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Mariejan Bigby

Business Coach Mariejan Bigby

Being married and the mother of 5 children, Mariejan is very conscious of the need for a healthy balance between work, family and friends; and of keeping a sense of humour and sanity... Read More

Head Office:
Mariejan Bigby:
Postal Address:

02 5612 9836
0488 185 695
10 Beck St, Mt Lofty QLD 4350

Financial Planners - Do you know how to price your advice?

Why do the Pricing session:

  1. Get crystal clear about what is possible for your Fee for Service Model

  2. Provide you with the essential building blocks for your transition to fee for service

  3. Discover the number 1 thing that is holding you back from making the change

  4. Identify the most powerful actions that will move you to the income that you want

  5. Leave the session with the confidence of knowing exactly what to do to create the business you want.

“In 2008…I decided to transition my business from a commission based income structure…to a fee for advice based income Structure….this transition needed a lot of research and strategic planning, all of which was done by Mariejan.” ~ Achieve It Financial Planning

My Latest Articles

New Homepage - Does it work?

We're hoping our new home page helps people make a quick decision about whether to try a free coaching session.

Does it make you want one?

Look here and, if you can be bothered, let us know if it makes you all hot for a free session :)

If you actually want one, that's even better !

Jon Dale
Small Fish Business Coaching Byron Bay

What marketing have you been doing lately?

I am feeling the pain of not doing what I tell others to do. To find and win customers, businesses need to be doing some type of marketing activity daily. I have not been doing this since October due to illness and boy am I feeling it. Thank goodness that I have the support of the franchise which keeps the web page up to date, the newsletters happening, feeding me leads and keeping my spirits high (I have a wonderful coach in Carl).

Now that I am back on deck – so to speak - I am reviewing what has worked over the last year and have kicked it off again.

I am “doing the right things”.

My marketing activity consists of:
• Direct Mailing
• Telemarketing
• Networking (and more networking)
• Blog Posts
• Facebook
• LinkedIn
• Twitter
• Doing seminars
• Speaking at business events
• The web page
• Car signage
• Soon to be Office signage
• Local advertising
• Sponsorship of a Sports team
• Referral Marketing

What are the things you are doing to find leads for your business? When did you last review what is working and what isn’t? If you need help with ideas check out the 123 Marketing ideas.

Believe me, I know that falling behind on this will leave a big hole in your profit.

Mariejan Bigby
Small Fish Business Coaching Toowoomba

10 Questions To Ask Yourself When Planning

This time of year you most leaders turn their thoughts to the past year and plan for the next one. Karen Schmidt suggests the questions to be asked are the same as for a gardener . . .

1. What grew? What new ideas that you planted came to life and grew . . . in a good way. Remember, weeds are prolific growers too and you don’t want more of them. For example, which of your people have grown this year in terms of knowledge, abilities and confidence? How have you grown as a leader? Has your team grown closer?

2. What died? What didn’t work this past year? Was it a new policy or procedure, transferring someone to a new role, re-organising job responsibilities, taking on a new client or a hire that failed to thrive? On the positive side, what unhelpful or negative attitudes died off this year?

3. What would I plant again? Who would you hire again? What projects would you do again? Which marketing campaigns or training programs would you repeat? Remember, just because something grew doesn’t mean you would plant it again. Some people and projects require too much effort to be worthwhile repeat investments.

4. What is ready to be moved? Do you have people that are ready for their next role in your team, elsewhere in the organisation or maybe outside the organisation? What about you? Do you need to consider your next move?

5. What worked for others? Look around your organisation for signs of what worked for other leaders and their teams. Maybe those same initiatives could work for your team. If you can learn from other leaders you will shortcut the path to success.

6. What needs a rest? Gardeners rest beds to allow the soil to regenerate or they can run out of nutrients. What projects need a rest this coming year? Which of your staff need a holiday or at least a break from demanding tasks? What long established practices could do with a rest?

7. What new things would I like to try? If you’ve been keeping an eye on the latest thinking in your industry then you should have some ideas on what you could try next. So what research and reading have you done to identify new things? What is on your “to do list” for the coming year?

8. What circumstances were within or outside of my control? The weather and the GFC you can’t control but there are many other things that you can control. Did you ignore the early warning signs of a problem? Did you make decisions that you knew from the start had a minimal chance of success? Did you fail to take action when you should have, hoping the problem would solve itself?

9. What’s changed since this time last year? People and plants grow, changing the look and feel of an environment. How can you summarise the way your team has changed, for the better or the worse, since this time last year.

10. What do I want to change by this time next year? Imagine your team a year from now and describe exactly what it would be like . . . what it would and wouldn’t contain, where it would be headed and how it would be performing.

Mariejan Bigby
Small Fish Business Coaching Toowoomba

Mindfulness in the Workplace

The brain is an interesting thing. I attended an Australian Institute of Management (AIM) webinar on how the brain works – neuroscience. Of particular interest to me was how it reacts to certain things perceived as threats. Obviously each of us has different triggers but they can be bundled into threats to: 

• Status
• Certainty
• Autonomy
• Relatedness 
• Fairness

Once the brain perceives a threat, the hormones that it releases, causes the following responses:

• The capacity to think is reduced
• The capacity to have insight is reduced
• You generalise
• You err on the side of pessimism. 

