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How a Geelong Entrepreneur is Taking the Accessibility Space by Storm and Revolutionising this for Businesses All Across the World!
By Lauren Fowkes
Welcome back to the “Perfect Pitch Show” where Brandon Burns, Head of Community – Runway Virtual, interviews small business founders / entrepreneurs about the secret sauce to their successful start-up journey.
Disability advocate and founder of Accessability Business Consulting Ainslee Hooper is a member of the Runway community and started our incubator program in November 2019. Ainslee is a qualified Anthropologist having graduated from Deakin University back in 2015 and is using her expertise to consult and guide businesses to ensure they are giving their consumers an excellent experience. She has first hand experience with living with a disability having been born with Spina Bifida and hopes to use her knowledge to help other companies grow and expand holistically.
Ainslee and the team here at Runway Virtual hope that her story will inspire and motivate our regional and remote readers to act and not let anything hold you back. Personal experiences are a wonderful way of identifying potential problems in your communities and using this understanding to remedy the issue.
A Holistic Approach to Accessibility
Ainslee is part of the 20% of the world’s population that is living with a disability and it is her goal for more businesses to expand their accessibility. Ainslee’s company Accessability Business Consulting understands that when most people think ‘accessibility’ they think on the physical or practical side, such as ramps, wide doors and accessible bathrooms. She believes, however, that accessibility doesn’t and shouldn’t stop here. Ainslee likes to look at everything through a holistic lense as she believes all the moving parts of a company influence accessibility. Her company aims to examine your business using this holistic approach to put together a package of advice that will help you increase profit and provide the best experience to your consumers possible.
Being an anthropologist gives Ainslee further insight on humankind and helps her understand and appreciate our differences, similarities and needs in order to provide an excellent service. Doing so she is able to help other businesses and companies recognize what their customers need and/or want for a completely accessible experience. They will tailor a package that is directly suited to you and your business as everyone is different and so are your business needs. Ainslee’s approach is all about the experience of your customers and consumers and how you can improve your services accordingly.
Accessability Business Consulting uses a variety of techniques in order to identify and examine the strengths and weaknesses of a business. Ainslee and her team don’t look exclusively at what the business does for the consumer but the experience surrounding it. In order to effectively assist, they spend time researching and collecting feedback from the business’s consumers directly. This is done via a few avenues including focus groups, surveys and one-on-one interviews with your customers to learn their needs and desires from you. The aim through these processes is to identify what your strengths are and the gaps preventing your business from being completely accessible to your consumer.
Once the research has been conducted, Ainslee and her team will work to identify the needed areas of improvement from all of the gathered feedback. They will then put together a report for the business in question that will contain both insights and recommendations on areas of improvement. From there they will discuss strategies with the business and suggest changes that can be implemented in order to provide a better experience for the consumers.
Finally, in order to ensure the success of the business and that the recommendations made have provided the desired results, Accessability Business Consulting and the business in question will reconvene to discuss and review the changes. If necessary, they will supply another report with any further recommendations, wanting to guarantee your success. Ainslee is dedicated to providing a service that will help other companies and part of doing this is to get feedback herself.
Ainslee won’t always wait for a business to come to her either. If there are issues or recommendations that could be made, then she will reach out to a business if she can see they would benefit from her help. Generating business for herself is also important but Ainslee is passionate about helping other companies even if they haven’t reached out to her yet. It is important to her to continue to spread the word and she hopes to inspire others to continue on with a similar line of work. She is helping the world grow more accessible, one business at the time!
The best piece of advice Ainslee received was from her primary school principal way back when she was graduating grade six, and that was to “never stop learning”, words she wished she had taken to heart sooner in her entrepreneur journey. Knowledge is power, and Ainslee regrets not taking the steps to learn as much as she could in the earlier stages of her life. She is now 42 and heading back to university to tackle her PhD in Anthropology! There is always more to learn, and she has taken great pride in being a member of our incubator program here at Runway in Geelong. She heard about us through a friend and hasn’t looked back, finding her experiences here to be invaluable at showing her how to boost her company. She founded Accessability Business Consulting back in 2016 but found that the classes here at Runway have really helped her acknowledge the areas in which she could improve. Through taking the leap to learn more, Ainslee has had her eyes opened up to a whole new world of business knowledge she would not have known about otherwise.
Learning as an individual is important, but so is learning as a company or a sector. Ainslee has identified that a lot of the major problem in the Disability Sector is knowledge, and many companies aren’t aware that they aren’t as accessible as they could be. There is a lack of communication between businesses and their consumers, and this is the gap that Ainslee wishes to bridge with her company. She wants to educate and guide businesses to be the best that they can be and is using their own consumer’s feedback to help them thrive.
What’s Next for Ainslee?
Ainslee would love for more businesses and companies to reach out to her. Originally she began her business to look specifically within the Disability Sector but soon found that the need for accessibility is everywhere even if we don’t realise it. Therefore, she encourages individuals and companies of all kinds to reach out to her if they feel her services would benefit them. She also asks for our readers and listeners to spread the word of her business as she is determined to showcase what she can do for them and what value her services will provide. The ideal clients for her are small to medium sized businesses that are dealing with members of the public directly or have customers / consumers coming in.
You can contact Ainslee using the below links:
Accessability Business Consulting