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Small Business Success Stories

Small Business Success Stories

I find myself sitting in a room full of people who all appear to be very clever and smart… I am seated at the back of the room – it is 2004, I have been in business for just 3 years and I don’t get out much. All I do is work, if I am not with my young family I am in front of the computer desperately trying to grow my business, answer customer queries and support the experience supplier community (who are other small businesses just like me).

I’ve been invited to attend because I have been nominated for an award. In my heart, I believe that there has been a mistake – we are simply not that big yet. I have big plans, aspirations a vision….

“And the winner is… Naomi Simson.” I am completely surprised, I have come alone, I did not think that there was a chance of winning.

I text my colleague Jemma quickly, she alerts our tiny team – everyone is excited. The next day we share the story with our experience providers around Australia – it is just as much their award as mine. And we sent a message to our corporate clients, distribution partners and our customers. All of them proud that they have contributed a little bit to our ‘success’.

It was the first time that I appreciated how important it is as part of our leadership journey to be acknowledged independently by the greater community. That a business owner’s lot can be a long and lonely one with no guarantee of success – or even a commercial return.

Yet without the toil, long nights and determination of these business owners our society would not be what it is. The people who choose to go it alone, make a difference, become employers, innovate and build a business are the backbone of our community.

If each Australian small business employed just one more person that would be more than 1 million new jobs.

This past week I was part of the team to launch Sydney City Region Business Awards.

The argument was compelling. The City region generates some $107 billion worth of economic activity annually, contributing a quarter of the State’s economy and seven per cent of Australia’s GDP. Sydney is now recognised as one of the world’s most attractive global destinations.  The City is committed to supporting businesses – small and large.

The awards are a partnership between the City of Sydney and the NSW Business Chamber.

For twelve years, I have operated a small business in the City of Sydney… and I was really pleased that they asked me to assist in the launch.

It is an opportunity to showcase other businesses, to coax those businesses to enter, a business which does incredible work – but, like myself are often too busy to tell anyone what they are up to. Perhaps it will be one of the businesses that are part of our business group (to be invited

This is your chance, your moment – but if you don’t enter you will never know.

This article was first published on LinkedIn.




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  • Happiness:
Think less, Feel more;
Frown less, Smile more;
Judge less, Accept more;
Watch less, Do more;
Complain less, Appreciate more;
Fear less, Love more....
Give it a crack 😎on a weekend like this what's to stop you! #naturalbeauty #happiness
  • Friday drinks must be here soon surely ... or I'm out! #friyay
  • In the 90s I left my cushy job at Apple.

I’d be a squillionaire if I still had my stock options.

I don’t regret it. Here's why:

After 10 years of corporate, I wanted to ‘do my own thing’. I started with freelance marketing.

My strategy? Hard work and build strong brands.

It seemed to work - new clients came from referrals.

But after 18 months, I came to a realisation:

All my clients wanted was “more customers”, not complex branding plans.

SO I thought I’d build a brand of my own. Something to get them “more customers”. RedBalloon was born. The purpose? Give people amazing experiences.

16 years on, RB has delivered 3.8 million customers to 2000 small businesses.

Now, when I give talks, I always get the same question: “How did you build such a strong brand?” Funny how it comes full circle.

I can’t answer that with a time limit.

Though I think I found a way - an online course. “How to Build your Business Brand” - years of experience in one place (link in bio if interested). But, that’s not the point of this post.

If I stayed with Apple I’d be unbelievably wealthy.

Quitting was still the best thing I’ve ever done.

So if you want to take a leap of faith, do it.

All I ask you is this:

Trust yourself and never underestimate the power of brand.
  • #tbt the originals circa 2004 🎈 it reminds that an entrepreneurs journey is long and full of twists and turns. What a ride! @redballoonexperiences
  • I have always been rushing! I need to remind myself of this one regularity. I'm intentional, not frenetic. Choose the one thing that needs to get done to make everything easier! #inspiration


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