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Questions

How much does TV advertising cost?

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

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

How will you adapt to market networks?

Asked by:
Lisa OrmenyessyOwner at Straight Talk Group
This is a good article outlining the changes in the marketplace - http://techcrunch.com/2015/06/27/from-social-to-ma...
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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

Is the cost to build an online store tax deductible?

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

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

What are 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'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

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

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 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 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

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

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

Can I use statistics from another website or source without breaking copyright laws?

Does copying statistics from a website or source constitute as plagiarism when making an... read more

Asked by:
Ling Lee Director at Japanese Sword Auctions Australia
I agree with Bridget here. As long as you reference your sources there should not be any issues. What you will be presenting in the infographics is the summary of your research or findings and giving reference to the sources of your research.  
Include a list of sources at the bottom and you should be OK. If someone posts data on a publicly visible website and you quote with reference to that website, how can it be plagiarism?
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Questions

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

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

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

How long did it take OzBargain to reach critical mass?

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

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

What accounting software package should a small business use?

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

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

Is it compulsory for a small business to have an ABN or a business name to trade under?

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

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

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

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

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

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

Is there such a thing as too much marketing?

How much marketing is too much marketing; or is there such a thing of too much marketing? read more

Asked by:
James NorquayOwner at Prosperity Media
It depends how scalable and what type of niche your product is in. If you are a specialised b2b company you are only going to have a specific number of customers, for example if its a niche product with 1000 customers. If you are a main stream market like a mobile phone or a supermarket you can spend 150 million a year on advertising in Australia, yet the b2b might only spend $10,000. So my answer is it depends on the company.
Steve OsborneOwner at Smarthinking
There is probably no such thing as too much marketing, but only if it's effective. Meaning, if marketing is poor/misjudged/fails to reach the audience, etc. – is ineffective – then yes, it's money wasted therefore too much of a bad thing. Measurement is everything. If you know what you want to achieve and have devised a strategy to reach the goal, each tactic can then be measured for effectiveness. An ideal balance will be reached – neither too much nor too little – just the right amount to achieve the goal.
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Questions

If your accountant "died" tomorrow, what would you look for in a new one?

Aside from the obvious (company reports, tax, BAS, PAYE etc.) compliance issues, what special... read more

Asked by:
I tend to agree with Wendy, an accountant that understands my industry would be the first priority followed by how proactive they are, which to do this, they would need to spend time reviewing my business to then be able to advise me on what I could do better.
Micha WottonHead of Development at SavvySME
Tolerance, patience and long-suffering.
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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 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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Questions

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

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

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

Where did you get the idea for 2 minutes service guarantee?

Was it hard getting the "2 minutes service guarantee" off the ground initially? Was employee... read more

Asked by:
Jef Lippiatt Co-founder at Startup Chucktown
Tom Potter at pottercorp
the idea came from a real challenge placed to us by the board challenging us to find a sustainable point of difference it had to be a major shift in what was traditionally offered in the market its too hard to answer here and now but the full details are in my book
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Questions

What are the best and worst ideas for offline startup businesses?

I created an article before on the best ideas for online startups but I want to know your insights... read more

Asked by:
Rob Herr Marketing at Accede Holdings Pty Ltd
Jef LippiattCo-founder at Startup Chucktown
Rob,I would say offline businesses that have a high barrier to entry into the market before you can validate that you have a viable idea. This could be something like a medical device.Entering a market with a lot of competition (e.g. pizza, clothing, creative agency) can be a real challenge if you don't have a noticeable and meaningful value proposition that clearly gives you an advantage against incumbent competitors.Also starting any business when trying to only beat your competition on price (it is not a sustainable differentiator). You'll probably get involved in a race to the bottom (a.k.a. no profit margin) so you'll likely not be in business very long. This is especially true when long time businesses have much greater scale or profitability that they can sacrifice in the short term to run you out of business (because their profit margin can sustain a hit for an extended amount of time).There are many other problematic businesses to start 'offline' but I think those are the largest problem areas.
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Questions

How do you reconcile your differences in opinion as co-founders?

I assume you and Andre don't always agree on everything, sometimes even on strategic directions.... read more

Asked by:
Phil Khor Founder at SavvySME
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Questions

How do you get your team to generate and share ideas?

