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 Vivacity – Finalist for the Local Business Awards 2021 – Education Services

Vivacity is a finalist in the 2021 Education Services category for the Local Business Awards, Northern Beaches.

We would like to thank our clients, colleagues and the VET Sector for supporting Vivacity over the past 12 years.

“We are so thrilled to be nominated once again and to be the finalist in the Local Business Awards”, a big sincere thank you to everyone who voted for us.

How are Finalists Selected?

Finalists are selected based on the number of nominations they receive from the public, the more nominations received, the better chance of being selected as a finalist.There is no arbitrary cut-off point, as the number of nominations received varies for each category.

Once finalists have been selected they will be judged based on a two stage process:
• a) Information provided by the business
• b) Anonymous visit by a judge

What information is provided?

The aim of this part of the judging criteria covers the behind-the-scenes elements of a successful business. This gives the business the opportunity to showcase their achievements to the judging panel and includes questions related to the following:

• Business History
• Business Marketing
• Staff Training
• Business and Environmental Sustainability
• Business Successes during the past 12 months
• Support to the community
• Business Plans for the future

Following is our submission:

Describe the product or services your business provide:

We help training organisations to get compliant, save time and save money. We do this through coaching, consulting and training in systems and practices for delivering quality education.

Call us crazy, but our team loves compliance. With over 20 years’ experience in the training industry and having attended over 200 ASQA Audits around Australia, we take nothing for granted and refuse to drink from the mainstream.

The team at Vivacity are forward-thinking visionaries, who solve your problems, not just the problems you have today but the problems you’ll have tomorrow. It takes a forward-thinking approach and bold choices to get to the future. We step into the unknown with an entrepreneurial mindset and demand of ourselves to be visionary. Is this a surprising choice for a group of compliance consultants? You bet!

Vivacity Coaching & Consulting (ABN 40 140 059 016) has been working with over 300 Registered Training Organisations (RTO’s) and International Institute (CRICOS) providers all over Australia since 2009, providing coaching and consulting services to assist our clients with managing their ongoing compliance requirements against the Standards for Registered Training Organisations 2015 and the National Code 2018.

We are RTO/CRICOS Compliance experts, with over 20 years experience in the training industry, who have attended over 200 ASQA Audits around Australia. Our team at Vivacity has experience in both the private and public sector in training, assessment and RTO compliance across a range of industries.

We love to help business owners to build their business and manage the balance between compliance and business success. We love celebrating with our clients at the end of an audit when they have achieved 100% compliance, then watching them grow and expand due to Vivacity taking away their compliance pain.

We are known for delivering training and consultation services, with systems and practices to help our clients to grow their business.

We have identified that there are three key problems the training industry experience:
1. Managing the complexities of compliance
2. Not enough time to focus on business
3. How to get more students

To solve these problems, we have a range of services that focuses on:
1. Making compliance easy and systematic
2. Training that is easy to follow and implement
3. Reducing stress by providing systems and practices to automate your processes

Number of years the business has been in operation:

8-15

Number of years you have been the owner of the business:

8-15

Briefly describe the history of the business:

Established in 2009 by its founder and CEO Angela Connell, Vivacity was created to meet the needs of Registered Training Organisations to provide solutions to managing ongoing compliance.

In the beginning Vivacity was located in Newcastle and Angela was delivering one-on-one consultation to a couple of clients, with the majority of her clients being either from Newcastle or the Central Coast.

In October 2011, Angela setup an office for Vivacity and employed her first team members, this was due to the amount of clients and workload, which required more support.

In December 2011 we commenced Google Advertising, which was the game changer, as previously all of or work was through Word of Mouth. We grew very quickly over the next 12 months, outgrowing our office with our team of 7, which meant we had to move to bigger premises.

Over the years we steadily grew, so much so that we had clients all over Australia, serviing over 300 Registered Training Organisations (RTO’s) and International Institute (CRICOS) providers, providing coaching and consulting services to assist our clients with managing their ongoing compliance requirements against the Standards for Registered Training Organisations 2015 and the National Code 2018.

In April 2018 Vivacity setup office in the big smoke, well almost, to the Northern Beaches. With the majority of our clients being in and around Sydney, as well as Melbourne, this was a good move for Vivacity.

