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Calling all managers and business leaders!
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Last chance to apply for up to $250,000 in government funding!Read More
When something goes horribly wrong and your business is involved it is always good to be prepared and have a plan.
“A crisis is defined as a significant threat to operations that can have a negative consequence if not handled properly.”
- Timothy Coombs -
Therefore, any threat big or small has the potential to escalate and get out of control if not handled properly, for example the United Airlines Overbooking of Passengers Incident. The crisis occurring on Sunday the 9th of April saw a 69-year-old man physically removed from the aircraft after he refused to give up his seat. This incident was recorded and uploading to Social Media channels to show the rough and unacceptable conduct of security in removing the passenger. United’s first media release was late Sunday night stating that the flight was overbooked, volunteers were requested and a passenger was removed by law enforcement. A twitter statement was then released by United Airlines over 24 hours after the incident apologising for the overbooked situation but not the treatment of the passenger. After investigation, the Chicago Department of Aviation stated that the actions taken were not in accordance with operating procedures and were not appropriate. Since then an official apology has been made and a confidential settlement.
This incident highlighted the need for businesses to address crisis’s immediately and apologise if in the wrong. Every business should have a Crisis Management Plan in place in preparation for any possible crisis.
Crisis Management Plan:
1. Determine what and where a possible crisis may occur and who will be in charge
- Identify possible crisis situations
- Create multiple crisis response plans
- Select a small team of key executives and PR personnel to be in charge of the response
2. Train chosen Management Team and staff in communication, speaking and key messages
- Create a key message to present to the media, consumers and post on social media channels to ensure consistent information.
- Prepare staff to speak effectively to the media
- Create and learn a key message/response to the issue
- Choose a key individual to address the media in public/TV
3. What monitoring systems will be put in place
- Have an establish and growing social media community
- Monitor website, social media and internet comment references to determine the public’s view point.
4. Develop immediate responses
- Time is needed to investigate, analyse and review the situation so have some general statements for the media prepared to allow for time to get the situation under control and determine what went wrong.
5. Analyse Crisis Management
- Review the situation, the time it took to get the situation under control and the damage to the business and its reputation.
- Review the Crisis Management Plan and determine where the business did well and where improvements can be made or avoided.
A crisis can come at any time, therefore measures need to be in place to avoid them from happening and if unavoidable a plan to manage the crisis. Take time to create a Crisis Management Plan for the business using the outline above and be as detailed as possible.
Engaging with your customers successfully through Strategic Marketing is crucial for any business but especially for entrepreneurs and small businesses.
Customer engagement is the repetitive interaction between customers and a brand that build and strengthen brand recognition and preference. This association allows for a brand to become the product of choice by consumers allowing for competitive advantage within the market. Engagement has found to be most popular when the product or service has been personalised to specific individuals as it makes the customer feel unique and their purchase appreciated.
Coke has created a very successful personal engagement connection with their consumers through the Share a Coke campaign where coke bottles were printed with personalised names. Unsure of the times, as social media was only still new, Share a Coke focused mainly on TV but quickly found that the excitement and word-of-mouth from consumers was mainly on social media. This then opened the doors for branded social media campaigns globally, allowing for consumers to go offline to find their personalised product and then go back online (social media) to share with all their friends. This campaign resulted in a 6.8% global increase on Coke’s Facebook page and an increase of 2.5% increase in total sales. This campaign resulted in a positive customer response with an increase brand awareness and active search for the personalised names of the customers.
Why Coca Cola Succeeded:
- Made their consumers feel important and valued with the personalisation of bottles
- Made a personal connection
- Shared consumer content on Social Media and Advertising platforms
- Created large amounts of word-of-mouth through successful marketing
How can small businesses do this:
- When sending products, include a personalised letter to the customer
- Personalised replies to customers on all communication and social media platforms
- Posting photos of your consumers using the product on your social media
- Listen to your customers and ensure you respond to their requests
- Promote customer loyalty as two-way
- Increased consumer brand awareness
- Increased word-of-mouth
- Creation of a relationship between your business are your consumers and target market
- Increase of sales
Whether your business is as big as Coca Cola or is only in the early stages of business it is important to remember your customers and ensure that your products, services and communications are personalised in order to create a high level of consumer engagement.
The Federal Budget unveiled almost two weeks ago proved that the Federal Coalition are shifting their view from big enterprise to small business driving Australia’s economic future. It was a budget with a range of wins for small business, specifically those with a turnover of less than $10 million and if the measures are passed and can be retained over the next decade, they’ll have a huge positive impact on the success of our businesses.
