News and Blog

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  • New Business Marketing Errors

    Starting a business requires confidence, a design, a way to demonstrate the value the enterprise delivers, and milestones – short-term goals that add up to long-term success.

    Every business owner or manager has made at least some of these errors.

    Read More
  • Simple ways to improve your LinkedIn profile

    If you are looking for a career change or better business recognition it pays to make your LinkedIn profile as professionally interesting and provoking as possible.

    Here are six strategies that will help:

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  • Building brand YOU

    Many service providers are one person shows with the principle doing everything from booking appointments, farming leads and emptying the wastebasket. In other words, it’s a business in which the owner is – the brand.

    So, when you’re the star attraction, how do you go about branding yourself?

    Here are some tips to help you build a personal brand.


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  • What is Management Liability Insurance?

    A common question asked by clients is: What is the difference between Management Liability and Professional Indemnity Insurance.

    Basically it is that Management Liability Insurance focuses on the 'act of running a company' whereas PI Insurance covers the 'activities' of the company. More importantly, Management Liability can cover fines or legal expenses incurred by you personally in relation to a business matter.

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  • Are You A Trusted Adviser?

    Too many business owners operate on a transaction-by-transaction basis. Think about it. A real estate agent is going to focus on the next hot lead because that’s where the income is.

    The buyer of a life insurance policy is too often viewed as a one-time transaction, when in fact these happy customers can easily become part of an ever-expanding client base. Instead of the insurance guy who sold a term life policy, you can become the client’s insurance adviser. (I can hear the howls of protest at that comment but orphan policyholder statistics bear me out.)

    Once a customer has had a successful buying experience with you or your business associates, they become prime candidates to become life-long clients – people who turn to you whether they’re buying or not.

    And you’re there to answer their questions and help them make critical decisions because you ARE their professional. This kind of stickiness is essential to building a client base.

    So, how do you turn a single transaction into a life-long professional (and friendly) business relationship? Here are some suggestions.

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  • Getting The Most From Your Marketing

    In the past, marketing channels were big pipes through which you pushed everything from direct mail pieces to newspaper adverts to radio spots to inform the public of your service or product offerings.

    This scattergun approach to selling and branding a business was unfocused, making it expensive. You may pay a wad of cash for a four-colour spread in the local newspaper but not everyone reads the paper. (Just check circulation numbers for proof.) And not everyone who sees your ad in the local press is in the market for what you’re selling. Your message is delivered to everyone and all you can do is hope for the best.

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  • Data v Intelligence

    Data is the information we see in most contact management (CRM) systems: name, title, address, occupation, phone, email, etc. There might even be some past meeting notes. It’s historical.

    Intelligence on the other hand is far more valuable. It offers insights into the client or prospect’s marketplace, their company, their competitors and their decision making process.

    Knowing a persons name and title are not enough. Do you know how long he has been at this company (or in this business)? Where did he come from? What are his personal goals and objectives? Do you know the specific projects he is working on, and what the requirements are for him to meet his objectives?

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  • Creating a Customer Advocate

    As a business owner your goal is to increase your brand’s visibility. In practice, this is best achieved through referrals from existing customers.

    Social media and review sites such as Twitter and TripAdviser have made it really easy for customers to instantly share their opinions about service and product experiences so what your customers are saying really matters. That’s why you need to be concerned about customer satisfaction and feedback.

    Any past or current customer is a potential advocate for your business, but first you need to give them something to talk about.

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  • 7 Tips to Cut Operational Costs

    Every penny counts in business. Big companies can retrench workers but what about the small business owner; the service provider with a staff of 20 and an office in a suburban service area? What’s this woman supposed to do?

    Sacking workers is like shooting yourself in the foot. And besides, in a small business these aren’t faceless employees. They’re friends who have dedicated themselves to building your success. Staff reductions are usually the last thing the small business owner should consider when weighing operational costs.

    However, there are things that a small, service or products provider CAN do to cut operating costs.

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  • WorkCover Industry Update

     WorkCover NSW has introduced a simpler and more transparent approach to workers compensation premiums for medium and large business in NSW.

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  • Cybercrime is alive and well

    A recent report by Intel, owner of web security firm McAfee, observed that a large number of companies, and individuals, continue to ignore the risks associated with weak Internet passwords.

    The report suggested that people may be “playing the odds” by believing that their own risks are relatively small. It may also be that they simply don’t want to spend the money to pay for computer support or advice.

    Read More
  • Tech Gadgets that can enhance your business

    As a business owner you are always looking to save expenses and improve your processes.

    Here are some that are worth considering.

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  • Low-Cost Employee Benefits and Why You Offer Them

    You offer them because workplace benefits are the reason many employees stay put – in the office down the hall. Indeed, salary is an element of employee retention, but benefits often seal the deal, and you just hired the best sales manager in the Sydney metro area.

    Another reason you want to deliver benefits? Cost. If you lose your top producer, your #1 business getter, or the go-to team member, you’ll spend money to fill that gap, and sometimes, a whole lot of money.

