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Melanie Gray answered a question

What it is that stops you from signing up to a course that you know you need?

I know money/payment structure is one and time. But if cash and time wasn't a problem what else would stop you?

Melanie Gray

Melanie Gray, Managing Owner at MyCL (My Computer Lab)

I will likely sign up for an online course if I have seen testimonials and have heard positive feedback from real people I know.

Or if I know the person professionally (which sometimes mean I have developed a relationship with them over social media)

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Jef Lippiatt

Jef Lippiatt, Owner at Startup Chucktown

There are several things that stop me

  • Not offered at a convenient time (based on my schedule - during the week is not great as some companies don't help pay for course so you have to use vacation time to attend - so you are paying twice, the course fee and the vacation days you have to use)
  • Not offered at a convenient location (if it isn't close enough to get to by car or mass transit it will impact decision). If I have to pay for a hotel room (one or more days) that also ups the "total cost" of the course.
  • Negative reviews from other trusted professionals - If I hear that the course instructor was unpleasant or that the material covered was not beneficial, I'd probably not attend.
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Lauren Hutchin answered a question

What is the best way to market my business to EAs/PAs?

I would like to know what materials (at little or not cost) would be a good way to expose the company to EAs & PAs

Lauren Hutchin

Lauren Hutchin, Founder/ business manager at My Marketing Friend

Hi Rachael,The EA/PA you're targeting probably gets hundreds of sales calls/emails and as a result probably already has a rejection wall built. I've got to say, it's damn hard work trying to sell/market to anybody unless you are helping them with a problem they currently have.If you genuinely think you can help them, the following idea will definitely warm up your potential client:Send them something in the post that doesn't look like a piece of 'junk mail'.-Mail is great because it isn't obtrusive. -It's that initial soft approach that's needed in the beginning stages of your sales cycle. -I've used clear envelopes, blank (un-printed/no branding) envelopes, kraft boxes and black shiny bubble bags. This way, you can at least give your mail a chance of being opened. Now what you put inside is important. Don't make your EA/PA think she's been tricked to open your mail!-Become the solution for your potential client, don't try and sell. -Nice giveaway that your EA/PA will use-Offer / call to actionAs an example: I have a 'launch-pad' with launching business tips on each page as a giveaway to any start-up that enquires. It's an A6 sized quality pad that has my branding on the cover and on each page. If you'd like any more info on this, feel free to contact me.I hope this helps you :)
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Prosper Taruvinga

Prosper Taruvinga, Digital Marketing Expert at Livelong Digital Pty Ltd

Allow them to experience your product. That's the best way. I see you are in the transport industry? offer them a complementary trip. That way they will brag about it and recomend you to their bosses.

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Phil Khor answered a question

Where can I submit my press release for online public relations?

I'm looking for places to submit our SavvySME press release to, any suggestions?

Phil Khor

Phil Khor, Founder at SavvySME

Here's a list of press release submission services in Australia, which you may find useful as a starting point.

Australia

PRWire

PRWire offers free distribution services to qualified users. They offer RSS functionality wherein users can have their own RSS feed based on subjects relevant to them. PRWire also offers SEO to their users to ensure high-ranking releases on search sites such as Google.

NewsMaker

This site optimizes your releases to improve search engine results, as well as distribution to social media and journalists. They also offer to increase the buzz your business’ brands in sites such as LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter. It is a free service which can be upgraded to paid accounts that offers more customization.

Free Press Release

As their name suggests, Free Press Release gives out press releases for free. All users have to do is sign up, create then submit their press release.

Get2Press

Get2Press is an online distribution channel for presentation of press releases to media. They have specialized media lists, which include contacts to more than 28,000 media in Australia, New Zealand, Singapore and 19 other countries in Asia-Pacific via Get2Press. Their media lists include e-mail addresses of key journalists as well as editorial offices of the media.

MediaNet

MediaNet is an AAP business that offers various types of services for businesses. Their Press Release Distribution offers the largest selection of e-mail and fax distribution lists available.

Australia-Newswire

Offers paid distribution through numerous mass media outlets that start from $99 - $999. Australia-Newswire also offers international distribution.

The Media Game

The Media Game is a website wherein journalists and producers can easily view new press releases and download all the files with just one click. A user can also include articles, audio and video files.

Touchpoint Marketing

Touchpoint Marketing consists of experienced and public relations professionals. They offer help on single press releases locally and nationally. The prices range from $800 - $1,200 locally to $1,500 - $2,200 nationally.

Express Press Release

Express Press Release’s network is one of Australia’s largest press release distribution networks online. They also have thousands of clients around the world. Users can avail of their free accounts that distribute press releases in a week. Press releases of aid accounts that range from $29 - $59 are distributed within 24 hours.

Get The Word Out

Get The Word Out delivers your press releases directly to journalists and newsrooms around Australia through the use of e-mail. Their network consists of 2,600 e-mail addresses as well as 67 specialist subject categories that users can comfortably choose from.

In addition, you may want to try Source Bottle.  It's not a press release submission site per se, but you might be able to find PR opportunities by going through the listings.

