Dave Holmes profile image

Dave Holmes

Director at

Member Since April 2013

The Entrance, NSW, 2261

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16 FOLLOWERS

Business: digital voice person - dictation, voice recording (meetings/interviews/focus groups), podcast recording/editing/publishing, voice recognition for Mac and Windows. I sell the full range of Olympus audio and photographic equipment in Australia. I also write a blog focussed on digital voice.

Personal: Single Dad, photographer and dronographer (was the original @australia on Instagram, now @australianisms). Twitter poster, Google+ dabbler.

Dave Holmes answered this question

Can anyone suggest the best products to sell online?

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.

Dave Holmes answered this question

Phil Joel
Phil Joel, Director at SavvySME

Web Hosting

What should I look for in a Web hosting partner?

Some great answers above. I agree totally with Russell's first comment, Great Support, its essential. Yep the other points made are all valid too, infrastructure, no fly-by-nights etc. Recommendations go along way so ask around and get people experiences. I'm not sure I agree with the must be Australian hosted for Aussie websites rule, we have always hosted out of the US and had no issues with speed, load times or rankings, maybe because our name servers are .com.au perhaps. Our host have 24x7 email support and for the few occasions they needed to be contacted they were on the case every time immediately and being based in an English speaking country communication was easy.

We have been with our hosting company for around 6 years and have three webservers hosted in various US data centres.

Dave Holmes answered this question

Has anyone used Shopify for their eCommerce site?

Yep I use Shopify, I converted over from an old osCommerce self hosted store about 16 months ago. No complaints, it is very easy to use and the many templates look good and are easy to work with. Can be a little pricey but i'm happy that I no longer need to monitor my webservers and that is now someone elses problem :-)

Volusion also seems to be quite popular, I looked at a few options before I moved from old trusty osCommerce, at the time Shopify was good. I am also keeping a close eye on Squarespace.com - they recently added ecommerce although initially very US centric so not quite usable in AU yet, but worth watching.

Hope that helps.

 

Dave Holmes answered this question

Can someone recommend a good password management system?

I'm a fan of 1Password which works great on our Mac and iPhones, I think they have a solution for Windows also. Password data is stored in your Dropbox so can be easily but securely accessed from a few devices.

We also use it to store purchased software serial numbers, i'm sure it would cope with FTP details too. We currently use Transmit SFTP client for storing this.

Hope that helps.

Dave Holmes answered this question

How do you set up a blog?

For my business I operate two blogs, a main blog and a summary blog. My main blog is a WordPress site, self hosted and uses a different domain name from my main business. I was forced into this rather than choice as I operate an eCommerce site and back when my blog started I knew I would be changing eCommerce software in the near future. I changed from self hosted eCommerce to Shopify, so they host for me. Moving a blog across is do-able but seemed to add more grief than I needed moving product across. Having a seperate domain has worked well for me, there are lots of thoughts on blog within main and blog outside, I'm happy with the way mine work.

My self hosted main WordPress blog does have links to my store but I don't over do it, only one or two links are enough plus I also link to other relevant sites. e.g. I sell Olympus gear so I often link to the Olympus sites in AU/UK/US.

My second, summary blog is purely for SEO purposes. It's a blogger.com blog (owned by Google) and has a short summary of any article I write. I link from blogger.com to the main article and have found that doing this instantly gets my posts indexed. 

My content relates to the things I sell, none of it is salesy but is informative. I write about common issues and questions that people have things related to my business and this works well. Blogging shouldn't be a chore, should be fun and something you enjoy doing. Giving away knowledge can be quite fulfilling.

 

Dave Holmes answered this question

Rhys Roberts
Rhys Roberts, Director at Viridity

Cloud Computing

What are the best options for hosting data files?

I'm a big fan of Google. We use Google for business so get to use our own domain names for our emails and Google docs is an excellent platform for file storage of all kinds. Google for business is only US$50 per email so very affordable for small business.

