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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

How much do you earn off Ozbargain in a year on average?

Minus expenses and what not read more

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Questions

Can you recommend some good online business educational videos?

Asked by:
Nick Cavarretta at Nick Cavarretta
I would start following what MOZ come out with and watching Whiteboard Friday videos. I will also +1 Udemy and Lynda.com also has a lot of videos worth watching. Another great educational source is Coursera.
Ben HobanOwner at Brown Paper eCommerce
Hey Rebecca,  I'm a massive fan of Neil Patel's online marketing videos, so much free value http://www.quicksprout.com/university/  if you are looking for online business advice. (advice for online-businesses) 
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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 long were you in business before the website you launched with needed a complete redesign?

Two years? One year? Six months? What changed about your business to make a redesign necessary? Was... read more

Asked by:
Rebecca Carroll-BellOwner at RCB Mediation Services
I am about to redesign my site for the third (? fourth maybe?) time in 15 months. It is not giving me the results I am after, I am DIYing, constantly learning and evolving, and while I was happy with my site 6 months ago, now I realise how much better it can be. Also, I will be launchign my first Google Adwords campaign later in the year so will optimise the site for that too.
Jef LippiattCo-founder at Startup Chucktown
Steve,I think you touched a variety of reasons that websites should be updated. My bias will come through on cost, because any updates we make to ours are made by myself or my co-founder (so it is really just time spent for us).The reasons we've changed our sites in the past do include, shifting our focus, tweaking our demographic and coming up with a better idea on how to present the content and information.I believe that the reason so many websites aren't up-to-date or accurate can happen do to cost. Small budgets make it hard to justify a website refresh if they have no assurance it'll drive more traffic and create more sales. Other ventures may not give enough thought to their website and the frequency at which it should be updated. This may happen because of a small team that is covering a lot of work that is more directly tied to sales or profit. It could also result from a mostly offline venture not understanding the value of their online presence.I think it is important that anytime you create a new product or service or even make noticeable modifications to your existing business, review your site to see if it still reflects the right message. Revisiting should be done for all key moments. Do you have your team posted (is it up to date)? What about product shots? Press Releases? When something major changes, revisit your current website.Look for clues that would show clients and/or customers you haven't updated your site in a while. Do you still have job openings posted from 6 months to a year ago? If they were filled remove them. If they weren't filled, revisit the job post, refresh it and repost with an updated date. Eliminate things that will make your clients and customers see your website as a virtual ghost town.
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Questions

Which websites accept guest blogs?

Hi, I'm looking to spread my wings into the wonderful world of guest blogging, not really after... read more

Asked by:
Kate Toon Owner at katetooncopywriter
Mathew HammondSEO Executive at Agency M
I don't have any specific websites but, I've had some success with blog outreach by using different variations of Google search parameters. Example:  Google Search: inurl:guest AND inurl:post + "Keyword" Google Search: inurl:guest AND inurl:blog + "Keyword" Hope that helps ;) Mathew
Sharon LatourQueen Bee/CMO at Marketing Bee
Hi Kate Happy to announce that we will be accepting new bloggers for 2013 including Savvy SME and many more SME owners. Our new site which you can view here - http://marketingbee.com.au/eweb2/  is going live in one week. I would be happy to have you as a guest blogger. Email me at [email protected] for further details. Looking forward to our collaboration! Queen Bee
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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

What are the tax implications for an employee starting a business part-time whilst still being employed full-time ?

