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Types of business structures and which is best for you

An important decision to make before you start a business is what structure your business will run under. This will reflect into all facets of your business, so you should spend time understanding the implications of each structure.

Sole Proprietorship

Partnership

Company

Trust

Posted on 24 September '20, under business. No Comments.

Optimising budget for digital marketing campaigns

Maximising returns on investments is the primary goal for every business owner who invests in a marketing campaign for their brand. Learning how to properly test and troubleshoot your budget according to your business needs can help you save a failing campaign from costing you money.

Objectives
The first step to budget optimisation is being clear with the goals you are trying to achieve through this campaign. These can include generating qualified leads, driving content downloads or building awareness of your brand. Understanding your objectives can help you decide what aspect of your campaign needs more finances.

Testing
Deciding how to set a maximum and minimum spend per day on your campaign can be challenging. A two to four week testing period can help in narrowing down the range that works best to deliver the results set in your objective phase. A common strategy is to start with a mix of ad formats including sponsored content, text and message advertisements. This testing method can help in identifying the types of ads and content that provides optimal results for your brand.

Adapting your budget
Budgeting for marketing campaigns may present a range of issues even after the testing phase. It should be noted that constantly changing and adapting parts of your campaign to run smoothly is a part of digital marketing. It may help to start with a daily budget that is higher at the start of the campaign, and use these insights to then optimise your campaign and lower daily limits if required.

If your campaign is exhausting its budget too quickly, consider lowering your daily limit. If your campaign is not spending its budget, then you may need to automate your bidding option or set more competitive bids. Automated bidding aims to deliver the most results while spending your daily budget in full. This can also help to provide fast results, which can be useful if your marketing content is time-sensitive. However, this will also lead to faster spending of your budget.

Posted on 27 August '20, under business. No Comments.

Creating a business contingency plan

When business is going well, it can be easy to procrastinate planning for the bad times. However, preparing for disaster before it strikes by having a contingency plan can be the key to business survival.

A contingency plan can help businesses prepare for possible circumstances such as natural disasters, employee theft, negative publicity or staff injuries. Having a plan for these contingencies can help your business react faster to unexpected events to prevent ongoing damages, recover from disruptive events, and resume regular business operations as quickly and easily as possible. When writing a contingency plan, consider incorporating the following tactics:

Identify the risks
Think about the key risks that your business could face. This could involve researching your business market, competitors, economy trends, security threats or employment issues. It is a good idea to work with members of different departments in your business in order to foresee potential risks in all sectors.

Prioritise
Once you have identified potential risks, prioritise the ones that are most likely to affect your business. This will ensure that the most relevant issues are addressed first to provide you with a plan if they occur. One way to do this is by creating a risk assessment to identify the most pressing risks.

Create a plan
After identifying the key risks to your business, you can start drafting a contingency plan to mitigate their effects. This should include a clear guideline that outlines what to do when a contingency occurs and how to continue operating the business. The plan should also clarify employee responsibilities, key contact details, timelines of when tasks should be done, restoration processes, and existing resources that can be drawn upon to prevent damage, such as insurance coverage.

Resource assessment
Consider the resources you may need in order to resolve a contingency. This could include extra staff, insurance, PPE, or technical support. In order for the resolution process of a contingency to go smoothly, it is important that you have enough equipment and support so that you don’t have added stress and time going towards finding extra resources.

Share the plan
Once you have written a contingency plan, ensure that they are accessible to your employees and stakeholders. Be receptive to any feedback your employees or stakeholders may have about your plan as there may be room for improvement. It is also important to review your plan over time to ensure that it stays up to date.

Posted on 20 August '20, under business. No Comments.

What to consider when developing a sales strategy plan

A successful sales strategy plan will provide your business with clear priorities, goals, and outcomes that can help you increase sales.

Outline your mission and goals

What’s your business’ mission statement? What are the goals and objectives that will help you achieve this? Your mission statement should define what your business stands for and what it aims to achieve, while your goals and objectives should be aimed at executing your mission. Consider using the S.M.A.R.T. framework when developing your goals to ensure that they are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time based.

Identify your ideal customer

Knowing your ideal customer persona is crucial as it will be the basis of your marketing strategy. Assess your ideal audience by researching their demographics, needs and wants while thinking about how your products or services have to offer them. Don’t limit your demographic research to age, location, and gender, but also consider their attitudes, aspirations, and lifestyle.

