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Vanessa Bell Mumbition the Podcast

Mumbition

The Podcast By Mums & Co

Episode 48: The future is yours to reimagine

Melissa Pepers

Founder of Reimaginers

October 25, 2022
How did you come up with your business idea? We know that approximately 50% of our mums in our community start a business in an entirely new field. Who says that we don't like challenges?Business designer, futurist, mother of one and founder of Reimaginers, Melissa Pepers, has made a business out of helping other business owners discover their business niche.

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Reimaginers

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Produced & Edited by - Morgan Brown
Interviewers - Carrie Kwan and Lucy Kippist
Guest - Melissa Pepers

Are you ready to join a movement of business owning women?  Join Mums & Co today.

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    • Read the blog article
    • The future is yours to reimagine and reinvent

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Episode 48 Transcript

00:01:35:24 - 00:02:10:08

Carrie Kwan

How did you come up with your business idea? We know that approximately 50% of our mums in our community start a business in an entirely new field. Who says that we don't like challenges? Well, today's guest has made a business out of helping other business owners discover their business niche. Meet business designer and futurist, mother of one, Melissa Pepers, founder of Reimaginers and Mums and Co member who has been generously sharing her invaluable insights with our community. Melissa, welcome to Mumbition the podcast!

00:02:10:19 - 00:02:13:08

Melissa Pepers

Hey, thank you for having me today, I’m so excited!

00:02:13:23 - 00:02:25:21

Carrie Kwan

We are too! We love hearing women pitching with confidence and clarity and know that you shared yours at some of our recent meet ups with terrific articulation. Can you please share it with our listeners today?

00:02:26:01 - 00:03:33:14

Melissa Pepers

Yeah, absolutely. So, I have a company that's focused on shaping industries through unique business ideas. So, working with me, either yourself or with others, involves replacing status quos that completely transform entire areas. It might be an industry, it might be a jurisdiction, it might be for a particular demographic. My organisation does this around three different initiatives.

The first is a process for designing and redesigning your business, and that can create significant impact in the world by completely replacing a norm, and that is called turning points.

The second is an internal think tank that uses that same process to ideate hundreds of detailed futures and the many different businesses that would be needed to exist to shift the status quo. That's the kind of thing a large organization or a government might approach me for.

The third is a unique business idea marketplace that's being built behind the scenes called Prophecies, where people can go to buy and sell unique business ideas that they don't necessarily want to make themselves, but they know would be a brilliant idea that would change things. That's called prophecies because it's where I want people to go to see the future first and to build that future together.

00:03:33:22 - 00:04:21:14

Carrie Kwan

Wow, that is absolutely fascinating and got me all into matrix mode in some ways. I've heard that often with businesses, especially if you're venturing into a new area, there's no historical data in some sense. So are taking a bit of a punt on what will happen and validating your idea along the way.

But often it is actually the time that the business is launched, it's not quite the factor that everyone thinks about, but timing is so important in the success of a new venture, so to speak, or especially one that's challenging the norms.

00:04:21:23 - 00:04:42:17

Melissa Pepers

Yeah, absolutely. Timing is a really significant one because you can have disruptive ideas that are before their time as well. In my actual process though, and in business design in general, what differs from a business designer compared to, say, a business coach or a business consultant, is that we create a business model that looks at all the different needs of business effects and one of those is marketplace.

We make sure that the actual business model can serve all of those needs, we're not just creating a business just to make money. We're not creating a business just to serve a customer. We're not creating business just because we think the idea is cool or just because we see a trend.

We actually balance all of those things together and find where the intersection is between what you want to do, what the marketplace in the world actually needs, and what consumers are willing to pay money for so that you can actually sustain a business. Because ultimately, if people aren't buying from you, there is no business.

I should mention especially because of Mums and Co, it's definitely been a huge catalyst for me as well, is your own personal lifestyle needs. Especially if you're a company of one or a small company, but even if you're a large organisation, if you've built a business that doesn't actually the model of the business doesn't meet your personal lifestyle needs or any lifestyle needs, then your staff will burn out if you're a big organisation, or you will burn out. That's a need that really often doesn't historically get answered. But really time is one of those factors and we're looking for what business model allows you the best mix and creating something unique within that space as well.

00:05:52:17 - 00:05:55:09

Carrie Kwan

I'm fascinated and I want this crystal ball!

00:05:55:18 - 00:06:00:13

Melissa Pepers

Yes, that's me, the crystal ball futurist.

