Archive for the ‘Women in Business’ Category


In life and in our careers we come across skills that we are good at some we are even great at and then their are those skills that we really struggle with. This could be communication, emotional intelligence, building rapport or just general communication skills and the worst one which has been shown to be one of the most feared skill of all is Public Speaking.

At times we have to get better at a skill because it holds us back from pursuing our dreams or its important to develop interpersonal relationships as we care for someone and if we don’t connect, we may miss out on something special. To go for that dream job we may need to be more confident, or learn how to articulate our self better. No matter what the gap is you can always find a way to build that skill just like you build a muscle.


swot_img2SWOT Analysis

Doing a SWOT Analysis can help identify our Strength, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats. Once we identify things we are not so good at we can focus on what we need to do to develop this weakness and use our strengths to build on our weakness’s where possible.  If you have never done a SWOT Analysis before you could ask someone that will help you.
NOTE: This person should know you reasonably well and be willing to be honest and constructive, not critical.
Follow the steps below to discover more about yourself and have fun.
Step 1. Agree to be honest with yourself. This is not to make you feel bad or inadequate, this is to identify where you need to focus to obtain the skill or skills you want to be better at.
Step 2. Get a sheet of paper and divide one page into 4 sections, label each section as shown in the image.
Step 3. Start with your Strengths and write as many as you can, communication, organisational skills, time management, dealing with people, team building, things like this. if you have trouble thinking of any then start with what makes you happy.
Step 4. Then go to your weaknesses and list those, this could be, saying no, poor communication, always being late. keep in mind a strength and threat could be the same. An organised person gets more tasks given to them as they get the job done, this could lead to a weakness of taking on too much.
Step 5. Look at your Strengths and Weaknesses and list the threats. This can come from Weaknesses and can also come from Strengths, again if you are supportive and always there for friends this can be a Weakness as you could be called upon and not say no, therefore not putting your needs first.
Step 6. Look at all sections that have been completed and look where their may be some opportunities. If you never say no in fear of reaction of disappointing, you may need to learn to become assertive, if you have trouble communicating a communications course may be helpful. These are opportunities to address weaknesses and reduce threats.         
Here is an example of identifying a weakness and seeing the threat that is created.
A weakness may be you avoid conflict as you don’t know how to deal with it and if you say something you may upset someone. This can happen in personal environments and work environments.
The Threat could be this means you never ask for what you want as this may lead to disappointment of fear of upsetting someone or not pleasing them, so you feel disappointed and unhappy about not having things or not going places you desire. Holding back can lead to unhappiness and feelings of being unfulfilled in many aspects of life. Dealing with conflict can be done in a very positive way so that everyone is happy or at least satisfied and no one is missing out.

What is holding you back

Sometimes we hold ourselves back from doing what we truly desire mostly because of fear, What will they think, what if I fail, what if I look silly, what if i disappoint? sometimes we just don’t know where to start. The good news is you can start here, next is the library, or an audio program, career advice or a short course. Their are many ways to get started but you need to have a clear plan of what you would like to do, so fist identify what holds you back. Sometimes its excuses I don’t have the time, I don’t have the money, in most cases its fear. Look at my acronym for fear and ask yourself if its real. In most cases its not but even if it is real you have to decide if you would like it to be different. Simply learning a better way to communicate can have a significant impact on everything that you do.


Make a Plan

Part of making a plan is finding the people or the course or even the resources that can assist in the plan being able to come to life. Resources can be people or things such as books and audio programs a short course or even setting a goal. What ever you want, you must plan and take action on that plan for things to be different. As you may have heard before “if you keep doing what you have always done you will keep getting what you have always got”

So make an action plan on what you are going to do today towards just one of your weaknesses and you will be on the road to better things today.

Weakness – doing to many tasks and not getting the important tasks completed.
Threat – Deadlines not being met and tasks not being completed
Opportunity – Learn how to prioritise and not get distracted
Action Plan – Plan my day before it started and prioritise and allocate times to be completed
Outcome – A more efficient day, completed tasks, less Stress

We hope we have helped you fill in some of the Gaps.

Read Full Post »

“Old dogs can’t learn new tricks”


This saying has been around for longer than I can remember and probably longer than my father has been around which is 67 years this May. Like a lot of other saying that really don’t make a lot of sense or are so far from the truth and this one is right up there.

No matter how old you are you can learn new tricks in fact you can achieve many great things. Just take a leaf out of Louise Hay book, she is a great example of a woman who went through many tragic experiences as a child and teenager and then recovering from Cervical Cancer as an adult, at the age of 70 she founded Hay House publishing and is living an extraordinary life.

