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NEWSLETTER: This Week In Entrepreneurship… #37


The $400k Grant Helping PROJECT ROCKIT Reach ‘Every Corner Of The Country’


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PROJECT ROCKIT Co-founders and Co-CEOs Lucy (left) and Rosie Thomas explain how the grant will help their social movement reach children across Australia.





Thinking Of Applying For A Grant? We’ve Got You Covered


Learn Pia Turcinov’s top tips for entrepreneurs who are looking for money to grow their businesses.




How To Build A Membership Model That Really Works


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Attracting new members isn’t enough – we show you ways to retain them as well.




Can You Afford Not To Podcast?


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Podcast ads are proving a lucrative stream of revenue for entrepreneurs who want to build loyalty and engage fans. This is what you need to know to do it too.




See Pia Turcinov Talk About Grants And Funding 



Join us for a Rare Birds event in Perth on 16th February from 5pm-7pm when we’ll be discussing grants and funding with a panel of leading industry experts.

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How To Build A Membership Model That Actually Works

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It’s the dream for many entrepreneurs: a solid, low-maintenance membership model that produces a constant stream of revenue.


Scores of entrepreneurs have managed to get it right, but usually not without a few glitches along the way. Take Lynda Weinman, who founded the online learning portal with husband Bruce Heavin in 1995. Introducing a subscription model almost broke her business.

So how can you maximise your chances of getting it right from the beginning? Understanding your audience is key, according to Birchbox subscription service co-founders Katia Beauchamp and Hayley Barna.

To do this you need to start by asking yourself three questions:

1. Who are your potential members?

Let’s say your audience is dog fanatics and you want to create a platform that’s packed with training articles and videos, along with information about different dog breeds, diets and ownership tips. You’re thinking of charging $5.99 a month for access to selected parts of your website.

To find out if your idea is viable, gather as much information as possible about the demographic of your audience. How are old they, what’s their income, education, title and geographic location? The more data you collect, the more insights you’ll have into what your users need from their membership.

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2. What are your audience’s challenges?

This is where surveys work really well. You can use sites such as Apester and Typeform to create surveys that allow your community to identify and rank their challenges in order.

Your dog fanatics might tell you that finding organic food for their pet is difficult or that their dog gets lonely when they’re at work or away from the house for hours on end. Having this kind of information can help you:

  • Refine your membership offering.
  • Plan for enhancements to your platform.
  • Allocate time and resources within your team.
  • Budget for future technology upgrades.

3. How are you going to solve these challenges? 

Once you have a picture of who your members are likely to be and the challenges they face, you can develop a membership package that helps solves these problems. Look at those offered by your competitors and if there’s a gap in the market for what you’re proposing. Creating a SWOT analysis can help you identify this more easily.

From here you can explore suitable price points and – if you’re planning on offering a tiered membership comprising of different products and/or services – define which programs offer the greatest potential for revenue growth.

To implement your membership program you’ll need a marketing program that focuses on attracting new members as much as it does retaining them. You can read more about this in the 2016 Membership Marketing Benchmark Report.

What if your membership model doesn’t work?

If you find yourself losing members, don’t panic – there are ways to get your audience back and grow it:

  • Talk to your members – your relationship with them is crucial.
  • Make sure your team is highly focused on providing attentive, personal customer service – they need to care about their work.
  • Revisit your data and pay close attention to indications that your members’ needs may be changing. 
  • Consider improving the quality of your membership service.

Related articles

– How To Prevent Your Sales Team From Burning Out
– How To Find A Tech Co-Founder In 10 Days
– 5 Telling Ways To Know If Your Business Idea Will Work


NEWSLETTER: This Week In Entrepreneurship… #36


Why Women Entrepreneurs Are So Good For The Global Economy




It’s clear that women face barriers to entrepreneurship worldwide, but focusing on the opportunities is what will really drive change.

LISTEN to Jo Burston, the Founder and CEO of Rare Birds in this Microsoft podcast.



Q&A With Emma Hannigan: ‘Our customers expect to know us, like us, trust us’


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You don’t have to be a writer to create a brand story people love, says storytelling expert Emma Hannigan in this exlusive Q&A



How Flamingo Is Using Chatbots To Help Big Businesses Grow  


Flamingo’s chatbot ‘Rosie’ is helping to increase online sales conversion rates for businesses like AMP. Catriona Wallace, the company’s CEO, explains.





LaunchVic Announces $4.9 Million For Victorian Startups



Startups focused on diversity are among the standout recipients in Round 2 of LaunchVic’s funding announcements.





Tell Us What You Really Think… 




Content Marketing  Roundtable And Brand Storytelling Breakfast events




You’re invited to join us, together with storytelling expert Emma Hannigan and Locomote Co-founder and CMO David Fastuca at these exclusive events.




‘Our customers expect to know us, like us, trust us': Q&A With Emma Hannigan

Storytelling expert Emma Hannigan on powerful brand stories that get your audiences talking.