00:06:02:13 - 00:06:16:14

Lucy Kippist

You used a word that we love here at Mums and Co, intersection, and you also just touched on what I want to ask you about. So thank you for that perfect segue! As well as being a business owner, you're a mum to an almost one year old, is that right?

00:06:16:15 - 00:06:27:12

Melissa Pepers

She's sixteen months old. When we last spoke, I think she had just turned one, it was around that time. That's what you're thinking of?

00:06:27:21 - 00:06:50:20

Lucy Kippist

Yes, thank you. So more or less, you’re right at the beginning of the motherhood journey. I mean, you’re not stage one, but it is pretty early days.

You're also obviously incredibly ambitious. What are the changes that you've found you’ve found yourself planning to accommodate these two really important aspects of your life?

00:06:51:09 - 00:10:00:10

Melissa Pepers

Yeah, actually, not to say that there weren't some challenging teething periods coming back into my business after maternity leave and all of these things. But being a business designer and then becoming a mother actually worked really beneficially for me in two ways.

The first is that business design I'm always thinking of those different needs. So it's part of the way that I think about my own business to factor things like that in.

But then having my baby as well, it was like it just became such a significant priority to balance my time really well because I could see that my personal ability to mother and have a really enjoyable experience there as well was directly proportional to how much energy and will and that sort of thing that I had.

So what really elevated my process was that essentially from now on, designing anything that isn't scalable and flexible is not going to be a business that suits my personal needs as well. So I've been really focusing on that particular scalability area and that's had so many beautiful flow on effects because now, I technically only need to work a few hours in my business for it to be very nurtured.

For turning points in particular, which is the app monetized component of that ecosystem, you can literally go on the website, join, and receive your email onboarding. You can fully go through the entire experience, and you'll tap into me when you have questions when you're looking for that personal advice, or advice around sensitive or competitive areas of what you're trying to explore, and that entire journey for the majority only needs a few hours from me specifically, and I can choose when I use those hours as well.

So they're both flexible and scalable, which has been just amazing. It took a lot of work, but I did it all myself. I think the system designer in me kind of loved it, but it was really it took me about five really intense weeks to build the nuts and bolts of Turning Points, which I had been imagining in my head, and then probably another fortnight to do all the email automations and things prior to that. Those weeks were really hard, but it's opened up so much time and that has been really freeing and a massive catalyst for my ambition because I have time to have it all. I get to enjoy being the mum, but also my own personal things I might do for myself or friends and family and then the actual business and this ambition of what I'm building.

I definitely choose to work more hours in the week, but that's because I'm building something that's really exciting to me and I'm not burnt out anymore. When I first came back, though, I gave myself too little time on the business and I really felt that teething period. But I think that just showed me whenever I approach something in my life and there's a real challenge there, it just shows me what parts of my behaviour have to be left behind.

I nearly see that challenging as like a little spotlight, “hey work on this next!” and when you turn that from difficult to ease, that's what's going to get you to wherever your next kind of point is. So I've now got a bit of an appetite for that friction, I think, which I didn't know would come, until motherhood kind of shows you what's important.

00:10:00:10 - 00:10:13:19

Lucy Kippist

Wow, you've just hit the Holy Grail there, haven't you? In terms of being a business owning mum? That stage you're at now where that part of the business is fully automated is the goal.

00:10:13:19 - 00:11:01:14

Melissa Pepers

I had no idea I would get there so quickly, it just all really clicked together. I think this is like feeding my baby in those early months and being quite a lot of stillness, I had time to think. That's kind of a strength for me as well, having that time, being able to think, and I don't often have a lot of that time, so I think all the pieces could click together in my brain and then it was like I was ready.

It's definitely possible. Now it's in my process to actually show people how that scalability element works as well. I always had a lifestyle segment of needs and in general it would be to look at automations or look to think about scalability and that kind of thing. But now I can be like, “this is what I did,” and just go to that next layer of detail when you experience it yourself.

00:11:01:23 - 00:11:12:00

Lucy Kippist

Fantastic. I was just going to ask you if you'd roll that systematic process into your own teaching, because being able to document it in that way through one example is so relatable.

