Phil Joel profile image

Phil Joel

Director at SavvySME

Member Since November 2012

Chatswood, NSW, 2067

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1.05K FOLLOWERS

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Social Media
Marketing Services & Consultants

Phil Joel answered this question

Leah Cortes
Leah Cortes , Owner / Personal Assistant at

Customer Retention

What is the best way to approach prospective clients?

Hi Leah,You can also try networking - both online and offline. Join groups that your target clients are in. Go to local events - basically wherever your clients are likely to go. It takes time and effort but it does work.

Accounting

Online Accounting Software for SMEs: Which One?

Online accounting software for small businesses are becoming more and more popular both in Australia and beyond.  You don't have to buy expensive online accounting software options for your business anymore. Cloud computing software solutions are here to help you. Find out more about the differences and benefits of online accounting software for your small business and learn about its different...

Starting a Business

How to Set Up a Sole Trader Business in Australia

Having an Australian Business Number allows you to register as a sole trader, which basically means that you're closely linked to your business. Operating as a sole trader business means that you have to learn the tax-related rules and regulations because your personal finances are connected to that of your business.  Take a look at the benefits and advantages of sole trader before you make a ...

Phil Joel answered this question

David Johnson
David Johnson, Director at Where is my parcel

Online Business

What is biggest delivery issue for e-retailers?

Very good question David. I would say the frustrations of parcels not received by the customers (for whatever reasons) e.g. customers not home, sent to wrong address, gone missing etc.

Phil Joel answered this question

Why do Australian startups fail?

I think the primary reasons are (1) we are a small nation so there is smaller economy of scale (2) very expensive to do business so cost per unit is much higher (3) un-supportive environment so the odds are not in startup's favour from the outset.

Regulatory and Compliance

Registering a business name in Victoria

Registering a business name in Victoria The steps to register a business name are: Apply for an ABN with the Australian Business Register Businesses use this number as a reference when dealing with the Australian Tax Office (ATO). It should also be shown on your Tax invoices. Register your business name with ASIC Protect your business name by applying for a trademark with IP Australia (optiona...

Regulatory and Compliance

Register Business Name in NSW: the Why and How

Your business name is basically your company's first and most important business card to make a good impression in the industry. In order for your company name to be different than your own legal name, you have to register business name as the company's trading name. If you want to find out how to exactly register business name in NSW, you're in the right place. The NSW Department of Fair Trad...

Phil Joel answered this question

Neil Steggall
Neil Steggall, Partner at Wardour Capital Partners

Leadership

What is the number one skill required to build a successful SME?

Hi Neil,

Assuming the individuals are already experts in their own fields then I would say Sales skills. A business can't grow if there aren't any sales or customers.

Regards,

PJ

Phil Joel answered this question

Can you recommend good business educational videos online?

Hi Rebecca, I have found Udemy to be a place to find cost-effective educational videos. They have specials all the time, so you'll be able to get access to discounted courses.

Phil Joel answered this question

Neil Steggall
Neil Steggall, Partner at Wardour Capital Partners

Research and Innovation

Is near enough good enough for SMEs?

Hi Neil, I had this very same discussion with a friend who is developing a product for the corporate world last week. And he is very much thinking along the lines of Agile and MVP as it reduces wastage and focuses his resources in the right areas. The end product will still be high quality but it takes a very iterative approach to get there whereas previously, the company would have used a very traditional method such as SDLC (System Development Life Cycle) to deliver the product which arguably takes longer and in the end may not deliver a product that the users want partly because it took so long.

Phil Joel answered this question

Has anyone ever found a recruiter that is worth it?

Cameron, the more reputable recruiters will give you replacement guarantee during the probationary period. Make sure you do your own reference checks though. I find it to be a conflict of interest when the recruiter is doing reference checks on the candidates.

Phil Joel answered this question

Neil Steggall
Neil Steggall, Partner at Wardour Capital Partners

Budgeting and Forecasting

Do you see the economy improving or deteriorating in 2014?

Hi Neil,

Great question. I think there is something peculiar going on with macro-economics and it will be interesting to see how it plays out. Right now, we have a situation where Australia's AAA 10 year bonds are yielding higher than countries which we all know are in trouble - Portugal, Spain, Ireland. The Eurobond market is operating in a perverse manner similar to GFC days. It will be interesting to see how this unfolds.

We also have the situation in the US where the stimulus program is being tapered which is going to cause a natural devaluation of the AUD. This will help our export businesses and pair back some of the current online imports which in theory should help our local manufacturers if there are any left as well as local travel industry as cheap European holidays become a thing of the past.

