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Attracting talent and recruitment

Writing an Effective Expression of Interest Letter

An expression of interest letter is a brief, introductory letter sent by a person interested in a... read more

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Damian Wolf Self at Self
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Onwards and upwards

New Business Idea: Workspace As A Service (WaaS)

Do you know that of Australia’s 2.1 million SMBs, almost 15% fold annually? Alarmingly, that figure... read more

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David Nicol Director, Workspace Product Sales at Citrix
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Cashflow management

Driving Business Performance in Difficult Economic Times

It’s said that a week is a long time in politics. In the context of business, a week can be the... read more

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Superannuation

Superannuation Strategies: A Comprehensive Guide and Tips for Small Businesses

For many small business owners, superannuation can be a confusing and complicated place. It is best... read more

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Online marketing

What are the advantages and disadvantages of email marketing?

What are the Advantages of Email Marketing? Probably the biggest advantage of email marketing is... read more

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Wendy Huang Full Time Blogger and YouTuber at A Custom Blog in 4 Minutes
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David PriceOwner at Price Advertising
Some useful tips here Wendy - thanks!
Wendy HuangFull Time Blogger and YouTuber at A Custom Blog in 4 Minutes
Thanks Kathie :)
First 100 days

Don't be afraid to make the call

Running a business is really just a whole series of decisions you didn’t think you’d have to make,... read more

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Sales and marketing

Benefits of advertorials

An advertorial is the combination of an advertisement and an editorial. In a printed form, the... read more

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SavvySME Official Official Account at SavvySME
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Attracting talent and recruitment

The Surgeon’s Dilemma – a test for unconscious bias

Here’s a challenge for you. A father and his son are involved in a horrific car crash and the... read more

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Prue Laurence Director at Psylutions
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Wendy HuangFull Time Blogger and YouTuber at A Custom Blog in 4 Minutes
Wow powerful riddle - really enjoyable read as well! Thanks Prue!
Accounting

3 Benefits to Setting Up Your Business Accounting Systems for Success

When I created the accounting firm Inspire CA, I wanted to make sure that the businesses we worked... read more

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Ben Walker Chartered Accountant at Inspire CA
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Cashflow management

How to Improve Cash Flow for Small Business

Cash flow is the life blood of every business. It is consistently one of the top challenges I have... read more

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Warwick Jackson Director at Berkmans Chartered Accountants
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Jeff GordonPrincipal at Prestige SME Business Solutions
By converting to Xero software, as a Business Owner you can turn on your PC, Ipad or IPhone every day and the KPI Dashboard that is great and will be even better in June 2015 when it is upgraded and improved. You will see Cash Flow from every angle, money in and out every day, all bank balances, problem debtors, main creditors you owe etc. Cash Flow is KING. You must watch it every day!
Taxation

ATO Audit – what to do and how to avoid them

As a Tax Agent, this is usually the first thing a client says to me when I tell them I have... read more

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Hitesh Mohanlal Director at WOW! Advisors & Business Accountants
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Greg TomkinsDirector | Web Architect at Top Left Designs
Actually it is very easy for the tax office to identify any business that is operating outside the "norms" as they have all the data they need to statistically identify deviations and the computer systems just sit there scanning all the BAS and annual returns and as soon as they spot a suspect the red light flashes and alarm bells ring. Anyone thinking they can hide anything can pretty well forget it as far as small business is concerned. It was interesting looking at the benchmark data and it is probably a good idea for anyone in the listed business categories to take a quick look... just go to http://www.ato.gov.au/Business/Small-business-benchmarks/In-detail/Benchmarks-A-Z/
Hitesh MohanlalDirector at WOW! Advisors & Business Accountants
Thanks Michael. Your comments are valid. It is frightening how much the ATO know before they start a detailed audit. Audit Insurance is great way to ensure you do not get a big bill for dealing with a tax audit
Buying and selling businesses

How to Buy an Existing Business: A Comprehensive Guide

Many people dream about owning their own business. However, few convert that dream into a reality.... read more

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Peter Wallace Non Executive Director at Endeavour Capital
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Founders and co-founders

Vote Now for Your Pick for Entrepreneur of 2013

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Accounting

Reviewed: Accounting Apps - MYOB, Xero, and Quickbooks

Because I am building my very first start-up, (clap clap clap) I had no idea about any of the... read more

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Ling Lee Director at Japanese Sword Auctions Australia
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Ling LeeDirector at Japanese Sword Auctions Australia
Hey Michael, thanks for the comment! I will definitely take that in mind. I just wanted to add that I intend to have more than 5 invoices per month. Even as a microbusiness, that doesn't mean I don't want to sell more products!
Neil SteggallPartner at Wardour Capital Partners
This is a valuable aid to all small businesses taking their first steps. A great summary, thanks Ling!
Online marketing

