How to thank your supporters

AGED 19 Elise Brown bought her first business, Fair Dinkum Dog Coats; and two years later she purchased her second business, Midland Pet Supplies.  In 2010 she won the Trade and Career Achievement category in the Victorian Regional Achievement & Community Awards.  And, to top it all off, the following year she gave herself the day off to meet the Queen at a Government House reception!

Pretty impressive for a young woman from rural Victoria but Elise would be the first to admit that none of this would have been possible without the support of her family.  She would also acknowledge that her businesses flourished with the free publicity received as a result of the award.

Initially embarrassed to be nominated, Elise accepted all the good reasons given why she should put herself forward.  With assistance she put together an entry outlining all her achievements to date. Although Elise didn’t consider them all that significant she accepted that she could be a good role model for other young women wanting to live and work in their home towns, and that any publicity is good for business.

Lots of photographs were included with the entry which included her community role encouraging other young people in business at informal networking events.  Coached during the car ride to Ballarat for the Awards Dinner, this was what she chose to speak about during the interview of finalists on the night of the Awards.

Elise invited her four grandparents to the Awards Dinner determined to share the acknowledgement of being a finalist with them.  For her first business her paternal grandparents had provided much needed finance (a loan that was duly paid back) and her maternal grandparents had provided the premises rent free.  Her husband who put up with her long hours, her mother who provided finance for the second business, and one of her valued employees, were also present.

It was a night to celebrate especially when Elise, as one of the five finalists, was interviewed on stage.  Not a polished public speaker by any means, she spoke from the heart about encouraging other young people in business.

She was genuinely shocked when she had to return to the podium for a second time to receive the award sponsored by Regional Development Victoria.   A television advertisement on Prime Television was the prize and many radio interviews and newspaper articles followed including a superb photograph in The Weekly Times.  Customers were so delighted on Elise’s behalf and her retail shop became a hive of activity when the news broke.  

Yes, her youth may have been a factor in her being named the winner but she wasn’t the only young finalist.  Yes, she ran a good business, but that didn’t make her unique either.  Perhaps it was because she demonstrated a commitment to her community by encouraging other young people in business?  Only the judges will know for sure.

To be invited to meet the Queen during her Australian visit the following year was the icing on the cake.  Elise definitely wasn’t on any royal mailing list so could only assume that it was because she had won the award.

Maybe, just maybe, there is a good reason to enter an award, Elise now acknowledges.

Maybe this is also a good time to mention that I am Elise’s mother and yes, I am very proud of my daughter!

Elise’s top 3 reasons to enter an award are to:

#1           Thank the people who have supported you.

#2           Encourage other young rural people in business

#3           Get some free publicity for your business

Oh and number four would be to meet the Queen!

Not a normal day in the shop. Elise farewells staff as she prepares to meet the Queen at Government House in 2011.

Not a normal day in the shop. Elise farewells staff as she prepares to meet the Queen at Government House in 2011.

READ Kerry's top 3 reasons to enter an award.

READ more about Fair Dinkum Dog Coats

FREE WEBINAR: How to make a winning nomination

7.00 – 8.00pm Tuesday 28 June, 2016 Melbourne time.

Using the current Victorian Regional Achievement & Community Awards as a case study, please join me for some practical tips on how to make a winning nomination.  All that you need is access to a computer or smart device with internet and sound.  A link will be provided by email to those who request it via the contact box on this webpage

KERRY ANDERSON:  A businesswoman, philanthropist and community advocate from Central Victoria, Kerry Anderson is passionate about rural and regional Australia.  She works with small businesses and rural communities to help them embrace opportunities.