Conduct a SWOT analysis

Assessing your business by using a SWOT analysis can help you identify areas to consider when developing a sales strategy plan, by addressing:

Strengths:

Weaknesses:

Opportunities:

Threats:

Posted on 13 August '20, under business. No Comments.

Growing your business with referrals

‘Word-of-mouth’ referrals may seem like an outdated concept in today’s digital age of online reviews, but a few credible and positive opinions can still go a long way when it comes to attracting new clients. Customer referrals are never guaranteed, but here are a few methods you can use to increase the number of people who will remember and improve the chances of a client recommending your business to another.

Remind customers you exist
Maintain high levels of brand awareness and make sure your customers can easily remember your business and products. Use a mailing list database and keep in touch with your clients regularly through email or social media. Make sure to update your clients (personally whenever possible) when you have special offers and new products to keep them engaged with your business.

Join communities
From professional organisations to online community groups, getting involved in different activities will give you new contacts, boost your business profile and increase your brand awareness. For example, using community hashtags on your social media posts when promoting a product will direct interested audiences to your business. Simply remaining active in such community spaces can go a long way in indirectly advertising your products and services.

Exhibit at industry events
Industry-relevant exhibits and events are a good way to increase your business’ brand awareness and meet a lot of new potential customers at once. Being active at these kinds of events (through sponsorships or networking) will keep your name in front of your current customers as well.

Use testimonials
Similar to reviews, testimonials from your existing customers can help improve your brand’s reliability and encourage loyalty and trust with your new customers. The fact that a client allows you to use their name adds credibility and serves as another kind of referral.

Ask customers for feedback regularly
Constant improvement and clear communication is key to impressing clients and increasing the chances of referrals. By soliciting suggestions from your existing clients, responding to them personally, and providing high-quality service, you can let customers know that you care about them and want to meet their needs. Establishing such a caring relationship with your customers will improve your business’ reputation as well.

Posted on 7 August '20, under business. No Comments.

JobKeeper to be extended

The Australian Government has announced that JobKeeper payments will be extended for a further six months after the initial 28 September 2020 deadline. However, the extended JobKeeper program will have substantial payment reductions compared to the original JobKeeper amounts, as well as revised eligibility requirements.

The new JobKeeper flat-rate payment after September will be reduced from $1500 per fortnight to $1200 a fortnight for eligible employees who were working an average of 20 hours per week in the four weeks before 1 March 2020. The rate for employees who were working less than 20 hours per week for the same period will be reduced to $750 a fortnight. These rates are set to apply until the end of 2020.

A further reduction in JobKeeper payments will be administered from 4 January 2021. After this date, eligible employees who were working more than 20 hours per week in the four weeks before 1 March 2021 will receive a flat rate of $1000 per fortnight, while employees who were working less than 20 hours per week for the same period will receive $650 per fortnight.

The JobKeeper extension shares a similar eligibility criteria as the initial JobKeeper program, however, it will be targeting support to businesses and not-for-profit organisations that are facing continual impacts from COVID-19. Those seeking to claim the JobKeeper extension payments must reassess their eligibility by demonstrating that they have met the decline in turnover test for the new required periods. Businesses who have experienced either one of the following will meet the decline in turnover test:

To be eligible for JobKeeper from 28 September to 3 January 2021, the decline in turnover test must be met for the June and September quarters 2020. Businesses must reassess their eligibility again in January 2021 to be eligible for JobKeeper from 4 January to 28 March 2021. To remain eligible for the March 2021 quarter, businesses will need to demonstrate that they have met the decline in turnover test in each of the previous three quarters.

The extended JobKeeper program is set to end on 28 March 2021.

Posted on 30 July '20, under business. No Comments.

The Government introduces JobTrainer and wage subsidies

The Government has introduced a $2 billion JobTrainer scheme, which aims to help businesses train or re-skill workers in Australian industries of high demand.

What is JobTrainer?

The new scheme will create 340,700 job opportunities nation-wide and will be open to recent school graduates and workers looking to re-skill in a new industry. Industries that will be covered by the JobTrainer scheme include:

The JobTrainer job positions will be distributed in proportion to unemployment levels per state, with New South Wales receiving the most training places (108,600) and the Northern Territory receiving the least (3,200).