At times our language can trap us into limiting beliefs, stopping us from reaching our true potential. Think about when you use the word try, I will try and get there, I will try and make this work, I will try to call you. This is one of the worst words for ensuring you have a good excuse, Rather than saying I’m not going to make it, or I don’t want to attend or I can’t call you today. This language would free us from guilt and release us from great pressure at times.

What about the language of, I’m not smart enough, I’m not tall enough, I’m not educated enough, these limiting beliefs can stop us from going after what we deeply desire.

Listening to your language can bring about a greater awareness and then you have the ability to change the negative language to a more positive language. This brings about a more positive emotion which can reinforce what you want to achieve opposed to what you think you cant.

Simply reminding yourself and say “I can do this opposed to I will try. I am smart enough to achieve this, look at what I have done so far. Can be a great message and constant reminder.

Self talk

Lets not forget about the language we are using in our head, the language that no one else can hear. This is just as destructive as we say this without anyone knowing we are. Listen to your self talk, is it limiting you from your true potential? This can be more harmful than what we say outside to others. The next time your language in your head is negative and limiting, instantly change this to what you really want and watch the changes occur.

Think about your language over the next few weeks (both internally and externally) and see where you can become more aware of using better, stronger and more positive language to get you moving in the direction of where you want to go. Then think about what you want to achieve and don’t let your language or limiting beliefs hold you back.

Visit our website http://www.mantratraining.com.au/ and see what we have to offer or come and talk to us about creating language that supports your future.

Or read about my journey to Kokoda, http://blog.mantratraining.com.au/ it was a year ago today that we walked proudly into the Kokoda Village……this was a time where my self talk got me through some very big challenges and I succeeded. It was one of the most rewarding things I have ever done and had my self talk not been in check I would not have succeeded.

Donna Moulds – CEO/Director

Read Full Post »

 Donna Moulds – Mantra Training & Development

Getting a good head start could be the difference between achieving your goals and not. The power in writing them down in indescribable and to say the least powerful.

I am writing this on the 1st January 2013

al-inspiring-quote-on-how-to-achieve-greatness Yes that’s correct on the first day of the new year I am writing a Blog on Goal setting, not because I don’t have a life but more importantly that I have a great   life and want it to be better. The quote that is to the right is so true and I think we often forget that we do have a choice in everything we do. When we take 100% responsibility for our choices we take responsibility for our failures and our successes.

I have already set my Goals for 2013 and am in the process of writing them down in detail and then writing my action steps to move me closer to these each day. Last year seemed to go so fast and before I and many others knew it Christmas was here. So I decided that I didn’t want the year to fly by without a plan for what I really and truly want for me, my family and my team at Mantra Training & Development in 2013.

So I thought this is no better time than to do another more detailed Blog on Goal setting. I had written one in the middle of last year and as I still believe very much in goals and action toward them I would expand even further.

I once heard Anthony Robbins say that if you are not growing you are dying, and I am still growing every day and will continue to do so in many ways. We can grow in all areas of our life, Financially, Spiritually, Relationships can grow and most importantly our knowledge can grow .

You may think you don’t set goals but in one way or another we all set goals, they can be a small goals of getting somewhere on time if you are often late. It could be to get a pay rise or promotion in your current career. We set bigger goals for fitness, and exercise or to give up smoking or drinking for a Month, year or for good. many people will have a New Years Resolution (Bad idea as they are often short lived)

I have been setting goals since I was very young; however I am not sure that I knew I was setting goals. I would decide I wanted something or to go somewhere and then I would find a way to do it. As I have looked back over many years of doing this and also being a keen observer of others, I have noticed a few key facts that are fairly consistent.

Why do we achieve some Goals and not others?

 Let me see if I can shed some light on what I think are some of the reasons for success and failure to reach our goals.

 If you fail to plan you plan to fail “Jim Rohn”

 TRY and moving away from goals opposed to moving toward goals!

 TRY – This word drives me crazy and is used so frequently when it is an excuse word. What I mean by that is, it lets you off the hook….. I will try to get there…..I will try to lose weight…….I will try to stop smoking…….I tried to call. Lets look at each one of these and break it down.

Someone asks you out and you say “I will try to get there” what they may have wanted to say is “I don’t want to go but if I say I will try and get there and don’t make it I know I tried

I will try and lose weight, really! How do you try, you either do lose weight by doing something differently, like walking round the block each day and eating smaller portions, or you don’t!

