Dear Joe,

Thank you so much for passing on my details to the Department of Innovation, Industry and Regional Development, Executive Director, Small Business Victoria, Roger Arwas.

My 30 minute discussion with Roger Arwas went well and I was very interested in the fact that Small Business Victoria employs over 50 staff with a large contingent focused on the department building an online platform for small businesses to access information.

He discussed some opportunities to speak at seminars and attend an information session on the Energise Enterprise events. He also mentioned that there was an adviser section on the website that I may like to look at. Unfortunately, I have already filled in the relevant information for this on two occasions and am still not listed. Maybe a third time lucky.

He also advised me that there are 500,000 small businesses in Victoria and that grants aren’t a priority anymore. I tend to agree with the decision of the latter as many of the companies I know that get grants are professionals at working the Government system and getting grant after grant, whilst the people who really need it and could put it to good use, fail through technicalities or lack of understanding on Government’s role in helping small businesses.

After the meeting, I went back to the office and looked up this website that has absorbed so much of the Governments funding and resources to see what the fuss is about. Unfortunately, after googling ’small business victoria’ a Government site came up and I opened it.

At that point, I closed my eyes. I know that Government employees put this together – but seriously! I am an entrepreneur. I started my first business at 25 years of age. I employ local Australians that all want to change the way in which we help small businesses grow.

I am alive! I wake up every morning and get dressed as fast as I possibly can to make it into the office before every other person because I am excited to own a small growing business that helps others.

Is ALIVE being bland and boring? Is ALIVE having a website that has no pictures, nothing outside the box, no reason to ever return?

Does SMALL BUSINESS VICTORIA not cast a marketing eye over the platforms that they market out to the 500,000 small businesses in Victoria? Do you want businesses to look at your website and leave just as quick as they came? Do you want people to return and feel inspired by what you have to offer and what you are investing tax payers money in?

Joe, I am a very passionate small business owner who has always been supportive of Government and its role in the community. To be honest, this is not the first time I have been discouraged by what the Victorian Government is doing with tax payers money, but my last contact with your ‘brand’ has reinforced what I already know.

Please don’t treat entrepreneurs that own any of the 500,000 small businesses as average. We all have big dreams and we all employ people that ensure that our unemployment rate stays down. Inspire us – you have the money to do this. Stop doing what you have always done and think outside the box.

I ask that you consider this next time you sign off on expenditure that has nothing to do with your target audience and everything to do with what your department has always done.

To me, your job is to represent us and to market back to us ways we can be more supported and inspired to build our businesses into something that we all can be proud of.

Yours sincerely,

Mellissah Smith

Chief Executive Officer

Marketing Eye Pty Ltd

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Mellissah Smith

Mellissah Smith is a marketing expert with more than 20 years experience. Having founded and built two successful marketing companies internationally, she is well recognized as a industry thought leader and innovator. Mellissah started her career working with technology and professional services firms, primarily in marketing, public relations and investor relations, positioning a number of successful companies to list on the various Stock Exchanges around the world. She is a writer, technology developer and entrepreneur who shares her thoughts and experiences through blogs and written articles published in various media outlets. Brag sheet: #2 marketer to follow on Twitter (2003), Top 150 Marketers to Follow (2015), Top 10 innovative marketers (2014), 60K+ followers on Twitter with 97% authentic.

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