What we are up to at The Little Space…

As we look out the windows at The Little Space, we see clear blue Sydney skies (no rain now for a month) and the plane trees are ready to drop their spiky pods onto the busses rumbling below and concentrate on the business of bursting into leaf.   Soon we will be surrounded in greenery again up here in our light filled space.

So just a quick blog update for you on the latest news from The Little Space. 

Our new workshop space has been a brilliant addition and we could never have anticipated the diverse and inspiring businesses that are now coming through our doors.   As interest grows from companies looking to find creative and comfortable space to host off sites and away days for their staff and management groups, we have decided to expand our offering to include catering packages from local providers.  There has been a fabulous growth recently in healthy and organic cafes right outside our front door and we are making use of this wonderful resource.  The coffee is brilliant and the food is fresh, local and organic and it can now be delivered to The Little Space.   We are happy to co-ordinate everything you need so your group can arrive and get to work while we co-ordinate the rest.  

For more information on catering packages and how to book your next corporate off-site, collaboration or away day contact us at hello@thelittlespace.com.au or go to our website at www.thelittlespace.com.au

And beyond business, the workshop space has been transforming each afternoon and evening  into an art space, meditation and yoga room, consultation suite for coaches and very soon we will be letting you know about some wonderful fashion and design pop-ups. The best place to find out what is going on is to join our Facebook community here or to subscribe to our newsletter on our home page here (down there on the bottom left!)  

We hope to see you soon at The Little Space – co-working and event space in Bondi Junction – the heart of Eastern Suburbs Sydney. 

Liz and Rachelle.

“How did it get so late so soon?”…

…168 hours a week and how to organise them.

How did it get so late so soon? 

It’s night before it’s afternoon.
December is here before it’s June.
My goodness how the time has flewn.
How did it get so late so soon?
-Dr Seuss

Here is a statistical fact that will not surprise anyone who is a part time working a parent.  According to a recent report by accounting firms EY, part time working women are 3% more efficient than their full time counterparts.  This means each of these women have produced 1 and half additional productive weeks over the course of a year than their full time co-workers.*

Let’s take gender out of the equation for a moment and consider what this says about time management.

In 1955 Cyril Northcote Parkinson wrote an article for The Economist and the principal stated in the opening sentence of that article has since become known as “Parkinson’s Law”

“Work expands so as to fill the time available for completion”.

Just consider how productive you can be when a deadline is looming for a report. You eliminate distractions, shut your door, ignore your phone and just get it done.  Any parent knowing they need to get out the door right on 5pm will have a brief chat in the office kitchen and then jump right in to the day’s tasks.  When required, our minds suddenly become adept at filtering and organizing tasks.

So let’s look at how we can re-evaluate our time management practices and make our workdays both more enjoyable and more profitable.

  1. PLANNING

This week you have 168 hours so that makes planning a little easier right?! On Friday night or even Monday morning, make a plan for the week and slot in the tasks you would like to get done.  There are usually some big-ticket items that are always getting pushed down the list.  Get them on them back on top before they become urgent but be realistic, 1 to 3 larger tasks per week is manageable.  Then create a daily task list around this weekly plan.  Factor in routine work such clearing emails, customer or client calls and time to deal with urgent issues but set aside time for larger tasks and stick to it.

  1. BATCH YOUR TIME

Be tough with yourself – deal with your inbox only 3 times a day and give yourself a time limit then turn off your email alerts.   If any of those emails requires some dedicated time move that task into a dedicated time slot.  During this time, you are only clearing and sorting so stick to the task and the time allocation.

If you have a constant stream of phone calls, it’s ok to be in a meeting sometimes so don’t take calls at certain times of the day so you can focus on other tasks.  The world won’t end if you don’t pick up straight away.

Look at other routine functions and allocate a time to do them.

  1. CHANGE THE SCENERY

Make an appointment with yourself each day or even better, work remotely sometimes to save on travel time and have a day away from routine distractions.  In my days as a lawyer. I would routinely block out time in my calendar and either close my door or move to another office where I could work without interruption for a set time.  No calls, emails or client meetings during that time.  Don’t delude yourself that multitasking works.  (Personally I prefer my surgeon not to be checking Facebook whilst wielding the scalpel on my left knee).  And remember Parkinson’s Law – give yourself a set time period and stick to it.   If you don’t finish, you will have made considerable progress and you will feel great.

  1. PICK THE LOW HANGING FRUIT

When we employ staff in our businesses we are really good at organizing their roles by reference to their tasks and skills.  We don’t want out bookkeeper updating our website or our HR Manager cleaning the office.

We want their time and of course our own money to be utilized as effectively as possible.  So why not shine that same light on our own work practices? Where can your skills be best directed in your business?  Give your time a dollar value and then outsource any tasks where it would cost less or be more effective for someone else to do it.