00:11:12:24 - 00:12:20:11

Melissa Pepers

Yeah, exactly. I have a lot of parents in my actual group as well. They usually come for thought leadership or for other areas, but actually it unlocks more for them I think, than the general sort of person. But at the same time also people with chronic illness or some other barrier that makes things harder for them compared to the average business and then the whole point of Turning Points is to have not only nices, actually more than one niche, with a competitive advantage, so that the experience of running your business on average, is easier and more profitable than running an average business.

It's a bit of a misnomer that competitive means zero sum, that a win for you is actually a loss for someone else. Because when you have competitive advantage, you don't actually have direct competitors because you're doing your own thing. So a win can also be a win for somebody else. It is not that your growth and success is harming someone else, it's nearly the very opposite, which is a nice thing.

00:12:20:11 - 00:12:34:17

Carrie Kwan

Just as you are talking, I'm just wondering, where did you get the name from? Where does Reimaginers come from as your business idea when you were looking into your own business idea business?

00:12:35:20 - 00:15:21:01

Melissa Pepers

Absolutely. At that point, I had the methodology, and I was still working in advertising, and I'd been testing out all parts of the methodology and suddenly it clicked together. But I didn't, at that point, know how I specifically wanted to apply it, because the methodology can be applied in many, many different ways. So I did something called a niche entry scheme, which is one of the opportunities, one of the ways to launch, when you create a first of its kind business or pivot to a more competitive business, and it suits people that need to do experimentation, which is exactly what I needed at that time.

I actually focused on one industry, and I pretty much ran a different business every month with constraints, so I didn't confuse everybody. In that time, I got to work out who do I love working with? Where do the results come from? Where does the money flow? Where is it really exciting for me? What are the different kinds of lifestyle benefits? All of those needs, I could analyse them all. I needed a name for what seemed to be true at that moment. That was true of my methodology, no matter how it was applied. So I made up a word because so many names are taken, so I just made up a word to give me a bit of freedom.

But Reimaginers is based on the French word for good, bon, and the Spanish word for hype, bombo, so with an M, so good hype was the kind of the idea there. But actually, I am in the process of changing the name. It's going to take quite a while to actually roll it out because it's not priority one.

So Reimaginers fits, but it doesn't really fit as much as I want it too anymore. Turning Points and Prophecies, they're really, really clear, really, really integrated into what I've discovered of my business. Because about two years after that experimentation, I had it. I knew exactly where I was going, I could see the full vision and quite a lot of detail.

I relaunched with a new sort of brand visual, new communications and a more refined offering. Now it took me a long time to work out what is the name that's really going to really feel right. So the new name is going to be Re-Imaginers. I've been building that part in the process, but it takes a lot when you've got a lot of online presence already, like great SEO, all of those things, changing the name in a significant way, it does have challenges to it as well. So, you've got to really be sure. But ultimately, your business tells you when the name isn't enough, it isn't quite right anymore. Same with the brand, with an audience whereas once again, wherever you're experiencing that difficulty in that part of your business need is missing from your business model.

So, for me, there's a little brand evolution coming probably in about six months’ time, realistically. You’re the first to hear about it, as I've not mentioned it before.

00:15:21:22 - 00:16:04:17

Carrie Kwan

Very exciting! I know what you mean in terms of, this is actually part of that journey. When you step into the unknown, you're not quite sure who your market is or you're not quite sure what your products are yet. Yet you still have to launch and try to do lots of different tests in the process to use that data to inform what your eventual product would be.

It’s almost the true definition of an entrepreneur or a business owner, so that's very exciting and good luck with that journey. We're thrilled that we're going to be sharing Re-Imaginers with everyone.

00:16:05:16 - 00:17:21:12

Melissa Pepers

Yes, getting it out there, it’s really exciting! It feels really right. The second I came upon that, I was like, “that's it, that's the one I've been kind of looking for.” That's because I have a really clear idea of what my business strategy is, what my competitive advantages are, what my audience wants to hear, what's persuasive and what's really a catalyst there.

Once you have that level of clarity about your own business, most decisions are very easy. That's something that’s a little bit heart-breaking that I see out there. If I look on business forums this often questions like, Should I do this or this? It's crowdsourcing to people who you don't know, they don't know your business. The questions when they're like that are the wrong question to be asking, because if you have a lot of clarity about your business, you actually know the answer. If it doesn't matter either way, then it's literally personal preference. But you know that once again with confidence, whereas if you don't actually have the clarity to be able to know if a particular decision is the right decision for your business, that's actually a business design question.

