Applause Communications

Alice McKay Applause Communications

Alice McKay is a communications wizard that works magic with big brands. She is a PR specialist with a background in large scale communication agencies.

Alice spent many years in the industry, working her way up to agency GM level. But while her job grew, her job satisfaction waned. Seniority in the agency had taken Alice away from the core communications work she enjoyed. Much of her time was spent on HR, reporting and admin – and not the client work she relished. Alice longed to ‘do the doing’ again.

So about three years ago Alice took a leap of faith into the unknown, setting up her own agency, Applause Communications. Going from working with a large team and ample resources around her, to being a ‘one-woman band’ was both daunting and liberating for Alice.

The benefits of business ownership

I can now pick and choose my own clients. I don’t need to think about admin, reporting and HR. My small agency is nimble and it can work around my lifestyle.

The industries Alice works in are varied, including technology, travel and personal care brands as well as professional services. The bigger or more complicated the brand, the better!

While Alice enjoys working with the bigger clients, she has no desire to build a big agency, her approach is simple.  There is no full-time team; she brings in freelancers or collaborates with other agencies as needed for projects. While competing agencies will often use junior staff on their accounts, Alice utilises only senior executives for her clients.

The challenges of business ownership

With her new-found freedom and focus on the fun side of work, Alice encountered a common challenge for new business owners. With no time to manage the financial component of her business, she was unsure where her business was at financially and whether she could even meet her tax obligations. After a friend commented “I don’t have any problems with my finances, Andrew and his team handle it for me”, Alice knew she needed Andrew on the job.

Alice fronted up to her initial meeting with Andrew not knowing what to expect. It was quickly agreed that each team would handle what they were good at, Alice on PR, Andrew on the books and Alice says, “A weight was lifted off my shoulders.”

Business Planning sessions

Keen to have The Accounting Hub involved in guiding the business, Alice signed up for Business Planning sessions with Andrew. This involved looking at her business and personal goals. Alice liked this wholistic approach and quickly identified that a mark of her success would be to take two holidays a year, this became part of the plan.

What I like is the business plan contains clear actions, but they’re flexible. Goals can be rejigged. It gives me accountability and direction but it’s not set in stone. My business plan is a blueprint of talking points for our quarterly catch-ups so we’re all on the same page. It’s so valuable.

Business Planning has given me the opportunity to transform the long-term business and brand. I had to define what I do and why someone would choose me.

The biggest differentiators are around the fact that I strive to be a partner not a provider and that strategic comms is how business goals can be achieved. This became my guiding principle:

To be a strategic communications partner with significant NZ businesses and entrepreneurs to achieve business goals.

Final word

Here at The Accounting Hub we have enjoyed taking this transformational business journey with Alice. Guiding business owners in achieving their business goals and personal goals is the heart of what we love to do. We are super proud of Alice and her progress, the best news is we hear the holidays are booked!!

Because Alice is the PR specialist, we though we would giver her the last word:

Even though I’m a language person and The Accounting Hub are numbers people, the transformative nature of my business is similar to what they do. It’s not just about IRD payments with The Accounting Hub. I feel really supported. Andrew and the team are very patient and make me feel comfortable. There’s no jargon.

The Accounting Hub is not part of the suit and tie brigade. They’re like me, into caravans and kitesurfing. They’re efficient and effective without being formal.

They’ve completely changed my business.

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