Popular Advice


Uttam Jha answered a question

What would you value more an investor or a knowledgeable cofounder? Why?

Often a venture needs both, but which would you prefer? Think about the pros and cons that may potentially come with each before answering.

Uttam Jha

Uttam Jha, Owner at Tyche Infotech Pty Ltd

An investor with strong contacts in the specific market that can grow my business. - is my take.

Jef Lippiatt

Jef Lippiatt , Owner at Startup Chucktown

Thanks for your answer Uttam

Henry H answered a question

Henry H

Henry H, Owner at MX Service Parts

I have not use Snapchat but I'm also interested on how to use it.

Jef Lippiatt

Jef Lippiatt, Owner at Startup Chucktown

I've not tried out Snapchat yet either, however, I have heard mixed results from several ventures that have tried to leverage it. It may depend on the type of venture you have as well and who the target audience is.

If you are focused at millennials and younger your venture may feel at home on there.

James Huy Vuong

James Huy Vuong , Owner at Your Accounting Partners

agreed with Jef Lippiatt on this one - snapchat is more suitd to millennials and younger demo; read a white paper on this and the GOST strategy was mentioned in detailed; G- Goal first; O-Objective to measure goals; S-Strategy map out the plot; T-Tactics & Task.

Wendy Huang answered a question

Wendy Huang

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

I'd have to try and contain myself here, because there are quite a few that I could gush about all day. At the top of this list would have to be Tim Ferris who is a business leader, writer and guru on many topics rolled into one.

What I love about him is his ability to do great on all areas (not just in business) by applying a very unique and effective thought process to learning: e.g.

  • Kickboxing champing
  • Salsa Dancing Champion
  • Hacked a effect method of dieting
  • As well as cooking
  • Language learning hacking

All his teachings are a lazy mans way to getting a great result which is in line with my own values :).

I'm just in awe in his ability to just learn and do so many different things (something I tend to love to do). Being able to define yourself by the speed with which you learn not about what you know. I guess multitalented is the word?

I'm working my way through all his books and thoroughly enjoying every minute of it, including his writing style.

Other business leaders and influencers include: Seth Godin, Noah Kegan, Sheryl Sandberg and of course all you guys here at SavvySME :)! Awwww.

Love to hear your inspirations too Neil!

Neil Steggall

Neil Steggall , Partner at Wardour Capital Partners

I cut my teeth on Peter Drucker and Edward de Bono and was a true believer in my corporate days. More recently I question why? more than how? and that has lead me to read more widely and look at life and business differently. Steve Jobs was a great "why guy". Your comment on being a good all rounder also resonates (I am also lazy) and I have adjusted my business to allow me to turn a profit whilst indulging in my great passions for food, wine and travel. I would class cooking and books as my great hobbies - I cook every day that I am home and the iPad is always loaded for reading!
Roland Hanekroot

Roland Hanekroot , Founder at New Perspectives Business Coaching

I have to say that my current heroes and people who inspire me most, fall outside or on the fringes of business a little.
My two current heroes are: Brene Brown, professor at the university of Austin Texas and author of books such as "Daring Greatly" and Graham Long, minister at The Wayside Chapel in Sydney.
Both of them make my skin itch when I read their words or hear them speak... so much more wisdom and inspiration than most of the business gurus I have to say.
Seth Godin is of course a fantastically interesting character but a little obvious... I read a great book by Daniel PInk called "To Sell is Human"... now that is a great read for business owners over christmas... you will not regret taking the time...
Neil, I totally agree with your take on Peter Drucker and Edward the Bono, but I am going to disagree vehemently with your mentioning of Steve Jobs as one of the great and good.. I really have a lot of trouble with the cult of reverence for Steve Jobs, yes he created a lot of wealth for a lot of people and I agree that his computers look better than other's and that he broke new ground several times, but from everything that has come out since his death it seems quite clear that at a personal level he was a rank A@#$&*le riding rough shod over people and generally being the opposite of a nice human being... I suppose the reason I get so much more inspired by someone like Graham Long or Brene Brown is that I don't think the world needs more selfobsessed inconsiderate egomaniacs.... The world needs more people who care about others.
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Jef Lippiatt answered a question

What type of payment system should I use?

I have recently published several children's books which I want to promote and sell on my personal website. Can anyone suggest what would be the best type of payment system to set up?

Jef Lippiatt

Jef Lippiatt, Owner at Startup Chucktown

It really depends on what fits your needs, but you have several good options available. Stripe (https://stripe.com) is a newer power house, PayPal (http://paypal.com) is a solid option that has been around longer, Dwolla (http://dwolla.com) is a new up and comer with lower fees and some interesting propositions. Of course there are other merchant services and exchanges but if you are doing this on your own you probably want to focus on the 3 mentioned above because they have lower fees.