10 Email Marketing Essentials: How To Get That Mail Opened

Your marketing strategy may include social media, traditional advertising, media exposure,... read more

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Simon Slade CEO at Doubledot Media
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Regulatory and compliance

Registering a Business Name in NSW

Registering a business name in NSW The NSW Department of Fair Trading used to manage business name... read more

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Phil Joel Director at SavvySME
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Startup

3 Startup Hubs in Melbourne - Coworking spaces and the community of entrepreneurs

I went to Melbourne yesterday and got the opportunity to explore the startup scene there before we... read more

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Wendy Huang Full Time Blogger and YouTuber at A Custom Blog in 4 Minutes
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Kevin MallenOwner at Virtual Coworker
Inspire9 is quite awesome. For anyone stopping through Melbourne for the day, Inspire9 is free to the public for a day pass. They also have a ping pong table, pool table and love sacs!!!
Import and Export

5 tips for sourcing imports from China using Alibaba.com

My first proper online business was selling false lashes online. These are the little strips of... read more

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Wendy Huang Full Time Blogger and YouTuber at A Custom Blog in 4 Minutes
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Jolio Fadan
Great write up. Though we can also consider getting online courses about import business if we really want to know more about importing process.
Brian MallyonOwner at Luckypole Limited
Some very good and valid points in this article. If I may, I would also like to add some comments that may assist any potential buyers when looking to buy goods from Asia, predominantly China. 1. It is true that a "gold" supplier (with badge showing number of years they have been a gold supplier) provides a pretty good indication that a supplier is legitimate. It should be remembered that these "gold" supplier notations are applied because the supplier has paid money for it, not because it is based on quality. Some comments to explain this further:- a) For most suppliers there is very little information about the quality of the products or services the company will provide. In all my years sourcing product from China, I have rarely had a problem with illegitimate suppliers, more so the problems have arisen after placing an order with a supplier. They can be minor or large, but as a buyer you need to be constantly alert on the progress of any order. Quite often, you cannot expect the same levels of service you would get locally, so you have to balance the potential cost savings you may get and compare that to the work required in getting the deal done. b) As someone who started in this business before Alibaba was even around, there are other outlets that can offer options for your purchasing. I know of many good factories that are not even listed on Alibaba. It may be the biggest, but it should be remembered that Alibaba is essentially a platform to put a list of suppliers in one place to make it easier to find a supplier of a particular product, so is not really what you would call a sourcing platform. My company was once a gold member, but the five grand a year I paid wasn't worth it for the return I got, so we cancelled it. So not being on Alibaba and not being a gold member is not necessarily a reason to avoid a supplier, but I also do accept it is one thing to consider. c) At the initial stages of any business relationship, a Chinese supplier will be looking at the short term nature of the business deal. You may be thinking long term, they are more than likely looking to maximize their profit from the first deal. Remember they are getting many requests and a lot of those are just people shopping around, so they will not always value the long term potential at the outset. Quite often saying things like" I want a small order to test the quality and build it as my business grows", is often translated to " I want a small order, and you probably won't see me again if I cannot sell this." d) Avoid anyone in China selling branded products. That iphone, or branded polo shirt, may be made in China, but it is almost guaranteed to be fake. Brand owners generally have very strict agreements in place with manufacturers, and that does not involve the maker being able to sell these goods directly to anyone they like. 2. Yes, it is very important to select quite a few suppliers. Even when I have suppliers of a product I have used before, and will likely use them again, I nearly always get additional supplier product details to be able to make comparisons. a) If you have been using a good supplier and know their product and service quality, sometimes even paying them more is a better option that having to go through the process of vetting new suppliers. b) I do however disagree with the comment about not having an idea about what you can afford. It is the responsibility to the buyer to have an idea of the product information and the associated costs. This to me is one of the main areas where there are problems. Buyers don't know what something costs, they therefore select the cheapest option when talking to suppliers. Problem is that generally the cheapest option is cheap for a reason, which may be product quality or service quality. c) On Alibaba they will generally show a price range of a product on the main product listing pages. Buyers should bear in mind that these prices listed are often not the real prices so should not make any judgment based on these. (Suppliers call this a marketing tactic to entice potential buyers, I call it a flat out lie.) d) Quite often when asking for quotes, information will be missing. Follow up until you have received everything, otherwise you may find some nasty surprises when it comes to the real amount needed to be paid. e) As for communication, you need to remember that English is often not the first language for most suppliers. Not only that, but sometimes an email can be easily understood, whereas talking is incomprehensible. So everything needs to be stated clearly and the shorter the communication the better. 3. Yes, most definitely sampling is important to make sure of the quality. I would even add that, to add some comfort it can be worth considering to have a third party do an inspection of the goods. In the majority of cases for relatively large orders, the payment process is 30% deposit, followed by 70% final payment before the goods are shipped. This inspection can be done before making the final payment as a way of offering some further peace of mind. generally this will cost around USD200-300 currently for an inspection done to AQL (international) standards. 4. For logistics, and with larger orders, shipping by sea is probably the most economical method. (It is handy to look up "incoterms" to know what the different terms mean.) Quite often a buyer will leave the shipping to the supplier (CFR/ CIF), but I would nearly always recommend against this and to arrange shipping on an FOB basis, which means arranging it yourself through your own forwarding company. This is because the cost per CBM can vary significantly with other charges potentially making your costs a lot higher if not done correctly. (Personally, I always arrange several quotes from different suppliers, as I would with my product supplier, just to get a good comparison.) So for example, the supplier may use the shipper with the cheapest shipment rate, but the buyer is stuck with inflated port charges at the destination. Finally, obviously one of the major reasons (probably the major one) that people look to go overseas when sourcing/buying products is the cost. Unfortunately this often leads down the path of looking for the cheapest option. Taking the very cheapest option looks good at the start, but often it is the cheapest option for a reason, which is generally product quality. So a buyer really needs to try and make that judgment call between getting the product at a reasonable price and ensuring the quality is to their satisfaction. Asia is a place of great potential for cost savings, but greed can sometimes outweigh those potential benefits. So I hope some of my comments may have added a little more to help people in their thinking on this subject.
Online marketing

