Competition, consumer and trade practices

How this major Australian retailer plans to deal with Amazon

Healthy competition always helped businesses excel at what they are doing. The Super Retail Group...read more

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Added via Business Insider Australia
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Questions

HowTo Dismiss an Employee

I have an employee who is always late, talking negatively about my business with other employees in... read more

Asked by:
Meal Five
Meal Five at Meal5
Good morning,You are able to dismiss this employee but not without following a legal due process first which includes having a conversation about your concerns, giving them a opportunity to respond, giving them an opportunity to improve their performance to the required levels and supplying any additional support reasonable to achieve the required performance levels. This is complex area and getting it wrong exposes you to a fine of up to 6months salary of the employee and / or reinstatement.Check out this calculator which shows you the potential cost based on how far the case goes and what the employee is paid. It is worth doing this correctly.https://www.employeematters.com.au/product/unfair-...If you need help we can work through this with youPerformance Management Package - $2275 + GSTDo you need to have a difficult conversation about someone’s performance in your team? The Performance Management package will provide the advice, strategy, risk assessment and process for handling the performance management & potential exit of an employee. Provision of scripts and personal coaching of the Manager on the conversation and steps to ensure that, should a termination occur, it's not considered 'unfair, unjust or unreasonable'. Includes: drafting documents, attending and directing / driving the Performance Management / Exit meetings. Calculating termination payments & drafting internal communication messages plus completing all exit documentation and communication. Liaison with employee after exit. Providing & completing a Without Prejudice and Mutual Separation discussion.A Deed of Release PDF document, is an additional cost, if required.
Hi, are you in Australia? This is not law so to speak. In Australia an advocate (I am a workplace forensic investigator/mediator and conciliator and get far better results) attends a phone conciliation if they try unfair dismissal on you. You need to have serious misconduct. Talking negative is possible. Coming in late is not major unless it is well documents. The secret is to have policies and documented warning systems. It has to be very serious. I would be happy to do this (and I charge less than a lawyer) as you can guarantee they will lodge a Fair Work claim against you. My strategy is always to have 'serious misconduct' clearly defined matching the Act. I would need to understand what the person was saying and it may take some work. There are other methods.
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Questions

What is your recommendation to learn more about business broker/business regulation law?

Asked by:
Vincy Rose
Vincy Rose at Action Air
Peter WallaceOwner at Endeavour Capital
Business agent law are state-based laws - so each state has their own regulations. In most states, the business agent licences are (stupidly) part of real estate agents licences - so the best place to start of office of fair trading websites in your state. Also look at Australian Institute of Business Brokers (aibb.org.au)
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Questions

Do I have to register my websites name?

I have an ABN but I don't know if I have to register the name of my website as well? read more

Asked by:
Sarah Irwin
Sarah Irwin SME Community Director at SavvySME
Alexandra Goulden
No. Just need to secure it as a domain name. If you do trade as that Website then yes you must register it under your ABN. Hope that makes sense.
If you own a URL you already have IP protection by default. There is no need to register it anywhere. The only web domain safeguards I recommend are to also register easily misspelt variations of your site's name plus additional extensions like "dot your business type" and .net when you own .com.
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Questions

Which CRM (customer relationship management) software do you use?

One thing you like most about it? read more

Jef Lippiatt
Jef LippiattOwner at Startup Chucktown
If you use gmail, you should give Streak a look, https://www.streak.com/I've used it before and found it helpful. But it isn't an entire CRM ecosystem, so pick one based on your specific needs.
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Questions

What are your recommended methods for driving traffic, sign ups and sales for my website?

For maximum results with minimum investment.  read more

Asked by:
Karl Laperrière
Karl Laperrière at Wikibusiness
Your question far too broad to respond constructively Kari. It all depends what you have on your website and who it is for. There are differing techniques for generating traffic, sign-ups and converting sales. Possibly thousands of variations in all three categories. What is your objective, and quantify the minimum you identify as your nvestment.
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Questions

How many people look at their local newspapers for local events such as such as training?

