Episode #16 – Mandy Brasser from Streamline for Success
Mandy Brasser, Streamline for Success
In this episode number 16 of the InnovaBuzz podcast, Mandy Brasser from Streamline for Success, talks to us about building effective systems that allows business processes to be to automated – thereby giving more free time to entrepreneurs to do what they do best and accelerate business growth. Do not miss this interview and be inspired by Mandy’s story.
Listen to the Podcast
Watch the Video
Mandy has very generously donated this week’s prize, which is a marketing session valued at $297 with Mandy herself, analysing your entire customer lifecycle to improve your conversions.
Leave a comment under the video and share with us the biggest challenges you have around automating your marketing.
Some of the highlights of this episode include:
- Streamline for Success work with small businesses to help automate their sales and marketing, thus allowing particularly the business owner to leverage their time so they can go out and serve more people.
- Being clear about your vision, values and goals helps you make critical decisions, such as entering into key strategic partnerships
- Marketing and sales is key to ALL businesses. Even when businesses have got it automated there is still a large part that needs the personal attention.
- The biggest challenge of most small businesses, particularly service based businesses, is trading time for money. This makes it hard to scale. The ability to leverage time through automation and other means really becomes a critical component of scaling a business.
- Good processes are important for efficiency and also to enable measurement against targets – it is important, not to abandon common sense though, when working with processes.
The Buzz – Our Innovation Round
Here are Mandy’s answers to the questions of our Innovation round. Watch the interview to get the full scoop.
- #1 thing to be innovative – It’s definitely about being open and exploring what’s possible and what’s going to fit in your business.
- Best thing for new ideas – It’s a huge investment to launch anything, so if you can somehow go to market, prove the concept, bring in some money and build it out, I think that’s ideal.
- Favourite tool for innovation – Definitely Infusionsoft.
- Keep project / client on track – It’s really about getting them clear about what that’s actually costing you.
- Differentiate – Ask your clients, why they chose you and do more of that!
Mandy suggested I interview John Bellamy who specialises in generating business out of LinkedIn on a future podcast. So, John, keep an eye on your Inbox for an invitation from me, for the Innovabuzz Podcast!
Hint: To enter the competition, leave a comment under this video about some of the biggest challenges you have around automating your marketing.
Click to Read…
Hi, I’m Jürgen Strauss from Innovabiz. Welcome to Episode No 16 of the InnovaBuzz Podcast – designed to help smart businesses with an interest in innovation and the Internet of Things become even more innovative.
In this episode, my guest is Mandy Brasser, from Streamline for Success, who are business efficiency experts that help their clients establish the right processes, systems and people in their business. They are Infusionsoft Certified partners too. Mandy is very passionate about serving her customers and bringing clarity and efficiency to their marketing process. We talked quite a bit about processes and automation, but how that doesn’t mean abandoning the personal interactions with clients. This is another inspiring interview, so stay tuned.
This podcast is sponsored by Innovabiz, where we help smart, innovative business owners save time and money and grow their business by making their websites achieve more. Of course, at Innovabiz, we do more than just build websites – we provide solutions to our clients’ needs by leveraging the power of the internet in innovative ways. If you want to learn more, then go to innovabiz.com.au or if you are ready to find out how our magic can help you, then apply for our Website Accelerator Session at innovabiz.com.au/wac.
Before we meet Mandy, a quick competition announcement – this week’s competition prize is sponsored by Mandy who has very generously donated a marketing session valued at $297 with Mandy herself, analysing your entire customer lifecycle to improve your conversions.
Stick around for details on how you can enter the draw to win that competition prize later on in the interview.
So let’s get into the Innovation Hive and get the Buzz from Mandy Brasser.
Jürgen: Hi. I’m Jürgen Strauss from Innovabiz and I’d like to welcome you to this episode of the InnovaBuzz podcast. It’s my great privilege to have here with me today Mandy Brasser from Streamline for Success.
Mandy, you’re based in Queensland, right? Whereabouts in Queensland?
Mandy: Yeah, I am based in Queensland. Thanks, Jürgen. I’m based near Kirra Beach. It’s a short stroll to Kirra Beach, and it’s lovely.
Jürgen: Yeah, lovely spot there. We look forward to learning more about how you manage to work at a lovely place like that, because obviously, with what you do, I think it’s almost location-independent, but we’ll learn a little bit more about that later.
It’s a great privilege to have you on the InnovaBuzz podcast. Just for our listeners and viewers, Streamline for Success are business efficiency experts that help their clients to establish the right processes, the right systems and the right people in their business. They’re also an Infusionsoft-certified partner, so we’ll learn a lot more about that today.
Before we learn more about Streamline for Success, Mandy has very generously donated this week’s prize, which is a lifecycle marketing session valued at $297 with Mandy herself, where she’ll spend 90 minutes with you reviewing your entire customer lifecycle – all the way from capturing leads through nurturing prospects, to selling, to customer fulfillment and all the things that follow on from that until you actually convert those leads to paying customers.
She’ll identify specific areas that you can focus your attention on to uncover opportunities to automate that whole process, and that’s a big thing I think that Mandy will tell us about today, and help you accelerate your business growth. Stick around later on the interview to find out how you can enter the draw to win that prize. I’m tempted to actually enter that myself because that sounds like an awesome prize.
Mandy: Yeah, awesome.
Jürgen: All right, Mandy, before we get on to all things lead generation and automation and business systems and processes, take us back to your childhood. When you were a little girl, what did you want to be when you grew up?
Mandy: I actually wanted to be a few different things. I actually wanted to be an architect. My dad was a builder and for some reason I kind of used to draw house plans for hours at a time. It’s a crazy thing to even admit to and share and have that actually happen throughout high school. I used to just draw house designs. I don’t know why, but I just did, and I really enjoyed it. Then I think I wanted to-
Jürgen: Just pen and paper or …?
