Popular Advice


Pam Pitt answered a question

Which part of my online business income is or isn't taxable?

Hi everyone

I currently started my own online business , mainly focusing on men's fashion. I'am very new to online businesses and especially the accounting side, i would like to ask what is taxable and what isnt? should i set aside money for when tax time comes ?

Pam Pitt

Pam Pitt, Partner at Bookkeepers 4 u

Feel free to ask some more direct questions, if my answer was too general...

Johnny Li

Johnny Li, Director at Naive and Young

Thank you so much,

you have answered more than i asked, I have a clear understanding of what my profit and loss will be


Philippe Flatt answered a question

What is your biggest fear as a business owner?

What's your biggest fear when it comes to running your business?

Is there something that's stopping you from really succeeding and pushing through to the next level?

Philippe Flatt

Philippe Flatt, Owner & Photographer at Image Technique

I wouldn't call it a fear as such but the biggest psychological hurdle for me is to remain motivated when business slows down a lot. When I'm not as busy I have the time to work on building the business but when I feel less motivated to whereas when I am busy my motivation increases.

Neil Steggall

Neil Steggall , Partner at Wardour Capital Partners

If you are afraid you should perhaps condider a different life as business is not for the faint hearted, however, to be concerned is the default position for SME entrepreneurs.

Growing a successful business is to chart a course through many years of challenge and uncertainty but if you have an identified end point in mind and show persistance, determiniation, courage and an open mine you will get there.

I think it was Franklin D. Roosevelt who said "the only thing we have to fear is fear its self" and when I have found myself in a tight spot I think of this and concentrate on the solutions.

Good Luck.
Philippe Flatt

Philippe Flatt , Owner & Photographer at Image Technique

Good advice Neal although the first paragraph of your comment confuses me as I didn't indicate that I was afraid of anything.
Phil Joel

Phil Joel, Director at SavvySME

Fear of failure. The fear of failure can potentially stop people from trying new things. 

Kevin Dam

Kevin Dam , Digital Marketing Strategist at E-Web Marketing (Platinum CMO)

that's a good one. how did you get over it?
Phil Joel

Phil Joel , Director at SavvySME

Got to back yourself (nobody else will if you don't) and give it 200% so if you do fail then at least fail quickly and learn from the mistakes.

Lisa Ormenyessy answered a question

Do as I say?

Hi Lisa, Is there any piece of advice that you give your clients but do not yourself follow?

Lisa Ormenyessy

Lisa Ormenyessy, Business Coach and Marketing Specialist at Straight Talk Group

Oh Rebecca you made me laugh!

Absolutely! I wish I was super human, alas I am not. My main culpruit is taking time out to smell the roses. I always encourage my clients to do this as it lowers stress levels, increases focus and concerntration, and hey, life should be fun too right?

Many of my clients come to me beating themselves up for not doing this or that without acknowledging how much they HAVE done. While I am there to hold them accountable, I am also there to be a support, and sometimes that means telling them to take a break.

That would be my biggest advice I have trouble following myself Rebecca - thanks for asking and reminding me to take time out and appreciate this wonderful life! :-D

Rebecca Carroll-Bell

Rebecca Carroll-Bell , Owner at RCB Mediation Services

Thank you for your honest and uplifting answer :)

And on that note I am off for a quick 20 minute rest (Will I nap? Will I daydream? Who knows!) before heading out to my 6 pm networking function.
Lisa Ormenyessy

Lisa Ormenyessy , Business Coach and Marketing Specialist at Straight Talk Group

Sounds very peaceful. Well done!

Quentin Aisbett answered a question

What are your best digital marketing tips for 2018?

With 2018 right around the corner, what are some of your best digital marketing tips for the new year? What have you found to work best in 2017, and what are you going to stay away from?

Quentin Aisbett

Quentin Aisbett, Chief Enthusiasm Officer at OnQ Marketing

There's been some good points already including Michael's three points, which  I would encourage anyone reading the thread to check out.So instead of simply rehashing, I'm going to point out three separate tips:- Encouraging online reviews. This is important in 2017 and will continue to be in 2018. It's such a simple strategy to start asking your customers for reviews and it has a tremendous impact on both attracting traffic and converting visitors on your site. If you want to know more, I have a post titled 'Online Reviews: Why You Need to Be Boosting Your Online Reputation' Now, which goes into detail why you need reviews and how best to go about getting them. - Optimising your blog. Not to be confused with simply writing another blog post. Brian Dean of Backlinko has stated that he won't write another post until each post he has published on his site is reaching the goals and objectives he has for them. The general idea is of course 'quality over quantity'. So doing an audit of every post on your blog, understanding traffic, search visibility, and conversion performance. Then going through a process of improving them with more valuable insight, better CTAs, perhaps better keyword targeting, etc. Then re-promoting them. - Marketing Automation. Enterprise businesses are all over it but I'm yet to see marketing automation being widespread in small business. I would strongly encourage any business that is producing content to implement marketing automation. Get it right and it will help you completely transform your site's experience and your ability to nurture and convert visitors to customers and at scale! If you want to know more about automation and the specific role it can play for small business check out 'AI Will Steal Jobs But Automation Might Save Your Business'. 