1. Reduced Tax Rate
Over the next decade, the Federal Government will reduce the tax burden on small businesses by reducing the tax rate to 27.5% immediately for businesses with a turnover of $10 million or under and by 2026, reducing it to 25% for all small business with turnovers up to $1 billion. The tax reduction works as a slider bringing all small business onto an equal playing field over the next ten years.
2. Unincorporated Small Business Tax Discount
Businesses (not companies) with a turnover of less than $5 million will receive an additional 8% discount on their tax bill with the maximum discount available sitting at $1,000. Over the next decade this discount will expand to a final discount of 16%. The government estimates that around 2.3 businesses will have access to this discount each year.
3. Increased Tax Concessions
Existing tax concessions will be become more freely available as the government increases the threshold from $2 million to $10 million. The tax thresholds businesses will have access to include:
- Simplified depreciation rules, including immediate tax deductibility for asset purchases costing less than $20,000 until 30 June 2017
- Simplified trading stock rules, giving them the option to avoid end of year stocktake if the value of their stock has changed by less than $5,000;
- A simplified method of paying PAYG instalments calculated by the ATO, which removes the risk of under or over estimating PAYG instalments and the resulting penalties that may be applied;
- The option to account for GST on a cash basis and pay GST instalments as calculated by the ATO;
- Other tax concessions currently available to small businesses, such as fringe benefits tax (FBT) exemptions (from 1 April 2017 to align with the FBT year); and
A trial of simpler business activity statements (BAS), reducing GST compliance costs, with a full roll-out from 1 July 2017.
4. Access to financing sources
Asset backed financing will now be given the same tax treatment as conventional financing. This type of financing is suited to infrastructure support or development and large, long-term projects.
So there you have it – the benefits for small business outlined! Scott Morrison told The Australian that people “instinctively” saw that a strong small business would mean conditions were better for workers and the broader economy and given just how valuable the small business sector is to our economy, it’s about time. We as small businesses are responsible for the employment of over 3 million people and contribute $340 to our economy each year.
Backbone of Australia? We like to think so.
If you have any questions or would like to share your thoughts about the budget, please feel free to get in touch with us.
Copyright is defined as “a form of intellectual property that protects the original expression of ideas. It enables creators to manage how their content is being used” (Copyright Agency 2017).
Unlike a patent or a trademark, copyright is an automatic legal right given to the creator the moment the work is created. It does not have to be legally documented or approved, only created. There have been many breaches of copyright throughout the years the major issues are in relation to art, music and literary. This does not occur to as many physical creations (inventions) as they would have been patented or trademarked by their creators.
It is important to also take note that there are exceptions to the rules of copyright which include: research or study, review, satire, news reporting, public art etc. These exceptions are allowed due to the piece of work not being replicated or taken but reviewed, analysed or discussed.
How long does your copyright lasts?
Copyright duration relies on several factors; time of creation, date of publication and death of creator.
- Published, created or a death before 1955, the copyright has expired.
- As of 2005 the limit on copyright material extended from 50 years to 70 years after the death of the creator.
- Resale loyalties also have a limited of 70 years after the death of the creator.
- Refer to Copyright Agency for more information
For example, the use of images not being referenced or classified as “free”, “stock” or information not referenced creates a breach in copyright. It is crucial when you are representing your business through blog posts you refer your readers to where you got your ideas and images, to give credit where credit is due. If you fail to do so there is an opening for conflict and possible law suit for taking someone else’s work as your own.
To avoid conflict, when you have researched a topic make sure you link a key word to the writer or website you got your idea off, to both credit them and to also direct your readers to more information on the topic. Regarding images, either take your own photos, use someone else’s photo while both linking and crediting or visit stock photo websites.
Stock photo websites:
If the necessary steps are taken in referencing, crediting or using free images there should be no risk of you or your company breaching copyright while creating a colourful and interesting brand for your business.
How often do you read the paper in the morning, come across a social issue and want to, so very badly, write a letter to the editor explaining your viewpoint and justifying it to the last discrepancy? It’s a feeling that most of you reading this will know on some level and some of you may have even done it. But how do you feel about doing it when your name is publicly tied to your business? Do you feel the same way? Do you have that same passion in wanting your voice to be heard? For a lot of CEO’s, it turns out the answer is yes. The question is – are you one of them?
Harvard Business School professor Mike Toffel and his coauthor Aaron Chatterji, have identified this phenomenon and labelled it “CEO Activism”. Corporate executives are increasingly speaking out about social and environmental issues not related to their business activities and it is doing interesting things.