    C-level managers and department heads are difficult to replace and, because you’re working with an unknown HR asset yet to prove himself, productivity drops until that new person knows the answers to help desk requests from company employees. New hires, at any level, simply aren’t as productive on Day 1 as they are on Day 1,001.

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  • Are Trade Shows Worth The Money?

    Trade shows have long been a staple of marketing and promotion for businesses. Business owners pay a fee for booth space. They also pay for signage, employee time (someone has to be in the booth all the time), and trade show operators nickel-and-dime you for everything from electrical connections to string to hang that fantastic plastic banner with your company logo and name in two-foot high lettering.

    Used to be a good way to get out there and press the flesh, meet the market and maybe even sign up a few new customers or clients. But, according to reports plastered across the web, the size of trade shows has been shrinking.

    Read More
  • Coping With Innovation: It Doesn’t Always Work

    In this challenging economic climate many business owners are trying new tactics – strategies to cut costs, new marketing channels and outsourcing basic services like bookkeeping and even customer care. It’s less costly in most cases.

    Innovation Isn’t Success

    A lot of people make the assumption that innovation and success go hand-in-hand. If innovation translated into success, any creative mind would be a millionaire, but we all know that’s not the case.


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  • Building a Web Brand: 6 Little Things That Mean a Lot

    More and more businesses are moving operations on-line and for good reason. While print advertising revenues are dropping, web-based ad revenues are increasing every year.

    That’s a fact that you, as a business owner, should keep in mind as you plan your marketing strategy for the next couple of years.

    If you don’t have a responsive web site (one that resizes for all types of devices), build one or have one built for you. Find a web host that provides all the tools and free features you need to build, run and publicise your site. It should cost you less than $20 a month for quality hosting with tech support in the same building where your site resides on one of a few dozen banks of servers.


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  • Your Company Mission Statement In Two Words: Client Care

    As a business development consultant I get to see a lot of business plans. Plans for start-ups, plans for revenue growth in the next 12 months and plans to take multi-million dollar companies to the next level of corporate expansion.

    And all of these business plans have these long, elaborate mission statements – corporate values, definable objectives and predicted outcomes. So, when I meet with company owners about their current business plan, I start by asking a few questions to get a better feel for the corporate culture, either envisioned or in existence (and expanding).

    Company management almost always throws out these lofty, lifted-from-the-industry-news goals, noble objectives and more biz-speak than I read in a week – and I read a lot of it. So once we’ve gone through an extensive discovery phase, I ask my most important question…

    …why do you come to work in the morning?

    Read More
  • Preparing to Exit Your Business

    As counter-intuitive as this may appear, developing an exit strategy right along side the business plan is the most effective and rewarding method of preparing a business for sale.

    An exit strategy

    An exit strategy is akin to a financial plan. The earlier a financial plan is put in place, the longer the money has to do its work. So too with a business. If a business is built for ultimate sale then all the factors that mitigate against a business owner receiving the best outcome, such as lack of preparation of financials, poor quality of business information and a dearth of potential buyers, can be addressed.

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  • Defusing A Difficult Sales Opportunity - Part 2

    In the last article we looked at some of the ways to diffuse a difficult sales. We follow with some more ways you can work to improve your position.

    3. Have a client copy of the proposal.

    Now, I never want to take up more time than needed to deliver my proposal, so I said, “Let me give you a quick rundown of my recommendations, and I’ll leave my proposal for you to read at a more convenient time.”

    I had my copy, he had his. I quickly reviewed the key points from a bullet list within the proposal and gave a one-line summary of each benefit. The prospect, by this time, had turned his attention to the proposal and was reading along with me.

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  • Defusing A Difficult Sales Opportunity – Part 1

    A while back I was contacted by a mid-sized accountancy to manage a marketing campaign to announce an expanded roster of services.

    When I arrived at the office the receptionist told me to take a seat, and that Mr Smith was running a little late. No problem. I always carry a briefcase full of work so a full work day is always a full work day.

    Read More
  • Everyone Lies and It’s Costing You Money

    The Volkswagen scandal that cost CEO Martin Winterkornhis job and sent the company’s stock price plummeting is further evidence that EVERYBODY LIES.

    Customers and clients, sub-contractors and vendors, employees, the talking head on the TV. All of them lie. In fact, each of us hears as many as 200 lies a day (depending on how much TV we watch).

    People lie more frequently over the phone or in emails than face to face. Some people have “tells” – sub-conscious movements that indicate a lie.

    Read More
  • Getting the best price for your Insurance Broker

    Getting the best price for your insurance cover is important. Receiving a high standard of advice to ensure that your company is covered against any disasters that would otherwise ruin your business is essential.

    Unfortunately there is often a trade-off between the two.

    Whether it's business or personal insurance, good brokers provide advice to make sure you are properly protected in most claims situations.

    How do you go about choosing a commercial insurance broker that is right for all of your requirements?

    Read More
  • Take the Chill Out of Cold Calls - Part 2

    Continued from our last article

    5. Reading between the lines.

    Provide all pertinent information about your company’s services but listen to the responses from the caller. Is she bored? Busy? Multi-tasking? Talking on Skype and two other lines and her Blackberry?

