With a shop filled with season-themed chocolates, Bright’s Old-Fashioned Lolly Shop owner Leonie Collins was keen to test out her newfound social media skills – and recoup income in the 2019-20 bushfires.

Thanks to small business buddy Rachel Medlock from Do You Even Social?, Leonie not only achieved that goal but was ahead of the pack when COVID-19 struck.

Along with everyone else in the small tourist town in the Alpine Area of Victoria, she had been forced to evacuate for two weeks during the peak January trading time because of the bushfire threat.

When she returned, the economic opportunity had passed and the tourists had gone.

While Leonie had some creative marketing and promotional ideas to recoup her lost income, she needed help to execute them and social media was a mystery to her.

With social media training from Rachel, who helped Leonie develop a strategy, sales soon picked up.

“Rachel has given me that hand that I really did need,’’ she said. “She has helped me to navigate my way around the platform and it’s given my posts structure and presence.

“We took advantage of the week before Easter to promote the sale of Easter-themed chocolates and we drove the theme very hard with daily posts.

“We had a really terrific outcome. We sold all the chocolates by the close of business on the Good Friday.’’

The social media training meant that Leonie had already adapted her business to online sales by the time COVID-19 lockdown halted passing trade.

As well as the regular Facebook posts, she had investigated courier, postal and delivery systems and putting together gift packs.

“Now that I have had a little experience with FB marketing I’d love to see what can be accomplished through a website with a small supply of products available through a shopping cart.

“I’m extremely grateful to Help A Small Biz and to Rach for coming together, for offering me their time, their wisdom, their knowledge and for giving me the opportunity for this amazing experience.’’

Rachel said working with Help A Small Biz was “extremely rewarding’’: “Being able to support another entrepreneur pivot during trying times and seeing that already pay off for them is awesome.’’