Firstly, it is influencing public opinion on an issue – when the ‘public’ already has a positive affinity for the executive or company. The professors conducted a study on public support for a law in Indiana that allowed businesses to discriminate against gay and lesbian customers as a matter of religious freedom. They were surveyed and 50% of the respondents said they supported it. However, this decreased to just 40% when they were informed that Apple CEO Tim Cook opposed it. Interestingly, they both preceded and followed these questions up with a question about interest in Apple products. It rose on a five-point scale from 2.7 to 3.02.
That leads us into the second point, that yes – CEO Activism can influence public perception of a business. In a study carried out by Global Strategy Group it was revealed that 26 to 30 year olds are 20% more likely to purchase from companies whose social political stance mirrors their own. Conversely, when a company does not share the same social political stance as someone in the 56 or older age group, they are 16.2% less likely to purchase from the company.
That information really leaves us with one question for CEOs – with that kind of impact, is CEO Activism something you really want to dabble in?
Ask yourself these questions and you should develop a clear idea…
Reflect on your customer – are your values and opinions likely to be aligned?
If yes, then it could have a very positive impact. If no, it could be detrimental to business and its time to start searching for a new market.
Consider your corporate values – does your opinion support and reflect these?
If yes, that’s great because people cannot accuse of hypocrisy. If no, then perhaps your company is not a vehicle to share personal opinions.
Ask yourself why – why do you want to share your opinion?
If it’s to make a change, difference or impact, then you have the right motive. If it’s because it’s popular and you want to squeeze that extra brand loyalty out of your customers who share the same stance, don’t do it. It’s a recipe for disaster and while it may work once or twice, three times the charm is just unheard of when it comes to non-genuine activism.
So there you have it, if those were positive answers, then follow in the footsteps of Qantas CEO Alan Joyce, Apple CEO Tim Cook, PayPal CEO Dan Schulman and H&M CEO Karl Johan Persson. Voice your opinions and see what power your brand can conjure. But if they were negative answers, then leave it to the big guys.
How do you feel about CEO Activism? Do you think there’s a place for it in the Australian business landscape?
In this day and age with social media being a huge part of our lives it is important that you aren’t just using it for socialising but also for information, learning and inspiration. With many successful entrepreneurs sharing glimpses into their lives, businesses and how they found success, you are guaranteed to find some golden lessons that will help you on your journey.
The founder of the Virgin group which controls over 400 companies internationally is a must follow on social media. Richard shows a glimpse into his personal life, as well as business tips, great quotes, must see documentaries and lifestyle guides for entrepreneurs to ensure more success.
Facebook Richard Branson
YouTube Richard Branson
Computer Programmer and Internet Entrepreneur who has revolutionised social networking and social media across the world. Mark’s social media takes you through the adventure and excitement that is his life. From meeting word leaders to new technologies, continuing to inspire your entrepreneurial journey.
Facebook Mark Zuckerberg
The Huffington Post
Author, Columnist, Actress, Business Woman and the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of The Huffington Post. Arianna’s social media pages introduce a world of effective leadership, time management, importance of sleep, work-life balance and empowerment of women in business.
Facebook Arianna Huffington
YouTube Arianna Huffington
Start With Why
Author, Motivational Speaker and Marketing Consultant, Simon Sinek changed the way marketing is perceived with his Start With Why, inspiring entrepreneurs and businesses to change the way they market to their consumers. Simon’s social media explores positive thinking, leadership tips and business quotes, continuously changing the way you think about business.
Facebook Simon Sinek
Technology Executive, Activist, Author, COO of Facebook and Founder of Leanin.org, Sheryl is breaking new ground for women in business, becoming the first woman to serve on Facebook’s Board. Sheryl’s social media welcomes you on her journey promoting technology, social networking and women in business.
Entrepreneur, Programmer and Co-Founder and CEO of Instagram introducing a new form of social media built on photos and instant feedback. Kevin’s social media shares both his personal and professional goals, technology safety and his love of cycling, continuing to show where hard work and passion can take you.
Facebook Kevin Systrom
Entrepreneur, Activist, Investor, Author and Co-Founder of Reddit.com, changing the way of social news, reflecting the ratings given by the readers and discussions on topics held. Alexis allows you to take a glimpse into his personal life showing his passion in tennis, motivational speaking, continual learning and changing the world for the better.
Facebook Alexis Ohanian
Business Magnate, Author, Entrepreneur, Philanthropist and Founder of Microsoft, the largest PC software company in the world, making roughly $10 million a day. Bill uses his social media to share statistics, investment opportunities, philanthropic movements and the importance of vaccinations.