I would suggest looking at the websites and researching the 3 above, but don't stop there. Talk to other entrepreneurs and publishers and see what they are using and if they are satisfied. The more information you have to make a decision the better off you'll be.

On a side note, did you write and illustrate the books? I have several children's books that I've written but haven't had any luck with illustrators. So any advice you have on forming a good relationship with an illustrator are also welcome.

Charlene Sampilo

Charlene Sampilo , Customer Service at Nervana Chiropractic

Thanks for the input Jef! I am familiar with Paypal but not the other 2 you suggested. I will indeed, look more into these. In regards to illustration, my children's books are more picture books rather than illustration. Looking for an illustrator has been a challenge for me too. With pictures, it can be quite exciting breathing life to the subject based on your creativity.
Jef Lippiatt

Jef Lippiatt , Owner at Startup Chucktown

I would agree with you there. My books don't really lend themselves to pictures or I would certainly give that approach more thought. I just finished the rough draft for my next book and they are really starting to pile up without an illustrator.
Did you go through a publisher or are you self-publishing the books? If you are self-publishing what service are you using and would you recommend it?

Brian Dorricott answered a question

Does Anyone Know How Much Intellectual Property Laws Cost?

I have a program that I've developed

Brian Dorricott

Brian Dorricott, Startup Guide at Meteorical

Unfortunately you don't give enough information for a good answer.Are you trying to protect a program you've developed? Is it a computer program or a program you deliver in person? Are you expecting to be sued (and want to know how much you need to set aside to defend yourself)?Best bet would be to speak to an IP Lawyer for 30 minutes to find out more about the possibilities are - perhaps ask for a review of your IP. Most will give you some time for free (in the hope you'll buy the solution from them).I hope this helps.
Deborah Vella

Deborah Vella, Owner at Support Legal

It depends on what the program does and how it impacts your clients.

You can look at www.ipaustralia.gov.au for basic information about copyright. However you'll need to speak with a lawyer who specifically works in the field of technology and ask them to prepare terms and conditions of use or an end user licence for you. That would be an agreement between yourself and your clients about the use of the program. You'll also need to consider appropriate insurance for your business as many off the shelf insurance products wouldn't necessarily be designed for technology businesses.

Good luck!

Melissa Profeta

Melissa Profeta , Community Manager at SavvySME

Thanks for the tip Deborah, will there be an easier way to do it digitally?
Deborah Vella

Deborah Vella , Owner at Support Legal

End user licence agreements and terms and conditions can be prepared for use online, with the user clicking to agree to them. It will still require a legal professional to draft the content of the terms and conditions or end user licence.

Marcus Tjen answered a question

Is It Necessary To Have Physical Address For Online Business?

If the online business can be run from home, should we have an office for it? Is office a trust factor for an online business?

Marcus Tjen

Marcus Tjen, Owner at Rugged Computing

Think of this from your customer point of view.  How can your potential customers differentiate a fraudster website from a genuine website? Does fraudster website normally has a physical address on it?  What would your customer think if they can't find an address on your website?  You certainly don't need a physical address for a website but if are selling something on your website and you want to attract more customers, you should have one.

Deborah Vella

Deborah Vella, Owner at Support Legal

From a legal perspective, you will need to have a registered business address.  This doesn't need to be a business location where customers visit, it can be a home address.  This address will be on a publically available register so people can contact you for legal reasons.


Daniel Spark answered a question

How important is selecting your business name?

Just curious, does your business name matter much in the long term? Or does it vary between industries, B2B or B2C?   

Daniel Spark

Daniel Spark, Director

This is such a difficult question. When you put everything you have into a venture I feel it is important to relate to the name. Eventually, the business takes on its own identity and becomes more than it was when you named it...I think if you take a variety of names and remove the context it makes it clear that it probably does not matter in the long run to the business itself. It is the businesses operations that define itself not the name.

Maini Homer

Maini Homer, Owner at Infinity NLP Coaching

I don't think it matters much.  People will remember you for the service you provide and the way they felt, not particularly if you have a quirky name or not. 

Aishah Mustapha

Aishah Mustapha , Community Manager at SavvySME

Thanks @Maini Homer. I thought so too. I guess as long as you steer clear of bad/sleazy ones, it should be fine.

Steve Osborne answered a question

How can I get a venture capitalist to pay attention to me?

How can I get a venture capitalist to pay attention to me?

Steve Osborne

Steve Osborne, director at Steve Osborne / Smarthinking


A similar question* was asked some time ago by one of the Savvy community. Ling asked:

"What can I reasonably expect from venture capitalists for my new startup?"

