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Episode in a Tweet: Serial Australian woman entrepreneur Jo Burston says “you can’t be what you can’t see” and takes that to heart and envisions then builds multiple businesses–including one with more than $40 million in revenue.
Quick Background: Growing up in a working-class family in southwest Sydney, Australia with no entrepreneurs in her family, Jo took the traditional and safe route and became an employee of somebody else’s company. She quickly rose to CEO but by age 32, was bored out of her mind. She quit and eventually started Job Capital, a payroll and migration services firm, and built it to more than $40 million in revenue. More startup companies followed and in 2012, she was named a finalist for the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award. Today, Jo still leads Job Capital and she’s also building her newest company, Rare Birds, into a global powerhouse to empower women entrepreneurs around the world.
In today’s podcast, Jo shares her inspiring story and the hard fought business lessons that have propelled her career.
Transcript: Download the full transcript here.
1. Processes, like discipline, are always the gateway to freedom.
In order to build fast-growing scalable companies, you have to use technology. Jo approaches each of her businesses by asking, “How many hands can I take off a business or how many pieces of paper can we not use, and replace it with automated technology or processes.” By embedding technology in new and creative ways, Jo has found ways to not only build businesses–fast–but also to create networks of people around the world who use technology to help, mentor, and build each other’s businesses.
2. To build a global business, start with a global vision from day one.
Jo starts every one of her businesses with a clear vision of what she wants to accomplish and the “why” behind it. Then she looks at “how” she’s going to do it and builds the strategy to make it happen. From the “how” perspective, she looks at what her resources are, what she needs, who does she need to add, how long will it take, what could get in the way, and how will she overcome it. To achieve her big vision, she distills the strategy down into very bite-size achievable pieces.
3. Save yourself a lot of time and money by clearly identifying your customer personas so you can talk deeply and directly to your ideal audience.
Unlike most companies, Jo’s team spent a full year researching her customer personas for Rare Birds and came up with five. It wasn’t a seat of the pants “let’s try it and see what happens” approach to business building. No, there’s great science behind understanding a customer. By mapping out the five personas in great detail, they were able to craft a personalized marketing, communications, and PR strategy to fit each persona so they could connect to each customer group at a deep heart and mind level simultaneously.
4. Always follow your gut feeling–because it’s almost always right.
After spending four days on Necker Island with Sir Richard Branson and a group of entrepreneurs from around the world, Jo had a gut feeling that she should stay longer. So she asked for an extension. To make a long story short, this led to some one-on-one time with Branson, a side trip to visit Branson’s people back in England, and a new partnership with Branson that is still paying dividends today. Jo followed her instincts, acted on them, made quick changes to see the opportunity through to its fruition, and reaped the rewards. What’s nagging at your gut right now that you need to follow through on?
5. Use big data to map the customer journey and then create products and services that meet your customer’s needs for a lifetime, not just for a one-off transaction.
Today, businesses have access to enormous amounts of data. You can use this data to map the journey of a customer. By scientifically studying your customers buying patterns and living patterns, you can uncover their specific needs at each stage of their journey and then develop products and services that meet their needs at the exact time they need it. What other products and services could you offer your ideal customers if you took the time to better understand their buying and living patterns?
1. If you want more freedom in your life, build more processes. Don’t reinvent the wheel each time. Create a process, follow it, and you’ll get more done in less time with fewer mistakes and higher profit.
2. Go deep and narrow with client personas so you can build a communications plan that resonates deeply with your ideal customers. By knowing exactly who your ideal customers are, you can personalize your marketing messages and go deep into the heart and mind of each of your customers.
3. Trust your gut. Yes, the era of big data is upon us and you should use it to make informed business decisions. However, there are times–and you usually know when they are, that you should trust your gut when a big decision is on the line.
Transcript: Download the full transcript here.