Mandy: Yeah, the Old School way. I don’t know. I did that, and I really enjoyed it. Then I thought maybe I’d be a teacher and a few other different things, maybe do something in sport, but one of the things that I really was clear about growing up is I liked doing different things, I liked different challenges, and I really strongly believed that I wanted to do something that I loved doing, I was really passionate about doing.
Although obviously I’m not an architect, and we’re not here talking about being an architect today, but it’s something that I think even as a kid I realized the value of and it’s certainly transformed into the jobs and careers and the business that I have now, so it certainly helped, sure. No architect, though.
Jürgen: So you’re kind of a business architect now. It’s just about processes and people, right?
Mandy: Yeah, that’s it. Just in different form, definitely.
Jürgen: What led you then from the desire to be an architect through to teaching through to the business processing and business advice?
Mandy: There was definitely a few things in between there. I grew up in Mackay. I knew I wanted to leave Mackay and go to Brisbane and do a course that actually wasn’t offered in Mackay, just so I could get out of Mackay. Nothing against Mackay. I really enjoyed growing up there, but I wanted new opportunities that I saw really being accessible through the next step, the capital of Queensland.
I went to Uni, I did two degrees there. One of them was around Sports Management, Leisure Management, and then I did a Business degree as well. I ended up majoring in HR, so Human Resources. At the time, I really enjoyed the people side of things, and then I ended up getting a job and progressing quite quickly in corporations to an ASEAN, global role in HR, which I’m very fortunate and grateful that I was able to progress very quickly there.
One of the things about that was, I ended up more specializing in project work, analytics, HR systems and process design, and I really, really loved that aspect and I actually got to work on some incredible projects involving 100,000 employees globally across 130 countries to saving some companies hundreds of thousands of dollars in efficiencies and those sort of things through just re-engineering some of the processes they had in the HR side of things.
I really loved that component and I loved that aspect, and certainly there were people in where I worked and in the team that I was part of that loved what I did and was very passionate about what they did, but I think I really struggled with the clientele of corporates and getting a decision made, as you probably would know, Jürgen, sometimes may take six months.
That’s really hard to sometimes sit back and realize that there’s a great gap we’ve got here. We’ve got a great opportunity to really empower our staff or fix something that’s broken that will really impact people’s ability to do their job more effectively.
Jürgen: Particularly in the HR area, the big corporates often say, “We can park that for now because we’ve got so many other things we need to do.”
Mandy: Actually, you’re spot-on, Jürgen, because oftentimes the HR side of things is more seen as proactive and “Well get to that later,” and that’s one of the things that I absolutely loved bringing to the HR space is more of the analytics about, if we don’t do this, what is it going to cost us as a business, and if we introduce this initiative, then what’s the return we’re going to get?
I loved that component, and unfortunately it was still a little too slow for me in some respects, and so it was for me around reflecting – I loved what I did, which is obviously, as I mentioned before, very important growing up, but it wasn’t necessarily the right fit in terms of who I was working with.
Then I made the decision to change that focus and provide that knowledge and expertise to the small business space, in forms of particularly the process design, what are we doing, Step 1 and Step 2, to get a particular outcome, what systems and tools are available to help us get there faster and leverage our time, and then the people side, obviously my experience in HR, how do they come into the picture there, and usually that’s the last, how can you fit the people in around some of the other aspects that you’ve got going on.
I feel like that’s my whole history sometimes, Jürgen.
Jürgen: I’ve been involved in the past in quite a bit of process design in that one of the challenges always was actually getting people on board in, “Here’s the process we’re going to follow now because it actually improves things,” but getting people on board, did you find that as a big challenge?
Mandy: Yeah, definitely, and certainly learned a lot of lessons along the way, particularly when you’re working with processes that impact thousands of people. You can’t necessarily go and consult with thousands of people. We’d never get anything done.
It was really being able to identify some of the key people who are involved in that process, whether they’re actually doing it or they’re on the receiving end of that process, and understanding what their needs were and what wasn’t working in the existing process and where we could identify opportunities to make it better and more efficient and fill up some of those holes that weren’t quite working.
It was definitely a challenge. I definitely agree with what you’re saying there, because you don’t want to necessarily introduce something that no one takes up and they go back to what they were doing before. It’s not just about consulting with them, it’s actually understanding why we’re doing it the way we are now and getting them on board around that as well, which is really critical.
Jürgen: How did Streamline for Success come about?
Mandy: It was really out of that … I’d like to say a midlife crisis, but I’m not …
Jürgen: Too early for that!
Mandy: … that age yet, still early for that. I had a moment after doing some consulting work for a pretty big corporation that I was saying about before is I love what I do, but it’s just not the right fit. It was really about just taking the time out and it was the number of months going, how can I transform the consulting side of my business, and so the people that are really passionate about what they do and they’re business owners and they want to get out there and make things happen in the world.
It was over a couple of months that I really reflected on where I was at. Ten years in a profession may seem like a short period of time or a long period of time, depending on schools of thought these days, but that was a big decision to make, to walk away from a very safe career and safe option to then go. Actually, I think and I know that I can add a lot of value to small businesses, and that’s where it all started.
I’ve been using, as you said, Infusionsoft. I’m a certified partner with Infusionsoft. I’ve been using the software in my business for about three years at this time. I did some training with the team that came over from the States and had a look at what they were doing and what they stood for as a business and I was curious about their culture, being a HR person, and I was very impressed with what they stood for.
I guess that’s how it transitioned is it was, you know how sometimes you question things and then doors open and then, voila, you’ve decided to launch a new brand? That’s how it all came about and I certainly haven’t looked back since.
Jürgen: That sounds like a really good fit. I think there’s a message in that. If you’re very clear about your own vision, values and what value you can offer yourself in terms of your background, your experience and what you’re passionate about, then, like you say, if you recognize a potential partner, or in this case it’s a … well, yeah, it is a partnership because you’re a certified partner, right?
Jürgen: That you immediately recognize there’s a fit there because you’re very sure about your own values and your own things that you provide, your benefits and value that you provide your customers.