Our dollar will also devalue against the Chinese renminbi which means that our Chinese imports will be more expensive and potentially induce inflation on our ecomony. This will put pressure on the RBA to lift rates on the back half of next year which will of course have a dampening effect on the economy.

 

Phil Joel answered this question

Neil Steggall
Neil Steggall, Partner at Wardour Capital Partners

Sales and Marketing

What are the five key steps to launching and selling a b2b service online?

Hi Neil,

Great question and we would love to hear about your product. I would say at a high level, your plan needs to consider the following:

- Target customer

- Sales funnel - will you expect to sell the product directly through the website or do you just want to setup initial appointments to sell the product. 

- How to get in front of target customers e.g Paid traffic, or SEO, Social Networks

- How to engage and build trust with visitors on the site once they land on your site from above e.g. through newsletlers

- Conversion and Optimisation - Study visitor behaviour and then perform A/B testing. Once you have data, you'll be able to work out what the cost-per-acquisition is and determine how much you can afford to spend on marketing.

- Referrals - encourage your followers / customer to refer

Phil Joel answered this question

Liz edgecombe
Liz edgecombe, owner at sheoak trading pty ltd

Branding

How should I rebrand my business?

Hi Liz,

Can you elaborate on your question? What help do you need from the community? Have you considered who your target customers are and what will resonate with them? Look at what / how your niche market is finding products similar to yours. How will your product stand out?

Regards,

Phil

Phil Joel answered this question

How to start in networking and infrastructure as a student?

Hi Danh,

The career path usually starts with joining an Infrastructure team (large corporations, hosting companies, telco's), basically anyone who has large networks. Look for interships, undergraduate roles. You might be able to try your luck and send unsolicited applications to their HR department.

Good luck.

-PJ

Phil Joel answered this question

What were your experiences when hiring for the first time?

I was in my mid-twenties and a newly appointed manager and had the pleasure of hiring for my team. It was nerve wrecking at first as I had no experience (other than my own sitting on the other side) and I was interviewing people who were a lot older than me. It was only recently that I had some formal training on how to interview people. That would have helped me immensely by knowing the type of questions to ask. Depending on the role, sometime I am more interested in how the candidate approaches the situation rather than their technical knowledge or experience.

Phil Joel answered this question

Kevin Dam
Kevin Dam, Digital Marketing Strategist at

Entrepreneurship

What is your biggest fear as a business owner?

Fear of failure. The fear of failure can potentially stop people from trying new things. 

Phil Joel answered this question

Brian Le Mon
Brian Le Mon, Founder & CEO at Ethical Outsourcing

Customer Acquisition

Has anyone tried a paid referral system to get new customers?

Hi Brian,

Katherine has made some great suggestions.

From my experience, in the consulting field, it's all about the network (many of the assignments I have won previously were never publicly advertised and the best ones were not competitive) so I would as much as possible build this up. Look at partnering with other consultants who provide complementary services to yourself. It may not open up new doors straight away but if you keep at it, I think you'll be well rewarded. In fact, there is a new website called Alliance Empire The founder Melinda Edwards is also on SavvySME and we're working on a package for Premium Members such as yourself to have access to systems such as these. Have a chat to Melinda. I'm sure she'll be able to help you.

-PJ

Phil Joel answered this question

Are you interested in building a strategic alliance?

Mahua you can also post this request on http://www.allianceempire.com.au/ 

Phil Joel answered this question

John Belchamber
John Belchamber, Owner & Senior Consultant at Invoke Results

Litigation and Dispute Resolution

How do you handle small bad debts in your business?

This website (http://www.business.vic.gov.au/operating-a-business/managing-finances-and-tax/invoicing-and-debt-recovery/debt-recovery) gives very useful advice on steps you should take but to be honest you'll get a much faster response if a lawyer send the letter of demand.

I went online and found that Somerville is offering to do this for $38.50. 

Phil Joel answered this question

Shaun Goethals
Shaun Goethals, Director / Principal Consultant at

Business Finance and Loans

What is the best way to get finance for software?

Shaun, what I know is that many large software / hardware companies such as Microsoft, Oracle, Intel, etc can potentially offer financing to their customers if the solution includes their products. Your product appear to be very specialised so somebody like Flexirent is unlikely going finance it.

I did find this other link which could be worth investigating:

Relion Finance

 

Phil Joel answered this question

John Belchamber
John Belchamber, Owner & Senior Consultant at Invoke Results

Sales and Marketing

What behaviours limit sales success in your business?

