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Covid Created Customers With Julie Bannister

Covid Created Customers With Julie Bannister

In this episode, Julie Bannister from BforB shares with us how we could take advantage of the current pandemic when we cannot do face-to-face business networking⁠—when we have to pivot, to change, and go online. As Julie puts it, it’s not the end and it doesn’t mean we won’t come out the other side of this pandemic or that we can’t also grow in this time. In fact, many members of BforB have been looking at how they can take things online, sell their product online, or do other things so that they can stay afloat in this time. Julie has been doing some special stuff with businesses for years and several different flavours. She helps businesses grow and thrive. And who wouldn’t want to grow and thrive at a time like now?

Josh: All right! Everyone out there in podcast land, I’ve got a cool guest for us today. We’ve got Julie Bannister from BforB, and she’s been doing some special stuff with businesses for a number of years and several different flavours, and overall, she helps businesses grow and thrive. And who wouldn’t want to grow and thrive at a time like now? So Julie, tell me, how would you say we could best take advantage of the current pandemic?

Julie Bannister: Hi Josh. Well thank you and thank you for having me on the podcast today. I think obviously we all are online because we cannot meet face to face and that was the whole part of our business. It was face to face business networking. So we had to pivot. I think that’s a trendy word just at the moment.

Josh: Isn’t it?

Julie Bannister: It is. I feel a little bit bad saying it, but we have had to change and we’ve had to go online. So that is our only option. That’s everyone’s option is to be online and really to support each other. But I think we all have to realise that it’s not the end, it’s not that we won’t come out the other side of this pandemic, and it’s not that we can’t also grow in this time.

Julie Bannister: So I think that is one thing that we really need to be aware of and for everybody to be aware of, and for us to think of ways that we can, and I’ve seen many of our members of BforB, and other business people just looking at how they can maybe take things online and sell their product online or doing other things so that they can stay afloat in this time and then come out the other side and thrive.

Julie Bannister: So we’ve got lots of things that we’re doing. That’s one thing that I think we all need to be looking at, at this present point of time.

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Josh: Absolutely. Changing around the way that you do business is incredibly important and making sure that you’re ready for the boom. And I think this is for some businesses, has come as a complete shock, to other businesses, they’ve seen this as a bit of a kick in the butt to start doing things a little bit differently. And it’s all about just making sure that you’re ready. And there’s just been a breakneck speed that we’ve seen people do some of these changes.

Josh: I guess what you’re saying and I’ll bring it to an analogy I’m very fond of which is comparing success to a Chinese bamboo tree. So the Chinese bamboo tree you can plant and for the first five years, it grows only very, very small amounts. And then in the fifth year, in six weeks, it grows 80 feet.

Changing the way you do businessJulie Bannister: Oh my goodness!

Josh: I know.

Julie Bannister: We’ve got bamboo in our backyard and it’s been there for about four years.

Josh: And using what you said as an analogy, I think all of us have some bamboo in their own backyard and one way or another.

Julie Bannister: Yes.

Josh: It’s about working that out now and harvesting that and planting the seeds now because people right now isn’t the time to bury your head in the sand. It’s the time to be building relationships and helping people out and making sure that when things come good, you already have that groundwork done. You already know who you know, like and trust and you’ve already built those relationships up.

Josh: So that you can then move forward and move onwards and upwards.

Julie Bannister: Definitely.

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Josh: So anyone that’s looking to start a business, this is the most ideal time. And I can say that with a lot of confidence, knowing that Dorks Delivered would start in 2007 as a bit of a side hustle, another one of those words that everyone overuses.

Josh: And it was 2009 that we had the, I guess, mini-recession in Australia and the global financial crisis. And that was our time that we absolutely boomed. I gave up my day job, turned that into my full-time gig and I’ve never looked back.

Julie Bannister: Wow. I didn’t know that Josh. I’ve talked to you a lot, but I didn’t know that. Yes, interesting.

