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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

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 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

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 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

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

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 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

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 McIver 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

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

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

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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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

As a startup who has a new product to develop and sell, what is the best way to seek funding?

If a person or company has designed and created a new product (not tech) and needs to aquire... read more

Asked by:
Jef LippiattCo-founder at Startup Chucktown
Suzie,I would suggest looking into crowdfunding websites such as Kickstarter, Indiegogo or others. They can be great places not only to gain funding for your product, but also to validate that you have correctly positioned your product and that the market is reacting favorably to a product that isn't even available yet.You will need to think hard about a launch strategy as well as what type of rewards you're willing to setup at the different tier levels, but all of that can set you up for a successful campaign. Also clearly explaining or demoing the product in a video can really increase the audience understanding and value proposition of the product.I would also recommend that if you are interested in pursuing this avenue, that you browse the different platforms to find out which one is bet suited to your product, as well as research some successfully funded campaigns and see what you can learn from them to apply to your own.
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Questions

What business issue is keeping you up at night?

I'm certain that no matter how well your business is currently doing, there is probably something... read more

Asked by:
Jef Lippiatt Co-founder at Startup Chucktown
Be the first to answer
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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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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

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

Should SEO be categorised as part of IT or marketing?

Do you think SEO should be categorised as part of IT or marketing? SEO Experts, do you call... read more

Asked by:
Ling Lee Director at Japanese Sword Auctions Australia
Andrew EganOwner at Adept IT
I have a different view on what an IT strategy should contain. IT strategy is a high level, global/infrastructure based document. Our strategy reports usually look something like this:current status of:Physical or virtual servers - hardware, operating system software and productivity softwarephysical desktop environment - hardware, operating system software and productivity softwareBackup, BC and DR - what's in place, when it was tested, whether it works, how much the backed up data has grown bySecurity and Antivirus - stopped and detected threats, areas where protection is identified to be deficientBest practice - whether the infrastructure adheresCapacity - whether the infrastructure was able to copeBusiness - whether it grew, how much it grew by, if it was in line with our previous expectationsRegular incident (something is broken) request (you need something done) or training (your staff need to know how to do something) occurancesThen we add whether any of those things might be aging and need to be replaced or upgraded in the next 12 months, suggestions for capacity improvement or best practice improvements, or staff training opportunities. We then determine with business what they expect growth to be, where they identify failings in the IT infrastructure and ways we can provide better value to business.The strategy report doesn't say, for isntance "we propose a new server with X Y &Z componentry" - that's not strategic. It says "we propose replacing Server1 with a new, 'performance' server in Q3 to cope with growth" or "based on current data growth, we expect your backups to exceed available storage space by X, would recommend increasing backup space prior to Y, to prevent impact to your backups"To say that how a website is structured, including things like 301s and 404s, shouldn't form part of a high level IT strategy. It's part of a Website design strategy, sure. But IT is more than just your website. You should definitely have a strategy for your internet presence, but it's not your IT strategy. It could form part of your IT strategy, but only in terms of capacity and availability of the web presence, not the actual design.
Jef LippiattCo-founder at Startup Chucktown
I answered this question for @SavvySME (on twitter the other day). I'll repost my thought below in more detail.I believe that SEO has to be part of your IT Strategy. This may sound simplistic but you must structure your website or application in a manner that lets you take full advantage of SEO best practices. This means that you should be using friendly URL (e.g. yoursite.com/3-Ways-To-Beat-Competition vs yoursite.com/849201992992.html). You must also structure your content in a manner that groups logical information together (from the user's point of view). This means categories and chunking of data/content must be applied consistently. Also, planning for errors, ensure you have common error handling so users can recover and navigate to needed content (301 error from permanently moved content should either redirect the user to the new location or give them navigation and/or a search to recover). Similarly a 404 (or page not found) should be used to direct the user back to available content or a way to contact your business. This is all IT Strategy, and needs to have a solid plan in place. It must also be revisited to ensure that new content is still following the intended plan.Let me circle back, SEO is not only IT Strategy, but it is also Content Marketing. This means that the content you create should be aligned to the SEO IT Strategy so they can work together to create a united SEO plan. When creating content, make sure that you are using natural language and not just keyword stuffing to try to boost your ranking. The goal is to get eyes on the content (and keep them coming back, not constantly looking for new eyes). This means using language your users understand, not relying on jargon. Using catchy headlines for content does you no good if once the content is reached the users realize they were tricked into clicking on something completely unrelated. SEO should be natural and organic in your communication, so focus on good content. If you are planning all your content around SEO, take a step back and reevaluate if that will really produce the outcome you are seeking.Which brings me to my last point, how will you know if your SEO strategy from an IT and/or Marketing perspective is working? You must measure it. Your IT strategy needs to include analytics and metrics that are actionable so that marketing can tweak or double down on their efforts based on how the users are engaging with the content. Remember that IT and Marketing need to work together to make a winning SEO strategy. Ensure both grounds understand the needs of one another and revisit on a predetermined basis.
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Questions

