. Entertain, educate and challenge, all at the same time.

BETTER BUY IN THROUGH HANDS ON INTERACTION AND THE SHARING OF OPINION  

The Adelaide Botanical Gardens Restaurant give their customers a compelling experience that keeps them coming back.

Key takeaways from a recent dining experience:

  • The Sommelier provides exceptionally good product knowledge, backed by passion but told in a way that was accessible and interesting.
  • Offers unexplored wines that were not easily found or were undiscovered and allows you to try a range of brand new, seasonal offerings (not just one) at the table and left the bottles with you to read more.
  • Checked in and asked your opinion – was gaining valuable research organically in real time.

Think about your own approach in the early stages of contact. What ways are you currently personalising your approach to interacting with guests in creating meaningful experiences? How could you improve this so it encourages more visits with more purchases?

The majority of businesses spend all the time focusing on the face to face delivery and not enough commitment of resources to the before stages of the customer interaction and certainly not afterwards in the post service delivery.

Use your imagination. Experiment… and don’t be afraid to think outside of the box. Ask your customers what they like and don’t like by asking insightful and brave questions that delve deeper into your clients opinions and perceptions. Engage with them and show them that you care about more than just dollars.

Business is like life; there’s both good and bad times. The difference is, a lot of the time with business, those lulls can be avoided.

A national survey of accounting firms revealed some of the reasons why businesses suffer. Here’s what they found:

  • 55% had poorly designed business models & inexperienced management
  • 46% insufficient capital or inadequate access to borrowings, preventing growth
  • 37% failed to seek professional advice
  • 35% expanded too quickly
  • 32% didn’t plan for volatile costs
  • 27% wouldn’t adapt to changing markets
  • 26% had inadequate financial management
  • 25% didn’t market themselves (sufficiently or at all)

And we would like to add one more from our own observations over the last 11 years – owners and decision makers are suffering from the busy disease. No time is actually allocated each week to thinking, reflecting, planning and most of all DOING!

At Kiikstart, we talk about the importance of having a continuous start-up mindset, no matter what stage you’re at in business. The importance of giving yourself the time to develop your business and work on it, not just in it.

Entrepreneurs are different beings. We like to continually create, challenge the norm and have courage to leave behind the old and tired. Entrepreneurs have the ability to improvise and respond in real time. There is self-belief, focus and absolute grit when times get tough – and they do get tough. Entrepreneurs are willing to take opportunities (not “risks”) that others are not. 

The three keys to success 

Business can be done in millions of ways.

Managing these details can be boiled down to three key things which make business successful: Lead, leverage and lift.

1. The Lead Key

This is all about leadership and development rather than just management 101. By the way define what leadership is for you, your brand, your staff and most importantly your client.

Leadership is such an overused word we rarely stop to ask what is it and how do I show it through my business?

Some factors that underpin the lead key include:

  • ‘Vision’ (the ‘why’) for your business
  • ‘Mission’ (the ‘how’) of your business.
  • Your business values and organisational cultures – there’s not just one culture.
  • Your business model and time spent on developing it with changing times and trends.
  • Setting boundaries and standards for yourself and your team.
  • Building relationships and how you do this – both internal and external customers
  • Willingness to seek help from others outside of your own network.
  • Choosing the right team and deferring on expertise where needed.
  • Adding value to others and adopting a client centric attitude.

Improving your skills in these areas will help you better manage the next two keys.

2. The Leverage Key

This is all about productivity and efficiency which will focus on maximising outputs while minimising inputs. Leveraging is all about maximising what you already have within your people, place and product without going into major debt and gaining a head full of grey hairs in the process.

It does however often requires a change in how you do business and re-invention as part of the process. Some of the details you need to get across before you plan the leveraging process include:

  • The level of efficiency and effectiveness in regards to current business processes.
  • Productivity of both humans, processes and systems.
  • Profitability of the business – not just the revenue.
  • The current talent and skill level of staff – where are the strengths but key skill gaps in performance?
  • Processes for utilising your human resources to their full potential.
  • Current distribution channels.
  • The quality and value of current strategic partnerships.
  • Methods on maintaining health cash flow including cost management and control.
  • Control of inventory (or current client work in progress).
  • Commitment to innovation and continual creativity.
  • Processes and systems in place to measure and review quality control.