Asked by:
Phil Khor Founder at SavvySME
Paul ZissonOwner at mobileCFO
Employees are paid a salary or wage by a company and subject to PAYG tax withheld at tax rates depending on the salary level. The annual payment summary showing gross wages and PAYG tax paid is included in the employee's individual tax return. Their is no GST/BAS implications here. If that same person started a business part-time then it all depends on the legal structure of that business - sole trader, partnership or company and the income levels. If a sole trader (contractor or small business owner), then your business income (net of business expenses) is added to your salary & wage income in your annual tax individual return to work out the final income tax you pay. If you are a partner in a business, then your share of partnership business income is added to your salary or wage in your annual individual income tax return. Both sole traders & partnerships are not legal entities in their own right so their is no legal separation of income, assets & liabilities of the business from yourself. If your part-time business decided to incorporate a private company then that business income & assets and liabilities are limited to that legal entity. You can pay yourself a salary or wage out of the business but then you are responsible for taking out the correct amount of PAYG tax and submitting to the ATO, paying super, pay company PAYG tax if at a certain level. Or you can take a drawing to reduce the capital you contribute into the business or you may decide to pay yourself a dividend if the company makes a profit. Salary/wages, PAYG (payment summary) and dividends from this company are then added to your other payment salary in your individual annual income tax return. There are obviously additional costs of setting up and maintaining a company vs a sole trader/partnership but it gives that business legal protection and it becomes a more cleaner cut, saleable vehicle should you wish to exit that business. If you carry on a business in any shape or form, you must register for GST if your business turnover (sales/fees) is at, or above the GST turnover threshold, of $75,000 or more. If your GST turnover is below $75,000 you can choose whether to register for GST or not but you must stay registered for at least 12 months if you choose to register. Yes, it means doing a BAS either annually or quarterly or monthly, depending on your turnover levels. You can claim the GST on all your outgoings/expenses but must collect and pay the GST on your business sales. Your employment salary has no bearing on this as it is not business  income. I hope that makes sense. Cheers Paul
Jeremy DuffGraphic Designer at JLD Design
Hi Phil, You must keep record of all revenue generated through your side business for when the financial year ends, and do some research on GST implications. If you plan to operate as a sole trader, you do not have to register for GST, or submit BAS statements unless you are earning over 80K from your side business, though these things are optional and you can do so if you desire. Cheers!
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Questions

How do I manage multiple social media accounts through Squarespace?

Does anyone hosting their site on squarespace know how to push website updates through to social... read more

John BelchamberOwner & Senior Consultant at Invoke Results
Buffer was my favourite for scheduling a stream of posts across multiple channels at times when my followers were online. It integrates with just about every browser/device/readers service. However, I found that when I got poast their basic paid plan's account level it was far more expensive to use than Hootsuite. Hootsuite keeps getting better. As Wendy says it's great for team work but it also has some other great features for listening to what people are saying and responding to them and excellent plugins for browsers that allow you to search what people are saying about a topic your looking at in your browser and/or the Google search you've just done. At AU$11 per-month for a paid account that allows up to 100 social media channels to be connected, it's good value too. Oh yes, it also works with Google+ which I'm starting to find is better than FB and Twitter for making good B2B connections.  
Wendy HuangFull Time Blogger and YouTuber at A Custom Blog in 4 Minutes
Hi Rosella, I also am not very familiar with Squarespace so I can't comment on that and you will find that you probably won't find a single service that will handle every single social account so you'll have to use a combination. As Micha mentioned Onlywire is a great service, and so is Hootsuite and buffer, and you'll need to test these out and ensure that when these services post your updates that they look the way that you want because some services that automate a feed may actually give you a different visual to posting straight via the social network. For example, the best way to get users attention on Facebook is to post a link underneath a fairly large and attention grabbing picture, that way the user is more likely to look at it and then see your link. If you copy and paste the link directly into the status update function as a link, you'll find that the update will contain a small picture with the link on the side. These two ways of posting look very different. Sometimes taking the extra time to manually post may increase the engagement and attention of your post. These are very important on image conscious sites such as Facebook and Pinterest.  Most of these services have great trial accounts or even offer free services up to a certain number of social accounts, so the best thing to do is take some of these suggestions and try them out for yourself before you settle on your favourite or combination that will fulfil your busniess needs. Currently I use a combination of Buffer, Hootsuite and OnlyWire just to give you an example. Buffer is my personal favourite ​Hootsuite has great team functions, allowing me to delegate responsibilities to others seamlessly Onlywire covers a few networks that the above two don't cover and are very important in our online marketing strategy. Hope this helps :)!!!
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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
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.
James NorquayOwner at Prosperity Media
Hi Ling Lee, To be honest if you want to buy Australian products or service I think you would need to look more Niche.  Examples -  http//www.buybuildingsupplies.com.au - This site offers an Alibaba style offering to people looking to buy building materials http://www.oneflare.com.au - A great site to hire Australian based services.  It is hard to find a huge protal tho. James
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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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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

Why are you a full time employee at another company despite owning a hugely popular web site like Ozbargain ?

