Q&A with Entrepreneur Stacey Kehoe
Stacey Kehoe is the founder of Digital Marketing agency, Brandlective Communications Ltd, since launching her business 6 years ago in London she has developed over 400+ business brands, given them visibility on Page 1 of Google search and utilized social media to double their inbound leads. The Federation of Small Businesses named her one of 2016 London Entrepreneur’s of the Year following the launch of her business magazine. With a Podcast, Membership website and Book set to launch in 2018, she is one to watch.
Can you tell our readers about your background?
I grew up in New Zealand where we have a very easy-going lifestyle. I enjoyed school although was never academic and no-one expected much from me. For that reason, I didn’t attend university but instead worked to save enough money to spend seven months traveling through South America and Europe. I caught the travel bug so decided to settle in London to work in the corporate travel industry where I could continue to feed my addiction for traveling to unique and obscure places.
What inspired you to start your business?
I started my business for two reasons. The first was that I was made redundant during the 2007-2008 recession. I worked in the corporate travel industry for financial institutions, and that whole industry disappeared in a matter of months, so I knew I needed to move into a sector that was adaptable and able to grow no matter what sort of economic conditions were on the horizon. The second reason was that I discovered a passion for helping SME’s discover the power of digital. After my redundancies I found myself freelancing for a few sales agencies who were not keeping up with technology. My fear of not keeping up with emerging trends and business practices that had contributed to those redundancies was prevalent, so I pushed these agencies to embrace social media and digital advertising. After two years, I was being approached my other businesses who wanted help transitioning into the digital world, so I decided to launch my first business, Brandlective Communications Ltd.
Where is your business based?
My digital marketing agency is based in London, UK. Although we now serve businesses throughout the USA, Europe, and Australia.
How did you start your business? What were the first steps you took?
I had a very organic transition into starting a business. I was working on a full-time freelance contract so was familiar with being self-employed when I began receiving enquiries from companies which had seen my work. These business owners asked me to begin freelancing for their company’s, and before I knew it, I had a growing portfolio of clients. I then incorporated the business (while still on a full-time contract), and invested all of the profit from my additional freelance work back into the company for working capital. Managing time was very difficult during this stage, but it allowed me to build my own confidence and stability before I ended my full-time contact and worked solely with my own agency.
What has been the most effective way of raising awareness for your business?
Without a doubt, it has been social media. Pushing my views, ideas, opinions, and content in front of an audience is so simple with social media and allowed me to build a reputation within the marketing field. I also did a lot of networking and have found over the years that it is a combination of both offline and online. Everything rolls around in a circle. I can use digital marketing and social media to build awareness of what I do and to leverage speaking engagements and networking opportunities. Many of my relationships are still built in person at these events or speaking opportunities, and then I continue to build trust and loyalty through the content I produce across the digital landscape.
What have been your biggest challenges and how did you overcome them?
The biggest challenges for me have been around recruiting the right people. As a small business, I always feel short of time, so recruiting and training, but also having the patience to allow people to grow into the business has always been a struggle for me. I'm impatient and want instant success which is unfair and stems from my own impatience rather than other people incompetence. My big ongoing challenge is being able to work ‘on’ my business, not ‘in’ my business. I do find I still get sucked back into day-to-day work which I find frustrating. It is something I have very focused on achieving over the next 12 months.
How do you stay focused?
Focus for me stems from being organized and planning. These are two things that do not come naturally. I really do have to work hard at it. I always try to overdeliver to clients so that keeps me focused. If I know we have promised a deadline to a client I will ensure we have the procedures in place to deliver. It is that strong desire to overdeliver on clients expectations that keeps me focused on what I need to achieve within the business.
How do you differentiate your business from the competition?
Brandlective’s purpose statement is: To give visibility to those that think differently.
We love to work with brands that have big goals, are a little bit wacky, edgy or bold and like to do things out of the norm. We differentiate our business from competitors by focusing our advertising on this type of business owner (rather than a specific industry). I also have a passion for businesses who have traditionally operated offline and are looking to make big changes in their businesses to embrace digital. This also sets us apart from other digital marketing agencies as many don’t like to touch these ‘old-school types of businesses’. And, finally, I think our clients would say it’s our no-jargon, down-to-earth, direct communication approach is attractive. I often speak to clients who say they are just so grateful to be able to spit-ball ideas with us, and that we can come back and present them with a simple non-tech / no-jargon filled strategy that they can actually understand.
What has been your most effective marketing strategy to grow your business?
It has actually been word of mouth. We do a lot of digital advertising to raise a awareness of our brand and build our credibility, but our growth has stemmed directly from referrals, and I believe that comes down to the culture of our business and how invested we are in the clients we work with.
What's your best piece of advice for aspiring and new entrepreneurs?
Persevere. In my opinion, there is nothing truly special and unique that allows one person to be more successful than another other than perseverance. If you have a strong belief in what you are doing and feel like you can make a positive influence on your audience, then don’t give up. Just persevere - you will have a breakthrough, and all things will come together.
What's your favorite app, blog, and book? Why?
My favorite app is Audible. I know its a simple one, but I am obsessed with podcasts and audiobooks. I’m currently listening to The SHED Method by Sara Milne Rowe - an absolute gem for any business leader.
What's your favorite business tool or resource? Why?
My favorite business tool is probably Zapier. I love automation! Anything that can make my business or personal life a little bit easier gets a gold star from me. I love Zapier because it allows multiple business tools speak to each other and automates so many things that save me countless hours in my business.
Who is your business role model? Why?
My biggest role model is my former boss. She encouraged me to leave and start my own business which I think was so selfless and shows such fantastic leadership. She is also successful in her own right and has built multiple businesses - a total inspiration.
What do you have planned for the next six months?
I am currently writing a book so I’m working with my publisher to get that finalized and launched within the next six months. The Vault, my new podcast, and membership website are also due to launch by mid-2018. Additionally, I have planned some travel in Asia for some charity work. We have partnered with B1G1 to make impacts around the globe and contribute to the 2030 UN Sustainability Goals.
How can our readers connect with you?
You can connect with me via LinkedIn or Twitter or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org