3. The Lift Key

This is all about the sales and marketing activity which will lift the turnover of the business.

Details to get across include:

  • Your value propositions and Unique Selling Proposition (USP).
  • Your UEP this is the unique emotional proposition and how you want people to feel as a result of their interaction with your business.
  • Products and services – current mix.
  • Your brand and the style and manner in which it’s expressed
  • Customer segments and the level of focus and detail.
  • Profitability by customer segments.
  • Customer relationships and end to end experience – not just service 101.
  • Customer channels – how accessible is your business? This relates to how you deliver the end to end client experience and relates to staff attitude and level of responsiveness across all channels.

Leveraging the time and resources you have 

We can’t forget the 80/20 rule. Put your time into those 20% of activities that’ll garner 80% of your results. Make sure you’ve got the resources and processes in place to review where you’re getting the most results. This will require you take time out, review and reflect on the current clients you have and how you actually service them.

Manage your commitments, prioritise and plan your daily tasks, and leverage the time you have. You can achieve this by structuring your business, making your processes more efficient, deploying technology and outsourcing. Value your time.

Remember you cannot “manage” time, it will move on regardless of you, but you can certainly have more respect in terms of how you use it.

At Kiikstart, we’re dedicated to helping people have more choice, influence and control about how they live, work and learn. If you’d like to hear more about what we do and the benefits for our clients contact us today on 0428 593 400 or email enquiries@kiikstart.com.

Being a start-up is like ‘trying to build a bike while riding it.’ I like this metaphor. Speed and adaptability are crucial factors for new businesses. The ability to be fluid and change direction with a second’s notice – this is something entrepreneurs do well.

So, when we talk about the start-up mindset, what do we mean? It’s a few things, like being mindful of your time and how it impacts customers, being easily able to adapt to change, and you’re a fast-mover.

You don’t detach yourself to your ideas, well at least you try not to. You approach things by asking yourself what you can do right now. You’re okay with uncertainty, take risks, and continuously strive to do better. Most importantly, you’re willing to fail.

Planning & executing ideas. Think like a start-up. 

Ever wondered why start-ups (with no money) are beating huge organisations in terms of bringing innovative products and services to market? It’s because of their mindset. Corporate giants are rigid, locked in fear and unable to make big decisions.

Start-up owners look at the world in ways that allow them to unleash their true creative potential.

Remaining competitive, now and into the future 

To keep ahead of the curve, every business needs to embrace this entrepreneurial spirit. But how do you think and act like a start-up within an already, well-established business, with an affirmed culture already in place?

Consider these five core philosophies to help break the mould:

1. Curiosity: People at start-ups ask the ‘why’, the ‘what if’, and the ‘why not.’ They have a deeper yearning for answers, and match their offerings accordingly, to fill a gap.

2. The possibilities: Entrepreneurs spend their days dreaming and imagining, rather than focusing on what is. Let your mind wander for a little while. Most established businesses allow for little or no creative time each week because they suffer from the ‘busy disease’.

3. Detach: They forget what they should be doing or what’s been done. Rather, innovators dare to be different.

4. Fearless: Start-ups face their fears head on every day, but forge on. The constant ‘failure’ and rejection makes them ruthless.

5. Speed: Big doesn’t always mean better or faster. Start-ups don’t have incumbent, top-end departments to go through, so decisions are almost instant. They have an idea and start testing it, that day. This is extremely powerful.

You’ve got to challenge the status quo – become an entrepreneur, while still staying true to your company’s overall strategic goals. You need to remove yourself from your everyday routine, get inspired again. Build the confidence to create new opportunities. In doing this, you’ll go beyond the business-as-usual approach and really shake things up.

For more information about the mindset shift, talk to us. We’ll go through corporate entrepreneurship, anticipating and leveraging failure, telling your story, and selling your vision with meaning.

At Kiikstart, we’re dedicated to helping people have more choice, influence and control about how they live, work and learn. If you’d like to hear more about what we do, contact us today on 0428 593 400 or enquiries@kiikstart.com.

When we think of tourism, it’s often through experiences. But there’s one untapped area of the industry that can add value to your customer’s experience – products. There’s an opportunity for tourism businesses to create enchanting retail spaces.

Product is a great channel to tell your brand’s story. You can use items to express the unique selling points of the region, as well as through staff and travellers’ senses. It helps to generate a sense of fun and activity into your space and promotes local producers.

