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.

Partnerships are built with people that you do and don’t know take time. Take note of the language we’re using here – partners, not clients. Connections lead to partnerships.

I would like to make the point that it is about building a community based on respect and trust and not a quick fix approach where you grab all you can and offer very little in return to the other party.

It’s important to identify the process you go through to make a connection. Following a more intimate, creative approach when building contacts can help cut out the competition and lets you influence the way your partners perceives you.

Let’s go through the process of making connections that lead to real business opportunities.

Know your target 

Identify industry sectors that fit your brand. Research what industries are growing and emerging. Where is the future potential? Where do you currently find this information? Who do you need to speak to? Find organisations that fit your ideal partnership picture and cultural aspects underpinning your brand.

Know your purpose

To get the desired response it is key you adopt a longer term, more tactical approach to making contact and building a community. Why are you contacting them and where is the mutual benefit?

Always give serious thought to not only your method of communications but the message. Remember these people are unlikely to know of you so building credibility while making the other party feel important is key.

Contact your ‘partner’ 

Got names, now what? First thing, send them a personal letter in the post. This will make your brand stand out as you choose a more thoughtful and intimate form of making initial contact. Make sure you keep track of your connections in order to drive and manage this process.

Meet them in person 

If/when they give you 20-30 minutes, use this to make your best impression. Always make sure you stick to the time limit and always write later that day in an email or a letter to thank them for their insights and contact. Discuss why you wrote to them, your plans for the future, and how they can benefit from working with you. Think about more creative angles as well – you want to be able to learn about the business and show curiosity.

Post-chat – the all important “F” word 

After your meeting is an important step that many people don’t focus on. Partnerships take time and there are tactics that you need to follow to maintain contact. Businesses fall down because they don’t know how to manage the connection after a conversation. They let it go cold – they get hundreds of cards but don’t think ahead of how they will make this work. People are going to enter a partnership in they feel you’re trustworthy and credible. This takes time to build.

Now, over to you. How could you maintain contact after your first conversation – what’s your excuse? If you need help making real, respectful connections, let’s have a chat.

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.

It’s hard not to think of being ‘let go’ as failure. But in fact, it’s just masked this way. Being made redundant forces some serious self-reflection and cease of finger pointing.

Like my story, for example. I got made redundant and now, I’m successfully self-employed. Those lessons proved to be invaluable. Now I know it was all part of my business lifespan.

Tackling niggling self-worth issues 

Possibly the biggest issue for anyone going through a change in their career is self-worth. This isn’t just for people who have been let go, but people moving roles, changing careers altogether, and starting a business.

Identifying your self-worth is an essential part to being an entrepreneur. Having clarity on your values, ethics and what you stand for will help you make better business decisions.

It’ll shape the nature of your brand, create opportunities that aren’t right in front of you, and gives perspective.

Let’s take a closer look at what it means to be self-aware in business. Here are some traits of the confident entrepreneur:

  • Not desperate for gigs – consistently to generate the right type of gigs and refusing to take on work that’s not the right fit. You won’t cheapen yourself just to ‘get the gig.’
  • Listening to your gut
  • Willing to take opportunities, not risks
  • Speak up when you don’t believe what the other person is saying and doing is respectful
  • Don’t seek permission and acceptance from other people – trust your own path and the decisions that accompany this direction, while still open to advice from insightful people.

So, how can you develop your business confidence?

Avoid being ‘white noise’, just another business number 

Think about the values and ethics that shape you. People are attracted to the businesses and brands that have presence that know who they are – that have the conviction and confidence to not be beige.

When you’re a small business, it’s the owner’s sense of self that will either build or diminish this presence – there is no fence sitting. It comes with the responsibility of being up front and centre.

Spend time working out what you value the most. Here’s a list of self-reflection questions that helped me, and I hope they can guide you, too.

A simplified self-reflection exercise to gain clarity 

  1. Why have you chosen to create this business and what was I about you that made you think you could make it a success?
  2. What continues to drive you in times of great challenge, disappointment and adversity?
  3. If you described your brand as a person, what values and ethics would it have?
  4. How are you currently utilising these values and ethics to drive business and create points of difference in the market place?
  5. How are you currently expressing these values and ethics to the market?
  6. How are you utilising values and ethics to build a stronger sense of self -worth?
  7. Considering these values and ethics, what businesses and clients would allow you to do your best work and be of most benefit to yourself, other people and still build the business?
  8. What industries and organisations would you not pursue as these are at odds with your defined values and ethics? Why is this?
  9. When it comes to sourcing new opportunities what are your negotiables and non-negotiables and how are these used by your business to make well informed, smart decisions?

