A duck and a dream

I had the pleasure of watching arguably the world’s best magician David Copperfield live in Melbourne recently. The magic itself was awesome...

17 reasons you should always carry a book with you

1. As someone who used to spend a lot of time waiting for real estate clients to show up – I know that clients / appointments / people in general are often late...

Reality Television your way to Success

I think I’m one of the only “motivational speakers” (not that I call myself that) who will openly admit that I watch television. I watch bad television too… even… dare I say it… reality television.

Where is the love?!

One of my businesses, Elephant Property, works in the notoriously under appreciated category of residential property management. The old adage in property management...

The power of the word

I’m quite distraught. I was eating my personal trainer approved afternoon snack of 12 almonds (my suggestion of 12 Tim Tams: not approved)...

Monday, August 24, 2009

Book Review - Lessons of a Lipstick Queen: Finding and Developing the Great Idea That Can Change Your Life by Poppy King

A little jumpy but a heart felt read

Let me preface this review by saying that, growing up an aspiring young female entrepreneur in Australia, Poppy King was my first and for many years my only role model. Her influence on me was profound and to this day she remains one of the “5 people I’d invite to any dinner”. As you can imagine then when I saw her book on the shelves I jumped at it straight away. I’ve always wanted a greater insight into the “Poppy story”, what went so well and also what went so wrong. Let me get the parts I didn’t like out of the way straight away. The book was a little too Americanised for me. I get that it’s being published in America and is predominantly for an American readership, but this little Aussie thought it strange to hear examples about Thanksgiving that could have just as easily been examples that would be relevant world wide. The voyeur in me also would have liked a bit more of an insight into exactly what didn’t work in Poppy’s business partnership, it was mentioned but forgive the pun “glossed over” a little. I also found that the “her story” parts of the book jumped about and were a little difficult to follow sequentially. That aside - did I enjoy the read? Yes. It was written from the heart, by a real person and by someone that’s obviously had to go through a whole heck of a lot in her journey from being the media’s darling to being raked through the mud. Will this book change my life: probably not, but there are some great nuggets in there for any aspiring entrepreneur.

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Friday, August 21, 2009

The time is 2.30 (tooth hurty!)

I’m Horrified. That’s right, Horrified with a capital H.

I just received this text (SMS) message verbatim.

Hi u are due for ur regular dental check. We are booked for 6wks.Call on.

Now don’t get me wrong. I’m all for a strategic use of a text message. I get a sensational one from my physiotherapist to remind me about appointments and we even use them in our real estate agency for rent reminders, but this text message is, in my opinion, appalling.

What’s more, there’s an extra 69 characters they could have used in this text message without spilling over into a second message and thus costing them more.

I get that there is a language that people use for text messaging and I get that abbreviations make things easier to fit in to the limited space but c’mon! This text is just crazy. I don’t want to get my teeth checked by a place that sends out reminder text messages that look like they’re from a bored 17 year old.

The sad truth is that I will end up going back to this dentist (it’s near on impossible in my area to get into another) and I won’t let them know how horrified I was by this text message. How could they get the feedback? The next time I’m waiting the 30 minutes in the surgery why not give me a little survey that says “what can we do better?” Then I’d share it with them.

Until then though, in language my dentist’s receptionist will understand if no one else: C u l8r, KD.

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By Kirsty Dunphey with 10 comments

Monday, August 17, 2009

Book Review - Outliers: The Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell

I thought this book was magnificent and completely fascinating. I constantly found myself trying (with limited success) to explain it’s brilliance to others and couldn’t wait to get back to read the next chapter. The message was profoundly simple but illustrated like this there were so many “ah-ha” moments for me. If you liked Freakonomics my bet is you’ll love this too.

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Thursday, August 13, 2009

Linked in to who? Tweeter-whating? Myspace, who’s space is that? (or social networking: how to work it for business)

So, more and more these days I’m getting asked about social networking / web 2.0 and what on earth their purpose is. This includes websites like:
• Twitter
• Blogger
• Facebook
• Linked in
• Myspace

Now, if you’re online, I doubt you’ve managed to exist without knowing about one or more of these sites, but from a business perspective, what’s their use?

We’ll go through each quickly, but there’s some general pros and cons that cover them all:

• Greater access to customers in a non-invasive, opt in (ie the person says they want to get your twitter updates or read your blog etc)
• Using these sites allows you to put a more human face on a business
• Almost all of these sites don’t cost anything (except your time) to use

• These sites demand time. I know people who invest upwards of an hour on social network sites every day (I don’t – but it does take time)
• Like a website, if you don’t update and keep things fresh on social networking sites there isn’t much point

It’s the latest and the greatest if you listen to celebs like Ashton Kutcher @aplusk (putting the @ symbol in twitter speak means that you can find Ashton at www.twitter.com/aplusk) or Ellen @TheEllenShow who are all raving about it. In short, Twitter (www.twitter.com) was built to answer the question, what are you doing? You get 140 characters to let people know what you’re up to.