Mandy: Absolutely. I think with values, they can change and morph into different things, but certainly, when making that decision, it still resonates with me now that this is the right course of action and I’m really excited to be partnering with them and then really serving particularly the Australian community of users and people looking to automate their sales and marketing.
Jürgen: When you meet somebody, say, at a networking event for the first time, how do you describe what you do in a very short sentence?
Mandy: That’s always a tough one, because you want to say …
Jürgen: They say, “Hi, Mandy. What do you do?”
Mandy: For me, it’s really about working with small businesses to help automate their sales and marketing, and they’re allowing particularly the business owner to leverage their time so they can go out and serve more people, because particularly the people that I work with have big visions.
They really want to impact a large amount of people, and typically they’re coaches, consultants who are in that space that they’re really providing a value-add service. I’m sure there’s lots of other services out there, but they’ve got a bigger mission. Most companies do, but really in that space it’s very service-based. It’s really partnering with them to make sure that we’re utilizing these processes and systems and a team around them so that they can go out there and spread their message with more people.
That was way more than one sentence, but maybe the first sentence that I said, that was the one.
Jürgen: Just for everybody that is listening into this interview, Mandy and I have done some work together, so I have a little bit of a knowledge of how she operates, and it definitely is all about automating processes that can then free up time of the business owner to do, in the case of the coaches, for example, to do coaching, which is what they’re good at and would add the most value.
Mandy: Definitely. I think there are so many opportunities, even other businesses. I’m speaking with a personal training company at the moment and setting up just automating electronic signatures online and stuff like that, because you would know, in your worldview again, just the opportunities to automate some of those functions so that people can just do coaching or go out and do events and impact more people’s lives. It certainly just allows that to happen at a faster rate than just relying on doing things the manual and sometimes hard way.
Jürgen: All right. What do you spend most of your time now doing day to day?
Mandy: In the business it’s definitely meeting with clients and either doing strategy sessions, client training sessions. Implementation is a big thing. That’s generally where I spend a lot of my time. Marketing and sales, obviously it’s key to everyone’s business. Everyone would still be doing that even if you’ve got it automated. They’re still a part that you need to do on the personal front.
A big thing for me for Streamline for Success is seeing how we can also apply these same principles that we’re utilizing with our customers so that I can leverage my time and deliver more programs to my customers as well. That’s I guess where I’m spending my time.
Jürgen: All right, that’s good. Do you worry about anything in your business? Is there something that keeps you awake at night?
Mandy: I think everyone does, right?
Mandy: I do. Definitely I find it hard to sleep because I love what I do, as I said, I absolutely love it, and I get ideas. At nighttime, because I actually work a little bit at night because I actually find that a really productive time for me to work, that’s when the ideas start flooding in.
Whether it’s something for a client, “Oh, yeah, we should do it that way,” or whether it’s an idea I’ve got in my business around a funnel or lead magnets or something like that, it’s sometimes difficult, I don’t know if you experience that, too, Jürgen, it’s sometimes difficult to just stop it – turn it off, just stop thinking.
Jürgen: All the time. I’ve started this year to discipline myself to shut down, and actually I’ve automated the computer shut-down at 8:30 in the evening …
Jürgen: … which I’m still trying to figure out the best way to do that because I’ve lost some work. It actually shuts down before I get to save it, but I’ve now got a little warning that comes up five minutes before.
I’m really good so far. I’ve been disciplined and said, “Okay, save everything, shut it down, stop in the middle.” Then of course then I’d go and do some reading, read something that’s not work-related. That’s a bit of a switch off before I go to bed, but certainly I’ve got the pen and pad next to the bed, so when I wake up in the middle of the night and have all these ideas, I can write them down.
I find that counterproductive in a way, though, because writing down the ideas sparks more ideas. The theory is it empties your brain and you can get back to sleep, but it empties my brain and then another idea pops up.
Mandy: I understand what you mean. There’s some really great plugins and stuff that actually fades your screen as well, not just the cold shut-down. I don’t know what they are, but I’ve been suggested them before as well. I need to get on to those to start and start collecting on it.
Jürgen: I’ll have to look up some of those. What do you see, though, as the biggest challenge in building your business?
Mandy: Biggest challenge is no doubt being a service-based business and I guess trading time for money. I think a lot of coaches and consultants will experience that as well.
That’s where as I mentioned before, is where I’m looking at ways that I can leverage my time by bringing in a team but also developing programs online and courses in a group nature, whether it’s webinars to deliver content to multiple people, and that’s really where I see some great opportunities to be able to help more people. It’s certainly a challenge and it’s certainly a great opportunity all at the same time, all bundled together, right?
Jürgen: Yeah, that’s right. I’ve been reading a lot recently that productising your service, that very point, because like you say, if you’re one person with the expertise, even if you build a team around you with the expertise, it’s still time for money, unless you can leverage it in a product or a group setting, like you say.
Mandy: Definitely, or a workshop or something like that. I think, particularly for me, because I do really enjoy what I do and having that interaction with clients and working out what our plan of attack is and what we’re going to build, certainly for me it’s not something that I want to run away from. I really love doing it, so it’s just balancing, still doing that, and then providing some other options for people who may not engage on a one-on-one basis but also to leverage my time to have online programs and other things like that.
Jürgen: When did you first discover the web?
Mandy: Wow, the web. I remember at school. I remember setting up my first email address, which I don’t think I have access to anymore, but it was probably back in high school that we started talking about the internet. We didn’t really have it at home. We had very limited downloads back in the day where you looked at a couple of pages and you’ve exceeded your limit for the month.
Jürgen: You had the dial-up and you heard the little ring tone and nyi-nyi-nyi until it’s connected.
Mandy: I don’t remember using it too much until going to Uni, actually, I think. We had a computer at home, but between my two sisters and I doing school and my older sister going to university, I think it was a hot spot to actually get onto a computer and try and compete to get some time on the computer. I think it was mainly when I went to Uni. Some of the courses and stuff were delivered, booking in tutorials and lectures and stuff online. That’s probably more where I started to use it more.
