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Working women in business
19 September 2017
"The work we do at April5 can have very short lead times. It’s just the nature of the brand activation and marketing business. Meeting client needs and planning for how quickly the work-flow tap turns on and off are our major challenges; overcoming those challenges means keeping the pipeline open and developing new business opportunities. We find most of our work comes from the relationships we’ve developed," says Alicia Beachley (front and centre above), owner April5.
How did the name April5 come about and what do you do?
I chose April5 because it’s based on important dates for my family. It reminds me every day that the utopia we all seek of work life balance is at the heart of what we do. Showing my family that I can run a business, produce great work for our clients and be a hands-on mum is really important to me.
I began April5 in 2007. If I’m asked to describe what we do, I say: we connect brands to humans and humans to brand. We specialise in events, brand activations, promotions, trade shows, sampling, in-store and experiential marketing and our clients include Microsoft, Paypal, Coty and Homeworld.
For the past five years we’ve been working with RAMS customer marketing team, creating a “mini-magazine” four times a year, as well as other marketing materials. We also support RAMs with its trade shows, design, staffing at the shows, competitions, etc.
Recently, we’ve been successful in a wider Westpac Group tender for events and experiential campaigns. It’s been exciting scaling up and we’re looking forward to working with the broader Westpac team.
Being in business has it challenges. I jokingly say it would be easier without staff and clients, but I don’t really mean it. I love what I do.
I’m often asked to list some of the hurdles people face running a business. For us they include cash-flow, work pipeline, new business, marketing, staffing… but solving daily challenges are what makes it so worthwhile.
Business often feels like a fine balancing act. It’s important to get the formula right.
How are you further growing April5?
With the view to future growth, and keeping the agency dynamic, I invested in a PR business to integrate into my current business. It came ready made with clients and staff so it was easy to merge into the wider business and add another area of speciality for which many of our existing clients were looking.
However, the move didn’t happen without its challenges. I’ve learned a lot in a short six months, but the logic is sound and it is holding its own. The critical step was to make quick business decisions and pivot for success.
How do you work flexibly?
We are proudly women owned and independent and a big supporter of working mums and families. It’s important to me to create an agency where staff can have flexible working conditions, work from home, flexible hours around school drop-offs and pick-ups, etc. It also means understanding when kids are sick, when childcare options run out and emergencies happen. We have a great ‘kids’ corner’ where we have the occasional child in the office and I encourage this to be normal. I live by example and start work around 9am every day, having had breakfast with my teenagers before they go to school.
Employing and keeping great staff works for us as an agency. Our currency is flexibility and I get hardworking, dedicated, loyal staff by providing an environment where we all benefit, including the clients.