Investor funding and capital

How to Raise Your First Round of Funding

As an entrepreneur, one of your first skills has to be in the art of persuasion because your...read more

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Measuring startup success

10 Ways to Increase Your Chances of Entrepreneurial Success

So you've got your genius business plan, enough capital, and maybe even a team of passionate people...read more

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Investor funding and capital

CBA: Get ready for higher business investment in 2018

Investment for business is forecasted to continue its upward trend in 2018.read more

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Business ideas and monetising new concepts

3 Tips for Starting a Company in an Unfamiliar Industry

It's not crazy, and it's actually doable. Ignorance of the market can make it possible for you to...read more

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Measuring startup success

4 Tips for Building a Million-Dollar Business

How does one startup become a successful business, and most others fall by the wayside? There's no...read more

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Investor funding and capital

$1 billion raised in Australian venture capital over the last year, report finds

The venture capital sector in Australia sees increased vitality, making it easier for startups to...read more

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Questions

What are the best ways to market for a community-based cafe?

John lewis
If you send me you location, I can provide a map of the catchment area, showing areas of about 300 dwellings with estimated discretionary income, and a complete list of all addresses for these areas.Your cafe is more likely to be successful if you can attract more regulars from your catchment area, compared with your competitors.A key part of success will depend on the quality of your overall hospitality offer, as well as the value in special offers that you provide to the locals in your catchment area.
Michelle Gentry
Michelle Gentry
I've sold a niche Instagram account to an investor and she is now monetizing that account. Hope you can elaborate what you mean by community-based cafe. Is it built by or for the community?
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Questions

Where can I find angel investors?

I have a business idea and planning to present it to investors but I do not know where to find... read more

Marcus TjenOwner at Rugged Computing
Put yourself in an investor's shoe, would you give a stranger your hard earn money because he/she has an idea? Anyone who is a professional investors would not give you a time of day if you only have an idea, you need to develop your idea into something tangible such as a patent, a prototype, or something that shows that it is of value and not just in your head. Even if you have a patent or a prototype, investors are not going to line up to see you, most of them want to know whether there is any potential return for their investment and how long they have to wait to get a return which is why most people who are successful in getting investors are people who already start a company and already getting sales or subscribers or members or users for their services. If you only have an idea, you're a long way from getting a professional investor to invest in you.Most people with good idea can find investors but they're not professional investors or angels. Your potential investors are your parents, your family members, your friends and colleagues. Approach them about your idea and see whether they would be excited to make your great idea into a reality. If you can't convince people you know that you have a great idea, chances are you won't be able to convince professional investors who do it for a living.
Yee Trinh
Yee TrinhCo-founder at SavvySME
Great to have you on board Greg. I think you are far from funding stage, of any sort. With simply a business idea. You don't need a lot of money, if any, to do some initial mockups or tests to assess results and viability of your business idea. Focus on the business first and foremost. Show some traction. Doesn't matter how little. You'd be hard pressed to find any investor who will take you seriously otherwise. Once you have driven some results and or traction, then look to ask for funding. Having said that, always build connections early on. This is a great time to look for mentors and connect purely for purposes of advice or insight. Over time, invest in your relationship, demonstrate to them what you are able to achieve.
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Questions

How did your brand and identity survive 2012-2013?

Asked by:
Miky Kens
Miky Kens at Patriot Electric
To further qualify your question Miky, 4 to 5 years after the event what difference douse a retrospective on a brand identity's survival make?
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Questions

What is the lean methodology?

I've heard all about it but I'm not really sure how I could apply it to my business. read more

Asked by:
Hi Anonymous, There is a lot to implementing Lean management and operational practice into any business and the actual activities and actions are very business specific. There is a lot published on the topic ( I have authored a lot of generic material too). Find a Lean management consultant, or interest group in your area with some expertise in your business discipline. People who advocate Lean principals are more often than not most eager to tell you all about the benefits you may achieve.
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Questions

How do I crowdfund for my business idea?

I have heard about crowd funding. How does it work? read more

Marlon Muya
Marlon MuyaFounder and Owner at Casino Financing
Have you started crowdfunding Clive? How was it?
Jef Lippiatt
Jef LippiattOwner at Startup Chucktown
There are essentially 2 ways to crowdfund a business. The first model made popular by Kickstarter and Indiegogo is anyone can contribute to your idea in exchange for a future product discount, specific rewards based on amount of contribution or getting access before available to the general public. In this model the contributors do not get any business equity. This is seen as informal crowdfunding.The second model is being crowdfunded by "syndicate" or a group of accredited investors that have pooled their money to spread the risk (think mini Venture Capitalism from the stand point that these typically aren't companies but just groups of investors that have decided to band together). In this model you very well may give up business equity to make the deal happen. This is a more formal crowdfunding approach. I believe both Angel List and Gust both have this as part of their online platforms.But before pursuing either, you need to know how much money you are trying to raise. What will that money be spent on specifically if you get access to it? What percentage of your business are you willing to give up to make the deal happen? How will you thank or reward contributors? How quickly are you trying to raise the money? Why do you need the money (product production, raw materials, scaling for larger quantity runs, distribution, etc.)?
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Questions

How do I find a small business mentor?