For me, the no. 1 behavior that prospective buyers will initially judge you on is your eagerness for their business. If you are responsive and go the extra mile then you're likely going to make a better impression that your competitors. 

Phil Joel answered this question

Michael Martion
Michael Martion, Owner at StartRight Accounting (Insignia Accounting & Consulting)

Market Research

Phil Joel answered this question

Can someone recommend how to draft a web service agreement?

Hi Jess,

I would structure your Agreement so that you have a Services Agreement and then a separate Work Order or State of Work. The Services Agreement contains all your legal T&C's that you would generally negotiate once with the client and that becomes the Master which future SOW's refers to. SOW's are used for each separate pieces of work to separate out commercial matters from the T&C's. Typically Services Agreement will cover topics that James already mentioned but also other sections such as Limitation of Liability (never have uncapped liability), Confidentiality, Intellectual Property, Termination.

Cashflow Management

8 Tips to get paid quickly

As a business, it is important to stay on top of its cashflow and one very important aspect is to ensure that its invoices are getting paid in a timely manner by its customers. Here are some tips to get paid on time: 1. Ensure that invoices are sent regularly. You don't need to wait till the end of the month to send the invoice. As soon as the software is sold, job is done, the invoice can be sen...

Phil Joel answered this question

Brent Hall
Brent Hall, CEO at HelloMedical

Accounting

Pros and cons of capitalising software development costs?

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

Phil Joel answered this question

Will paywalls across Fairfax change media consumption habits?

Hi guys,

it hasn't changed my habit. I simply delete my cookies and Fairfax thinks I'm a new user and I'm good for another 30 articles.

Phil Joel answered this question

Gino Lancaster
Gino Lancaster, Business Partner at Red Planet Design ~ Digital Marketing Company

Sales and Marketing

Ever engaged a service provider from a cold calling telemarketer?

Hi Gino,

We haven't taken on any service providers from a cold call. I think most people do not want to be sold to which is why Social Media is a great way to make the initial connections and build relationships. Over time, these relationships will turn into actual business (whether directly or indirectly) but it does take time.

Phil Joel answered this question

Peter Jones
Peter Jones, Founder at LinkSmart

Government Grants

Do you have contacts in Government who help small businesses?

Hi Peter,

I do not have any direct contacts but I would recommend that you contact Pattens. They specialise in Governments Grants and R&D Tax Concession.

Phil Joel answered this question

Phil Joel
Phil Joel, Director at SavvySME

Cloud Computing

What is the best way to back up my Google docs?

Good question. It could have been modified by somebody else but I don't know for sure. Thanks for your suggestion. I only use the cloud version to edit online. I found this Spanning backup which looks like a good solution to automatically backup Google docs.

Phil Joel answered this question

Brent Hall
Brent Hall, CEO at HelloMedical

Accounting

Should I use an accounting firm or independent contractor?

Brent,
Obviously there's a difference in terms of service, ability to scale and price. I don't know your business model nor your financial position but as a startup, I'd be looking at trying to get the best of both worlds by employing a small independent professionals initially and then when you get to the next phase then consider using somebody bigger. I had a consulting business previously and I just used small firms. When I sold my company, the due diligence process required the books to be audited so that's when it was performed by a larger firm (which the acquiring company chose). Obviously if you need specific advice around some of the matters you mentioned then you will likely need to hire specialists in those areas. 
This will work out better as you don't pay premium rates for everyday tasks.

Phil Joel answered this question

What is your favorite app and why?

Google Analytics dashboard on my iPhone.

Phil Joel answered this question

Kealey Nutt
Kealey Nutt, Director at Eleven & Twelve

Offline and Direct Marketing

How do you pitch a creative idea to a client?

Hi Kealey,
I am not in exactly the same field but when I was in IT consulting I would target my prospects by profiling them - understanding their core business and understanding where their challenges and opportunities are. You can actually get a lot of these from their Annual Report, the media and people who may have dealt with them previously. They could be also people who have consulted to them or could be their either clients or even suppliers. Once we had enough information on them, we would build a client / account plan. There are a lot of Sales methodologies out there that can help you with this - TAS, Holden, SPIN etc. The main purpose of the Sales Plan is to keep you focused and progressing your opportunity. We would identify the various stakeholders; what they were responsible for. We also look at the competitor landscape currently servicing the client as no doubt we would cross paths with them at some stage. We would also look at our own core capability and how they line up with the clients' problems. If there is a good match then we know that we have something compelling for them.
In terms of getting into the client, I don't believe there is a single answer. You'll have to look at your own network to see if there is way to get a warm introduction or referral. You can cold-call but it is a black art and it is not for everyone. It requires a lot of skills and persistence to get passed the gatekeeper. If you want to do this then my advice is to try and get the direct number of the person you're trying to call and then call them at around 6pm (their PA is not likely going to be there then). You will probably get one shot at it so you need to be well prepared. Good luck.

