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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

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

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 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

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:
Lisa OrmenyessyOwner at Straight Talk Group
Hi Preet,I agree with both of the contributors above. If you are looking for something to niche into try visiting magazine.com and similar sites. If people are still paying their hard earned cash for their hobbies in the form of a magazine, just to read about it - hobbies like gun smithing, cars or camping - you can bet there is a niche online you can sell into.Good Luck!
Matt AntoninoOwner at Pay On Performance
You can sell whatever you want online really - but the question is what are you passionate about? What do you care more about than anything because ultimately in 6 months or a year or two years you are going to *hate* the business if you aren't super passionate about the topic. Let's say you open your business. What are you going to be doing in your spare time? What things distract you from work? Make *those* things your business and you'll be happiest. :)
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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

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

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

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

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

How do you know when it's time to let an idea die, rather than pursuing it?

Have you ever had a business idea that you kept coming back to, but seemed like it was never going... read more

Asked by:
Lisa OrmenyessyOwner at Straight Talk Group
Hi Suzie, This happens not just with business ideas but lots of other things in life too. Are you talking about something you are deciding to 'let go of' because it is not working? Or an idea you just can't seem to shake?Warmly, Lisa
Justin Dry at Vinomofo
That is a great question but an incredibly hard one to answer because it depends on so many different factors. However I do believe there is a time for ideas. Think about it like you’re a surfer catching a wave… You go out too early and it doesn’t matter how much you paddle, you have to wait for the wave to catch up. I’ve had a few of these... Get in just as the wave hits and it’s much easier to catch. First mover advantage in a market is awesome. You obviously still need to deliver a great product, make good decisions and have a little bit of luck along the way but there are far less obstacles. This was Vinomofo. Catch the wave late and it’s steep and harder to pull off. Think more competition, noise and expense. Miss the wave and no matter how hard you paddle, it’s gone. Think saturated market. A good time to start looking at how you can disrupt the space :) The above is easy to say in hindsight but if you keep an eye on markets and spaces around the world, you can start to spot trends and may just be able to pick the next wave. Hope that helps!
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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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Is eBay shipping emails via MailChimp a normal practice?

Hi, I have a large eBay store and wish to send shipping emails via Mailchimp to help with info and... read more

Asked by:
Peter Jones Founder at LinkSmart
Tim DaviesOwner at ZELLIS
Hi Peter. There's nothing to stop you communicating with eBay buyers via MailChimp, providing it is directly related to the transaction itself. However the eBay User Agreement and Spam Act 2003 both prohibit you adding other eBay members' contact details to your off-eBay database for marketing purposes unless they opt-in (after you have invited them once and once only). Even if you use MailChimp to communicate with your eBay buyers, make sure you use eBay Messages for any dialogue relating to the transaction which eBay can then use to assist you in the event a transaction turns sour. When it comes to Seller Protection, eBay will not acknowledge or rely on communications which they cannot verify within their system.Hope that helps.Tim
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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

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

What’s the difference between a life coach and a business coach? When should a sole trader pick one over the other?

Asked by:
Phil Khor Founder at SavvySME
David SolomonOwner at Quiddity
While coaches may come from various backgrounds, there are basically 3 types: 1) A business coach 2) A corporate / executive coach 3) A life coach. So what is the difference? A business coach collaborates with the managers and / or owners of smaller companies to ensure people work on their business, rather than just in it. In contract, executive and life coaches work to develop individuals rather than businesses. Coaches may work one-on-one or with groups. A life coach works in a more holistic fashion to help develop people’s personal and interpersonal skills and set in place strategies to achieve both career and life goals. In many ways the work of both executive coaches and life coaches can overlap. The difference between life and corporate coaching is blurred given you deal with work / life balance when you are coaching. In my experience - or maybe it’s just the way I approach my coaching (which is quite holistic) – a coach can play multiple roles. For example, at various times I have been a sounding board, motivator, mentor, business consultant, teacher, task master, spiritual guide and friend to each of my clients. But here is the really big problem - the coaching industry is virtually unregulated. There are still no special qualifications that are widely recognised. There are no minimum criteria and there is not even a common terminology. People call themselves advisers, coaches and facilitators. It’s very easy to get into, there are no barriers to entry and anybody can call themselves one. Choosing the right coach is a whole other subject. 
Damir ButkovicDirector at Damir Butkovic
As Don said, business coach is there to give you a hand with your business primarily, life coach with your life in general. In many ways that get very much mixed up especially with small business owners. Also many business coach will be trained as life coaches so they can do both jobs while may life coaches are just life coaches. Business coaching is usually more expensive than life coaching so again decosion will have to be made by sole trader.
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Questions

How do you split out your time daily?

