Home Forums New here? Share your story Hello from Brisbane and about my new business

  • This topic is empty.
Viewing 13 posts - 1 through 13 (of 13 total)
  • Author
    Posts
  • #1000209
    mathsclub
    Member
    • Total posts: 4

    Hi everyone,

    My name is Nicola Vragalis and I live in Brisbane. I would like to introduce myself to this group. I have a brand new business which I have spent an entire year labouring to create and I literally only launched this week. My business is called Right Angle Maths Club. (Slogan: Where kids count!). I offer small classes to students in Grades 5 & 6 in maths-based problem-solving activities (think curly brain teasers and logic puzzles) and I hope to enrol my first students for Term 3.

    There is a bit of a back-story as to how I came to start this business which you can see on my website if you are interested.

    Becoming a business owner has been a steep learning curve and I realise I am only now on the starting block after a year of work! (I have a few students I tutor through my business books to help pay off the start up costs.) My husband is not an “official” business owner with me, but just as keen on the business as I am, so I have an unoffical business partner.

    I have written lesson plans myself (that took up most of the time this past year) and then learned from scratch how to set up a business. I have sought accounting, legal and IT advice and got my logo professionally designed. I built the website myself in WordPress. It tells the visitor everything they need to know and I realise it is basic and functional, not sleek and professional. I cannot justify spending money on the website until I have a little revenue, so please be kind in your website comments. However, any tips though on layout, information given etc will be appreciated. (http://www.mathsclub.com.au)

    I am now out there trying to get the word out to my local community. I have phoned every primary school within a 20 minute driving radius. Some allow newsletter ads for a nominal fee, others will allow a free ad pending principal approval. The majority of schools use a newsletter production service that sells ad space which is pricey for someone who has spent money but made almost none (a common catch-22 right?). By next week I will have ads in a few school newsletters – the ones who charge a nominal fee – and I will make a decision later about placing just one ad in one school newsletter with the newsletter production company.

    I also plan on advertising on the local Facebook groups closer to the end of term and have professionally printed postcards which I am letterbox dropping. Since I have a very specific target market, the postcards are probably a silly idea but my hope is to just get the word out there.

    There have been no nibbles of interest yet, but I know this will take time and I am willing to be patient.

    Thank you for reading my story. I appreciate any business advice you can give me. I have been ghosting FlyingSolo for a while and learned a lot from you all.

    #1223402
    Rowan@quaotic
    Participant
    • Total posts: 712

    Hi, and congrats on your new venture. I have a couple of ideas for you.

    1, Please do some more work on your home page, it really doesn’t grab attention or give a good idea of what you are offering. The whole site needs a bit more ‘pop’.
    2, I have a maths teacher in my Facebook feed that does a fabulous job of marketing herself. She posts regularly with interesting maths problems she has given her students as well as funny stories of what has happened in class. She makes her posts interesting and funny and shows everyone her skills as well as what parents and students might expect in class. She is also generous in her answers to questions and advice on FB.

    Wishing you well.

    #1223403
    Paul – FS Concierge
    Moderator
    • Total posts: 3,127

    Hi and welcome to Flying Solo Nicola.

    Thanks for joining and posting your back story.

    You are in a fairly unique business in which you have both Clients (the students) and Customers (the parents who pay), so you have to appeal to both.

    Yay you huh?

    I understand you reticence about getting website feedback. It can, after all be brutal and when you have put you heart and soul into what you’ve got, it is a bridge too far for many.

    On the other hand, spending money on advertising a website that doesn’t convert customers is also painful. I know that from experience.

    It hurts.

    At the moment, my assessment is not to spend too much on advertising and work on the questions that would move things forward.

    Here are just some:

    Do you know what I offer?

    Do you know where I am located?

    Who is my target market?

    How much does my service cost?

    Whats times and/or places do I offer my service?

    What outcomes does the Client get and how long will it take?

    What outcomes will the Customer get?

    How do I sign up?

    If you can show a random your website and they can easily (at a glance) answer those questions, you will have made progress.

    Cheers

    #1223404
    Paul – FS Concierge
    Moderator
    • Total posts: 3,127
    Rowan@quaotic, post: 269970, member: 28171 wrote:
    2, I have a maths teacher in my Facebook feed that does a fabulous job of marketing herself.

    Please share her info if it is not too much trouble.

