APPLY NOW: Bundy program to provide 300k in business grants
TECHNOLOGY is no longer the future but the present and when many small businesses were forced to close this year, owners quickly discovered the importance of having a digital presence and online system in place.
A Bundaberg agency has collaborated with one of Australia's largest business alliance of entrepreneurs and business experts to provide the local community with the support and current strategies required to build their business.
FlySocial Digital founder and digital marketing consultant David Lee-Schneider said he was excited to be teaming up with Entrepreneur Network Australia to deliver a program that would assist small businesses in Bundaberg and across Queensland.
With an international and Australian-wide customer base, FlySocial is a Bundaberg born boutique digital agency that focuses on growth marketing.
"Making use of advanced technology, we can help them to significantly reduce the time they spend on marketing activities while increasing their effectiveness, allowing them to focus more on business operations and customer service," Mr Lee-Schneider said.
"We are currently based in Bundaberg but this year, we have also worked with businesses in Germany, as well as Thailand for the first time, which has been a big step for a small team like ours, but our focus is on helping Australian small businesses do marketing well."
Mr Lee-Schneider said the program was specifically designed to assist small business owners.
"The Digital Transformation Program is the first of its kind, providing business owners not only with assistance in funding but with the necessary expertise and technical help to implement a holistic marketing strategy as well," he said.
"With this program, we want to provide business owners with the expertise and technical support they need, and help them bring all these channels together into a streamlined, fully automated marketing strategy that delivers long-term growth."
A dedicated marketing consultant will work closely with each business over the duration of three months and help business owners to develop a 90-day action plan to identify what is missing from their current marketing strategy.
Following completion of the program, businesses will then be provided with support for a further 12 months to ensure a smooth transition.
Dependent on the specific needs of each business, it will cover rebranding, marketing automation tools, integration systems, social media strategies, content creation and the design of a new or redevelopment of an existing website.
"A good marketing strategy requires businesses to be active across multiple channels, including their website, social media, messenger platforms, search engines and more," Mr Lee-Schneider said.
"Creating content for all these channels is one of the most time-consuming marketing activities, but crucial to connect with the right audience and to drive new business."
And it has never been more important for businesses to have a strong digital presence and technology in place, after the COVID-19 pandemic and social distancing restrictions resulting in online shopping reaching a record high in Australia.
"Retail businesses without the means to quickly pivot and shift to online sales, have probably suffered the most, a part from international travel," Mr Mr Lee-Schneider said.
"Right now, many businesses are still receiving support from the government, like Job Keeper, however when the support ends, the real consequences of the pandemic may surface.
"We find that many small businesses in Bundaberg still have some catching up to do when it comes to digital marketing and adapting to the ongoing shift to doing business online."
The reality of the pandemic hit Bundy businesses hard, with many forced to create innovative strategies through technology, in order to continue making a profit.
"Alowishus Delicious have always been at the forefront of new technology and before the pandemic hit, the local cafe invested heavily in their digital presence, with the release of a mobile app and an integrated marketing strategy," Mr Lee-Schneider said.
"This has allowed the business to quickly adapt to COVID-19 restrictions, which has resulted in their most profitable year yet.
"Local yoga studio Love Life Live Yoga was forced to close their studio temporarily due to restrictions, but because of the advanced digital systems in place, the team was able to continue delivering daily yoga classes online through their website.
"The online class platform has since evolved into its own little branch, now attracting new students not just from Bundaberg but from major cities in Australia (and) the owner Carmen was able to manage this shift remotely while being stuck in Thailand for six months."
Businesses eligible to participate in the program will be located in Queensland, have an ABN, be registered for GST and have less than 20 employees at the time of application.
If successful, the program will then be offered to other states across the country next year.
Together Entrepreneur Network Australia and FlySocial Digital have 50 grants for the Digital Transformation Program available, with each grant valuing $6,000 and with a combined total of $300,000.
Grant applications can be submitted before November 30, online at entrepreneurnetwork.com.au/digital-grant/