We tend to use Google docs for internal business documents like policies and procedures and our office network layouts.

We use Dropbox for file sharing outside of the business.

Dave Holmes answered this question

William S
William S, Digital Marketing and Junior SEO Consultant at Pixel Capital

Website

Your opinion on sites like Wix, Square Space, BigCommerce

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.

Dave Holmes answered this question

Chris Le Roy
Chris Le Roy, Founder at One-on-One Professoinal Business Training

Business Management

What are Top 5 issues you deal with as a small business owner?

Yes I am struggling with 5, so here are my spring to minds ...

1. Cash flow, as usual, don't think this will ever change for any of us ... 

2. Staff. Finding staff with the passion and ethics of the business owner is tricky.

3. Where to focus social efforts. FB, twitter, G+, LinkedIn, blogs etc. Where/when/what to post.

Dave Holmes answered this question

Henrik Larsen
Henrik Larsen, Director at IePlus Pty Ltd

Digital Marketing

What is the most effective way to drive traffic on a budget?

I agree with Wendy, blogging is a great way to drive traffic and for me it works really well. My business is fairly specialised, we sell voice recording equipment so for example dictaphones for doctors and lawyers, voice recorders for journos, transcription kits for typists and voice recognition software for everyone.

I write regularly with how-to's, news on what's new in the industry, software and firmware updates and of course equipment reviews. Content is key, write for the people reading your blog not the googlebot and follow a few easily found SEO rules and soon enough the traffic will come.

Although I only sell in Australia my readership comes from all over the world, everywhere recorders are used. Blogging also helps define you and your business as the knowledge leader in your specific fields. Do it regularly, keep it interesting and away you go.

I use WordPress for my main articles and back that up with a shorter version on blogger.com (both free). I kept my blog separate from my main website, there is some debate on whether or not to do that, for me I like it that way and it works well.

Dave Holmes answered this question

Can you share your Top 3 Money Saving Tips in business?

1. Ditch the landline, move to VoIP. 

2. Get the right accountant. We struggled for years with a couple of accountants who were the wrong fit, cost us dearly. Now we have a good one, we are seeing the benefits.

3. Buy an office with your Super Fund. Instead of paying rent to a landlord the rent goes back into your SMSF - so you have the property investment and you reap the rental money you used to lose.

Dave Holmes answered this question

Michael Reid CA
Michael Reid CA, Do All The Things! at Michael L Reid CA

Accounting

Dave Holmes answered this question

What accounting software package should a small business use?

We recently switched our businesses from MYOB (release 16 I think) to Xero. I have been keen to switch to a cloud accounting package for a while, we looked at Saasu for a while but in the end went with Xero.

For us the bug bear with MYOB was using a dedicated PC just for accounts. Being a Windows PC we had a couple of scares - failure to boot, bluescreen etc on top of that we have a couple of accounts people so sharing the PC was a pain. I have never been a fan of MYOB, years ago when we first started with it the cost I thought was huge, the support poor and the upgrades also expensive. For a small business forking out hundreds of dollars for unexciting software was hard to justify.

Cloud accounting has to be the way to go. We like the small monthly fee which is easily covered. Having our staff access accounts from any PC or Mac, office or at home, is also productive for us. I hear MYOB also have a cloud offering now but to us it was too late, we were already turned off by MYOB years ago.

Things we like so far about our Xero:

Easy to create great looking invoices.
Easy recon of transactions by accounts staff and the less account savvy staff members like the Directors.
Access from anywhere, anytime. This one is a big deal.
We found a good Xero reseller who transitioned our MYOB across easily.
The only down sides we have found so far, and these are not really huge downsides are:

Bank feed occasionally stuffs up (this is more a St. George bank issue than Xero) and can be gotten around in the worse case by txn imports or individually keying txns. This only happened once or twice, so again no biggy.
Support. The first issue I had when my reseller was unavailable meant I had to go to Xero. No support phone number, but they do have great support via twitter. Luckily i'm a twitter user so coped with this method well, but for those who are not may increase the blood pressure slightly. Problems can also be posted on the Xero support system if you are not a twit ;-) 

No results found.