Jürgen: All right. Now, one of the questions I usually ask my guests is, how do you use the internet in innovative ways? I don’t know if you and I expect that you might give a plug for Infusionsoft here.
Mandy: Yeah, I can’t miss that. Definitely, I could go on for days here answering that question. For me, definitely Infusionsoft helps with that.
There’s so many ways, and online is changing over time, and I think that’s one thing that Infusionsoft does really well is being able to target exactly their market, which is the small business market, and being able to tap into how can we help you capture leads and utilizing your services, you’re going to set up a good website. Probably I’ll make sure that’s all set up correctly.
It’s from that point onwards that Infusionsoft really comes in there. Once you’ve got that lead, then, what are you going to do with that lead? It’s really about how you can set up some automation behind it if they sign up for your free newsletter, free report or a free session with you, then how can we go about helping them educate them with the information that they need to know, whether they want to make a purchase decision to engage with you right now, whether you want to nurture them for a little bit longer and help them along the path of making that purchase decision later on.
Definitely that’s all on the web and cloud-based, so you can access it from anywhere, which, as you said at the start, allows me to live at Kirra Beach because there’s certainly no corporation – or no other businesses going on down here. Obviously a lot of small businesses, but it allows you to be able to use the platform wherever you are as long as you’ve got your desktop and access to internet.
It’s really being able to capture leads and automate some of that follow-up through email, through text reminders, those sort of things, and automate your internal processes as well and how you can leverage that.
There’s so much you can get online, programs, running webinars, event registrations, the list goes on, affiliate programs and getting other people to promote what you do online so that you can give a commission to them and then they’re also helping you build your business as well. There’s so much there that’s possible online, whether it’s through Infusionsoft, which is great, or plugging into other systems and tools that are out there as well.
Jürgen: One of the things that I find quite amazing there is it is a really good tool for helping with that productisation of services that we were talking about earlier, and also with all the things developing on the internet. There are so many different programs that are plugging in together so that you can actually, in simple terms, connect your email through to an event registration to a payment to a reminder system to SMS reminders, like you mentioned.
Mandy: Absolutely. I think even just segmenting your contacts, it sounds like such a simple thing to do.
I was talking to a business owner not long ago who’s, I don’t know how she’s gotten away with it, to be honest, but she uses Outlook to email her hundreds of people. She does them in batches. I’m just like, oh, my gosh, really? It takes her hours to do each time she wants to send out an email.
Jürgen: You have to do it in batches of about 50, don’t you? Because I don’t think it lets you do more than that, if I remember correctly.
Mandy: Yes, I think so, too. Thankfully we’re looking at how we can automate that for you, but being able to look at your contacts and communicate with them regularly and keep at the front of their mind or keep in regular communication with them, but also segment them as well so that you’re not talking to them about something that they’ve already purchased before or they’re actually not even interested.
Jürgen: It’s not relevant, yeah.
Mandy: That engagement is such a higher level than just, I won’t say probably spamming people just with bits and pieces that aren’t really relevant to them. That’s really the power of what’s possible online now with some of the tools that are around.
Jürgen: All right. Now, as someone that is doing a lot of things that are very innovative in your business, what do you see as the risks involved in doing things different going out on a limb, perhaps in innovation?
Mandy: There are definitely a few risks, I think for sure around your customer service. As much as it’s awesome to automate, sometimes you do need to just get on the phone and talk to people, reach out to people.
Jürgen: Right, personal touch – yeah.
Mandy: Yeah, the personal touch. As I said before about the segmenting, but it’s not just segmenting and communicating with what’s relevant to your audience, it’s addressing and making the automation that’s possible personalized using some of the features that are in there that say, “Hi, Joe,” instead of “Hi,” blah blah blah and refer to things that are actually relevant to them. I think it’s got to be put in perspective about balancing that personal interaction with the automation and making sure it’s at the right mix.
I think looking at your demographic as well. Your demographic might be really savvy and text might be the way to go interact with them, or Facebook messages might even be the way to interact within them. I’ve seen incredible campaigns of people signing up for programs just by replying to a Facebook message, and that works for that market.
I think it’s also about being clear about what’s the way to engage, what is your preferred engagement with your market. You can set up even automation around asking, “How often do you want to get an email from us? Do you want to get our email every week, every month of just what’s happening?” There’s so much you can do there, but I think it’s balancing the automation, the personal interaction and also what your customers and your clients are expecting you to interact with them, your target market.
Jürgen: That’s really good. You can’t replace the personal touch. I guess going back to what we were talking about earlier in processes – that was something I always tried to emphasize to people. There was always a resistance to processes and following a rigid process and I would always emphasize you have to have that balance of – you can’t abandon common sense even if the process is clear. There’s still a human element to it, the process should be there to actually guide you and make sure you’re following best practice all the time.
Mandy: Definitely. I love what you just said there because it’s getting that consistency, and you may have cases that fall out of that. Your spot-on common sense – what we hope all, that it does prevail and that we step in and deal with the exceptions as they come about, but if we design a process for the majority, and whether it’s through automation or it’s just getting clear about who’s doing what in that process, what I love about it is that if it’s set up correctly, you can actually measure how successful that process it.
Sometimes in some of the work I’ve been doing with small businesses is they’re so busy in chasing their tails and getting stuck. I know I’m in business as well and there’s so much to do, the list is never-ending. When we think about some of the core parts of our business, which is some of the things we talk about in our lifecycle marketing session, is let’s note it down: what are those core steps in what we deliver as a business and how we bring people in and how we help them to make a decision to buy?
If we can get that down to those core steps and work out how long is it taking us to get a lead to convert to a sale or something like that, how long does it take us to fulfilling the work that we’re getting a client in for, and we start measuring how effective that process is, it actually gives us some stats to then go about analyzing do we need to improve this process or is it okay, or where are the opportunities that we can actually step in and get better results from what we’re actually doing?
I know sometimes that could be hard when there’s so many things going on and it might be just tackling on processes at a time in your business and just working on that, getting the team involved, getting really clear about what that process is, and then working out what those measure points, are and then reviewing it on a regular basis to see, how can we make this even better?