The last one is I tried to call…… What about, “I called and you didn’t answer” or “ I Did call and left a voicemail message”

You see I use this activity in my training…..I ask someone to try and pick up a chair, they pick it up and I say no I asked you to try, so they pretend its heavy and can’t lift it, again I say no now you didn’t pick up the chair. I often get looked at with frustration until it clicks…..You either pick up the chair or you don’t….NO TRYING! “Anthony Robbins”

 Moving Away from Goals V Moving Toward Goals

 If you don’t achieve your goals someone else will “Jim Rohn”

 What do I mean by moving away from goals?

 When you are moving away from something it is generally because you have a negative outcome where you are, so you want to move away from it (use Fear or Pain as a good example). Take a heart attack for example, you may need to lose weight change your diet and exercise, which you were not doing before, hence why you have had a heart attack. So when you get away from the risk you tend to go back to old habits.

What we should be doing consistently is setting toward Goals with positive outcomes, let me give you an example;

In August 2011 I set a goal to walk the Kokoda track and I was specific about a number of reasons for setting this goal. I understand this is a big one however the same concept applies t small goals as well.

Smart format applied

Specific – To walk the Kokoda Track in April 2012

Measurable – Researched the most reputable company to do the trek with, costed flights, trek gear and time frames that fitted in with my daughter being away on school holidays.

Achievable – A plan was required with a deadline and results focused to ensure I would be successful (it was truly achievable with a plan)

Relevant –   It was relevant in a number of ways both physically and emotionally and also one of my highest values is growth “I was definitely going to grow

Timely – I had a number of deadlines and it was the perfect time in my life to do this journey

Whilst a lot more in-depth planning and reasoning behind this goal, I am sure you can see the concept. Take the time to think of a small goal you want to achieve and use the SMART format to set the goal. Then set some bigger Goals and have a clear action plan to start moving you in the direction of achieving them.

Here are a few additional steps you can take to ensure you keep momentum.

  1. Write them down and stick it on your bathroom mirror so you see them every day
  2. Take 10 Minutes a day to so something toward planning or achieving these goals, as little as 10 minutes a day can work.
  3. Say them out loud, tell people about it so they can support you getting there.
  4. Get an accountability buddy to keep you on track
  5. Even if you fall off the horse so to speak don’t give up just get back on the horse.
  6. Make sure you reward yourself when you achieve the goal or get to a major milestone.

I look forward to hearing about your goals and if you need any help to set goals feel free to contact Mantra Training & Development and we can help you not only set the goals, we can help you create a plan to achieve your goals in 2013.

Have an amazing year and remember to enjoy the journey.


Read Full Post »

If time runs away from you, this may me an interesting read!

Welcome to my Blog, it has been a while since posting and let me just say not because I have been on holidays or taking it easy, quite the contrary. This has been a very busy and tiring time with lots of physical activity included. This is a very personal story this time and not a personal opinion but an experience I wanted to share.

Do you feel like time is passing you by? Do you feel like you don’t have enough hours in the day, days in a weeks or weeks in a month? well I know how you feel. Busy people tend to fit lot’s into their days, weeks and moths. Have you ever asked yourself why that is, well I have, and recently more than ever. So i thought I would share some personal stuff with you in this blog about how much I have fitted in recently.

Ask yourself these questions and then please read on for my personal story:

  • Do you plan your day before it begins, plan your month before it begins?
  • Do you allow constant disruptions that take your focus away from the priorities?
  • The day before you go on holidays, reflect on how much you get done and how focused you are?
  • What could you do better to create more time in your day or even week?

School holidays are generally a time for me to recharge and put on a different hat. My Youngest daughter being the only child left at home generally goes to visit with her Dad and his family in Darwin. I miss her a lot but I use this time to recharge, work longer hours to catch up and also have some creative thinking time. Unfortunately this has not gone to plan these holidays, let me explain why.

In December I moved my business from one location to another, now if anyone has done an office fit-out before I am sure you can empathise with me and even more so as I am not very smart in the electrical area of an office. So doing an electrical plan was where I was at breaking point. When I say breaking point I mean my boundaries and comfort zone were certainly pushed. I can coordinate many different things and I enjoyed creating a new learning environment for Mantra Training & developments staff and students. Well…….5 weeks later and a few melt downs we are in the office and very happy with the outcome.

I am also very proud to say that my Son has been recovering in a Rehabilitation hospital since the beginning of January and has been doing exceptionally well. Driving to Sydney every week (6 hour round trip) to support him may be tiring, but again I find a way to use this to my advantage and University in the car has been very re energising for business and me personally. For the past 4 weeks I have been watching my Son recover from 8 years of addiction and self destruction. It has been an amazing process and he is working very hard to recover and get life on track. He has been supported by Nurses, Counselors and Support Workers who have helped him in his path to recovery. I am so very proud of him; this has not been an easy journey by any means.

