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
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-