Guest: Fiona Lucas
Presenter: Toby Longhurst
iRespectOnline owner Fiona Lucas joins Toby Longhurst on Business Radio Talkers.FM to talk about their social media consultancy services where they help small businesses establish, nurture and grow a strong and purposeful online presence.
Bio: Aside from being the owner of iRespectOnline, Fiona Lucas is also an author, trainer, social media futurist, public speaker and the founder of social media enterprise Futureproof Your Kids. She offers seminars and workshops that might help your business to keep on the right track that would lead them to the latest trends and innovative strategies online. She and her team has a notion of Reputation Focus which explains they must assist their clients to understand on how to better engage and deal with their issues online for them to have a strong and purposeful presence online. iRespectOnline are known for being at the cutting edge of social media and online marketing because of their continuous research, learning and testing of social media and online marketing strategies.
Toby Longhurst: Welcome to Business Radio Talkers.FM. My name is Toby Longhurst and joining me on the program today is Tamara Simon. Tamara operates the BSI, Business Scene Investigation. She’s also a speaker and is the author of a series of business books that include “The Five Little Business Pigs” and “The Five Little RTO Pigs.” So Tamara, welcome to the program.
Tamara Simon: Thank you very much for having me, I appreciate it.
Toby: It’s our pleasure. Now I have to say I really love the name “BSI, Business Scene Investigation.” It almost sounds like it could be a television show. Tell us, what do you do there at the Business Scene Investigation?
Tamara: You’re exactly right. The name was taken from the TV show Crime Scene Investigation because I love solving crimes and used to watch the CSI programs. And I saw that the way that CSI’s go about solving a case that they’ve got to be quite delicate that they look under the surface and they look for all the clues to actually solve the case, I thought well I actually do that myself because I’m this natural problem solver, I love knowing what’s going on in businesses and I like looking below the service to not only see the band-aids that have been put there. So I use the same skills that a CSI uses and that I suppose why people call me the “CSI for Small Businesses” and I call myself, “The BSI.” I’m all about solving problems and finding hidden opportunities in every business that I work with.
Toby: What type of businesses are you working with and what type of problems are you finding?
Tamara: So the businesses primarily are small businesses and I work with business owners that primarily are frustrated, confused and overwhelmed. And when I dig a little bit deeper, what I find is that they’ve actually got one of three problems. They know something’s wrong with their business but they don’t know what it is. They know what’s wrong in their business but don’t know how to fix it or they want to grow but are not sure if they’re ready on where to actually start. So once we work out which stage of the business they’re actually in through doing just questioning, I’m able to find out how they can get clear on their business, their people and their systems and help them put really simple systems in to put the foundation back into their business so that they build something that they actually love without working 24/7 which I think is the idea when we own a business.
Toby: It’s such a common occurrence. Now imagine this, I’m a small business owner, I’m very good at my trade or my profession with what it is that I do but I might not be very good at running a business. So I pick up the phone, I called you, what’s the process? What happens from there?
Tamara: Initially, I have an initial phone call to find out what’s really prompted the phone call to me because what I find is sometimes that clients aren’t quite ready for coaching because for all of us, we need to be ready to take on advice from other people and it’s really important to make sure that a client is ready for that. So through some initial questioning in terms of how long they’ve been in business, what’s really frustrating them, I do what I call “my magic wand” and so I ask them three questions – one is, what are the three things working in your business? What are the three things not working in your business? And if you had a magic wand and I could help you to fix one thing today, what might that be? And so through asking those questions, I’m able to actually determine what might be the next steps for both business owners whether it’s doing some initial coaching sessions, whether it’s actually getting me on-site to spend a day ripping their business apart and putting it back together again or whether it’s doing what I call “my boot camp” which is sort of a one-month intensive because ideally, we want to get people out of overwhelm and into, “Now I can see the light” because when you’re in it, sometimes it’s just too hard.
Toby: Now I understand there’s many ways you’re able to help people. One is by investigating another is your writing, you’re also an author. Why don’t you tell me the story about “Three Little Pigs?”
Tamara: So yes, in the last couple of years I published two business books. The first is called “The Five Little Business Pigs.” So I’m a little bit quirky and I use in my speaking and coaching a lot of metaphors. And I started looking at the story of the Three Little Pigs which we all know. They built their houses on straw, stick and brick. And I realized that the similarities between the fairy tale and how we actually build our businesses. But what I discovered during the writing process was that there’s actually two other little pigs – there’s the “reno” and the “run-down.” And I think we float between all of those in all different stages of our business. So the book initially looks at what are the signs of each of those houses and ultimately we want to build a brick business that’s got very strong foundation and of course systems are the key to that. But we’ve also got to work out who our “wolf” is and whether we are what I call “the reluctant business owner” because as you said, most of us start a business because we’re really good at something but we don’t always embrace all the facets of running a business like sales, and marketing, and setting up systems and knowing our finance numbers. So I talked about the relaxing business owner and see how we can embrace that title as a badge of honor versus, “Ohh, you are business owners” sort of thing. So the book goes through that and then looks at my five-step process to help you get clear on your business, your people and systems. And then I’m all about practical solutions so the last bit of the book look that how you can move from each of the houses to get you move into a brick business.