What is your motivation behind this? Why are you not 100% on your highly successful initiative? read more

Asked by:
Scott YangFounder at OzBargain.com.au
I have actually been working on OzBargain full time for 4 years now so what are you talking about? :) I am an employee of a company that I'm also a director so I am paying myself salary + super rather than a director's fee.However I have also been running OzBargain in my spare time 4 years prior while being employed at a different company becauseOzBargain was started as a hobby site. Yes I am a builder and I built websites for fun.OzBargain hasn't proved itself to be generating enough revenue until much further down the track. I have some financial commitments so I couldn't just drop my full time employment to work on a hobby site.I have some attachment with my previous employment. It's complicated :) At one stage I was wondering whether I should just sell OzBargain so I can focus on my software architect role in an ASX200 financial software company, and there were tempting offers.There are many reasons a founder cannot put 100% on a startup, and these can be valid reasons.
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Questions

Who are the top law firms in Australia?

Asked by:
Wendy Huang Full Time Blogger and YouTuber at A Custom Blog in 4 Minutes
Phil KhorFounder at SavvySME
The top law firms in Australia are often referred to as the "Big Six". These firms are considered Australia’s most prestigious law firms. They handle some of the largest mergers and acquisitions globally, not just in Australia. Allens Arthur Robinson Allens Arthur Robinson has been providing legal services for clients in Australia for more than 180 years and in Asia for the past 30 years, offering one of the most comprehensive legal networks in the region. By the way, Allens Arthur Robin forged an alliance recently with Linklaters LLP, a London-based firm with 2200 lawyers. Ashurst Australia (formerly Blake Dawson) In March 2012, Ashurst and Blake Dawson combined forces to form one global team under the Ashurst brand. Ashurst Australia has 24 offices in 14 countries. With over 400 partners and 1,700 lawyers in total, they offer the international insight of a global network combined with local market knowledge. Clayton Utz Clayton Utz is one of the largest full-service commercial law firms in Australia. They have accounts with many of the top 100 companies in Australia as well as leading multinationals in the region. Herbert Smith Freehills Freehills has recently merged with UK headquartered Herbert Smith law firm. It is the world's 3rd largest law firm by number of lawyers and 13th largest by revenues in 2011-12. King & Wood Mallesons (formerly Mallesons Stephen Jaques) King & Wood and Mallesons Stephen Jaques have come together recently to create a new legal powerhouse in the whole of Asia. The firm operates across Australia and Asia with expertise in mergers and acquisitions, banking and finance, competition and anti-trust, dispute resolution and litigation, tax, construction and environment. Minter Ellison Minter Ellison is one of the oldest, and largest, full-service law firms in the Asia Pacific region with expertise in cross-border deals, major infrastructure projects, capital markets and IPO transactions, energy and resources, and telecommunications and technology. 
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Questions

Is Super payable if an employee receives a cash bonus?

I have been contacted by a company from the UK who are setting up business trade here in Australia... read more

Asked by:
Chris NobbsOwner at Dirigo Group
In short yes superannuation must be paid on a cash bonus as it would for other income formed the employee earns. Attached is a link to a good summary sheet regarding employee superannuation entitlements within Australia. http://www.australiansuper.com/~/media/Files/FactSheets/Your%20super%20obligations.ashx Hope this helps. Regards Chris Nobbs - www.dirigogroup.com.au  
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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

Why do Australian startups fail?

