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The year’s almost done. How did it whiz by so fast? 

More importantly, what are you and your business going to do with the final weeks of 2023?

You Have Two Choices!

As I see it, you’ve got two choices now.  You can either:

Set Yourself Up to Win in 2024 

How you wind up 2023 will have a HUGE impact on how you perform in 2024.

I don’t know about you, but I want to send 2023 packing with another few wins, a couple more goals kicked, and set the stage for a BRILLIANT 2024!

What Are You Doing To End the Year Strong?

Are you planning out 2024?  Are you reviewing and taking stock? Are you asking yourself the tough questions? Are you seaking advice? Growing your skills? Forming alliances? Refining your messaging? Reviewing your brand?

Are you in?

Are you ready to squeeze as much as you can out of the rest of 2023? And, set yourself up for your next best year ever? Are you over not growing as fast as you expected? Overwhelmed with tasks? Unclear on priorities? Not sure where the new opportunities are?

If this even sounds just a little like you, then why not consider our 90-MINUTE JUMP START Growth Accelerator Session as a great end of year final investment in your self and in your business.

You can SECURE YOUR SPOT in one of the 10 limited spots in the 90-MINUTE JUMP START Growth Accelerator Sessions below.

BOOKINGS CLOSE by 01 December, but sessions will be conducted up to 15 December.

What’s Included?

These sessions deliver immediate, actionable, and implementable recommendations that will translate into scalable and sustainable business growth before Christmas…AND BEYOND!  You’ll get a strategic roadmap to START YOU'RE 2024 LIKE A BOSS!

You’ll find all the details of how it works HERE - what’s included and how it is going to give you and your business the tools it needs today to amplify and accelerate your business growth tomorrow.

Success Is Often Preceded By Strategy!

You could take the easy way out of the rest of the year. Or, you could invest in one final push, just like the marathoner does when they get eyes on the finish line. Don’t start 2024 in the same position you’re in now! Finish 2023 STRONG. Start 2024 STRONGER!

Book You're 90-Minute Growth Jumpstart Growth Accelerator Session TODAY!

And make Strategic Business Growth the ONE New Year’s Resolution you actually achieve!

We're keen to grow our alliance network. 

If you are, too... then request a copy of The Growth Garden Referral Program details, to see if we're a fit!

Forming Strategic Alliances Is Like Planting A Diverse Growth Garden of Benefits! 

Forming strategic alliances with your professional peers expands your network of business besties, reduces entrepreneurial isolation, and helps keep things interesting. It also offers other very strategic benefits that you as an SME may be able to realise.  

The creation of a solid strategic alliance is a marketing strategy that delivers a plethora of growth benefits, if done right.  

A strategic alliance could be as basic as having a referral program in place that pays out a referral fee for newly referred business, or as complex as offering a shared service, combining CRM databases, collaborating on new product/service development, and ongoing communications, to creating a whole new business partnership. 

The Benefits Of Strategic Alliances Include

The benefits are undeniable. Overall, strategic alliances can provide a number of benefits for SME service businesses. By carefully selecting your partners and structuring the alliance effectively, you as a SME service businesses can reap the rewards of these benefits and grow your businesses more quickly and successfully.

Some Considerations

There is no reward without risk, but our job as successful entrepreneurs is to minimise the risk wherever possible.

When forming strategic alliances with their peers, SME businesses should consider the following:

Some Specifics

In addition, SME businesses may also want to consider the following specifics:

By carefully considering all of these factors, SME businesses can increase the chances of success and shared growth from their strategic alliances.

Final Tips

Some final tips for SME businesses forming strategic alliances are:

SME strategic alliance formation can be a winning strategic growth strategy and increase your opportunities for realising scalable and sustainable growth.

And, isn’t that what we all want?

The Pitch-Back Technique 

A clever marketing strategy for responding to those uninvited sales pitches

How many unwanted sales pitches do you receive each day? Count up all those  you receive  either via email, through social media, DMs, or SMS/text messages. Got your number?

In a brief survey I conducted, respondents shared that they’re receiving somewhere between 2 or 3 and dozens!  DAILY!!!

Social media can be a great place to learn and share and to network with potential customers and partners. However, it can also be a breeding ground for sleazy, unwarranted, intrusive sales pitches. 

If you're constantly being bombarded with pitches from people who don't seem to be interested in getting to know you or your business, it can be frustrating, not to mention a colossal waste of time.

Enter the pitch-back marketing technique. 

This clever strategy involves responding back to sales pitches with your own pitch. But don't worry, it's not as slimy as it sounds. 

The key here is to be respectful and professional, and to focus on how your product or service can benefit the other person.