Do you have a repeatable daily schedule or do you approach every day as something new? Do you spend... read more

Asked by:
Jef Lippiatt Co-founder at Startup Chucktown
Yee TrinhMarketing Manager at SavvySME
I like to have a routine day to day, but it's hard getting into a routine. I don't sleep much. ~5hours/day. I should sleep more but I like to get up early, get some exercise in, sort out the important emails and prioritise calendar tasks for the day. Ideally, I'll do the tasks that require significant thought early on in the day and do less cerebral work later on as I lose energy, but that doesn't always happen.
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Questions

Does anyone know a good expert or advisor in the CRM / Workflow / Practice Management application space?

One of the things I struggle with as a business coach, supporting my clients is how to advise them... read more

Gill WalkerOwner at Opsis
Roland I agree wholeheartedly with Mike Hall's comments about fine wine. There are about 400 different CRM products on the market, which range from simple contact management products such as Act!!! to large enterprise solutions that are highly specialised for one or a few industries and cost several tens of thousands of dollars per person for the licence alone.  Just like with wine, all have their place and their advocates.  Many of them also have people who would not go near them again. However, before asking about specific technologies, if a business wants their project to be successful, they need to invest time in understanding their requirements and being realistic about their budget.  When we look at those projects which fail it is rarely because the incorrect technology was selected, but for much more human reasons, often relating to the scoping of the project. I am a Microsoft Dynamics CRM expert, and I would be happy to talk to any of your clients.  Microsoft is both cloud and on-premise, and is highly configurable.  There are also many overlays and add-ons which add specific functionality.  Given that it works from inside Outlook and leverages other areas of Microsoft Office, it is usually easier for the users to adopt.  From a price perspective it is exceptionally good value for money, not cheap, but immensely good value for functionality delivered.  However, also like wine it needs to be implemented (or served) correctly.  Imagine a cheap wine served in good glasses compared to a really good wine served in paper cups.  The implementation will make or break the project.
Mike HallOwner at Jasmine Hall
Hi Roland, I've been trialing quite a few of these cloud-based applications for my wholesale business for much of this year - accounting, CRM, inventory management, sales pipeline, project management and more - and here's a quick summary of my observations. The market for advisers in this space is wide open! There are some great applications out there for businesses of all sizes, but it's a bit like buying anything else - a breakfast cereal or a good wine. You need to do your research and try them out. And often you'll find something that you quite like but it has some niggling flaws: it does one thing well, but not the other thing you need. Or, more frustratingly - it won't talk to your other apps. That's because a lot of these apps (especially the cheaper ones) are generic, and lots of businesses have different ways of doing things. Also, small business owners & managers just don't have the time to devote to researching what is, or could be, a whole new IT solution for their business. To have a really good idea of how some of these apps work you really need to convert current data across and spend some time actually using them - and often that's just too time consuming and complicated in a small business. Some business owners I've talked to swear by some of the new solutions, and the more savvy have used integration tools to automate some processes across multiple apps. There's no doubt that buy-in from everyone - especially staff and/or contractors is critical too.
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Questions

How do you promote a restaurant which is located away from the main road?

Hi all, my name is Wilson and I have a restaurant, Sonley Stonegrill & Bar, at Blackburn.... read more

Asked by:
Wilson Lui Business Owner at Sonley Stonegrill & Bar
Lisa CreffieldOwner at 3things
Just thinking as a customer, three routes tend to get me to try out a new restaurant:1. Hearing about it word of mouth or in a review, and being able to check its menu online2. Driving or walking past and seeing a board with interesting specials or themed nights on it (eg buffet, free dessert, not live music though, that's a turn off).3. If there's a flyer or a menu put in my mailbox. This is probably one of the main ways I discover and try restaurants in my area
Hi Wilson,I've just had a quick look at your restaurant, and your reviews on trip advisor, urban spoon and Facebook.My suggestion for some of the 'not so nice' reviews that you have had that you respond. This way readers can see that the owner is proactive. It also enables you to engage in complaint marketing. A client of mine does this really well on Facebook - Cardones Seafood and Grill (Glenelg, South Aust) - go and check out how they have responded to negative reviews.Did I deduct that you have had a make over? Make this clear as it will separate the poor earlier reviews from the latest. raving reviews (Well Done btw!)Hopefully as a response to Greg's post you will have your Google Business Account - This is imperative - Google loves Google. While your social and review sites are important - the 5 Start review process on Google is critical and will also help your SEO ratings when people are searching for restaurants in your area.Yee is correct with the hand holding - go one step further and reward patrons when they post positive reviews or check in - ie like us on Facebook and receive..... Actively insert the 'have you checked in' into the scripting that your staff is using when they are seating your guests.If you are collecting your customers details (I hope you are) other things you can do to increase patronage is to call the day after they have been in and make an offer to come in on your slower days (ie a Monday or a Tuesday) and receive a complimentary glass or wine or similar. I see you have used Groupon so the cost of a wine should be less than what you are offering there.Collecting customers details is essential for restaurants - at the moment can you email a customer and invite them to come in for their birthday or wedding anniversary?If you wanted to do some direct marketing locally think of Groups of people.What about the local sporting clubs in your area (men, in general, are big meat eaters) - think about what offers you could give them - "man of the match" deal? Most local sporting clubs are always looking for ways to earn money - perhaps offer a % back to the club for their members creating a win-win (or - as discounting is a dangerous habit to get in to - what about a free beer for members with every mains) What night to they train - could you do a pre-training or after training package (with all the focus on high protien for sports people this might have some legs if executed properly)Do you have a local cinema you could work with?Wilson, how is your signage? Is it easy for me to find your restaurant or parking? An Adelaide furniture store used this to their advantage in their marketing. Their tag line was 'it's a pig of a location' and then went on to say how it allowed them to give you better prices because of their low overheads. Is there a way for you to attribute value to the location (ie easy parking) .... Oh! as a steak house could you say you do not beef up the prices because of high overheads - or its a cow of a location....:-) These ideas are just off the top of my head however you get the idea I am sure - anything to make yourself memorable. .Let us know how you get on Wilson,Warmly, Lisa.
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Questions