Social media trends for 2014

In 2014 it’s predicted that social media marketing budgets will double for most SME’s. Never... read more

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Ehtesham ShaikhSEO at SKI USA INC
Absolutely Mar, Social Media might lead to increase in the budget. Even I realise that social media is the best platform to drive conversational traffic and promote their business to a greater extent. I feel Twitter is the best and most engaging medium.
Neil Charlton at Plug and Play Design Moorgate
Excellent Mar. Good call. Great to see your views on Social Media Marketing and its potential for exponential expansion in 2014, as we've recently launched a SMM product for SMEs - http://goo.gl/ccoVls Rgds. Neil
Taxation

Understanding Business Activity Statement (BAS) - The Complete Guide

The business activity statement (BAS) is a tax reporting requirement for businesses issued by the... read more

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Craig Pisani Director at 542 Partners
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Outsourcing

Rise or Demise of Service Based Businesses

How Australians spent their money in 2014 I was reading the news the other day and came across the... read more

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Jef LippiattCo-founder at Startup Chucktown
Very interesting perspective and coverage, thanks.
Finance and accounting

Why is Xero Dramatically Changing The Bookkeeping World and Small Businesses?

Have you heard of Xero – a cloud-based small business accounting software? Founded in 2006, this... read more

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Jeff Gordon Principal at Prestige SME Business Solutions
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Jeff GordonPrincipal at Prestige SME Business Solutions
Thanks very much to the Tax Accountants and Clients who contacted me following this feature on Xero. They were all pleased about the free conversion offer from MYOB to Xero for their clients, many who have been "sitting on the fence" for a while and are now starting to seriously plan to join the cloud and take their business into the contemporary business world. Once the change has been done, there will be no regrets. The biggest risk is to take no risk! The sooner the better! The benefits to businesses are as long as your arm!
Franchising

Frozen-Yogurt Franchise Fight Heats Up

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Running your business

QuizzaMe - the entertainment revolution

Tell us about your business? QuizzaMe creates memorable events (http://www.quizzame.com/). Pens... read more

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Paul Friedman General Manager at QuizzaMe
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Managing employees

Common Hazards in The Workplace

When you spend most of your day in a pleasant, air conditioned office, you might think that you... read more

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Phil KhorFounder at SavvySME
Thanks Victor, good read! Accidents do happen at work, I see it time and time again. We often take it for granted that it will never happen but as your list suggests, it doesn't take a lot for someone to get hurt. So it really pays to be careful (not paranoid) about potential safety hazards. Sometimes it's plain common sense; if you see something on the floor that could trip someone over, don't ignore it! Thanks again, keep them articles coming.
Business structure

What is a Shareholders Agreement and How Does It Work?

