Digital Solutions Success Story: Great Ocean Road Locals

December 4, 2023

Meet Anthea Tolan, an immigrant from South Africa who has called Australia home for 20 years. With a background spanning both the corporate world and small businesses, Anthea embodies resilience, curiosity, and a passion for supporting local entrepreneurs.

Great Ocean Roads: Nurturing Local Businesses Along the Coastline

Great Ocean Road Locals is more than just a business directory; it's a community-driven initiative aimed at bolstering local businesses along the picturesque Great Ocean Road in Victoria. Anthea's three-year-old venture focuses on connecting local service providers with residents, promoting a vibrant culture of locals supporting locals. In a rapidly growing region, her directory helps newcomers and longtime residents find trusted local businesses.

Anthea's journey into entrepreneurship was prompted by a personal need. When she and her family purchased a property in Torquay five years ago, they struggled to find reliable local services for their home. This gap in finding trusted suppliers led Anthea to envision a one-stop online platform for local businesses, where they could mutually support each other and leave constructive reviews.

Launching the directory was a steep learning curve. Anthea tapped into digital marketing strategies, leveraging social media and email marketing, to develop the website. Her biggest reward has been the connections she's formed with resilient local business owners.

Sailing the Digital Seas: Anthea's Quest to Stay Ahead in Technology

Recognising the need to stay updated in the fast-paced digital landscape, Anthea joined the Digital Solutions Program atMelbourne Innovation Centre. Her goals included diversifying her income streams, seeking guidance from a mentor with digital community engagement experience, and devising a clear plan for her business's future.

Navigating the Business Landscape: Anthea's Journey with a Trusted Mentor

Through the program, Anthea had the opportunity to connect with a Melbourne Innovation Centre mentor who provided valuable insights. These conversations allowed her to step back and view her business from a different perspective. The mentor's guidance offered a high-level view of her business and a practical plan to move forward.

The Digital Solutions Program and the support provided by Melbourne Innovation Centre enhanced Anthea's confidence to achieve her digital goals. With her mentor's assistance, Anthea crafted a comprehensive digital plan and explored various digital tools to improve her social media posts and marketing.

“The program has provided me with more confidence on the goals I have chosen, and given me many more ideas on how to reach them. My mentor has also provided me with a plan to use to move forward. She has suggested digital tools I can use to provide me with further information, when creating social media posts plus other promotional and educational material.” Anthea shares. 

As Anthea is in the process of implementing the tools and strategies suggested by her mentor, she is yet to measure the results. However, her growing confidence and strategic approach are positive indicators of the impact of the program on her business.

Seize the Opportunity: Anthea's Recommendation

Anthea encourages small business owners to take advantage of the Digital Solutions Program and support provided by Melbourne Innovation Centre. Having someone who can provide an external perspective and brainstorm ideas is invaluable. The program offers a guiding hand through the challenges of entrepreneurship, making the journey more manageable and rewarding.

“I would suggest small business owners take advantage of this affordable program. It is extremely useful to find out how others see your business, and they can shed important information on how your customers see you. Mentors open your mind to other possibilities and you can then brainstorm these ideas together, with complete confidence. Small business is hard, but having someone to hold your hand over a period of time is very comforting.” Anthea shares.

The Digital Solutions Program is funded by the Australian Government and delivered by Melbourne Innovation Centre across Victoria. Join today to unleash the full potential of your small business in the digital realm.

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