Or do people simply throw them in the bin without looking at them each week. I am trying to capture... read more

Steven Freeman
Steven FreemanOwner at Evolved Sound
Print is quite dead and risky for small business advertising. If you can get in with your council and list your event through that it may be OK. I don't regularly read the local paper, but have a glance occasionally when I'm having a mental break from screen time which is a healthy thing to do once per week.
Simple test in 2 parts - 1 See if anyone is promoting anything similar (to a like audience) in your local paper.If not ring the editor and suggest that they do a profile editorial on your (unique to the aria) new service,2 If there is anything similar call them and ask them to quantify the response they have had and if they are intending to repeat their promotion.
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Questions

What are the key questions you have/had when starting your business?

What key things do you think a start up needs to learn? I am putting together a workshop... read more

Jef Lippiatt
Jef LippiattOwner at Startup Chucktown
As Kristy mentioned business (entity) structure and bookkeeping / accounting are super important, however, I think there are some other key aspects to consider.What type of business are you "really" trying to start?Meaning, are you trying to just make some money or are you launching in an area of expertise or passion? It will make a difference.Have you validated that there is a market for your business product / service?Make sure you are launching something that people want before spinning up a business (I've wasted time and money getting a business legal that never panned out). Validate before you become a legal business if possible.Are you taking this leap alone or are you building a team?This impacts everything from legal structure to necessary office size. You need to plan for resources and benefits accordingly.Do you have all the necessary skills to get your business off the ground?If not, you need to determine if hiring employees or using external consultants makes the most sense for your needs.Do you have a mentor or advisor?Get serious about getting your business in gear. An advisor or mentor can give you valuable insight and help keep you on the right course. Leverage their experience and wisdom.
Kirsty Fox
Kirsty FoxPrincipal at Spitfire Solutions
Getting your structure right. It's really important from a tax and asset protection perspective. You also need to know your books - talk to an accountant first.
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Questions

Can I sell off part of my business without losing control?

Peter WallaceOwner at Endeavour Capital
Hi PhilipYes, you can sell off part of your business and keep control.In general there are two types of situations when selling off part of your business is viable raising capital to expand your business progressive sell down when you are heading towards retirementNaturally any new investors will consider whether the corporate governance arrangements can sufficiently protect their minority investment, which is usually done through a shareholders agreement. Shareholders agreements may cover issues such as directors, sale of shares, approval of major transactions, dividends, reporting and liquidityI am particularly a fan of the progressive sell down, as part of an exit planning exercise
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Questions

Are you pricing your products and services correctly?

Neil Steggall
Neil SteggallPartner at Wardour Capital Partners
Hi Marty,I agree with Jef''s comments but would add that a common error made in pricing products and services is a failure to understand your fixed cost structure (including your anticipated wages) and accounting for this when building you costing and quoting.If when all costs are calculated you are above the market ask:Is your product or service better than your competitors and if so why/howWill your customers recognise this and pay the differenceIf the answer to either question is no, you need to review your structure, costings & business model.We often find clients say "oh our customers just won't spend the money". Quite often the client is trying to sell what they perceive their customers "need" whereas long term research shows both B2B and consumers buy what they "want". It is often only a small, emotive change yet the difference in meeting wants is usually the difference between profit and loss.To understand this better check out this youtube clip re Apple: http://www.ted.com/talks/lang/en/simon_sinek_how_g...Another good source is Peter Drucker re satisfying customer wants.Hope this helps,Cheers,Neil.
Jef Lippiatt
Jef LippiattOwner at Startup Chucktown
I think the best way to figure this out is to test with actual or potential customers. Do competitive research (figure out what other charge)Figure out how your product and brand are different than competitorsSet the price you feel comfortableSee if customers would buy the product from you at that priceIf not, why not? (capture feedback and details not just "yes", "no", "I don't know")Tweak your pricing and try again
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Questions

What are the best kept secrets of successful business people?

