Lit­tle guy’s al­ways first

JODI ALLEN HAS BIG PLANS FOR HER SMALL BUSINESS DI­REC­TORY, HOP­ING IT WILL RE­PLACE LOCAL SEARCH AND YEL­LOW PAGES TO BE AT THE TOP OF THE LIST IN AUS­TRALIA. THE BUSY MUM IS ALL ABOUT MAK­ING CON­NEC­TIONS

The Weekend Post - - Business -

I THOUGHT: ‘SOME­THING NEEDS TO CHANGE ... WHAT IF WE FLIPPED IT AROUND AND CHARGED $49.50 A YEAR AND GOT EV­ERY BUSINESS IN AUS­TRALIA TO LIST?’ JODI ALLEN

JODI Allen prefers to be out of the lime­light but bold plans for her three-year-old small en­ter­prise di­rec­tory business mean the univer­sity-trained ac­coun­tant might at­tract more at­ten­tion than she would pre­fer.

The 50-year-old wants trad­ing­mate.com.au to re­place Local Search and Yel­low Pages as the No.1 small business di­rec­tory in Aus­tralia.

She will ded­i­cate the next 12 months to writ­ing an op­er­a­tional man­ual and hopes the first fran­chise, in Townsville, will be un­der way by 2020.

Re­turn­ing to work af­ter a pe­riod of time at home look­ing af­ter her son, Mrs Allen, a former fi­nan­cial di­rec­tor and chief fi­nan­cial of­fi­cer, did not want to be stuck in an of­fice by her­self and started a book­keep­ing business to al­low more so­cial con­tact.

“I set about mar­ket­ing and I looked at Face­book but back then it was just for friends. I looked at the di­rec­to­ries but they were quite ex­pen­sive and I thought: ‘Some­thing needs to change. There’s some­thing more out there for me. What if we flipped it around and charged $49.50 a year and got ev­ery business in Aus­tralia to list?’ There is no na­tional list- ing of small busi­nesses,” she said.

“We pri­ori­tise small busi­nesses. I’ve got WGC Lawyers on my di­rec­tory but they’ll al- ways be down the bot­tom of the list and small busi­nesses will al­ways be at the top.

Run­ning a business in the on­line space – one with 1.2 mil­lion na­tional and 14,000 Cairns list­ings – has been full of chal­lenges.

“They say if you can make it in Cairns, you can make it ev­ery­where,” Mrs Allen said.

“There has been a lot of things that have gone wrong, but the most im­por­tant thing is to learn from the neg­a­tive feed­back.

“The longer I’ve been in business, the more I’ve re­alised there is so much more to ev­ery­thing. I turned 50 last month and if I hadn’t had these on-the-ground op­por­tu­ni­ties to fig­ure things out I would be so be­hind in terms of tech­nol­ogy.”

Through trad­ing­mate .com.au, Mrs Allen holds reg­u­lar net­work­ing events to help fos­ter in real life the con­nec­tion she is cre­at­ing on­line.

Mem­bers are in­vited to MC the event and a group can also give quick el­e­va­tor pitches about how it can help other at­ten­dees.

The events change con­stantly and have in­cluded a char­ity car cruise and mar­ket-

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