Some of the challenges are mentioned in this... read more

Asked by:
Brian MallyonOwner at Luckypole Limited
Two things strike me about the comments above. 1. They are probably more reasons why startups don't start in the first place rather than the reasons they fail. 2. They apportion blame to possible outside influences. Some of those things may be factors, but a well researched startup already knows about the support available, it knows the size of the potential market and it knows the cost of doing business. And if they haven't considered these factors, then perhaps more of the blame for failures rests with the startup for not doing adequate preparation to weigh up the potential of the business.          
I agree with Phil. I don't think it's so much that Aus startups fail - Australia just has a really poor way of assisting startups. 1. Risk averse investors:  Australians are too risk averse to put their money into 'unknowns' or 'no immediate revenue' models.  Returns are demanded from day one meaning that any business that needs VC at seed stage has to go overseas or bootstrap. 2. Government doesn't support: Commercialisation Australia brought some great startups through the early stages. Now that is gone there is a list of potential investors to approach. Compare to other countries especially Singapore where there is a real incubator mentality for start-ups including massive tax breaks and a good investing environment, Australia has squandered the opportunity to be a startup hub. 3. Cost of doing business:  It is just so damned expensive to do anything from registering a domain name through to asset purchases not to mention wages for the highly skilled workforce generally required especially for tech startups. 4. Further to Phils point about economies of scale - I have seen a lot of good ideas spawned that could be scaled up globally, but the heartbreak of funding and capital usually sees those ideas go by the way-side and eventually picked up somewhere in the world where investors are willing to take a chance. Until VC's and Angels become a little less averse, and the government looks at startups differently, we will continue to see domination of large corporations and strangulation of progress. IMHO.
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Questions

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 do I calculate how much my business is worth?

I'm kinda of curious as what to my business is worth, I'm not at a point yet where I want to hire... read more

Asked by:
Nick Chernih Founder at LinkBuildSEO
David SolomonOwner at Quiddity
Good answer Phil. The thing I'd add to that is that your business will be worth much more if you are not in it! By that I mean that if the business relies on you then the purchaser of the business really needs to buy you as well - or at least some of your time. You want to make yourself redundant through effective systems, training etc. You can still work in the business if you want to of course.
Phil KhorFounder at SavvySME
Hey Nick,  Great question. I think as business owners we often wonder about our business valuation but perhaps never get around to ask it. I'm neither a qualified business valuer nor have extensive experience in this field, but I can talk to some of my personal experience and give you some ideas. In fact, I just went through a similar process involving a family business. I used a combination of 3 methods below - initially as a back of the envelop exercise, then refine it iteratively:  1) income based - i.e. earnings such as EBITDA and cashflow calculations 2) asset based - asset values, liabilities, liquidation costs, etc. I'd argue that you should consider both tangible and intangible assets, such as IP, brand recognition i.e. assets that have net positive effect on the business long term 3) market based - basically what the market is prepare to pay, based on comparing of recent sales of similar companies. For instance, sifting through sites like realcommercial.com.au or domainbusiness.com.au gave me a ballpark idea. I reckon business valuation is a combination of science and art. The methods I used above is merely a guide, but you will find that there are lots of intricacies in applying these methods. What I found is that different assumptions will easily throw your calculations off a tangent. This is where a good professional business valuer can really help with bringing the art of applying these and other methods based on their experience. What I found critical too is a good business broker who knows the market inside out, and knows how to market your business accordingly. At the end of the day, you need to be confident that the right combination of techniques and experience are used reasonably to valuate your business when you're ready to sell. Hope this helps.
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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
Lisa OrmenyessyBusiness Coach and Marketing Specialist at Straight Talk Group
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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Questions

What did you do to stay motivated while waiting?

What did you do to stay motivated while waiting for Ozbargain to really catch on? When you saw... read more

Asked by:
Jef Lippiatt Co-founder at Startup Chucktown
Scott YangFounder at OzBargain.com.au
Hi Jef,First of all, the traffic actually does not fluctuate that much these days. You know the traffic is going for a dip on a weekend (somehow it's a norm checking out bargains during business hours :) Long weekends are bad, but made up by other events such as Valentine's Day or Boxing Day shopping.However early on (maybe the first 2 years of OzBargain) the traffic can be slow and frustrating at times. You analyse the fluctuation carefully so you can understand the pattern and whether these are the effect of internal or external changes. However at the same time you also don't want to be affected by it too much. "Looking at the big picture" they say. Don't worry about day to day changes but your month to month growth.As of motivation - I don't wait around for it to catch on. I just want to build something that rocks :) Somehow that product of mine became something that many Australians ended up using and enjoying.
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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

What are your thoughts on the McFlurry?