Josh: Yeah, and I think this is the best time that people should be growing businesses. People shouldn’t be closing and they should be pivoting them wherever they can and making sure they’re taking advantage of the huge amounts of time that people have available.

Julie Bannister: Yes, definitely.

Josh: So an example I’ll use, my podcast has been running now for a bit of time and the YouTube channel has been running for a bit of time.

Josh: We have over 100 videos in the YouTube channel published, I think about 120 podcasts and about 180 recorded. But I was only looking this morning at the dashboard for where we’re sitting. So the podcast, just looking at it right now, the podcast, the difference in traffic between February and March increased to 30% more listeners.

Julie Bannister: Wow.

Josh: If we have a look at the YouTube channel, it’s increased. The watch time has gone up by 47%.

Julie Bannister: That is amazing.

Josh: 47% for the month, just ridiculous. And the view count’s gone up by 10% and so I think what we can take home from that is, going up by 10% means that I’ve got 10% more viewers or customers, but the current customers having watched 47% more of my content has shown that they have enjoyed what we’re doing, but they just haven’t had the time to look at it in the past.

Josh: That’s where you’ve got people with more time and what you guys are offering, which I’d love to make sure everyone else knows a bit more about that, but what you guys are offering is going to mean that they can build those relationships with that available time. If they have available time to watch my stupid videos, they definitely have available time to build relationships.

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Julie Bannister: I must say that videos, very entertaining. They’re not stupid, they’re entertaining. Sometimes I’m not quite sure why you said that, and why you say some things, but they are definitely very entertaining.

Josh: I’m going to say something I’d normally never say, but I was told many years ago, you can have something that’s boring. You can have a boring topic or something that people don’t give a crap about and someone said, “They can give a crap about, you just have to roll it in glitter.” And I’m like, “Okay, no worries.”

Josh: So you take a boring subject like IT and stuff like that, and you roll it in glitter and that’s what the YouTube channel and podcast is all about.

Julie Bannister: That’s what you definitely do.

NetworkingJosh: That’s right. So you’ve been running something called BforB in one form or another for quite a while and BforB connects people together and builds those relationships up.

Julie Bannister: Yes.

Josh: So tell me about what you’re doing now for people that are looking to grow their business.

Julie Bannister: Yes. Okay. So just to go back a step, you mentioned when you were talking Josh, that building the relationships and that’s the core essence of networking and business because you need to build those relationships to actually get, as everybody says, the know, like and trust, so that people will want to do business with you.

Julie Bannister: And that’s what we do in networking. So now that we can’t meet face to face, what we’re doing is, we’ve gone online and obviously, the meetings are free to join in, and we’re actually launching in a number of different areas. So we’re launching in regional Queensland, we’re launching in New South Wales in Sydney, and building extra groups near where we are here in Brisbane and Adelaide, and the Gold Coast.

Julie Bannister: So allowing people to join in, in the already established network with our formatted meeting structure, it’s formatted and it’s professional, but it’s friendly and casual if you can have that all in one. And you’ve attended some Josh and you understand that that’s what it is. We like people to have fun when they’re there. So currently, we’re allowing people to take advantage of that and we’re offering free membership, well we’re saying three months at the moment, but that may have to be extended.

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Julie Bannister: We’re saying the hopeful, three months, this nightmare, we’ll be out of this nightmare and we’ll be back to life. But that may need to be extended. So that free membership will be extended for however long we’re in this situation and allowing people to join in with our network. And we have some larger meetings where all of the members all over Australia connects.

Julie Bannister: So that would be people’s opportunity to connect with everyone. But it’s allowing people to build the relationships now and when we’ve got the time, as you mentioned, then when we come out of this, those relationships will still be there. And from that, hopefully, referral business can start happening for many, many people. Wonderful, I’m just so excited about it.

Julie Bannister: I was sharing with my coach the other day and we got so excited about what we can do for businesses at the moment. And as you mentioned, Josh, people who are not even in business, it’s a great time for people to start thinking about that.

Josh: Absolutely. We’ve got an abundance of time.

