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Deborah Vella answered a question

What Are The Payment Times When Working With Big Businesses?

Small businesses can be severely affected when big businesses are slow to pay them. Recent government initiatives are putting them in the spotlight, as Australian businesses take an average 56.4 days to pay up, one of the worst among developed countries. 

Deborah Vella

Deborah Vella, Owner at Support Legal

It can depend on the type of work and industry.  Make sure you check their standard contracts and don't be afraid to ask for a change in the payment terms.  The worst they can do is say no.  What I find can usually happen is that you'll receive the details of a dedicated person who can help process your invoice quickly so it is in the accounting system and will be paid on the next cycle.  It may not be perfect, but it's a manageable win!

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Brad Lyons

Brad Lyons, Consultant at SMS Fusion

Invoice factoring could be a solution for you if clients are wanting longer payment terms. As a rule, I decline clients that want long payment terms. Even large clients are fine with 30 day invoices. But it really comes down to your undustry. As a rule, Unless the company is very large, I don't accept any payment terms longer than 14 days. 

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Rebecca Carroll-Bell answered a question

Is it legal to pay your employee in crypto currency like Bitcoin?

Crypto currency are popular and easy to manage, but i am not sure, whether it is legal or not to pay someone with it and manage your taxes same time.

Rebecca Carroll-Bell

Rebecca Carroll-Bell, Owner at RCB Mediation Services

I find BitCoin and other crypto currencies so interesting. From a legal view point I have no idea how to classify them - are they currency? goods? something else? Are they subject to GST? Income tax? FBT (as Katherine mentioned above, in some circumstances, yes).

I also find people's motivations for using cryptos intriguing.

Personally, I find the wild fluctuations in the 'value' of each unit worrisome and woudl not agree to be paid in BitCoin.

Uttam Jha

Uttam Jha , Owner at Tyche Infotech Pty Ltd

Agreed ofcourse we cant buy beer in bitcoins can we ?
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Ananda Raj Pandey

Ananda Raj Pandey, Developer at SavvySME

Thank you Katherine. It will help.
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Jef Lippiatt answered a question

Does Anyone Know How To Market Label Or Get It Into Stores?

I am in the process of launching a new casual/sportwear range. Bescides marketing on Facebook and selling that way.

Jef Lippiatt

Jef Lippiatt, Owner at Startup Chucktown

It really depends on your brands positioning. Are you looking for an exclusive partnership? Wide distribution? Or are you focusing on niche / boutiques?

Some of the above questions should easily be answered by how your brand is positioned. If you are "premium" you should look for an exclusive partnership or boutiques. If you are going for "trendy" you should focus on boutiques and high end department stores. If you are going for "affordable" you should aim at large chain stores.

The deal has to work for both you and the retailer to make sense for both of your brands. Do you have your whole sale pricing in place? If not, you need to understand your price point for whole sale customers before you start reaching out to them.

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Brian Dorricott answered a question

An Online Survey, Have Your Say And Help Me Understand You Better

Hi All,

I am conducting a  short survey and would love anyone and everyone to participate. If I can get answers from the SavvySME forum I can at least guarantee the answers come from real Australians. :)

Last time you shopped at a major appliance retailer (The Good Guys, JB Hi-Fi, Harvey)

1.  Did you trust the sales person?      a) Yes      b) Maybe (A little)      c) No

2.  How much did you rely on the sales person’s advice?      a) Lots      b) A little      c) None

3.  Did you feel confident with your purchase?      a) Yes      b) No

Thanks in advance for anyone who participates :)  

Brian Dorricott

Brian Dorricott, Startup Guide at Meteorical

Hi Steve,Great to see you're doing a survey.Looking at the questions, I'm struggling to see what you hope to learn. Are you looking to find out what problems people face at a major appliance retailer?Brian

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Steve Osborne

Steve Osborne, director at Steve Osborne / Smarthinking

Recently shopped at Harvey Norman for new kitchen appliances: wall oven, stove top, dishwasher. My responses:

1. a2. a3. a

Process could not have been easier. We got exactly what we needed, at a price we were happy with, with no upsell sales pitch.

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Jef Lippiatt answered a question

Jef Lippiatt

Jef Lippiatt, Owner at Startup Chucktown

I am in the USA so my perspective needs to be taken with a grain of salt. All of what Terry mentioned above is important.

I've used Godaddy for about 8 years and had very few issues. I pay roughly $100 - $120 a year for the hosting. I have a bundle of 5 SSL certificates which is another $150 a year. However, for me their hosting is convenient because I can host many domains in the same hosting account (currently I have about 15 domains, 8 of which have actual content).

However, Godaddy and most "Traditional" hosting companies are PHP optimized (on the Linux operating system (OS)). They may offer Windows (OS) hosting that supports ".net", "Java" and ".asp" but usually that is a bit more expensive.