In April 2020, due to Covid, we decided to shut down our office and work from home. We now have 8 team members, 1 in Newcastle, 1 in the Central Coast, 1 in the Philippines and 5 located in the Northern Beaches. The team adjusted to working from home very quickly, in actual fact we have found that everyone is now more productive, which is why we have decided to remain as a Remote Team.

Describe how you promote your business:

Vivacity is promoted through social media, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Google my Business, Twitter and Facebook Groups.

We have also included extensive organic SEO on our website and paid SEO on Google Ads.

Our website is where most of our leads come through, with the majority of those coming through paid Google ads.

Each year we develop an annual marketing plan, which is based on the projects we are focussing on for that year. This year we are focussed on the changes to our industry due to the VET and Skills Reform.

We have 22 free marketing assets that are distributed through our email campaigns, on social media and at events. These include Stellar Trainer Scorecard, eBooks, free short courses, RTO Superhero Podcast, RTO Job Board on Facebook and LinkedIn.

Detail the successes of the business during the past two years.

In the last 12 months we have had a massive shift in what we do and how we do it. Just the last 12 months, we have launched the following:

  • RTO Superhero Podcast – https://vivacity.com.au/podcast/
  • RTO Job Board on Facebook and LinkedIn
  • RTO Community on Facebook
  • 8 Critical Drivers to RTO Success monthly Masterclasses
  • Online Training
  • Stellar Trainer Scorecard – https://stellar-trainer.scoreapp.com/
  • RTO Superhero Scorecard – https://rto-superhero.scoreapp.com/
  • RTO Superhero Clubhouse – https://www.joinclubhouse.com/club/rto-superhero

Focussing on the pain points of our clients, Time, Money and Compliance, we have provided a range of services to support the RTO industry in growing and scaling, even during a difficult year of lockdowns.

The biggest game changer was introducing the Education in Isolation Masterclass series and online course, teaching the training industry how to transition from Face to Face training to Online training, including teaching the tools techniques and technology to transition to online.

In late March 2020 when COVID-19 hit, I identified that many of our clients and the industry were going to be affected by the Isolation requirements, which led me to develop Education in Isolation. This included free live webinars to teach the tools, techniques and technology to get training online and a free podcast, whereby the focus is to identify how you can quickly transition to online training.

The team at Vivacity are forward-thinking visionaries, who solve your problems, not just the problems you have today but the problems you’ll have tomorrow. It takes a forward-thinking approach and bold choices to get to the future. We step into the unknown with an entrepreneurial mindset and demand of ourselves to be visionary. Is this a surprising choice for a group of compliance consultants? You bet!

Our biggest challenge was ensuring our clients sustainability. We focused on solving their solutions and ensured that they not just survive, but thrive during 2020.

As stated above, we launched a range of services to our clients, including adding additional services to our existing Membership Packages to support our clients.

Our clients need to get online to deliver their training, they also need to be considering how will they support the amount of unemployed people by providing a range of training to meet the new employment requirements, including how to manage remote teams, how to work remotely, how to be covid safe in a variety of industries, for now and into the future.

We have identified that the training industry is going to be crucial over the next three years to help job seekers and employers to recover.

In 2020 we launched:

  • Education in Isolation Online Training
  • Education in Isolation Podcast
  • JobTrainer Masterclass
  • JobTrainer Mastermind series
  • Courses Membership
  • Members Weekly Mastermind
  • Vivacity Membership Private Facebook Group
  • Vivacity Community Private Facebook Group
  • FAQ videos – Answering the frequently asked questions by our community

Describe the level of customer service and the quality of products your business provides:

During 2020 we made a lot of changes to how we serve our customers, including the launch of a Weekly Mastermind to coach our clients on the business side of running an RTO. Every week we meet with our clients on a group coaching call and coach them on setting goals for the week using the Rockefeller habits. We also launched our first Strategic Planning Retreat at the start of this year.

Traditionally consultants working in the Vocational Education Sector do not provide coaching, so this was a step out of the consultation area that we had been in since 2009. Our clients have been getting outstanding results, with massive growth.

We also undertook a Client Journey Map, to identify where our clients come from and how we serve them ongoing. This provided a lot of insights into how we can improve our services and how we can best serve our clients.