Julie Bannister: Yes, yes. Everybody’s got a lot of time. And there’s such an opportunity for everyone in this situation and this is the way that we feel that we can help people, help our current members as well because they get connected with other people and we’re all hurting at the moment in one way or another. We’re all coping in one way or another and all differently. But this is, I believe, a great opportunity for people to be building those relationships now for the future.

Josh: Fully agree, as you’ve pointed out in different words, but your network is your net worth.

Julie Bannister: Yes, definitely.

Josh: And creating a good network and talking to people right now is the best thing you can do. Those without a voice, won’t be heard. And if you’re going to just sit there in your sorrows, it’s not going to build your business or your mindset or grow yourself personally. So jumping into a group, as you’ve very, very generously pushed a free reason. There’s no reason, there’s nothing to lose if they just want to spend a bit of time building up their relationships with people now.

Josh: When everyone comes back, as I was saying with the bamboo tree, as soon as everyone kicks back into gear, things will be striving through and thriving for them and their business. So it’s sensible to set the groundwork now. Sow the seeds, put them in the ground, even if it’s not five years, if it’s five months that we’re in this a pandemic for, it would mean that in five months’ time you’ve hit the gas pedal and you’re absolutely cracking out goals. So we’ll make sure to put a link towards that because I think that’s very, very important and that people do jump onto that.

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Julie Bannister: There’s one thing else that you touched on is that some of us, and I know even in the last couple of weeks, I’ve wanted to put my head in the sand or go back to bed and put the pillow over my head and forget that anybody even exists.

Josh: I had a talk to my mate, Jack Daniels. We’re sweet. We were pretty close.

Julie Bannister: My challenge is that if I get too stressed, alcohol doesn’t do me good at all. So that’s not my answer. But I think we have to not be tough on ourselves because realising that some moments in the day will feel a bit like that and other moments will feel, no, I can do this. So we really do need to acknowledge that and get connected with people so that we can all pull each other through all of this and not be too hard on ourselves, I believe.

Pivoting your mindJosh: Absolutely. Being able to sit down and just, if you want to do it with me right now, Julie, I think it’d be good. Just take a deep breath, and take a breathe in, and breathe out. And then just know, and recollect yourself, and recollect your thoughts and your position. Feel comfortable about where you’ve come from and this is something that I always try reflecting on every three months, every year, every five years, I go back and look at each of the different business plans that I’ve made either from the start of the year and go, okay, what have I achieved?

Josh: What have I been able to achieve? What have I been able to climb out of? What’s been the driving motivator and those things and go, I can do lots. I can’t believe how much I have done and been excited about those things and then go, okay, how can I, in a time like now where people are thinking we don’t have the resources to do things, we don’t have the ability to go and see people.

Josh: It’s a time where you just need to pivot your mindset and think about how resourceful we have the world at the moment. Being able to do things such as Zoom. We have the ozone layer that’s clearing itself up at the moment. We have a huge amount of benefits that are coming from this. Now there’s going to be a whole bunch of fallout from that as well and what the world looked like when we went in is not going to be what it looks like when we come back out.

Josh: But knowing that you’re still here fighting the fight and you have a game plan and way to position your business, it gives you something to drive towards and thrive towards. Like your kids at Christmas time when you tell them to be good and then say Santa’s coming. Like, “Oh, I’ll be good then.” You just got to have something to work towards and know that you can create that sparkle in your eye and your family’s.

Julie Bannister: Yes. I think the gem in that is, or the key point in that is being connected with other people, whether it’s your family, but I think business people, we are a little bit different and we can’t always talk to our family members about the challenges or the stress that we’re feeling in business. So being connected with business people, is really important in any way you at the moment, I think. Yes.

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Josh: Absolutely. You’re exactly right Julie, and we need to have people being connected with their businesses and what they’re doing and also understand that your business and your personal life are two separate things and building relationships in business can help you out personally as well as in business. That’s very, very important to make sure you differentiate the health of your business and the health of yourself.