Here are a few of the benefits of using the pitch-back marketing technique:

Here are some tips for pitching back effectively:

I received an uninvited pitch from an absolute stranger who I have no visible connection with. Here is an example of my pitch-back in action:

The Original Uninvited Pitch 

"Hey Linda, I'm reaching out to you because I think our new CRM software would be a great fit for your business. It's easy to use and it can help you automate your sales and marketing processes. Many agencies like yours have benefitted from the powerful reporting and automation properties of our CRM software and they are raving about how easy it is to use.Let’s set up a time to chat about your needs."

The Pitch-Back

"Thanks [name] for reaching out and letting me know about your CRM software. I'm most interested in learning about CRM solutions that can help my service business clients to automate their sales and marketing processes as a complement to the services I provide..My company, The Growth Garden, is a branding, marketing, and growth agency that helps ambitious service businesses to grow, scale, and thrive.We help clients create a compelling vision for their future and then provide all the growth, marketing, branding, messaging, coaching and consulting tools required to actually achieve it.  You can see our full range of services here: you know of any service organisations that need help getting clear on their goals, clarifying their brand and competitive advantage, or scaling their growth plans, I’d be grateful if you would pass along my details. Here’s a link where potential clients can book in a discovery call to learn more about how we can help them grow!.Thanks again for reaching out!

This pitch-back is respectful and professional. It focuses on creating a win-win. It leverages the chance to promote your own business and encourages ongoing dialogue and CTAs on your terms.

If you're looking for a clever way to respond to sales pitches on social media, in your email box, and elsewhere,, the pitch-back marketing technique is a great option. Just be sure to be polite and professional, and to focus on how your product or service can benefit the other person and their network. And, don’t forget to add those all too often forgotten calls to action.

Make sure you’ve got your  templated response  at the ready so a quick copy and paste gets the job done!

You might even start looking forward to what you once saw as an intrusion, now seeing it, rather, as another tool in your biz dev tool kit!

I’d love to hear your  pitch-back stories. Did you strike out or hit a home run? Feel free to share them here! 

Hey Service Biz CEOs, How Growth-Ready is Your Service Brand?

So, you want to grow your service business! 

You’re the CEO of a ‘successful-so-far’ service business. You have big growth goals for the next few years!  You’ve been in business a few years now and you’ve moved confidently from the Start Up Phase to the Survival Phase, and have recently landed in the Success Phase of your business’ growth.

Turn around and give yourself a huge pat on the back because the majority of service businesses don’t make it this far! You’re obviously doing many of the right things!

This is where it gets really interesting! Here in the Success Phase of business is where business growth becomes scalable, and hopefully, sustainable! The trajectory accelerates! And, this growth puts tremendous pressure on your existing business and brand infrastructure. 

You want to grow. That's a given. But I’ll ask you, ‘Is your service business REALLY Growth-Ready?’

Do you have the required foundations securely in place? Are they ready for the additional pressure growth will undoubtedly put on them? Or, are there still gaps that need to be filled before you launch your business and all of its resources into full-on GROWTH MODE?

Not quite sure where your business lands on the growth-readiness scale?

Here are some questions that can help to ascertain how ready your service brand is for substantial growth:

Brand Strategy

Brand Awareness

Brand Loyalty

Brand Messaging

The Internal Brand

Service Delivery

Financial Performance

In addition to these general questions, you may also want to ask more specific questions about your particular industry and business model. For example, if you are a software company, you might ask questions about your product development process, customer support, and user experience. And, remember to  involve your customers in the process where possible. Their added perspective can be a game changer!

Growth-Ready, or Not, Here I Come!

If you can answer all of the above questions positively, then your brand is likely to be well-positioned for growth. 

However, if there are any areas where you still fall short, it is important to address these issues BEFORE you attempt to scale your business. Otherwise, you’ll be trying to build a soaring skyscraper on uncertain footings and precarious foundations..

Here are some additional questions that you may want to contemplate:

The answers to many of these questions do not come fast or without investigation, discussion, and concentrated consideration.

But, by posing, pondering, percolating on, and eventually answering these queries, you can gain a much clearer understanding of your brand's readiness for growth and identify any areas where you need to improve BEFORE you wholeheartedly embrace the Success Phase of your business growth journey.

How to Create a Service Brand That Gets People Talking!

Some may insist that service businesses have a tougher time than product-based businesses in creating consistent, memorable, and recognisable brands.

Whether that assertion is true or false, there are some key fundamentals that service-based businesses need to get right in order to build and maintain meaningful brands that create obvious impact and that resonate with their audiences.