    A positive sign is simple to recognise. Does the call recipient ask a question? Especially a question that allows the caller to expand on services or explain benefits. No hype. Just a friendly chit-chat.

    Things like yawns, speakerphones and constantly being put on hold are signs that this is a waste of everybody’s time. Time to ring off and move on down the list.

    Read More
  • Take the Chill Out of Cold Calls - Part 1

    First, cold calling is as much fun as a trip to the dentist. No one wants to do it. It’s embarrassing, frustrating and sometimes even humiliating. Oh, and it’s not very productive.

    Often, you’re interrupting the call-taker who’s involved in something more important than listening to a pitch. Sometimes you’re lucky to get past the receptionist.

    Yet, cold calling is an aspect of lead generation for many small business providers, and even sellers of big ticket items. I know a couple of car dealers who expect sales staff to cold call when things are slow on the lot. Frankly, this is busy work and unproductive busy work, at that.


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  • Would a Virtual Assistant Work for You?

    Virtual assistants are more accurately described as remote assistants.

    They are people who are effectively on hand to help you in your business, but do not need to be set up with a desk and equipment in the corner of your home-office, nor paid when you have no work for them to do.

    Virtual assistants are dedicated businesspeople who make their living taking the strain from your daily life. Individuals who are in business alone and do not have a secretary can find it very difficult to juggle all that needs to be done in a day. When they also work from home, things can become even more difficult because home and work lives can tangle causing important business issues to be forgotten or left on the back-burner. Communication with a virtual assistant is via e-mail, instant messaging, video call, telephone, fax, and even snail-mail.

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  • Are you socially secure?

    Social networks have well and truly migrated across the corporate divide. Players both large and small have jumped in to use social media weapons as their latest acquisition of arsenal in the continuing battle for more business.

    At the one end are small and micro businesses using social media to find and connect directly with customers – for example Ebay’ers conducting local auctions through Twitter. Recruiters too were quick to discover the value of LinkedIn (indeed it was essentially promoted as a means of keeping people engaged in business networks); while entrepreneurs are doing business in specialist sites such as Elance and

    Read More
  • Recruitment and Hiring for the Top Tier - Part 2

    In our last post we discussed the costs of recruiting and hiring the ideal senior candidate.

    Here are some more ways to ensure you get the best possible result.

    Read More
  • Recruitment and Hiring for the Top Tier - Part 1

    The costs of recruiting and hiring the ideal candidate is going to cost your company money. It might cost you a few thousand if you get lucky, or it could cost a hundred thousand dollars if you’re looking for a top-tier manager with a highly-specialised skill set. And you don’t get lucky.

    Recruitment and hiring costs often get lost in the flurry of numbers coming from HR. Sure, you know you hired some new employees, but do you have a clue just how much it cost you? Probably not.


    Read More
  • Applying for Business Loans

    The banks are lending to small business again – at least, that’s what the ads say. So what do you need to know before applying for a loan?

    Bankers tend to fall back on what the old bankers call the three Cs, character, capacity and collateral when examining a loan application.

    Read More
  • Can Do v No Can Do

    Customer service is one of those phrases that is bandied about and most business owners are convinced that their service is great.

    The kinds of experiences your customers have will determine whether they will be back and, even more importantly, whether they will recommend you to their friends and colleagues. It is a brutal fact of life that in business, we are more inclined to tell of a horror story than a feel-good one.

    Read More
  • Location Based Marketing (LBM): Where Are Your Customers? - Part 2

    As discussed in the previous article, consumers are no longer tethered to a desktop, or even an office. Chances are, many of your customers are on the move, driving, strolling the city sidewalks, and looking for a place to get lunch, or a nice boutique to browse.

    Here are more Location Based Marketing ideas.

    Read More
  • Location Based Marketing (LBM): Where Are Your Customers? - Part 1

    With the use of mobile devices, like smart phones and tablets, increasing dramatically in recent years, a study from comScore indicates that Internet access using mobi has grown to 60% of our time on line – an increase of 31% in just the past 12 months.

    Consumers are no longer tethered to a desktop, or even an office. Chances are, many of your customers are on the move, driving, strolling the city sidewalks, and looking for a place to get lunch, or a nice boutique to browse.

    Location based marketing (LBM) has grown increasingly important to business growth, but what is it and how does your business use LBM?

    Read More
  • Successful Business is Built on Trust

    There are plenty of books on how to start a business and grow it to profitability. These “success guides” usually focus on demographic segmentation, differentiation from competitors, accumulated experience, and other routine business factors.

    However, often the experts miss the one aspect of business ownership or management that’s critical to long-term success: trust.

    Trust takes time to build, but it can disappear with a single bad experience, one unfortunate phone call, or a rant posted to social media. Years of cooperation can be undone with 140 characters on Twitter. And once trust is broken, it’s always difficult to start building trust again.

    Trust is an essential ingredient to business success. Without it, you’re just spinning your wheels.