Josh: I paused everything to do with Dorks Delivered and I paused it for three days as I went through the personal approach and game plan as to what we would be doing and how we’d be making sure we’re okay personally. And then once I was confident with the results, I then started looking at the vehicle that brings us the success that we’ve got in our lives.

Julie Bannister: That’s very interesting. I didn’t know that. That’s another point I didn’t know, but I also didn’t even think of doing that. So that’s a very good point, Josh.

Josh: Well I think it’s knowing that your family is going to be healthy. I’m a bit of a forward thinker and I’ll plan for the worst and hope for the best and that’s what everyone should do. Nothing out of the ordinary. I didn’t go do some bulk buying or anything like that. I don’t have a room full of toilet paper.

Julie Bannister: I hope you’ve got enough though.

Josh: I’ve got a mango tree at the back.

Julie Bannister: Ooh.

Josh: But yeah, just the normal amount that fits under our sink and that we’d normally buy and just knowing that we’ve got our water bottles filled up. I’ve got CB radio set up to mum and dad if something was to go wrong with the phone networks or the internet or something like that. Just knowing if we have a complete blackout type situation, that you can still talk to your loved ones and where you’re at with your mindset and your finances and that.

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Josh: That’s something that I’d definitely suggest everyone doing is just having a look at what the government is putting on the line for businesses. There is quite a number of things we went through and we could see that if you were to be in an 800,000 to $10 million turnover business, you’d be pretty comfortably able to find about $350,000 worth of advantages from the government at the moment.

Julie Bannister: I haven’t added that up. That’s interesting.

Josh: Yeah. So that’s the numbers that we’ve got too and we’ve been talking to any other businesses, and this was something that I went through and spent a couple of days just looking at all the different literature that’s available online to see what any of the different stimulus packages include and don’t include, and make sure that you’re aware of them before you start stressing out thinking customers are leaving and this is happening and that’s happening.

Building relationshipsJosh: Just take a moment to collect yourself, see where you’re at and see what is actually available out there and you’d be surprised at what businesses are happy to help out with and in a time like now, as I said, it’s about building relationships. One business, we spoke to them, someone that we buy things from, so a vendor for us and we said, “Look, we need to know, are you relaxing any of your terms? You’ve pretty much presented us with a bill for $3,000.”

Josh: And he said, “No, if you don’t like it, you don’t have to stay with us.” And I said, “Well, at the moment we would love to stay with you, but it’s an auxiliary product that we weren’t using with many customers.” And we said, No, we’re going to have to cut you out.” And he goes, “We’ve had 30 cancellations this month. I don’t know what’s going on.” And I thought, “Well you’re an idiot then.”

Julie Bannister: He needs to open his eyes and ears. Definitely, wow.

Josh: I said to him, “We’d be more than happy to utilise your products more than what we have been. We definitely see value in your product. If you give us some marketing material, we’re happy to promote your product to help us help you out with this situation.”

Josh: And he said, “Oh no, I don’t have time for that.” I went, “Ah well, if you’re not going to invest in your customers, you’re not going to invest in your relationships. You’re not going to invest in your business.” It’s fair that businesses with that mindset will collapse. And that’s again, another thing that I found in going to the BforBs was, it’s not just about the business, but you have a whole bunch of other advantages where you have keynote speakers and you have people come to these groups and they talk about the importance of doing certain things in business.

Josh: Whether that be setting up your business in a certain way from an accounting perspective or creating videos for promoting your business or whatever the case may be. Automating and bringing back your life, which I’m a big fan of.

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Julie Bannister: We do have our guest speakers and that is a great value add. And just recently, we’ve been having a lot of speakers talking about the different packages that the government is offering and a lot of people are doing this, but we’re still giving support around your mental health and things like that. But overall, we have guest speakers who talk about marketing, sales, IT, accounting, mindset, all different topics that can help people in their business.