Jürgen: That’s right, and also, looking outside to people doing similar things, you can have a look at what measures they have and what results they’re getting in those measures. That’s the typical benchmarking exercise. It’s often good to, you might feel good about your own process, but if you’re actually way below the benchmark, then that’s a huge improvement opportunity because somebody else is doing it better, and so if you model off them, you can improve your operation.
Mandy: That’s spot-on, Jürgen, because you definitely don’t need to start from scratch. There’s plenty of businesses that are out there who have done what you’ve done for many, many years and they’ve gone through the testing and trialing what works and what doesn’t work, so definitely modeling is a fantastic practice, and how you can bring it into your business and also make it your own and put your own little slant on it, too, I think that’s a good approach as well.
Jürgen: All right. What about your sales process? How do you run that? What are the steps involved in that?
Mandy: It depends on three things, because I work with existing users of Infusionsoft and I work with people who are considering using Infusionsoft. It’s a little bit different depending on which group it is, because obviously someone who’s considering Infusionsoft, we need to spend a little bit more time actually understanding what their requirements are as a business to work out whether actually Infusionsoft-
Jürgen: Is it a match or not, yeah.
Mandy: Absolutely. I’m very upfront with the people that I work with. I’ve suggested to other business owners that perhaps Infusionsoft may not be right at this particular moment with where you’re at and what you need to achieve, and I’ll suggest other tools that will help them move in the right direction, and later on we can talk about Infusionsoft when you’re ready to go down that path.
Taking that into account, it’s usually someone contacts me, we have an initial conversation to work out whether it’s something that they’re ready for to pursuing a little bit more in detail, and then we’ll spend some time together to uncover some of those requirements.
Then typically, there might be some further information that we might need to gather, depending on what they’re actually looking for, if we need to look at some other tools that might really add to the power of Infusionsoft that will really fulfill on what they’re looking to accomplish. Then we might talk about some options there, and then usually we make a decision about whether we proceed forward or not and what level of engagement and support that they need help with at that time.
Jürgen: Then, typically, they would engage you on a monthly retainer to work on a certain process or certain systems within their business?
Mandy: Yeah. I’ve got a number of clients who engage in that way. I also have clients who have an immediate project that they need more intense support over a shorter period of time as opposed to a more ongoing sort of relationship. It’s just a balance of exactly what the client needs and how we can help them to achieve the results with, particularly around the timeframe that they’re looking for.
Jürgen: All right. You mentioned the word “balance,” which prompts me, because I know you’ve got passion around work-life balance, so when you’re not working, what’s your favorite activity?
Mandy: Yeah, I am very passionate about work-life balance. I actually have another website all about work-life balance and achieving balance. Something that it’s interesting that I’m very passionate about it, it’s probably something that I’m very appalled myself, and that’s one of the challenges that I’ve always had with loving what I do. I just get so much enjoyment out of it. It actually doesn’t feel like work, but outside of my business and the work that I do, being that I just moved to the beach, I feel like I’ve reconnected with nature again.
I know that sounds really silly, but having grown up in Mackay, we did spend a little bit of time at the beach, and then living in Brisbane for a number of years, it’s a little bit further to go to the beach. Now it’s just off the road. The ability to just go for a walk on the beach and just be at one with myself, I guess, without the clutter, and particularly working in technology, I don’t know if you feel this, Jürgen, but when you’re with a computer all the time, to take a break out and detach from technology, it’s like a breath of fresh air, so I certainly have that sense now of that experience when I go to the beach.
The other big thing, I’m a big cricket fan. I love cricket. I used to play back in the day, but I don’t play anymore. I actually really enjoy going to the cricket and watching cricket. I don’t think many females would normally say that, and if you’re a female and you love cricket, you can contact with me, we can go to some games together. Usually one with-
Jürgen: Build a little interest group, yeah.
Mandy: Interest group of females who like cricket.
Jürgen: Do you watch the big cricket games or do you go to the women’s cricket games?
Mandy: Not so much the women’s cricket. I certainly love the fact that it’s getting bigger in Australia. We’ve got a really strong women’s team, but certainly the men’s team, we’ve got cricket everywhere these days with tests one day and Big Bash cricket.
I’m actually a bit sad at this time that we’re recording this, Big Bash has just finished. I’m like, “What am I going to do with my evenings now that I’ve missed Big Bash cricket?” I just love it. I’ve watched it since I was a kid and just find it, particularly the Twenty20, it’s quite entertaining, but I still love a good test for that as well.
Jürgen: All right. That’s fascinating. I don’t think I’ve had a guest on that’s been a cricket fan.
Jürgen: Now, have you read any interesting books recently? Do you read a lot of books?
Mandy: To be honest, I’m not a big reader. I watch a lot of videos and I do audio, but at the moment, I guess in terms of my working a little late that I do right now, in the mornings I usually watch a video to start my day to set the tone. I usually watch something that’s inspirational, not so much on the learning side. I think being in the technology space, I’m investigating different solutions over time, so I feel like I’ve got that definitely covered, but it’s more around mindset. TED talks are fantastic. They’re short, too, but I love a little short set.
Jürgen: Have you seen some good ones recently?
Mandy: Good ones recently. I have, but none are really coming to my mind, to be really honest with you.
I’ve got a couple of favorites. Simon Sinek about leadership, that’s a fantastic one. There’s one that I watched this morning was around summarizing all the TED talks and the amount of time needed to do that and my brain was like, “Oh, that’s awesome, that’s really great,” and if you summed up all TED talks with six words, what would they be, and so it was pretty crazy.
There’s some really great topics out there and I think for me, being a female entrepreneur, certainly I’m swaying towards looking for more female entrepreneurs out there and their messages and what they’re doing, because there’s a lot of content out there and it’s always good to model and learn from those who are doing a great job of what they’re doing and taking their message and playing on a bigger scale, so certainly I keep an eye out for those, too.
