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Running a Bermuda business from Down Under

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Business partners Laura Bell, left, and Vicki Abraham (Photograph by Jo Mar Photography)
Laura Bell (above) and Vicki Abraham are running branding business Two Four One (Photograph supplied)

For Vicki Abraham, being an early riser comes in handy running a business in Bermuda from 11,000 miles away in Australia.

The communications expert moved Down Under earlier this month to be closer to her parents, who live there. She runs branding business Two Four One with graphic designer Laura Bell.

Ms Abraham said the transition was seamless, and has actually afforded them more opportunities.

“I am working mornings and evenings,” Ms Abraham said. “That means that our business has the added benefit that we are now a 24-hour shop. When one of us is asleep, the other is working.”

The pair set up the business in October 2019, after working together on the marketing for the ITU World Triathlon two years ago.

Two Four One provides marketing, communications and branding advice to small businesses.

They really began to make a name for themselves last March when the Covid-19 pandemic began to hit.

They took their own business online, and then showed others how to do it.

"Covid-19 upended everyone’s lives,“ Ms Bell said. ”It came as a shock to a lot of entrepreneurs. Instead of asking how we could get help, we decided to ask how can we help. With our expertise we could help people get online.“

They offered several webinars through the Bermuda Economic Development Corporation, to help small businesses build their online presence.

“Before the pandemic a lot of small businesses in Bermuda didn’t do much marketing,” Ms Abraham said. “They relied on repeat customers. They couldn’t do that any more during a lockdown. They realised they had to do some marketing to reach customers. I think that was the trigger point for a lot of smaller businesses.”

Ms Bell said service-based companies found the lockdown particularly difficult.

She said: “People in the fitness field, for example, who were used to training people in the studio, had to, all of the sudden, make the shift to teaching online.”

In the early days, Two Four One did a lot of hand holding, until entrepreneurs were more confident online. Many small business owners needed help with the basics, such as how to get on Zoom and other communications platforms.

Ten months out from the lockdown, a lot of the clients are working with a hybrid model of operation. Some of them have physical stores that are open to customers again, but can move back to operating online quickly, if needed.

“We have been moving with the flow of everything,” Ms Bell said.

The success of their early BEDC webinars led them to form their own course, Level-Up Your Marketing, for entrepreneurs who are ready to launch an idea into a business. They have also been working with charities who want to improve their marketing.

Two Four One also has a membership club, the Level-Up League. For $49 a month, entrepreneurs can network with each other, take free courses with Two Four One, and receive marketing advice from them.

Ms Abraham said it was unlikely the business world would ever go back to operating exactly as it had before the pandemic.

“The business community has already evolved to a point where they are not satisfied with what was,” she said. “There was initial shock, and now people have adjusted to a different level to something that is better than what they had before.”

Ms Bell and Ms Abraham are both “huge ideas people”.

“I am the creative designer,” Ms Bell said. “I make everything look pretty. Vicki is a masterful communicator. Bringing those things together in one virtual agency is a bit of a super power. It is rare to be able to pull it all together.”

Ms Abraham said the reward for running Two Four One is seeing their clients blossom.

“The rewards are seeing someone who was maybe intimidated by marketing, apply what they are learning to their business and they see the results,” Ms Abraham said. “That is fantastic. We find that touching.”

On February 10, they will be offering a 90-minute workshop called “What’s Your Story? Marketing Strategy”.

“It is all about how to use storytelling as a part of effective marketing,” Ms Abraham said.

The workshop starts at 8.30am and is free to Level-Up members, and $49 to the general public.

• For more information see www.twofouronetraining.com or check them out on Facebook @Twofouronebranding.

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Published January 28, 2021 at 8:00 am (Updated January 28, 2021 at 9:37 am)

Running a Bermuda business from Down Under

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