Our clients complete a Net Promotor Score feedback survey, which provides us with valuable feedback on how we are going and how to improve our practices. Our current NPS is +58, which we are very proud of.Our core product is Membership, whereby we provide coaching and consulting services to the training industry. The range of services included in our membership includes:

  • Online Training in compliance and business
  • Live workshops and webinars
  • Monthly Mastermind, focussing on the business side of running an RTO
  • Annual Audits of their organisation against the compliance requirements
  • Consultation – Onsite or online
  • Assessment Validation
  • Ongoing expertise and advise in compliance

We provide the compliance support for our clients, so that they can focus on delivering quality education.

How are staff trained and motivated?

We have built an online course for inducting and further training of our team. Team are involved in mentoring programs and have ongoing training through masterminds and online training

The online training has made the whole process of onboarding new team members so much easier, which the new team members can go back and watch again when they need it.

We have a purpose built online system for managing all our tasks, emails and project management of all our clients, which supports our team with their onboarding and ongoing support.

Last year we introduced Taco’s to Vivacity. This is a reward based system, whereby other team members can reward their colleagues with a “Taco”, each taco is used as reward points whereby team members can claim the rewards online. The rewards are digitial gift cards, time off and a Team Dinner. To give an award, the team members hashtag one of our company values, rewarding team members for demonstrating the value within their work. ie #aboveandbeyond #openandhonest #qualityoverquantity #ethicalintegrity #funfairandflexible.

The reward system has been a great way for team members to recognise excellence in others and for promoting team.

Describe how your business supports the local community:

As our team are spread out across NSW, we are more focussed on our wider community across Australia, supporting them in the training industry.

Our sector is currently going through some massive changes. The legislation is currently being rewritten and our regulator has been going through the biggest VET Reform since the inception of the regulatory body.

Our focus has been to keep the VET community informed of the upcoming changes and how they can adapt to meet industry and community needs. Most of the information we have been providing has been through our RTO Superhero Podcast.

We also started an RTO Job Board on Facebook and LinkedIn, as we were finding may training providers were finding it difficult to find trainers and assessors. In just two months, we have over 850 members on the Facebook group and 250 on the LinkedIn group. we are bringing the community together through both the RTO Job Board, but also through the RTO Community on Facebook.

Whilst in Newcastle, Vivacity supported the “Got Your Back Sista” charity, this included assisting with renovating a refuge centre and providing financial and volunteering support.

Describe where you see your business in the future:

This is our 12 year in business, so much has changed since my idea to become a consultant back in 2009, we have achieved so much.

In the future we see our whole industry sector change, this includes how we deliver training and the type of training required for the different industry sectors. How we work has changed forever, so does how we learn. Our focus is on helping training organisations to adapt to the new world of education.

The team at Vivacity are focussed on being the “go-to” consultants for RTOs. We are working with passionate VET professionals, who are passionate about providing quality education.

We are focussed on solving the problems of tomorrow, through training, consulting and coaching services. We have over 450 members.

We give back to the community by providing quality education for those who cannot access it otherwise through B1G1.

Some of our Future Projects include:

  • Legal Services for RTOs – We are planning on creating a legal arm to Vivacity to assist RTOs with the legal requirements of running an RTO
  • Instructional Design – In order to address the lack of services out there to develop training and assessment materials to meet industry needs, we have plans to setup an Instructional Design arm to Vivacity
  • Partnerships – We have commenced a partnership program, to connect with other suppliers to the training industry, so that we can provide better quality service.

What makes your business an industry leader?

We are ahead of the industry, not just trying to catch up from behind, we anticipate change and how that will impact on our clients.

We are very focussed on providing quality education of the future, being involved with government to provide constructive feedback on how to improve the sector.

My belief is education is the future, everyone needs to have access to good quality education that meets industry and community needs, this is why we do what we do.

We create profitable training organisations, that are meeting current and future needs of industry and community. We provide the systems, practices and training needed to empower our clients to provide quality education around the world.

Describe how much your business has grown over recent years. What metrics do you look at to measure and monitor this growth?

Since founding Vivacity back in 2009, we have grown from a team of one to a team of 8, with clients all over Australia from a range of industry sectors. We have firmly established ourselves as the leaders in our industry, through the provision of not only services to our clients, but to the training community overall.

The last 12 months has been the biggest growth for us, even with losing clients due to the pandemic, we have also embraced new clients.

We gauge our success on our clients success. We have clients around Australia, who are providing quality education through JobTrainer and other government funding projects, to help Australia recover from the pandemic.

Our clients successes has included growth within their own business, expanding their services to not only their local area, but into other states.