    #1223405
    Rowan@quaotic
    Participant
    • Total posts: 712
    Paul – FS Concierge, post: 269973, member: 78928 wrote:
    Please share her info if it is not too much trouble.
    I was going to do that but I think she went in my great FB friend purge a month or two ago when I deleted all the ‘friends’ that I didn’t have anything in common with or know personally through my work.
    I can’t now recall her name.

    It is unfortunate as I think it would have been great for OP to take some inspiration from the way she marketed herself.

    #1223406
    bb1
    Participant
    • Total posts: 4,472
    mathsclub, post: 269969, member: 117113 wrote:
    I realise it is basic and functional, not sleek and professional. I cannot justify spending money on the website until I have a little revenue, so please be kind in your website comments. However, any tips though on layout, information given etc will be appreciated. (http://www.mathsclub.com.au)

    If you don’t spend money you cant make money.

    If you can’t get the word out effectively then what ever money you have spent is wasted as it is.

    The worst thing you can do is attract people to your website, they look at it, and say this person doesnt look professional. I will move on. Once people look at your website once, and reject you, they wont come back.

    Are you serious about starting a business or like you say you have already spent a year, and you are going to waste another year because you are not taking the business seriously.

    Business is hard work, and not a play thing.

    Good luck

    #1223407
    mathsclub
    Member
    • Total posts: 4

    Hi Rowan,
    Thanks for your feedback, especially on the Homepage. I will take a look at how I can make it more interesting. You’re right, there is not much “pop” happening.
    I am just setting up my Facebook page now and intend to do just the sort of thing you’re describing with your maths teacher contact. It helps to keep popping up on someone’s Facebook feed and to generate interest.
    Nicola

    #1223408
    mathsclub
    Member
    • Total posts: 4
    Paul – FS Concierge, post: 269972, member: 78928 wrote:
    You are in a fairly unique business in which you have both Clients (the students) and Customers (the parents who pay), so you have to appeal to both.
    On the other hand, spending money on advertising a website that doesn’t convert customers is also painful. I know that from experience.

    It hurts.

    At the moment, my assessment is not to spend too much on advertising and work on the questions that would move things forward.

    Hi Paul,

    Thank you for your feedback. You have hit the nail on the head (& Bert too) that it is pointless to spend time and money promoting a website that doesn’t grab people and draw them in.

    I also appreciate all the questions to consider that you posted. Most of that is on my website, but a lot of it is buried in the FAQs and it should be easily accessible. People don’t want to have to do a lot of digging to find information.

    I went and looked at some other business’s websites and realied that all the way through they are telling the reader what their product/service is and why it will benefit them.

    Hmm.. lots for me to think about and I am feeling swayed from all three responses that to thinking that it will be necessary for me to spend a little bit more money upfront and get a pro in to help me. A business where the people are knowledgable in both SME/marketing etc and the visual/graphics side of a website.

    Thanks for being tactful and helpful at the same time – a rare skill. :)

    #1223409
    mathsclub
    Member
    • Total posts: 4
    bb1, post: 269975, member: 53375 wrote:
    The worst thing you can do is attract people to your website, they look at it, and say this person doesnt look professional. I will move on. Once people look at your website once, and reject you, they wont come back.

    Are you serious about starting a business or like you say you have already spent a year, and you are going to waste another year because you are not taking the business seriously.

    Hi Bert,

    Thanks for your feedback. You are spot on that people won’t come back to a website if they formed a bad first impression. Thanks for reminding me of that and as I stated in Paul’s reply, your collective comments have made me rethink my decision not to get people in who know about marketing and website design at this stage. Still sitting on that one, but your collective comments have swayed me.

    Am I serious about starting a business? My initial response on reading that was ‘Of course I am! Does he think I spent a year of my life writing lessons and setting up the infrastructure just for kicks?’

    However, on deeper reflection, I realised that what I am serious (& passionate) about is… getting kids to learn to think for themselves and not just regugitate facts; helping kids learn to push through when things are hard; teaching kids how to work together in groups and brainstorm and share ideas with enthusiasm and fairness to one another; building academic muscle and grit into kids etc because I believe these are life skills that will benefit them for years to come in all aspects of life, not just academic.
    In other words, all the things I aim to do through my maths club.

    BUT, at the end of the day, these things have nothing to do with starting a business. The business is the vehicle that is necessary to deliver what I am passionate about and broken cars don’t go very far!

    Your comment made me realise that if I want this to be successful I need to become just as passionate about working on the business as working in the business. So thanks.

    #1223410
    Paul – FS Concierge
    Moderator
    • Total posts: 3,127

    Hi Nicola,

    Thanks for your thoughtful replies.

