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Kate Yeng answered a question

Kate Yeng

Kate Yeng, Owner at Assignment Help

PR is important for the Small businesses to expand their reach and promote their services to the large pool of audience, for example if you are looking to serve customers beyond numerous cities, release a press to promote as you are not doing a common thing, i just post a press release explore it here http://bizpr.co/2016/09/28/get-trending-statistical-techniques-data-collection/

Tania Willett

Tania Willett , Owner and PR Consultant at TJW Public Relations

Yes, absolutely. Positive PR strengthens your business credibility and reputation. For start-ups and small businesses, having that added business credibility can be the extra boost needed that sets them apart from their competitors. If you go down the "DIY PR" path, you can achieve free publicity, unlike say, spending thousands of dollars on advertising. Feel free to take a look at my website where I regularly publish tips and advice on how small businesses can do their own PR.
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Tom Valcanis

Tom Valcanis, Owner at I Sell Words

Depends what you mean by PR - if you're a business that makes, let's say industrial rope - then clogging editors' and journalists' inboxes with releases about rope day in, day out won't help you any.

However, if you're creative and you can pitch interesting stats or insights into rope to an industry publication; let's say RopeBlogger - then that's worth a bit more.

With any good PR campaign, you have to look at who you are targeting, what return you're looking for (goodwill? brand recognition? sales?) and how you can measure your investment (with time or money.)

Jules Brooke

Jules Brooke , Founder and Director at Handle Your Own PR

Yes Rick. It totally is! I have been teaching small business owners how to do their own PR for the last 7 years and have watched some of my students get publicity they had transformed their business. It gives your business credibility, increases word of mouth, it's free and it positions you as an expert if your product as a 'must have'. I would thoroughly recommend you give it a try. You just need to find your story if offer tips that will genuinely help people. Take a look at my website if you want to know how! PS. There is a whizz bang new website launching in about 3 weeks so if you register you'll get to try it out!!
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Yee Trinh answered a question

Yee Trinh

Yee Trinh, Cofounder at SavvySME

Check out leanstack.com. This is the first thing I do before jumping into any business idea.
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Ian Harris

Ian Harris, Director at B+I Lockwood Accountants

6 months should be fine but it will go fast. And you may need to raise finance which also takes time.

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James Liddell answered a question

James Liddell

James Liddell, Owner at Liddelldev

Hi Guys,

This one is simple. You can do the basic research like, have they worked with people in my industry? Do they know my local area etc.

These are great as an initial vetting process, at some point you have to slim down the choices.

Example:

If you are a local provider, look for someone local, who may have some experience with your audience, who they are and how and why they buy.

HERE IS THE REALLY IMPORTANT PART

Best tip is to get on the phone. Make contact somehow and see how receptive they are to you.

Communication is a huge part of getting your project done, and done the way you want it done. You will get a great read on this with your first few messages or conversations.

Does this designer have the time and will to help YOU?

Someone who is willing to look after what you need is the best fit every time.

Does your designer understand what a website is for you? Are they telling you the can create a clean design that looks great and has X amount of great features?

NOT WHAT YOU WANT TO HEAR.

Does the designer ask you what you need the website to do? What are your goals? What does a successful site achieve for you and your business?

This is what you want from your designer.

A designer who understands a site is a tool, an investment that needs to make a return to earn it's keep is the one for you.

You can tell the designer who your audience is and how you want to engage them with your site.

A good designer listens to this and creates a site with you, to meet these goals.

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Andrew Nguyen

Andrew Nguyen, Business Development Manager at Advisible

Hi Morra

Great question

What type of Websites do we build?

AdVisible builds beautiful websites that have a powerful impact on your business. We don’t churn out thousands of websites like a factory production line; each website is handcrafted by our team of in-house designers and developers, so we maintain quality control and make sure the process is as streamlined and enjoyable as possible for you and your team. We’ll take care of every aspect of your website, so you can focus on growing your business.

Please message me for more information and samples of our work.

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Cate Scolnik answered a question

Does Facebook really help drive sales in my business?

I hear that some businesses get sales and traffic from Facebook and swear by it, but some people say it's a horrible place to do business because people just want freebies. What is your experience?