For the past three months I have been training hard for my trip to Kokoda in April and I am getting fitter and stronger every week. As the time draws closer I start to wonder if I have done enough but with 11 weeks to go I am sure I still have time to up the anti and make sure I am fit and ready to take on the trek. I look forward to the history, meeting the people in the villages and the physical challenge. I can’t wait to experience the different cultures and see the scenery of the Kokoda Trek.

So I think when we have to step up we can achieve greatness and fit a lot into a short period of time. Now I don’t think for a minute it is sustainable long term without reflection and rejuvenation, and very achievable in the short term. I think it is soon time for a 4 day long weekend kayaking with my Daughter to slow down and recharge my batteries and brain.

Remember this…… we all have 24 hours in a day and 365 days in a year, how we use those hours, days, months and years will provide varying levels of results. if you want to learn some great strategies for time management then contact Mantra Training & Development

Till next time, remember to set your Goals for 2012, Donna

Goal setting with purpose will be the next blog

Read Full Post »

What strategies work for you?

There is a lot of information out in the community, on the web and also in the workplace on stress and how to manage it.

However the first step to managing stress is, knowing what stress is for you?

What can be very resourceful is to identify when you are stressed, how you are feeling and you could also rate this for example on a scale of 1 to 10.

Take the time to notice how your breathing is and if it is shallow, then you could take a few deep breaths and then see how you are feeling. Just breathing differently can make a difference.

I personally think one of the biggest mistakes we make is assuming how someone should be feeling or react to any given situation based on how we would be feeling or react.

Take for example 2 people going through Divorce, how one person reacts may be very different to the other person. The stages of emotions that may be experienced will vary from person to person, or the time in which it takes for life to feel relatively normal again, if at all.

In the workplace how two people respond to work demands, deadlines and managing people will vary. Is it getting to work on time, or is it your work load, or it could be work colleagues that increase your stress levels. What we need to realise is that it is not something or someone that causes us stress it is how we perceive a situation or react to what is happening around us that creates the feeling inside.`

When a crisis happens in the world such as the Floods in Queensland, the earthquake in Christchurch or the Tsunami in Japan, this is a situation that can effect people differently, if you have family there or feel very emotional about the tragedy and lives lost you may feel stressed by this situation, however if for example you don’t have any family there and have no emotional attachment to the situation then you may not have any reaction just a feeling of empathy or sadness. Please remember people feelings and reactions are their own and not right or wrong just their feelings.

Do you really know which strategies works for you? Have you ever been told how to manage stress, use the techniques and still no results?

This may be due to the fact that you have not discovered what works for you!

Is it
• Exercise
• Healthy eating
• No alcohol
• Mediation
• Deep breathing techniques

These are some of the tips that can be used in isolation or even combine a number of them or all of them. So what do you do when you have tried them all and nothing seems to work?

Well just like isolating what foods/preservatives don’t agree with you, you have to try some different techniques and measure what is getting a result, even a small result should be measured and when you get good results you need to keep doing that but also try other techniques to increase the outcome. Never give up.

Step 1. Identify how you are feeling (Angry, Sad, hurt, scared, uncertain)
Step 2. Ask yourself what specifically about this situation is making me feel this way?
Step 3. Can I change the situation? Become resourceful….
Step 4. Can I change the way I perceive the situation/ is it as bad as it seems
Step 5. What strategies work that I can use right now
Step 6. Take action

Remember not to fool yourself by saying nothing works. I can’t tell you how many times I hear someone say nothing works and when you ask the question they may have tried one technique once and given up.

If you want to know more about managing stress feel free to contact us for some more information or book a session on Managing Stress with resourceful outcomes.

Till next time

Donna Moulds

Read Full Post »

Donna Cox

By Donna Cox – Mantra Training & Development

As you may be aware from previous posts, I am addicted to learning and love absorbing information through books and experiences with others. Where ever I can sit in a room with inspirational people I will take up the opportunity. Recently I was fortunate enough to have one of those days…

I have a number of great Mentors who have contributed to my life in many ways and more importantly, pointed me in the direction of being a better person, team player and leader. I am fortunate enough to spend time once a month face to face with one of my mentors and reinforce learning’s and discover what he has learned from others.