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.

Technology is a double-edged sword. It can be a good and bad thing, depending on how we use it.

There’s no doubt that it has and will continue to change the way we communicate. Just walk down a city street and you’ll see 99% of people looking down, engaged with their mobile phone.

While technology has opened up many new ways to reach new people, this doesn’t necessarily mean we’re better communicators. We need to remember the people behind those screens and look at ways to humanise the technology we use.

As humans, we experience the world through seeing, touching, tasting, smelling, and listening. As the world continues to be more digital, it’s critical you remember this – and tap into it as a powerful way to engage.

The importance of experimental activity 

If we miss this, we’re losing the real essence of experiences for brands. The customer journey becomes diluted, human-to-human.

Let’s look at a few things you can run parallel with your digital strategies.

Creating connection points 

Focus on keep your human connections by engaging with your clients beyond sending a message or posting something. Open up a space for them to interact in a tangible way.

Focus on multiple senses  

Stimulate your customers through tapping into different senses. Each person will consume information differently, so offer a multi-sensory approach. If you’re talking about the benefits of your products in a blog post, why not offer a sample so they can see and feel it? Again, you’re increasing that human connection.

Build an ‘experience’ 

Take your customers on a journey. Brainstorm different ways for you to interact, in a two-way manner. The problem with digital is, more often than not, brands are speaking to their audience instead of with them. There’s a big difference. Start to develop effective experiences that create a meaningful impact.

Society teaches us that fast is better. This isn’t always true, especially when it comes to connecting with clients. Just like your personal relationships need to be nurtured through touch, your clients do, too. Unpack every touchpoint you have with your clients and see how you can personalise it.

This should be your priority. Key questions you need to ask yourself before utilising modern technology:

  1. What do you want to achieve from using these methods?
  2. Why are you using this technology?
  3. How do you want people to feel and act as a result of interacting with your technology?
  4. What content and methods of engagement will you need to create to evoke desired emotions and action?

The future for experimental delivery from a technology perspective. How do you rate? 

  • Experiences must be relevant and specific – not generic
  • Quality will be essential in a world of increasing competition
  • Inspiring and aspirational while being authentic
  • Value for money – this does not mean the cheapest or offering the greatest discount
  • Personalised with a level of co-creation between staff and guest
  • Choose Your own adventure where guests create their own experiences
  • Storytelling and the opportunity to connect with local, unique legends
  • Hands on interaction with the product/service and the people behind the business
  • Engagement in an unexpected way
  • Ability to educate and even challenge perceptions of a place and its people and history.

At Kiikstart, we’re dedicated to allowing 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 someone asks what you do, it’s a simple answer.

“I run a restaurant…”

“I’m a graphic designer…”

“I’m a doctor…”

This is your ‘what.’ Here lies the problem. You’re not a restaurant owner. In fact, you create enjoyable experiences for people to share. We get too caught up in ‘what’ we are that we don’t dedicate enough time into the ‘how.’

Focusing too much on the what of businesses impacts on our creativity and ability to raise the bar in terms of how we interact with the market and end user. We become beige and non–descript.

In marketing and business development, your ‘how’ is what sets you apart. It’s the style of manner that’s important – our definitive point of difference. We need to look at not just the task (the what) but the skill that’s required to execute it successfully (the how).

We’re focusing too much on the end goal… and missing the process. In doing so, we never quite reach where we want to be. All this effort is put into the front end, the beginning of the client relationship. The hype and thrill of getting the client soon wears off.

There’s no follow up, no extra love or investment in ongoing relationships. When, the after care is equally as important. People remember both the beginning and end of relationships.

As business owners and influencers, we need to stop chasing the bright shiny things in corners once the deal has been done.

Systemise your business. Invest in processes. 

It’s good to have your big goals. Every business needs to have an end goal, to be constant dreamers. Your processes and procedures are the building blocks to help you achieve it.