Toby: I can’t expect you to give away all of your secrets but if you had one tip to somebody starting a business and they wanted to get it right from day one, what would it be?
Tamara: Clarity and simplicity are essential in terms of business success. But the one thing I say is that we need simple systems as part of our foundations in our business and I know they’re not sexy like sales and marketing but they’re so important and they’re usually the bit that people ignore because they feel that it’s not necessary or they’re actually not sure how to actually write simple processes. So I always start with that and spend 15 minutes a day starting to document the knowledge that in your head into simple processes so that you start to build a simple profitable business that you actually love and maybe, down the track so you can get help in or one day you might want to sell it and you need some systems to be able to do that.
Toby: Keeping it simple I think is always the best advice and not just in business.
Toby: So when you’re not writing and you’re not speaking to me and you’re not investigating, I believe you also do some public speaking. Tell me who you’re speaking to and what subjects you’re speaking on?
Tamara: So yes, I do speaking as well. So I’m a conference speaker, also I speak obviously at business networking events and for individual clients as well, running workshops for them as well as my own webmail programs and public workshops. And all of it is around the key principles about your business, your people and your systems, it’s what I call the “BPS Roadmap” and so my topics are around that. So for example, one of my business topics is who’s really running your business, is it you or everyone else? From the people perspective, do you view them as a help or hindrance? And it can be quite interesting for those people managing stuff and certainly the systems topic is that one of the most popular is “shh! don’t mention the S word.” So within any of my sessions, I always pride myself on giving three practical simple solutions that people can walk away with immediately regardless of what stage they are in their business and it’s starting with that 15 minute a day strategy. But generally, I find that audience members usually say, “Look Tamara, you’re really good because you call it how it is.” There’s generally no BS and I think that’s a bit of a play on the word, the BSI. But I also challenge people and in my own fun tough love way, give them a little bit of homework and a bit of thinking but ultimately, it’s always around practical simple solutions with systems as the foundation for everything.
Toby: You remind me a little bit of my grade 3 teacher, always so much homework. But apart from the homework, what would you like people to take away with them when they leave one of your sessions?
Tamara: Well because for many of us and I include myself in that, I mean I fell into running a business. It was never my dream and I think for most of us that’s what happens, we either have an opportunity but it presents itself to us or we actually look at our boss and go, “I think I can do it a bit better than you.” And it is that concept of “the reluctant business owner.” And I see so many business owners running really expensive hobbies because they just don’t have the skills or sometimes the want to do all that’s needed within a business. So at the end of my sessions, what I’m hoping is that they actually probably really look at themselves and say, “Am I the business owner? Am I doing everything that I need to do? Who do I need help from or should I actually get someone else to run this business for me so I can do the things that I just really love? Or I’m actually flogging a dead horse and should I actually be shutting the business down? And all of those are really important decisions that we have to keep self reflecting on to make sure that we’re actually getting out of our business what we want and that’s not only profit which is really important. But if we’ve set it up to give us lifestyle and to give enough time with family and friends and all we’re doing is working 24/7, then it was created as a job, not a business. So that’s where my message lies.
Toby: Thank you. Well Tamara, if people wanted to get in contact with you for an investigation into their own business or to engage you as a public speaker, how can they do that?
Tamara: They can certainly head to my website which is thebsi.com.au. And if they’re interested certainly in downloading the first three chapters of my books, you can do that via the website, you can email me which is [email protected] and let’s set up a chat or just give me a phone call, my number is 0438 262 727. I’m also on LinkedIn, Facebook which is “BSI 4 U” and I’m also on Twitter which is The BSI 4 U, the number 4 and the letter U. And I’m still working on my social media strategy but you’ll see some articles and other things there. So plenty of ways to connect with me.
Toby: Tamara, thank you so much for joining us today.
Tamara: Thank you very much, I appreciate your time.
Toby: Our pleasure. If you’ve just joined us on Business Radio Talkers.FM, you’ve just missed me chatting with Tamara Simon. Tamara is the investigator at The Business Scene Investigation, otherwise known as “The BSI.” The good news however is that you can listen to the interview in its entirety or read the transcript on our website which is Talkers.FM. You can also listen to us on SoundCloud, iTunes, YouTube and find us on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram. Please don’t be shy to hit the like, share, follow and subscribe buttons because we need some loving too. You’re listening to Business Radio Talkers.FM.