If you’re a service business, here are 10 ways to ensure you’re covering off the basics and building a strong foundation for a sustainable business and brand:

So, if your goal is to build a successful and sustainable service brand that gets people talking, make sure  you’re got these key foundational strategies working for  you. 

You’re on a limited budget, but you still want more clients?  Here’s how!

Even when your marketing budgets are tightening, there are still effective strategies that you can employ to help bring in some new clients and continue to grow your business.

Growth doesn’t always have to mean big marketing spends, flashy campaigns, or huge investments, there are a number of lower cost tools that can help you build awareness for your offering, increase interest in what you do, and yes, bring on additional clients. 

Sometimes a little creativity coupled with consistency can be the supplement those limited budgets need to get you the results you’re looking for!

Hints, tips, and ideas for attracting new clients on a budget

Here are a few helpful hints, tips, and ideas for attracting new service business clients and maximising the revenues they generate while remaining within your limited marketing budget:

How many of these have you tried? 

What are those simple one or two actions you could add to your current marketing efforts from this list to help build your client base?

But, wait, there’s more!

Maybe it’s time to take stock and see where you might amp up your existing efforts.  Here are some additional ideas.  Ask yourself, “Have I…”

Have you maximised your revenues from your existing client base?

Maximising revenues doesn't always mean adding more clients. Sometimes it’s about doing more for your existing client base. There are many ways to maximise your revenues from your current clients without spending any money. Here are a few ideas:

Maintain a growth mindset!

Growth can sometimes be more about us and our mindset than it is about our marketing activities  Here are some insights to consider for establishing and maintaining a positive growth mindset:

Focus on your strengths: What are you good at? What do you enjoy doing? What are you most passionate about? Both inside your business and outside in your community, if you focus on these areas, you'll be more likely to succeed.

Don't be afraid to ask for help: It takes a confident person to admit when they’re overwhelmed.  Don’t be afraid to let people know what you don’t know.  We all have lots of learning still to do. There are lots of people in your network who are willing to help you succeed. Don't be afraid to ask for advice, guidance, or support. And, even pay for it because it most likely will give you great ROI.

Keep learning: A growth mindset is open to lifelong learning. The world is constantly changing, technology keeps moving the goalposts, so it's important to keep learning. Read books, attend workshops, listen to audio books, podcasts and take courses, seminars and workshops to stay up-to-date on the latest trends.

Believe in yourself: The most important thing you can do to enhance your growth journey is to believe in yourself. If you believe in yourself, it shows.  And, the best bit is, others will too.

So if you want growth on a budget, there are lots of ways to make that a reality.  Whether you are implementing low cost ways to bring in more prospects, or your strategy is to do more with your existing customers or keeping that growth mindset sharp, so that you can spot those new opportunities, each approach can help you move forward on your growth goals.

But, the absolute best and most effective way to grow your business is to do them all, to do everything, everywhere, all at once!

What’s the most powerful EOFY Growth Tool for Your Business? 

A review and reflection on this past year holds incredible strategic insight that you can apply to the upcoming financial year!

Your  Own Strategic Growth Reflection 

If you’re like most business owners, the fiscal year in all of its busy-ness can pass so quickly that it all becomes a bit of a business BLUR!

We begin the year with boatloads of great intentions, aggressive growth goals, ideas for improvements, and we’re armed with the sincere belief that this is the year that we make BIG GROWTH happen. Then there's the reality!

So, how did you and your business do this past year?

EOFY is the Perfect Time to Reflect

The financial year end is the perfect time to pause, think, review, assess and consider the year that was!

What did you accomplish? What were your big wins? What did you struggle with? Where could you have done more/better/more efficiently? Did your year meet the expectations you set for yourself at the beginning? Did you exceed them?  Worse yet, did you not have any goals or expectations to start with?

If you smashed it beyond your wildest dreams - CONGRATULATIONS!  Well done you.  The reality is that most of us didn’t achieve all that we wanted.  So we need to look at why.

How were your numbers? Did you smash your sales goals? Or come up short? Did you make the connections you planned on? Did you clarify your messaging and get your brand polished so that it clearly articulates you, your genius and the unique difference you make for your clients? Did you launch that new product, service or bundled offering? Did you hire that staff member? Did you automate your AR, your testimonial requests and referral programs? Did you really dig into your numbers and what they're telling you?

Did you develop yourself? Get your mindset right? Learn new skills? Give yourself a well deserved break? What were your personal highlights? Lowlights? What are you proudest of this year? What dreams did you accomplish?