This happens because the brain has gone searching in its “history” for a response to the threat. For example, if the manager comes out and says that the company is going to restructure (a perceived threat to certainty for you) you probably won’t hear anything else. Your “thinking” will shut down as you remember every time you have heard this word and the upheaval that it has caused in your life. This collage of negative images is then put together and projected forward into visions of telling your family, looking for work, stressing about money, having to sell the house etc. Meanwhile the manager just appointed you as the new frontline manager and doesn’t understand why you are hyperventilating! To improve our reactions the presenters said that it starts with being aware - mindfulness

Acknowledge when you are having a threat response, label the emotion behind it (fear, anger, sadness etc.) then re-frame the threat as an opportunity – a new challenge. This will then allow the “thinking” part of your brain to look for a new solution. When this part of the brain kicks in, the other hormones kick in that enable:

• A focus on solutions
• A global view
• connections to be made
• You become engaged and optimistic

To be able to apply this to relationships – work and personal – would mean a whole new level of communication and hopefully a lot less misunderstandings.

Small Fish Business Coaching Toowoomba

The Power Of A System

People seem wary to put systems and processes in place. So I would like to ask you – how many squares are there in the picture to the right?

I asked my BNI this last week and got about 10 different answers. The reasons:

  • I didn’t say why I wanted to know, so they took a guess. So if they were my employees I would be tearing my hair out saying that they don’t do what I ask. If I had said that I needed to know exactly how many squares there were in order to quote for a prospective job then more care would have been taken I’m sure.

  • Secondly I didn’t tell them HOW to do it. I left it to them to find a way to come up with the answer. If I had asked them to find out how many squares are there using the formula 12+22+32+42 . Then I should have received the same answer from everyone. That is 30 

To build or improve productivity people need to know:

  • WHAT and WHY they are doing something and

  • HOW to do it

You as employers cannot assume that your employees know why they are doing something let alone how to do it. The how is the system. Unless you have one they will use their own and they may get the correct outcome but the next person who fills that role might get a completely different outcome. Remember

  • People can only ever perform up to their level of belief

  • People will always act for their reasons not yours and

  • At any given moment every person has the power to choose

Mariejan Bigby
Small Fish Business Coaching Toowoomba

Staff - Who Needs Them?

Staff- Who Needs Them?Staff are one of the biggest headaches for small business but are also something that you just can’t do without.

Over the last month I have been talking to the staff of different businesses. From this a number of things have become apparent:

  1. They didn’t have staff meetings or if they did then they weren’t effective – the staff didn’t know what work was in the pipeline and who was doing what. There was never any reflection on what was working and what wasn’t
  2. Processes, if in place, were not followed by all staff
  3. Communication between staff was poor – little issues were getting out of control while fundamental issues weren’t being raised.
  4. The owner/manager was too much on the tools.
  5. The owner/manager had a very different perception of what was happening in the business than the staff did.

The overall result was disgruntled staff – which means poor work performance...

So what can be done?

Someone needs to MANAGE.

Management is crucial because you don’t get paid for what you do, you get paid for what your employees do. As such you have to do everything in your power to help them be successful – you succeed when they succeed.

Employees need the person in charge to make time to:

  1. Provide understanding – talk about the strengths and weaknesses in the business and how you are managing them. Ask for their input and ideas for improvement.
  2. Provide direction – 80% of the time talk about the future of the business. Let them know that they are a part of it.
  3. Walk the Talk – encourage and reinforce what you love about your business
  4. Understand the roles of the staff – make sure they are well defined and you have the right people in them
  5. Plan – set budgets or targets and review in team meetings – what is working what isn’t and Why? Delegate and mange workflows so that no-one is idle or too busy. Communicate what has to be done by when.
  6. Have procedures – how do you know something is being done effectively or not getting missed if you don’t have a benchmark to measure against. They don’t have to be complicated – it can be a simple checklist.
  7. Supervision – no one enjoys a micro manager but you need to take time to sit with each staff member every couple of months to see how they are doing their job. Ensure procedures are followed and ask for their ideas on improving them. Check that they have the training and tools to do the best job that they can.
  8. Give feedback – always respond immediately to a job well done or a job done badly.

Feel free to write a comment on how you manage staff issues.

Mariejan Bigby
Small Fish Business Coaching Toowoomba

Things About Life I Learned From Santa

  1. Encourage people to believe in you.
  2. Always remember who's naughty and who's nice.
  3. Don’t pout.
  4. It’s as much fun to give as it is to receive.
  5. Some days it’s OK to feel a little chubby.
  6. Make your presents known.
  7. Bright red can make anyone look good.
  8. Wear a wide belt and no-one will notice how many kilos you’ve gained.
  9. If you only show up once a year, everyone will think you’re very important.
  10. Whenever you’re at a loss for words, say: “Ho, Ho, Ho!”

