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Questions

How much does TV advertising cost?

I am considering advertising on TV channels, does anyone know how much they cost these days? read more

Asked by:
Phil Khor Founder at SavvySME
Great answers so far.  A couple more points: 1. When you get your ads done, be sure to get both a 15 sec AND a 30 sec.  Is far more cost effective to do both at once and gives you more options for showing them.  Plus if there is vacant inventory you may get some extra freebies. 2. Major stations can be terrifyingly expensive.  You will need a reasonable frequency and length of campaign to see any impact so you need to allow for that in planning. If you want to dip your toe into TV, you can try doing some markets only.  For SavvySME you might try Sydney only for a couple of weeks. Or you could look at Foxtel - it's a national feed so you can't do different markets and your timings will be screwed in WA, but the costs are much lower.  Also it's possible to target to specific channels for specific markets. Also ask about anything on the new digital channels.  Much lower audience - much lower price. Not sure where small businesses hang out but if you were going with specialist channels you might want a couple of different ads with different angles.
Anne MilesManaging Director at International Creative Services
These are good stats for the actual airtime fees. I wasn't sure if people reading this would understand that this is not including production costs. The cost of an ad varies depending on the creative execution. From my experience there is a creative solution for every budget starting a a few thousand dollars to a million (and I've worked on all types). The trick is in setting the budget first and making sure that the creative is chosen to suit the budget and not the other way around.  TV is not always the best answer, but it is a great medium and still remains a powerful brand building platform. The trick with production costs is to make sure it works across all platforms to have a fully integrated campaign.  My experience is that you don't always have to spend more money to be good!
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Questions

What are the most popular accounting software packages for small business ?

Asked by:
Phil Khor Founder at SavvySME
Nicky HanshawOwner at Simply Numbers
there are a number of key accounting software products that small businesses tend to use and i find that one product will be more prominent in one area than another, mainly through word of mouth referrals.  naturally a recommendation from a peer is well respected and isn't overlooked, in particular an accounting software solution shouldn't just be taken on because it is the 'trendy' one at the moment.  the ones that tend to be popular are the ones that the users find simple to use, provide good access to support at a local level, are affordable and ones that have stood the test of time. being a chartered accountant in a smaller and slightly rural town means i see all types of accounting software being used but the software i see the most of is myob in its varying forms from accountedge for mac's to the browser based liveaccounts.  however the most popular is myob's accountright standard or plus by far.  these products tick all the boxes and their continued developement means that their popularity will continue for the foreseeable future.
Maria MullaneDirector at Aspire Solutions
myob is by far the most commonly used and with the new cloud/desktop hybrid technology that they have just released (myob accountright live) myob now has a product for every scenario, and it truly does cover all the bases in terms of accessibility, functionality, ease of use and cost. xero has a very different strategy to myob, in that is has been designed primarily to make the accountant's life easier and enabling them to supposedly "add value" by incorporating the monthly subscription into a monthly accounting fee structure; assuming that the business owner does not want or need to spend any significant time on their business financials on a day to day basis.  there is definitely a market for this type of product, just as there is with banklink and other cashbook type products, but most business owners are taking more interest in the inner workings of their business these days, especially since the gfc, and browser based saas products at this stage simply do not provide the functionality and reporting that is available within myob. myob however, is designed primarily with the end user in mind.  i have owned my accounting software support business for 7 years and we have over 1000 businesses on our database.  from what we can see, myob is hugely dominant in the market as the leading provider of sme accounting software solutions, and in my opinion there are several very good reasons for this. 
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Questions

What are the key differences between Xero, MYOB, Saasu and Quickbooks accounting software ?

Asked by:
Phil Khor Founder at SavvySME
MYOB Official
Hi, Aishah from MYOB. Excellent question here. We just launched our AccountRight Live solution and the volume of interest has been awesome! AR Live is a desktop+cloud solution that’s different to others out there, and our solution was driven by research and clients’ demands. You can work/collaborate online or offline. You simply install it on your computer as you would any other app and you are good to go. Plus, AR Live is a fully-featured accounting solution that doesn’t require add-ons to do basic functions, such as payroll and inventory. Some may argue it is not “access anywhere, anytime” because of this install. But think of your daily routine. How often do you trust a computer other than your own with your business’s financial information? With laptops as cheap, as light and as powerful as they are today, the majority of people work from their own machine, even when on the road.  Our research shows that clients love having a local copy, and if your business does not use the cloud yet, AR Live lets you move online at your own pace. This is a big mission of ours: getting businesses to use accounting software – online or offline. If you are an accountant, you can now attend to an even wider range of clients through the one product, AR Live – those after an online solution and those preferring to stay on the desktop. As for cross platform compatibility, we are working on an elegant solution for Mac-based users to access AR Live, and we will definitely have more to announce in the future! Meanwhile, our solution LiveAccounts, which has been around for more than 2 years, is browser based and accessible from any device that has Internet. It’s very well suited to Mac users.” 
Rhys RobertsDirector at Viridity
I have a slightly different perspective on this from the previous reply.  I agree that Xero is a core accounting solution, and that in areas such as inventory the user would normally implement an add on solution (eg Unleashed).  But the aggregate effect of this and other add on solutions makes Xero a suitable solution for most businesses (small through medium) that would also be considering MYOB.  I have a number of clients turning over more than $2M, one close to $10M, all running very happily on Xero (with various add ons as required).  Deciding which solution / combination of solutions is most appropriate for any given business though really has to be case by case. AccountRight Live is a slightly different type of solution - part local / part cloud - software installed locally, data optionally held in the cloud.  With Xero, Saasu, etc you do not need to have any software installed locally, just a web browser and internet access.  With AR Live you to have the software installed on your local machine, which means you lose the "access anywhere" feature of cloud.  It also means the solution is not "cross platform compatible" - that is if you use a Mac & your accountant uses a PC you cannot both work on the same file.  I am not convinced that being able to work locally I am hoping that AR Live delivers a competitive product for MYOB fans - over the past 2 years I have been installing new Xero's 10:1 over MYOB.  It would be great for all users if AR Live delivers.
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Questions

How much does an Australian Virtual Assistant (VA) cost?