Business Management

Don't treat them mean, just keep them keen

  One of the advice someone gave me many years ago is to always shop around at renewal times. He was working in the Insurance industry and gave me this sage advice to get quotes from other insurers when it is time to renew my policy. Unfortunately, for years I ignored his advice. I thought they all pretty much compete for the same business so their prices would be all about the same. Plus I didn...

Customer Acquisition

Keep your friends close and your enemies even closer

There are many interpretations to Sun Tzu's famous saying. To me, it's about knowing your enemies so that you have an edge when competing for business. When I was running my own consulting business, I would always know what my clients were up to; what they were concerned about; and what their customers were up to but I always kept an eye on what my competitors. In particular, when we were compe...

Phil Joel answered this question

Henrik Larsen
Henrik Larsen, Director at IePlus Pty Ltd

Risk Management

What backup recovery measures do you have for your business?



That's a very good question Henrik. From my experience, this usually falls into the too-hard basket as there are always other higher priority issues to deal with.

At SavvySME, all of our Applications are hosted which puts the responsibility back with the providers such as Google, Dropbox, Xero, Github.

We pay them a subscription fee for this feature which I think people will only appreciate when a disaster occurs. If we were to build this feature ourselves, it would have been costly and detracted us from our primary focus. 

Other businesses that have on-premise systems that cannot be hosted would need to seriously look into this otherwise they are leaving themselves exposed.
Will be interesting to see how others are approaching this.

Hardware and Software

Choosing a Backup solution for your home computers

So last Christmas I set myself a little project to backup all my home computers. At last count, we have about 7 between the 4 of us. Like most people, backups doesn't particularly get me excited so I have been putting it off for years but I thought I would make the most of the downtime and get myself organised. I first started looking at various options available and trust me these days, you ...

Accounting

Online Accounting Software for SMEs: Which One?

Online accounting software for small businesses are becoming more and more popular both in Australia and beyond.  You don't have to buy expensive online accounting software options for your business anymore. Cloud computing software solutions are here to help you. Find out more about the differences and benefits of online accounting software for your small business and learn about its different...

Starting a Business

How to Set Up a Sole Trader Business in Australia

Having an Australian Business Number allows you to register as a sole trader, which basically means that you're closely linked to your business. Operating as a sole trader business means that you have to learn the tax-related rules and regulations because your personal finances are connected to that of your business.  Take a look at the benefits and advantages of sole trader before you make a ...

Startup

How to Launch a Start Up in Australia: 10 Tips to Get Your Start Up Started

1. Get Your Legal Affairs in Order Firstly you’ll need to decide what business structure you’ll have, whether a sole trader, partnership, company or trust. Secondly you’ll need to register an ABN (Australian Business Number), register a business name and trademark that name and potentially your product/s and service. Depending on the scale of your start up you may need to hire a lawyer (p...

Regulatory and Compliance

Registering a business name in Victoria

Registering a business name in Victoria The steps to register a business name are: Apply for an ABN with the Australian Business Register Businesses use this number as a reference when dealing with the Australian Tax Office (ATO). It should also be shown on your Tax invoices. Register your business name with ASIC Protect your business name by applying for a trademark with IP Australia (optiona...

Regulatory and Compliance

Register Business Name in NSW: the Why and How

Your business name is basically your company's first and most important business card to make a good impression in the industry. In order for your company name to be different than your own legal name, you have to register business name as the company's trading name. If you want to find out how to exactly register business name in NSW, you're in the right place. The NSW Department of Fair Trad...

Cashflow Management

8 Tips to get paid quickly

As a business, it is important to stay on top of its cashflow and one very important aspect is to ensure that its invoices are getting paid in a timely manner by its customers. Here are some tips to get paid on time: 1. Ensure that invoices are sent regularly. You don't need to wait till the end of the month to send the invoice. As soon as the software is sold, job is done, the invoice can be sen...