Mariejan Bigby
Small Fish Business Coaching Toowoomba

What Hat Are You Wearing Today?

Being a small business owner means that you have to wear many different hats. You are not only the owner, but the marketing manager, IT specialist, book keeper and workplace trainer etc.

The success of your business depends on your ability to wear all the multiple hats needed to keep the wheels of your business turning. At times, the dizzying pace needed can turn even the most capable person into an overwhelmed manager wearing too many hats. As such you need a plan and you need to work that plan. Some simple pointers are:

1. Identify your separate roles

The first step is simply putting down all the varied aspects of your business that you are currently in control of. This includes both income-generating tasks (sales, marketing and customer service) as well as operational ones (managing the team, stock control, finances etc).

Are you successful in all these roles – do you know what is needed to be successful?

Effective goal setting is key to success in any business, and you should set individual goals for each aspect of your business and measure your results.

Make time to work on your business (not just in your business)

It’s all too easy to get lost in the daily grind of your business (working “in” your business) or only doing the things you enjoy and put off strategic, long-term planning (working “on” your business). If you find yourself in this situation, you need to make time in your calendar each week to consider your business, think about potential opportunities and do some long-term positioning. Stay disciplined: You’d never put off a meeting with an important client, so don’t slide on this critical strategizing time, either.

Bring on help

Many business owners end up wearing multiple hats because they wait too long to hire additional staff or outsource some of the roles such as IT and book keeping. Wages are usually one of the higher costs in the budget, but skimping on staff can have a detrimental effect on your business’ ability to grow, support customers and take advantage of new opportunities.

Before looking to bring on help, you should sit down and objectively assess your own strengths and weakness in each of the roles that you do. What areas of your business do you love? Where do you need more discipline and development? When hiring as a small business owner, it’s always best to try to capitalise on your own strengths and fill in gaps for your weaknesses, rather than just hire for what you’d consider “lower wage” work.

Empower those around you to do more

It can be difficult to relinquish control of day-to-day details to others. But it’s critical to let go. Successful business leaders don’t micromanage what everyone else is doing. Rather, they empower people around them to do their jobs.

Make sure you’re giving your workers the freedom to make decisions (even make mistakes and correct the mistakes themselves). In the long run, you’ll have a wiser, more confident, more effective and more capable workforce. And you’ll be able to focus on the strategic aspects of your business.

Always stay close to the customer!

No matter how big your business gets and how much staff you bring on, talk to your customers one-on-one. This is the best way to truly understand customer needs and how your company is doing. And helping customers is probably why you started your business in the first place, right?

Most importantly, embrace all the many hats you wear in your business. Because one thing is for sure; you’ll never get bored!

Mariejan Bigby
Small Fish Business Coaching Toowoomba

How Much Profit Is Your Business Leaking?

Most businesses leak profit, often for simple reasons, which can easily be fixed. Is your business leaking profit?

The Business Audit Consultancy will help you identify and plug profit leaks. And help you make more money. And who doesn't want that?

Just ask Noven Purnell-Webb from Magedata – he says

"The questionnaire was a really easy way to get some quick and effective insights into how my business is running. By merely asking the questions, the obvious things can no longer be ignored and some surprising results emerged. A highly effective tool for any business owner trying to clear up the bigger picture."

Click below to read more or to book yourself in for a good probing (with questions of course). We think you’ll like it.

Read More Now >>>

The Small Fish Team

Are You Getting Referrals?

Are You Getting Referrals?We would all like customers to just come to us - but this is just not the reality of the world. Business operators need to be out and about “walking the talk”, building a referral engine either through networking or raving fans (i.e. happy customers).

How much time do you spend educating the people who refer to you about what type of clients you want and nurturing these relationships?

Everyone loves word of mouth advertising and for many in an established business this is where the majority of new customers come from.
So how do you make it happen?

  1. Identify a team of people to promote your business – BNI groups were established on this principle. This team should be made up of loyal customers, suppliers and others that you network with or who have a circle of influence.

  2. Invite these people to actively help you by offering them something e.g. a discount off your services for the other business to provide to their customers as a thank you, or by giving them referrals in return.

  3. The most effective way to earn referrals is to exceed expectations. In order to do this you must first truly understand what your customers or network group expect and manage this effectively.

  4. Ask for the referral – let your customers know that you will be asking for referrals .

  5. Acknowledge the person who provided the referral. Let them know that the referral has contacted you and thank them. Once you have met the referral let the referrer know what is going on and if the referral becomes a customer be the first to let the referrer know. Make sure they feel appreciated for sending people your way.

  6. Contact and nurture your relationships with referrers. Let them know of any new or different things that you are doing and try to reciprocate their generosity in referring.

Referrals are a privilege, not a right. You don’t automatically deserve referrals, you have to earn them.

Mariejan Bigby
Small Fish Business Coaching Toowoomba


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