I used a lot of overseas VA's for my blog commenting and social bookmark submission work. I pay... read more

Asked by:
Nick Chernih Founder at LinkBuildSEO
Hi guys, We published an article about the cost comparison for onshore vs. offshore work (Philippines) at http://www.capaciti.com.au/article-onshore-vs-offshore-staffing-costs/. Check it out. Thanks!
Iain DooleyOwner at The Procedure People
Hey Nick, I hire on http://www.hiremymum.com.au/ starting at around $20/hour for a few different roles in my business (not just VAs but also bookkeeping, sales assistants, editorial assistants, marketing assistants). I posted recently on a little trick I have for dealing with the "red tape" around hiring locally versus getting someone through oDesk or similar: http://www.theprocedurepeople.com/blog/2014/09/24/how-i-hired-a-woman-to-hire-herself/ By hiring someone as a casual/part-time employee who isn't a sub-contractor (with their own company or established business) you can get their time a bit cheaper. Many of the women I've found on hiremymum.com.au only really want to work 5 - 10 hours per week and value the flexibility I'm able to offer -- it's the perfect way to get started systemising your business without a lot of risk or administrative overhead. I also recently posted a very "quick n dirty" way to start working with local VAs if you've never done it before: http://www.theprocedurepeople.com/blog/2014/09/25/a-basic-framework-for-creating-your-first-procedure/ Cheers, Iain
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What expenses can I claim as an IT Professional in my Tax Return?

Check This Out.     read more

Asked by:
Apurv Bhalla CPA Accountant at Success Tax Professionals in Parramatta
Liam ShorteDirector, SMSF Specialist Advisor & Financial Planner at Verante Financial Planning & The SMSF Coach
Here is a link to the ATO's page specifically for IT professionals. http://www.ato.gov.au/individuals/content.aspx?doc=/content/00322817.htm  
Apurv Bhalla CPAAccountant at Success Tax Professionals in Parramatta
http://successtaxprofessionals.com.au/tax-returns-what-expenses-can-i-claim-as-an-it-professional/  
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Questions

Is the cost to build an online store tax deductible?

I'm thinking of starting an e-commerce site. Are the initial costs to build the website e.g. web... read more

Asked by:
Nick Chernih Founder at LinkBuildSEO
As with the answers above, if you are running a business all expenses are tax deductable.You will need to get help from a taxation specialist to advise you on what is deductible straight away and what needs to be depreciated. Another important fact, if you are selling outside Australia, is keeping the costs of building your overseas business separately as these expenses could be reimbursed by the Australian Government once they reach a certain threshold as part of the export incentive programs. Check these incentives out with Austrade. They are easier than you think to apply for and as long as you meet certain criteria you will be approved.
Michael Reid CADo All The Things! at Michael L Reid CA
As long as it's not a hobby, but a business, then yes, the costs will be tax deductible just the same as the costs for establishing and running any other business are tax deductible. Some of the costs may not be deductible straight-up, but may be spread over a number of years, but other running costs like hosting etc are deductible when you incur them.
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Questions

When purchasing an investment property, what is the most appropriate ownership structure to maximise tax benefit?

If the property is jointly owned in equal proportion by both spouses, the spouse with a higher... read more

Asked by:
Shane Gold Compliance Officer at First State Super
Craig GarblerManaging Director at Sterling Debt Advisory Pty Ltd
Shane, I must agree with Ian that professional(s) should always be consulted, particularly when investing hundreds of thousands of dollars!  Even if the advice totals a few thousand (at most), then this pails into insignificance against other costs such as stamp duty, agents fees etc, and can save you multiples in terms of tax savings. As with any investment, a prudent approach should be adopted when investing.  Utilise those with the right experience for the situation.  A good financial planner for overall investment strategy, a tax accountant for structuring, a reputable conveyance lawyer to protect your purchase.  Even consider seeking the advice of an independent buyers advocate (property adviser) - someone who knows the property market, the + / -, drivers, capital growth expectation, what's in planning etc, is it a fair price.  A property adviser may direct you to another property that offers better value for money, or better suits your objectives - whatever they may be. At our business Sterling Debt Advisory we see many an investment (property and otherwise) where you wish the client sought the input of a professional at the outset - this is not only relevant for individuals, but surprisingly for corporate clients that you would have thought knew better.  Investing hundreds of thousands of dollars does indeed require independent professional advice.  You're really short changing yourself if you don't.  Spend a dollar today to save you many hundreds down the track! Craig
Ian HarrisDirector at B+I Lockwood Accountants
The dilemma with the above answer is the issue of negative gearing. If the purchase is negatively geared then you want the property in the name of the taxpayer with the highest income. In the utter , if you have paid down the loan this will cause a tax problem. A unit trust structure may allow you to have your cake now and then have your cake in the future as well because there is a strategy with this structure for overcoming this problem. Take professional advice!
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Questions

What's Your Opinion on sites like Wix, Square Space, BigCommerce?