Dave Holmes answered this question

Can anyone suggest the best products to sell online?

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.

Dave Holmes answered this question

Phil Joel
Phil Joel, Director at SavvySME

Web Hosting

What should I look for in a Web hosting partner?

Some great answers above. I agree totally with Russell's first comment, Great Support, its essential. Yep the other points made are all valid too, infrastructure, no fly-by-nights etc. Recommendations go along way so ask around and get people experiences. I'm not sure I agree with the must be Australian hosted for Aussie websites rule, we have always hosted out of the US and had no issues with speed, load times or rankings, maybe because our name servers are .com.au perhaps. Our host have 24x7 email support and for the few occasions they needed to be contacted they were on the case every time immediately and being based in an English speaking country communication was easy.

We have been with our hosting company for around 6 years and have three webservers hosted in various US data centres.

Dave Holmes answered this question

Has anyone used Shopify for their eCommerce site?

Yep I use Shopify, I converted over from an old osCommerce self hosted store about 16 months ago. No complaints, it is very easy to use and the many templates look good and are easy to work with. Can be a little pricey but i'm happy that I no longer need to monitor my webservers and that is now someone elses problem :-)

Volusion also seems to be quite popular, I looked at a few options before I moved from old trusty osCommerce, at the time Shopify was good. I am also keeping a close eye on Squarespace.com - they recently added ecommerce although initially very US centric so not quite usable in AU yet, but worth watching.

Hope that helps.

 

Dave Holmes answered this question

Can someone recommend a good password management system?

I'm a fan of 1Password which works great on our Mac and iPhones, I think they have a solution for Windows also. Password data is stored in your Dropbox so can be easily but securely accessed from a few devices.

We also use it to store purchased software serial numbers, i'm sure it would cope with FTP details too. We currently use Transmit SFTP client for storing this.

Hope that helps.

Dave Holmes answered this question

How do you set up a blog?

For my business I operate two blogs, a main blog and a summary blog. My main blog is a WordPress site, self hosted and uses a different domain name from my main business. I was forced into this rather than choice as I operate an eCommerce site and back when my blog started I knew I would be changing eCommerce software in the near future. I changed from self hosted eCommerce to Shopify, so they host for me. Moving a blog across is do-able but seemed to add more grief than I needed moving product across. Having a seperate domain has worked well for me, there are lots of thoughts on blog within main and blog outside, I'm happy with the way mine work.

My self hosted main WordPress blog does have links to my store but I don't over do it, only one or two links are enough plus I also link to other relevant sites. e.g. I sell Olympus gear so I often link to the Olympus sites in AU/UK/US.

My second, summary blog is purely for SEO purposes. It's a blogger.com blog (owned by Google) and has a short summary of any article I write. I link from blogger.com to the main article and have found that doing this instantly gets my posts indexed. 

My content relates to the things I sell, none of it is salesy but is informative. I write about common issues and questions that people have things related to my business and this works well. Blogging shouldn't be a chore, should be fun and something you enjoy doing. Giving away knowledge can be quite fulfilling.

 

Dave Holmes answered this question

Rhys Roberts
Rhys Roberts, Director at Viridity

Cloud Computing

What are the best options for hosting data files?

I'm a big fan of Google. We use Google for business so get to use our own domain names for our emails and Google docs is an excellent platform for file storage of all kinds. Google for business is only US$50 per email so very affordable for small business.

We tend to use Google docs for internal business documents like policies and procedures and our office network layouts.

We use Dropbox for file sharing outside of the business.

Dave Holmes answered this question

William S
William S, Digital Marketing and Junior SEO Consultant at Pixel Capital

Website

Your opinion on sites like Wix, Square Space, BigCommerce

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.