Cate Scolnik

Cate Scolnik, Chief Sanity Saver at Sane Social Media

Facebook is a great place to provide helpful marketing (hence the freebies). It's a social platform, so hard sell advertising and post don't work nearly as well as helpful content.The key is to provide content that your ideal customer WANTS to read, to interact strategically with other business, and to advertise effectively.Facebook can also be a great convincer. If someone is looking for services and they see your website, say, and then look at your social media then that feed can be the thing that convinces them to buy from you.I have a number of businesses that I help with social and some of them don't advertise at all, but they still get growth AND they know that Facebook brings in business regularly. If you're a local business you may have to ask people what made them call your, or how they found you, but I know it drives sales in the businesses I help. So, yes it really does drive sales in your business - if you do it right. ;-)

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Natwar Maheshwari

Natwar Maheshwari,

I think it hugely depends on your business and authenticity of your fan base. 

For example, I see brand pages with millions of likes and minimal engagement on their posts. I also see brand pages with limited fan base and really good engagement on their Facebook pages. So, as I said depends on business and organic likes. 

I totally agree with Russell, that it takes time to build your audience, but you can always test things on your page. And I recommend constantly testing. Post pictures and ask people if they want to buy, ask them to just comment "Buy" on the product image and you can personally send them invoices, this is all Lean Methodology and this process will be your MVP (minimal viable product). At least you will know if your fans are interested in your products or not.

Try this with different products, at different times, also try "Facebook Promote" post function, I have never been disappointed with this feature.

You can also try a free Facebook store and see if it drives sales at all. 

Disclaimer: I work for a company which builds Facebook stores. 

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Mia Alarin answered a question

What is the going rate to outsource telemarketing locally or offshore?

Do you think local is better than offshore? Looking to hire some Telemarketers to reach local small business owners... i.e retail, health, beauty, fitness, medical, professional services, local trades, restaurants, florist, jewelry etc.

Mia Alarin

Mia Alarin, Owner at Transeo Pty. Ltd.

Hi Susan,

I am Mia and I am from Transeo. We are a Digital Media and Offshore company. We offer this kind of services and I would like to know your specific requirements for a Virtual Assistant. What would be the best way to reach you if ever you are open for a discussion?

Cheers,

Mia Alarin

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Kelly Robinson answered a question

How do you deal with loneliness as an entrepreneur?

Hey guys, I find the entrepreneurial journey incredibly lonely at times. How you deal with loneliness in your business, particularly as leaders? Keen to hear your thoughts.

Kelly Robinson

Kelly Robinson, Owner at My Sassy Business

You cannot beat going to networking events and getting to know people whoa re in similar situations. Networking is not just about finding clients it is about finding like minded people who you can share a coffee and conversation with. These same people also become raving fans who can refer business to you and you to them.

Networking has lead me to finding and meeting the most amazing people that can share in my journey.

Another suggestion is to be part of a share office - I share with two other businesses and we always brainstorm, refer business and share ideas.

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Wendy Huang

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

I find that finding people that are dealing with the same issues, e.g. other business owners in similar industries or at the same stage of business (but not involved in your business) and creating a support network of those people is extremely important, and also beyond that is making a commitment to meet with them on a regular basis face to face and over time. The feeling of loneliness will disappear as you have regular face to face contact with people going through the same things as you. That's why rehab programs like Alcoholics anonymous follow that structure - its not just about knowing people its about having that support network support you on a regular basis. Although we're not alcoholics you perhaps may be a workaholic :D

I find that the biggest challenge to creating this environment with busy entrepreneurs is they usually forget to actually meet with each other and again get caught up in their own business whirlwind, choosing to forgo these feel good sessions in favor of more "work"  leading to the same feeling of loneliness and same issues once again.

Forums like these ones can help alleviate some of the loneliness I find, but so does a regular coffee date with a fellow founder :)!! Best of luck on your business dates :D!!