Can anyone suggest the best products to sell online?

I am a big fan of your website and have great admiration for how you have successful converted your... read more

Asked by:
Dave HolmesOwner at Dictate Australia Pty Ltd
Yep great answers, passion and niche as already mentioned are key. You need to stand out from the competition and when you are niche you have less competition so easier to grow into that market. One more I would add is know your products and their market. Don't just sell camping equipment if you have never been camping for example.It really is very easy to sell anything online, but knowing your products inside out is essential to be able to build confidence with your customers and allow you to sell the right products rather than the most profitable products.A customer who spends $500 and gets something that perfectly matches their needs is much happier than a customer that spends $1000 which doesn't do everything they want. The $500 will come back and tell their friends.
Nicole McIver at Nicole McIver
My suggestion is selling something you are passionate about, you will do much better and your job will be easier and more enjoyable if your selling a product you are truly passionate about. Find your niche and stick to it.There is also LOTS of brands overseas thats are freaking awesome that arent in Australia yet, find something new, unique and super cool and import it and get distribution rights to it in AU.If you have any further questions email me :)
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Questions

Does either .com or .com.au domain have an advantage over the other?

If an online business has customers globally and the.COM domain name (first choice) is not... read more

Asked by:
Shane Gold Compliance Officer at First State Super
Geoffrey frank
Well .au is a country code for top level domain whose delegation is discussed in RFC 1591. Using ccTLC can boost SEO of your website by triggering it for that particular country. However there are still two views of experts about the use of ccTLD i.e. few find it useful for SEO while other not. The ccTLD is a simplest approach to signify Google that site belongs to which country. There are other parameters too that Google uses to identify the belonging country but those are quite complicated.
Peter JonesFounder at LinkSmart
Hi, I have a laymans point of view about domain names. On the whole there are maybe 4 ways a domainname will be found/used. 1. They type it from a business card etc 2. Find it on a Google search 3. Click thu from another site. 4. Someone guessing the domainname. In my  opinion none of the first 3 of the above will care what your domain name (com or com.au) is as long as it has something relevent to your business name. Only the forth one would you require the .au and most people will include it in Australia Regards Peter
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Questions

Has anyone had any success using a Virtual Assistant to assist with outbound telemarketing and updating database?

Hi I have had a couple of bad experiences with telemarketers and I was wondering whether a... read more

Asked by:
Gill Walker Owner at Opsis
Sandra WrightOwner at AdminWorthy
Appreciate your comments Tim. However there are a lot of VA's in Australia that represent busiensses very well, virtually, really no different to an employee, except you don't have the overheads that come with employing a part timer - i.e. superannuation, tax, leave entitlements and also you have to make sure you always have enough work for them to keep them employed. One of the big advantages of having a VA for your business is that you can use them for as little or as much as you want or can afford without the extra overheads. If you partner with the right Australian VA, they will represent your business very well, undertaking a lot of the tasks that a business onwer doesn't need to do.
Tim GreigOwner at Green Galah Pty Ltd
Unless you have a problem with desk space wouldn't be possible to employee a part timer who can really live and breathe your business? The best telemarketing is done by someone who works in the business. As a former business coach our best results by far came from coaches making calls. Yes, their time was probably best spent coaching but theynonew 'coaching' inside out and it came through on the phone. A VA though? Not sure about that...
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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

Where can I submit my press release for online public relations?