It comes back to the square one of your business, whether you've got just a business idea or whether you've got a business that's ten years old and enormous and successful, it's still a foundational strategy kind of question. Business design definitely is where the biggest wins can kind of come from there.

00:17:22:08 - 00:18:01:08

Lucy Kippist

That's a really fascinating insight there. You've talked about the layers of the thinking that need to go into what makes a business success. Could be perceived as a silly question, but I'm going to ask it anyway.

If that clarity is lacking, if that really is the biggest barrier to your success, how do you get it? How do you get it? Is it about sitting down and thinking some more about what you're really trying to achieve? Is it about fleshing out the why? What is it? How do you get there?

Carrie Kwan

Or is even that the decision to commit?

00:18:01:16 - 00:24:36:09

Melissa

Both of those are true. The very first thing I share with my audience is that it's an all-in experience. If you really want this, if you really want it to work, you have to be ready to really focus on it. Ultimately strategy is a thinking process, but a business essentially at any given time moves through cycles of strategy and then execution, even if you are a strategist within your business.

Essentially, most of those in small to medium enterprises with solo or co-founder owners will move between about a 3 to 6 months strategy cycle and then execution, and they'll be running the business the whole time. But the focus constantly ebbs and flows between making the plan and executing the plan. What often happens because business design is a fairly new industry, traditionally, it's the business owner that has designed their own business.

But most small to medium enterprises don't have $400,000 to spend on corporate management or major advertising agencies, until business design became a thing, to tell them what they need to do. Essentially the less clarity you have is always proportional to how long it's been since you've touched your strategy in some way, and it's also directly proportional to how unaligned you are.

Strategy is a process of becoming aligned and making decisions, and the word decision, like the etymology of it, means to cut away. Decisions are about going, “I'm going to focus here. This is my highway; this is where I'm going.” And to answer what you notice, Carrie, around being all in and commitment, is deciding this is the best pathway for me and to be able to understand how to do that, I approach it in three phases through Turning Point.

Even though it's a 12-month experience, it only takes three months to actually get through the core of it, to be able to release something. The rest is designed to help support you as you actually execute these things and see them change from being a thought or a plan to being a reality, which is just nice to have support instead of being like, “Oh you program has ended, time to go off on your own, goodbye!” - really stressful!

Essentially the first phase is around what's called an impact niche. It's identifying what is the thing that I can do in the world that I can see needs to be done, that no one else can see. It kind of gets you to this place where you're like, “Oh, this is what I'm meant to be doing, this feels really good.” Then we really narrow it into where is the crossover between what you really want to bring into the world and change, and use business as a vehicle to do that, and where the marketplace and the finance and the lifestyle kind of come from. So that intersection, I call it a moment nice, a segment nice, it helps you get right into that sweet spot.

From that sweet spot, we actually build your business model and competitive advantage and that's your phase two. That's module two of the process, the second month of your massive transition. That's where we really look at what your business offerings are, how are we designing them to give a really ultimate experience.


You've got to be ten times better than either the closest competitor or more often with unique businesses, either the person's DIYing their need being met, or they're even not getting their needs met at all, even though they would be very willing to spend money on having the need met, but ten times better, and that makes it a no brainer. So someone has a strategy of “This is why I'm ten times better.” then how to keep nurturing that over time as well.

The third is around communications and the brand aspect of business design, that's not the same as the brand strategy the brand designers do. It's where the business decisions affect the brand. It helps you work well with your designers if you're using them, but it also helps you understand I'm doing all these amazing things, and my audience is out there with this challenge and at that time they have this emotion that they're trying to get away from, related to the challenge, and this emotion that they're trying to call in more of, related to what it feels like to have that challenge solved usually.

When you have that, all of those things in order, you have found your highway because you are then able to communicate all of that magic that you're actually doing to someone so that they can see you straight away and be like, “This feels right,” which is the first thing that I have to do to actually then listen and read the details and go, “This is actually what I've been looking for.”

Then your website, etc. can sell without you being there. Or you can just have that really useful relationship where it's just so clear what role your business plays and that it's needed. I feel like the more people that are in that position, the easier it is for everyone.

As parents in particular, a bit of ease goes a long way into just overall quality of life. It's definitely a sweet spot for me. I think right now we see in Australia more than nine in ten businesses are playing into very saturated industries. If you're very similar, you don't have that differentiation and then each year thousands and thousands more people flood into that same area. They're doing the same things and they’re like, “Oh, how do I stand out? How do I cut through? How do I get my audience?” But they're using the same strategies to cut through as everyone else. That doesn't work anymore.