I've noticed these sites promoting strongly these days. For a cash-strapped individuals aiming to... read more

Asked by:
William S Digital Marketing and Junior SEO Consultant at Pixel Capital
I moved from a self hosted osCommerce site to Shopify about a year ago and love it. Good to see Shopify mentioned above a few times. Agree also, not just for cash strapped but for more cash savvy businesses. Software/sites as a service is where we are heading and I like it :-) Just one tip is to do plenty of research, get three or four solutions you like and then compare everything: cost, services, features and then make your own decision based on your criteria and gut feel, not from one or two reviews you may read.
Greg McKayowner at G K McKay Pty Ltd
I think these hosted platforms are the way of the future for small business websites. I can only specifically comment on Squarespace. I manage several sites there for client's from my old business, a few have been there over 12 months ... no maintenance, no upgrades, no hacks ... average cost is $8 per  month (if paid annually). All these sites have full CMS capability, social media integration, SEO optimization, plus they are on responsive design frameworks, so they work across all viewing devices. To date it's been bullet proof. The biggest advantage of Squarespace is the ability to write your own code, either starting from scratch or hacking their templates ... you can write your own HTML, CSS and Javascript. I moved these sites to Squarespace after a couple of years of other options, including shared hosting (a very poor experience) and running  my own VPS server at Linode. Repeated hacking of Wordpress sites ( they were maintained using best practise, it was the security of the web server that was compromised in all cases) on shared hosting, moved me to using a VPS, but security and maintenance are very boring and time consuming. In my opinion, any interaction with a hosting server is to be avoided unless you have the time and very specific skills ... leave maintenance and security to full time pro's. Hosted platforms are rapidly becoming the norm for Ecommerce sites. Small business sites are probably next in line.
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Questions

Is there an Australian version of Alibaba website to buy wholesale products that are manufactured locally?

Hi Savvies, What website do you recommend for buying Australian manufactured products wholesale? I... read more

Asked by:
Ling Lee Director at Japanese Sword Auctions Australia
Nicole McIverOwner at Nicole McIver
For a good quality , Australian Brands alternative I'd recommend Wholesale Baby or Stock My Store
Brian MallyonOwner at Luckypole Limited
I am not sure of an Australian version of Alibaba, but if you google "Australian made" I believe there are several websites that provide details of at least some Australian made products.
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Questions

What is the best way to market to tradies?

Looking at doing some tailored marketing towards Tradies for my virtual pa services.  Any low cost... read more

Asked by:
Michaela Clark Virtual Assistant at mi virtual pa
How about being a guest blogger for the tradie websites that are mentioned above.Articles like Top 10 Time Saving Tips for Tradies doing their own paperwork.... (be sure to put out sourcing to a VA in it! :-) Are you OK in a public seminar environment? Try getting public speaking gigs with the master builders association etc. I am sure they would be happy to promote and host a 3hr workshop like this if it is going to help their members.If you have capital, I would be sending out this article or a newsletter with similar articles via snail mail to them all, on a regular basis, if its schmicko and compelling enough they will read it. Good Luck!
Nathan MooreBusiness Development Drone at Marketing Bee
I think Bridget's answer sounds like some smart thinking. I worked in a "tradie" environment for a year in a small country town (great experience). I wasn't in marketing & comms yet then, but I actually am thinking about bringing our marketing services to that segment and I think what Bridget said sounded pretty spot on. I would like to reiterate about the importance of targeting your audience. As a first step of your marketing, don't forget to get very specific with who you're targeting. What age of tradies? Single or married? Etc. Then that may lead to its own insights about what mediums to use. Also, I think the idea of referrals' is really congruent with they operate already, so I'd also recommend exploring that option.  In any case, I think I would just start informally running past your ideas to people from your your target market, and listening to what their opinions are. Good luck!
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Do you know an Australian business that buys second hand jewellery and valuables?

I'm wondering if anyone here knows of someone that buys 2nd hand designer jewellery and then... read more

Asked by:
Wendy Huang Full Time Blogger and YouTuber at A Custom Blog in 4 Minutes
Google consignment stores. They will offer your piece for sale then keep a cut of the sale price. 
Jeffrey JoelMD at Auspac Trading NSW PL
Cash converters, pawn shops? I can't imagine you would get much from them though.
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Questions

Should I invest in mobile computing?

Asked by:
Phil Joel Director at SavvySME
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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How is a service economy different from a knowledge economy?

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What are the ground rules for SMEs while dealing with the current market scenario?

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Is Ozbargain profitable enough for you to make a living?

Asked by:
Scott YangFounder at OzBargain.com.au
Yes. OzBargain (or rather, the company that runs OzBargain, Delvu Media Pty Ltd) is currently employing 4 full time staffs in Australia paying them proper wage.Edit: Someone on OzBargain asked what's the biggest income for OzBargain and whether there's any income source other than ads. The answer is -- yes it's all ads. Mostly from Google AdSense -- they fluctuate seasonally but generally stable. We also show affiliate links to non-logged in users (which they have option to opt-out). Affiliate commission however,Fluctuates too much for a community website with a stable trafficWorking with affiliate networks distracts us from our main goal which is building a community for the shoppers. It takes more time and requires us to form partnership with merchants, which can be undesirable sometimes.And that's all!
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Questions

How long did it take OzBargain to reach critical mass?

