Accelerate Lab

Get your business headed in the right direction with Accelerate Lab

Accelerate Lab is a downloadable DIY programme to take entrepreneurs through the business planning process. It includes support and a “fresh pair of eyes” to overview your current operations.
The programme is designed to enable business owners to visualise their business model, and check that the systems and structure and documentation are in place and your brand and marketing is focused and aligned, so that you can achieve the profitability results you want. Try the free diagnostic planning questionnaire, available on the website to assess which areas of your business might need attention.

What’s in it for business owners?

  • Clarity;
  • Increased profitability;
  • A sound platform on which to add more volume;
  • Credibility with external funders;
  • Risk management;
  • Use of proven systems and templates for speed and economy.

The programme is broken down into 4 modules, based upon a project management framework for efficiency and each module includes a worksheet document with diagrams and tables. The outputs are visual and crystallised, so that you can easily see and feel the high-level information, priorities, options and steps.

Examples are:

  • A one page step-up cash flow model, that shows each stage in the path to growth, at what stage/income or production level do you need to expand your resources? What does that mean for your business’s profitability.
  • A family tree of your total potential market segments/niches with your niches markets highlighted.
  • A niche/opportunity evaluation ranking table which enables you to assess any opportunity against the existing and each other, to identify the best opportunities and determine what you should focus on or do next.

Entrepreneurs can elect to do the entire programme (to satisfy an investors or funders for risk management purposes) or just select the modules they need. Each module comes with a specified number of support hours included which is detailed on the website: www.acceleratelab.co.nz

Accelerate Lab has been developed from the Start-Up Lab process for pre-trading businesses and uses a similar structure. Launched in early 2016 and currently having businesses trialling the programme, Accelerate Lab is working with them to ensure that it fully meets businesses needs. In return for a testimonial, it’s been offered a 30% discount on the normal prices on the website for selected businesses. If you would like to be part of the trial programme please contact [email protected] before 30 June 2016.

Free training: What can we do to improve our Search Rankings?

The Blogging Concentrated team are coming to New Zealand in May from 1st to 9th 2015.  Creative Agency Secrets are their hosts and we are running one-day training events in Auckland, Wellington, Nelson and Christchurch for you to learn about how to make your business website effective as a marketing and sales tool.

Ahead of the visit, we organised 3 free training sessions for you to gauge the quality of training and to get you excited and signed up for the NZ events.

The first was yesterday – and here’s the recording for you to listen and share SEO Improving your Search Rankings.

SEO improving search rankings

Join us for the event in your city:

Each link page shows you the curriculum, the venue, the times and the amazing food you’ll be eating (only joking about the food – but it is amazing).

Join us for the next free advance taster event on April 13th on The Business Mindset of Blogging.  Sign up by clicking the “YES” I will watch button.

 

What does a client brief look like?

Thanks to Dawn who wrote in asking “What does a client brief look like?” 

Agency Client brief template

Agency Client brief template

Let us help you out.

What to do when hiring an agency

If you sub-contract your marketing to an agency or to freelancers, you want to be sure that you pay for and get good quality work.

A lot of the quality of output is due to high quality input.  By that I mean, briefing documents.  If you can explain clearly what you want, how you want it done and timeframes, you are far more likely to get high quality work back.

We use Upwork and People Per Hour to find freelancers and expert sub-contractors.

For briefing we always give a lot of detail and we also ask the freelancer to write back with answers to our questions.

We choose these carefully in order to show us that THEY have read the brief.

  • Please tell me what access permissions you need before you start the job

And we also ask them open questions whose answers tell us if they understand the scope, how they would approach the job and allow us to assess how good their English is.

  • Estimate how long the job will take
  • Tell me what problems you anticipate

Below is a template document which we use when we receive instructions to do some marketing for our clients. You can download it from the link.

Each sub-heading is self explanatory – as a client you should fill in each section as clearly as possible and then send it out to the agency or agencies you want to work with asking them to send you price quotations.