Fleur Leong

Fleur Leong , Director at Conquest Business Solutions Pty Ltd

Good question, Phil and I like Wendy's idea too. A "Business Dating" platform is a novel concept!! I overcome the loneliness by attending business, educational, inspirational (not motivational) and personal development events. This is where I get my mental energy re-fueled and meet interesting and like-minded people. Once a month, I organise a retreat, an adventure or social event with those who have a "bucket list" and want to share their experiences with others. This month it is hot air ballooning in Camden Valley, NSW.
Phil/Wendy - how about creating "SavvySME" Meetup groups. I'll help co-organise the Sydney events.
Phil Khor

Phil Khor , Founder at SavvySME

Hi Fleur, love your idea about meetup groups, and yes, we can definitely use your help to organise events. Thanks for putting your hand up for it. Will be in touch.
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Greg Vekar answered a question

Greg Vekar

Greg Vekar, BDM/Design consultant at Vekar Design

Use your powers of design for good! Your design education is like a secret sauce the business world seeks, yet most designer limit their ambition to the Red Ocean of highly competitive markets. It will be wasted on existing businesses.

Take Geetika's story as an example of how the design mind can be put to use by being truely creative: http://thecreatorsproject.vice.com/blog/vacation-... There are a plethora of examples. AirBnB are designers too.

The world is craving new ideas, creativity. Most business decision makers are terrified of what they don't understand, like creativity. So designers need to be the change, we seek. Starting a business is defiantly not passive, but with the right strategy it could give you freedom from the project-to-project trap.

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Matt Antonino

Matt Antonino, owner & SEO consultant at Pay On Performance

The closest to "passive income" you'll likely get is stock sites like Shutterstock & iStockPhoto.  If you want more info in that direction, let me know.  I used to write a popular microstock blog but gave it up because it's not *quite* passive enough for me. :)

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David Bradbury answered a question

What word do you use when searching on Google an Accountant?

Bookkeepers and Accountants have their own terms when they speak about their businesses. But what would you as a business owner Google if you are looking for a Bookkeeper or Accountant?

David Bradbury

David Bradbury, Founder & CEO at Selector

If you are an established business you'll be working on a particular accounting software, myob, xero Et al, so I'd be including whichever software you are using in your search, as any bookkeepers and accountants del exclusively with software partners. So.example "bookkeeper Sydney xero"
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Paul Zisson

Paul Zisson, Founder & CFO at mobileCFO

It depends what you are seeking and for what purpose:

"Bookkeeper" for record keeping, account processing, invoicing, payments, cash books, banking, administration, BAS preparation etc. More junior level finance & administration, not normally qualified/certified accountants.

"Accountant" for financial statement preparation, cash management, management reporting, financial analysis, more technical financial advice, compliance such as tax returns, ASIC reporting, budgets & forecasts, planning. There are internal and external accountants (advisors/consultants who just do financial year-end accounts & tax planning for clients). They are normally certified as CPA's or CA (chartered accountants).

"Tax Agent" for preparing and lodging your income tax returns, BAS, company tax, FBT, anything tax related with ATO, they have a lodgement program with the ATO for clients and are registered to handle tax affairs, with extended deadlines for clients. Often accountants are also registered tax agents.

As to financial jargon to google (so many to mention:

Tax returns, EOFY (end of financial year), financial statements, bookkeeping, BAS, tax advice, financial management, cash flow management, books, record keeping, account processing, budgeting, business plans etc.

Try this link:

http://www.accountingcoach.com/terms/accounting-dictionary.html

 

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Hari I answered a question

How to grow a more diversified and balanced community website?

Hi SavvySME!

Let me introduce myself first. My name is Scott and I am the founder of OzBargain, a community website for shoppers in Australia to share and discuss bargains, deals, products, shopping, etc. It was started as a spare time project 6 years ago (well, I love cheap stuff), and that thing just grows - mostly virally. It now attracts 1.1 million unique visitors a month, mostly from Australia, and we have some members following our website religiously, checking it multiple times a day.

I have been working full time on it for almost 2 years now, and have 2 employees helping me to keep the site running and to keep on growing the site & its community. I guess some of you guys might have actually stumbled across my site. I know that many retailers and service providers, large or small, have been using OzBargain to push their promotions. I'm glad to join this small business community (and nice to meet both Phil & Wendy in person this week). I'll be here at SavvySME trying to help anyone with questions.

Now, here is a question of my own. OzBargain has historically been male-dominant. I am a gadget-loving nerdy guy, and I tend to seek and post deals that reflect that nature. Many of our early visitors came from Whirlpool.net.au, which is a tech-oriented community website (that I presume is also male-dominant). When I look at the popular deals on OzBargain, it's again mostly gadgets, computers, video games, etc. Even the most popular food-related deals on our site are Domino's pizza coupons. However, I think for OzBargain to move forward to serve the Australian bargain hunters, we will need to grow into a diversified and balanced community.