Why does this matter? If you are set on using a framework or software built in another language such as Python, Ruby or Node JS - you may need to look at distributed or Cloud hosting providers, such as Amazon AWS, Heroku, Google or others. Typically these services support the other languages but also can handle more capacity (users at a time) because they can scale easily. Keep in mind the cost structures of these services are usually a bit more complicated.

The important thing is you know what is important to you (bandwidth, storage space, scale-ability, cost, etc.) before you make your decision. If you aren't sure, try getting some guidance from vendors by explaining the goals of your hosting needs.

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Terry Chadban

Terry Chadban, Founder/Manager at Port Macquarie Online Marketing

Hi John,

This is not touting for business, but may give you an idea of what to look for, and what to pay. We run our own website hosting for our clients, exclusively for the Wordpress platform, so our web hosting is specifically optimized for Wordpress.

[1] First decide what platform you are going to use, then find web hosting which specializes in that platform.

[2] Decide whether you want to maintain your website yourself, or whether you want to pay for a fully managed service.

[3] Look for a web hosting service that has a data centre close to you/your customers. For example most of our clients are situated in NSW, so our data centre is located in the Sydney CBD.

[4] Stay away from cheap web hosting like Hostgator and Godaddy, because their data centres are situated in the US, which presents a number of problems like slow page load times, which Google use to assess your search rankings, as well as security issues related to US laws.

[5] Try to find a web host which uses some sort of CDN (Content Delivery Network) like CloudFlare or MaxCDN. This is not a major problem if your data centre is situated close to where your customers are, but can help if you are expecting to attract customers from overseas because the CDN will display your website from the nearest datacentre in their network, which cuts down on page loading times again.

[6] Make sure that some sort of regular backup service is included, and easy for you to access if ever you need to roll back your website for any reason.

[7] Finally, make sure that your web host is using SSD (Solid State Drives) rather than traditional hard disk drives because this improves loading times dramatically. If you compare the loading speed of your mobile phone or tablet with your desktop computer you will see what I mean.

For the record, our web hosting is all SSD-based, situated in a data centre in Sydney, as I mentioned, and we run CloudFlare for our CDN. Our prices start at $20/month for basic websites, and $30/month for ecommerce websites, and that includes basic maintenance and weekly backups. That will give you a ballpark figure to work on, and an idea of what to look for, and what not to go for.

Good luck with your search, a reliable web hosting service is vital to an online business today!

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Adrienne McLean answered a question

How successful are your social media campaigns?

Hi everyone, I find that as a small business owner, I barely have time to scratch my back let alone manage social media accounts effectively. I wonder how successful you are in your social media efforts, and whether you have any tips to impart for someone as time poor as me.

Adrienne McLean

Adrienne McLean, Founder at The Speakers Practice

Hi there!Yes, this is the challenge that many businesses face.

My input here is to consider the following:

1. Who is your Target market and where do they hang out on social media ? For examples, professionals may be in LinkedIn and Facebook, 30s and 40 s like Instagram, young generations like Snapchat. Journalists use Twitter.

2. There are many social media platforms (hundreds) - work out 1 or 2 where you know your target market are and then post regularly and build a following there.

3. It really does depend on your type of business - some businesses depend on digital marketing and some don't - if social media / Digital marketing is important to your marketing mix then there are ways to stream line this. You can appoint a Virtual Assistant and for not too much of an investment you can really raise awareness of your business and use someone with the expertise which will also save you time.

There's lots to consider, there's my three , all the best, Adrienne

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Tony Eades

Tony Eades, Director of Strategy at BrandManager

I'd start with understanding who your buyer persona is, what social channel is their preference. Then master this one first instead of (as most businesses do) trying a scattered approach across all channels. Next look at a Content Strategy - plan your posts so that they are meaningful and above 'shareable'. You are after 'engagement' here not just 'likes'. Review your buyer persona again and think about the content that would most interest them, be creative and above all 'non salesy' - social is not the place to promote products or sale stuff in my opinion. It's the platform to have conversations and share commentary. Finally, as time poor as you may be - you only get out of social what you put in. Dedicate an hour a day first thing to planning/scheduling your posts, responding to comments and engaging with other people's posts - remember, 'sharing' is caring. Good luck.

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Dionne Nancarrow answered a question

Do I need an accountant to set up my acn or can I do it myself online?

If I can do it myself does anyone have any suggestions on which website to use?