Customers will pay for the cheapest thing if there's billions of alternatives for what you're doing. It's really hard and then you're struggling because year on year it gets harder and harder to cut through because you're too similar to the others. Then in the marketplace, it means you actually have to pay more for the airtime because more and more businesses have demand to get in front of those same eyes.

It's actually easier to be a niche. The competitive advantage works for you kind of individually as well, but I really believe on a deep purpose level that the word “done before” means overdone, and the world no longer needs us to make things that don't need to exist. Whether it's finding a powerful pivot within your space, or a radical change, whatever it is for you, ultimately, if it's going to be more enjoyable, it's worth leaning into.

But if you can really do that, I can really see a whole world where everyone is creating things that need to exist. Like if we're all out there replacing the things that we could do, how amazing. How big a change could we actually affect together? That's the whole world working as a great team. The individual is an entrepreneur getting to have their own flexibility. I think that's very possible now and with business design for sure.

00:24:36:09 - 00:24:58:02

Carrie Kwan

The future looks bright. The million-dollar question for me is what idea are you loving right now? What's the next big idea that you're loving right now? If I can add as well, what do you love most about being a woman who runs your own business?

00:24:59:02 - 00:28:44:23

Melissa Pepers

Two good questions! The ideas that I love the most are anything. that can take me closer to doing more and more of all the different ideas that I want to do at a time. I seek intense variety. I think in some ways, becoming a business designer was just a way for me to bring all of my ideas out into the world instead of just one at a time.

So for me, it's a process called How, Now, Wow. You can find versions of it online. I think I may have a blog article on it. I'll send it to you for the show notes, but essentially it allows you to sort through your ideas. But an important part of How Now Wow is looking at your calendar and every single month dedicating some non-negotiable time.

So if something comes up, you have to move that to a different time within that same month, it's non-negotiable. That time, at least 2 hours to half a day is a really good amount of time, and I promise it is worth it. In this time, what you want to do is chip away at the next big idea that you want to create into the world.

Whether it's an experiment you're trying out a niche to, to see, maybe I will do a big pivot, see how it works, maybe it's a new product within your range, but just to chip away at it. Maybe it takes you a whole year to get something out or a couple of years, but after those two years, you've got a product that other people don't have. You’re two years ahead of anyone that was trying to copy you and in business, especially in smaller businesses, we very rarely give ourselves on the business time.

I found for myself and the people I work with, the more time we spend on the business, usually the more satisfied and excited we are and the more profitable it is. Google and Atlassian, Google in particular, more than 50% of their annual revenue comes from ideas that were created and worked on in time spent that way.

It is profitable to do, even if it seems a little bit ambiguous, but actually just spending time. I love anything that helps ideas get out there in the world, but particularly if you're listening, carving that time away and just picking one idea, don't keep flitting between ideas at that time, it's a waste of time, unfortunately. Pick the one that fires you up the most and just get it out. Chip away at it, so worthwhile.

Then for the other question about being a woman in business, what do I love the most? There's something about the feminine energy. That's not to say that I haven't met masculine energies that do this, but it just seems so much bigger with the way women work. There's a big element of pleasure and play in the way that we work that I think is quite uncommon or something that's particularly special and I would love to see nourished a lot more in that space is something where we can sit in pleasure and create things that feel good and sit in this space that feels really good. I really think that lifts the energy of everyone around us. It's not even just opening doors, it's just the way a really funny gift feels or something unexpected, just any kind of element of pleasure like that. I think women really nail that very naturally.

When we are able to sit in that space of doing what we like, not just creative flow, but just really enjoying it, I call it juicy, really enjoying that kind of juicy energy that has so much goodness, profitability, wonderful ideas get out into the world in a really special way the more we sit in that space.

00:28:45:19 - 00:29:07:11

Lucy Kippist

I know I'm going to be listening to this episode a few times while furiously taking notes as I'm listening to you, so fascinating. To drill it down a little bit more in terms of the mechanics of building a business and particularly networking and networking digitally.

Say you've crafted this incredibly beautiful business idea, your clarities on point and you're ready to go. How do you then go out to communities and network? How do you look at digital networking and what do you think is a great connection? How would you define a great connection in that space?