Facebook Bill Gates
Computer Scientist, Internet Entrepreneur and Co-Founder of Google Inc., Larry revolutionised easy access to information on a grand scale. Instead of minimal, unorganised information and books, Google introduced readily available organised access to specific information. Larry uses his social media pages to share business tips and quotes and the amazing world that is Google Inc.
Facebook Larry Page (Co-Founder of Google, Inc.)
The Messenger Group
Author, Entrepreneur, Founder of The Messenger and Founder and Editor-in-Chief of The Collective. The Messenger Group has expanded rapidly from its humble beginnings in 2001, now including many different aspects of business including, publishing, events, marketing consulting, homewares and a lifestyle website. Lisa uses her social media platforms to encourage entrepreneurs to push the boundaries and cause disruption within business to creating bigger and better things.
Facebook Lisa Messenger
These ten Entrepreneurs share a glimpse into their passions, plans, personal lives and businesses allowing their audience to share in the experience and learn lessons along the way. Each of these Entrepreneurs began small, like all start-ups and with hard work, determination and a good idea, have created these amazing companies leading us into the future.
As running a business can be crazy busy we want to share with you the 10 best apps for business to improve productivity. These apps will help you manage and improve time management, social media, finance and staff management.
Asana is a wonderful tool that allows for teams to effectively allocate tasks, create to-do’s, reminders, due dates, messenger and extra notes to complete tasks in record time. This app allows teams and manger to monitor progress of major goals broken down into achievable tasks on the go to ensure completion.
Social Media Management
Plann is perfect for Small Businesses, allowing them to pre-design, plan, visualise and schedule social media posts for Instagram which ensure that posts and branding are kept consistent. Plann’s format allows for drag and drop, compose captions, schedule release and save hashtags allowing entrepreneurs to design content weeks in advance and tweak until perfect.
Finance and accounts management
QuickBooks is the number one go to accounting app for Small Businesses as it welcomes the opportunity of running your business accounts from anywhere. QuickBooks allows for easy access to your businesses profit and loss statements, expenses, invoices and account balances. This app allows for Small Business owners to have more control over their accounts but with the freedom of anytime, anywhere.
Store and share files
Dropbox is the best program that allows for files to be stored and shared online from any technology platform to numerous individuals allowing for easy access, multiple users and a decreased risk of losing work.
MailChimp is changing the way of email marketing as it allows for mass marketing, tracking of subscribers and campaigns and creates reports to see the progress of your marketing. This mass email marketing tools allows emails to be personalised and sent to all your customers allowing you to stay front of mind with a positive brand image.
Graphic design and Photo Editing
Canva is one of the best, easy to use graphic design tools which allows for small businesses to create beautiful professional designs with minimal to no cost. With over a million layouts, stock photos and illustrations available to choose from, it has become an easy task to design a professional, flawless and memorable design for your business.
Deputy is the new simplified staff management app that allows you to manage all your staff and timetables easily from anywhere. This application has become the solution for employee scheduling, time and attendance, team communication, tasks lists and payroll. With these business aspects, so readily available it has made paying staff, covering and swapping shifts and organising team discussions easy.
Evernote is the go to application to organise and manage your professional and private projects that you are juggling. This app allows you to take notes, create to-do lists and save any great websites and then have them available for access over multiple devices.
Meeting Pad will soon become your new best friend as it is specifically designed to make your business meetings easier with meeting lists, actions, attendees, minutes, camera and recorder. All these aspects that are available ensure that your meetings run effectively and efficiently and all information and topics of conversation are recorded.
LinkedIn is the new social media of choice for professionals as it allows for individuals to upload their training and credentials and connect with other like minded individuals to increase social networking and business connections. This network allows for job seeking, industry updates, news and allows you to build on your professional brand.
When used properly these apps have been found to be the most productive and useful apps for small business owners. These applications allow you to run your business mainly stress-free and save time where possible.
Many have written about time management, how to save time, make time and use time, but have you ever actually improved your time management after reading these pieces? After watching Laura Vanderkam’s Ted Talk on time management it is clear that time cannot be manipulated or tempted. But it can be prioritised.
Good time Management can be one of the most difficult things for an entrepreneur to grasp. With so many things to do, so many things to think about and so much happening at once, time management becomes essential. So, here’s our basic guide to getting your time management right, so your business performs better and you get your sanity back!
If it matters, put it on the list. If it doesn’t matter, scratch it.
Laura talked about the importance of making time your own. You own your day and you must spend it the way you see fit. If it is a beautiful day, slip in a beach walk, don’t put off enjoying your life to tick off all your tasks on your list. Time is highly elastic and will stretch to fit in everything you want to achieve in your day if you prioritise.
If it’s an automatic task, scratch it.