Dionne Nancarrow

Dionne Nancarrow, Owner at Top Class Accounts

You can setup your own company online, and if you choose to do that I'd recommend EasyCompanies.com.au. However, setting it up for maximum tax advantage is another matter. For example, are you going to be the shareholder, or will you have some form of trust (in which case the trustee holds the shares on behalf of the trust). If there's a trustee, will it be an individual or a 'corporate trustee' (company)? What does this all mean in terms of control of the company, protection of the assets, distribution of income, and potential capital gains tax issues when it comes time to sell your business? (And if/when you sell, will you *actually* sell the company, or will you sell the assets, goodwill, name, intellectual property, and simply close down the company? If you don't know 100% for sure what all the implications are of your decisions, then it's definitely worth having an accountant involved - and once they've advised you, it's no big deal for them to proceed with the registration on your behalf as part of their package service.
Jef Lippiatt

Jef Lippiatt , Owner at Startup Chucktown

Great insights.
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John Eustace answered a question

Can anyone give me some tips with expos?

I have been asked to do my first bridal expo in sept and I am not sure what to expect or what would be expected of me presentation wise on my stall etc.

John Eustace

John Eustace, Principal / Communications and Media Strategist at Bells and Whistles Marketing Pty Ltd

The Warwick Merry book that Monika has recommended will help set you up very nicely indeed. It covers many of the elements you must get right. Preparation and follow up is essential, resource planning for both is often overlooked or grossly underestimated. If you have 200+ enquiries to respond to you must have them prioritised, who needs a follow up within 24 hours and who can happily wait a week! Hot prospects followed up more that 10 days after the Expo ends will by then have cooled significantly. Three tips I always find me exhibiting clients appreciate are:1 'Wear comfortable shoes', as you will be on your feat for at least 8 hours, Even better, take a 2nd pair and change them midway through the day, it makes a real difference to your endurance, stature and presence and it really shows when prospects approach your stand.2 Never stand on the front edge of your stand adjacent to the visitor’s corridor. Step back to expose a clear and inviting area of vacant floor where a visitor can comfortably enter your inviting display.3 And most importantly make certain all your exhibition staff master the art of the 60 second sales call, this will ensure that you don’t get bogged down discussing details with one prospect, whilst 4 others pass you buy because your already busy. Happy to provide details on fast tracking prospect qualification, interest logging and politely getting them off your stand feeling they have been efficiently and courteously looked after.
Jef Lippiatt

Jef Lippiatt , Owner at Startup Chucktown

Those are really great tips.
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Monika Newman

Monika Newman, Virtual Secretary/Personal Assistant at Absolutely Virtual

Jacky go to Warwick Merry's website and download this complimentary PDF with lots of useful tips about Tradeshows -

www.warwickmerry.com/PDFs/Top10TradeShowTips1.pdf

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Tim Greig answered a question

In what industry sectors do you see the greatest growth for SMEs?

In what industry sectors do you see the greatest growth for the small and medium size businesses?

Tim Greig

Tim Greig, Owner at Green Galah Pty Ltd

It's interesting how we all believe growth will be in our own sectors! Still, as we are in the similar sector as Murray I have to agree that Aged Care is definitely a growth area and if you can supply or service that sector well, note the emphasis, then you should grow your business going forward.Is the sector that you supply a growth sector? What a great differentiator! We are a growing country, the population is increasing mostly and the swing back out of mining is a good thing.I'm not convinced Nicole that translation is going anywhere in Australia but it would be good to see some local data on that. I would like to think that small business education is a growth area but that would depend on whether small business is a growth area or whether small business is an area that is being beaten out of people as a "career path".

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Nicole Y. Adams

Nicole Y. Adams, Owner (Translator, Editor, Consultant) at NYA Communications

I strongly believe that the translation and language industry will experience significant growth in 2013, outperforming other industries. According to a market research study by the firm Common Sense Advisory, the market for language services will total $33.5 USD billion this year, and overall, the translation industry has experienced a compound annual growth rate of 12.17%. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects industry growth of 42% this decade, which exceeds growth estimates for other industries evaluated. The demand for translators and interpreters will continue to grow, and most of these operate as sole traders or SMEs. In my opinion, the US will slowly be replaced as the strongest player in the translation industry, and Australian SMEs and sole traders will become increasingly important. Other industries will always depend on the language services industry to get their content translated to succeed in other markets, and machine translation technology will never be advanced enough to replace human translators in the majority of domains.
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Uttam Jha answered a question

What are your favourite business websites?

I'd love to find out what your favourite business websites are! Mine, of course, is SavvySME :)!! But there are a few other websites I love to visit to get my content from:

  • Dynamic Business
  • TED.com (amazing videos)
  • Techcrunch
  • Mashable
  • Flying Solo
  • ...and one of my new favourite blogs: Bakadesuyo

What websites do you visit on a regular basis?

Uttam Jha
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Tim Greig

Tim Greig, Owner at Green Galah Pty Ltd

Is this a question to help you direct your marketing efforts Wendy?! Seriously though, Harvard Business Review, Entrenepreur.com, TED. There are a few gems amongst the sea of mediocrity :-)
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