Women In Business
Photograph courtesy of member Strange images
Women in Business is one of the fastest growing entrepreneurial demographics in the Wheatbelt. At the WBN, we want to challenge mindsets, smash goals, innovate and encourage women to grow personally and professionally for the benefit of the region. We know fostering relationships and skill building are two key assets to the success of business and we aim to provide women with these opportunities in the Wheatbelt.
Our WE Shine women’s event is a spectacular occasion to challenge yourself and reach for new heights. If you are interested in attending WE Shine this year please get in touch here. WE Connect is our prominent mentoring program that connects women of varying skill level and provides incredible growth opportunities. If you are interested in participating in WE Connect, get in touch here.
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WE Shine is an annual women in business event that is focused on intensive networking and business development. Female entrepreneurs from across the Wheatbelt attend to network and learn from other high profile women. Held annually in October it is a must attend event if you want to grow your business skills and network. Keep up to date with event information by subscribing to our WE Connect news here.
Women in business in the Wheatbelt can access our WE Connect business mentoring service. This is an annual program where we connect female business owners in the region with high profile and well respected business leaders. If you are interested in being a mentee or a mentor please contact the WBN.
We encourage as many WBN members to connect with one another. But you don’t have to be a member to be included in our Wheatbelt Women in Business groups. And if there is a particular business or female business owner you would like to connect with we can provide the introduction.
Geography and distance is always going to be a challenge when building a community and support network in the Wheatbelt. We encourage you to join one of our online groups to ask questions, find support, build relationships and push your business to success!
WBN helped us look at the processes in our business, what worked well and what needed attention. Then gave us some solid actions we could implement and linked us with contacts that could help streamline our systems. We highly recommend Wheatbelt Business Network.
I asked the WBN for a few policies. Wow, Caroline was fantastic in listening to my plea for help. With very short notice Caroline was on to it. She gave me some great advice then pointed me in the right direction. So grateful for the information and help.
These Women Mean Business
Anthea Brown is a passionate driving force behind an impressive vertically integrated farm and butchery. Her innovative approach to business is a fantastic example of the rewards gained from thinking outside the box. “Baillee Farm” is home to a passionate West Australian farming family, adopting harmonious farming practices in the Avon Valley. The second arm of the business – The Meat Hook Toodyay, provide pasture raised Dorper, Black Angus and Boer Goat to consumers and chefs.
Born in the small Wheatbelt town of Bruce Rock, the Brown family moved to Perth in 1980 where Anthea completed her high school years. A qualified lawyer, prior to returning to farming, Anthea worked in Sydney, New York for the Austrade (Department of Trade as it was known at the time) – the office in charge with promoting Australian Food & Wine exports (to the US) and Jakarta.
Livestock and good food are her passion. She is passionate about educating consumers and showcasing local produce, promoting “no waste” consumption and preserving food traditions. Her message is – source produce from local producers, source ethically raised produce, and pay a fair price for that produce.
Thinking outside of the box and build a business model that works for your business and your customer. By value adding along the supply chain, quality control and produce ownership is retained by the farmer, until the point of purchase by the consumer and allowing value-adding opportunities for our produce.
Business tip from Anthea: “Shear determination, flexibility, and agility have shaped my successes.” Speaking on the importance of branding and reputation, she has created, “A Brand that provides consumers with the ability to interact with the farmer and thus developing a relationship of trust.”
Joley Holliday is an innovative business woman, family portrait photographer, saxophonist and mother to three young boys who has established a successful pilates studio, Stem Pilates, in Moora.
Joley and her husband Marcus moved to Moora in 2012 and started Walkabout Physiotherapy. The high demand for their physiotherapy services got them thinking about how they can offer a greater range of services that enables them to help their
clients earlier, to avoid the injuries they were presenting with.
Joley began looking into how Pilates could improve the health and wellbeing of their clients. Pilates focuses on improving core strength which in turn corrects poor posture and can prevent chronic pain and other health issues. Once trained in Pilates, Joley started offering sessions as a preventative approach in the Walkabout Physiotherapy treatment room.
The groups quickly outgrew the treatment room space and relocated into the waiting room, but within three months got so popular the classes required its own space, which resulted in the opening of Stem Pilates Studio.
Stem Pilates now has three staff, a crèche, and offers individual sessions and over ten group classes each week, increasing to 15 classes in spring and summer. What is behind such a successful business? Joley says consistency is key. “Your customers need to know you are going to be open regularly. With exercise, we don’t need another excuse not to be active.”
“We also make sure we are providing our customers with a dedicated space that is welcoming.” Including things like soft aroma diffusers, individualised artwork and a welcoming entrance turns a shop front into a sanctuary that customers will want to return to.