The Truth Is, Many of Us Never Stop and Take Stock

We continue to play catch up, we get sucked into constantly working 'in' the business rather than 'on' it, we get caught up in the busy-ness of business and don't take the time to review, assess, understand, seek mentorship and required expertise and we end up playing small  and staying small as a result. If that's not what you want, the good news is that with a few hours of strategic review and reflection, you could change your direction and help us to chart a new course with an expanded growth trajectory.

It Pays to Identify Your Growth Gaps

The following list is designed to help you celebrate all that you have accomplished this year and identify future opportunities. It can also help you to set some goals for the coming year AND get a glimpse into activities you may not have even considered that can help maximise your growth potential. 

The most powerful bit of all is that your answers to these questions help you to identify you're GROWTH GAPS, so that you can set some key priorities for filling these gaps for the upcoming financial year/  This exercise gives you a powerful start to this brand shiny new fiscal year, so that you can start F2023/24 from a powerful and strategically focused perspective that will undoubtedly drive great growth over the next 12 months!

Review and Reflect to Refine - Ask Yourself, 

“In the past fiscal year have I…”

Strategic Review and Reflection is A Powerful Growth Investment in You, Your Business and Your Future

WHEW! That’s a lot of reflection!  But, it’s also one of the most powerful strategic investments you can make in the sustainable GROWTH of your business.

As one year draws to a close and the next is set to start, make the strategic investment in yourself, your business and your future. Take that look back, learn from what was, celebrate what you did well, identify the opportunities for future growth, and fill the gaps that exist within all of your growth pillars.  

This practice will set you up to clearly see your growth potential, realise it and ensure it remains a sustainable trajectory. We’ve seen it work time and time again, which is why we’ve replicated it in our GROWTH AUDIT service to help clients to  leverage its substantial power at any time during the year, not just at the financial year’s end!

As a new year begins, The Growth Garden wishes you the greatest success for the coming year. Not only do we hope to see you GROW, our wish for you is that you experience SUSTAINABLE GROWTH that ensures you continue to THRIVE for years to come!

If you want our help in doing just that, please reach out! 

Creating a Growth Mindset for Growing Your Small Business

In today's competitive business environment, it's more important than ever to have a growth mindset. A growth mindset is the belief that your intelligence and abilities can be developed through hard work and dedication. This mindset is essential for entrepreneurs who want to grow themselves and their sustainable businesses. 

There are a number of benefits to having a growth mindset. First, it can help you overcome challenges and setbacks. When you believe that your abilities can be developed, you're more likely to keep trying when things get tough. Second, a growth mindset can help you learn and grow. When you're open to new ideas and challenges, you're more likely to develop the new skills and knowledge you need to amplify your growth. Third, a growth mindset can help you build better relationships. When you believe in yourself and your abilities, you're more likely to be confident and positive, which can make it easier to build relationships with others.

If you want to grow your small business, it's important to develop a growth mindset. Here are a few tips:

Developing a growth mindset takes time and effort. But it's worth it. A growth mindset can help you overcome challenges, learn and grow, and build relationships. These are all essential qualities for entrepreneurs who want to grow their businesses.

Here are a few additional tips for creating a growth mindset for growing your small business:

Creating a growth mindset is an important step for entrepreneurs who want to grow their businesses. 

If there is one absolutely foundational imperative for growth it is the development of a growth mindset because without it, you will not create sustainable growth. What we want to do is create an amenable environment for growth, that acts like a healthy soil for our businesses to flourish. Our growth mindset acts as the growth garden where we learn and improve from others, from taking action, from being comfortable making mistakes and learning from them, from embracing challenges, taking on constructive feedback, not feeling threatened by the success of others but rather taking inspiration in it, all the while remaining resilient and embracing the growth opportunities as they come to us day after day.

Ever Wonder Why Some Entrepreneurs Experience Explosive Growth and Others Just Can’t Seem to Get Growing?

Starting a business is one of the most challenging and rewarding things you can do. But even with the best of intentions, many entrepreneurs struggle to grow their businesses quickly enough.

There are a number of reasons why entrepreneurs don't grow fast enough. Some of the most common reasons include:

If you're an entrepreneur who is struggling to grow your business quickly, it's important to identify the reasons why you're not growing as fast as you want. Once you know the reasons, you can start to develop strategies to overcome them.

Here are a few tips for growing your business quickly:

Growing a business quickly is not easy. But it is possible with the requisite hard work, dedication, and perseverance. If you're an entrepreneur who is ready to take your business to the next level, start by identifying the reasons why you're not growing as fast as you want. Once you know your reasons, start tackling them one at a time, 

Better yet, reach out. We can help you to expedite your growth trajectory. 