    New ways of thinking can open up paths forward that were not there moments ago! Those new thoughts bring with them, new confidence :-)

    If you have time, find out about “Ideal Customer (client) Avatar” and also “Elevator Pitch” and do some work on them before choosing the ultimate pro provider.

    Essentially, you want to know who you want to appeal to and who you don’t want to appeal to and then how to appeal to them.

    Once you have these key elements, you will be in a better position to provide an accurate brief to a provider.

    Let me give you an example of both from my business and why it helps so much.

    Who

    I claim my service is “Expert and Affordable” – this guides me in that I am not trying to be all things to all people so I have a built in Edit button. The chances are that if my content does not support Expert or Affordable, it will not make it to my website.Equally, if it does support my claim, I want it there. For example, I have a prices page that speaks directly to “Affordable” that most others in my industry don’t have.

    How

    Well firstly I try to keep my copy all about my customer, not about me. So I use the word “you” a lot and try to cut the words “me” or “I” as much as possible.

    As I gained experience running the business, I would hear recurring themes (complaints) about previous experiences the prospect had. After at least a couple of examples of the same complaint, I would flip the bad experience into a positive experience and incorporate it into my website.

    For example, if a couple of prospects said, “My cleaners are never on time”, I would turn that into a positive for the copy. Something like, “You deserve on-time cleaners so we have an on-time guarantee”. (Notice I led with “You”?).

    If parents are telling you what their frustrations or bad experiences are, and you can incorporate fixes into your business and execute those fixes well, use them in your copy because they speak to real people’s problems and people will pay for having their problems solved.

    If you make a claim, you need to back it up – though obvious, it is not good enough just to have an appealing website and then not deliver in real life.

    These are just part of my strategy but I hope they exemplify why I think it is a good idea to do some research so you can provide a good brief before paying out the $$$.

    Cheers

    #1223411
    Paul – FS Concierge
    Moderator
    • Total posts: 3,127

    This is where the gold is:

    “However, on deeper reflection, I realised that what I am serious (& passionate) about is… getting kids to learn to think for themselves and not just regurgitate facts; helping kids learn to push through when things are hard; teaching kids how to work together in groups and brainstorm and share ideas with enthusiasm and fairness to one another; building academic muscle and grit into kids etc because I believe these are life skills that will benefit them for years to come in all aspects of life, not just academic.
    In other words, all the things I aim to do through my maths club.”

    In your business, the parents will decide to engage you or not.

    A lot of businesses use the term, “We (or I) are passionate about….”.

    It is used so much now, it is cliche and I our human filter spots this and takes points off for using it.

    It may sound schmaltzy, but a parent using your business, is in its purest form, an expression of love. And this is what you want to tap into. You each want the child to be better equipped and more able to deal with life tomorrow than they are today.

    You love transforming lives through maths and if you can convey that in a way that speaks to the hopes of parents and allays their fears, you will have a good chance of reaching into their pocketbook and making your business sustainable….so you can put food on your table and transform even more lives :-)

    I believe it is the secret ingredient that all good teachers including Eddie Woo have that makes them successful.

    Cheers

    #1223412
    kmontgo9
    Member
    • Total posts: 1

    Hi Nicola,
    I also have brief website feedback for you.

    I agree it could use more pop, but I am not inherently against simplicity. What I care more about is making the most valuable information immediately accessible on the home page. For you I think that includes:

    1. What you are offering e.g. small, problem-solving based math classes for grades 5 + 6
    2. The Benefits and outcomes of your services. This is currently buried in the FAQS under “Students will gain…” If I’m a parent I want to know why I would pay to send my child to you and I want to know it is going to help them pass maths. If you have even just one testimonial from a friend I would try to include this.
    3. A call to action. How do I sign up and what is involved to get started. Again, the 2 free class offer is buried on the About page, and then even from there I don’t know how to sign up. Make the call to action obvious and easy from the home page.

    I think you should work it a little more, but as a very quick fix you could almost just make the home page the content on the about page, and move the homepage content to about.

    Apologies if I am repeating something already said — I have not read through the whole thread of comments.

    Good luck!

    #1223413
    Anonymous
    Inactive
    • Total posts: 8

    Hi Nicola
    Best of luck on your new business. With lots of hard work I’m sure you will do great. I’m new on FS as well and have recently started my business so we are both in the same boat.

    Lets go for it !

Viewing 13 posts - 1 through 13 (of 13 total)
  • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.