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Doing market research for your business

Market research is key to developing relevant and effective business strategies as it helps you understand your industry, customers, competitors and market trends. Undertaking both primary and secondary market research can allow you to boost your business’ success if you utilise the information to improve your product/service and marketing strategies.

There are a variety of sources you can use to begin your research. To research areas such as your customers, competitors, industry and location, you can conduct primary research through things like:

Meanwhile, useful secondary research can be conducted through:

Identify the best research methods for your goals and whether you will conduct the research yourself or if you will want to use a professional company. It is also important to consider the time frame and appropriate budget for your research. When conducting research questions and strategies, make sure that you are open-minded and don’t let your preconceived opinions or preferences affect your tactics.

Posted on 11 December '19, under business. No Comments.

Pros and cons of hiring an intern 

With so many eager school-leavers looking for employment opportunities, hiring an intern can seem like a good way to offer work experience to someone without the risks of a long-term commitment of a regular employee. However, you should consider whether hiring an intern would be the best move for your business. Here are some pros and cons you may run into:

Pros:

Potential employment: If you feel that the intern fits into the workplace well, you could offer them employment later on. This is often a smoother introduction to employment as they are already trained and familiar with the business. However, you are not obligated to offer them a job if you don’t feel they are a good fit.

Social media insight: Most interns are young and tech-savvy and could offer important insights into the world of social media for the new generation. They could help you devise relatable, trendy content for your social media that you may not have considered.

Cons:

Inexperienced: If you’re looking for some to take on roles that require knowledge and experience, an intern may not be the right choice as they often have limited work experience in career based roles.

Less flexible: If an intern is still studying, then the hours they can offer you can be limited and variable depending on their timetable. As well as this, when exam periods arrive they could have an exam on a day they would normally work, or may ask for time off to study.

Posted on 4 December '19, under business. No Comments.

What to include in a business partnership agreement

Entering into a business partnership can come with conflicts and misunderstandings between you and your new associate. This is why having a written agreement that clearly outlines your rights and responsibilities is important for maintaining a healthy business relationship between partners. Here are some key areas to include in your partnership agreement:

Posted on 27 November '19, under business. No Comments.

CGT concessions for shares and trust interests

For taxpayers wishing to access the small business capital gains tax (CGT) concessions for shares in a company or interests in a trust, they must first meet the standard requirements as well as further conditions in place for such entities.

A taxpayer can apply for small business CGT concessions to lower or dismiss their capital gain from the disposal of CGT assets. If the CGT asset is a share in a company or interest in a trust, further conditions that will need to be met are:

The share or interest must satisfy the modified active asset test which looks through to the activities and assets of the underlying entities. The asset of an underlying entity will only be an active asset if the previous conditions have been met

Posted on 25 November '19, under business. No Comments.

How to prevent non-paying clients

Running a business is hard enough without having to chase up payments from your customers. Here are some measures you can take to prevent yourself from having to deal with the profitability imbalance, negative client relation, and legal ordeals that come with chasing up owed debt.

Research the customer:
Before you enter into an agreement with a client or other businesses, make sure that you know who you’re dealing with and do some research. There are government certified websites available to check whether a company is registered and legitimate. Find out about their history, make sure they are reliable, still in operation and to look for any bad reviews and other people’s experiences with them.

Have a signed contract:
Regardless of how much you trust your client, it is still a good idea to have a written contract in place so that everyone is on the same page and you have evidence to refer to in the case of a dispute or confusion. The contract should consist of the terms and agreements, payment schedule, preferred payment method, the exact product or service to be completed and late payment policy.

Have a good invoicing system:
Make sure that you invoice customers quickly with professional and easy to understand statements. This helps you keep track of your customers and helps your customers understand the payment requirements. You can set payment terms and policies to ensure that you will be paid how you and your customer agreed.

Posted on 13 November '19, under business. No Comments.

Moving your business online 

In order to keep up with the growing demands of digital accessibility and convenience, many businesses decide to partially or completely move their business online. This can help with extending customer reach beyond the geographical boundaries of a physical business, offering customers easy access to your products or services, scaling and growth, and reducing costs on rent, staff, and marketing. Here are some steps to get started on building the digital side of your business.

Set up a website:
Your potential clients will often be getting their first impression of your business from your website, so it is important that you have an effectively executed layout, user interface and design. On top of your products or services, make sure your website includes key information about your business, such as an about page, contact details, FAQs, social media links, or call to action prompt.