Whilst attending a Future leaders Forum I was asked a question “Am I living above the line or below the line?,



I wasn’t sure what OAR or BED meant as I don’t row boats and we all sleep in a bed. After some discussion with the group the lights went on! This was a metaphor and a great one at that ………..

I have recently seen first hand someone living under the line, totally at the effect not the cause. What I have observed is the negative effects both physical and emotional of living below the line and it seems to produce very negative outcomes for the person living there. This can be turned around in a heartbeat by moving above the line and taking ownership of the situation rather than blaming others for your outcome.



I think to be honest we have all lived below the line at times, however if you aspire to be successful you would more than likely choose to live above the line as this will provide much better outcomes.

This was a great reminder of where I have lived at times and where I do not wish to live in the future. It is easy to blame others for things that go wrong, but it is a more rewarding place to be able to take responsibility and own the situation. This way you stay at cause in your life not at the effect of others.

Cause – be the cause of, produce, make happen

Effect – result or consequence of an action

If you would like to know more about cause and effect and many other strategies that can assist you in reaching your Goals then let Mantra Training & Development take you to the next level of awareness.
It is a known fact that we must continue to learn new things to develop skills but I think at time we need to refresh the skills we have. If you look back over history, books and the great philosopher that have written them have the same message or similar message. I believe this to be true because what they did centuries ago worked then as it still works now.

Donna Cox

Read Full Post »

Learn, Plan, Implement & Reap the Rewards

By Donna Cox (Mantra Training & Development)

Learning can happen everyday in the most simplistic way.

How many times have you purchased a book, or audio set and never read or listened to it? Have you ever attended a seminar and come back from the learning experience all pumped up and then you quickly get bogged down in the reality of day to day business/life?

You come home all motivated and then the family or friends say “that’s a silly idea” “you can’t do that”? You would have in a number of newsletters and blogs what I call these people “Dream Stealers” Yep the one’s that have never really been in business or attempted what you are suggesting, yet have all the answers.

I remember being at a Justin Herald Boot camp last year and speaking with another couple that were also attending and they said they knew a lady that has all the tapes and books you could ever hope to have, and her life hasn’t changed at all. I said this seemed to be a common theme that I have heard many times before. I also said “The reason her life hasn’t changed is she hasn’t changed it. I also asked if she had listened to all of them.

You see all these things (Books, Audio, seminars) are tools and like a hammer you can own one however if you never use it that nail will always stick out.

I have a method that works for me. I find what/who resonates with me or what will push my boundaries and challenge my thinking. I then follow these easy steps.

LEARN – Go to the seminar, read the book or listen to the Audio (university in the car)

PLAN – How can I use this information now, today or in the next few days.

What will I gain from this plan? How will it provide positive outcomes? (even if in the short term it provides a bit of discomfort because it is going to push my boundaries)

IMPLEMENT – Do it, follow the plan and make changes to reap the rewards.

You may be saying “my Plans don’t work! Well I can confirm that they don’t always work, but that is half the fun.

Let me give you a personal example.

Recently I have been learning about spirituality which has somehow moved me toward overall better health.

Learn – I have learned about the mind and body and the great connection between them. I knew a bit about it but wanted to know more. So I have been listening to Dr Wayne Dyer (The Shift).

Plan – I made a plan to change the way I though about nutrition and health and also exercising. Since learning more I made a plan to become fitter and meditate better and more deeply than I had in the past. To sit quietly and appreciate what is naturally around me and hear less man made noise.

Implement – I then made it part of my daily routine and found more time and more peace than I ever though possible. The art of allowing is now part of my daily activities. I have also increased my fitness dramatically and dropped 5kg in the process. My goal was not to lose weight it was an overall level of fitness and spirituality and it has been a very rewarding process that is now part of daily life.

Now ask yourself what have you read or listened to recently where you could apply something today. Baby steps are the key to making the change part of your life. Sometimes we may change a lot and are not able to sustain it long term. Therefore you may not be able to sustain it long term. Ask yourself can I do this? Then add another step and remind yourself what you are achieving, not what you aren’t.

There is power in positive thinking; however it takes action to Reap the Rewards.

Donna Cox

Read Full Post »


By Jean McIntyre

Marketing Angels

Why do small business owners often feel lost when we deal with large organisations like banks?

I was chatting on the phone today with my good friend Lana – relating the horrendous saga of my dealings with Westpac over several months while trying to set up a merchant facility for a start-up business.  The conversation got around to the general observation that small businesses often have little success dealing with large organisations.