Dave Holmes answered this question

Chris Le Roy
Chris Le Roy, Founder at One-on-One Professoinal Business Training

Business Management

What are Top 5 issues you deal with as a small business owner?

Yes I am struggling with 5, so here are my spring to minds ...

1. Cash flow, as usual, don't think this will ever change for any of us ... 

2. Staff. Finding staff with the passion and ethics of the business owner is tricky.

3. Where to focus social efforts. FB, twitter, G+, LinkedIn, blogs etc. Where/when/what to post.

Dave Holmes answered this question

Henrik Larsen
Henrik Larsen, Director at IePlus Pty Ltd

Digital Marketing

What is the most effective way to drive traffic on a budget?

I agree with Wendy, blogging is a great way to drive traffic and for me it works really well. My business is fairly specialised, we sell voice recording equipment so for example dictaphones for doctors and lawyers, voice recorders for journos, transcription kits for typists and voice recognition software for everyone.

I write regularly with how-to's, news on what's new in the industry, software and firmware updates and of course equipment reviews. Content is key, write for the people reading your blog not the googlebot and follow a few easily found SEO rules and soon enough the traffic will come.

Although I only sell in Australia my readership comes from all over the world, everywhere recorders are used. Blogging also helps define you and your business as the knowledge leader in your specific fields. Do it regularly, keep it interesting and away you go.

I use WordPress for my main articles and back that up with a shorter version on blogger.com (both free). I kept my blog separate from my main website, there is some debate on whether or not to do that, for me I like it that way and it works well.

Dave Holmes answered this question

Can you share your Top 3 Money Saving Tips in business?

1. Ditch the landline, move to VoIP. 

2. Get the right accountant. We struggled for years with a couple of accountants who were the wrong fit, cost us dearly. Now we have a good one, we are seeing the benefits.

3. Buy an office with your Super Fund. Instead of paying rent to a landlord the rent goes back into your SMSF - so you have the property investment and you reap the rental money you used to lose.

Dave Holmes answered this question

Michael Reid CA
Michael Reid CA, Do All The Things! at Michael L Reid CA

Accounting

Dave Holmes answered this question

What accounting software package should a small business use?

We recently switched our businesses from MYOB (release 16 I think) to Xero. I have been keen to switch to a cloud accounting package for a while, we looked at Saasu for a while but in the end went with Xero.

For us the bug bear with MYOB was using a dedicated PC just for accounts. Being a Windows PC we had a couple of scares - failure to boot, bluescreen etc on top of that we have a couple of accounts people so sharing the PC was a pain. I have never been a fan of MYOB, years ago when we first started with it the cost I thought was huge, the support poor and the upgrades also expensive. For a small business forking out hundreds of dollars for unexciting software was hard to justify.

Cloud accounting has to be the way to go. We like the small monthly fee which is easily covered. Having our staff access accounts from any PC or Mac, office or at home, is also productive for us. I hear MYOB also have a cloud offering now but to us it was too late, we were already turned off by MYOB years ago.

Things we like so far about our Xero:

Easy to create great looking invoices.
Easy recon of transactions by accounts staff and the less account savvy staff members like the Directors.
Access from anywhere, anytime. This one is a big deal.
We found a good Xero reseller who transitioned our MYOB across easily.
The only down sides we have found so far, and these are not really huge downsides are:

Bank feed occasionally stuffs up (this is more a St. George bank issue than Xero) and can be gotten around in the worse case by txn imports or individually keying txns. This only happened once or twice, so again no biggy.
Support. The first issue I had when my reseller was unavailable meant I had to go to Xero. No support phone number, but they do have great support via twitter. Luckily i'm a twitter user so coped with this method well, but for those who are not may increase the blood pressure slightly. Problems can also be posted on the Xero support system if you are not a twit ;-) 

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