Build a social media presence:
If you’re not already on social media platforms, or if your social media presence is weak, focus on creating engaging and relevant social media content for your audience. This can help you build a stronger relationship with your clients, share content they would find interesting and useful, and establish a brand image.

Keep customers updated:
Clients can get frustrated and feel uncared for if they are not told about important changes to your business that will affect them. Whether you’re moving partially or completely online, it is important that you keep your clients updated. This can be done through a simple email, having a sign in-store, and verbally telling them when you interact with them.

Posted on 7 November '19, under business. No Comments.

The ATOs ABN cleanup 

The ATO has announced that in October 2019, they will be focusing on the bulk Australian business number (ABN) cancellation program. This program will be cancelling ABNs that the ATO is confident are inactive in an attempt to create cohesion within the Australian Business Register (ABR).

There are a few areas the ATO looks into to find indications of inactive ABNs, such as;

In the event the ATO mistakenly cancels your ABN that is still in use, you can;

Last year, a Treasury consultation paper that examined a reform of the ABN system suggested periodic renewals for ABNs to ensure information is up-to-date, as well as renewal fees. This was suggested to remind ABN holders to review registrar rules and any changes that might be implemented.

As business data is used for various reasons, such as emergency services and government agencies during times of natural disaster to identify where financial disaster relief may be needed or other agencies when assessing potential receivers of grants, it is important for the ABR to be up to date with active ABNs.

Posted on 30 October '19, under business. No Comments.

Contractor obligations for business owners

Contractors bring with them different obligations that business owners need to comply with. Employers that incorrectly classify employees and contractors can face hefty penalties and charges as well as claims for entitlements and superannuation contributions. It must be established whether they are employees or contractors to get tax and super requirements right.

When hiring an individual contractor, the contractor may wish to enter a voluntary agreement for owners to deduct PAYG withholding amounts from their payments. This arrangement helps the contractor manage their tax by making contributions towards their expected income tax liability. Employers will need to check whether a contractor is eligible for super guarantee and if they can choose a super fund. If so, employers will need to;

Business owners will generally need to withhold 47% (from 1 July 2017) from payments to contractors that are a company, partnership or trust, and do not provide an ABN. Employers are also required to give a completed “PAYG payment summary – withholding where ABN not quoted” to the contractor with their net payment, include the payments in the “PAYG withholding where ABN not quoted – annual report” and lodge the report with the ATO by 31 October.

Posted on 23 October '19, under business. No Comments.

Knowing when to cut a product

Businesses looking to improve their profitability may need to consider cutting under-performing products and services that are unnecessarily draining resources. It might be time to discontinue if a product fits the following scenarios:

When deciding whether to discontinue a product, there are a few ways you can examine your services and make the decision that is best for your business.

80/20 rule:
This rule states that businesses should focus their attention on the 20% of the products that generate 80% of revenue. Using this principle, companies should compile a shortlist of the products and services that bring in the most profit and scrutinise the products that fall short of this mark.

Trial run:
Try going a week to a month (no longer) removing all promotion and marketing for a product. This can help the business to visualise what it would look like without that service and see if there are any clients who miss it.

Harvesting:
Cutting the costs associated with the business or increasing the price of the product without increasing production or operation costs allows the business to continue generating revenue on a failing service. Once the product ceases to provide a positive cash-flow, it can then be discontinued.

Posted on 16 October '19, under business. No Comments.

What employment type is best for your business?

Each employment type has different entitlements and obligations that must be met by both the employer and employee. Before hiring a new worker, take the time to look at what each employment type would mean for you and your business.

Full-time and Part-time employees:
Though both permanent employees, a full-time employee will work an average of 38 hours a week whether as a part-time employee would work on average less than 38 hours a week, usually at regular times. The specific working hours in a week are agreed upon in the employee contract. Under the National Employment Standards (NES), there are 10 minimum entitlements that need to be provided to employees;

Casual employees:
A casual employee does not have a definitive commitment from an employer about how long they will be employed for or the days/hours they will work. A casual employee doesn’t get paid sick or annual leave, can end employment without notice, has a higher pay rate than equivalent full-time or part-time employees due to ‘casual loading’, two days unpaid carer’s leave and two days unpaid compassionate leave per occasion, five days unpaid family and domestic violence leave in a 12-month period and unpaid community service leave.

Posted on 9 October '19, under business. No Comments.

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