Lana is of the view that it’s because a single instance of poor service is often not noticed in a large organisation and those who deliver it just get complacent about the impact of their actions on the people at the other end.  Lana works for a large Government service delivery organisation and says the same thing happens there.

Let’s look at what happened with Westpac

Early in November 2009 I went to the website of an online payment facility and completed an application and paid my fee.  I was then directed to a page that said I needed to apply with one of the big banks for a merchant facility.  I had vowed 20 years ago never to deal with a bank again so I wasn’t impressed with this but went ahead as I had no choice.

I completed a simple online application and was informed that I’d receive a package from Westpac in due course.  A couple of days later I received an email from a Westpac employee with some prices in a table and no explanation.

I wrote to Westpac and asked what the prices related to and exactly what I would be up for initially and on an ongoing basis.  The reply I received was full of jargon like ‘chargeback’ , ‘service fee’, ‘participation fee’ and it took me some time to get information from Westpac as to exactly what I was signing up for.

Westpac Gives Vague Instructions

Soon after, I received another email – with vague instructions and some pdfs of forms that it seemed I had to complete.  I wrote back to Westpac saying that I thought I’d received the wrong forms as what I had appeared to be a mortage application.  I was concerned because I was applying for the merchant account on behalf of a company – that had limited assets apart from a bank account and a website – but it was asking for details of all my personal assets.

The response from Westpac was that this was the way it was and Westpac had the most robust application process of all the banks and that this was necessary to protect this. 

I wondered at that point where I and my needs sat in that equation.

The website needs to be fully-functioning

Now at this point, the website is in development and testing and so the actual site is just a shell – ready to be populated.  I’m waiting on the merchant ID to finalise the online purchasing infrastructure and pricing.

I then received an email from Westpac saying that they need a copy of my ‘registration’ and that the website didn’t meet their requirements.  I asked “what requirements” and was told that among the many forms that were sent with the second email, there was a page of ‘Website Requirements’ that was not mentioned in the email.  I looked at the requirements page and could not see anything in this that didn’t comply – even though the site was in testing.

I also queried exactly what registration was required – my ABN registration, company registration, registration of a business name or some other registration that I was unaware of.  The woman from Westpac was unable to answer that question and so suggested that I send all of the above.

Feeling trapped – Jean complies

Of course, feeling trapped and powerless – I complied.  It turns out that she had searched for the business using the incorrect name and was now suspicious that I was trying to do something dodgy.

The Westpac employee then said that I needed a referral from my building society – where I had said on the initial form that I wanted money deposited (I love my building society).  I asked her what this was for but she didn’t answer me.  She also asked me to explain in detail on the website, the products I was selling, how the payment and pricing would work as this information was required for the website.

The Westpac officer wrote: ” Website needs to be developed before they will assess the application.  All banks have the same requirements of viewing the site before approval.  It is because banks need to view what products are being sold, that there is adequate information on the Website for a credit card holder to make the decision whether they are going to use their credit card on your website and get the products they are paying for.”

Westpac is not a police officer

I was no clearer after this and I was quite cross by this time.  I explained that I would not put this information up on the site as I was going to protect my intellectual property until the site is ready for publication – including the payment processes.  I said in no uncertain terms that it was none of Westpac’s business what information I put on my site (apart from privacy and security details). 

In my frustraion I said in my reply email: “Banks DON’T need to view what products are being sold.  It is up to the individual business to comply with the law.  The bank is not a police officer.” 

This of course fell on deaf ears.

I asked who I could speak with about the unreasonable requests and delays from Westpac and yet again in a further email. I received no response.

Tell us EXACTLY what we have to do

I went back to my web developer and said that we needed to get the test website as close to fully-functioning as possible – otherwise Westpac would not approve the merchant facility.  I put in a lot of work, we organised a Security Certificate for the site and gave them access to the development site.  I then asked if they could look at it and explain EXACTLY what was needed now to approve the site.

I received an email back saying “thanks” and informing me that (despite my being a sole signatory for the company) they required a signature from my husband (who is a silent partner) as another director.  Rather than argue this was not necessary, and feeling even more powerless, I and my husband complied.

I faxed off the form and emailed the Westpac employee to say I had done so and said I still hadn’t had a response on what was wrong with the website.  By this time it was 2nd January (two months from initial contact) and the employee was on Holidays.

Westpac finally gets back

On 11th January I received a phonecall from another staff member responding to my email.  She said that the website had been given conditional approval – “subject to the Westpac Account”.  I asked her what this meant.  She explained that they would only issue a merchant ID if the business opened a Westpac Business Account to distribute the money to.