Michael Ginsburg

Michael Ginsburg, Owner & Lead Designer at Michael Ginsburg - MG Web Design & Social Media

  • 1. As Google is moving to a mobile-FIRST index and the Facebook algorithm focusing heavily on load speed, the load speed of your MOBILE website will become crucial.

    Eventually, I think all websites will be forced to implement Google AMP if they want to start ranking or maintain their existing ranking. This presents a whole new set of challenges (for example, how to transfer opt-in forms to the AMP version of your site).

    2. Running your website on HTTPS will become mandatory by the beginning this year (actually, it will become mandatory sometimes in October). I explain why here.

    3. The rise of the personal assistant and voice search means publishers need to make sure their websites are optimised for that (e.g. knowing how to gain the coveted 'featured snippet').


    Greg Rogers answered a question

    How can I get more customers into my Cafe?

    I have a cafe in an industrial area and I get my regulars but want to get more feet in the door. Are there any ideas for getting more customers?

    Greg Rogers

    Greg Rogers, Founder and CEO at REthink HQ

    Always a $64k question in business.

    I agree with Steve that without a little more information it is a little hard to give some real concrete advice, and I would reiterate the comment about whatever you do make sure you measure it!

    If you are looking to take business away from a competitor look at what they are doing and either replicate it (but in a better way) identify something that they don't do (differentiate) or best of all.....ask the people with the real knowledge...your customers!

    When they choose you, why? What makes them step across your doorway?

    What would make them purchase more and more often?

    If the answer is something you can do more of, then scale it.

    Conversely don't be afraid to also ask what they don't like, then as opposed to the above, stop it, don't do it anymore!

    Hope this helps, the first step though is to have some information (fact) to base a decision on, as Steve said, you do this by measurement.


    Simon Smith

    Simon Smith, Owner at eVestigator Cyber Forensic IT-Expert Witness

    As it is a physical business that is location based you can't go past letterbox drops and specials of certain items on slower days of the week. Such items should be partial meals or 2 for 1 so they are not abused. Remember in business cost is secondary to monopoly and reputation


    Iain Dooley answered a question

    What is the best way to approach prospective clients?

    What is the best step to approach prospective clients, other than advertising online or sending out brochures?

    Iain Dooley

    Iain Dooley, Owner at The Procedure People

    Hey Leah,

    The first step is to narrow down who your prospective clients are. And "small business" doesn't cut it ;)

    For example, in my software business, I'm interested in small service businesses that have between 2 and 10 staff and more than $2 mil in annual revenue, or professional consultants who generate in excess of $300k/year but have no staff.

    In order to target these people I have setup a new brand called The Procedure People http://www.theprocedurepeople.com/ -- my goal is to identify business owners who have solved their sales problem but are having trouble growing due to lack of infrastructure. When I did some keyword research in Google AdWords, I found people looking for help with "policies & procedures", my hypothesis is that those people are exactly the target market I'm after (or at least a portion of them are).

    But without first stating very clearly who my ideal client is, I wouldn't have been able to come up with a creative way to get access to them.

    You're running a PA service: who is your ideal customer? Do you want to access solopreneurs (eg. on Flying Solo) or do you want to access professional consultants? What about picking an industry? Can you be particularly helpful to anaesthetists? Accountants? Lawyers? GPs?

    Anyway, you get the point: the answer to the question "how should I get in touch with my prospective clients" will depend on who those prospective clients are. Identifying who they are is often more challenging, than trying to find them ;)

    Leah Cortes

    Leah Cortes , Owner / Personal Assistant at PA Silver Service

    Thank you - great response! The issue I have is that in the short term the clients that I am targeting are very different to those that I plan to target once my business is up and running. Ie. after researching and to help bring in initial cashflow I will be focusing on the trade industries and just begin with admin support as there seems to be a skills gap and lack of resources in this area. However, my long term goal is to move on to CEO's and executive support for medium sized local businesses - obviously this will take much more effort to tap into and possibly require more funds for marketing and so my short term goal is what I need to be focusing on at the moment. But this has given me something to think about so thank you!
    Iain Dooley