Alternatively, you write longhand what you want and the agency will fill in the gaps in the document.  Then you should approve it before instructing the work.

DOWNLOAD Master Client Planning Brief Template

The Top 6 most popular articles of all time

What does a modern creative brief look like?

Take a look at this Master Client Planning Brief Template It comes from a top international agency – and drifted across our desk in the line of duty.

Call out the bullshit.  This is not good marketing agency business practice.

They asked the client to complete the brief for them.

I understand that ‘cover your ass’ corporates may encourage  these practices but how will this improve client retention? Or client service?

Who on earth is going to agree to that?

What a creative brief should look like

Working with CAS we pitch you an idea which should be aligned to your brand strategy and then we suggest ways we’d like to execute.  You edit / approve but we do most of the thinking and the doing for you.

You are busy – you hire an agency for their expertise and experience and probably to save yourself time.  Surely this could be managed more smoothly?

Call out bad practices – We got the courage to write this post because of these two influential folks below.  Take a stand for good work, honest appraisals and don’t allow bollocks into your working practices.

There, we’ve said it.  Weight off chest.

  • @DannyBrown says “When I realized this, and began writing openly about bad practices and calling out bullshit, it once again raised the level of engagement through the roof, as others were clearly thinking the same thing.”
  • Guy Kawasaki “Unfortunately, “social media experts” cause a lot of confusion and frustration with their Fascist recommendations. It starts with their recommendation that you absolutely must first create a strategy with goals, milestones, and expected results that you can follow, step-by-step, to success. “

What is a good creative brief?

But what should be on a brief if you are producing an integrated campaign that works across platforms?

Edward Boches says

I think the brief ought to start with the problem that we’re trying to solve.

The problem, by the way, may not be an advertising problem. It’s what kind of problem are we trying to solve that would make our brand of more value to this consumer?

I think the second thing it has to address is the use of media, technology, content, and community by the users, customers, or target audience or community members. Thinking about how somebody interacts with stuff beyond just the brand and the category is really important. I would actually go so far as to have every brief basically say, “You can’t solve this problem with an ad. You have to solve this problem with an idea that isn’t an ad.”

Then you get to invent this idea or creative that might be worth advertising, right? I think another way to look at it is to really figure out the problem behind the problem. The problem can’t be, “Oh, we want know about this product.” The problem might be, “Well, what problem do these people actually have that we could solve?” And maybe solving it and actually doing something of value in the world of social media, etc., might be the reason that gets them to pay attention to us and might turn them on to the product we want them to know about. That’s almost coming at it from an extreme perspective in order to fight the inclination to solve problems with a TV commercial.

Broadening the reach of marketing

How do you deal with people who aren’t interested in learning more beyond their narrow specialization?  When a TV advert is the ONLY soution; or social media or direct mail?  Agencies need to be able to work across media platforms, to be collaborative and not stand on their high horse of ‘expertise’ when client brands ask them to work with other agencies on the account.

Nobody, but nobody is a leading edge specialist in everything nowadays.

Boches again

Here’s the downside of that. If you’re not aware of the capabilities of technology and APIs and certain platforms, you may never think up the idea to begin with.

So how will advertising change?

Many of these things are in some ways like the antithesis to how advertising works, where we make our stuff so precious and we want it to be perfect and magnificently designed, and then we’ve got to produce it and then we put it out into the marketplace. That long, linear process might lead to something that’s gorgeous and finished, but it’s not always the best. In a world where things change daily and things are disposable more quickly, it’s not always the best way to do things. I think we’re going to see more convergence among and between marketing, advertising, and software and gaming-type companies over the next five years.

What next?

If you’re an agency – take a look at how you take briefs from clients.

If you’re a brand – don’t stand for any nonsense, if you want to brief the old way – carry on.  If you want a collaborative business partner who will work WITH you to help solve marketing problems, change your suppliers until you find one who CAN do what you need and work the way you prefer.

Read our recommended briefing template and download the word document for you to use.