  1. GET OUTSIDE AND TAKE A DEEP BREATH

We are emotional and social beings so time out is essential.  Don’t wait until the end of the day to head to the gym.  Put down the phone, pull on some sneakers and go for a walk or run at lunchtime.  Then sit in the park and empty your mind for 15 minutes.  Breathe deeply.  Everything will fall back into perspective.

Get your pen and paper ready – it’s planning time….

When we planned and launched The Little Space we always wanted it to be much more than just desk and chairs and a wifi connection – (although having said that our desk and chairs are lovely and our wifi is very fast!)

But seriously, a space to work is the core of what everyone needs to get a business up and running, or to grow an existing venture into something much bigger but beyond that we wanted to create a platform for businesses to show case what they have to offer, to share knowledge and professional expertise and to build a vibrant local business community.

This Thursday morning (19th March), we are pleased to host Lindi Glass from Sharper Marketing for the first of a series of workshops focussed on marketing for small to medium businesses.  Lindi has over 20 years marketing experience from advising mid sized firms to in house and consulting roles with international organisations and large companies here in Australia.

This is not an event to sit back and just take notes.  Participants will be actively engaged in identifying and planning a marketing strategy for the year and will be able to go back to the office with a clear agenda of what needs to be done.

Lindi and I sat down this week to have a chat about marketing challenges for businesses.  Here’s a little of our conversation.

Liz:  

I am from a professional services background and I think that for many professionals trained in accounting, law or health services, the idea of a dedicated and planned approach to marketing is a little daunting.  

Why is marketing important for these sorts of businesses, or for any small business operating without a proper strategy in place?

         Lindi Glass from                Lindi: 
        Sharper Marketing            The essence of ‘marketing’ goes deep into understanding the ‘customer’ and this
                                                        is really the starting point of any marketing plan and strategy. If you can reveal the qualities of your best customers, and why these customers are preferred, you can communicate to the market and identify more of the same type of customer. In fact, the deeper you understand your customer, and why they love you and your business, the easier it will be to find more of these types of customers.

How do we go about creating a marketing plan?

A marketing plan starts with a solid understanding of your customer – the people who you are planning to communicate with in the market. On a simplistic level, consider your business vision & objectives, and specifically the product or service you are looking to promote.

Many businesses struggle with the next stage, looking to find the opportunity in the market, and how a product or service can solve a highly desired ‘customer need’. Sharper Marketing have created a series of tools and methods to assist business’s reveal this opportunity through our 1-1 Workshop process. Following our Workshop session, we quickly can identify a strategy and communication plan that will leverage this opportunity and talk to customers with this ‘customer need.   

How often should we review our plan?

As business and the market is constantly evolving, a Marketing plan should also be constantly evolving. However a good rule of thumb is to create a marketing plan annually and reflect upon the plan throughout the year, ideally each quarter. Diarise these quarterly reviews with a business partner, mentor or marketing professional and check how your marketing objectives and goals are performing against your plan. Definitely consider revising your plans if there are significant market and business shifts. Also, prioritise your annual marketing reviews to ensure the business continues to grow and stay on track.  

4. What is the benefit of outsourcing marketing to a marketing professional?

A marketing professional will bring an objective perspective to your business and your challenges. At Sharper Marketing we work in collaboration with our clients, where we start from a position of learning and understanding the market nuances, and then apply and share simple tools and methodologies, to create perspective and insight that can change the way our clients look at their business and market. 

 And as we all know, if you want to be successful, the best way is to surround yourself with people who can help create success for you!

5.   Everyone loves top tips – what are your top 3 marketing tips for small businesses?

 Understand your best clients’, and why they have a strong relationship with your business. 

*  Find a highly desired ‘customer need’ in your market, and then work backwards to define how you can solve this problem. 

* The better the problem the stronger the opportunity to communicate an interesting solution. 

“Sometimes the best man for the job….isn’t.” Happy IWD!

As we approach International Women’s Day, it is time to stop and reflect on how far we have come and how far we still have to go in gaining true equality.

Take a moment to ponder this image – so many questions….

My grandmother actually continued to wear just such an outfit as this well into the 1980’s, heels and stockings as she uncomplainingly prepared each meal for us ungrateful grandchildren.  She wasn’t smiling this much at the time as she muttered about the overcooked beans, but then again this woman may have her finger on an atomic bomb detonator… enough already with the high heels and completely pointless apron.  And who can blame her?

It seems extraordinary to me that it took until the mid 1980’s for the Sex Discrimination Act to be passed by the Commonwealth parliament.  I was already half way through high school and blissfully unaware that there were any hurdles at all to women in their professional life.  When I first began practicing as a lawyer in the early 90s, stories abounded of magistrates’ and judges refusing to “hear” submissions made by women lawyers wearing trousers so there we all were properly attired in our navy “skirt suits” and pantyhose ready to be “heard”.