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  • Choosing an Insurance Broker

    Choosing an best insurance broker is not only about getting the most competitive price for your cover, it is equally about getting the right policy for your needs.

    Like any other professional, insurance brokers go through years of education and on-the-job training.

    So, how do you go about choosing a commercial insurance broker that is perfect for all of your requirements?

    Read More
  • Public Speaking: Worse Than Death! Really?

    One of the best ways to market services and many other products is through seminars or presentations. They are an easy way to maximise your time and build credibility.

    Study after study reveals that people are more afraid of speaking in front of a group than of death itself. I understand it, but because public speaking is a big part of my work, I’m not afraid of getting on stage and tackling the topic of the day in front of a large group of men and women.

    In fact, I enjoy it, and you will, too, if you recognise that fear of public speaking can not only be controlled, you can eliminate it completely by following some simple ground rules.

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  • You Don’t Need a Bundle To Boost Productivity

    Do more for less. In less time. With fewer people. With bare bone operational expenses. Hey, that’s what all business owners want. Increased productivity.

    You don’t need a lot of money to get your work team motivated – even enthusiastic. Possible?

    You bet it is and it doesn’t cost a lot, either.

    Your employees will work harder for you, with greater focus, if they enjoy their jobs. Now, that’s where you come in.


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  • Are you LinkedIn?

    Networking in business can be is hard. It’s can be difficult to consult with others in your field in a world that is so competitive. When looking for people to join your team, it can be hard to find just the right candidate, especially when that person may be a half a world away. And when looking for a job, it’s nearly impossible to get to the hiring manager of a company you’ve always wanted to work for when you don’t have any of their personal contact information.

    That’s all changed, thanks to “LinkedIn”.

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  • Are YOU at risk?

    The recent high profile fraud / employee theft case reported in the newspapers is a timely reminder about the need for sound risk management strategies.

    Let’s face it. Running a business carries significant risk and responsibility.

    Even the directors of a club, association or non-profit business can be at risk if an employee acts dishonestly or harasses another staff member.

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  • Meetings Matter: Stop the Time Suckers

    Within 10 minutes, I can tell whether a business meeting is going to be productive or a waste of time. I sit through a lot of meetings each year and I know good from bad, effective from time waster, productive from DOA. I’m a “meeting” expert. I’ve been to enough of them to qualify for that expert status.

    Meetings are one of the biggest time wasters during the business day. You have your A-Team around the table, and productivity on the work floor drops as some manager talks about quarterly numbers while you wonder why you’re even there!


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  • Selling Yourself with Trust

    When a customer makes a buying decision or even whether or not to hire you, it becomes a question of trust. It’s not if they trust your firm, but if they trust you.

    Do they trust that you will keep their business’ interests ahead of your own?  Do they have confidence in you and your new relationship to spend their scare resources with you?  From the very first moment you are in contact with a potential customer, during the presentations, meetings and email contact, you must give the client the sense that you are to be trusted with their business and their livelihood.

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  • Planning for Success

    Planning for success can become more of a science than an art form when there is an understanding of business life cycle principles and the ability to identify the characteristic traits of each growth phase.

    Entrepreneurs that succeed are typically the ones that can see the forest from the trees. They stay focused. They review new opportunities, but are also aware that pursuing them often takes them away from achieving their objective.

    Here’s a framework for planning through the various stages of growth from start up to maturity. Each stage has its constraints and opportunities. Identifying the barriers that prevent business owners and entrepreneurs from moving successfully through each stage is the key to planning for success.


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  • Selling to High-Value Prospects

    High-value prospects have the financial resources to buy from you. Buy your products. Buy your services. Buy your time.

    People with money view purchases differently from those who maintain tight budgets. “I don’t have the money” isn’t an objection you hear from wealthy people, or wealthy business owners who manage successful enterprises.

    Selling to high-value clients or customers involves the obvious: wealthy buyers look for quality; cost isn’t the problem; wealthy buyers look for value in all their purchases; the rich are used to getting what they want FAST. These traits and characteristics of wealthy consumers have been well known since the days of open markets set up along primitive, dusty streets.


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  • Why blogs work

    There’s so much blogging on the Internet that we now tend to take it for granted. But blogging can be a strategic tool for your business.


    The main thing is to have a well-defined and specific objective. You will need to be clear as to what it is you want to achieve. Otherwise, the time, effort and resources you have expended are likely to go down the drain without any significant results. Start by asking yourself who you want to read your blog; where they are likely to read articles, and how you can get your posts onto those sites.