Recently I had a client message me with “”Hi Angela, we are very happy to have just done a record month in sales for our company. Our first $500k month ever!!! I have no idea if that is good for an RTO or not?”, this same client only a year ago, was getting ready to close her business down. Due to our training, coaching and consulting, she has grown exponentially.

Describe what caused this growth?

Our growth has been due to the pandemic and how quickly we responded to the needs of our clients. Where other consultants faltered, we changed and adapted to meet the industry needs. Through the provision of training and coaching our clients through the pandemic.

Due to the nature of our industry, if you cannot adapt quickly, you will fall behind. We keep informed and anticipate the needs of our clients, industry sectors and the government, to ensure that our clients never fall behind.

Describe some of the challenges the business has faced due to growth? With each challenge, what was the impact and how did you deal with it?

Challenges we have faced is keeping up with demand, whilst ensuring that we continue to provide quality service. Our focus is always on the client and how we can best serve them and the industry.

Some challenges that we have faced is identifying who are our best quality clients, the ones that genuinely want to provide quality education and are not just in it for the money. Over time we have come across unscrupulous providers, who did not align with our values, which meant that we had to change our marketing position to be more focussed on our ideal client.

In the past I did experience a lot of challenges in my own leadership skills. It was not until I identified that I needed to change, that our company culture changed. Whereby in the past I struggled with keeping quality team members, or even finding the right team members, we now have a strong company culture with a team that has been with me for 3+ years.

I changed my mindset from struggling with being a leader, to becoming a coach to my team. By coaching my team and being their mentor, instead of trying to get results, our whole culture changed.

How has your business changed internally to support growth – examples might include employing more staff, identifying efficiencies, introducing processes or systems.

We have an online course for inducting new team members, with a range of training to support them in their new role.

Our industry is not like any other industry. Hiring someone who has experience in what we do is like finding a hens tooth, impossible. So we rely heavily on training, coaching and mentoring our team within their roles.

One of the biggest game changes was when I had developed our own internal system, named Unicorn, whereby every single task and every single email is contained within the system. Essentially Unicorn is a Project Management System, that was specifically built for manage knowledge and sharing that knowledge with my team, this allowed me to serve more clients as our team had the process to follow.

In the past I was working with each client one on one. Training a new team member was quite involved and took time. Developing and implementing Unicorn meant that I could bring a new team member on quite quickly and allowed them to grow through the process.

How have your people contributed to the growth of the business?

We focus on the strengths of our team. Each team member completes a Team Dynamics profile, so that we can identify what their strengths are and then place them into a role that works with their strength, essentially setting them up for success.

By having the right people in the right seat on the bus, this has allowed me to move into my strengths and focus on what I enjoy doing within the business.

We now have two team members who are being trained to build two new departments. In the future we will be offering legal services to our clients and will also be introducing an instructional design arm to the business, both these arms of the business are being led by two of my team members who’s goals are to work in these areas.

As stated before, I see my role as coach and mentor, providing support to my team to be the best leaders within their role.

How has innovation contributed to the growth of your business? 

Innovation is my middle name, I am constantly coming up with new ideas.

We manage innovation through implementing the Rockefeller Habits, Daily, Weekly, Monthly, Quarterly and Annual meetings with the team, to identify our projects and goals to focus on over the year. We work on three big rocks per four month sprint and our meetings are centred around the Rocks.

We also train our clients on the Rockefeller habits and meeting rhythms.

We have created our own system, based on the habits, with the Superhero Mission Control 12 month plan, and the Superhero Flight Plan, which is focussed on our four months sprint. We have posters made up for both of these, which we use as a team as well as with our clients to help them achieve their goals.

What inspired you to become an entrepreneur?

I always knew that I wanted to be an entrepreneur, since High School. I did not know what the business would be, but I knew I wanted to run my own business.

My inspiration comes from leaders such as Richard Branson and Adriana Huffington. I am also inspired by my own clients, what they have achieved and the results.

What drives you in building your business? How do you stay focused on the journey?

Changing lives through education is what drives me. Focussing on working with quality training providers.

This stems back to when I was a trainer and assessor. In my first class of students that I ever delivered I did not tell my students that they were my first students. I focussed on delivering quality training, based on my years of experience in the training industry.

In the first session of my first course that I delivered, I asked all the students to stand at the front of the classroom and introduce themselves. They were to state who they are, what they currently did and what they hoped to achieve out of the course, a standard icebreaker I thought.