Further subsidies for apprentices and trainees

Out of the $2 billion, $1.5 billion will be distributed to subsidising existing apprenticeships to keep workers employed and trained. Subsidies will be available to cover 50 per cent of an apprentices’ or trainee’s wages (up to $7,000 per quarter) who were employed from 1 July 2020. The Government encourages businesses to continue applying for the apprenticeship and traineeship subsidies to keep their employees working in light of Australia’s 7.4% unemployment rate.

Posted on 23 July '20, under business. No Comments.

Changes to business practices and TPAR

COVID-19 has forced businesses to adapt their practices to cater for social distancing measures and sanitary precautions. As a result, many businesses have taken on contractors to assist with these changes.

Businesses who have made payments to contractors in the last year may need to lodge a Taxable payments annual report (TPAR) by 28 August. This applies to the following contractor services:

In response to COVID-19 restrictions, providing additional cleaning and courier services to customers have become particularly popular for businesses. For example, businesses with limited access to physical stores due to social distancing restrictions may have paid contractors providing courier services to deliver goods to customers on behalf of the business. If the payments received by the business for courier or cleaning services provided by contractors amounts to 10% or more of their total GST turnover, they will be required to complete a TPAR. Businesses can still lodge a TPAR even if they don’t think they need to or if they are unsure if they meet the 10% GST turnover threshold.

Businesses providing courier or cleaning services using their existing employees and not contractors will not need to lodge a TPAR.

TPAR lodgements can be made using SBR-enabled business software, the ATO Business Portal, through a tax or BAS agent, or by ordering a Taxable payments annual report (NAT74109) paper form.

Posted on 16 July '20, under business. No Comments.

Debt financing vs equity financing

Gathering funding is a challenge that almost all business owners face at some point. Financing can come in two forms – debt financing and equity financing.

Debt financing is money that you borrow and plan to pay back within an agreed time frame and interest rate. Common forms of debt financing include bank loans, mortgages and credit cards. This may appeal to business owners that wish to maintain complete control and ownership over their business, without having to manage the expectations of investors. Debt financing also means that business owners do not have to share any profits made by the business, as their only obligation to their lender is making payments on time. As well as this, debt financing methods are usually tax-deductible, unlike private loans.

However, debt financing also has its downsides as the cost of capital is higher. Loans from official lenders such as banks typically come with interest rates that also need to be paid in addition to regular repayments. This means that your business must generate enough income to meet the requirements of the debt, which can affect cash flow and could even result in bankruptcy if the business fails and is not able to repay the debt. As well as this, new businesses may struggle to secure a bank loan, as banks often have a strict protocol regarding who can receive a loan.

Equity financing, on the other hand, is when you invest your own money or someone else’s money (usually family and friends, venture capitalists, business angels, or public floats) in your business. As a result of this, the investor of your business partially owns your business and shares the profits you make. This method of financing may be more suitable for business owners who can accept sharing their profits and not having complete ownership and control over their business.

One advantage of equity financing is having freedom of debt as repayments do not have to be made on investments. As well as this, equity financing methods can potentially expose business owners to additional funding opportunities if investors decide to provide more support for the business as it develops. However, business owners considering equity funding should also keep in mind that these methods can often put a strain on personal relationships if the financing was sourced from family and friends, depending on if the business succeeds or fails.

Posted on 9 July '20, under business. No Comments.

How to keep employees safe as they return to the workplace

Enforcing health precautions is an essential step to creating a safe workplace and giving your employees peace of mind, especially during the current pandemic. Businesses looking to invite their employees back into the office after the easing of lockdown restrictions should implement safeguards to ensure their workplace is a safe one.

Conduct a COVID-19 risk assessment

Before opening your office to employees, conduct a COVID-19 risk assessment with Safe Work Australia. A risk assessment will include an evaluation from Safe Work Australia regarding your business’:

The progression of additional business activities will also be assessed. For example, the safety of business trips when travel restrictions are lifted.

Implement cleaning processes

Invest in frequent cleaning services and processes to lower transmission risk and give your employees peace of mind. In addition to hiring a cleaning service, you can also keep your workplace safe by providing employees with disinfectant solutions for door handles, light switches and keyboards.

Other cleaning and hygiene processes to implement include:

Support your employees’ mental health

Supporting your employees’ mental health is just as important as their physical health. To create an environment that your employees feel comfortable and safe to work in, provide aid in the form of workplace flexibility, therapy and counselling services, home-to-business transportation options and financial advice. Additional services such as child-care can also be helpful to supporting your employees’ mental health.

Posted on 2 July '20, under business. No Comments.

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