Melissa Tinker is passionate about preventive health and fitness. A business owner, mother and farmer in Pingelly, she still manages to fit in playing netball, hockey and tennis into her busy schedule.
Growing up in the Pilbara and moving to the Wheatbelt to marry a farmer, Melissa bought Earl Street Physiotherapy in Narrogin in 2016 after working at the Practice for 3 years. It had always been her dream to own a physiotherapy practice, and living in the Wheatbelt helped make this dream a reality sooner.
Since taking over the Practice, Melissa has increased the team from two to four physiotherapists, expanded their geographical coverage to also include regular visits to Corrigin and Boddington, added innovative new assessment techniques, and a broader range of treatment options. Working in Health care in
the Wheatbelt has meant diversifying her team's skills to allow for the lack of more specialised care which is available in centres with a larger population.
Business tips from Melissa: “Identify and communicate clearly what your point of difference is as this will help clarify what it is you offer and set you apart from your competitors. Learn strategies to help you become really good at multitasking, enabling you to juggle home life, hobbies and business. Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t do it, anything is possible if you give it a go.”
Trish Murrell was raised in the city lights of Sydney, but has since found home in the Wheatbelt where she runs a very successful accounting firm focusing on building enriching relationships with clients no matter where they are based in Australia.
With 16 years’ accounting experience working for big accounting firms in Sydney and Tasmania, Trish and her husband decided to return to his home town of Bindoon eight years ago to raise a family in a rural community, it was time to find a more flexible and family friendly way of working.
Initially, Northern Valleys Tax and Business Solutions was a two person operation, hidden away out the back of the local real estate agency. Through hard work and the ability to embrace change, over five years the business has found its own office space on the main street, expanded to a team of four staff and now has clients in Sydney, Perth and across the Wheatbelt, enabled by integrating new technologies such as cloud based software. When asked about what it is like going from a one woman show to a team of four, Trish reflects, “when your business grows and you have more staff, it is important for you and your team to take a birds eye view of your business and structure your resources around what you do well and where you want to sit within your business so you are not still trying to do everything.”
When asked what it is like running a business from the Wheatbelt, Trish says it is all about getting the right staff with the right skills, even if that means employing remote workers, and making sure the service we provide is equivalent to what you would get in the city. “Being based in Bindoon, we are competing with the larger businesses located in Perth which are only an hour away, but we have focused on our strengths, which are client relationships and finding our niche in the market.” That niche is also helping out her big competitors in Perth when they need to pull in extra resources for their complex clients.
Business Tips from Trish:
- Develop a Business Plan, it doesn’t have to be a complicated formal document, but spend time making notes of where you want this business to go, how big you want it to get, who your target audience is and what you want out of your business. When you start out in small business it is easy to get dragged every which way, but by having a clear direction and a set of business values, you can refer back to these when you are approached to provide a new service. Don’t try and take on everything as it can be overwhelming, pick your top activities and do them well.
- Understand your business figures. There is plenty of help available, just ask, and if you still don’t understand, ask again.
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Are you a woman in business in the Wheatbelt who is keen to grow and develop what you are doing?
WE Connect offers Wheatbelt women in business the opportunity to be connected to an experienced business mentor who will work with you to explore the challenges and opportunities you face in business.
Run over 6 months, the program has 4 mentoring sessions, which can be in-person or via phone/ zoom/ skype etc (helps overcome the geographical spread of our businesses).
This will be the third round of WE Connect – with both previous programs yielding positive results for all participants.
WE Connect helps you define specific goals and objectives; and with the support and insight of an impartial businessperson, you will come away with some ‘nutted out’ strategies for your future growth and development.
To register your interest as a Mentor or Mentee, please fill in the form below to register your interest:
“Small business is tough and sometimes, actually a lot of the time your just not sure if your doing the right thing, be it with your marketing or with important stuff like business planning. This is where I found myself and when the opportunity arose to be involved with the “we connect” program and being paired up with a skilled business mentor, I knew I needed to get on board. My mentor was like a friend and the conversation was easy. She made me look critically at decisions I was making or thinking of making and come at decisions from a different angle. She gave me the confidence to move forward with some blocks in my journey (self-imposed) to which my business has hugely benefited. Overall the experience was extremely positive and rewarding and I encourage anyone to get involved regardless of where you are in your business journey.”
Mentored by the very successful Melissa Strutt, CEO of Roobix, Alli Butler is a Wheatbelt based comedian and artist. Alli enjoyed the challenge and contact with Mel and the business strategies they implemented has seen Alli’s awareness and presence as a professional artist grow from strength to strength.
“As a performing artist the mentoring program was instrumental in helping me look at my revenue streams and lead me to producing a live show that I’m now able to tour. The direction given to me from my mentor allowed me to gain clarity around the business side of my artistic endeavours and I’m extremely grateful for WBN for providing the service”