Business Management

Don't treat them mean, just keep them keen

  One of the advice someone gave me many years ago is to always shop around at renewal times. He was working in the Insurance industry and gave me this sage advice to get quotes from other insurers when it is time to renew my policy. Unfortunately, for years I ignored his advice. I thought they all pretty much compete for the same business so their prices would be all about the same. Plus I didn...

Customer Acquisition

Keep your friends close and your enemies even closer

There are many interpretations to Sun Tzu's famous saying. To me, it's about knowing your enemies so that you have an edge when competing for business. When I was running my own consulting business, I would always know what my clients were up to; what they were concerned about; and what their customers were up to but I always kept an eye on what my competitors. In particular, when we were compe...

Hardware and Software

Choosing a Backup solution for your home computers

So last Christmas I set myself a little project to backup all my home computers. At last count, we have about 7 between the 4 of us. Like most people, backups doesn't particularly get me excited so I have been putting it off for years but I thought I would make the most of the downtime and get myself organised. I first started looking at various options available and trust me these days, you ...

Recruitment

How to interview for a new employee

How to interview for new employees A lot of companies hire workers almost every couple of months. This maybe because they are a large company or because the workers they previously hired just weren’t whom they expected. Businesses can refrain from suffering from the latter by having a structured method in assessing their candidates. One of the most important steps in hiring an employee is the ...

Phil Joel answered this question

Leah Cortes
Leah Cortes, Owner / Personal Assistant at

Customer Retention

What is the best way to approach prospective clients?

Hi Leah,You can also try networking - both online and offline. Join groups that your target clients are in. Go to local events - basically wherever your clients are likely to go. It takes time and effort but it does work.

Phil Joel answered this question

David Johnson
David Johnson, Director at Where is my parcel

Online Business

What is biggest delivery issue for e-retailers?

Very good question David. I would say the frustrations of parcels not received by the customers (for whatever reasons) e.g. customers not home, sent to wrong address, gone missing etc.

Phil Joel answered this question

Why do Australian startups fail?

I think the primary reasons are (1) we are a small nation so there is smaller economy of scale (2) very expensive to do business so cost per unit is much higher (3) un-supportive environment so the odds are not in startup's favour from the outset.

Phil Joel answered this question

Neil Steggall
Neil Steggall, Partner at Wardour Capital Partners

Leadership

What is the number one skill required to build a successful SME?

Hi Neil,

Assuming the individuals are already experts in their own fields then I would say Sales skills. A business can't grow if there aren't any sales or customers.

Regards,

PJ

Phil Joel answered this question

Can you recommend good business educational videos online?

Hi Rebecca, I have found Udemy to be a place to find cost-effective educational videos. They have specials all the time, so you'll be able to get access to discounted courses.

Phil Joel answered this question

Neil Steggall
Neil Steggall, Partner at Wardour Capital Partners

Research and Innovation

Is near enough good enough for SMEs?

Hi Neil, I had this very same discussion with a friend who is developing a product for the corporate world last week. And he is very much thinking along the lines of Agile and MVP as it reduces wastage and focuses his resources in the right areas. The end product will still be high quality but it takes a very iterative approach to get there whereas previously, the company would have used a very traditional method such as SDLC (System Development Life Cycle) to deliver the product which arguably takes longer and in the end may not deliver a product that the users want partly because it took so long.

Phil Joel answered this question

Has anyone ever found a recruiter that is worth it?

Cameron, the more reputable recruiters will give you replacement guarantee during the probationary period. Make sure you do your own reference checks though. I find it to be a conflict of interest when the recruiter is doing reference checks on the candidates.

Phil Joel answered this question

Neil Steggall
Neil Steggall, Partner at Wardour Capital Partners

Budgeting and Forecasting

Do you see the economy improving or deteriorating in 2014?

Hi Neil,

Great question. I think there is something peculiar going on with macro-economics and it will be interesting to see how it plays out. Right now, we have a situation where Australia's AAA 10 year bonds are yielding higher than countries which we all know are in trouble - Portugal, Spain, Ireland. The Eurobond market is operating in a perverse manner similar to GFC days. It will be interesting to see how this unfolds.

We also have the situation in the US where the stimulus program is being tapered which is going to cause a natural devaluation of the AUD. This will help our export businesses and pair back some of the current online imports which in theory should help our local manufacturers if there are any left as well as local travel industry as cheap European holidays become a thing of the past.

Our dollar will also devalue against the Chinese renminbi which means that our Chinese imports will be more expensive and potentially induce inflation on our ecomony. This will put pressure on the RBA to lift rates on the back half of next year which will of course have a dampening effect on the economy.