    Iain Dooley , Owner at The Procedure People

    Great, admin for tradies. It's good to have a long term vision but you don't need to focus on that every day. Today, you have to focus on finding tradies. There are a tonne of directories like hipages.com.au where you might be able to advertise, but one other benefit in targeting tradies is that they're all in the phone book so cold calling is easy. I like to start my calls with "hello I'm calling to sell you something are you interested?" ... about half say no, or that they're busy so you get off the phone quickly, the other half say "depends what you're selling" then you can get into the sales conversation. You can say things like "well I can do all your tax and invoicing and answer the phone for you to get rid of cold callers for just $200 a month" or whatever. Experiment with it and see what works. That will be a good way too work on your offer and refine your brand. I would say you'll be better off having a brand that focuses purely on that market while you grow, rather than trying to have a brand that will align with both the market you wish to approach immediately and the market you wish to approach eventually. There's nothing to stop you from launching a separate brand down the track.
    Phil Joel

    Phil Joel, Director at SavvySME

    Hi Leah,

    You can also try networking - both online and offline. Join groups that your target clients are in. Go to local events - basically wherever your clients are likely to go. It takes time and effort but it does work.


    Michael Prior answered a question

    Does every small business need an accountant ?

    If you are a small business owner, do you need an accountant for your business?

    Michael Prior

    Michael Prior, Principal at PB Advisory Group

    Any business regardless of size needs an accountant and not just a bookkeeper. A good Accountant doesn't just get off on tax as some would have it but rather they are your business partner to success. They provide a great sounding board, cash flow management, business transformation strategies, can negotiate on your behalf, provide suggested software and It solutions and they will provide a considered measured assistance when youv'e made a mistake because you didn't use one.

    Jeff Gordon

    Jeff Gordon , Principal at Prestige SME Business Solutions

    With the innovation of Cloud based accounting software Xero, QBO etc. there will be some significant changes where SME's (0 - $5 turnover) will not require a Finance Manager or Financial Controller but are much better off having an Accounts person or basic bookkeeper and then employing a virtual Financial Controller who can spend a few days a month to complete the monthly financial accounts, meet with management for 1-2 hours and be on call during business hours. Companies can save significant amounts of money by taking this path and replace an Accountant or Finance Manager "number cruncher" with an external person who specialises in improving profits and growing businesses.
    Neil Steggall

    Neil Steggall, Partner at Wardour Capital Partners

    Wow, some good answers here. My view is very simple: get the best accountant you can afford and tell him or her up front that you expect them to be cost neutral. There are so many ways a good accountant can add value to your business and save money with the best leasing, borrowing, tax, government grants advice and more.

    Agree on an annual budget to be billed monthly rather than at year end so as to fit in with your cash flows.

    Use your accountant as an important team member but check their performance. If they are costing you money, question why?


    Jef Lippiatt answered a question

    Jef Lippiatt

    Jef Lippiatt, Owner at Startup Chucktown

    I think that Candice hit the nail on the head. However, I want to add that you should only start a business that you are personally passionate about. If you are not passionate, the business is not likely to succeed in the long-term because you need that passion to get through the ups and downs of business life. However, I think identifying gaps in your local market is a good starting point (only move forward with something you find interesting and/or exciting).

    Brad Lyons

    Brad Lyons, Consultant at SMS Fusion

    it really comes down to the limits and based on your question the limits are pretty set in stone. If you are looking for a business that only trades locally to that small village you really want to make sure you know what the locals want on a regular basis. Selling "one time" items is going to dry up quickly so consumables would be ideal to ensure you have repeat business.

    However I would never recommend anyone just setup a business with the mind set of a limited consumer base.

    If you mean on the other hand what business can you start and run from a small village. Anything online comes to mind. Are there local products you can sell to the world, do you want to settup a drop ship account with a wholeseller and start selling world wide. So many options however I would recommend you do something you have a passion for. It makes it easier to press on when most would just walk away.


    Ben Hoban answered a question

    What are the top 3 ways (or places) to sell an online business?

    I am interested to hear from anyone who has sold an online business or who can recommend what are the best ways to sell an online business.

    Ben Hoban

    Ben Hoban, General Manager at Brown Paper eCommerce

    Hey Michelle, 

    As well as Flippa there are a couple of sites to keep an eye on:

    empireflippers.com  - initially set up adsense sites of their own to sell, they have graduated to an online marketplace for eCommerce and affiliate sites. 

    DigitalExits.com  - Jock is a 3rd gen. business broker who has turned his hand to the digital arena. 

    Paul Gregg

    Paul Gregg, Business Manager at The SEO Company

    Consider taking a course on using flippa to sell your business on udemy.com


    Warren Cottis answered a question

    Warren Cottis

    Warren Cottis, Director at 360 Email Marketing

    maintaining adequate cash flow