Jürgen: I saw one recently that fits into that kind of model you’re talking about, the female entrepreneur, and the actress Thandie Newton. It’s probably a few years old, but I happened across it through something else. Have a look for her TED talk. It’s quite fascinating.
Mandy: I will. I haven’t heard of her before, so that’ll be good checking her out.
Jürgen: If you had a magic wand and could fix one thing in your business, what would that be?
Mandy: Magic wand. For me, I know I mentioned this before – it would be just really harnessing the power of a team. As you grow as a business, obviously you bring on team members, and I’ve got a few team members with me now, but it’s getting to a stage that I can really utilize someone else to really capitalize on that time that I’m working with clients and also to build out a few more things to clients. I think that would be one.
I think with Infusionsoft and being a certified partner, I have years of knowledge with the software and you can’t just flick a switch and give it to somebody else. That takes time to develop that. I think if I could wave a magic wand it would be all that knowledge from my head could be put into a team member and then they could go forth and conquer.
As with any new team member, they bring their own skills and experience, and that’s an incredible value, and it’s certainly being able to transfer that knowledge and the approach that we take with our clients and getting them up to speed and spark up, I think would be really great. I think there are few more, but certainly I think that’s it.
Jürgen: All right, we’re having a bit of a break-up issue there, but looks like you’re back now.
Mandy: You hearing me okay?
Jürgen: Yeah. I heard most of that, the challenge about getting your team members up to speed and I guess the balance between bringing them onboard with a new perspective and a different take on things, but at the same time having them contribute as fully as you are.
Mandy: That’s right. I think, to be fair, being in HR, I’m very conscious of a proper induction and training people up, so for any business owner who’s already busy, bringing in a new team member, you’ve got to realize that there is going to be time needed to invest in that new team member.
Jürgen: You need to invest in that sort of thing.
Mandy: It’s being able to balance, bring up some time. You’ve got to pick, I guess, the right time to bring on that team member so that you’re not fully maxed out but you’re able to be available to bring them up to speed and empower them and help utilize and tap into what they’re bringing to the table and how you can get the most out of them and how they can get what they want out of their position as well.
Jürgen: All right. That’s great. I think we’ll move on now to what we’re calling The Buzz, which is our Innovation Round. It’s designed to help our audience who are primarily innovators and leaders in their field get some tips from your experience. Hopefully you’ll have a one-line answer that’ll blow everyone away.
Mandy: No pressure, hey?
Jürgen: The first one, what do you think the Number 1 thing anyone needs to do to be more innovative?
Mandy: Good question. It’s definitely about being open and exploring what’s possible and what’s going to fit in your business. I want to elaborate on that so much.
Jürgen: You can feel free to elaborate.
Mandy: I acknowledge the fact that, and I felt this as well, anyone making a technology decision in their business is no doubt an investment. It’s an investment of time. It’s an investment of money. It’s potentially moving away from something that they’ve already got set up and the learning curve to understand and set something new up.
For me, it’s not only about being open and understanding what options are out there but understanding how that’s going to fit in with your business, and is it actually going to help you get the results that you need. A lot of business owners want to get more leads or generate more sales or save time, but how is that tool actually going to help you achieve that?
The clearer you get about that, then the more comfortable you are with making the decision in the first place, and you can help quantify how you’re going to get that return. I think that’s pretty important, but you need to be open to, there’s options out there and it’s worthwhile to explore, for sure.
Jürgen: That’s great advice. What is the best thing you’ve done to develop new ideas, or as you go forward, the product?
Mandy: To be honest, I can definitely share from what not to do. I’ve been talking to a few clients about this lately, particularly around the membership space and setting up an online course or program that the people can access in their own time.
A few years ago, I heavily invested in setting that up in the HR space and spent a bucket load of money, engaged the supply to help with it and spent a heap of time setting it up. Then, we launched and I was like, “Um, I actually don’t want to do this.” Also, I didn’t have the leads as well. I didn’t have the leads to actually get the return that I really needed from the investment that I put in to actually set it up.
One of the big things for me whenever launching a new product or service is actually going out and getting the feedback from the market before you actually go and develop anything. I share that from my personal experience and I share it from the fact that I’m working with my clients on this as well.
You don’t have to have everything set up. You don’t have to have it all sorted. Go and get proof of concepts, hopefully get some money in the bank and be upfront and authentic with your customers about where it’s at and when you’re going to launch and those sorts of things, but that’s a huge, huge lesson.
One of the clients that I just finished working with has just launched her first program that she could’ve spent another six months developing. She got, I think it was 11 or 12 paying customers into her first group program that she’s ever run. It was also because she’s getting that financial return. She had to do the hustle behind the scenes to get everything done when it was launched, but it just meant that she was building and bringing in income at the same time, and I think that’s really important, particularly for businesses.
It’s a huge investment to launch anything, so if you can somehow go to market, prove the concept, bring in some money and build it out, I think that’s ideal.
Jürgen: That’s great advice. It’s a lean startup model, isn’t it? You prove the concept, get a minimum viable product and get some money in the bank basically for that minimum viable product and then build it out from there as people give you feedback.
Mandy: Absolutely. If anyone listening to this is just applying that concept in their business, let me know. I’m keen to hear. Hopefully you get some great results from launching the next product or service that you’re looking at. I’d love to hear.
Jürgen: I’ve actually gotten involved with someone that’s run that very model. When I was referred to her for a membership site, I thought, ‘Oh, that sounds really interesting,’ and the price was so low that it was a no-brainer, so I signed up.
It was all automated at the front end in terms of I’ve got access to the membership website and everything. I went on to the membership website – there was nothing there other than the framework. I contacted her and I said – What’s going on?She said: “Oh, I’m still building that.” So that was too quick.
Mandy: I think that’s so great to share that experience, too, Jürgen. You’ve got to be upfront with your customers. If you’re selling something and it’s not ready yet, just let them know when it’s going to be ready-
Jürgen: I found out about it word of mouth and was given the link. She obviously wasn’t ready to go public with it yet, so I think that was a bit of the person that passed it on to me possibly jumped the gun a little bit and I was scared, but that’s really going well now. That’s been built out. I’m way behind now because it is a learning and training system. I think she’s up to about Module 8 now and I’m still on Module 3 or something.