00:29:29:11 - 00:34:11:15

Melissa Pepers

I'm really deliberate with community, we spoke about this when we first spoke, Lucy. I love this question. Community is essential in so many ways for me personally, but also just for business success. Essentially, if you imagine being a cute little bottle on a shelf, you've got your juicy energy right there, and you're sitting on this shelf and people pass by you and you can put yourself on a shelf where more people are likely to pass by you and say yes instead of no. But ultimately, you know that there's always going to be people that walk right past.

As a business owner, whether it's scalable or not, you want to put yourself, your energy, your vision, your dreams in front of as many people that can say yes as possible, so that at the end of say, a month, if you need a certain amount of customers to thrive, for example, new customers to thrive or sales to thrive, you need to put that juicy energy out, potentially in front of, say you need five customers, you might need to be in front of 5000 new people that have never discovered your juiciness before, but that have been looking for it, knowing that maybe only five will end up buying at that moment.

Later on, they might hang around, they might accidentally walk past because they're just too consumed at that moment to realise, or maybe you're not a number one priority in their life right now, even though you can help them and are important. Community allows you to spread your juiciness. I really think the more people you engage with and interact with, the more your impact can spread in the world.

Ultimately business is about the way I see it as a futurist business designer, it is about impacting the world. If you're not actually going out there in the world and connecting with the kind of people that might have been looking for what you do, but also might be able to help you, advise you to get to where you need to be, or even just understand as a colleague what it's like to be in your business owner life, especially being a mum as well.

It's very easy for people to not understand where we're at. Most of my friends from school and uni aren't business owners and mothers and they do not get it. But at Mums and Co, that's the other part of community that's a really, really important and a big part of why I joined Mums and Co specifically, not just connecting to the world and finding all these kinds of different people. I would like to say I'm an introvert, it took me a long time to work out networking in my business.

I'm an introvert who loves people a lot. Even though it can be a tiring experience, it's also so exciting to see someone's answered your question, someone's out there who can inspire you, uplift you, and help you along, rising tide lifts all boats.

The other part, when you're thinking of joining a community, you want to think about alignment. In terms of business design, this touches on all these areas, but you want to think that the more clarity you have around your business once again, the easier it is. But with alignment, if I'm going to call in a community, what features does that community have that really aligned to, what I'm trying to do next or what's going to move the needle for me. For me, seeing Mums and Co was so good because I was a mum of a not yet one year old at that time, I was navigating these huge changes in the business. I think Turning Points was being built behind the scenes, everything just felt everywhere. What I needed was people that really understood where I specifically was at in my world.

When I saw Mums and Co, I was like, “that’s aligned”. So, you can say yes because you know that it's the right sort of opportunity, but that alignment goes such a long way and you just know, once you join it's going to be awesome. That's exactly what my experience has been as well. I've had conversations with people who just get where I'm at. it's not just one area of my life, it's the crossover of all of those areas and at this time in my career, I need that massively. It's a big catalyst to move the needle for me, which is cool.

So, Lucy and Carrie, I would love to hear your perspective on this as well because you're the one who's built communities, something I engage in really heavily. It's really valuable to my business, but like your community builders. So, I think your perspective on this would be amazing.

00:34:11:15 - 00:34:15:24

Lucy Kippist

Carrie, do you want to jump on?

00:34:15:24 - 00:36:15:13

Carrie Kwan

I think I describe you as the heart of our community, Lucy. I was thinking you were going to jump in first, but no. I think what came to mind for me is this concept of serving. I don't know if it's but a bit of the Queen news at the moment, a little-known fact about me perhaps is that I did spend some time in my early years very much involved in the Air Force cadets and that helped me establish a very big sense of pay it forward.

A lot of people have actually helped me and therefore it's the pay it forward mentality that's really important. A lot of people say, well, if so many people helped me, the trailblazers before me, the champions before me and therefore I now need to do that for other people. Serving your community is a really integral part of who I am and how this business is.

We empower women in Mums and Co. I think when you start there and you're always trying to figure out how can I be of service to you, I ask questions about, “what would you feel like if we didn't exist tomorrow?” How can we make sure that we look at everything where we can in this very collaborative way. Because I know that when you are talking about making an impact in the world, you can't make as much impact just as one person. You have to make an impact with being productive and collaborating with a community, with a group of people. These are some thoughts that came to mind but thank you for asking me a question.