Designed to provide step-by-step instructions for achieving a result, your processes are your ‘how.’ They describe the who, what, where, when, and why.

It implies an emphasis on how work is done in contrast to a product or service focus on what is done. It covers all of the touchpoints of your service delivery – before, during and after.

The Customer Purchasing Design Process (CPDP) 

Your most important business process is the primary process relating to solving the problem, meeting the need or getting the job done for a customer.

This starts with an understanding of the Customer Purchasing Decision Process (CPDP). It’s the process undertaken by a customer for a market transaction before, during and after the purchase of a product or service.

While this will vary between businesses, there are 5 basic stages which a customer usually goes through when purchasing a product or service, including:

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

As you can see, the process covers each touchpoint, from start to end. By turning your attention to your ‘how’ not ‘what’, you make room for continuous improvement and innovation. Remember, the experience you provide will set your brand apart.

Work on your business, not in it.

Stay tuned next time for a case study on how one business improved their processes.

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.

Training, in any form, must be good, right? Upskilling can only be a positive thing. Yes, this is true to a certain extent, but it’s not as black and white when it comes to traditional training.

There’s a common belief that ‘training’ is going to make us more employable in the modern market. But the world of work is changing, and so is the way we educate and develop future leaders.

The illusion of safety…  

Employees and those wanting to generate new opportunities often assume that a degree of qualification will be the answer to their career prayers. The truth is, simply having that certificate on your wall won’t necessarily guarantee a job.

But it’s not millennials fault. It’s a notion that’s passed down from previous generations. We graduate high school, go to university, and get a ‘real’ job. It’s the right of passage for teenagers, soon approaching their early twenties.

So, if traditional training is making us less employable, what’s the answer?

Training needs to be more flexible and suit the needs of today’s employers. In the learning and development industry, we see it all the time. There’s maybe a few years dedicated to learning, but now ongoing development.

We also need to change the language which is why learning and development needs to replace “training”. Learning and development implies that this is an ongoing process which builds capability and talent over time. Training is something you do to get a day off work, get a free feed, and come back to your workplace. This notion reverts to and the workplace norm.

There’s too much focus on what you will learn rather than how the learning is delivered.

Here are a few things to think about when considering traditional training.

  • The style and manner which the training is delivered. Training and learning and development are two very different experiences. Is online going to deliver the quality, personalised and robust experience you’re looking for? Go through a cost vs. benefit plan and really consider what other valuable skills you’d gain and miss out on.

 

  • Be really clear on what you want to achieve from this newfound knowledge. Ask the tough questions of what you will gain from the experience and how you want to use this to not only benefit yourself but those around you.

 

  • Most employees have no ongoing plan of action to fully utilise any new knowledge and skill gained by employees in real time. This results in employees losing interest quickly. Companies need a well-thought out, detailed framework for learning and development back into the reality of the workplace.

 

  • Employers and individuals don’t put training into context. There is a bigger picture focus missing, due to lack of context. What skill gaps exist that cannot be filled by training alone and what plans are your plans or that of your employee to fulfil these?

 

  • Staff morale is negatively affected when decision makers fail to support and create new opportunities back into the workplace. This can be more demoralising than not sending staff to be “trained” in the first place.

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.

How can you best prepare your clients for the real world? Create a service experience that reflects the reality of the workforce (and what it means to be an employee).

To do this, you need to recreate and replicate a workplace. All too often clients leave our services and aren’t prepared for the workforce.

We need to work together to create people that have a voice, develop their ideas, and can hold a business conversation.

Involve your client in identifying their own employment interests. Implement a service that goes beyond crisis response, beginning the process of working towards employment.

Build a picture of employment. 

Reinforce this early on by asking the right questions as early as possible. This helps them understand that employment is a key focus. There should be no closed questions to encourage further conversations. Frame them in a way that the client needs to think for themselves and have an opinion.

Here are a few examples:

  • Think about a time when you did something that you enjoyed. Could be a job or something you did in your spare time. What did you enjoy about it?
  • Remember a time when you need to do a task and it came naturally. It could be in a job, study or general day-to-day tasks. What was it and what did you find came naturally to you? Have you thought how you could turn this into an employment opportunity? Why or why not?
  • What industries or work environments don’t you want to work in and why?
  • Think about businesses that you shop at or businesses you just like to visit. Name these and identify why you are interested in these.
  • Describe what the ideal job or workplace would look like for you.