 

Phil Joel answered this question

Neil Steggall
Neil Steggall, Partner at Wardour Capital Partners

Sales and Marketing

What are the five key steps to launching and selling a b2b service online?

Hi Neil,

Great question and we would love to hear about your product. I would say at a high level, your plan needs to consider the following:

- Target customer

- Sales funnel - will you expect to sell the product directly through the website or do you just want to setup initial appointments to sell the product. 

- How to get in front of target customers e.g Paid traffic, or SEO, Social Networks

- How to engage and build trust with visitors on the site once they land on your site from above e.g. through newsletlers

- Conversion and Optimisation - Study visitor behaviour and then perform A/B testing. Once you have data, you'll be able to work out what the cost-per-acquisition is and determine how much you can afford to spend on marketing.

- Referrals - encourage your followers / customer to refer

Phil Joel answered this question

Liz edgecombe
Liz edgecombe, owner at sheoak trading pty ltd

Branding

How should I rebrand my business?

Hi Liz,

Can you elaborate on your question? What help do you need from the community? Have you considered who your target customers are and what will resonate with them? Look at what / how your niche market is finding products similar to yours. How will your product stand out?

Regards,

Phil

Phil Joel answered this question

How to start in networking and infrastructure as a student?

Hi Danh,

The career path usually starts with joining an Infrastructure team (large corporations, hosting companies, telco's), basically anyone who has large networks. Look for interships, undergraduate roles. You might be able to try your luck and send unsolicited applications to their HR department.

Good luck.

-PJ

Phil Joel answered this question

What were your experiences when hiring for the first time?

I was in my mid-twenties and a newly appointed manager and had the pleasure of hiring for my team. It was nerve wrecking at first as I had no experience (other than my own sitting on the other side) and I was interviewing people who were a lot older than me. It was only recently that I had some formal training on how to interview people. That would have helped me immensely by knowing the type of questions to ask. Depending on the role, sometime I am more interested in how the candidate approaches the situation rather than their technical knowledge or experience.

Phil Joel answered this question

Kevin Dam
Kevin Dam, Digital Marketing Strategist at

Entrepreneurship

What is your biggest fear as a business owner?

Fear of failure. The fear of failure can potentially stop people from trying new things. 

Phil Joel answered this question

Brian Le Mon
Brian Le Mon, Founder & CEO at Ethical Outsourcing

Customer Acquisition

Has anyone tried a paid referral system to get new customers?

Hi Brian,

Katherine has made some great suggestions.

From my experience, in the consulting field, it's all about the network (many of the assignments I have won previously were never publicly advertised and the best ones were not competitive) so I would as much as possible build this up. Look at partnering with other consultants who provide complementary services to yourself. It may not open up new doors straight away but if you keep at it, I think you'll be well rewarded. In fact, there is a new website called Alliance Empire The founder Melinda Edwards is also on SavvySME and we're working on a package for Premium Members such as yourself to have access to systems such as these. Have a chat to Melinda. I'm sure she'll be able to help you.

-PJ

Phil Joel answered this question

Are you interested in building a strategic alliance?

Mahua you can also post this request on http://www.allianceempire.com.au/ 

Phil Joel answered this question

John Belchamber
John Belchamber, Owner & Senior Consultant at Invoke Results

Litigation and Dispute Resolution

How do you handle small bad debts in your business?

This website (http://www.business.vic.gov.au/operating-a-business/managing-finances-and-tax/invoicing-and-debt-recovery/debt-recovery) gives very useful advice on steps you should take but to be honest you'll get a much faster response if a lawyer send the letter of demand.

I went online and found that Somerville is offering to do this for $38.50. 

Phil Joel answered this question

Shaun Goethals
Shaun Goethals, Director / Principal Consultant at

Business Finance and Loans

What is the best way to get finance for software?

Shaun, what I know is that many large software / hardware companies such as Microsoft, Oracle, Intel, etc can potentially offer financing to their customers if the solution includes their products. Your product appear to be very specialised so somebody like Flexirent is unlikely going finance it.

I did find this other link which could be worth investigating:

Relion Finance

 

Phil Joel answered this question

John Belchamber
John Belchamber, Owner & Senior Consultant at Invoke Results

Sales and Marketing

What behaviours limit sales success in your business?

For me, the no. 1 behavior that prospective buyers will initially judge you on is your eagerness for their business. If you are responsive and go the extra mile then you're likely going to make a better impression that your competitors. 

