Below is a table to show details of inclusions for each Membership Type.
Please contact us if you would like to become a Member, change your current plan, or get more information on any of the inclusions.

About two years ago, I realised that one of the things I missed about the corporate world (and there are actually quite a few!) was getting together around a boardroom table, discussing how each of our departments had performed in the month. We would include positives and negatives, and as a team, discuss how we might be able to help one another with issues we had come up against.
It was a time when I began to realise that one of my biggest strengths was being able to see simple solutions, utilising existing structures where possible. Being able to collaborate with others – helping others see how instead of butting heads, we could pool resources and create win/win outcomes.

I put the concept to a few colleagues I was already collaborating with, and we decided to run with it for at least 6 months, see what sort of format we could work with, and whether it would be beneficial within the world of small business. I drew up a basic plan for us to work with.

Our Leadership and Accountability group has now been running for almost two years, with no sign of slowing enthusiasm! We actually now have at least one business retreat a year as well, to ensure we take a few days out to work on our biggest business challenges. Every one of those businesses has grown considerably in that time, and I’m delighted to have seen us all benefit from the process.

For some, particularly if you are the only person in your business (whether a sole trader, or just a one-person entity), it can seem strange to consider yourself a Leader. Who exactly are you supposed to be be ‘leading’?

The answer is ‘everyone you interact with’, in one way or another. You need to be able to lead your business – and that includes any contractors, suppliers and even your customers. You need to bring them on the journey with you, and show that your business vision is worth them coming along with you.

We now have embedded this same concept within the Memberships at Central Business Associates, where you can choose to join a Leadership group and work through your challenges with other small businesses or sole traders. These groups have a real mix of people, with different-sized businesses, within various industries, but often some of the challenges will be similar, and someone around the table can offer some insight – even if it’s ‘what not to do’. Brainstorming these issues can bring so many different strengths out in the participants, and can lead to innovative and successful solutions.
Click here to look at our Membership options, and contact us if you’d be interested in joining the next round of Leadership & Accountability sessions.

19th January 2015..

I don’t really remember that first day. Bit of an exhausted, excited blur..

Probably have little memory of the first year actually – it just flew by, with all it’s newness and excitement and my heart beating out of my chest, and some things going very wrong, and some things going very right…!

And here we are, half a decade later.

Central Business Associates – we are celebrating five years in business, and I wanted to do a little ‘check in the rear view mirror’.


Starting a business like this, making ‘flexibility’ the core concept – if I’d known what that would actually involve, I wonder if I’d ever have agreed to do it!
But I’m so glad I did – making flexibility my key offering has opened up so many more doors, meetings and opportunities that never would have happened if I’d stuck firmly to a plan.
So my version of a ‘plan’ has really been around ideas – and values.

Flexibility, Community & Collaboration – those have been the core values that have helped me make big decisions along the way.

  • We’ve had businesses move in, flourish, grow and then move into their own spaces,
  • we’ve seen businesses collaborate on hundreds of projects, and
  • we’ve made lots and lots of friends – lifelong friends, that we might never have met if this business didn’t exist.

We’ve held events, hosted workshops, created membership programmes. We’ve laughed, and cried, been angry and ecstatic.

We have consistently looked for new ways to help local businesses connect, collaborate and grow.
I am grateful for every person who came through these doors, and thankful for all the lessons that I have had to learn along the way.

Whilst I can’t predict the future, and what the next 5 years have in store for us, I do know that if I learn as much as I have in the last 5 years, things will definitely be flexible, fun and phenomenally interesting! 😁

🥰I could say so much about the past five years, but I think these photos say it better 😍

Our Community Manager, Celia Newlands, brings a wide variety of skills to the business.

“I run the Membership programmes, and as such, I’m always looking for new ways to help small businesses and sole traders within the community. As a natural part of the role of Community Manager, I’m often in a position to connect people who may be able to collaborate together in order to resolve both their problems, and as a result, grow both businesses. Over time, people have often joked about me being a ‘business dating service’ (I really hated that one!) and a small business surgery. The second nickname has kind of stuck and is now an integral part of our Membership offering.”

I am meeting people at all different stages of running a business – from developing a great idea for a business, right through to struggling to grow past a plateau.
In the midst of working ‘inside’ the business every day, they often can’t see the proverbial ‘wood for the trees’.
Having worked in change management, I am always looking in from the outside, which often makes it easier to see how simple tweaks could really improve things. And I don’t shy away from the hard questions – if I need you to see that your business will only grow if you stop micro-managing everyone, I will (gently) tell you! 😉

Some people might need to find Marketing support (and there are SO many different areas of speciality in that field), others a great Graphic Designer to help them build or create brand consistency.
Maybe the reason the business isn’t growing is that you are undervaluing yourself and not charging enough, or maybe you have lost your passion in amongst the business development, & the numbers that don’t make sense, or you feel the staff are letting you down….

The list goes on, but my enthusiasm to find a solution doesn’t dilute – it’s what drives me, and gets me jumping out of bed every morning, excited to go to work (those who work with me will testify to this) – even on Mondays!

The service is a general information offering, but I tailor it as much as possible to you and your businesses needs, based on the information you provide. Always trying to find a local service provider to help if I can, as I am really passionate about growing the local economy.
I will ask questions to help clarify the areas a business may be struggling with, or where they are seeking a service provider, before making suggestions of who may be able to assist. It will often consist of more than one option, so you can compare and see which provider fits their needs best.

“I try to help clients by letting them know what is available in their own community – often people want to make a human connection with a service provider, and as much as we can all search online for answers these days, sitting down for a face-to-face chat with someone you may be deciding to hand your hard-earned money to, or entrust with your clients, is sometimes the best option to gain a real sense of trust.
I don’t only recommend our Members in these circumstances of course – I am a real believer in authentic recommendation – and even if I’ve not used the services personally, but have worked with the person and feel they could be the right match, I will say that.
I know a little bit about a lot of business subjects, but in these situations, I am really a provider of information as opposed to a specialist (hence ‘small business surgery’!).
Finding the ‘specialist’ can be time-consuming, and having spent most of my career striving to provide excellent Customer Service, finding the right product or service to meet the client’s needs is something I’m proudly confident about.
I’ve built up a large network of local connections, and have researched significantly to find out what is available in our business community, so I can save people a lot of time if they need assistance and aren’t sure where to look.”

Contact Celia if you are interested in becoming a Member and utilising the ‘small business surgery’. (07) 3180 1615

We’ve all been there (and if you’re reading this, you’re probably there right now). The clock ticks by, and with it your productive working hours, but you find yourself doing anything but the project at hand.

You chat to colleagues, flick through emails and social media, and ignore the growing project pile on the desk in front of you. You head home, determined to make a fresh start, but find yourself caught in a Netflix vortex and before you know it another day has slipped by.

But are we looking at procrastination all wrong? Could procrastination actually be serving a very real (and very valued) purpose? Could it be that you don’t have to feel guilty? Could we look at TIME in a different way?

The answer to all of the above? A resounding YES. But also NO. Here’s why.

Procrastination as a virtue, not a vice

Our culture idolises busy-ness. Go, go, go at all costs. Don’t stop. Check notifications. Respond immediately. Be across everything and don’t you dare stop for a minute. It’s no wonder that sometimes our brains put up a little STOP sign.

But why the stop sign? What is procrastination trying to tell us?

It could well be that you’re procrastinating over a particular task because your ideas and concepts aren’t fully formed yet. Imagine being a painter and forcing yourself to sit in front of an easel and DEMAND of your creative self to create a beautiful landscape between the hours of  9 and 5 that very day. Sounds crazy, doesn’t it? But just because we’re in business doesn’t mean that we don’t still have creative minds. Perhaps procrastination is part of the creative process as your brain mulls over different concepts and takes its time to fully formulate ideas before putting pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard).

Another potential reason for procrastination is that you may be run down. Sickness, both physical and mental, can take quite the toll on our capacity to produce our best work. Give yourself time and space to rest and recover rather than beating yourself up about not performing at your best when you’re down in the proverbial dumps. No one can be their best at all times – not even Beyonce. If you wouldn’t expect your colleagues to work at 100% all of the time, why would you place those same standards on yourself?

Maybe you don’t feel comfortable with what you’re doing. Maybe it’s not the right ‘fit’. Maybe your procrastination is really the universe telling you that something’s not right. Take the time and space you need to look at things from a fresher angle. It’s okay that you can’t get that task done today. Maybe tomorrow will be better.

When Procrastination is your Worst Best Friend

Before you pat yourself on the back for all of your procrastination, consider that sometimes there are negative reasons behind all of your workplace mucking around.

Is the task too hard? Delegate, prioritise and move forward. Do you just not want to do it? Fashion the task into something that sparks joy. Missing key information? Get all the pieces in place before you start work. Not gelling with your team mates? See if you can shake things up.

Scared of starting something big? Reframe your mindset. We have anxiety about making big moves because they ask us to jump out of our comfort zones.

Procrastinators Unite! Eventually!

What’s your procrastination really telling you? Stop reading this article and get back to work to find out.

Referring to ‘Sleep Is Vital…’ article by Michael Thomas 19 Feb 2019

Member Guest Blog – thanks to Geoff Brearley, from Bayside Sleep Health.

In this interesting ‘sleep experiment’ article, the author has mentioned a number of present-day dysfunctional beliefs, and true facts, about sleep. 

Work hours, sleeping hours, daytime functioning, napping, foods, concentration and mood are certainly all inter-related to sleep – or lack of it.

  • There is no doubt that we currently live in a ‘24/7’ world, whether we like it or not. 
  • Twenty-four hours of television, movies, food availability, smartphone device and Internet access, even gymnasiums, are all available during normal daytime hours, and seriously unearthly night time hours. 
  • Add in the pressures of increased performance demands at work, more deadlines, more tasks, and the expectation of instantly responding to text messages and emails, is it any wonder that we sometimes physically and mentally struggle with daily life, including fatigue, poor memory and concentration, and irritability?  Why is this so hard?

Why are we choosing to engage with any or all of these activities during the night at the expense of sleep? 
The answer is simple – we have forgotten about the importance of sleep to our overall health and well-being.  You have all heard of the “Three Pillars of Health’ – Diet, Exercise and Sleep. 
– Do we spend around eight hours a day actually eating?  No. 
– Do we spend around eight hours a day exercising?  No, unless of course we are one of the chosen few to compete at Olympic Games or elite sports level – so for most of us, no.

So why then is it necessary to allocate around eight hours at night to the single longest behaviour we engage in (or should do) every 24 hours?  The answer – sleep must be important.  Sleep is the essential, fundamental pillar of health.

As the author indicates in his article, he thought it was easy to experiment with sleep timing and duration in order to fulfil workplace demands.  But that approach is completely the wrong way around. 
Firstly, there is no denying that we humans have evolved to be active creatures by day and restful sleepers by night – that process has only taken a few hundred thousand years to be set in our DNA. 
But secondly, why do we think we can adjust that anyway, or instantly, to suit the 21st century?  We cannot and should not.  Quality sleep at night is the priority.

The body operates on a biological circadian clock found deep within the brain and has evolved to function on two factors only – whether it is light, or whether it is dark; simple as that. 
Whatever our busy, active days look like starting at sunrise, and reducing at sunset, the one thing we all should have in common is sleep need, sleep ability and sleep opportunity; not sleep reduction or sleep deprivation.  Sleep research has shown that normal healthy adults need between seven and nine hours of sleep, every night (not just on week nights) for normal, healthy, effective daytime functioning, every day, including weekends.

During good quality, restful sleep at night, restoration and repair of the physical body occurs during the deep sleep cycles. 

And no less importantly, mental restoration tasks take place during our lighter sleep dream cycles.  While the actual dream content is often nonsensical (regardless of our memory of them), this part of sleep is equally essential mentally, for good decision-making, problem-solving ability, coping skills and stable mood by day. 
So, if we have bedtime and waking hours at random, all over the place, of varying less-than-optimum lengths, we cannot possibly function well physically, or be mentally alert or pleasant to others next day. 
Research also shows that there are increased risk factors linking sleep deprivation with poor mental health (including depression and anxiety) and poor physical health (including cardiovascular disease and diabetes).

As the author later positively discovered in his own ‘experiment with sleep’, his adjustments to quality, quantity and timing of his sleep produced seemingly amazing results.  But realistically, he simply returned to normal, healthy, happy, productive and efficient daytime functioning, as we all can.

So, ask yourself, what do you need to change about your sleep behaviours (or lack of) to make your days much more productive, effective and healthy again? 

To find the answer, sleep on it!

Geoff Brearley, Sleep Psychologist

Bayside Sleep Health, Wynnum, QLD.
makesleepyourfriend.com

We held our 3rd annual celebration of Flexible Working Day last week.

Each year, to help promote the flexible work concept, we offer free coworking desks, to let people from the local area and surrounds see what flexible working might actually look like for them. And to show that there is an option in between working from home and commuting to the office.

There was an incredible varied mix of professions including :
Virtual Assistance | Project Management | Marketing | Accounting | Management Consulting | Introvert Business Coaching | Cabinet-making | Environmental Science | Autism Mentoring.
Having all of that expertise in the one space was one of those moments where I felt really, really proud of what we have created and achieved within the community at Central Business Associates.

workspace
Flexible workspaces

I was delighted to be asked to be a Flexible Working Day Ambassador by the team at Flexible Working Day .

I was able to showcase the fact that I have truly worked flexibly for the past 14 years, since my first son was born. This has not always been easy (nor is it yet), but it has always allowed my family the flexibility we needed for our lives.
Our need for flexibility has changed consistently over the years, but I have become better at adjusting after each iteration!

When I decided to write an article to go into the Flexible Working Day magazine, I did my usual procrastination trying to decide what to write, when to write it, until eventually, the head of procrastination remembered she had the perfect solution – our new copywriting coworker!
True to her usual level of excellence in her field, she was easily able to write a wonderful piece about the benefits of flexible working, and to write it from my experience.*

Collaboration

This is just another example of the incredible success of true collaboration within a community.
To have the amount of expertise available in one office that we now have, puts us in the enviable position of being able to all offer so many more services to our individual clients.
We can manage the whole process ourselves, and remain our clients point of contact, but not need to ‘do’ the work ourselves.
By accepting that we cannot be all things to all people, and getting experts in each field to carry out the tasks, we provide our clients with a much higher level of service than we could do alone.

What’s not to love about flexible workspaces and collaboration and sticking to what you’re great at?!

*to read the amazing article I refer to, head here (2019 magazine, page 24, ‘My Journey in the World of Flexible Working’). To connect with the amazing copywriter we use, click here and let us know, and we will put you in touch!

What collaboration means to me…

I really wanted to take a bit of time to delve in to explain what collaboration means to me –  why I feel it is such an important part of what we do here at Central Business Associates, but also why it is of great importance for us all to learn how to do it, and do it well!

You really do say it a lot…!

I know, I know! I never particularly used the word ‘collaborate’ until I began planning the concept of Central Business Associates, but I found myself naturally saying the word increasingly when I was explaining my business concept, and also came to realise that I had been ‘collaborating’ for my whole working life! It was actually one of my major strengths, so I started looking more closely at it.
My research found me suddenly seeing the word everywhere  (you know how that happens – it feels like coincidence, but it’s just your brain seeing what was always there, in a new light!), but there were varying ways that it was being perceived and understood. So I wanted to clarify to you what it means to me, and how I use itin this business, so you can understand how it might benefit you, and how you can access the relevant services for you.

Teamwork!

For me – collaboration is about teamwork – it’s about recognising you can’t do it all alone, or more to the point – you don’t have todo it all alone! If we all work together and use our strengths, we don’t have to battle away alone, and try and do the things that we are not so good at (or that we secretly really don’t enjoy doing!). It’s about give andtake – for a partnership to work, everyone has to be bringing a strength to the table, or the imbalance will eventually weigh heavy on the relationship. But it’s also not about expectingsomething every time you give – it’s about the teamwork – knowing that if the other person or people can help you, they will.
Knowing you have a group of people who have your back is an amazing feeling, and makes you all stronger – isn’t that worth pursuing?

What is your purpose? What is your ‘Why’?

Why are we here? What is the meaning of life?

 

Jeez, got any harder questions for me, small business world / other parents / family / world in general?

If, like me – you are exhausted with being asked all these things, and you are weary of reading articles on how to be a small business owner, or an entrepreneur, or a parent, or a good human being – welcome to my world of ‘no judgement’!
I welcome you into my like-minded little cocoon, where no-one is going to ask you to fill out a form to say what are the 3 things you are most passionate about, or your strengths and weaknesses, or your purpose, or your ‘Ikagai(Japanese concept – ‘reason for being’.)

Welcome to quiet.

Just breathe.

I’ll put the kettle on and make us a cup of tea. (just black tea here, no herbal, green, not even peppermint or an Earl Grey in sight!)


Welcome to warmth, and fluffy clouds, and mindfulness….. (WHAT, wait a minute?!)

No, but seriously – it all gets too much sometimes doesn’t it? The expectation we put on ourselves to know it all. To have life figured out, to be ‘the best you’, to have everything organised – to have your s**t together basically.

Well, I’m here to say I don’t agree. (sucks in breath like a mechanic looking at your car…) – a bit controversial Celia – I’m interested to see where you’re going with this…

Can we all please just slow down?

 

Accept that we are all very different – we have different things going on in our lives, we have different strengths and weaknesses, and therefore – we CANNOT BE ALL THINGS TO ALL PEOPLE, and WE ARE NOT DESIGNED TO BE PERFECT.

My idea of perfect is different to your idea of perfect anyway. My perfect day is different to yours. My way to relax is probably different to yours. And that’s all perfectly OK.

 

So what’s the point of todays rant? It’s a combination of things – it’s my frustration at constantly seeing people around me trying to match up to others expectations, and then being horribly disappointed in themselves when they don’t meet the other persons ‘standards’. It’s then seeing these strong, clever, talented individuals begin to wear themselves down over a period of time, about not being ‘good enough’… And it’s about the fact that we all need to

STOP

BREATHE

(now, have that cup of tea I made you earlier – this is essential.)
Now – do you have a place that is your ‘comfort zone’? It might be somewhere you can be on your own (I’m not going to lie – one of mine is the bathroom at home – and even then, the dog sits outside the door with her tail sticking underneath, just to let me know she is there…). Or it might be a networking event that is full of like-minded people who ‘get you’. Maybe it’s even going supermarket shopping (alone!) on autopilot.
Just somewhere that you feel good, or feel comfortable, and you can STOP your brain.
Here’s some more examples of mine: 

 

at my kids swimming lesson, playing word games on my phone

    • – I feel rested and content (as long as I’m winning..!)
  • at my kids gymnastics class for 90 minutes, reading LinkedIn articles that I’ve saved 6 months ago (ok, more like 2 years ago!)
    • – I feel like I’m learning new things
  • in my shared office space, laughing with the other parents who work from there, about the latest disaster in my life (it feels good to laugh about it afterwards, rather than mull over it).
    • – I put things into perspective, and knowing that others have similar things going on in their lives helps. And sometimes someone has a brilliant solution for me that I hadn’t considered!
  • Out and about in my community, popping into local shops and buying gifts
    • – I feel connected to my community, and good about supporting the local economy

You know what? You need to figure out where your ‘moments’ are, and conserve them, and don’t skip them.

And over time, when you are feeling calm and comfortable, and rested – THEN maybe you can write down some thoughts on what your passions are, and what your purpose in life is, and how you can figure out ways to improve your life.
Take a moment to smell the roses (or the jasmine in my case). But don’t try and do it because you feel you have to, or let others rush you into figuring it all out.
You are YOU, and you have your own greatness – and once you are ready, you can open the door of the cocoon and proudly show it off.
But for now, concentrate on finding the ‘moments’, savouring them, and eventually using them to slowly figure it all out.

Disclaimer: Yes, I did mostly write this about myself, and no, I haven’t got it all figured out yet. But I’m a lot clearer than I was, because I’ve found my moments and used them wisely!