Once you start to visualise their employment opportunities, it’s time to explore their skill set. Identify new tactics to help address skill gaps. These might include on-site mentoring, referral into short courses, and employment provider support.

Think about all the skills, talents and knowledge you need to possess within yourself, not only to become employed but to keep a job.

Valuable employability skills include:

  • Being able to consistently meet deadlines
  • Having relevant and quality conversations with other people
  • Asking smart questions and acting on the information given
  • Maintaining a certain image and identity that is appropriate and in line with the corporate image
  • Taking direction and delivering on the standards and expectations of other people
  • Serving other people’s interest and needs – not just your own
  • Creating a consistent level of work/output that meets the deadlines and standards of other people
  • Making people feel comfortable and at ease
  • Being able to address concerns and find solutions
  • Being creative when faced with challenges
  • Certain level of persistence and commitment to tasks
  • Reasonable level of literacy, numeracy and computer skills
  • Always being focused on organisational outcomes
  • Being able to respond to people in a respectful and mindful manner even when challenged and under pressure
  • Respecting other people even if their personalities and opinions differ from our own
  • Willing to take chances and try a different approach.

Give your clients the best the chance of gaining (and keeping) a position that’s suited to them. If you need help putting the frameworks in place, talk to us.

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.

Many of us go into homeless and disability services to make a difference. Instinctively, in the process, we often adopt a counsellor role. But even with the best intensions, this isn’t the best way help them.

The secret to their growth is empowerment. Put yourself in your client’s shoes. What does empowerment mean to them and how are they actually going to achieve this?

  • Choice and control
  • The confidence to take calculated opportunities – avoid risks as it makes people retreat.
  • Being involved in the decisions that affect their wellbeing, functioning and that of their families
  • Taking action, not just talking about it
  • To live within their own standards and expectations and actually know what these are.

Level the playing field

The key to empowering your client is through a two-way relationship. In this line of work, serving people with complex issues and come from diverse backgrounds, is part of the job.

Poor lifestyle choices, substance abuse, and mental health issues are common roadblocks. These behaviours will require your active and conscious intervention. And while you can be an important person in their growth, empowerment is critical for real, long-term change.

Overcoming a conflict in perceptions is one of the first steps you can take. You can achieve this by making time to understand each other’s story and going in with a clean slate. Often, it’s our assumptions and how we deliver the client end to end experience that stops a relationship forming.

Keep these things in mind to avoid playing the counsellor.

  • Check your tone, style and manner
  • Ask yourself this: how do you want to come across? What image are you creating in the mind of your client?
  • Be confident but not condescending
  • Be very clear as to why you want to work on addressing these concerns and issues together and the benefits of doing so to the client. Be authentic in your approach.
  • Have the client be proactive and make their own recommendations about how they would resolve these roadblocks. Allow time for reflection – you do not need to be talking all the time.
  • Provide time for the client to think about solutions – what action can they take which matters to them right now, what support will help them achieve these solutions, what could de-rail the road to solutions and how to avoid potential derailments?

Clients believe certain myths about what they will receive from you and your service. Identify and respond to these “myths” asap if you want any shot at a useful and meaningful relationship.

Find out whether they’re accessing other support services. Get your client to describe them. What’s their family life like? What’s their lifestyle like? Their interests? Skills gaps?

By getting to know your client and creating an open, mutual space for growth, you prevent any mothering of them. Instead, there’s room to really help them.

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.

No business can afford to stay static and in recent times community services and the not for profit sector has faced huge change and disruption – but at the same time also huge opportunity. With the right attitude, staff and client offering that is.

At Kiikstart, we talk the entrepreneurial mindset all the time. And when it comes to community services, they’re in need of this approach. Flexibility, adaptability, and innovation is vital to serve evolving client needs and changing funding frameworks and realities.

Services must not increase the number of clients through the door, but the level of accountability and measurable outcomes that are achieved. Wanting “to help people” and trying hard to make a difference will no longer be enough to sustain community services in the new world. And there is a need for creative ways in which to do this.

Staff need other approaches and tactics to increase involvement. More effective ways to establish a relationship between the client and Case Manager can bring about long-term change.