Phil Joel answered this question

Michael Martion
Michael Martion, Owner at StartRight Accounting (Insignia Accounting & Consulting)

Market Research

Phil Joel answered this question

Can someone recommend how to draft a web service agreement?

Hi Jess,

I would structure your Agreement so that you have a Services Agreement and then a separate Work Order or State of Work. The Services Agreement contains all your legal T&C's that you would generally negotiate once with the client and that becomes the Master which future SOW's refers to. SOW's are used for each separate pieces of work to separate out commercial matters from the T&C's. Typically Services Agreement will cover topics that James already mentioned but also other sections such as Limitation of Liability (never have uncapped liability), Confidentiality, Intellectual Property, Termination.

Phil Joel answered this question

Brent Hall
Brent Hall, CEO at HelloMedical

Accounting

Pros and cons of capitalising software development costs?

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

Phil Joel answered this question

Will paywalls across Fairfax change media consumption habits?

Hi guys,

it hasn't changed my habit. I simply delete my cookies and Fairfax thinks I'm a new user and I'm good for another 30 articles.

Phil Joel answered this question

Gino Lancaster
Gino Lancaster, Business Partner at Red Planet Design ~ Digital Marketing Company

Sales and Marketing

Ever engaged a service provider from a cold calling telemarketer?

Hi Gino,

We haven't taken on any service providers from a cold call. I think most people do not want to be sold to which is why Social Media is a great way to make the initial connections and build relationships. Over time, these relationships will turn into actual business (whether directly or indirectly) but it does take time.

Phil Joel answered this question

Peter Jones
Peter Jones, Founder at LinkSmart

Government Grants

Do you have contacts in Government who help small businesses?

Hi Peter,

I do not have any direct contacts but I would recommend that you contact Pattens. They specialise in Governments Grants and R&D Tax Concession.

Phil Joel answered this question

Phil Joel
Phil Joel, Director at SavvySME

Cloud Computing

What is the best way to back up my Google docs?

Good question. It could have been modified by somebody else but I don't know for sure. Thanks for your suggestion. I only use the cloud version to edit online. I found this Spanning backup which looks like a good solution to automatically backup Google docs.

Phil Joel answered this question

Brent Hall
Brent Hall, CEO at HelloMedical

Accounting

Should I use an accounting firm or independent contractor?

Brent,
Obviously there's a difference in terms of service, ability to scale and price. I don't know your business model nor your financial position but as a startup, I'd be looking at trying to get the best of both worlds by employing a small independent professionals initially and then when you get to the next phase then consider using somebody bigger. I had a consulting business previously and I just used small firms. When I sold my company, the due diligence process required the books to be audited so that's when it was performed by a larger firm (which the acquiring company chose). Obviously if you need specific advice around some of the matters you mentioned then you will likely need to hire specialists in those areas. 
This will work out better as you don't pay premium rates for everyday tasks.

Phil Joel answered this question

What is your favorite app and why?

Google Analytics dashboard on my iPhone.

Phil Joel answered this question

Kealey Nutt
Kealey Nutt, Director at Eleven & Twelve

Offline and Direct Marketing

How do you pitch a creative idea to a client?

Hi Kealey,
I am not in exactly the same field but when I was in IT consulting I would target my prospects by profiling them - understanding their core business and understanding where their challenges and opportunities are. You can actually get a lot of these from their Annual Report, the media and people who may have dealt with them previously. They could be also people who have consulted to them or could be their either clients or even suppliers. Once we had enough information on them, we would build a client / account plan. There are a lot of Sales methodologies out there that can help you with this - TAS, Holden, SPIN etc. The main purpose of the Sales Plan is to keep you focused and progressing your opportunity. We would identify the various stakeholders; what they were responsible for. We also look at the competitor landscape currently servicing the client as no doubt we would cross paths with them at some stage. We would also look at our own core capability and how they line up with the clients' problems. If there is a good match then we know that we have something compelling for them.
In terms of getting into the client, I don't believe there is a single answer. You'll have to look at your own network to see if there is way to get a warm introduction or referral. You can cold-call but it is a black art and it is not for everyone. It requires a lot of skills and persistence to get passed the gatekeeper. If you want to do this then my advice is to try and get the direct number of the person you're trying to call and then call them at around 6pm (their PA is not likely going to be there then). You will probably get one shot at it so you need to be well prepared. Good luck.

Phil Joel answered this question

Henrik Larsen
Henrik Larsen, Director at IePlus Pty Ltd

Risk Management

What backup recovery measures do you have for your business?



