Victoria Vickery & Rebecca Paterson – All Star Marketing Club
This month we interviewed Victoria Vickery & Rebecca Paterson, who had 36 years of Marketing experience between them when they launched the All Star Marketing Club and, more recently, The Mumpreneur’s Marketing Academy
(details of which can be found on our Rewards Membership page).
Would you mind giving us a brief explanation of what your business is and when you launched it?
The All Star Marketing Club is where Small Businesses Learn Marketing. We use our proven Business Blueprint of strategies, formulas and techniques that ensure business owners are able to implement Marketing within their business … and get results! We realised that Marketing can feel scary for new business owners, which is why we deliver our training through a step-by-step programme that allows a business to focus on the ‘right’ monthly injection of important Marketing that will work for them.
We launched officially in September 2015, after a very long career in making other businesses an absolute fortune through Marketing! 36 years between the two of us.
It’s a shocking fact that 8 out of 10 businesses fail within the first two years, and only the ‘elite’ make it past 5 years. And the most common reasons for the crash and burn out are cash flow issues and a lack of customers (which we believe stems from a lack of Marketing). We figured that if good Marketing support and training was accessible to all small businesses, then an increase in customers, and ultimately revenue, would follow.
But as the owners of a Marketing Agency, we saw that effective Marketing tools & techniques were not really accessible for the majority of small business owners and we saw a huge gap in the market. We firmly believe that every business can be the master of their own Marketing if they have the tools, techniques and formulas; and access to the right people to help them on their way.
What do you think it takes to succeed in business?
A determination to succeed and a willingness to learn from setbacks. And of course, Marketing! No customers means no business. And effective Marketing brings in the customers!
What is the most important lesson you have learnt so far?
To learn and adapt to the customer’s need. When we first started our business, we had a very clear vision of what we were trying to achieve; and by and large, it has stayed the same – but we have evolved by listening to our customers, asking the right questions, and delivering the solutions that are right for them. It is really important to get regular feedback from your customers and listen to what they are saying.
What do you think it is about you that enabled you to turn an idea into a business?
Never giving up, and being relentless. As business partners we both have a ‘no fail’ attitude and our mantra is “we’ve never failed at anything before, so why would we start now?”
If you were starting all over again tomorrow, what are the top 3 rules you would follow?
1. Have a clear vision and a robust plan of how to achieve it – this needs to include what the product or service is, the financial picture, who the product or service is for and how to take it to market successfully.
2. Talk to as many relevant people as possible – other business owners, potential customers, friends and family. Absorb their advice and learnings to help strengthen the plan.
3. Get the right support to help accelerate growth: financial support, administration and office support, and of course Marketing! It’s hard to do it alone and we all have gaps in our knowledge. Invest in the skills, experience and capability that you lack.
What difficulties did you experience setting up your business and what has got you through the tough times?
Time is one of the biggest difficulties – because time can feel hard to come by when you have to wear so many hats: making the business function, marketing the business, serving existing customers, looking after the finances and of course, time to be a mum and run the house!
This can be stressful and trying to be good at everything can end up meaning you are good at very little! The time just doesn’t stretch.
Getting through this means being ultra organised and planning well. And when you plan time for one thing, give it your total focus. Leave the rest at the door.
On really bad days? Go to bed and start fresh the next day!
Looking back now, would you have done anything differently?
Absolutely not. We launched quickly and spent lots of time learning and adjusting. We always say that even if we had spent another six months planning our business, we would still have ended up producing the same business. Sometimes, you just have to commit and go!
What have been the ups and downs of creating a business with a friend, and what advice would you give to someone who is going into business with someone else?
We were lucky to have had a previous working relationship and so knew each other’s abilities, personality and style. We had a good understanding of each other’s strengths and weaknesses and that’s why we believed in each other enough to go into business together. It is still challenging because there are always going to be differences of opinion and often you see your business partner more than you see your own family.
So our advice is to keep very clear and open channels of communications at all times. Always be honest with each other. Share ideas and compromise. And always remember when there are differences of opinion that you are both trying to do your best for the business. And finally, be friends. You’ll often find us having a giggle over a cuppa, or even a glass or three of vino!
Starting a business can be all-consuming. As mums, what are your tips for dealing with the struggles of balancing work and family life?
There are days when we think “I’m a really crappy mummy” because of spending so much time working on the business; and checking emails when our children want us to play with them. And this is an ongoing struggle.
So first and foremost, it’s telling yourself that you are building them a future and there does have to be some sacrifices along the way.
But secondly, it’s setting special time aside for your child (or children in our case, as we each have a set of twins!) and giving them your undivided attention.
Do you have (or did you have) a mentor and when you need advice, who do you talk to?
We’ve got each other which is great and definitely our first port of call; and the power of two heads can often create a third person’s worth of input! Both of our husbands are incredibly supportive and often give us little business gems when we need some advice!
We invest in outsourced financial advice and guidance, to help ensure we are driving our business growth.
We also take our personal development very seriously, and invest in ourselves to ensure we are at the cutting edge of marketing innovations – otherwise, we’d be rather shoddy at our jobs!
What are your plans for the future?
Our mission is to help as many small businesses as possible, who need support with their Marketing.
To that end, we have recently launched the Mumpreneurs Marketing Academy, an online training programme with Monthly Online Masterclasses, our KickStart Your Marketing coaching pack and access to us via our Members Facebook Group. We want to share our knowledge and expertise with as many people as possible, to help them get the results from their Marketing that they need to help their business grow.
Do you have any specific tips for anyone wanting to start a new business?
Get out there and talk to as many business owners as you can, whether in the same industry or not. Find out what they did to start their business, what was difficult and what they would advise. The more you consume, the more prepared you will be.
Then it’s just a case of deciding if you have the right business idea, the right mental capability, and the skill and ability to make it work, no matter what it takes.