Altho' you may or may not be a startup in the traditional sense, I think the way you get VC's to pay attention to you is to give them what they want. Here is the answer I gave back then, which applies equally to your question:

Without knowing what your startup is about, my comments are pretty general. Therefore, it depends. Amongst many other things, it depends on what industry you're in, what the scalability potential is like and how much skin the founders have in the game.

The first and most obvious thing to say is: they expect a return. And that mighty quick.

My experience preparing business plans for VC investment taught me several things – the most important being:

1. your idea is worth precisely zero until it is implemented. Investors want to see a working model.

2. investors are taking a big risk, therefore will expect a big return. After all, if your startup is not doing something that's never been done before, by definition it's just another business. And if all you need is money, go to the bank.

So expect them to ask for at minimum, 30% return over 3 x years on say, $1mill.

3. investors are most interested if you can clearly show your three different customers. If you can define these three distinct groups early on, you stand a better chance of growth and a better return on exit.

A wiser man than me defined them thus:

Customer One is your end-user. It is to serve her needs that your business was created. Without this customer, you don't have a business.

Customer Two is your bulk-buyer. This second customer is the one on whom rapid expansion will pivot, based on the idea that it's easier to sell to one who buys 1,000 than it is to sell to 1,000 who only buy one (customer 1). This customer shapes the speed and scale of growth.

Customer Three is the business buyer. This is the entity that will eventually buy your business. This individual or company will ultimately make more from your assets (customers, database, products) than you can. This customer shapes your positioning, your customer information collection, your database. And this customer is the most difficult to identify.

But it's this last customer the VC's are most interested in, because that's where the greatest value lies. If you can demonstrate a firm grasp of how each customer group is linked, you can argue a simple and very powerful case for investment. Everything else is just logistics.

Ask Neil at Wardour Capital about this stuff. He is the expert.

**Note to SavvySME Questions Admin: there is no system available within the site to refer to previously asked questions, if they were answered more than a few months ago. Perhaps a form of cross-referencing could be devised so questioners could find out whether their question already has an answer?

Jef Lippiatt

Jef Lippiatt, Owner at Startup Chucktown


One of the most important ways to get a venture capitalist excited about your business is by looking for the right connections.

You don't want to approach just any VC. You want to approach VCs that are interested your business industry or type of business.

You also need to customize information you are sending to individual VCs so they can tell there is a personal touch (don't blast out stock emails to a bunch of VCs).

One of the best ways to attract investors is to have you business positioned correctly. There are key metrics that VCs find more tantalizing than others, so know them.

Some questions and metrics to keep in mind:

  • Do you have a repeatable method of monetizing your business / users?
  • Are you cash flow positive? If you aren't, when will you be?
  • What is your cash burn rate per month?
  • How many Monthly Active Users (MAU) do you have? Is it increasing?
  • Who is on the team and what are their areas of expertise?
  • Do you currently have any mentors or advisors? What are their strengths?
  • How much money are your trying to raise?
  • What will you do with that amount of money specifically? How will it help the business?

If you can answer more than half of those questions, you should put a slide deck together or start looking for pitching opportunities. If you can't answer even half of those questions, wait until you can before approaching a VC.


George Grimekis CPA answered a question

What sort of tax agent should I use for US and AU earnings?

I have business clients in both Australia and the United States, what kind of tax agent or accountant should I use?

George Grimekis CPA

George Grimekis CPA, Accountant at Alpha Omega Accounting & Business Solutions

Hi Fred,

Most tax agents/accountants should be able to help you out, however this is a complex area so maybe engage one that has experience with clients who operate overseas.

Generally speaking, all overseas income is declared in Australia and you can claim a foreign tax offset, for any tax that you have paid i the overseas jurisdiction, to prevent double taxation.

Depending on how you're structured, it may be a case of engaging 1 accountant in the U.S to look after your affairs there and 1 accountant in Australia.

My first step would be to engage a local accountant, discuss your needs and concerns with them, and go from there.

Sathyanarayanan Srinivasa

Sathyanarayanan Srinivasa, Owner at Taxfin Business Services


The criteria for selecting the appropriate Accountant or Tax Agent depends on the complexity of the business and the cost factor as well.In your case you have to comply with various tax obligations in the country where your business is registered and how you derive the income is important.Other factors include, the nature of the business, entity type, number of transactions and the currency of billing etc. For further assistance or discussions you may call me on 0424419130 for personal discussions.


Steven Freeman answered a question

How long do I need to keep business records such as invoices?

Can you give me guidelines for the retention of all major business records?

Steven Freeman

Steven Freeman, Owner at Evolved Sound

I believe it is 5 years for standard accounting records and a lot longer for things like shares if still owned.