I am in my first year of a small digital marketing business.  I feel it may be useful to have a... read more

Asked by:
Brad Lyons
Brad LyonsOwner at SMS Fusion
I would say don't hire a mentor, hire a consultant. Banks and other large companies hire consultants all the time to introduce you processes and technology into their business.Talk to sales reps. If you want to improve different areas of your business, speak to sales from the service providers. They will help you get an understanding of how their product can help. Speak to enough sales reps and you will get a better understanding of the industry and ways you can improve your current processes. You could hire a consultant and I would recommend that. However not until you talk to sales reps first and do some industry recon first. Research your industry, know more about the tech that is available, then look at a consultant. Then you can get value for money out of them. I have companies call asking for help however they don't really know their industry. They don't research and they don't want to change anything. They just want someone to talk to and let off steam. I have no interest in that and nor to most consultants I know. A consultant should be able to walk in. Identify issues and put forward solutions. If your not willing or can't afford to make changes, your not in a position to hire a consultant. Prior to hiring a consultant you should have a basic understanding of what your pains are. Are your processes taking too long. Is your spend too high vs return. Do you want to automate more. Just speaking with a consultant over the phone prior to hiring them, they should be able to tell you. Yes or No, around how much to actually make changes in your business. If the consultant can't give you a basic understanding of what you should expect and how much to impliment change. Then call someone else.
Hi Mentoring involues more of give overrall guidance and coordinate in taking appropriate business decisions.This needs experience in the particular field of business or someone who is good in strategy and number of years of experience in running similar business or maanegement experience where he can be approached whenever the business needs support in key decisions and ongoing development of the business.One of the ways to find a mentor is by identifying a person engaged in business advisosory and focussing on small business .
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Questions

How do I increase turnover?

My turnover isn't paying bills. read more

Greg Rogers
Greg RogersFounder and CEO at REthink HQ
Hi Paulette,Having owned and operated a restaurant myself I can certainly identify with your problem.The previous replies are good ones and should be looked into, the biggest challenge in providing any feedback though is the lack of detailed information. This is the first point I always request of clients. Get armed with as much detail (information) as possible, when you have this then you can make informed decisions and choices.I suspect your initial problem is not having enough information to ask for help that is more defined than simply 'how do I increase turnover'. Baseline data is the key!Information for you, right now, is to quantify, do this by making everything measurable. How many days are you trading? Breakfast, lunch dinner? What is the average spend for each service time?What are you food costs? Wage costs? Rent as a % to turnover, you make the comment that there is nothing you can do about the rent, I would respectfully suggest this can only be answered accurately when the question is actually asked.What is the value of the 5% monthly increase you are looking for? Is it simply more customers X the average spend? If so this will mean a different course of action as opposed to perhaps investigating starting a breakfast or lunch service.You have hit a wall after 7 months, does this mean that you were achieving your 5% increase prior? If so have you stopped doing something, can you do more of what was working?I agree that simply reducing staff levels to the point that it affects service is pointless, no or bad service = no customers. Is your staff mix and rostering balanced?It may seem I have compounded the problem by asking questions rather than offering solutions but if you haven't gone through an exercise like this, then any answer is more akin to throwing a dart blindfolded. You might hit the target, you might not. The biggest problem is that you won't know either way!I wish you all the best in whatever course of action you take and I acknowledge your courage in putting it out there for help...always a big first step to overcoming a problem.CheersGreg
Ideal home
Ideal homeOwner at Ideal Home Storage
Very nice
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Questions

Should you share business ideas with others?