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  • Going Green: Cut Costs Not Services - Part 2

    In part 1 of this article we considered a number of ways you can save money by going green. Here are some more ways you should consider. Business Practices

    1. Invest in fuel-efficient automobiles when you replace your old gas-guzzlers. Think hybrids. The most fuel-efficient models can save you thousands of dollars in the costs of petrol every year, boosting your margins.
    2. Make sure your business fleet tires are properly inflated. Properly inflated tires save 3.3% on petrol costs for every mile you drive. (Again, do the math.)
    3. When employees (or you) must fly, take the most direct route. It may cost a few extra dollars for the non-stop route but you save on jet fuel and that’s just a plain nice thing to do.
    Read More
  • Going Green: Cut Costs Not Services - Part 1

    Consider going “green” in your office, on the road and in all aspects of your life. Why? Because it saves you money by lowering operating costs and living expenses, and those are pretty good reasons to go green.   It’s not hard to do. In fact, it’s easy. It also makes good sense for a few reasons:  

    • A “green” business makes a statement about your corporate culture.
    • Going green improves your margins because you spend less on operating expenses.
    • You can keep your people in place delivering the quality of customer care your clients expect.
    • Going “green” doesn’t cost a lot of money.
    • You make the planet better today, tomorrow and in the future.
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  • Getting Prospects to Call You Back

    Voicemail is a fact of life. It allows us to decide if and when we want to return calls; it puts us in control of our day, and it gives us time to prepare the information we need before calling back.

    The challenge comes when we come up against somebody else’s voicemail in a sales situation. We need to find a way to persuade prospects to return our calls.

    Start by calling just outside normal office hours. Calling before 9 am or after 5 pm gives you a greater likelihood that your prospect will answer. There are two reasons why this works.

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  • Influence - how you build it

    If Bill Gates or Nicole Kidman walked up to you and asked you to purchase a product or a service, chances are good that you would seriously consider it. The reason is that being a celebrity is a powerful influence in our world, and influence in turn is a powerful sales tool. You do not have to be a famous celebrity to develop influence, however, and it is one of the best (and free) ways to become a better sales person.

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  • Smart Tags: Reach Out To Your Clients - Part 2

    As discussed yesterday, occasionally technology comes along that changes everything from the way we do business to the way we chat with family and friends. Whilst not new, smart tags are still underused.

    Here are some more ways to use smart tags.

    Take smaller print ads and include a smart tag that takes readers to your web site – the place where the full story of your business is told. You’ll save thousands on print advertising costs buying less space, while getting motivated site visitors eager to learn more about your business offerings.

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  • Smart Tags: Reach Out To Your Clients - Part 1

    Occasionally technology comes along that changes everything from the way we do business to the way we chat with family and friends. Whilst not new, smart tags are still underused.

    Smart tags are used by mobile phone owners who snap a picture and initiate a number of pro-active, seamless marketing initiatives. They change the way people interact with businesses, large and small.

    What can smart tags do for your business? Lots.

    Read More
  • Business Change: It Happens

    Regardless of how successful your business is; it is constantly evolving. You engage new markets, new technology, and new best practices. This evolution is the reason why even small businesses have big websites and why websites are now designed and rendered to look good on a desktop screen or the smaller screens of your tablet or smartphone.

    In today’s world, change is dramatic and, in business terms, quick. For example, look at restaurants. Many now provide smartphone owners with free apps that access the bistro’s daily specials, provide the interface to place an order, and even to schedule delivery. It was unheard of not too long ago, but it’s now a whole new marketing channel.

    Read More
  • Trade Shows: Are they worth the money? - Part 2

    In the last post we considered three ways to maximise your spend on Trade Shows. Here are six more.

    1. Send your best people to man the booths.

    You might think that your top sales producer should be sitting behind that card table, but is she really the best person for the job? Can she answer technical questions?

    Also, have more than one person man the booth. If one employee is engaged with a prospect, the second or third employee is available for the next prospect to walk down the aisle.

    Read More
  • Trade Shows: Are they worth the money? - Part 1

    Trade shows have long been a staple of marketing and promotion for small businesses. Business owners pay a fee for booth space. They also pay for signage, employee time (someone has to be in the booth all the time), and trade show operators nickel-and-dime you for everything from electrical connections to string to hang that fantastic plastic banner with your company logo and name in two-foot high lettering.

    They used to be a good way to get out there and press the flesh, meet the market and maybe even sign up a few new customers or clients. But, according to reports plastered across the web, the value of trade shows has been shrinking.


    Read More
  • How is Your “Moment of Truth”?

    A moment of truth is the interaction between the customer and the customer service provider which leaves a lasting impression on the customer...positive or negative! 

    Business is built on the premise that good systems and processes, the capacity to deliver a product or service repeatedly, consistently without fail are required to produce a profit. Indeed, it’s a perfectly sound premise to run a business in this manner. After all, how long would your business last if it lacked systems and a procedure for handling every conceivable interaction with a customer?

    There is little doubt that good processes are important; but don't let them get in the way of building customer relationships and loyalty. The moment of truth can have ramifications: it can be a win or a loss for a business.

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  • Does Your Business Have A Mobile Strategy?

    Whether you’re a one-person business, or one of Australia’s global enterprises, your business needs mobility. You have to be able to move employees, products, services, raw materials, and information quickly.

    Work isn’t a place any more – a place you go to every day. Today, work is an activity that takes place anywhere – from here to way over there. Work has gone mobile and if you’re not on the move, your company is just spinning its wheels.