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1. Can you create a great brand story if you’re not a natural storyteller?

Absolutely, we are all the definitive expert when it comes to our own story and the tale of our own journey is an integral part of our brand story. Most people lack confidence when it comes to writing or storytelling – in the most part this comes from criticism they’ve received in the past. A lot of people have that teacher’s voice in their head telling them they can’t do it. In order for your brand story to be authentic, it has to come from you and we all have that story inside us.

2. What’s your top tip for creating an awesome one?

For most people, the hardest part is getting started. My top tip is, get it down on paper and be relaxed with the fact that it is a first draft and it won’t be a masterpiece.

3. Can you provide some examples of companies that do an amazing job of storytelling?

Two companies come straight to mind when I think about great corporate storytelling: Guinness (not just because I grew up in Ireland!) and Nike. In both cases, they have been capturing our imagination with story long before it became a buzz word. They have always evoked emotion with their advertising. In more recent times, Airbnb has done a great job of putting customer stories in the centre of the brand.

4. What can you do to get the tone absolutely right, so it represents the ‘look and feel’ that what you want for your brand?

It has to be authentic, it has to come from the heart and soul of the founder. Being real, being vulnerable and being true to your passion for the business will ensure the tone aligns with your, vision, mission and values.

5. How does the position of your brand in the marketplace reflect the type of story you should create?

The story of your business will naturally evolve with the business itself. If you are in startup mode then you will be telling the story of your origins. However, as you move into a more established space, you will be telling the stories of your success and using your customers to tell your stories.

6. How do you change your story if, say, the product or service you produce starts to get loads of negative press?

It is important in this case to address the issues and talk about how you are dealing with the cause of the bad press. Once you have put out the fires, you can re-establish your brand with positive stories of moving beyond and conquering the issues at the heart of the negativity.

7. Is storytelling for B2B customers the same as it is for B2C or are there distinct differences?

B2B marketers can showcase expertise through thought leadership articles, offering insight into the marketplace, positioning their brands as leaders in the industry. That’s why an effective B2B content strategy is often simply about being the most respected source of industry information in your field. On the other hand, a B2C customer is more driven by emotional triggers – we want consumers to feel.

8. Can you provide an example of how you can use your story for brand awareness and lead generation?

Our presence on social media is a must and we cannot simply be a company – our customers expect to know us, like us and trust us. Your story is a vital part of this – you must have a genuine and authentic presence on social media if you want to do business nowadays. People care much less about whether you have an MBA than they do about why you were inspired to start your business.

9. What’s one great way you can use it to retain customers?

People do business with people, not with companies. By having a story that your customers can relate to and be engaged with, you are increasing your brand loyalty and customer retention.

10. How can you tell if the story you’ve created is working or if it needs tweaking?

It is important to have other people review your story. When we are immersed in a business it can be easy to get technical or use too much jargon. Get your mentors and trusted advisors to read it and give constructive feedback.

11. Does a brand story have to be written? Are any companies doing things differently?

Video is huge these days – think of all the video that pops up on your Facebook feed. Video is a great resource for getting your brand story out to customers. Lots of businesses are also using podcasts as a way of connecting with customers. Instagram is also a good resource for photo and now video content. That is the joy of the digital age – we have so many resources at our disposal.


LaunchVic Announces $4.9 Million For Victorian Startups

GrowthSeven projects have been announced as recipients of LaunchVic’s second round of funding, worth $4.9 million. Together with matched funding and in-kind support, the investment totals more than $11 million for Victoria’s startup ecosystem.

Recipients include the Melbourne-based social enterprise Seeva Plus Inc, which focuses on innovation in the disability, aged care and primary health sectors. It received $500,000 and will create an incubation program and an innovation hub that supports startups and entrepreneurs to drive change within the disability sector.

“Again, the Victorian Government and Minister Dalidakis have been successful in their focus of diversity with the announcement of the recipients of today’s grants to the start-up ecosystem in Victoria,” says Inspiring Rare Birds Founder and CEO Jo Burston.

“With our new CEO, Kate Cornick, I anticipate incredible traction in 2017 for all LaunchVic stakeholders and especially the recipients today,” she says.


LaunchVic has a funding pool of $60 million and is an initiative from the Victorian Government. It was formed to invest in the infrastructure of the ecosystem to support startups and entrepreneurs.

“These are the programs that will help young companies and ideas develop to create jobs and industries that will support our state for decades to come,” said Minister for Small Business, Innovation and Trade Philip Dalidakis.

Three hundred applications have been received by LaunchVic. Round one resulted in $6.5 million being invested and more grants and programs of work are expected to be announced over the next three years.

“LaunchVic works together with the entrepreneurial sector to drive solutions that will transition startups to future businesses. We will invest and partner in ideas, expertise and infrastructure to grow vVictoria’s thriving startup ecosystem,” says Kate Cornick.


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