Different sites grow at different rates, how long did it take OzBargain to reach critical mass and... read more

Asked by:
Phil Khor Founder at SavvySME
Scott YangFounder at OzBargain.com.au
That depends on the definition on "critical mass" :)I'll say the growth of OzBargain has been pretty linear for the first few years. I guess there are some milestones.First million page view month: Sept 2008 (2 years after launch)First million sessions month: July 2009 (2 3/4 years after launch)By looking at the traffic graph (from Google Analytics), I see a pretty flat line with some dips (Jan/Feb slow season). One significant event was at the beginning of 2011 when I go full time working on OzBargain. No, the traffic didn't shoot up (angle of the slope stays the same) but that just means I was more serious about growing it.Looking back I realise that we are more "reactive" (adding resources when we have to) than proactive, but that's just me more used to slow and steady approach.
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Questions

What accounting software package should a small business use?

What are things to consider when selecting a suitable accounting software package? read more

Asked by:
Phil Khor Founder at SavvySME
Andrew OldhamOwner at Shoebooks
For me Phil, i think it all depends on the type of business they run, what flexibility they need and they may be small now but what happens as they grow. One solution doesnt fit all. Will they need to start upgrading or needing expensive add ons etc which for a small business could mean they are spending $$$ a year on accounting software. Yes, it makes sense to find a solution that is cloud based as getting access to your critical data from anywhare at anytime is vitally important, i just recommend that business owners (and advisor) do there due dilengence so it's doesnt become a mistake down the track.
Michael PriorPrincipal at PB Advisory Group
Hi Everyone, Let me say upfront I am a certified Xero Advisor and am currently obtaining accreditation on Quickbooks. I have also used MYOB extensively. The single issue that I feel has been missed in this debate is what are the needs of the business in looking at an accounting system. My advice to clients is that they should list what they want from their accounting system then we'll assist them score against all these wants and then a solution will fall out. For example is it Price, functionality such as payroll, inventory management, fixed assets, ability to have more than one person logged on at anyone time or timeliness of support, etc. At this stage I often see Xero coming out as the preferred solution albeit some time when add-ons are considered price may become an issue.
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Questions

How much do copywriter charge to rewrite a web page?

Want to know the cost of copywriting,  to re-write few web pages i am working on. I have basic... read more

Asked by:
Julie alexis at web development New York
It is depend on the website theme and design basically. If your website is product based or ecommerce then charge $20 to $40 and if it is simple blog then $25 to $50. But joomla expert india company charge reasonable as per their packages.
Trish FehonOwner at Online Influence
If it's general copy for a website - yes about $50 - $100 per page will do it - If it's copy for a sales letter, I know people who have paid up to $10k from the very best copywriters. You can get an okay sales letter for under $1k. It depends on what you are selling, how much competition there is & the $ value of your product, e.g.  a $17 ebook vs a $10k product/service. So it really depends on what is the purpose of the page,  information or Lead Generation. 2 entirely different things.
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Why should you stay as an "Anonymous" LinkedIn member?

Lets talk about a controversial setting in LinkedIn called, “Who’s Viewed My Profile?”  This... read more

Asked by:
Cassidy Poon Head of Digital & Social Media at LogicalTech Group
Ling LeeDirector at Japanese Sword Auctions Australia
Stalking on a social networking site is a key sign that a network is user engaging, in my opinion. I have no objections to being open in my profile. It is like an online resume. After all, the ultimate aim is to extend profile reach to as many people as possible.
Cassidy PoonHead of Digital & Social Media at LogicalTech Group
If LinkedIn was a real-life networking event, how would you react if you saw these “Anonymous” behaviours? Cyber Netiquette represents the importance of proper manners and behaviour online. In general, cyber netiquette is the set of professional and social etiquettes practiced and advocated in electronic communication over any computer network. Common guidelines include being courteous and precise, and avoiding cyber-bullying. Netiquette is a short form of Network Etiquette or Internet Etiquette. The more LinkedIn member netiquette rules there are, the more civilized LinkedIn as a professional networking social platform will be for everybody because the human mind strives for order. Rules give us order. Within LinkedIn, it is a good cyber netiquette to act as you do in reality on the internet. Ask yourself whether or not you would do it, say it, or write it to one of your real friends or associates. If you have to ask yourself this question whatever you are thinking of is not something you would do in reality. It is a proper LinkedIn member cyber netiquette to be yourself online because you are not always a LinkedIn “anonymous” and others users are real people too. Do not try to be LinkedIn “Anonymous” online that you would not do in reality because you cannot be taken seriously if you do. Your online image is important. Don’t ruin it by being someone “anonymous” you’re not. You are who you are in life. Everyone has the power to change their ways. Your ways are your own. If you don’t like who you are, then change your ways and become who you want to be. “Anonymous” LinkedIn Member – Who are you and why do you choose to be “Anonymous” on LinkedIn to some of us? 1) They could be a person on LinkedIn that simply does not know that is how they have their settings set up in the first place. 2) They could be a professional friend you used to work with that has a terrible LinkedIn profile and is just trying to see what it is like to have a better profile. 3) They could be a person afraid to have a public profile because of fear of their employer seeing it and taking measures to make their life miserable. I am sure nobody has ever heard of this happening before. 4) It could be a competitor of your managerial position just checking to see what you are up to- if that is the case take it as a compliment. 5) It could be that employer checking out your profile to see if he or she fills the types of positions that they have openings in and if they could be of assistance to them. 6) It could be someone looking for help with media & publicity interviewing or whatever your expertise & forte may be. Most could care less who this elusive LinkedIn masked crusader could be within our very own professional network but we are more interested in why they choose to keep their status as “Anonymous”. Who else this “Anonymous” LinkedIn Member could be?
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Questions

Is the growing trend of offshore manufacturing good or bad for Australian SMEs?

