Business Development Programs "mindblowingly helpful"

"It was the turning point for me," says Natalie Wild from Redefine Life, a health counselling and support services centre in Boronia.

Natalie is referring to a business development program she participated in hosted by Knox City Council as part of the Victorian Government's Small Business seminars and workshops program.

Council runs this program annually, which allows 10 established small and medium sized businesses (in business for six months) to participate at a subsidised rate.

“Attending the two-day business planning workshop highlighted a weakness in my business: marketing.

I was obtaining referrals easily but web design, social media, understanding whom to target and how to build a reputation that facilitated other practitioners coming to work from the centre was a problem,” said Natalie.

“The program also allowed me to identify gaps that many business programs don’t cover such as IP and setting up systems and processes.

“I have attended many of the programs hosted by Knox City Council now and they have all been mindblowingly helpful and I’ve followed them to the letter.”

Included in the workshops are mentoring sessions with the facilitator, which Natalie found extremely valuable as she could fine tune her business plan after the workshops and identify anything that was missing.

They also encouraged her to answer the tough questions about her business such as, “how do you know the market wants what you have to offer” and “how might you do things better?”.

One initiative that evolved from the workshop and Natalie’s connection with Knox City Council’s Economic Development service was a suggestion to connect with young people, which is becoming a core client base of Natalie’s existing clientele.

“To this end,” said Natalie, “I am working with groups of students from Deakin and Monash Universities who are developing a website, setting up social media and undertaking a research and marketing plan to take Redefine Life and my other business, Wellness Masterkeys, a mental health and wellness program, to the next level.

“It’s a win-win because the students can earn credit for working with a real business, solving real problems and not just learning from a book, and I have gained from working with them and getting more clarity in my business and receiving the outcomes of their work.” Being community minded and looking for a networking opportunity, Natalie has also joined her local Rotary club, which has a big focus on youth programs.

“Rotary makes a difference every day and I appreciate and value the quiet-achieving aspect of their approach to fund raising and community support.”