From a business perspective, I use @kirstydunphey to tweet (a tweet is a post on twitter) and push traffic towards my blog (more about blogs later), to promote listings (with my real estate hat on) and to stay in touch.

Some tweeters to check out from a business perspective include:
@zappos – Zappos CEO (service oriented online shoe store in the States)
@miafreedman – former Cosmo editor and current author and blogger
@Rove1974 – TVs Rove McManus
@ThisIsSethsBlog – Seth Godin, author and blogger

Facebook / Myspace
I’ll lump these two together because they’re really similar. Myspace used to be all the rage and in the last two years it’s become more about facebook. I maintain a presence on both, but if you’re strapped for time then it’s more likely that you’ll go with myspace if you target a younger key demographic (say 10 – 19 year olds) and facebook if you’re targeting an older demo.

Both sites allow you to connect with friends (facebook prefer you connect with people you know, whereas myspace don’t care with people often having thousands of friends they’ve never “met” outside of myspace). Graphically facebook is a little cleaner while myspace allows you to customise your profile a lot more.

Secure wise, I allow anyone to access my myspace page (www.myspace.com/kirstydunphey) because I don’t use it for anything personal. Myspace is just about business for me in terms of driving traffic towards my blog and books and keeping people updated about my businesses. Facebook on the other hand I actually use to connect with my friends so I’ve tweaked my security so that the general public can’t see much about my personal side, only really the basics and my status updates (like a tweet but for facebook).

Facebook has another great functionality though where it allows you to start groups and fan pages. We have a fan page for all our businesses and it allows others to become “fans” and show that they love the business on their profiles. It’s all just basic free marketing.

Linked In
www.LinkedIn.com is like facebook but for business connections. A fabulous tool if used properly you upload your business / resume history and find people you know (the same as facebook), but from there, say you want to get in contact with an exec at IBM or any company, you can find out how, through your network you know that person. It might be that you’re 4 degrees of separation away (ie: you know someone, who knows someone, who knows… you get the picture) but linked in will allow you to trace that relationship to get in contact with that person. Another handy functionality is the ability to write referrals / testimonials about people you’ve worked with.

I use google’s free blogging site www.blogger.com to run all my blogs, but there are plenty to choose from. Blogging allows you to post online articles which can then be indexed and searched by web engines such as google. It’s a great way to increase credibility, drive traffic to your website and to give the world more of an insight into your business. Our real estate agency uses one (www.elephantproperty.com.au/blog) so that we can update people on our market, the economic conditions and what’s going on in property generally. People can then subscribe to get your blog updates delivered to their inbox (like a newsletter, only you don’t have to go to the trouble of making it and emailing it) and you can also subscribe to blogs you like reading, or a reader can simply come back to the website when they want to find out more.

Phew, the conclusion

So that’s basically it on the social networking sites I use for business. There’s a few more you may want to check out, but my advise is as follows.
• Don’t do everything! You still need time to run your business.
• Find out what works for you by employing simple and free google analytics on your website so that you can see where your traffic is coming from (if you’re tweeting like a crazy person plugging your blog, but no one is visiting, then maybe it’s not working for you)
• Utilise tools like www.ping.fm which will allow you to update your status simultaneously at all your sites so you don’t have to log into them all
• Link to your social networking on your website (see www.threadless.com for a great example of how to do this)
• And remember, if you don’t intend to update these sites, don’t bother! You’d do better to concentrate on more traditional marketing.

Now... off to post this article as a blog on blogger.com and then use ping.fm to update my status on linkedin, twitter, facebook and myspace to point to it!

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By Kirsty Dunphey with 2 comments

Friday, August 7, 2009

Memorisation vs Internalisation

I had lunch a few weeks ago at a great little restaurant. Our waiter was very well spoken his restaurant patter flowed from his tongue like poetry.

Until that is, we started talking back. Whenever we interrupted his well prepared dialogue he stammered, blinked wildly and then went back to his script as though we’d said nothing at all.

He’d memorised what he was meant to say beautifully, but he hadn’t internalised it at all and as such, if we didn’t say our lines perfectly, he was thrown. Unfortunately no-one had given us a script for eating lunch!

I’ve written before on the fact that I love scripts and dialogues. I love it that when I call my hairdresser they answer the phone “how can I make your day” I love that many Harcourts offices answer the phone “it’s a great day at Harcourts”. That’s memorisation, but when you ask someone what the company’s all about. They can memorise your mission statement or you company profile and repeat it verbatim, or they can have internalised that information so that they can speak conversationally about it (with interjections) and not be thrown.

Memorisation’s a great start, but internalisation and be able to interject a scrip with a personality is key.

Many thanks to Rob Morton from the Disney Institute www.disneyinstitute.com for reminding me what an important topic this is in a recent speech of his.

By Kirsty Dunphey with No comments

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