A survey of SME Association of Australia members shows 17% cite offshore manufacturing as a key... read more

Asked by:
Ilga Horvat Operations Manager at Hornet Import and Export Group Pty Ltd
Steve BryantIndustry leadership at QMI Solutions
Hi Ilga. My company specialises in helping manufacturers adopt new technologies and practices to be more competitive. We've seen successes and failures in off-shoring manufacturing. The successful manufacturers are those that are familiar with the market as they know the intrinsic value of proximity to market and/or of the value of innovation in the supply chain. Manufacturing in low-cost locations just because it is cheap is fraught with danger and risk. Manufacturing in locations that are close to market or offering an innovative supply chain is less so. According to a new BCG report, there has even been a drift away from China as a global manufacturing heavyweight now towards Mexico, which offers low-cost and proximity to the US market. Unfortunately, Australia is the least cost competitive manufacturer across the 25 top manufacturers, but the area for opportunity is consumer electronics and precision medical manufacture.
Brian MallyonOwner at Luckypole Limited
Hi Ilga, For all the people that say off shore manufacturing is bad and that it would be better to bring it back, you never actually hear of anyone who would be prepared to ditch their current job and salary for a chance of working on a factory production line. Manufacturing is not where the money is made. Take any product and look at each component of getting it from the factory to the end consumer. Factory makes a small amount and the much larger slice of the pie goes to the logistics company, the company that advertises the product, the brand owner and the retailer. All theses are effectively service industries and that's where the higher incomes are. It's only in relatively recent history that small Australian businesses have started venturing overseas themselves to buy their products. Previously they just bought from local wholesalers who offered limited stock in limited colours at sometimes considerably marked up prices. If you are a small business with limited capacity for a three+ month turnaround of products and quantities are only small, it may still be better for you to buy locally. But I think any business needs to be constantly looking at their model for supply of products, and looking at the options available, even to just see what are the best options for the business on an individual basis. It's also not that long ago that buying offshore meant buying large quantities. That is not always the case now and there is more scope to buy in smaller lots, but whether you have the expertise and ability,and whether it will be worthwhile will still depend on individual circumstances.            
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How much do you earn off Ozbargain in a year on average?

Minus expenses and what not read more

Asked by:
Andrew HighamOwner at Red Leaf Tea
Early on we used OzBargain (and similar sites) as it was a quick, free way to attract a lot of people to our brand but in the end we abandoned the site altogether.The problem, at least for us, was the users weren't converting to loyal customers and were primarily focused on getting the cheapest price which isn't a long term strategy for our business.Despite providing a lot of traffic the conversion rate was very poor and it was very difficult to get any momentum out of a promotion as our business isn't the normal Ozbargain offering (technology or mass market)
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How will you adapt to market networks?

Asked by:
This is a good article outlining the changes in the marketplace - http://techcrunch.com/2015/06/27/from-social-to-ma...
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What technology do you find most exciting in relation to your business industry?

What technology excites you the most about your business industry? Why? I'm interested in hearing... read more

Asked by:
Jef Lippiatt Co-founder at Startup Chucktown
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Is it compulsory for a small business to have an ABN or a business name to trade under?

Does a small business have to have a company name or trade under BN? If a business name offers... read more

Asked by:
Debbie Majella Nolan Founder at The Door of Youth
Hi Debbie, Jacqui has done a great job answering your question regarding trading names, ABN's and trademarks, so I won't be repetitive.  If the whole process seems a bit daunting and confusing, you can always contact a corporate service provider such as Shelcom to help you with the process. We file the necessary paperwork and obtain your ABN and Business Name on your behalf so that you don't have to deal with the government. We also refer our clients to Jacqui for TM checks and TM registration.  Also, in relation to your business structure question, it is always best to speak to an accountant or lawyer. Only they can give you advice on such matters. However, if you need some initial guidance, check out this 60 second Business Structure Tool. Simply answer a few questions and an appropriate structure suggestion will be made.  You may also find this video helpful: How to start a business in Australia 
Jacqui PryorDirector at Mark My Words Trademark Services Pty Ltd
Hi Debbie I hope this helps: Does a small business have to have a company name or trade under BN? If a small business is going to trade by any name other than their own personal name they must, at the very least register a business name. (This is done via asic.gov.au these days). A business name is not a legal entity though - so if operating as a sole trader with a business name, the person remains the legal entity. A company however, is actually its own entity (also registered via ASIC). If a business name offers different services it is OK to have 1 name? Yes, so long as the business name is properly registered to the person/company carrying on the business. Is there a service where people can go to get assistance in setting up a new venture.? As friend has just done BN, flyer etc then has gone to do TM to find out already being used :( Different places can assist with different parts of a new venture. I would suggest an accountant is best to advise on the right structure (i.e. sole trader with just a business name or registering a company etc). Then, there are companies, like mine, that can assist with trademark matters. I always encourage a trademark search to be done first, for exactly the reason you have described. We offer a free basic check via our website or you can do this yourself. A registered business or company name unfortunately doesn't provide any real right to a name, a trademark will essentially 'trump' other registrations most of the time. I hope this helps 
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Questions

What are the pros and cons of capitalising software development costs?