Hope this helps. 

Todd Dewey

Todd Dewey , Consultant at Oakton

Great source of information here Phil, an NFP I am involved with will be using this to promote a key upcoming event - thank you
Kealey Nutt

Kealey Nutt , Director at Eleven & Twelve

This is an awesome list. Thanks!
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David Solomon answered a question

How do I calculate how much my business is worth?

I'm kinda of curious as what to my business is worth, I'm not at a point yet where I want to hire an experienced business valuation professional, I'm just curious to see if it is worth selling.

Does anyone have any tips on some things I can do to get an idea of how much my business is worth?

David Solomon

David Solomon, Business Performance Strategist at Quiddity

Good answer Phil. The thing I'd add to that is that your business will be worth much more if you are not in it! By that I mean that if the business relies on you then the purchaser of the business really needs to buy you as well - or at least some of your time. You want to make yourself redundant through effective systems, training etc. You can still work in the business if you want to of course.

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Phil Khor

Phil Khor, Founder at SavvySME

Hey Nick, 

Great question. I think as business owners we often wonder about our business valuation but perhaps never get around to ask it.

I'm neither a qualified business valuer nor have extensive experience in this field, but I can talk to some of my personal experience and give you some ideas. In fact, I just went through a similar process involving a family business.

I used a combination of 3 methods below - initially as a back of the envelop exercise, then refine it iteratively: 

1) income based - i.e. earnings such as EBITDA and cashflow calculations

2) asset based - asset values, liabilities, liquidation costs, etc. I'd argue that you should consider both tangible and intangible assets, such as IP, brand recognition i.e. assets that have net positive effect on the business long term

3) market based - basically what the market is prepare to pay, based on comparing of recent sales of similar companies. For instance, sifting through sites like realcommercial.com.au or domainbusiness.com.au gave me a ballpark idea.

I reckon business valuation is a combination of science and art. The methods I used above is merely a guide, but you will find that there are lots of intricacies in applying these methods. What I found is that different assumptions will easily throw your calculations off a tangent. This is where a good professional business valuer can really help with bringing the art of applying these and other methods based on their experience. What I found critical too is a good business broker who knows the market inside out, and knows how to market your business accordingly.

At the end of the day, you need to be confident that the right combination of techniques and experience are used reasonably to valuate your business when you're ready to sell.

Hope this helps.

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Jason Upton answered a question

Jason Upton

Jason Upton, Owner at Resilient Digital

Its not what's more effective, they are two different things. On-page SEO is the technical elements that make up each individual webpage and the complete website. So things like optimising for page load speed, mobile responsiveness, crawl ability etc and page elements like Title tags, Meta descriptions, page content etc.

On-page is the foundation of a website. In low competition niches, its possible to rank high just with great on-page optimisation.

Off-page is any activity on another website that points to your website. So links, social shares etc form the basis of Off-page SEO.

If your site is not ranking for your desired keywords, then look at your On-page SEO first. Get your site optimised to todays standards.

Then if you still need a boost to the first page, you will need to start acquiring backlinks and social signals from niche relevant (and local relevant for local businesses) websites.

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Jef Lippiatt

Jef Lippiatt, Owner at Startup Chucktown

I'm not quite sure I fully understand your question. Can you add some additional detail?

Andrew Edwards

Andrew Edwards , at Online Marketing Solutions

They are both important. See this short video I created to answer that question:

https://youtu.be/SyOKT7EHOdE
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Tim Greig answered a question

When is the best time for you to "change tables" in business?

Hey guys,

It happened because I decided to change tables! A term I picked up from Tony Hsieh's book Delivering Happiness. It relates to poker and how the table you're at (the game your playing) can greatly effect your results. Business comes 'TO' me now and I don't have to 'advertise' to get more. 

When have you decided to 'play a different game' and it worked out for you? Why do you think it worked?

 

 

 

Tim Greig

Tim Greig, Owner at Green Galah Pty Ltd

I have been 'changing tables' all my life and so far so good. I can't see how you can stay at the same 'table' for very long without stagnating. It's a cliche but, "if your not growing you're..."   

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Anjana Kumari answered a question

Anjana Kumari

Anjana Kumari, at CONFIDENTIAL DETECTIVE SERVICES

An often-quoted benchmark for small business advertising is to allocate 2 percent of your sales revenue for advertising. However, we asked Sageworks, a financial information company, if that figure was still accurate. We asked what is the average amount small businesses spend on advertising.Confidential Detective is the best detective agency in Delhi. It offers Pre matrimonial investigation, Divorce case investigation, Post matrimonial investigation, etc.

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Brian Dorricott

Brian Dorricott, Startup Guide at Meteorical

Absolutely - test and measure.But perhaps you're on the wrong track"The price of being unremarkable is advertising."So how can you make yourself more remarkable so that word-of-mouth (still the best form of introduction) can happen? Check out the Gaddie Pitch as a way to articulate this.