    Why a mobile strategy? Because you and your team are on the go.

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  • Get The Most From Business Consultants

    Hiring an outside consultant can cost a lot, but when looking for good advice, it’s never about the capital outlay. It is about finding the right consultants to juice your business’ performance.

    So, here’s what you need to know to derive more benefits, enhance operations, and develop a growth strategy that actually delivers measureable, quantifiable results.

    1. Start your query within your business network. Other business owners – vendors, sub-contractors, outsources, clients – in a short time a small business owner can develop a healthy contacts file.

    To find a consultant to best suit your needs, look for referrals from trusted sources - the business owners who provide materials, services, and outlets – to recommend a consultant who’s delivered a clear, quantifiable return on investment.

    If your raw materials vendor recommends a business consultant, you know that name should be on your short list. So…

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  • Does Your Marketing Get Results?

    Marketing can be fun. Creating ads, attending events, giving talks at industry events and local venues can all be all fun. However, sometimes we get so involved in the fun of marketing that we don’t take the time to measure the effectiveness of our marketing.

    It’s important to understand where your marketing is being successful and where it is not, so those resources may be reallocated. Instead of just hoping that someone will walk in the door, consider using one of these methods to better understand your results.


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  • Could your data be stolen?

    A recent story in IT News ( stated that the US Office of Personnel Management had revealed that more than 21 million US citizens who had undergone background checks for security clearances since 2000 had their personal data stolen by hackers.

    These attacks are becoming increasingly frequent.

    What would happen if your data were stolen? Who might be affected? Who might sue you? How much would it cost to recover?

    These are all questions that every business owner should be asking themselves.

    In this attack the data exposed included 19.7 million people who applied for the clearances, plus 1.8 million non-applicants, mostly spouses or partners of applicants, OPM said. The personal data stolen included social security numbers, details that could be abused for identity theft.

    At Insurance House we assess your risks and recommend solutions to fit your individual requirements. Check out our cyber video.

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  • Negotiation: Patience Is A Virtue. Silence Is Golden

    Studies show that the order in which we absorb information often determines the value assigned to that information. When conducting business, people tend to assign more weight, more value, to the first information they hear, and give subsequent information less attention.

    The bar is set. That initial price, “put out there” during negotiations, is now the bar – the point from which both sides now negotiate better terms and conditions. Negotiations are always anchored to the numbers and contractual terms set out during the initial stages of negotiation. Otherwise, the negotiations would stop, right?

    In small business development, it’s common to negotiate everything from terms of the office lease to price points to improve margins on raw materials.


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  • You can run but you can’t hide

    A old post on News Limited’s website should still act as a wake-up call to any business concerned about their reputation. To (partially) quote from the entry: “A two-line Twitter post pushed my mortgage application from the Commonwealth Bank's "to do" list to an urgent priority.

    The post said simply: "CBA f#$&ked up our loan approval so we're still waiting to exchange contracts". The post went on to say:

    ”One hour and 17 minutes after it went live I was contacted by someone offering help to solve my problem. That person was the head of Commonwealth Bank's customer service team.

    “He told me the message made him "feel like crap" and the bank was only just beginning to understand how crucial social media sites were in maintaining the corporate giant's image. By 3pm the next day, my loan was formally approved.”

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  • Building a Business Image unequivocally

    Building a Business Image or “Branding” as the marketing gurus call it is part art, part science, although there is more art than science involved. The art of branding requires you to create something that infects people with enthusiasm, makes it easy for them to try it and enlists their help in spreading the word, and building a following.

    To get this happening requires some essential elements.

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  • Even lawyers can make mistakes

    A client of a law firm had a specific provision in her will for certain assets to go to a son from her first marriage. Her current husband had no knowledge of the child and she instructed her lawyer to keep her will confidential until she died.

    Her husband requested copies of documents held by the firm and a junior lawyer sent him a copy of his wife’s will in error.

    The lady’s secret was out and it eventually led to a breakdown of the marriage and considerable distress. As a result she started an action against the law firm seeking compensation for emotional harm.

    This is an example of the types of claims we see on a regular basis at Insurance House. That’s why professional indemnity insurance (PI) is essential if you give advice, training, information or provide consultancy services.

    Many professionals struggle to imagine a claim being made against them but Insurance House experience confirms that mistakes frequently occur litigation occurs on a regular basis.

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  • Why Businesses Fail

    Small and medium business owners not only support the Australian economy, they grow it, improving all our lives. A new business in Sydney creates jobs, pays taxes, improves the local economy and adds to the country’s GDP (where do you think those employees spend?).

    Small and medium business is the future here today. It’s where innovation leads to wealth creation, and an improved standard of living for millions of employees. When a small business starts showing a profit we all benefit.

    Conversely, when a business tanks and displays the OUT OF BUSINESS sign on the front door, investors lose, employees lose, the visionaries with the next great idea lose – we all lose the benefits of a robust economy when a growing company goes down for the third time.

    It was there on Tuesday. What happened?

