9th September, 2020

Social Saviour: Founding a social media consultancy in the middle of a pandemic

Entrepreneur Tamara Allan has found the coronavirus pandemic to be a novel time for starting a business. But so far, Social Saviour is making the best of a challenging first year.

When it comes to finding opportunity in unexpected places, Tamara Allan can be considered the perfect case study.

While taking photos for her own social media pages at a local jeweller (Kyabram Showcase Jewellers), Tamara was approached by the mature owner, Jan. Jan confessed to having “no idea what she was doing” when it came to the business’s social media, and Tamara agreed to help her out.

So pleased with the results, Jan was soon singing praises of Tamara’s social media services to everyone she knew – and one of those referrals soon led to a second client, and so Social Saviour was born.

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Managing rapid business growth during COVID-19

Only five months after launching Social Saviour, Tamara’s portfolio is made up of an impressive 13 clients. Although a huge achievement in itself, this rapid growth is all the more notable for running parallel to a global pandemic.

Jaz and Tamara at Flowers Florist and Nursery.
Co-worker Jaz and founder Tamara at Fabulous Flowers Florist and Nursery. Photo: Sarah Thompson Photography.

COVID-19 required Tamara to not only contend with the regular needs of her clients, but help them navigate a progressively uncertain market.

“My clients wanted to keep up with the times and get on board the social media wave during the pandemic in order to survive and adapt,” Tamara said.

“Some were doing OK, some needed assistance adapting their services.

“One thing is for sure: they all had community spirit and I wanted to showcase that online to help them grow.”

Understanding the place of regional towns in relation to the pandemic was hugely important to Tamara’s success, allowing her to address a set of needs potentially misunderstood by larger agencies.

“Smaller regional towns are vastly different to the city and social media needs to be geared differently in these areas, especially in current times.”

Success never comes without challenge

Rapid business development isn’t without its growing pains – even without a pandemic to contend with – and Tamara has learned a few key lessons that helped strengthen her approach to business.

“Learning the cost of time is a great lesson,” she said. “Social media posting takes so much longer than people think it does, and chatting to clients about expectations is important.

“Although every form of media has its purpose, most people these days roll over and look at their phones in the morning — social media presence and advertising is a worthwhile investment.”

There’s also a temptation for many business owners – particularly those who are self-employed – to seek control over every aspect of their business to ensure everything is done correctly, and this is something Tamara warns against.

“It’s so important to remember as a business owner that you need to re-charge your own batteries before you can give any source of power to others.

“I encourage anyone wanting to be proactive in their new or existing business to seek advice and look after your current self so that your future self doesn’t have to stress!”

Bookkeeping, accounts not to be overlooked

Delaying financials might make sense in the short-term for some businesses, but Tamara has learned firsthand that this is a recipe for disaster – even for successful businesses.

Tamara consults with Dee from Wickedly Deevine Cafe and Patisserie in Kyabram. Photo: Sarah Thompson Photography.

“I can’t stress to business owners enough: do not let this aspect of your business get out of control. Make sure you are on top of things or hire someone that can be,” she said.

“I found I was releasing invoices a little late because I was just so busy doing other work-related things.

“So, remembering that being paid for what I do to keep my business afloat was just as important as the work itself.”

Thankfully, there was a very simple solution for Tamara.

“I have recently transitioned to MYOB Essentials and using their invoice template just looks so much more professional and it’s a massive time saver!”

“I have seen some business owners pull in a great income but the paper work and accounting side of things has been poorly run and it is simply a place I would not want anyone to be – it can undo all the hard hours you have worked and create uncertainty in your financials.”

RESOURCE: Try MYOB’s FREE invoice template

Reinvesting in the local community

Tamara doesn’t have to travel far to find success – as well as looking to get her siblings on board, reinvesting in the local business community is at the top of her agenda.

“It also means so much for local people to see their favourite business owners on the screen, but it is so nice for a business owner to feel the love back.”

For Tamara, telling the stories of her clients is an opportunity to shine a light on business owners too quickly ignored or forgotten, particularly when they’re the businesses down the road

“How often do you walk into a coffee shop and applaud the owner? You don’t. You get your coffee and head on your way – you may not even see the owner.”

It’s excellent food for thought for many business owners out there, and can help remind them when their priorities need adjusting, and to remember: you can’t expect to do everything while growing a successful business.

Any business owner knows there’s a right time to outsource, or to bring in a consultant. For those businesses in Tamara’s neck of the woods seeking assistance for their social media marketing: they now have someone to call.

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