What are the pros and cons of capitalizing software development costs and amortizing vs expensing... read more

Asked by:
Brent Hall CEO at HelloMedical
Phil JoelDirector at SavvySME
Hi Brent, I can't comment on the Tax benefits but this is a strategy that some companies used to boost their reported P/L. For instance, if a company was making $100K in Revenue and had $50K in software development cost and assuming there's no other cost, then in theory the company would have $50K of profit. But if the company decides to capitalise the software development say over 5 years and take the depreciation then the expense line for the software development becomes something like $10k (I'm over simplifying to illustrate the point). So the company's profit is now $90K. If that same company was publicly listed then all the sudden, the earnings look a lot better and therefore can potentially get the P/E re-rated and hence a higher share price. -PJ
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Questions

Are there advertising agencies in Australia who can help sell your website advertising space?

Hi everyone, I was wondering if you guys know any agencies that will help you sell website... read more

Asked by:
Wendy Huang Full Time Blogger and YouTuber at A Custom Blog in 4 Minutes
Leah GibbsOwner at Work At Home Mums
I have two solutions for you. For a more professional approach sign up to the newly launched AdSlot Marketplace, I use this for http://www.workathomemums.com.au - AdSlot take a percentage of sales For a niche blogger you may like to try Passionfruit Marketplace, I am using this for http://www.lifestylecareers.com.au Passionfruit you can pay by the month and there is a small processing fee Hope this helps    
James NorquayOwner at Prosperity Media
Well I use to work in big ad agencies. The thing is you are probably better trying to sell your ad space direct to the company. I know some larger Australia niche sites do that with the ad agencies I have worked at in the past. Only thing is you will need a sales team to do this. Or you can use a network like Adconion for example...
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Questions

What were your experiences with Australian VOIP providers?

I am looking for information on using  VOIP in my business read more

Asked by:
Michael Prior Principal at PB Advisory Group
Hi Michael We have used Iinet as our Broadband and VOIP provider and run with 'naked cable' broadband so we don't have to pay for a phone line. Iinet's service is brilliant. If you do happen to experience problems, which is inevitable and call them from your mobile, they have a great call back feature, which you can enable if they are busy. Their call backs are not just limited to landlines they will call back on mobile too. Over the last 4 years we have had very few issues, and those we have had, have been rectified promptly. I would definitely recommend them.
Peter JonesFounder at LinkSmart
Hi, I use WorldDialPoint as a voip provider and zoiper as calling software. Works well for me. Regards Peter  
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Questions

Is it bad SEO practice to include currency symbols in URLs?

Hey all, Is it bad SEO practice to include currency symbols in URLs? For... read more

Asked by:
James NorquayOwner at Prosperity Media
I wouldn't use $ symbols in URL structure as Micha mentioned this can break the URL and cause issues. Look at how most of the big Coupon players such as Retail Me Not set up their sits they have a category level page for "PizzaHut" and they list all the deals on the one page they do not set up seprate pages usually and if they do they dont use $ symbols they use dollars as micha mentioned. 
Micha WottonHead of Development at SavvySME
The short answer is YES it is bad practice to use the $ symbol in URLs - . As an alternative, you can encode it as %24 but the best option (for SEO as well) is to use the word 'dollar' or 'dollars' - for example: www.pizzahut.com/vouchers/50-dollar-gift-voucher. For the long answer, read on. The dollar symbol is a reserved symbol within URLs - it should not be used as part of a URL except for it's specific technical purpose (as a sub-delimiter). Any attempt to use a reserved symbol in a URL will either break the URL or result in the reserved character being encoded, in this case the $ symbol would be encoded as %24 making your example www.pizzahut.com/vouchers/%2450-gift-voucher While there are parts of a URL that may contain the $ symbol without breaking the URL, it's safest to avoid them except for their reserved use. For more information on reserved characters, you can read the URL specification here: http://tools.ietf.org/html/rfc3986#section-2.2  
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Questions

How much do bloggers charge for a sponsored post?

I have a client that works in the services industry and am thinking of getting some sponsored blog... read more

Asked by:
Nick Chernih Founder at LinkBuildSEO
Albert KellyInformation Technology at Corporate Gifts Shop
Also you can go the cheapo (bad quality) way and get $5 guest posting spots on fivver.com
Quality is always the issue. On fiver (a website where you pay $5 for everything) there is a mountain of people who will write a 500 word blog post for just $5 - but the quality of the writing is often very poor and needs to be re-worked. I have paid up to $100 for an outstanding article and up to $50 for a one panel cartoon - but these are the exception. As I am promoting my own blog I rarely charge for my articles unless they are articles you have aptly described as 'sponsored'. Greg Ferrett
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Questions

Who do you use as SEO?