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  • Customers are your biggest asset

    Charles Dickens led his character Ebenezer Scrooge through an uncomfortable re-evaluation of his life by reviewing his past, present and future.  Business owners should do the same.

    Instead of coasting through the first month of the new financial year and congratulating yourself on surviving it’s time to re-evaluate your business by reviewing your plans for your customers – current customers, those you have lost, and those who are still to come.


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  • Is Outsourcing Right for You?

    Outsourcing is about being able to accept more work and make more money without putting in much more effort.

    What is outsourcing?

    Put simply, outsourcing is the process of sending work to individuals or companies external to your own business so that you don’t have to complete them yourself. It can involve outsourcing an entire project, or parts of it when you don’t have the time or perhaps lack the skills to tackle it yourself.

    In simple terms, it is employing another person, often on a casual basis, to do a job or part of a job that you need to have completed. It differs from the usual way a company distributes work to its employees because those employees are just that – employed.


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  • Business Liability – are You at Risk?

    If one of your employees gets hurt at work, could you be liable? That’s one of the questions every business owner should be asking.

    Recently we heard about a small transport company that was fined $50,000 and incurred legal costs of $60,000 because a driver who had climbed on top of the truck to check the load slipped on a wet ladder.

    He suffered only a minor cut and a bruise to his hand and took no time off work but the business owner was prosecuted for failure to provide a safe workplace.

    This is just one example of the risk of running a business.

    At Insurance House we review your risks and recommend solutions to fit your circumstances. Our objectives are to save you time, manage your risks, give you peace of mind and protect your business.

    To learn more about liability risks take a look at our video.



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  • Winning Back Lost Customers

    As business owners we hate losing customers. Why does it happen and what can we do about it?

    Here are some things you need to do if you want your customers to be loyal again.

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  • Road Map to Success - Part 2

    This is the second part of an article on setting business goals that lead to success.


    Take a day off. Enjoy a family outing. Schedule down time for yourself and your staff. If you’re working 16 hours a day seven days a week, your first goal is to take some time off to refresh yourself and to stay mentally and physically healthy.

    Accept the heavy load.  

    Developing strategies to achieve business goals will, most likely, involve you – the business owner. Delegate the tasks you can, like research or assessment, but recognise that you’ll carry a heavy load as the business owner in both setting and achieving your goals.

    It comes with the territory, but you’re up to the task. You’re an entrepreneur.


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  • Road Map to Success - Part 1

    As a business owner you have certain company objectives in mind – to grow, to provide unparalleled levels of service, to beat the competition out of the gate, to elevate client care to Priority Level 1. All business goals. All good for the long term.

    However, it may take years to achieve some of these lofty goals, and with your attention clearly focused on future growth, you may be missing opportunities right in front of you today.

    Setting goals is easy. Setting achievable goals that move the business forward isn’t so easy. Here are some

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  • Travel Tech – Connected Luggage

    Travel can be a hassle so at Insurance House we keep an eye out for new innovations and tips for travellers.

    Forget about checking in your bag. The new Bluesmart bag has a built-in digital scale that lets you know ahead of time whether your bag meets the airline's cabin requirements. Just pull the handle and the app will confirm the weight.

    That’s just one of the features of the Bluesmart carry on bag.

    It also includes location tracking, a battery charger, a digital lock and smart phone controls. You can learn more from the video below.

    Did you know that as an officer of a business, corporate travel insurance is valid for both business and leisure travel? Contact your Insurance House account manager to learn about the latest corporate travel policies.

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  • Good Testimonials are Gold

    When people are deciding which firm can best represent their company’s ideas, values and products, there must be a level of trust.  They must feel confident that you have done this type of work before, and that your customers have been happy and gained directly from your efforts.

    There is no better marketing tool to prove your value than a customer reference or testimonial.

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  • Your Business Needs to Tweet

    Do you use twitter to grow your business?

    Twitter can be a valuable asset to your business but unfortunately many business people aren’t using it to its full potential.

    Using Twitter for your business is easy. Here are some of the easy-to-do ways you can use Twitter:

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  • Your Customers are Mobile. Are You?

    Business has gone mobile. Employees and customers are moving, always on the go, and they hit the road every day. Business isn’t a place any longer. It’s an activity that takes place wherever your team has smartphone coverage.

    Mobile technology has changed how business does business. How?

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  • Are you underinsured?

    Many business owners fail to make the link between cash flow and the importance of having the right insurance cover to protect against unexpected events.

    An accident, mishap or loss could put a hole in your cash flow that may be hard to repair. Now more than ever, it is important to ask yourself “is my business at risk from underinsurance?”

    What is under-insurance?

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  • Understanding Your Customers

    How well do you know your customers?

    It’s a fundamental business skill and yet most businesses have very little real understanding of how their customers feel about them.

    The Internet has given us incredible access to information that has never been available before.  Not only can you find virtually any kind of reference material, also you can reach out to thousands of people quickly and inexpensively.  One tool that lets businesses connect with their customers is “Survey Monkey”.  Despite the oddity of its name, it provides an essential and inexpensive ability to create surveys and get the opinion of customers around the world.