I was astounded and said that this was the first time anyone had told me in over 2 months that I was required to have a Westpac Account.  I said that had I known this – I’d have gone to the bank I had an account with previously.  I related that I had told them at the very beginning that I wanted the funds put into the IMB.  She said that she had tried to get me “an exemption” but that this had failed.  All I needed to do was go into a Westpac branch with all my registrations and IDs and they would open it up for me.

I did that today. Walked in to my local branch and said I was here to open a business account.  The teller walked over and got the ‘Business Manager’ who immediately asked “What kind of business is it?” 

Jean cries on John’s shoulder

That was the wrong question to ask the wrong person who had been through everything I had been through.  I said “Why do you need to know that?”  I told him it was an online business.  He looked for a while at his computer screen (he didn’t look once at me) and said “I can’t see you today – it will have to wait until next week”.

I walked out and cried on my husband’s shoulder.  I said “they really don’t want my business do they?”

Jean gets help from the IMB

In despair – I just drove home.  Back in my office I started wondering if the IMB could help me.  I looked at their website and they said that they will open merchant facilities for their clients.  I knew that they did this through Westpac and so wondered fi they could help me.

I rang the call centre and they put me through to their business banking area.  The man I spoke with was very helpful and explained the relationship they have with Westpac and said he’d give them a call and get back to me.

He did that within an hour and said that the people I had been dealing with should have realised that I was an IMB customer early in the piece and applied a general exemption.  He said he had sorted this out for me and the woman from Westpac would ring me today to advise me of the approval.  I said I wished I had come to them months ago instead of putting myself through all this trauma.

I’m still waiting 7 hours later for Westpac to call me.

So what’s the upshot.

There’s a simple message in this that I won’t spend too much time explaining.

The advantage that small organisations (and small businesses) have is that they are much more connected to their customers and much more likely to act when there has been a problem.

Make caring about serving your customers part of your marketing plan and you’ll never lose them to big business.

I’d love to hear about your experiences with big banks.

Jean Mc

Read Full Post »

Jean McIntyre

By Jean McIntyre (Marketing Angels)

“Why on earth with my busy schedule, and my family commitments would I want to add yet another time-zapping responsibility and become a member of a community board?”

That’s what a lot of women say when asked about the possibility of becoming involved on a the board of a commercial or community organisation.  That’s a real shame though because it can benefit those organisations immensely having a woman on board and can also benefit the woman’s own business.

I’ve recently been elected president of the Chamber of Women in Business.  I’m also on the boards of Exhibition Park in Canberra and Tandem Respite care.  I’m involved with the Wanniassa P&C as well as the Snowy Hydro Southcare Gala Dinner organising committee.  There are a lot of women on these organisations and there are some beneficial attributes I’ve noticed are common among most of these women.

Benefits for Organisations of Having Women on the Board

There are lots of reasons why (as the ACT Government has announced it will strive for) it is good to have equal representation women on the board.  I’ll preface this by saying that I am of course generalising and there are always exceptions on both sides:

  1. Women communicate well – it’s well known that communication is women’s forte.  We like talking and if an issue needs some discussion to flesh it out – women contribute constructively but also facilitate others’ involvement in the discussion.
  2. Women get things done – perhaps it’s because in women’s personal lives we’re generally responsible for making sure projects run smoothly and that everything works well to achieve outcomes.  Or perhaps women have these roles in their personal lives because we’re just better at it.  Either way, if you want to make sure something gets achieved it’s good to get a woman involved.
  3. Women understand people – generally, women engage with the world on an emotional level and understand intuitively they way others engage.  This is important to know when your organisation requires people to conduct its business.  Women can provide excellent insights into how to engage people and the risks posed by people’s emotional reactions to change.  Don’t forget that the major cause of breakdown in projects is not budget or schedule – it’s people and their expectations.
  4. Every single one of the reasons why you’d want men on a board.  Women of course are equally rich in their posession of skills, experience, strategic thinking, connections and business savvy as men of similar ilk.

So Why Aren’t There More Women on Boards?

The problem is there just aren’t enough boards that are able to take advantage of the additional benefits of getting good women as directors.

Part of that is that there is still somewhat of a glass ceiling  – for reasons I won’t go into here.  The other part is that for some reason, many women are a little reluctant to put themselves forward.

Today I spoke with someone from the Australian Institute of Company Directors who said that in her experience, women often felt that they had to prove themselves (often by doing board training) before they’d put themselves forward.  Men, she said, are more inclined to just give it a go.  ‘Readiness’ doesn’t seem to come into the equation.