Some Vinomofo deals are very creative in content and presentation, and am sure commercially solid.... read more

Justin Dry at Vinomofo
First we actively encourage them to think about it and share with the team. Even if it’s not related to Vinomofo. We call this Mofo Projects and it has led to some really cool ideas and even the creation of a few startups! In regards to the secret deals example, they say necessity is the mother of all invention and it certainly was in this case. In the early days of Vinomofo we were regularly facing the same challenge - wineries wanted to sell us their wines but at such epic prices, distributors and other retailers would get upset. Then one day a team member said “what if we hid the label?” and the secret deal was born. So now we have an agreement with the producers not to reveal these wines and a promise to our customers that they’ll have the “wow” moment when it arrives and they found out what it is. We have 100% confidence that if a wine passes our tasting panel (only 5% do) then our Mofos will love it. And we stand behind that by offering a 100% no questions asked money back guarantee.
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Questions

How did you score such an amazing co-founder?

Asked by:
Andre Eikmeier at Vinomofo
Justin Dry at Vinomofo
Haha get off the site Andre. I obviously found one with plenty of time on his hands... And get back to work Chris :)
Chris CoffeyGeneral Mischief Manager at Vinomofo
...and General Manager?
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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:
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 McIverOwner 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

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

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

Has anyone used radio advertising?

I was wondering whether anyone has had radio advertising done? Did it get you many customers and... read more

Asked by:
Wendy Huang Full Time Blogger and YouTuber at A Custom Blog in 4 Minutes
Frederique BrosOwner at Women Love Tech
I have been asked to do a radio mini interview about my blog: Women Love Tech this afternoon in Sydney - it will be only for 10mn - I don't know yet the impact on the business - but it will be a good experience and may be a thoughtful way for radio advertising.... to be continued...
Don GreggDirector at Advice 4 Growth
Radio can be a great channel to market if you can choose the right station/time to reach your target audience. It reaches people who are listeners and perhaps not great readers of non-audio advertising. It can reach people when they are not distracted by other messages or thoughts. It also partly depends on your business and how your target makes decisions. When I was running a chain of lunchtime food outlets our sales would lift whenever we had a branding campaign on radio - it helped more people to choose our outlets when thinking about where to buy lunch. Radio is also quicker and easier than designing and developing visual advertising. Look for last minute bargains when the stations get desperate to sell unsold air times.
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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 do I obtain government grants for my small business?

how to find different grandts for small business or startups, and process to get those grants and... read more

Asked by:
Paul ZissonOwner at mobileCFO
Hi Ananda, you will be surprised how many government grants are available (100's) at local, state and federal government levels that are currently being under-utilised. Also, corporates offers grants where they see your business contributing to yours (eg banks). In an election year, the federal government is making lots of cash available at all levels where it creates value in the community, creates jobs, assists charitable organisations. They can range from $5K (council level) to $2M (commercialisation grant). Austrade offers grants for certain industries to boost local manufacturing. Federal offer lots of clean-energy, green business grants. Grants can be very specific so it is very important you tailor your application to meet their purpose. The government grant finder assists help get an idea at a government level but there are many more. A few seminars I have been to say partnering with another accredited business like a charity, community group with increase your chances in the approval process. The key is submitting a succinct, well written, value offering in your application. There are service providers out that that do a grant analysis for you to see what are more appropriate for your business. They can also proof your application before submitting. It should be noted that grants are not easy win handouts, they are actually quite selective and hold you accountable to their criteria. It is a business for the government for government bodies like Austrade to meet KPI's and provide the government with ROI. But they are great options to consider when starting up your business when cash funding is not always available or limiting your potential. I recommend including a few grant considerations in your business plan as a funding option (yes, you will need a business plan!, government grants will nee to see them). Happy to point you in the right direction if needed. Good luck with your new business!
Sacha KaluriCo- Director and Founder at Australian Teenage Expo
Hi Ananda, You can also try the Philanthropic Society. They have a book and updates on their website each year on what grants not for profit organisations can apply for. Check them out as well. It can sometimes be a long process but when its successful its great.  
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