Changing KPI’s, obtaining outcomes. measurable change within employment, community involvement and relevant learning and upskilling – it all places greater emphasis on long term client relationships.

And this is just the tip of the iceberg.

Ask questions. Collect feedback.

In community services, we’re not only providing a ‘service’, we’re building ‘relationships.’ We can achieve this by, first, identifying customer values and perceptions. Communication is key, here. Talk to staff, community leaders and influencers, stakeholders, and of course, your clients.

So, what can come out of it? A client might tell you they don’t see any benefits from your service. Get creative about other ways to communicate the benefits of working with you. By doing this, you create a more enterprising and engaging experiences for clients.

It’s important to know how to be courageous, addressing the behaviours and concerns your customers have – in a way that is respectful but maintains progression and focus.

Just like start-ups must constantly evolve, community services need to create an experience that reflects what’s going on. We need to look at every component of our service and go through it with a fine-tooth comb.

With ever increasing competition for funds and increased client choice as to who they can chose to work with, the need to be commercial and business savvy has never been greater. The art is finding the right balance between commercial reality and the soul and personality of the service.

Curiosity, connection, value, and differentiation. Do we have these qualities? If not, you need to adapt. The success of an entrepreneur lies within the mindset.

Entrepreneurs are problem solvers. They follow their intuition and constantly adapt. Good relationships are not just important, they’re critical. Entrepreneurs take risks to achieve greatness.

At Kiikstart, we’re dedicated to allowing 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.

Consumer behaviour is constantly evolving. Tapping into new opportunities to engage will always help you find innovative approaches to grow your business. To do so, you need to understand consumer trends and the role that your business can play in meeting these needs.

With food, hospitality, and wine brands, there are many parts that make up your brand’s story. Let’s look at packaging, for example.

You need to be aware of the functional benefits that packaging can have on your product and customer – enhancing your awareness beyond label design and its basic role of protecting the product.

How can you push the envelope and use it as another way to connect with your customers? What are their ‘pain’ points? What keeps them up at night? A lack of time? How can your packaging provide a solution?

As products become more saturated, customers find it harder to make their decision. There’s an opportunity to offer more than just essential packaging to entice them over the buying line. Think about their current buying habits, too.

Consumer trends drive consumption behaviour

When innovating your bespoke product, consider these motivators:

  • Better value for money
  • Personal space and time
  • Indulgence
  • Busy lives, time-poor
  • Changing age structures
  • Changing life stages
  • Individualism
  • Fun & enjoyment
  • Connection
  • Ethics & responsibility.

These points can apply to every part of your business, not just packaging.

The opportunities for innovation never stop. New products, ways of delivery, services, apps, pricing, experiences, sustainability, and business models… it can get overwhelming, to say the least.

LG innovate better than most.

The brand has expanded innovation into another part of the home – the bathroom. LG U+ is a smart mirror which generates personalised skincare advice. It analyses the skin and offers individuals customised beauty tips and product recommendations.

The smart touchscreen mirror uses high-definition cameras to analyse pores and wrinkles, and takes external factors such as weather conditions into consideration.

I realise we can’t all be LG, but they serve as a great example of a brand that continues to push the boundaries. So, how do we do it? Here are some tactics that you can start to implement within your brand.

Ask smart questions and communicate with your customers

It’s such a simple thing but how many of us really talk to our customers? We serve them and then move on. We listen to their feedback when they openly give it, but rarely actively seek it. And hardly ever facilitate it.

Elon Musk, the brains behind electric car company, Telsa, activated a suggestion from Twitter in six weeks.

Think about what you can ask that shows interest – avoid the generic questions that shows a lack of creativity and thought. Increase your own level of self-awareness as to the type of questions you ask to make a connection with someone else.

Network within your industry

Look beyond your business, and across your industry. Spending time monitoring your competitors can help you uncover the gaps that you can fill. Don’t look at it as networking, but ascertaining what’s not being done and how you can introduce it within your business.

Spend the time exploring new paths that your customers will love. You don’t necessarily have to reinvent the wheel. Seek our new flavours, formulas, ingredients, packaging, and marketing. Track how your customers respond. Have fun with 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, contact us today on 0428 593 400 or enquiries@kiikstart.com.