Do you see the need for a writing coach?

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

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

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

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 do I change my business name?

Hi need to change business name  from summerhill flair for hair to Absolut Organx dont know how... read more

Asked by:
Steve OsborneOwner at Smarthinking
Assuming you want to continue trading while you make the transition as quickly as possible, I suggest the following steps: 1. Register the new name at ASIC; register domain ​2. Prepare new identity – logo, stationery etc 3. Create interim website – something that will suffice while ongoing development takes place 4. Select change-over date 5. Send out message to customers advising of change 6. Change signage 7. Reopen the following day Hope this helps. On the other hand, if all you want to do is transfer the name and assets of one business to another, register the new name and talk to your accountant.  
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Questions

Can anyone recommend a warehousing software to handle e-commerce fulfillment?

Asked by:
Chris IoannidisOwner at Jedcart
Hello Bridgett it's not a simple answer. It would depend on the scale of the business that is requiring the software. If the business isn't big enough then the cost becomes prohibitive. There are various 3PL providers that can give you what you need with out the outlay. If you need further clarification you can contact me and we can discuss further.
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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

If a small business cannot afford an accountant , who else can help?

Asked by:
Phil Khor Founder at SavvySME
David SolomonOwner at Quiddity
I recommend you use a specialist where specialist skills are appropriate. This is certainly true for compliance type issues and structuring etc. There are a number of bookkeepers who are qualified accountants that can provide great service and a broader perspective for the routine things (I use one myself), but when it comes to things like tax planning you really need someone who knows their stuff. As someone said above, it will pay for itself.
I have to say Paul that I disagree with your comment above. We provide corporate secretarial services among other things, and we don't have monthly retainers. Also, most accountants outsource their work to us, so the client ends up paying for our services plus the accountants services on top. Not always, but often. So if an individual knows what business structure is right for them, and if they have received advice from someone qualified to give it, using a corporate service provider may be cheaper. It's also cheaper in the long run than going at it alone through ASIC. We know the questions to ask and we catch costly mistakes before they happen. And, as you said, if we become your registered agent, you are reminded of annual reviews in time and all forms are completed and are compliant. In terms of DIY and everything being done online, it's a bit of a catch 22. Yes you can do it online, but have you tried calling ASIC with a question in the last 6 months? They are impossible to get through to, so forget it if you have a complicated issue or a mistake has been made. So in summary, yes it is always recommended to speak to an accountant, lawyer or financial advisor, and once you've got your structure you can set up through a trusted and thorough third party provider and save yourself hassle, time and money. 
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Questions

Would you use video in your marketing?

Who would add video to their site if only they had a cheap and professional way of doing it? read more

Asked by:
Chris Fell Founder at g2m solutions
Chris FellFounder at g2m solutions
I agree Wendy. We have done a number of videos for clients and for ourselves and have quickly realised that a "good" video requires twice as much effort spent on the planning and the writing of the script than on the shoot itself. We always remind ourselves who are the buyers to whomnI am trying to speak? What are the problems/challenges that they are facing that I can help them fix? (Rather than banging on about how great we are!) Finally, we have started building video for different stages in the buying cycle. If someone is just starting their research they want something short and snappy and informative. if they are getting close to making their mind up, they want something more about features and what they can do with the product or service and some reassurance they are about to make a good decision.
Wendy HuangFull Time Blogger and YouTuber at A Custom Blog in 4 Minutes
I would :) But it's important to establish why you are using a video - if you have your goals clear it will be 10 times more successful because it will help you develop the content :)
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