I'm looking for places to submit our SavvySME press release to, any suggestions? read more

Asked by:
Wendy Huang Full Time Blogger and YouTuber at A Custom Blog in 4 Minutes
Phil KhorFounder at SavvySME
Here's a list of press release submission services in Australia, which you may find useful as a starting point. Australia PRWire PRWire offers free distribution services to qualified users. They offer RSS functionality wherein users can have their own RSS feed based on subjects relevant to them. PRWire also offers SEO to their users to ensure high-ranking releases on search sites such as Google. NewsMaker This site optimizes your releases to improve search engine results, as well as distribution to social media and journalists. They also offer to increase the buzz your business’ brands in sites such as LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter. It is a free service which can be upgraded to paid accounts that offers more customization. Free Press Release As their name suggests, Free Press Release gives out press releases for free. All users have to do is sign up, create then submit their press release. Get2Press Get2Press is an online distribution channel for presentation of press releases to media. They have specialized media lists, which include contacts to more than 28,000 media in Australia, New Zealand, Singapore and 19 other countries in Asia-Pacific via Get2Press. Their media lists include e-mail addresses of key journalists as well as editorial offices of the media. MediaNet MediaNet is an AAP business that offers various types of services for businesses. Their Press Release Distribution offers the largest selection of e-mail and fax distribution lists available. Australia-Newswire Offers paid distribution through numerous mass media outlets that start from $99 - $999. Australia-Newswire also offers international distribution. The Media Game The Media Game is a website wherein journalists and producers can easily view new press releases and download all the files with just one click. A user can also include articles, audio and video files. Touchpoint Marketing Touchpoint Marketing consists of experienced and public relations professionals. They offer help on single press releases locally and nationally. The prices range from $800 - $1,200 locally to $1,500 - $2,200 nationally. Express Press Release Express Press Release’s network is one of Australia’s largest press release distribution networks online. They also have thousands of clients around the world. Users can avail of their free accounts that distribute press releases in a week. Press releases of aid accounts that range from $29 - $59 are distributed within 24 hours. Get The Word Out Get The Word Out delivers your press releases directly to journalists and newsrooms around Australia through the use of e-mail. Their network consists of 2,600 e-mail addresses as well as 67 specialist subject categories that users can comfortably choose from. In addition, you may want to try Source Bottle.  It's not a press release submission site per se, but you might be able to find PR opportunities by going through the listings. Hope this helps. 
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Questions

What automated platforms or tools can you recommend for social media activities?

A lot of the Social media activities are rather time consuming and as pointed out on several posts... read more

Asked by:
Henrik Larsen Director at IePlus Pty Ltd
I have heard that hootsuite are quite good, and we are also looking at a way to manage our social media accounts by pushing updates to our website and blog through to our accounts.
Hubspot is very expensive yes? Maybe the time saving component is not really true either, it doesnt run itself? I suggest you write blog posts, two per month is a nice balance. This is your 'base' to attract your market. (Your website is best placed on the same domain). You may automate an RSS (blog) newsletter to your email list (MailChimp has this feature), if you collect email addresses. I do this. HootSuite Pro does all you need for social media, e.g you dont need to visit Facebook to post on there, Pro is $10.79 per month. I dont use this automation as I use Google Analytics for analysis, and just hit the Social Share button to LinkedIn/G+ when I'm done with writing my post. But then I'm a little frog. Try using Google+ just a little in conjunction with Google Authorship. It improves your click-throughs if you are using long tail keywords in your blog headlines. Which of course you do.
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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

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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Questions

Are there better alternatives to oDesk?