Jef Lippiatt
Jef LippiattOwner at Startup Chucktown
Nick,building on the previous answer, I would also say that there are really 2 schools of thought. I'm not talking until we all sing NDA (Non-Disclosure Agreements)I'm telling everyone I possibly can and hoping for feedbackIn the bright world of 2016 most people, companies and definitely Venture Capitalists (VCs) have stopped signing NDAs. Why? It isn't worth their time. Why else? It limits them from hearing an analyzing other ideas in a similar industry or field. It is really only needed if you have and are showing registered Intellectual Property (IP) such as Patents or Trade Secrets.The argument against NDAs is mentioned above. Execution is key. Everyone has ideas, in fact I have more than 8 notebooks filled front to back with more ideas than I could ever execute on. However in those notebooks they'll never turn into anything. I've tried to give some of the ideas away.Keep in mind, many people will belittle your ideas. It really is hard to get someone to steal your idea (most people wouldn't want to put in the effort). However, if absolutely no one wants to steal your idea, you may not be trying to create something that anyone (or at least not enough people want or need).If you aren't sharing your idea, you aren't getting feedback. Chances are, you'll need to make some tweaks to your original idea anyway. So be open about what you are trying to accomplish and realize that there is room for competition and that it is a healthy driver of innovation in and of itself.
Prosper Taruvinga
Prosper TaruvingaDigital Marketing Expert at Livelong Digital Pty Ltd
The dream is for everyone, but the hustle is sold separately. What I mean here is, When you have an idea, it is worth nothing if it's not executed.So if you share your idea, someone may not execute it as much as you would or as good as you will. You can actually buy lists of ideas ready to implement, so your idea is only as good as the execution.You wanna know the wealthiest place in the world, Nick? It's not Dubai, It's not America. It's the graveyard!There you will find, dreams and ideas that were never realised. People die, clutching their ideas, books, or whatever gifts they have because either, they are not willing to execute or share with others what they have.Usually fear stops people from sharing their ideas. Fear of failure, fear of ridicule. That should not stop you from getting your idea out and getting feedback.Speaking of which, what was the idea about?
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Questions

Have you considered engaging an Advisory Board member or a Corporate Mentor?

Advisory Board Members or Corporate Mentors are increasingly used in startups and/or growth... read more

Asked by:
Neil Steggall
Neil Steggall Partner at Wardour Capital Partners
Kirsty Fox
Kirsty FoxPrincipal at Spitfire Solutions
I think it is a good idea. I think every business can benefit from an "Advisory Board". Probably the bigger question is who to have on your board. A mentor is an excellent starting point, and you need an "outsider" who can look at the business dispassionately.
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Questions

Do you see the value in AMAs?

Otherwise known as "Ask Me Anything"s. For those unfamiliar, experts or other prominent individuals... read more

Asked by:
Yee Trinh
Yee Trinh Co-founder at SavvySME
Jef Lippiatt
Jef LippiattOwner at Startup Chucktown
I think Steven has a good point about live Q&A sessions at the end of a panel discussion or presentation. However, I would argue that AMA's online are very successful and even celebrated. Everyone from celebrities to presidential candidates and others have done them on the online community Reddit.I think if the person is presenting a unique perspective or is someone that has lots of following it can be a very interesting thing to participate in either actively or passively.I really enjoyed being part of the SavvySME AMA's the last time they happened. I also enjoyed participating in the AMAs of others.
Steven Freeman
Steven FreemanOwner at Evolved Sound
This is popular at traditional business events when you have a panel of experts in front of the audience. I feel the value of this is stronger with a captive audience in the traditional world rather than online.
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Business ideas and monetising new concepts

This VR Company Wants to Add Missile Explosions and Race Cars to Your Workout

Many people watching new startups and online companies would have already noticed that Virtual...read more

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Questions

As first time entrepreneurs, what part of the process are people often completely blind to?

Jef Lippiatt
Jef LippiattOwner at Startup Chucktown
I will speak specifically to tech startups and app startups. When launching into these segments many entrepreneurs get totally enamored with the highlight reel of all the media outlets. They truly believe that in months they'll be the next Facebook.Now, I'm not trying to squash dreams, because being bold and audacious is important. However, don't throw out common sense. Starting any type of business is exciting, but there is a definite lack of media coverage on the "daily grind" of operating and selling. Why? It isn't very sexy and it doesn't inspire (or rather, the media companies don't think it will).This is the very same reason you hardly hear about failures of largely funded entrepreneurs. The media doesn't want to cover that (it is deemed dismal). However, if positioned correctly there are many lessons to be learned from the failures and struggles of others. I dare people to live vicariously to reduce the pitfalls that happen to them on their business journey.
HUNTER LEONARD
HUNTER LEONARDFOUNDER AND CEO at BLUE FROG MARKETING PTY LTD
I've benchmarked over 1000 SME businesses in regards to their marketing attitudes and behaviours asking over 50 questions of each business. So i'll confine my comments to marketing and strategy. The absolute number 1 is lack of research. Entrepreneurs by their nature are courageous, risk takers, and innovative. They expect others to see their ideas as brilliant and that "sell themself" - we found that less than 15% of SME business owners had done sufficient research of their market, competition or their product prior to launch. They spent money and time on product development, on fitting our their offices or warehouses, on branding and websites. But they rarely invest enough time in truly understanding the dynamics of their market, their competition and importantly what strategic positioning they are going to adopt in the market.
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Questions

Have you worked with a mentor?