Hey Savvy' users, I would like to know who you guys currently use for your SEO? How much you are... read more

James NorquayOwner at Prosperity Media
When you are picking a new SEO company, I would start with asking some of the following questions, I would mainly do this over the phone or you can meet them in person (probably advise meeting people in person) to get a better feel for the business and too see who will actually be working on your account (that is a bonus question already ask who is the main contact and their experience)  Question 1. Ask them for current client case studies and results (related to ecommerce is a good start) Question 2. Ask for testimonials via these clients. Question 3. Check their current strategies they say they will use for link building are against current Google Guidelines here: http://support.google.com/webmasters/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=66356 (ask they what strategies they will use) Question 4. Ask them some technical questions which you have pre written example (do this over the phone/ meeting face to face too so they have to answer the questions quickly) example of some possible questions you can ask: - What are your thoughts on schema market up?- What are your thoughts on hreflang?- What does QDF mean?- What are your 5 top on page strategies?- What are your 5 top off page strategies? See how quick they answer ;) Question 5. If you are still concerned ask a friend who is in the IT or Digital Marketing space to interview the potential business further before taking them on. Question 6.: Ask if they provide a monthly link building report with all links, if they do not provide you with a link report they are dodgy. I hope this helps with the search. 
Jayson RoddaHead of Digital Marketing at Find Your Ideal Customers
I have chosen to do my own SEO.  I use a Search Marketing consultant that has created a 12 month strategy, this was relatively expensive to create but, I use two staff with different skill sets to execute on this plan.  I feel that this is the best way for my business.   Strategy is the key for SEO, without it you are simply spinning your wheels.  Find the best person you can to develop your plan.  This should become a blue print that you can choose to action yourself, internally or outsource.  Why pay a consultant $100 per hour, to update title descriptions, write articles or run ranking reports. Most SEO companies would be charging out between $100-$200 per hour as a minimum. Having worked in the Industry for several years, I know first hand what the SEO companies do for their own websites vs what they do for clients.  This method costs me far more, but I am able to control quality, see output and have confidence that the money I pay is for work being completed. It probably helps that, I have industry experience, but with a great consultant advising you, there will be no more smoke and mirrors..  
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Questions

Which sources provide you with data on SMEs to help you plan your business?

Which sources provide you with the data on SME's to help you plan your business and do you think... read more

Asked by:
Neil Steggall Partner at Wardour Capital Partners
Hi Neil,  Great question!   I guess it depends on what you are planning to use the information for.  Are you wanting it to market to them, or know ABS stats?  I think there is more than enough data about, my view is despite how much data is there - what is everyone doing with it?  Are they interpreting and using it effectively to grow their business? Warmly, Lisa O
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Questions

What is the process for any startup to raise funds?

Asked by:
Marvin mintoniPhone App Developer at TheAppsmith
I am newbie here and very impressed to read this questions and the answer given by Jef is very informative for me. I like the points he mentioned in here and yes i definitely use this strategy for my business also. I hope it will help me in raising my funds too. game developers in india
Jef LippiattCo-founder at Startup Chucktown
Ananda,Thanks for the question. It really depends on what type of funds and how much you are trying to raise.If you are trying to raise a small amount of capital (less than $50,000):Friends and family - Hopefully, they would see the potential in your idea or in you and want to help fund you.Credit Cards - This is a dangerous idea and should be avoided if at all possible.Crowdfunding - If you have an interesting idea, you can share your vision and see how other people react (this is a great way to see if you have a market for your idea)If you are looking for $50,000 to $100,000 you have a few options:Friends and family (see above)Crowdfunding (see above)Bank loans - These usually require a lot of detail to understand your cash flow, current equity, business plan, projections, etc.. The aren't usually easiest funding to get.Angel Investors - These investors typically aren't looking to make huge investments (typically between $10,000 to $100,000 (it can be more, but unless several are working together don't expect a windfall). The great thing about angel investors is that most times they aren't looking for an equity stake as big as a Venture Capitalist. They may want to be more involved in the day to day business or be a mentor or advisor for the business.If you are looking for $250,000 to $500,000. This is typically a seed round of fundraising:Bank loans - Are still an option (but for this kind of an amount they are typically looking for an established business). (See Above)Crowdfunding - This level of success on crowfunding platforms is possible, but isn't reliable. (See Above)Angel Investors - Typically this amount would require several Angels or a group of them (See Above).Venture Capitalists - This is typically a small amount for an established Venture Capitalist firm, however, if they really like the idea or your team, it isn't out of the question. If you can land a Venture Capitalist at this level they may invest more money in later rounds of fundraising (Series A or B). Keep in mind Venture Capitalists are going to want a much larger piece of your equity pie (typically between 25% and 50% depending on the amount of money they infuse).If you are looking for over $1 million dollars you should focus on:Angel Investors - They would probably only fund a portion of what you need (See Above).Venture Capitalists - Again this usually happens once a venture has already done some fundraising, but it isn't out of the question if you really catch the right person's attention or interest. (See Above)Crowdfunding - It is possible to raise over $1 million with crowdfunding, but it is a gamble when trying to raise that amount of funding.Keep in mind the more money you are trying to raise the more effort you will need to apply. Getting large infusions of money will mean you need to explain how the money will be spent and how that will grow the business. Don't get frustrated, at each of these levels people can and will say "no" to you. That doesn't mean they don't want to help or aren't interested, sometimes the timing isn't right. Stay focused and keep looking at ways to fund your business. If you are passionate about your venture, you will eventually find some funding. One last note, don't try raising more money than you currently need. If you only need $50,000 to grow your business to the next level, don't waste time trying to raise $1 million dollars.
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Questions

Do you see the need for a writing coach?