Is it the greatest bargain of all time? (wait, who are we kidding, of course it is). Have you tried... read more

Asked by:
Scott YangFounder at OzBargain.com.au
Greatest bargain of all time? If vote count is the only measurement, then from OzBargain community's point of view, YES it is the greatest bargain so far.Have I tried it? No. Not fond of Maccas & soft serves. Actually it wasn't even that great a deal from my personal opinion.But this is the beauty of a social voting site. Collective opinion when simplified down to a single vote, then yes McFlurry "hack" was considered the greatest bargain. However the vote count does not translate to individual opinions, nor does it describe why it is "great". I presume it's great not because it saves OzBargainers hundreds of dollars each year.Immortalised? I thought everything on Internet is immortalised :) Yes don't post things when you think they would disappear a few years down the track. No, they'll come back to haunt you for eternity.
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Questions

What is the best software for creating forms?

Adobe is getting rid of form central and we are going to have to switch to new software. Is anyone... read more

Asked by:
Lisa Ormenyessy Business Coach and Marketing Specialist at Straight Talk Group
Jef LippiattCo-founder at Startup Chucktown
I think it depends on the type of forms. Are you talking about online forms, print forms or both? I typically use Google Forms for online capture. I've also heard good things about Wufoo (although I've never used them myself).
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Questions

Does every small business need an accountant ?

Asked by:
Phil Khor Founder at SavvySME
Michael PriorPrincipal at PB Advisory Group
Any business regardless of size needs an accountant and not just a bookkeeper. A good Accountant doesn't just get off on tax as some would have it but rather they are your business partner to success. They provide a great sounding board, cash flow management, business transformation strategies, can negotiate on your behalf, provide suggested software and It solutions and they will provide a considered measured assistance when youv'e made a mistake because you didn't use one.
Neil SteggallPartner at Wardour Capital Partners
Wow, some good answers here. My view is very simple: get the best accountant you can afford and tell him or her up front that you expect them to be cost neutral. There are so many ways a good accountant can add value to your business and save money with the best leasing, borrowing, tax, government grants advice and more. Agree on an annual budget to be billed monthly rather than at year end so as to fit in with your cash flows. Use your accountant as an important team member but check their performance. If they are costing you money, question why?
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Questions

Can an eBay seller without an ABN register as a small business seller?

Asked by:
Anqi wang at Sugarbomb_melb
Ling LeeDirector at Japanese Sword Auctions Australia
Hey Anqi, Sure, that is possible, but its not recommended. There are no disadvantages in getting an ABN anyway - its free, and instant!  Hope that helps :D
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Questions

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... read more

Asked by:
Charlene Sampilo Customer Service at SavvySME
Jef LippiattCo-founder 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.
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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

Do you get direct contact from the stores thanking you or giving you more deals?

There is a new term coined "Ozbargained" -- meaning the offer was sold out by the sheer force of... read more

Asked by:
Steve Hui Founder & Chief Executive at iFLYflat - We make your points FLY
Steve HuiFounder & Chief Executive at iFLYflat - We make your points FLY
Thanks, I've buy stuff I found on Ozbargain all the time - though 80% of stuff because its a great bargain and not from a need, and I think that's the secret sauce - driving non-essential spend.
Scott YangFounder at OzBargain.com.au
Yes we do get contacted by ozbargained merchants all the time. Most are either agitated or angry because (1) our users crashed their servers, (2) our users bought up or claimed the freebies that were reserved for someone else. They sometimes use terms such as "law suit" or "legal threat" but never carry out.For the successful ones, they'll just create an account and try to figure out how OzBargain works themselves. They might post a deal or two later on, but strangely store-rep-posted deals rarely work on OzBargain (with some exceptions).Yes I'll gladly take a few thank you notes if OzBargain is bringing sales to these companies. However at the same time I'll remind them that OzBargain was created primarily for the shoppers, not a platform for the merchants.
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Questions

Is it necessary to have physical address or office for online business?