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Stephen A answered a question

Stephen A

Stephen A,

Such a short question can mean so many things to different people. This is how I interpret your question:

"Should I build solutions for my customers/employees/others that are dedicated to providing a mobile solution, or should I just stick to my current web or client/server applications"

I could have written the above a hundred different ways, but the answer in short is "yes", but that is not really the answer you need. It is about minimising risk and growing the solution over time.

For example, if you currently have solutions that are on the desktop or on the web, you can build a "WebApp" that is effectively a web application that is optimised for the mobile. Languages like JQuery Mobile, DOJO and many other Javascript derivatives can help that. Combining that application with technologies that report how the app is used and the response times achieved (the biggest weakness of WebApps) will be key inputs into building a dedicated mobile computing solution.

There are many paths to a dedicated mobile computing solution, but the key to what path to take is understanding the geography and user base you are targeting. If that is in Australia, it is likely to involve an iOS/iPhone/iPad platform initially due to its current dominance, but Android is growing and that is likely to be the 2nd platform targeted (note that the WebApp can target all HTML5 based platforms, so this is an ideal backup as you rollout multiple platforms). Windows8 will take time (anywhere from 6 to 14 months is significant time in the IT industry) before it becomes a real presence that must be considered.

But these decisions can change drastically depending upon what you are targeting. Either way, the key is to take a broad approach through a WebApp and phase in dedicated solutions - where they make sense.

A key point worth considering when thinking of dedicated mobile applications is integration. Typically, business applications rely on centralised data - whether that be to share data across devices through a user account or to share data outside of the user themselves. This design aspect is important as devices are not always "online" and you also do not want to suffer the same performance drawbacks that a WebApp can suffer from. Therefore, you will require some local storage and integration back to a central point. This can make a seemingly cheap and easy idea into a logistical nightmare, and this is where professional experience will turn the potential nightmare into a reality - just not as cheaply as you first imagined !!!

So broadly speaking, to recap the answer, yes, you need to invest in mobile computing, but only after you have considered what the use is and who by. Then take a softly-softly approach by first incorporating WebApps, then where it is justified, deploy dedicated solutions.

The exact use you require may dictate variation to the above simple explanation, but as a generic approach, I believe this will help you move your strategy forward. I would love to hear more about exactly what you were contemplating around mobile computing. All the best.

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Brad Lyons answered a question

How do SMEs manage customer relationships?

How do businesses with no physical contact with their clients manage customer relationships?

Brad Lyons

Brad Lyons, Consultant at SMS Fusion

If your selling products via an online store you can reach out to your customers by sending them a satisfaction survey. You could reach out to them with thank you messaged including a discount voucher for their next purchase.

There are so many way to communicate with your customers when you don't have physical contact with them.

It all comes down to the type of relationship you want/need with your customers. In some cases having online portals is needed, support desks or a simple email is needed.

Most of my customers will call me if they need anything. However there is nothing stopping you from calling them if you believe it is necessary. Not all customers want to have a chat, some just want to make a purchase and move on with their day.I am always travelling and at the moment I am overseas, however my clients can still call a local number if they want to speak directly with me. It just comes down to making sure you have the correct systems setup and software to ensure your customers don't feel like you have left them in the dark.

Providing a good service/product is usually enough to retain most customers though.

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Steven Freeman

Steven Freeman, Owner at Evolved Sound

I don't know how they do. Often one real meet, call or skype conference in the beginning will be enough to cement that lasting relationship for future communications when email will be the norm.

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Brad Lyons answered a question

How can you stop your staff from making careless errors?

How do I stop my staff from making careless errors that later turn into serious problems such as incorrectly invoicing clients, etc.?

Brad Lyons

Brad Lyons, Consultant at SMS Fusion

Automation is generally the solution, also reviewing your workflow. Automating invoices is common practice in most companies. If you still want manual invoicing you just need to change the workflow so checks are in place.Staff will always make errors. This could be careless as you say, in that case training or reviewing their position in the business is required. Over worked is also a common cause. Either way, you need to review all the errors that are being made. Review the workflow you have in place and safety checks. Once you have an understanding of the issue, start looking for the appropriate solutions.As companies grow, work load increases. It is common for staff who have been employed to do one thing are now taking on extra responsibilities without the correct training. Take this opportunity to review your entire companies process, your growth and look at your current systems and processes. It could be a very good turning point for your business.

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Yee Trinh

Yee Trinh, Cofounder at SavvySME

Hey Andrea! :D

Agree with all 3 responses. 100% behind Louise's point on processes. With any business, we should focus on creating processes and systems because fact of the matter is that until such time that we have those in place, us as business owners are crossing our fingers and hoping that good people stay. So even if we improve the people and get them working well, once they leave, we're left in the same position. With processes, we can relieve that stress and anxiety. It might take a little longer to get them in place but is much easier to 'scale', whether you're replacing existing staff or growing the team. 

By the same token, don't take the human element out of it as per what Melissa discussed. To have the right processes in place, we need to know why things aren't working. Sometimes as managers, our expectations aren't aligned with reality of being in the role of a staff member. So is worth having a frank chat with your staff and really understanding what the issues are. Are they simply careless or is there something else we haven't considered because we're removed from the situation? 

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