Phil Khor
Phil KhorFounder at SavvySME
I reckon it's grit, some people have it, others don't. Grit is a personality trait of passion and perseverance for very long-term goals. I wrote about it here https://www.savvysme.com.au/article/445-do-you-have-the-will-to-succeed-do-you-have-grit-to-grow-your-business
Yee Trinh
Yee TrinhCo-founder at SavvySME
Perseverance. Whether you're an actor, an entrepreneur, an athlete or otherwise, if you are aspiring to grand "success", you will encounter roadblock after roadblock after roadblock. What differentiates the failures from the Michael Jordans and Richard Bransons is often a string of setbacks in which the latter two pushed and persisted through.
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Regulatory and compliance

Businesses could face $100,000 penalties for excessive credit card surcharges

SMEs should take care to make sure they are not charging customers surcharges for credit card...read more

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Added via SmartCompany
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Questions

What pitfalls or issues did you look for if you bought your company?

Speaking to the owners out there, did you buy your business? If so what were some of the primary... read more

Asked by:
Yee Trinh
Yee Trinh Co-founder at SavvySME
Hitesh Mohanlal
Hitesh MohanlalDirector at WOW! Advisors & Business Accountants
Very good question. Generally, the first question I always ask my clients who come to me about purchasing a business is 'how much does the business rely on the person who is selling?' If a lot (ie all the sales go through the existing owner or customers like to talk to them and them alone) then the business relies on the owner. If you then purchase this business there is a risk that customers will not wish to transact with you because the relationship has changed. The second question I ask is'How good are the systems or procedures that run the business'For example if all the know how is in the head of Norris and Norris is 72 years old and about to retire when you go in it is going to take you a long time to run the business. If on the other hand they have a systems or procedure manual it makes life easier.
Deborah Vella
Deborah VellaOwner at Support Legal
I didn't buy my business but I support others who chose to. It is essential to ensure that the main foundations of the business are strong. After that, goodwill and great relationships with clients and customers are a big consideration.
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Questions

What would you like me to write about for SavvySME?

Next week I will be putting together my writing strategy for March and April, so I am wondering,... read more

Jef Lippiatt
Jef LippiattOwner at Startup Chucktown
I know that it is important to have clearly written contracts and agreements, but when disagreements arise would it be wise to have them drawn up and signed as an audit trail to limit the same problem from resurfacing at a later time? If that is the case, would it be wise to have a third-party or notary sign-off on the disagreement document as well? I think knowing more about that would be helpful (at least for myself).
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Questions

Will this approach be considered SPAM?

A client wants to send an EDM (split according to location) to several thousand public servants... read more

Asked by:
Steve Osborne
Rebecca Carroll-Bell
Hi Steve,Further to my comments above, an article came upon Flying Solo that may assist: Sending emails: are you breaking the law? Cheers,Bec CB
Jef Lippiatt
Jef LippiattOwner at Startup Chucktown
I'm not a lawyer, but I would err on the side of caution. If the users did not explicitly sign up for receiving updates, newsletters or promotions it potentially could be seen as spam. It may not be seen as SPAM holistically by every person that receives the message (some may find it useful), but if enough people are unhappy about it watch out.I will say that is not always the case, but specifically if the goal is to sell something you may have less leverage. I have received several emails over the last 2 years that were things I did not sign up for, however, my email address was pulled from a public resource (Github) but the message was about conducting research for higher education purposes by students and/or faculty. I suppose I could have seen that email as SPAM, but the email was polite and transparent about several things.WHERE - they mentioned where they found my email addressWHY - they made it clear that participation was optional but helpful (for a survey)HOW - they let me know how the information I entered in the survey would be usedWHEN - they let me know that when all the surveys were complete the results would be shared with meKeep in mind one other thing, they also personalized the email that I received. It did not appear to have been a message that was sent to multiple (or hundreds) of people. My name was specifically used in the email. It is possible it was done through an email marketing provider (such as MailChimp) however, I saw no indication of 3rd party branding on the message.I would still say if you proceed, do so with caution. Perhaps if you are dead set on going down the path you mentioned, try sending the communication to only a handful of people first (such as 10 to 30 people). See what types of responses you are getting back (if any) or if it improves click through rate or sales.I would say you should still seek advice from an attorney before moving forward.
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Questions

Are HR Issues always tied to Employment Law?