Mandy: Oh, really? Cool.
Jürgen: It is a good model to do because the investment in time in putting stuff together, like you say, you can put a lot of time and money into something and then suddenly realize that either there’s no market for it, it’s not what people want or, as you said, you might not actually be passionate about it, you might get some way down the track and think, ‘Hmm, not sure I’m going to enjoy this.’
Mandy: That’s right – Absolutely.
Jürgen: If you don’t enjoy it, you shouldn’t be doing it.
Mandy: That’s right. That’s my belief, definitely.
Jürgen: Now my next question in this round is, what’s your favorite tool or system for innovation? I think I know what the answer is here.
Mandy: I won’t disappoint you, but definitely Infusionsoft. There’s so many things I love about it, being able to automate based on the actions that people take, and whether they click on a link and to download a file, then you can follow up with them differently or if they’re a customer, you can automate that whole process.
There’s so much involved there. Like I said, I could go on all day about it, but definitely I think I’ve shared several examples. Having a tool like that just makes it so much easier to actually talk to the right people who are ready to make a decision whether they’re interested in you and what you do and getting the help that they need to really move their business forward or whatever it is that you do with them, so, yes, it’s my favorite.
Jürgen: All right, Great. What do you think is the best way to keep a project or a client on track?
Mandy: That’s a great question. Certainly for me there are probably a couple of things. Because of the clients that I work with are typically struggling with time, it’s really about getting them clear about what that’s actually costing you. There’s a great tool that I use with clients around identifying what the actual cost is for an existing task that they do in their business in terms of not just an hourly time factor but also the cost.
You as the business owner, if you’ve got to charge out whatever it is, $300 an hour or something like that, and if you’re doing this admin task and it’s taking you two hours, potentially you could be charging out at that rate, or you could be going and speaking at an event and generating thousands of dollars’ work in business.
For me, it’s just really about understanding those dimensions and what’s really important for that particular business, how can we really make sure that we’re identifying where they can save time or where they can bring in more leads or more sales, whatever it is that’s really going to make the difference in their business right now and help them do what they love doing or why they’re in business, and I think that’s really important.
Jürgen: That’s really good advice as well. Finally in the Innovation Round or The Buzz, what’s the Number one thing anyone can do to differentiate themselves?
Mandy: Ooh. It’s interesting because – me as a certified partner with … and I’ll take from my experience because I guess you’re looking for what people can do to differentiate themselves, right? Me as a certified partner, there’s other certified partners out there, and it’s interesting because I just got some feedback from a client the other day as to why she engaged with me, and I think that’s really important.
If you can tap into your existing clients, particularly those that continue to engage with you on an ongoing basis and actually ask them, because they have choices, we all have choices, so I think it’s actually tapping into them and saying, “Why is it that you choose to do business with me? What is it that we do?” I think that’s really a great place to start.
As I shared at the start, I bring to my business a whole bunch of experience and skills, and that also differentiates me, so I think definitely getting clear about that and that background to help you differentiate yourself.
The other thing is why, why you do what you do, the old Simon Sinek video we were talking about before, but why you do what you do. For me, it’s really about helping businesses get that balance, whatever that is for them, so that they go and serve their bigger purpose in the world and go and help more people.
I think being able to work out your buy, work out from your clients actually why they choose to engage with you and what do you bring to the table, your experience and skills that also differentiate yourself.
Jürgen: That’s great advice. I can relate to that really well because I think I’m reading two books that are along similar veins and they both reference Simon Sinek. It’s about why you’re in business and why you’re doing what you’re doing and the message upfront is very much anybody can be an Infusionsoft consultant and there’s lots of them around, or anybody can be a web developer and there’s lots of them around, and anybody can have the tools or perhaps even the background that you have and the experience and knowledge, but you’re the only one that’s got your “Why.” If you’re clear about that one, and then also how the clients see you, that’s a great message.
Mandy: Also aligning of values, too. That’s so important. Particularly in the service-based industry where we’re spending a lot of time with our clients, we want to hang out with people that are fun to hang out with. It’s fun, and it’s enjoyable and we’re both moving forward as businesses.
I think also getting clear about your values as well and openly communicating, like Infusionsoft, as I mentioned at the start, being able to tap in and understand what they stood for as a company and I thought, ‘Of course I absolutely want to work with them and partner with them,’ so I think that also helps as well.
Jürgen: All right. That’s great. What’s the future for you, then, and for Streamline for Success?
Mandy: It’s definitely growing. We’ve got a bunch of clients that we’re working with right now and we’re certainly growing every single month, so it’s definitely growth. It’s being able to leverage time, as I mentioned before, delivering online programs and courses and I might even say a workshop that I need to get out of my home for.
As you can tell, I love living wherever I live. It’s fantastic that I get to help clients, work with people all around Australia, and the world, essentially, with the work that I do, and I’m very fortunate that I can do that. It’s probably at some stage coming together as a group of clients and doing a workshop and being able to really escalate what we do together to really be able to implement things a lot faster by coming together.
I’m putting it out there. One day, Jürgen. No, I do workshops a bit for my clients, but once I think we’ve got the team in place, more of the team in place, I should say, it’s certainly where I see our business we’ll put in place in the near future.
Jürgen: We look forward to those workshops, then, keep an eye out on your website and find out what events are happening.
Mandy: Now I have to do it, Jürgen.
Jürgen: That’s right. You’ve put it out there, so now it’s got to happen.
Let’s move on to the competition now. As I said earlier, today’s prize – Mandy has very generously donated a lifecycle marketing session with Mandy herself, tapping into all her expertise. That’s valued at $297.
She’ll spend 90 minutes reviewing your entire systems and giving some suggestions as to what you can do to improve those and to move forward in terms of capturing lead-nurturing prospects, selling, fulfilling your customer needs and also up-selling to get more referrals.