In the 1960’s my mother was obliged to repay her Commonwealth teaching scholarship once she married, condemned thereafter to iron my father’s underwear out of abject boredom as she waited to get pregnant and truly fill her days with mind numbing domestic chores.

So this recent history is anecdotal and wryly amusing and whilst formally as a society we would no longer tolerate institutional sexism, here we are shouldering more than half the housework and grumpily reading the headlines about vast gaps in wage parity.  I read today that there are more American companies run by men called ‘John’ than there are women run companies.  “WTF” I ask demurely?

And this is just here in Australia, the position and treatment of women around the world has barely progressed from medieval times.  How will it ever change?

And the answer is always in small stages – small gains, larger victories, brave crusaders and small actions for the greater good.  One day we may have equal pay, freedom from domestic violence for all women and girls who say “what’s a glass ceiling” or “I never go near a dishwasher” but in the meantime I will continue to show my sons how to use the washing machine, cook a decent meal, wash the dishes and walk them around the house of an evening to see what it looks like before they go to bed compared to when they wake up and to think about how all that happens and who has to do the work.

And here at the Little Space we are proud to have created a “room of one’s own” for women so they don’t have to fight for a corner of the kitchen table to run their business or build their dream.

So stop by today for a glass of bubbles to celebrate the gains and toast the future.

Liz and Rachelle.

Eggs, coffee, apples….Bondi Junction Markets

Everyone loves a market and everyone hates the supermarket right? Especially mothers…who also have their children with them.*

How I loathe them.  Under fluorescent lighting, I peer through multiple layers of packaging and plastic at my potential food source.  How old is it?  Where’s it from? What is a 330 and an E214 and why is it in my muesli?   I’m not sure why a kiwi fruit needs to be lined up with 5 compatriots in an armoured cell complete with a serrated knife/spoon.  Are they so delicious they must be devoured immediately before one can get to a cutlery draw?

And why is that bread made in the Czech Republic and then flown to the supermarket bakery to be heated for 5 minutes so that we may be assured it has been “baked in Australia”?  Could they not mix it here too?  And why are the vegetables so elderly and tasteless and unnervingly shiny?

But help is at hand….

Right here in the Eastern Suburbs of Sydney in Bondi Junction we have our own weekday market, just a hop and a skip from the Little Space.   We love it so much we are thinking of investing in our Little Space complimentary market trolley.  It’s hard to get all those homemade cronuts back to the office with just bags.  Those babies are huge.

Our little market is such a treasure trove for the famished lunch time workers and and the disorganised amongst us who have forgotten to buy bread and fruit and veg and who may have a carton of eggs in the fridge at home that may have been in there for a very long time…

It’s not a market for the uber cool but there is also no fear of an encounter with a knitted pastel baby hat and bootie set stall.  But there are lovely flowers, organic veggies and an always reliable  organic coffee stall.  The egg lady is always there and the Apple man from Orange with buckets and buckets of apples that actually smell applely.  It’s such a lovely smell that I actually felt a bit sad that apples rarely smell of apples anymore and they might only have that smell for a day or 2, just as long as it takes to come down from Orange to sit under an awning on a lovely summer afternoon in a busy city.

So next time you are in the Junction or coming to work at the Little Space, stop by the market and buy your lunch and a few things for dinner too.

And an apple.

 

*Poll results based on no evidential data whatsoever but you know it’s true. 

Konichiwa from the home of little spaces

After a lovely break I am back at work at The Little Space with lots of inspiration from a visit to Japan – a big space filled with (very) little spaces.

This trip was an extraordinary cultural cocktail – from the immaculate hi-tech futuristic streets of Tokyo to the cobbled snowy laneways of Kyoto and the winter wonderland of Niseko on the island of Hokkaido (there are bears in Japan – I did NOT know that)!

The Japanese are  deeply proud and respectful hosts and I did feel more than a tiny bit of cultural cringe as I stepped onto the immaculate trains where everyone sat or stood quietly, all phones on silent or volume turned low for the earbud wearers thinking of that barely tolerable experience on the Bondi Junction to city commute.  Of course after dark everyone shakes off the workday constraints and gets stuck into the beer and saki which only makes the japanese experience even more enjoyable. A chilled bottle of premium saki arrived on our table from the Japanese diners on a neighbouring table just because they thought our children were cute and to welcome us to Japan.

I was mesmerised by Japanese design and the beautiful blend of old and new, the zen-like approach to the use of space which is so limited with such a huge population and the simple beauty of the everyday.  The giving of gifts is an important tradition and the train stations are dominated by shops filled with immaculately wrapped sweets, bean curd based mysteries in beautiful paper wrapping.

Enjoy the photos and book your trip soon.  There might be more than a little Japanese style creeping in at The Little Space.

Sayonara Tokyo!

Arigato Gozaimasu!