If online business can be run from home, then should we need to have a office for it?  is office is... read more

Asked by:
Wendy HuangFull Time Blogger and YouTuber at A Custom Blog in 4 Minutes
There are also some great places that offer you a virtual address anywhere in the world for a small monthly subscription fee. You can also apply for local landline phone numbers via skype for a monthly fee as well and receive the calls via skype.  Looking like a traditional business no longer requires you to be physically there, which is great. If you are looking for virtual offices here are a few place to start looking: http://www.servcorp.com.au/virtual-offices/address  http://virtualheadquarters.com.au/services/virtual-address  http://www.regus.com.au/products/virtual-offices/virtual-office-bundles.aspx http://virtualheadquarters.com.au/services/virtual-address   http://www.gecentre.com.au/virtual-address-sydney.html  http://www.mbe.com.au/web/page/virtual_office_services  There are many more, I would love to see if anyone here has used these.
Edwina GleesonFounder at Max Gabriel
I have an online business and the address I give for customers is a PO Box.  Didn't want to broadcast to the world my home address.
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Questions

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

How much do recruiters typically charge?

I am looking at hiring developers and was wondering how much recruiters would charge. Do their fees... read more

Asked by:
Micha Wotton Head of Development at SavvySME
During my career as an IT recruiter (and as the initial scope of my business subsequently - moved into internal hiring consulting now), some agencies are bound to charge nominal, non-negotiable fees for all recruitment activity. Averages sit in the 12-18% of annual salary (base  plus superannuation). If you are determined to go down the agency path, my advice would be to shop around. Fortunately, it's a market skewed to the client currently, so you could get yourself a great deal...but only with the smaller, boutique firms, as they will be more accommodating on negotiating fees. There are ways and means of doing that negotiation to make it even more mutually beneficial, but I could be here for days going through them! Suffice to say: shop around. John makes some great points, particularly on the impact of bad hires...but I will challenge one of them. The research I have done suggests that a bad hire's cost can be anywhere from 30% of the annual salary to over 5 times, depending on the role, customer interaction and propensity of business development. Regardless of the actual figure, though the point remains - it's a major risk.
John BelchamberOwner & Senior Consultant at Invoke Results
External recruitment fees (usually based on a percentage of salary) generally vary by industry, role type, salary level and how much 'up front' financial commitment and/or exclusivity you are prepared to give them. In this market, if you know how many people you are looking for and how much commitment you are prepared to offer, you should have far more leverage to negotiate on the fees and guarantee period given.  You can also consider outsourcing your recruitment function to an 'internal recruiter' who would act as if they were a member of your team. This is often far more cost effective as it can be based on a fixed fee or a per-hour basis and has the benefit of building your own candidate database rather than the recruiters. However, you might see a downside in that there is no replacement guarantee. I hope that this helps you and am happy to chat further offline if you like.  
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Questions

How is ChoiceCheapies going in the NZ market?

Hi Scott, thanks for answering my first question! I'm just wondering how Choice Cheapies is going... read more

Asked by:
Ling Lee Director at Japanese Sword Auctions Australia
Scott YangFounder at OzBargain.com.au
It's okay. Starting slowly -- pretty much like the early days of OzBargain which reminds me that we shall do it slow & steady, as we are aiming for a long haul. NZ is similar to Australia however the online space there is a few years behind. We got someone there at the moment and hopefully it can be turned into something that's useful for kiwi shoppers.
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Questions

What is your number one piece of advice for someone trying to build a start up in Oz?

Constant Ozbargain user, currently studying a Bachelor of IT majoring in Computer Science. read more

Asked by:
James Hanford at Kmart Australia
Scott YangFounder at OzBargain.com.au
You are studying Comp Sci so it's just a matter of getting out there to build something. Yes that's probably my number one advice especially for those who can build -- just do it & iterate. Do it for the love of the product and your users :)Seriously OzBargain wasn't started as a "startup" that you usually associated with fast growth, multiple round of fundings and then multi-million dollar exit when it's barely ramen-profitable. I love bargains and this site was started during my spare time to help other like-minded consumers, and I'm making it a full time work now as a "life style business" rather than aiming for big exit (which I believe would not benefit the users). Slow and steady is the name of the game. I was fortunately already financially secured from previous ventures so I can afford to do this the slow way. Your mileage might vary.Good luck.
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Questions

After you've conquered the world of wine, which industry do you see potential for disruption?

Asked by:
Yee Trinh Co-founder at SavvySME
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