I'm wondering if business professionals would be interested in getting coaching for writing a book.... read more

Asked by:
Jef LippiattCo-founder at Startup Chucktown
Jennifer,I think that is an interesting proposition. I know that having a writing coach is beneficial to a professional at any career level (but especially to higher level business executives). I'm less sure of how many professionals are interested in writing and selling a book. Is that a fairly big target market / demographic?I think the idea you have is sound. I'm not sure about the pricing because that may depend more on your target audience and location. It doesn't sound like a terribly high price, but I would test that with potential clients (to help ensure you finding the pricing sweet spot).I also believe that you may need to educate (via a website or video) the benefits that writing a book could have on their career. I think proper positioning of this will go a long way in growing the client base. There may be interested professionals that aren't really sure if their topic or approach would be embraced. Perhaps they don't know where to begin the process.I would do some research with your intended customer base to validate the pricing. The rest of the idea sounds solid to me.
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Questions

Which social media channel does your business get the most engagement on?

Asked by:
Karen Dauncey Owner at Blue Cherry Online Marketing
Jef LippiattCo-founder at Startup Chucktown
We really enjoy Twitter and find it to be very engaging. The key is to put in effort to make tweets a dialogue. Ask questions. Respond to others you follow or that just post interesting and related content. There is nothing wrong with streamlining your posting process, but don't work toward total automation. It's about thoughtful conversation.LinkedIn groups are also very useful in the same way. You can learn a lot by lurking and just reading the content, but you'll get much more out of participating.The last network I'll mention is focused more at Entrepreneurs and Startups (however, you can just join as an individual). It's called Teamstory (currently only on iPhone but they are looking to expand). If you are looking for feedback from other entrepreneurs or just looking to connect with others going through the same struggles, it's a great place to checkout.Lastly, I'm going to double down on saying approach social networks as two-way conversation (not a rant, monologue or diatribe). It is called Social media for a reason, so be social.
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Questions

How many Brisbane based businesses are there on SavvySME?

How many Brisbane based businesses there are on Savvy SME? Please say hello if you're... read more

Asked by:
John Belchamber Owner & Senior Consultant at Invoke Results
Neil StoreyOwner at Books Are Gone
New member to SavvySme here, and based in Brisbane North. Books are Gone is a faith based business that provides a professional  bookkeeping service to small business in the Pine Rivers district and beyond.  As a professional bookkeeping practice our goal is to enable you to spend more time growing your business and cash flow by removing the burdens associated with bookkeeping. I would always take figures produced by the ABS as a starting point and then do your own research.  I know from previous experience that the figures given to the ABS are not reliable, making their summary of them also unreliable.  But as John has indicated it is a good resource if you use it appropraitely. Love to gettogether with other SAVVYsme's in Brisbane  
This may be a bit off topic but The Australian Bureau of Statistics used to publish (in 2006) a breakdown of SME's by postcode. In my line of business as a Jim's Bookkeeping Franchisor it is important to be able to provide as accurate a picture of business concentrations by location as possible and the following is the most current information I could get. You may have to copy into an Excel worksheet and do a Filter on location but having access to this sort of data is very handy. http://www.abs.gov.au/AUSSTATS/abs@.nsf/DetailsPage/8165.0Jun%202008%20to%20Jun%202012?OpenDocument
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Questions

How important is a business logo for a sole trader?

Asked by:
Steve OsborneOwner at Smarthinking
Julie At risk of upsetting the apple-cart, I suggest the importance of a logo is low on the requirements for a sole trader, particularly in your line of business. Of far greater importance is your business name. It's the first thing people/prospects are aware of; the first part of your "brand" to get recognition; the first thing you say on introduction. And for many people you meet/talk to, it will be the only thing they take away. Because you don't get to hand over a card on the phone, or sometimes even at a meeting. So it's true: you are literally the face of your business – in thought, word and deed. Everything you think/feel, say and do affects how you are perceived in the minds of your prospects. These things are more important than the minor detail of your logo. Secondly, your business name will always be used in context. Prospects will know who/what is being referred to.  This opinion is backed with over 20 years in design & creative services. In every one of those years, I've never met a single person who made a sale based on the look of their logo. The vast majority of your clients/prospects simply don't care. Having had a quick look at your website, I wouldn't sweat it too much. There are certainly several aesthetic improvements that could be made, not least of which is a logotype for your business. But don't misconstrue "logotype" as a complex, abstract or overwrought symbol accompanied by a stylised typeface. Which is often the result from a cheap design site. It's simply a wordmark; an intelligent selection of a suitable font for your business name and its subsequent consistent use across your communication. Your local graphic design firm could probably handle it quickly and efficiently without you needing to crowdsource.
I can see a debate here on logo vs face and I suspect there are reasons behind both. My wife is a designer in the craft world and is not one to use her own name or face despite my insistence she needs to build a brand. In the end we compromised and we now promote her brand and she blogs under a pseudonym which is a part of her brand. 'Gathering Stitchers' is the brand and 'Stitch' is her BLOG name creating a unified theme. It seems to work reasonably well as she needs to build an online presence and feels uncomfortable using her own face and name. This is not unlike the 'brand' Dorothy Dix - which was the pseudonym of U.S. journalist Elizabeth Meriwether Gilmer. This allowed her to lead a private life and build a serious brand. BTW - in regards to creating a logo, get a professional to help. Before you put any logo design features you need to know what message you want to convey, the implications cross culture of the design, colour mix and message etc. Greg Ferrett
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