The Inaugural Episode of Meaningful Musings from a Marketing Mind

In this new Growth Garden VLOG, we unpack real life marketing examples from the wild and learn from them!

These short videos will provide you with some tips, hints, examples, aha’s, even some scratch your head examples of real life contemporary marketing in action.

Hopefully they will help you become far more aware of what to do and what NOT to do in your marketing efforts.

Episode #1 - Why I Unsubscribed and Why You Should Too!

What it Lacks in Sex Appeal, it makes up for with Strategic Strength 

Meet The Growth Audit, Your Super Tool for Driving Sustainable Growth

Some other marketing agencies will attempt to dazzle with promises of viral video fame, amassing huge follower numbers and overnight marketing successes. When the others are making all kinds of noise yet delivering little strategic substance, we, at The Growth Garden, are offering clients highly functional, data driven tools that actually help them achieve their growth goals.

The most powerful of these is by far, The Growth Audit.

You can't change what you don't acknowledge. A Growth Audit, will detail your current state, identify what's working and make recommendations for what's still required to create the growth you want.

What is it?  

Simply put, it’s a holistic review of your entire business operations.  It includes a deep dive into marketing, messaging, brand and strategy, yet goes further to include an audit of company goals and resourcing, operations, systems, processes and planning.  It uses hard metrics to find ways to save time, errors, and money and it identifies ways to increase productivity, return on investment, efficiency,  accuracy, and market share.  It aligns and integrates and it’s like a full service tune up for your business, setting it up to support and sustain future growth.

Why Invest in a Growth Audit?

To set your business up for sustainable success! 

Conducting a growth audit is one of the most powerful investments you can make in the long term sustainable growth of your business.

You may already be aware of its power,  but here’s a reminder of the key benefits generated from a Comprehensive Growth Audit. 

It will:

How Does It Work?

Some standard audit methods employed include:

A Growth Audit is much more than either a digital audit or a marketing audit.  It looks beyond that and includes a review of your systems, processes, operations, resourcing, pricing, and communications, including the following broad sections:

Twelve Telling HINTS the Time is Right for a Growth Audit 

How do you know if a Growth Audit is right for you? Or, when the time might be right?  

There are a few telling signs that a Growth Audit is exactly what you need. They  include:

How many of these resonate with you?

(If it’s more than 3, we should talk!)

So, when you’re thinking about how you want to approach your company’s  future growth, do you want lots of noise, empty promises, and short term gain at the expense of long term growth? Or do you want the benefits of a solid strategic business tool that generates sustainable growth over the long term?

When it comes to the growth and success of your business, what’s  your choice?, Sexy or Strong?  

Growth Garden Opens Gold Coast Office

The Growth Garden is excited to be opening our brand new GOLD COAST office IN BROADBEACH in January 2023.

While our home base has changed, we continue to service clients and their growth needs throughout Australia, Canada and the United States, just with a better view! We continue to maintain our alliance partners in Sydney, Melbourne, Toronto, and San Francisco and look forward to expanding this network.

THE GROWTH GARDEN helps ambitious service companies to achieve their BIG growth goals.

We’re a branding, marketing, messaging and strategic growth agency that helps service providers to get clear on their desired vision, uncover and communicate their unique DNA, find their ideal clients, and fall in love with their businesses all over again as we plant the seeds required to bring that BIG VISION to life!

If you’re a service business that is done with playing small and growth is what you’re after, we can help you to start thinking bigger and get you ready to thrive!

Thinking BIG means embracing :

Detailed Present State Benchmarking

Asking (and Answering) Powerful Strategic Questions

Extensive Business Vision Creation

Comprehensive Growth Planning

Detailed Client Profiling

Brand DNA Mapping and Profiling

Foundational Strategy Creation

Growth Strategy Creation

Ongoing Reviews, Audits and Adjustments

Mentoring,Coaching and Consulting to Expand You're Growth Skillset

So, if BIG GROWTH is top of your 2023 business goal list, then let’s connect and make this your best year yet!

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#businessgoals #businessgoals2023 #strategy #growthstrategy

#branding #clientprofiling #businessvision #biggrowth  

#growthmarketing #brandmapping #brandDNA #goldcoastbusiness

#broadbeachbusiness #servicebusinesses #SME #serviceSMEs

#qldcompanies #results #thegrowthgarden #marketingmentors

#marketingconsulting #marketingcoaching

Linda Johannesson is a Featured Member of HerBusiness Network

I'm honoured to be a featured member of this fabulous network of inspirational and ambitious women that is HerBusiness Network!

Read the full feature article here.