Twelve weeks later at the end of the course, I had all the students stand up in front of the class to state what they found the biggest benefit of the course. One student stood up and stated: “Angela, at the start of this course you asked me to stand up and introduce myself, I was petrified, could not believe that you were making me do this. Now at the end of this course, I fee the confidence and have the ability to stand up in front of this class and not only introduce myself, but share with you who I am. I am so grateful for the confidence you have provided me and how I now have the skills to get a job.”

I was shocked… i thought I was teaching business.

As trainers, we change lives through education, as training providers we have a much greater impact on the wider community. At Vivacity, where we serve over 300 RTOs around Australia, we have a massive impact on the quality of peoples lives due to the education we provide our clients.

Explain how your business philosophies and values are reflected in your business?

Our values form our culture. Our team lives them every day, in our team meetings, when giving kudos to other team members and even with working with our clients.

The values are based on my personal values. As the business leader, it is important that I work with people who have the same or similar values.

Our recruitment process is based on our values, ensuring that we have the right people in the right seats on the bus. We include questions around the values within the interview process.

Last year we introduced Taco’s to Vivacity. This is a reward-based system, whereby other team members can reward their colleagues with a “Taco”. Each taco is used as reward points whereby team members can claim the rewards online. The rewards are digital gift cards, time off and a Team Dinner. To give an award, the team members hashtag one of our company values, rewarding team members for demonstrating the value within their work. ie #aboveandbeyond #openandhonest #qualityoverquantity #ethicalintegrity #funfairandflexible.

The reward system has been a great way for team members to recognise excellence in others and for promoting team.

What motivated you embark on the development of this business?

I always knew that I wanted to be an entrepreneur, since High School. I did not know what the business would be, but I knew I wanted to run my own business.

Changing lives through education is what drives me. Focussing on working with quality training providers.

This stems back to when I was a trainer and assessor. In my first class of students that I ever delivered I did not tell my students that they were my first students. I focussed on delivering quality training, based on my years of experience in the training industry.

In the first session of my first course that I delivered, I asked all the students to stand at the front of the classroom and introduce themselves. They were to state who they are, what they currently did and what they hoped to achieve out of the course, a standard icebreaker I thought.

Twelve weeks later at the end of the course, I had all the students stand up in front of the class to state what they found the biggest benefit of the course. One student stood up and stated: “Angela, at the start of this course you asked me to stand up and introduce myself, I was petrified, could not believe that you were making me do this. Now at the end of this course, I fee the confidence and have the ability to stand up in front of this class and not only introduce myself, but share with you who I am. I am so grateful for the confidence you have provided me and how I now have the skills to get a job.”

I was shocked… i thought I was teaching business.

As trainers, we change lives through education, as training providers we have a much greater impact on the wider community. At Vivacity, where we serve over 300 RTOs around Australia, we have a massive impact on the quality of people’s lives due to the education we provide our clients.

This is why we do what we do, we empower training organisations to change lives, through coaching, training and consulting services.

What has driven your success?

My drive for success was lit within me as a child, being told that I was not good enough and bullied at High School, I was driven to demonstrate to the world that I am good enough and that I can succeed at anything I put my mind to.

I spent the last three years at high school very much alone, bullied on a daily basis just because I had acne and no friends to support me.

Although I did well academically at school, I left at the beginning of Year 12 with no goal but to never be treated like that again. I walked out the School gates with the intention to demonstrate that my past does not define me.

Since walking out that gate, I have never looked back. Striving for success in everything that I do.

How have you contributed to the success of the business?

Since founding Vivacity back in 2009, we have grown from a team of one to a team of 8, with clients all over Australia from a range of industry sectors. We have firmly established ourselves as the leaders in our industry, through the provision of not only services to our clients, but to the training community overall.

Being the key driver of Vivacity, my success is my team. it was not until I realised that in order to be a successful business owner, I needed to be a successful coach and mentor to my team.

In the past I did experience a lot of challenges in my own leadership skills. It was not until I identified that I needed to change, that our company culture changed. Whereby in the past I struggled with keeping quality team members, or even finding the right team members, we now have a strong company culture with a team that has been with me for 3+ years.

I changed my mindset from struggling with being a leader, to becoming a coach to my team. By coaching my team and being their mentor, instead of trying to get results, our whole culture changed.

Learn more about Vivacity: https://vivacity.com.au/about-us/

 

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