Julie Bannister: So yes, definitely, that is a great value add. And as you mentioned, it’s not just about business, the friendships people make in BforB is just, it’s so valuable, you can’t put a price on it. And another value add that a lot of people receive from being a member of BforB is the confidence that you build because little by little, so you might be asked to do a one-minute infomercial and that’s very frightening to a lot of people.

Josh: Absolutely.

Julie Bannister: Yes. And then we’ll ask you to do a five minute, and then a 10 minute, and many of our members who’ve joined and was so scared to do a one-minute infomercial, are actually doing 25-minute presentations now. So it’s a confidence-building and within a very, very, very supportive environment. Yes. So that’s one of the biggest benefits I believe.

Josh: You were talking about some things, new things that you learned about me today. One of the things, I can’t remember if I’ve told you this or not, but I was severely bullied at school to a spot that I wasn’t able to walk and I was very introverted. I was the guy that, I’m going to call myself wicked awesome at chess. No one challenged me to that because if you’re challenging me, you’re probably better, but I was the guy in the library playing chess.

Josh: That was my hangout. I was not confident to talk to people. I was not confident to be in the spotlight whatsoever. I was overweight and it was a battle and it was a time where something clicked and I realised that if I have developed the cure for cancer from a computer standpoint in managing and automating businesses, but I’ll have that sitting in my garage.

Josh: No one has the advantage from that. I’m sure someone has got a cure for cancer and it’s just sitting in their garage and they don’t have the voice to be able to speak and speak and talk to people about it. And things like BforB, and being able to come outside of your comfort circle.

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Josh: Proud of me knowing about BforB was put onto a roadshow to talk to people about IT. It was a five-day roadshow. The first day that I did that roadshow, I recorded it because I was going to put it up on the web for people to have a look at. I watched it. I nearly threw up. I was like, oh my goodness, that’s terrible. I can’t believe I’ve done that. I’ve got four more days of this with no audience engagement and I’ve gone, oh this is terrible. This is so terrible. I was going to call in sick. I’ve never wanted my mum to write me a letter to say I can’t come to school so much as a grown adult.

Josh: I was thinking, I’m freaking out. I watched that same 30-minute video, maybe 10 times that night and I’m writing down what did I do wrong? How did I move my hands? I didn’t like that. I look really nervous. How can I fix this? And I wrote down and critiqued everything. Then Tuesday, I did the presentation and everyone loved it. They stood up and clapped. They gave me a standing ovation.

Josh: I thought, oh, this makes Wednesday a lot easier. That’s not to say I didn’t watch it still, but BforB gives you exactly that power to be able to… It doesn’t matter if you’re a scared little mouse and you sit down. It gives you the growth to be able to talk and to know that other people are in the same boat as you. You’re not just the only person that’s feeling that way.

Julie Bannister: That’s exactly right. Yes, and that’s actually the thing that rocks my boat in BforB is watching people grow and getting that confidence. The referrals, yes, because we need a return on our investment. That is still very important. But that confidence building, it’s grows the person and the business. So that’s so important.

Josh: Yeah, well, Julie it’s been great speaking with you and is there anything else you’d like to talk about before we finish this one up?

Julie Bannister: We have some online meetings. As I mentioned before, we have our BforB regular meetings at the same time that we used to have our regular face to face meetings. We’ve got monthly networking, which is open to everyone to come on and we have a guest speaker with that one and I can share the link with you, Josh if you feel that’s appropriate.

Josh: That’d be perfect. Absolutely, that’d be great.

Julie Bannister: Yes. And we do have our daily business, every business day from 10 o’clock till 11:30 where people can just come in and chat with us. No formal meeting, just connecting with people. So yeah.

Josh: Cool. Well, Julie, I’ll make sure to make sure that all of our listeners out there in podcast land get those links and are able to really have a compounding growth for their business over the next few, hopefully only weeks, probably months, but likely, several months. But we’ll see how they go.

Julie Bannister: Definitely. Thanks for having me.

Josh: No worries. And if anyone has enjoyed this, make sure to jump across to iTunes, give us a review, and everyone out there, stay good.

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