As President of CWB – one of my goals is to get more of the business women of the ACT into positions of influence that will benefit both the community and their own businesses.

How Can Being on a Board Benefit Your Business?

It needs to be said that if you take a position on a board, your responsibility first and foremost is to that organisation and you need to act always in the best interests of the organisation.  For that reason you need to have genuine personal commitment and interest in helping move the organisation forward or it just won’t work.

That said, from a purely marketing point of view, there are lots of reasons why it’s good business for women to get on boards.:

  1. It instantly raises your profile in certain sectors – more people will pay attention to you as a person and indirectly to your business.
  2. It makes you a better business planner.  It should be the other way around – that being good at business will make you run an organisation better.  But often, the discipline required for strategic planning and corporate governance of a community organisation can help you build skills that you can apply to your own business management.
  3. It gives you authority – board membership (particularly in the community sector) gives you an opportunity to build up a specialist expertise that you can speak about in public forums and again raise your profile
  4. It can provide media exposure.  If the organisation has a good community profile it can offer good opportunity in the media.  Particularly if you take on a leadership role such as chair or president of the organisation. 
  5. You make good business connections.  Being on a board can get you access to people that you would never be introduced to in the general course of your business.  Politicians, business leaders, community leaders and even the odd celebrity.  We all know that relationships make the business world go round.
  6. It provides an alternative career path.  This is particularly important if your goal is to move away over time from the day to day management of your business.  While you are likely to start your board career in voluntary roles, if you enjoy it and are serious – you can aim to be on boards of very prestigious and successful organisations and achieve significant salaries if that’s what you seek.
  7. You get to do really interesting things. Often as a director you get invited to great events, networking, fundraising, conferences and training.  Of course you have a responsibility to work for the organisation at these events (not your own business) but they can make the job a lot of fun and get you some good contacts.
  8. I’ve saved the best till last – it just makes you feel really, really good helping out your community.  Increasingly these days it’s impossible to separate out your personal life from your business life and then from your life as a citizen of your community.  We all like to feel like we are valuable members of society and if you have good skills you can do much more for the community as a board member than you ever can as an individual volunteer for an organisation.

So if you are a business woman and reading this blog, if there is just an inkling inside you of interest in joining a board – my advice is just GO FOR IT. 

I’d be happy to hear anyone’s comments on the benefits of women on boards or ways that we might encourage more women to do it.

Jean Mc

Read Full Post »

Surround yourself with like minded people

Wow doesn’t time fly when you’re having fun. I thought I would stay on the same track as my last blog. Not because I don’t have other things to talk about, as I get paid to talk. I wanted to stay on the same subject because I know the importance of growth. They say if we are not growing we are dying……….Well I’m for living.

My focus on this blog is the people you surround yourself with. When we go into business we have the people in our life that support us every step of the way and those who don’t. I call the ones who don’t DREAM STEALER’S. They are the ones who say you can’t do it or you’re not good enough. The problem is that sometimes these people are family and you are stuck with them. So you have to then make a choice of how much time you choose to spend with them. Sometimes we need to spring clean friend as they are uncomfortable with our dreams and we feel we can not pursue our dreams with them around. Our circle of influence is exactly that an influence and it need to be a positive one.

The people you do want to be around and even have as mentors are the people who are more successful than you, the people that will challenge you to do better and be better at what ever it is you want to achieve. If we are not surrounding ourselves with like minded people how do we expect to grow? I know it is not easy to get to all those seminars and workshops, sometimes due to lack of time and sometimes its cost. This is why University in the car is so beneficial. Even if you don’t have to travel far you can still benefit from listening to the successful people on your trip to work, or your next appointment. Here is where I listen to some of my mentors:
o In the car
o In the bathroom
o Waiting for my appointment at some-one else’s office
o At the airport
o In the bedroom when getting ready
o Cooking dinner when the kids aren’t around

Think about all the opportunities you have during the day when your hands may be busy but your head is free. When you feel flat or even a bit defeated that’s when you need to listen to good stuff or meet up with a mentor. If you don’t have any Audio to listen to, find someone who does and ask if you can borrow it.

I have many mentors for various reasons. Some are Business mentors and some are spiritual mentors and others and personal mentors. If you have someone in your circle of influence that you continuously learn from, ask them to be your mentor. You could catch up for a coffee or even lunch once a month. This is your opportunity to put your cards on the table and be accountable for your vision and action plan.

I also want to take this opportunity to tell you about a book I recently read called The Four Agreements (Author Miguel Ruiz). It is brilliant and I recommend this to everyone.

Next blog we can chat about goal setting.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »