Posts

With our office move becoming public, I was excited to be asked to do an interview with Leisa from Dot Dash Events, as part of their Tide Talks series.
It gave me another opportunity to let more people know where we are heading off to, and what services I will be able to spend my time offering once we move.

All of us who are moving into the Mt Carmel Centre are looking forward to see what new collaborative opportunities it will create for all of our businesses.

Check out the full interview here on their website, have a read of the previous blogs and chats. Maybe even see if you’d like to feature in their future interviews!

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’. 0431 639 217

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 ideas, 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 it in 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 to do 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 and take – for a partnership to work, everyone has to be bringing strengths to the table, or the imbalance will eventually weigh heavy on the relationship. But it’s also not about expecting something 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?

boardroom collaboration
I wrote about this already in 2015, but some specific examples came up and I thought it would be good to share them, to show some actual examples of how working in a shared space can be of huge benefit to your business, and sometimes even to your social life!
serendipity
ˌsɛr(ə)nˈdɪpɪti/
noun
noun: serendipity; plural noun: serendipities
  1. the occurrence and development of events by chance in a happy or beneficial way.
    “a fortunate stroke of serendipity”