That's a very good question Henrik. From my experience, this usually falls into the too-hard basket as there are always other higher priority issues to deal with.

At SavvySME, all of our Applications are hosted which puts the responsibility back with the providers such as Google, Dropbox, Xero, Github.

We pay them a subscription fee for this feature which I think people will only appreciate when a disaster occurs. If we were to build this feature ourselves, it would have been costly and detracted us from our primary focus. 

Other businesses that have on-premise systems that cannot be hosted would need to seriously look into this otherwise they are leaving themselves exposed.
Will be interesting to see how others are approaching this.

Phil Joel answered this question

What does a project management organisational chart look like in IT?

Hi Emily, I am assuming you're asking what a typical IT project structure looks like. Depending on the size of the project, this can vary significantly. For smaller IT projects (up to say 20 people), you'll typically find a PM, business analysts, designer and developers supported by IT infrastructure team (helpdesk, networking etc). On larger projects, you will find additional roles such as Change Managers, Test Managers, DBAs, Testers, Project Administrator, etc.

Phil Joel answered this question

Do you know a good expert for CRM/Workflow/Practice Management?

Hi Roland,
The industry leader for cloud based CRM is Salesforce. Their pricing plan starts at $5 / user / month. I have used Microsoft Dynamics which is now cloud based. I am not sure what their pricing is. The look and feel is similar to Microsoft Outlook which makes it easy for users to adopt.
I came across runmyprocess.com recently which could be a solution for workflow management. I haven't used this one so can't vouch for it. 

Phil Joel answered this question

Robin Dickinson
Robin Dickinson, Owner at RAD International

Accounting

Is accounting software such as MYOB, Xero or Saasu an overkill?

Hi Robin, that's an interesting question. I think the key is not so much about the accounting software but about the system (software + process) that is required. 
It is good practice to have a proper system (software + process) in place. What I find with adhoc "accounting" is that sometimes I'll make an effort to file and keep track of my accounts when I am in the mood but most of the time I am more tempted to do something else. This obviously causes issues over time so I would suggest it is better to get into a rhythm. This makes it easier to reconcile the accounts, file for the BAS and tax submission later on.
Having an accounting software to do this obviously makes the task simpler.

Phil Joel answered this question

What are the pros and cons of moving from Gmail to Google Apps?

Hi Roland, there are many advantages in going to Google Apps. For instance, at SavvySME we used it because it is a great solution to have our email hosted by Google. Our team use the collaboration feature in Google docs extensively. Our Dev team work from different locations so it is a great tool to share and collaborate. It is not feature rich like Microsoft Office but it is good enough for our purposes. We also use Google Drive to store our documents. We can access these from anywhere in the world. We have set it up so that everyone in the company automatically gets access to the same information. There is a cost of $5 / per user / month in using Google Apps. I use gmail as my personal email to keep it separated from work.

Phil Joel answered this question

Which Asian language should I pick to be proficient in?

I don't believe one has to be proficient in an Asian language to be successful in IT. It obviously helps if you can communicate with the rest of the IT team in their preferred languages. In fact, we built this website using people from all over the world and I am certain we don't speak all their languages :-) But if I were to pick a language that would come in handy for IT, I would say Hindi followed by Mandarin.

Phil Joel answered this question

Is cloud computing the way of the future?

That is a great question Emily. I believe more and more business applications will move to the Cloud. We have seen this with the likes of Salesforce for CRM, Xero for accounting, etc. But Cloud Computing may not be perfect for every scenario. For instance, if an organisation has some unique business requirements or has some business processes that cut across multiple applications then it may not be easy in such cases. The biggest challenge when moving business applications to the Cloud will be how these applications integrate with others.

Phil Joel answered this question

Phil Joel
Phil Joel, Director at SavvySME

Cloud Computing

How can I transfer my email to google ?

This article is quite useful:

http://www.filiwiese.com/transitioning-to-a-google-apps-account/ 

Phil Joel answered this question

Henrik Larsen
Henrik Larsen, Director at IePlus Pty Ltd

Outsourcing

How do you best evaluate the skills of offshore developers?

I would assess the providers on at least the following:
- Technical Skills
- Quality assurance
- Availability of key resources
- Communications skills
- Cultural fit
- Transparency and Flexibility
- Track record
- Industry and domain experience
- Value for money
I would weight these assessment criteria based on your priority as they may vary by the nature of the work and type of project. You can then score the candidates and make an objective assessment. Hope that helps.

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