Asked by:
Jef Lippiatt
Jef Lippiatt Owner at Startup Chucktown
Hi Jeff,In a general sense yes HR issues are tied to legal issues. For example I have a client who wanted to dismiss an employee via text message, which is a legal issue and could end up with your company being sued for unfair dismissal. It is important to always have the legal aspect of HR covered when dealing with employees for instance understanding the National Employment Standards which set out rights and entitlements , that are legally enforceable. Having good HR policies and procedures means less chance of litigation. The one area I wold like to remind employers is that of social media. It is good to also have a social media policy about what can be posted on to personal website relating to work issues and work functions. The better you communicate your policy the better you will be covered from a legal point of view.
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Questions

Disclaimer text: is there any point to it?

Does the disclaimer text inserted at the bottom of many corporate emails actually hold any legal... read more

Asked by:
Lisa Creffield
Yes a well worded disclaimer clause that is clearly stated will be enforceable. There are a number of different types of disclaimers or exclusion clauses. One type you have identified is on the bottom of emails but they are also found in most consumer contracts such as gym agreements, mobile phone contracts etc. They are enforceable as by signing those documents you are stating that you have read and understood the terms of the agreement and consent to waiving your rights. Exclusion clauses are also found in car parks, again if clearly displayed and worded will be enforceable. My advice is always make sure the clause clearly states what you are excluded, if it is vague it will be unenforceable. In terms of indemnify the company from inappropriate - remember you are vicariously liable for the actions of your employees. That means in simple terms -- you are responsible for every idiot you employ and the actions of that idiot. However if you have a clear social media and email policy then it could be a disciplinary action against the employee.
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Questions

How do I start a business?

Asked by:
Yee Trinh
Yee TrinhCo-founder at SavvySME
Check out leanstack.com. This is the first thing I do before jumping into any business idea.
Ian Harris
Ian HarrisDirector at B+I Lockwood Accountants
6 months should be fine but it will go fast. And you may need to raise finance which also takes time.
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Questions

Can you recommend a good digital marketing lawyer?

Can Savvies please help with a referral for a legal firm expert in digital? I'm looking for an... read more

Asked by:
Steve Osborne
Edward Plant
Edward PlantStrategic Leader at Lead a Better Business
I recommend Ian Kennedy form McLaughlins Lawyers. They have just won a high court digital marketing case and set new precedants in Australia as a result. Very good and have a team of digital experts that can provide advice. let me know if you want to be connected.
James NorquayOwner at Prosperity Media
One law firm we have used in the past is Cooper Mills Lawyers (Office Sydney/Melbourne) they deal mainly in Technology Law - Trademarks, Digital Issues, Domains. I am not sure about Email marketing tho these guys have been very good when we have dealt with them. Ask for Erhan the partner of the firm he will know my name. If his firm can not assist you I am sure he will put you onto the right company to do so.
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Questions

Is your business OHS/WHS compliant?

Do you think your business is meeting its OHS/WHS obligations and if so, what are you spending in... read more

What is Workplace health and safety (WHS)?Workplace Health and Safety (WHS), often referred to as Occupational Health and Safety (OH&S) involves the assessment and migration of risks that may impact the health, safety or welfare of those in your workplace. This may include the health and safety of your customers, employees, visitors, contractors, volunteers and suppliers. As a business owner there are legal requirements that you must comply with to ensure your workplace meets WHS obligations.Benefits of WHS in your businessCreating a safe work environment is a legal requirement and critical to the long term success of your business. It can: help you retain staffmaximise employee productivityminimise injury and illness in the workplacereduce the costs of injury and workers’ compensationensure you meet your legal obligations and employee responsibilities.WHS obligations for business As a business owner you have legal responsibilities to implement health and safety practices in your workplace as soon as you start your business. You need to ensure that your business doesn't create health and safety problems for your employees, contractors, volunteers, visitors, customers or the public. Knowing and understanding WHS laws and how they apply to business will help you avoid unnecessary costs and damage to your business caused by workplace injury and illness. Under Australian WHS/OH&S legislation businesses are legally obliged to: provide safe work premisesassess risks and implement appropriate measures for controlling themensure safe use and handling of goods and substancesprovide and maintain safe machinery and materialsassess workplace layout and provide safe systems of workprovide a suitable working environment and facilitieshave insurance and workers compensation workers’ compensation insurance for your employees.
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