00:36:15:15 - 00:37:13:18

Melissa Pepers

I spoke to someone recently, who just by their nature sounded so much of the energy you just shared where they're like, “How can I help you right now?”, as part of the discussion, it makes me think, what if every time we interacted with somebody, especially somebody new, but just any interaction at all, actually just literally ask, “what do you need right now?”

Maybe there's a way that you can connect someone with somebody else or whatever it is to just open that door for them. I know so many people have opened doors for me for no other reason than because that's the energy that they want to spread out there. That obviously encourages you to do that so much. Imagine if we all just did that every single time we interacted, and obviously Carrie and Lucy, you’re out there all the time opening doors for all of us in Mums and Co. The fairies just out there flying through, but it makes such a difference.

00:37:13:20 - 00:37:43:04

Lucy Kippist

I like that analogy. I was just thinking, it’s about unblocking the path, isn't it? Because we're all just on our own paths and sometimes people can see that block more clearly than you can. I think to me, the most important element of a community is really good listeners. People are really listening for what you're actually saying when you might be saying something else, this is becoming so true.

00:37:43:04 - 00:37:59:24

Melissa Pepers

It's the fast lane on the highway instead of just the dusty cobblestoned back streets. The highway has got other cars on it, but that's the point. It's because it's a good lane to be on and you can help each other get there as well.

00:37:59:24 - 00:38:19:14

Carrie Kwan

I'm going to do a bit of a flip side of things. When we're making an impact in the world, we're usually stepping into territory that's a little bit unknown. That exposes us to a certain amount of business risk along the way. What are some of the ways that you've considered risk as you have grown?

00:38:19:14 - 00:46:40:22

Melissa

That's a really great question for my area in particular. At the end of this process, you're doing something that needs to be done that in some aspect has not been done before. I've experienced a lot of benefits, risks, etc. to this experience.

The first is to understand when you're doing new things that are unknown unknowns, unexpected hurdles that will come along the way. It can be frustrating when you knock down those hurdles because others might see the benefit after you then get the free ride. If they are closer or attempting to be a direct competitor, that can feel really unpleasant. Ultimately, if you have good competitive advantage, you're going to be miles ahead anyway. Managing risk is really important and there's a couple of ways to do it, and it's essentially based on how big the change is and how likely that change is to be risky.

Obviously, the detailed version is inside Turning Points, but essentially the questions, if you're looking at that in your own business right now as you listen to us, firstly, what can be a great way to test a change is to create a single product, even if it's a standalone separate brand, which called a Challenger Brand in my kind of zone, a separate offering or brand that explores this challenge.

So you can see, is there an appetite for it? You can kind of test at a small level without interrupting your whole business on more than a time factor. Then if that goes really well, if you're pretty sure that it was risky beforehand and you want to test it, test to that small level and play there, and eventually you work out, okay, this is sweet, this is how to do it. At that point you can pull back and rebrand or do the big pivot as well, or you might keep both of them, they’re sufficiently different and that's really lighting you up.

For really large organisations, this risk appetite is really, really low. Ultimately, as a small business, we're very flexible, small or medium enterprises, we can move quite fast. In general, the bigger pivots, or especially even if you just run an event that mimics the experience or create a small batch of the product, which isn't what it would be if you were doing the full thing, that's often enough to just see if you're not ready to fully jump in, it's really large organisations that are the biggest, the most afraid of moving.

What they do is create an entirely different organisation that might one day replace them. A good example of this is Up Money and Bendigo Bank. Up Money is a neo bank and it's Bendigo Bank’s challenger brand, but it has a different director ultimately, but they're a wholly online bank and they're exploring really different things to what banking has traditionally been.

It'll be a long time before Up Money replaces Bendigo Bank and maybe Bendigo Bank will evolve in a different direction, and they continue to play different roles forever. It depends, I don't know what their actual plan is, they're not a client of mine. I just think they're an excellent example of how to approach this. What we're doing as a small business is that same thing on a micro level.

Think of your current business as the Bendigo Bank and then ask yourself questions like what could it be? What would be the ultimate experience of this? What do people really need? What's really not working for people right now? Those kinds of questions will help you define that experimentation and by what I call an experimental container, so that offering or product that you explore out there to see how might this work, that will then answer the questions that you need to go, “okay, I'm ready to go all in on this as well.”

Most often this is the case when you get so excited by something because it's for the first time really connected to what you want to do in the world, that you're kind of happy to go all in straight away anyway. I actually see two different cohorts in small to medium businesses based on where they're at with this particular question.