Asked by:
David Mays
If you're looking to find skilled workers, then oDesk/Elance are not ideal as you probably know. Granted, there are some excellent contractors there, but you'll likely have to wade through quite a bit of less than ideal candidates to get to them. Take a look at Hubstaff - they have time tracking like oDesk but it's not an open job site for finding work. They only recommend contractors that they have retained in the past so you know you're getting quality
Alice Albert at Part Time Internet Marketer
I'm doing freelancing from last 3-4 years. For me, oDesk is ridiculous and insulting. The only freelance job boards worth considering are SEOClerks.com and If you need help getting started on these boards, let me know and I'll give you a hand.
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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

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

Is it important for small business owners to understand their financial statement ?

Asked by:
Phil Khor Founder at SavvySME
Neil SteggallPartner at Wardour Capital Partners
If the small business owner doesn't understand their financial statements I cannot see how they can succeed. Its a worse situation than the driver who gets into the car and sets off for Paris without a map as the driver at least knows where they are headed. For most SME's the accounting or financial management side of their business is a chore and one they would rather put off but its no more of a chore than keeping ones house clean and we all know what happens when we put that off. If too busy get a bookkeeper or a house cleaner but get it done. With the excellent accounting packages available so inexpensively and online help available 24/7 there is no need or excuse for sloppy book keeping.
Susanne BruenOwner at APR Bookkeeping
Having expertise, experience, professionalism and competent people on your team is a valuable and worthwhile investment in yourself and your company for sustainability and future growth. Having the correct financial procedures and cash flow management systems in place based on analytic reports and regular business health checks (all formatted in easy to understand terms) is just part of having a proven book keeping system . Keeping the books or recording business transactions, payroll procedure etc is not fun or exciting but is absolutely essential. Bookkeeping is something no company should ignore. As a matter of fact, it's an area that can't be ignored for too long without major financial repercussions. Having someone who actually knows what they are doing with the experience the knowledge and passion is a major key factor when investing in any successful and proven system.
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Questions

What has been your experiences with open source accounting software packages?

I was wondering if anyone on savvysme has experience with any of the following open sourced... read more

Rhys RobertsDirector at Viridity
I am not sure of the purpose of this question.  The range of Open Source Apps you list range from those suitable for micro businesses (Gnucash / Turbocash) all the way through to medium/large organisations (Adempiere). Similarly the paid for solutions range from SME (Quicken / MYOB / Xero)  through to enterprise solutions (Oracle / SAP).  If you are looking for a software application for your business you will make the selection process much easier by identifying the features you need for your business first, then identifying a (small) number of applications that might meet your requirements.  Then compare between those.  Whether they are locally installed or cloud, open source or not is generally of less importance than how well the features of the program you select meet your needs.  I have written a guide to assist with making this selection, it is available as a free download from my website, Cheers, Rhys
Apurv Bhalla CPAAccountant at Success Tax Professionals in Parramatta
I know one software www.eazybooks.com.au. Its good if you are startup and its free. 
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Questions

What is wrong with this sentence?

The following sentence does not look or sound right to me, but I can't pinpoint the problem and... read more

Asked by:
There are two things which might be niggling you. The first is the mismatch of singular and plural which Gill mentioned.  (As a side note in relation to Micha's comment, in the old days the masculine pronoun was inclusively to encompass female 'someones' as well, but modern sensibilities do not allow that, so the grammatical mismatch is now much more acceptable.  Even if grammatical sticklers like me don't like it.) The other possible cause of concern is a wonderful thing called zeugma.  Using the same verb in one sentence with two different meanings.  So, handling someone who is causing you stress actually means something different from handling yourself - how you interact with someone as opposed to how you control feelings. The classic example of this is in a song called 'Have some madeira, m'dear' by Swann and Flanders. '..he put out the the cat, the wine, his cigar and the lamps'.  Works well in comedy, less well for serious writing.  Steve, you picked it up subconsciously in your rewording.
Micha WottonHead of Development at SavvySME
While not strictly correct, using 'them' in the singular sense is acceptable (and in common use) since there is no other non-gender-specific third-person singular reference, and alternatives are more awkward. In this case the singular  'someone' is enough context to understand that 'them' is also singular. Other examples might be "If someone calls for me, tell them I'll call back" or "If you see someone struggling to carry a load, give them a hand".
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