Now, what did we talk about? We said what we’d like people to do is leave a comment under the video here at the bottom of the blog post and tell us what’s your biggest challenge in automating your marketing systems. You want to elaborate on that, Mandy?
Mandy: Sure. I think for a number of businesses, they have different challenges that they face, so I’d love to hear where are you at with your marketing? – and maybe you haven’t automated at all, and that’s completely fine. I have a number of people that I work with who haven’t.
That’s the great benefit of this session and really, you’re going to get a lot of value out of it. I do it with a number of businesses all the time and it’s really being able to look at where are you at in terms of that lifecycle with your customers from lead, as you said, Jürgen, to fulfilling to what happens next. We’ve finished with a client; what do we do now? It’s going through that whole process.
I’d love to hear what some of the biggest challenges you have around automating your marketing. Maybe you don’t know where to start or you’ve only got this part done or whatever it is, I’d love to find out more.
Jürgen: That’s great. Leave your comments under the video and I’ll get Mandy to swing by in a couple of weeks’ time and take a look at those and award the prize. Is that good?
Mandy: Yep. It’s good.
Jürgen: All right. In conclusion, what’s the Number one piece of advice you’d give anyone that wants to be a leader in innovation and productivity?
Mandy: Just be open and willing to explore what options are out there. I keep on giving you elaborate answers, Jürgen, but yeah, I think it’s just being open, exploring what’s possible, so looking at what is it really costing for your business right now and what’s the potential return you could get by looking at options that are out there.
Jürgen: That’s great advice, really, because I know, looking at various things, there’s always things that we can implement in websites and sometimes you find people are quite closed to that, for whatever reason, whether they’ve had a bad experience in the past or whether they just don’t understand what it is or the value it can bring, they’re not even prepared to try, so being open to those possibilities.
Mandy: Absolutely. As you said, Jürgen, there’s a lot of people unfortunately that have been burned out there and it’s terrible, myself included in that. I think it’s being open and being clear what you need as a business, because that will help you make a better decision and whether the money makes sense and you’re going to get the return that you need. It’s definitely worthwhile considering what’s out there to make your life easier. It should be easy.
Jürgen: That’s right. Mandy, this has been an absolute privilege. I think we’ve been going for well over an hour now, so I really appreciate your time. Now where can people reach out and say “Thank you” for all that you’ve shared with us today?
Mandy: My pleasure, Jürgen. I’m so sorry – I completely went into a lot of detail, but hopefully …
Jürgen: That’s fine.
Mandy: … that was really valuable. Probably the best, either visit our website, which is www.streamlineforsucess.com.au, and it’s “for,” spelled out F-O-R, Streamline for Success.
Otherwise, just drop me through an email. I would love to hear what you got out of the podcast or the video, would love your feedback. What are you taking from this? – Because there’s no point to us just doing it for the sake of it. We want to make sure people get something out of it. Email’s great, too: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jürgen: Thanks. We’ll post those links below the video on the blog post when we publish it.
Jürgen: Finally, Mandy, who would you like to see me interview next on the InnovaBuzz podcast and why?
Mandy: I would love for you to interview a good friend but good mentor of mine, John Bellamy. I’ve known John Bellamy for a few years. He’s doing some fantastic things on LinkedIn and using it as a tool to actually capture leads and actually turn LinkedIn into generating business out of LinkedIn. He’s doing fantastic things in that space, so I certainly recommend having a chat with him.
Jürgen: That’s fascinating. John Bellamy, I’ll be coming to get you courtesy of Mandy Brasser. Hopefully there will be …
Mandy: Sounds scary, Jürgen.
Jürgen: Hopefully there will be less of a challenge than one of my recent guests who suggested Mark Zuckerberg should be my next guest, from Facebook. I said, “Do you know him? Can you introduce me?” and he said, “No, no, I want you to make contact and introduce me.” That’ll be a challenge, but he’s on my list.
Mandy: Do it. Good luck.
Jürgen: John, we’ll be in touch.
Jürgen: Thanks so much, Mandy, for spending time with us today. It’s been a real pleasure to have you on the podcast. I’m looking forward to seeing what comes in the future of Streamline for Success. I wish you all the best in that and I’m sure we’ll be in touch as that moves forward, anyway.
Mandy: Sounds great. Thanks so much, Jürgen. I really appreciate the opportunity.
Jürgen: All right. Bye-bye.
Mandy: See you.
I hope you enjoyed meeting Mandy as much as I enjoyed interviewing her on the podcast. It was great fun and the key messages I took out of that interview were firstly, have good processes around your marketing, secondly automate as much as you can and thirdly, don’t neglect the personal attention, even when you have automated your processes.
Of course, you can subscribe to this Podcast via iTunes or Stitcher, so that you’ll never miss a future episode.
All the show notes for this episode will be at innovabiz.com.au/mandybrasser, that is M-A-N-D-Y-B-R-A-S-S-E-R, all lowercase, all one word, innovabiz.com.au/mandybrasser for all of the links and everything we spoke about in this episode. Remember, leave your comments underneath the video for your chance to win a marketing session valued at $297 with Mandy herself, analysing your entire customer lifecycle to improve your conversions. This prize is courtesy of Mandy.
Tell us what is the biggest challenge you face around your marketing and automating your marketing. I’ll get Mandy to swing by in a few weeks’ time and award that prize.
Mandy suggested I interview John Bellamy who specialises in generating business out of LinkedIn, on a future podcast. So, John, keep an eye on your Inbox for an invitation from me, for the Innovabuzz Podcast!
Thank you for listening or viewing the Innovabuzz podcast. We’d love you to review this podcast, because they help us get found and your feedback helps us improve. You can review us at iTunes or Stitcher and while you’re there, please subscribe so you’ll never miss a future episode.
So, Until next time, I’m Jürgen Strauss from Innovabiz.
Remember, if you don’t innovate, you stagnate, so think big, be adventurous and keep innovating!