If you have worked with a mentor, great! But I want details. Was working with a mentor a successful... read more

Asked by:
Jef Lippiatt
Jef Lippiatt Owner at Startup Chucktown
HUNTER LEONARD
HUNTER LEONARDFOUNDER AND CEO at BLUE FROG MARKETING PTY LTD
Yes, I've worked with a mentor on a couple of occasions. Once many years ago I asked a colleague to be my presentation mentor and he would attend my seminars and presentations and then give me feedback at the end of each one. This was a fantastic experience as he was able to pinpoint some key positives and negatives about my style and delivery and I improved as a result.More recently, I asked one of my clients to put on a different hat and mentor me on preparation of investment documents for a new business I'm working on. This was also a great experience, and one of his comments led to a focussing of our business idea to the point where I'm now far more passionate about the idea because I found a really nice social enterprise angle to the business that I hadn't expected and wouldn't have found if he had mentioned that one thing.In summary, definitely recommend having a mentor, particularly if there is a very defined outcome you're looking for.
Felicity LawOwner at Felicity Law
Hi Jef, I too have worked with and as a mentor.Unlike a traditional Business Coach, the mentors that I have worked with cut through the 'guided-self-sourced-solutions framework', and speak frankly about the reality of the business world, life, and everything in between. Honesty is at the core of an effective mentor / mentee relationship and like most intimate relationships where fears, dreams, and personal thoughts are disclosed, it may take time to find the right fit.Some of the best mentors I have worked with are professionals I respect, admire, and lead by example. The mentoring happens organically as a result of their leadership, approachability, and authenticity. As a result of my own experiences with being mentored and providing mentoring, I am a strong advocate.Good luck and let me know if you have any more questions I can help with.
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Questions

For those of you who make products, do you prefer improving on existing ones or developing new ones?

In terms of both value to your customers, and costs to your company, which do you prefer doing? read more

Asked by:
Phil Khor
Phil Khor Founder at SavvySME
Brad Lyons
Brad LyonsOwner at SMS Fusion
I would have to say both. I spend a lot of time when it comes to research and development. One project that I have been a part of over the years is called detectivedesk.comOngoing development is required in this industry and the main reason most companies are walking away from competitors is because the competitors don't spend time on research and development.The result of R&D means we are developing new products and improving our existing products all the time. This results in more and more clients wanting to use our products. In the data industry R&D is very important. While improving products is critical it is equally important to consistently develop new products. The industry demands it and as long as we keep improving and developing new products out competitors are not able to keep up. As soon as we stop! someone else will see the gap and take over the industry. Some of the databases and CRM's I have developed are direct products of R&D. They wouldn't exist otherwise. Basically, every industry I am in I spend a lot of time on R&D. When you play with large datasets, the more time you spend on R&D the more advancements you contribute to the industry and the more you contribute the more people notice you.On the other hand, if you believe a product is broken or you believe there could be future issues then you should start on developing a new product. That doesn't mean you stop production or R&D. When it comes to software, applying updates and patches can only last so long. It is much better to take a step back and start coding from scratch. I was involved in a project were the client wanted to develop an entirely new CRM. The old CRM was great however was always being patched and didn't have the ability to grow and adapt with the business. In this case the solution was to start from scratch, while one team was dedicated to maintaining the old system another team was involved in developing the new system. Once the new system was ready it was put through beta testing and once that was completed it was rolled out in stages. A slow release in some cases is the best option. So, improve the old or develop new? Both. If you believe there is a potential issue with one of your current products, start from scratch while maintaining the current product. Identify the issues, test alternative ways and run simulations to test under pressure. All part of R&D. That is what I love about business, R&D, always looking to improve and create new ways of doing things.
Steve Main
Steve MainOwner at Onesystem
I am very fortunate to be in a position to do both and love these opportunities. A tweak here and there, a quick fix, customise to help a client solve a problem, bolt on an addition function and of course build a new one. Its a balancing act, to ensure short term achievements align with long term strategies and sometimes acknowledging that the limitations require a new train of thought.Tonight I have worked on both, a new small application (in this case building a new application has been quicker and more cost effective) and a customisation of a larger application (small customisation to enhance the user experience and grow with the business). Tonight I am not sure I can choose what I preferred, both equally have been very rewarding.Steve
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