Networking and Gaining Visibility for your Business with Amreeta Abbott and Stacie Shaw
If you love problem solving then this episode of Mumbition with Mums & Co members, Amreeta Abbott and Stacie Shaw is for you! Amreeta is the founder of Annature, the Australian made and owned alternative to Docusign, and Stacie a partner at PKF, a global accounting firm and proud ambassador of the solution Amreeta has created. We discuss the value of building a brand with integrity - something you'd recommend to your own mother, sister or grandmother, why it’s important to take risks and that no matter how great your ambition, your love for family (showers and a long haul flight) will always keep you grounded.
Here at Mums & Co, we are a community for business owning women, and we upskill, and we network. They're our two biggest levers in terms of helping women grow their visibility. But for someone like you, Amreeta, how do you network? What are the reasons you do it? And are there any ways that you prefer to do this digitally as opposed to in person?
5 minute read
I think networking is such a powerful tool, whether it's for personal reasons or for business. Every company that I have built, I believed in collaboration. I believe that you need allies, you need to actually find a distribution channel that can actually support the growth of your business. So it is essential. You cannot do it alone. We are just too small. It's hard to go to market. So from that perspective, I look at the industry that I'm in, I look at whether it's accounting or whether it's legal, and then I try and align myself with like-minded people, and they're generally other females obviously, and they can relate to it. But then also other technology softwares that is very complimentary. How can I make it even a little bit more easier? Because, even if it's e-signing or identification, so we do identification as well, how does that tie back into their CRM? How does that tie back into their business? How else can I make it easier? Is it comfortable on a phone? Is it comfortable not off your laptop? How do we do that?
So if you don't network, you really don't have a business these days. That's my personal opinion. And so for me, I'm always introducing myself to other providers. I'm also introducing myself to clients. I'm also trying to understand the likes of Stacie's clients. How are they relating to it? How are they connecting with it? Is it comfortable, is it not? So without that knowledge, I don't have a business, and it's essential because I need that feedback every single day of what's actually happening and how are they thinking. So I would suggest for anybody out there, if you don't network, you're in the dark, extremely, and you won't get far.
I have always hated networking and business development. I was always rubbish at it because I think I overthought it. And so it's the likes of, I'm a raving fan girl of Amreeta, and she's been generous with her time in her mentoring capacity as well. And not even in a formal way, just watch and learn, everything that Am just described then. And even Sarah, I've had some chats with Sarah Nelson, your chief of staff, and I walk away from those conversations feeling more comfortable about making my ask, I think Sarah calls it. Which I think, I've always been uncomfortable with that.
I like forming relationships, I like having friends and all that stuff, and I think for a long time I thought that I needed to be someone in a business development, and a networking, in a professional sense that was different to who I am as a human. And I think, I don't know whether it's age and wisdom or whatever, but I've got to the point where I've realized, anyone who pretends that who you are as a professional is different to who you are as the human, is kidding themselves, and people don't like it, people see through it. You're never at your best if you're consciously watching yourself, trying to pretend to be something that you're not. And for me, I think it probably always stemmed from childhood, I suppose, in that my parents are incredible humans. I've got absolutely nothing bad to say about them. And in fact, people make jokes about being worried that they're going to turn into their parents as they age. I'm actually worried that I'm not, and I think that's probably the single greatest privilege of my life.
But one of the things that may makes my dad so great is that he's overly humble. And so he spent a lot of my childhood saying to me, "Don't be arrogant, don't be cocky, be humble." And it's a great message and one that I firmly believe in, but of course I've taken it too far. And so took it so far that it was undermining my confidence, particularly in things like business development and coming on something like this, because it was me putting myself out there, being cocky and being arrogant. And I think I've got to the point where I've realized there's a difference between confident and cocky, and there's a difference between being demanding and being a princess versus just making your ask. And people have choices about how they respond to that. You have a choice about how you deliver it. And so I think one of the amazing things about Mums & Co is just empowering that and helping people to see past whatever their barriers to that networking, business development, whatever the cliche is over it. And going, actually, it's just about you're a human, I'm a human, let's do business together.
In that old quote of businesses don't do business with businesses, people do business with people, and you always work better with the people that you like and enjoy their company and have respect for. So yeah, I've learned, I suppose, just to start there, just start by, look past the brand name and see the human sitting in front of you, and if you can work together, great. If you come into it with a genuine attitude of what can I give to this person, it always ends up, karma I suppose, always ends up coming back. And if not, worst case, you've made their life a bit easier. So that's great.
And Amreeta, what have you found has worked to raise the profile or to gain visibility for your business, Annature?
Yeah, look, it is a really great question. I was a bit like Stacie too, that I believe that the business should have been faceless. There should not be anyone behind it. And maybe because of my confidence, maybe because I'm not... I don't really like to get up there and talk about my success, but after time, this is what they relate to. This is that human touch. They really want to speak to someone. They want to understand how you're growing that business and what does it look like. So I would say that the visibility too, you do need a face behind it. You do need someone that they can talk to, but also to lots of other things. So it could be the likes of social media, it's made a huge change to the way that people conduct themselves with businesses.
I would never thought that Facebook would become a business forum. So lots of our clients are actually communicating and talking to each other about different types of features and all this sort of stuff. So you have to get yourself out there, you really do, and you just keep trying different things. So whether it's, like I said, the Facebook ads, whether it's Google, whether it's LinkedIn, and they've all got different purposes and they can all solve the attraction to the business. So whether you're not confident enough to get out there, when you're passionate about your business, you just can't fall down. You just can speak and speak and speak and talk about it the whole time. And it's so exciting when people see that energy. They just want to be a part of it. And I think that's extremely important to be able to show that. And I'm very passionate about every business that I have.
I'm very passionate about the features that we build because again, it's solving a problem and you can just see the gratitude for that. And that's how you communicate, and that's how you keep being relatable, and lots of people just sticking to you and being loyal.
I think I spent my whole career rebelling against the idea of it's not what, it's who you know, because surely it's merit-based. Surely if you build a good enough business, if you do good enough work, then you deserve the work to come your way, and you deserve the revenue to follow, and all that kind of stuff. And the reality is, it's just, everything Am was just saying, it's just not the case.
People have to know about it. You have to spruik your own wares, I suppose, and decide where the investment of funds makes sense. I know I've had conversations with Amreeta about things like, having a booth at a trade show or at a conference or an exhibition. Often that can be expensive, but what is that worth? And not getting too carried up in measuring necessarily the tangible ROI, but I'm not a marketing person by any stretch. Having said that, I've heard that it takes 20, someone needs to have heard a brand name 20 times to recognize it and trust it and be willing to buy from that brand. And so again, it's up for marketing strategists rather than myself to advise on what's best there, but any opportunity, I guess, to put yourself out there.