Your to-do list should never include tasks that you would complete whether they are on the list or not. While you are at it, all the tasks that you are always putting off and know are never going to complete, scratch them off too. Your to-do list should be ruthless, and only include tasks that are essential and have a set deadline.
If you don’t get around to it, move it.
A to-do-list needs to be a moving beast. You need to be able to reflect at the end of the day and prepare the list for tomorrow. Don’t be afraid to shift things, but only do it when you have just cause – if you do it out of laziness nothing will ever work.
Give it a big tick.
Half of the difficulty when it comes to time management is we try to do too much and end up not doing anything at all. This in turn means we never feel a sense of satisfaction and completion. The first thing they teach you at boarding school is to get up and make your bed in the morning. Why? It means you start the day with accomplishment – and it makes it easier to keep on going.
Be ruthless with your time, get all the boring tasks that are not on your to-do list done first so that they are out of the way. Then, hit your to-do list in a time or importance prioritised order and slowly tick one job off after the other. Make sure your tasks are achievable, if they are too big, break them down into manageable steps, which is especially important when doing project work.
So with a few simple and achievable changes to your time management, getting more out of your eight hours becomes realistic.
“We don’t build the lives we want by saving time, we build the lives we want and then time saves itself”- Laura Vanderkam
There are 168 hours in your week, subtract 40 hours for work, then subtract 56 hours for sleeping, that leaves you with 72 hours to spend your time how you want. - Laura Vanderkam
Last week, CEO of Yahoo, Marissa Mayer announced something major on her personal Tumblr blog. This year she won’t be accepting her annual bonus or equity stock. Instead, she’ll be redistributing both work perks to her employees. Why? Because when Yahoo faced a major security breach in 2014 they didn’t disclose this to the public until 2016 and she feels her management team – under her guidance – didn’t respond quickly enough, therefore seeing herself as undeserving of the bonus.
The security breach has already cost Yahoo $350 million and there are over 40 pending lawsuits against the company so as a business, it has copped punishment. But the unique thing about Marissa’s approach is she is making it personal. She is accepting personal responsibility for what happened under her leadership. So does this approach, the personal, connected approach to leadership make a business better?
Traditionally, leadership positions like CEO roles and top level management have had a stereotype of hard-nosed, non-emotional, impersonal personality characteristics. For a long time, they were seen to drive the good cars, have a closed office door and interact only with those they deem as their peers. Most people reading this would recognize this from their early career days, we’re sure! This leadership style generates a corporate culture with a strong hierarchy and a divide. Employees don’t have any buy-in into the greater purpose or vision for the business and their work becomes uninspired. This can’t possibly cultivate any initiative amongst a team?
So does a more involved, relatable, personal approach improve performance? There’s not a lot of research to back this up. Completely conversely, a study from 2010-2016 found that CEOs of tech companies actually perform better when they have narcissistic personalities than those companies led by less-dominant, less-entitled CEOs.
However, another study of 36 companies across a range of industries found that higher-ambition CEOs assume personal responsibility when things are bad and give collective credit when they are good. These companies also had exceptional employee satisfaction and great individual leadership.
Then another study identified that humility is a major factor when creating a great culture with higher performance compared to other businesses in the same industry. Essentially, the more humble the CEO, the more engaged, hard-working, collaborative and committed the employees from top-level, mid-level managers to general staff.
While little empirical evidence can tell us about the direct correlation between bottom line performance and a more personal approach to leadership, there is a strong indication that having a more honest, humble, personal leadership style does build better businesses.
So how can you change your focus and try an approach like this?
Care about employee engagement
Engaged employees actually want to work towards the company’s goals and contribute to the vision. To create fantastic employee engagement, start by knowing your company values and by acting them out yourself. If you work with these values, the team will follow. Listen to your employees, ask for feedback on decisions, processes and your performance as an employer. Make the changes that matter most and they’ll respond to your commitment to making them happy by, in turn, working towards the company goals.
Celebrate the wins – with the team
Make business wins a celebration of the team. If you won a major project, celebrate with everyone, not just those involved. If you have record product sales across a period, celebrate with the whole team including your manufacturing team because every contribution counts. By rewarding everyone with positivity, it inspires them to take ownership of their work – to perform better because they know it matters.
Find the time to get to know your employees
Don’t have a closed door approach to your staff. Get to know them on an individual level. Understand what their role is, what their strengths are and conversely, know their weaknesses. You’ll make better business decisions if you know your team and what makes them tick.
Don’t be afraid of trying new things and moving out of your comfort zone. Our leadership coaching and mentoring services could help you if you’d like guidance, because by making a few small changes, you can improve performance hugely.