It’s just as vital to highlight the story behind the products and reinforcing the element of storytelling.

Identifying the right products. 

It’s important to find the relevant product offerings and identify where the gaps currently exist.

There needs to be selection of locally-made products to create a sustainable point of difference and encourage people to return and speak positively about your space to family and friends.

Product categories could include adrenaline experiences, eco-tourism from a service and retail perspective, indigenous culture, food and wine, home and fragrance and body and skincare items.

A local supplier showcase. 

You could host an event, say every fortnight, that showcases a supplier from your region. They’ll provide a product – wine, fashion, pottery, art or jewellery, for example. Encourage them to offer free samples of their product to generate and boost sales.

This is a great avenue for smaller, emerging businesses who don’t have a shop front and want to promote their brand to local, intrastate, interstate and overseas visitors.

Introducing products to your space requires a focus on visitor engagement. Take away the barriers that are key to closing a sale. Make sure the products aren’t too heavy by being wary of shape and size, and customs requirements. Invest in signage and communicating your brand to every person who walks through your doors, through each sense. Your brand’s values should be reinforced at every touch point.

Listen to your visitors. Ask them what products they’d like. Have conversations about their experience. Take away the guessing and go straight to the source.

If you’re looking for more tactics and strategies to build a more successful and connected tourism space, adopt an entrepreneurial mindset for long-term growth. We can help you with this.

At Kiikstart, we’re dedicated to helping people have more choice, influence and control about how they live, work and learn. If you’d like to hear more about what we do, contact us today on 0428 593 400 or enquiries@kiikstart.com.

To discover the opportunities that matter the most to you, clarity is key. With self-exploration, you can build your story. This is particularly useful when finding a job or building your business.

But why does the story matter?

Through your story, you can show how to add value to their business. Employers and clients vet people based on the benefits that are communicated. A lot of the time, the story is missing. It’s an engaging way of illustrating ‘what’s in it for me.’

The 20-second rule 

You have 20 seconds to get their attention. It’s not long, but this is where your story comes in… and will set you apart. If you can, try to match parts of your story to address the gaps they’re looking for.

Paint the picture for the employer or client, so they don’t draw their own conclusions and misinterpret you. Many people get it wrong by focusing on experience, when it’s you as a person that will influence their decision. It’s the manner and style in which you undertake your role that matters and sets you apart.

Take a deeper look inside. What can you bring to them? 

For example, write an overview of the personal traits and characteristics you’ve developed. Highlight unique characteristics you’ve gained from life experiences, not just your career. What have the most difficult times given you in terms of personal development?

Avoid including career objectives unless you have a really strong desire and interest in it. Don’t write it just for the sake of filling the page. It can’t be vague and must stand for something.

Think about what type of person you would need to be to do the job or task well. What skills, attitudes and talents do you need? It’s essential to show an understanding of what’s required to do the job well.

Throwing out words like trustworthy, autonomous and fast learner simply won’t cut it anymore. Spend the time to craft your personal story and show them who you really are.

Build a quality & connected experience for businesses 

The same idea can be applied for businesses. You can follow this approach, regardless of your industry or purpose. A smarter, more entrepreneurial approach to the delivery of services will do two things, above all:

  • Diversify your markets and income streams that have the ability to evolve with changing visitor trends
  • Create a stronger, more fluid brand.

We need to be relevant and surprise them from the first point of contact. The first exposure or point of contact will shape perceptions and ultimately behaviours of potential guests. Ask insightful questions and show your customers that you care about them. Plus, it can lead to the creation of new product and service offerings, if you take the time to really listen and look for emerging trends.

Make sure your brand philosophy is clear at every interaction. Start with these activities:

  • Describe your brand personality and the characteristics associated with it –

What are the most favourable traits and characteristics? How do you express these within customer interaction?

  • What is truly different about how you deliver the customer experience?
  • What do you do different to make your customers happy, pre, during and post purchase?

Need help putting your skills and experience into evocative words? We can help craft your unique story, so that you can use in your professional and personal life.

At Kiikstart, we’re dedicated to helping people have more choice, influence and control about how they live, work and learn. If you’d like to hear more about what we do, contact us today on 0428 593 400 or enquiries@kiikstart.com.