So one, they're ready. When the idea came in, they were ready for a huge change. They kind of knew what they were simmering on and they just needed to see how it all fits together. After those three months, they're like, “I'm in, this is what I'm doing,” and the massive change happens straight away. They tend to get to their sweet spot of what they want to do in the world is what their business is letting them do. Within 18 months to two years is most common for that cohort.

Then we have another cohort and originally, I thought this cohort was just not getting as highly successful results, but I didn't realise that they just needed a little bit extra time, and they were actually the same as the other cohort, but earlier in the journey. This is someone where if I asked them the question, if you won the lottery right now, after traveling the world and having all the experiences, what would be the first work kind of thing that you would engage in? If you're listening to this answer, pause and answer the question, and then come back and listen, because this answer is a bit of a giveaway. I think it's important to get your question down first.

But when you come back, if what you're saying you're doing is markedly different to what you're doing right now, that means a big change is what's in order, but also that you probably don't have the appetite for it yet. This is the other challenge about stepping out into doing something unknown for the first time, especially for women, especially for mothers.

Any other intersections that you experience that make your experience more complex. Add another especially to the likelihood of you experiencing imposter syndrome when you're doing something new, as opposed to feeling a pioneer. Because pioneers also do something completely new. They also don't know all the answers. They're also stepping out into the unknown, but they feel very different about it.

To jump from one of those sides to the other takes a little bit more time for you to actually step into that role of “this is what I want to do and have the appetite for it.” You just need to let yourself take some smaller steps there and that challenger question can help you, but the other one that can help you is to recognise that you're the same as a pioneer, you're just not trusting yourself as much to navigate it, but you've got yourself here just fine.

All the trips that we have in life along the way, you can be the pioneer too, just start by curating how you speak about what you want to do anyway. Ultimately with all thought leadership, you have to be taking people somewhere new. So, it's pioneering as well, right? So if you're thinking about yourself and you're feeling very, “who am I to do this? People think I'm stupid. Do people even want this? And you're kind of deferring that leadership. Maybe you're out there asking questions like, “what do you think I should do in my business? Would you buy this? Etc.”

This has also been my experience in the past, so I can speak to it, but instead of saying, “Hey, this is what you should do, this is what I believe, this is where we're going in the future.” Say, “I think this would be amazing. Look at this other company out there,” think of yourself as an art curator, but a future curator and all of the things that you think are really interesting or amazing.

You don't have to have the answer for it, but you're like, “I like this because I'm not sure about this,” and make it more of a dialogue between you and your audience, it’s still thought leadership. You can still take someone somewhere there. If you step onto that pathway now, that's actually what helps you get to that pioneer space, because it's just literally a moment one day where you're like, “Oh, I know a thing or two about this. I've talked to a lot of people. I've been out there in my communities talking to a lot of people about these things right now and curating all this exciting stuff. And none of them are talking. None of them know all these things that I know about it.” And suddenly there's this moment where you go, “Oh!”

That's when you become the pioneer and sort of step into that. I found with the Turning Points audiences that do the three months and then do more of a challenge, a pivot or only small tweaks to their brand, they're very much in this role 18 months to two years so I don't know why it's that amount of time but 18 months to 2 years and you get to the point where you're ready to jump and go all in and suddenly you're out there in that space.

You're actually on the same journey and you will get there. But yeah, just really taking on that curator role, that will help you get to the pioneer role, I think.

00:46:41:21 - 00:47:15:19

Lucy Kippist

Yes. Thank you so much for joining us today and bringing all of that juicy energy. Thank you to our listeners for joining us on Mumbition today. If you'd like to find out more about Melissa, you can find her on LinkedIn and if you haven't already, please come and join thousands of business women just like you at mumsandco.com.au

Child speaker

What does a futurist mean?

00:47:16:24 - 00:48:19:03

Melissa Pepers

Yeah, that is a good question. So a futurist could be thought of as an imaginer or even a re-imaginer. So if you think of imagination where you can picture something in your mind that doesn't exist yet, what a futurist does is they look at every single thing they can see.

Maybe it's this drink bottle I've got here or my phone or I've got this little candle. Anything in your space at all and you think, “How could this be better?” Or even “what's not so great about this?” And you redesign it, you reimagine what this could be.

What a futurist does is they do that every day. For the things that they reimagine that they really, really think, “Oh, that would be cool. I really want that new candle over this old one.” They make those things into reality. If you invent anything, please let me know.