Rather than being male-dominant, I would like to see more balanced discussions. Rather than gadgets dominating our home page, I would like to see fashions, good dine outs, etc. I think the problem is more than just "how to attract more female members to sign up," but there will also be an internal resistance of change. The existing culture - opinionated, cynical, sometimes sexists comments - need to change as well, but at the same time I don't want to be seen as "oppressive" or "dictating." Or maybe I am fighting a battle that can't be won? Anyone experienced with running a community? Please share your ideas.

Hari I

Hari I,

I can understand you wanting to diversify to the female community, perhaps you could take tips from Wikipedia who has 84 % Male editors. In general it looks like women don't like to have conflicts and wage flame wars.

There are some good links to read related to that study that go behind the reasons, and the same apply here in OZbargain, everytime someone posts a deal that's an invitation to others to try and beat the deal on price.

Unless it's an extraordinarily great deal women especially might be hesitant because they know they'll get negged into oblivion by the community.

The sexist comments, jokes and puns and all the male Banter is what gives the community it's feel so not sure toning it down by force would be a great idea. You are right to leave it to the community to self moderate.

Hari I

Hari I ,

It is a pain to edit and post in the forum here, doesn't work well in chrome at all, anyway, you can look up the study and all the related info here, Could possibly pick up some targeted tips on making the community more inclusive of women.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Wikipedians

http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Gender_gap

The significant and stable under-representation of women results in persistently unbalanced coverage (e.g. articles related to football are much more developed than articles related to motherhood[dubious – discuss]) in Wikipedia.[citation needed] The gender gap may be driven significantly by Wikipedia's conflict-oriented culture. Experienced female editors can be very successful—they are more likely to become administrators than men—but they are more likely to leave if treated aggressively in discussions, especially as new editors, when their good-faith contributions are more likely to be reverted than a similarly good-faith contribution by a man.[7]
John OLoughlin

John OLoughlin ,

Scott, to add to the existing posts, currently the site content doesn't appear to offer much value targeted specifically to women, so that could be improved by seeding some discounts on products that women value and talk about, and the site design would also need to be updated to showcase that value as clearly as possible with larger images of branded products rather than the current text heavy design that favours technical specs. The current styling is like a cross between HackerNews and Reddit, both heavily male dominated. With the right content and design, your growth hacks and community building strategies will have a fighting chance rather than people just bouncing when they get to your site.
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Hari I

Hari I,

HI Scotty,

How did your first attempt at attracting Female customers go ?

Ozbargain Attracting Female Customers.

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Richard Reid answered a question

Do informal business alliances really exist?

Are you aware of any examples of successful informal business alliances? What did they look like?

Have you taken part in any and were they successful. Love to hear your experiences.

Richard Reid

Richard Reid, Vice President at Work Safety Interactive

Hi Leo, we have some informal alliances in WSI. We have struck these alliances with businesses in affiliated OHS/WHS businesses offering complementary services, such as Jim's Test & Tag, Risk Smart Insurance, Detector Inspector among others. These businesses can offer services to our customers and we are happy to refer them on the basis that we know they will offer the level of service we expect. We also receive a significant number of referrals from accountants, lawyers and business advisors who have clients who need an inexpensive but comprehensive solution to OHS/WHS. For me, these work better unofficially, provided you partner with businesses who you know will impress your clients and edify you through the referral.
Lisa Ormenyessy

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

Hi Richard, I think you hit the nail on the head with 'you know will impress your clients and edify you through the referral'. I would also add that they keep you up to date with how the client is progressing if necessary.
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Lisa Ormenyessy

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

Hi Leo,

We have a number of successful informal business alliances.  What do they look like?  Our alliances are business owners that can add value to our clients.  They share the same values and ideologies as our consulting business; Straight Talk Group, and value relationship above all else.  How do we maintain and encourage them?  Every 6-8 weeks we hold a not networking 'get together'.  Basically its a casual BBQ where clients and alliances can come for 5 minutes or 3 hours and just hang out and say hi.  It is a 'getting to know you better' scenario, and despite intentionally having it as a 'not networking' magic happens.  

I hope this helps.  

Warmly, Lisa

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