A Shareholders Agreement is a legally binding contract entered into by the shareholders of a... read more

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Wendy HuangFull Time Blogger and YouTuber at A Custom Blog in 4 Minutes
Great article Kate :)
Market research

Top 20 Online Customer Survey Forms

Online customer surveys are a great way to gather information, from voting for your next team... read more

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Wendy Huang Full Time Blogger and YouTuber at A Custom Blog in 4 Minutes
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Kathie BolithoDIrector at Tough Cookie Marketing
Great information, thanks!
Sharee JameiWeb Developer at SavvySME
Thank you!
Business planning

How to create a S.M.A.R.T Business Plan

It's a general rule among entrepreneurs that before a business gets built from the ground up,... read more

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Kerry Blake
Thank you for your kind words Roland. Your comment (short article) is great addition to my article.
Lovely article Kerry... Love the focus on learning from your competition... have a look what they do and then make it better. Business planning is a big soapbox of mine. Most business owners know they should have one but few of them do and the ones that do have one haven't looked at it in the last couple of years and the plan is gathering dust at the bottom of a pile of books. The problem is that people don't get clear about the purpose of the business plan that they create. There is a world of difference between a business plan that is written to impress a bank manager when applying for an overdraft and a plan that is aimed at engaging your people and the main tool that is used to guide the development of the business. The first one is what I call an external plan and the second one is what I refer to as an internal business plan. And the 6 criteria for an effective internal business plan are these: - It's got to be Live and kept alive...constantly - Make sure it's written for the right people - And easily accessible for those people - Including the Short, medium, long-term Goals of the business (SMART goals) - Referencing the Purpose and Mission of the business - And short (ideally no more than one page) As it happens I've written in more detail about effective business planning, on this site as well as on my blog... and I have a couple of recorded webinars available about Business plans that work (for free)... if anyone is interested drop me a line or let me know here and I'll share a link to one of them. Cheers Roland Hanekroot
Offline and direct marketing

Cost of print advertising

Cost of Print Advertising for Newspapers, Magazines: Newspaper ads are capable of targeting a... read more

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Wendy Huang Full Time Blogger and YouTuber at A Custom Blog in 4 Minutes
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Sales and marketing

Differences between B2B and B2C

B2B, B2C... they are both customers and people in the end right? Yes.. but also a big no. There are... read more

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Wendy HuangFull Time Blogger and YouTuber at A Custom Blog in 4 Minutes
Wow some really great summaries of the different between B2B and B2C, I think I'm going to keep this list to reference to :)!
Managing employees

There are only four types of people in the world

Have you ever wondered why there are some customers or staff members that are just hard work? Have... read more

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Wendy HuangFull Time Blogger and YouTuber at A Custom Blog in 4 Minutes
Yes I am eagerly awaiting this series too :)!
Micha WottonHead of Development at SavvySME
Looking forward to this series Narelle!
Insurance

The insurance policy every online business should have

For every good, there is an evil, it’s just a fact of life. So while the internet makes it easier... read more

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Kate FairleyOwner at Get Informed
No they certainly can't, and Insurance isn't a failsafe in that regard however the Business Interruption options available are quite generous. The product I've selected for my business actually provides an additional benefit (meaning it's paid out on top of the claim) of $50,000 towards having a PR firm re-establish the business' reputation OR a security consultant to conduct a review and implement any necessary security improvements as a result of an event OR a forensic consultant to establish the identity of the hacker. So depending on the breach which has occurred, I could select the most appropriate option which would give me the best chance of getting back on my feet. Insurance isn't a magic wand, but it does offset your risk.
Steven AbrahamOwner at Evolved Sound
Very interesting insurance product. Being hacked in some shape or form is inevitable for many businesses and the risk factors are on the rise. Some of these Cyber crimes are so severe, and other than a potential payout these policies can't easily restore your business in the same way a house can be re-built in the traditional sense.
Sales and marketing

Big Take Aways From The Practice Growth Formula Workshop [2 of 2]

The most important things that came out of our recent event [2 of 2] Last week, we shared with you... read more

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Jef LippiattCo-founder at Startup Chucktown
This was a really good follow up piece with nice insights of its own.
Startup

How to Boost Your Online Retail Sales Using These Proven Strategies

Technology and globalisation are forever changing the way we do business.  The good news is that... read more

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Will Irving at Telstra Business
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Startup

Geekbus Gives Future Entrepreneurs a Lift

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Search engine marketing

How Can Google Business Listing Help Boost Your Small Business Promotion?

Do you know that having a Google business listing can help boost your small business... read more

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Tim GreigOwner at Green Galah Pty Ltd
Google places is great except for one thing: The inability to get found in multiple locations. As Google matches your location using business address, phone numbers etc. it conveniently leaves out all businesses who work across multiple suburbs but have an office in just one location. As a B2B company who provides services at customers premises it is very frustrating. By the way X% of businesses search for businesses online who can work in their area. NOT necessarily "local".
Eric PhuahOwner at Hystericalz Pty Ltd
Thanks for the article Ananda, very useful tips for getting more exposure. I'll definitely employ these methods.