    Survey Monkey was started in 1999 as a way for businesses to create, distribute and analyse surveys without incurring the expense of a research company.  Joining the site is free.  With the basic membership you can create your own survey that Survey Monkey leads you through step by step.

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  • Marketing With CRM and Mobi - Part 2

    Smart Phone Technology and Market Segmentation

    CRM, combined with smart phone (mobi) technology, takes targeted marketing to new levels, enabling small business owners and marketing execs to track client engagements and touch clients via iPhone, ‘Droid or Blackberry.

    Place an ad in the paper and you pay to have everyone see it even though most people don’t or won’t. Segment your target audience through the use of CRM, synched up to mobi technology, and you target prospects, leads and clients with the right message at the right time – in REAL time. That’s what today’s consumers expect. Meaningful connectivity. Examples?

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  • Marketing With CRM and Mobi - Part 1

    Traditional marketing channels – print ads, radio spots, direct mail and other time-tested advertising outlets – no longer pass the test. Businesses must focus their marketing dollars with laser specificity, and the old-school marketing techniques are no longer enough to grow a stable client base.

    If you run an insurance broking business and you place an advert regularly in the local press, you’re being seen by fewer readers, and the circulation numbers prove that fact.

    Further, print advertising, radio and electronic advertising, and even the yellow pages, reach a large, unfocused demographic. You pay that newspaper so every subscriber sees your quarter-page advertisement even though only a small percentage of readers are looking for a financial advisor or business consultant at the moment. Your business pays ad rates based on circulation. The more readers, the higher the cost of a column inch.

    Today, business owners have several tools that focus marketing with pinpoint accuracy, targeting prospects, leads and existing clients throughout the sales arc – end to end, from first engagement to a long-term, mutually beneficial business relationship.


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  • Does Your Business “Play It Safe?”

    Insurance companies expect you to secure your workplace. No, not just lock the door; your insurer wants you to secure your place of business from intruders.

    High-risk commercial insured’s are required by the insurer to meet certain minimum levels of security, i.e. your business should have double locking deadbolts. Windows that lock, a security alarm system, security screens, safe business practices – you can discover insurers’ business requirements by talking to your Insurance House broker.

    As a business owner, there are other steps to consider that (1) more safely secure business assets and (2) lower the cost of business coverage through years of company operations. However…

    …to be prudent, an business owner should consider a number of “optional” security measures. These steps may not be mandated but they make good sense when it comes to protecting your livelihood and the livelihood of your loyal team.

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  • Own the Room

    A big part of my work is public speaking. Sometimes I speak in front of thousands of industry insiders all attending a convention. Other times I speak to a small group of managers wondering why the company isn’t growing more quickly.

    It can be unnerving to stand up there on the stage, or at the head of the table, all eyes on you, but it doesn’t have to be. In fact, when the curtain goes up my excitement level goes up with it.

    When you speak, regardless of the size of your audience, you want all eyes on you, you want the attention of listeners, and in short, you want to own the room.


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  • Using the Cloud to Increase Efficiency

    The Internet has changed the way we live. Apart from creating new levels of communication and interaction it offers numerous ways to make us more efficient.

    One of the simplest and most effective digital tools is an app named Evernote. It’s a digital filing cabinet in the cloud and as the name suggests you can keep your documents forever.

    You can use it to file pretty well anything that would normally be on paper and you can access your records from anywhere on virtually any device. A big plus is that, as well as creating separate folders (or file drawers) you can search keywords or tags to make it easy to retrieve documents.

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  • ABC’s and 1 2 3’s – Back to Basics

    Although statisticians and politicians seem to think the economy is getting better, many of us aren’t feeling the upswing just yet.  Sales are sluggish at best for all of us.  Sometimes, instead of trying something wild and crazy to stimulate sales, it’s more about preparation, hard work and going back to the basics – ABCs and 123s.


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  • Bouncing Back after a Bout of Bad Weather

    You can predict business activity with some certainty but even your go-to guy can’t predict the weather. Your company’s resilience after a bad storm, flood, tsunami, typhoon, dust storm, earthquake, or other natural phenomenon can come undone in a wink, and with no warning.

    Just a while back, in March, 2015, Australians were warned of a possible tsunami after a 7.5 magnitude earthquake hit near Papua New Guinea. We missed the massive waves on that one, but earthquakes are common in the Pacific Ring of Fire where Australians live and work.

    What would you do? How would a major natural disaster affect your quarterly numbers? And how can you better prepare for a rainy day – a really rainy day?

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  • Building Your Personal Brand - Part 2

    The Elements of a Good Brand

    Brands are made up of a variety of pieces that dovetail to create consumer confidence and meet customer expectations. A brand is, in many cases, an intangible asset – but perhaps the most important marketing asset in your kit bag.

    The elements of a well-considered brand include virtually anything associated with the person behind the brand. Your personal brand starts with your name. Have you registered your name as a domain name? Have you stylised it to make it stand out?

    A tagline tells people what to expect. Does your tagline tell people what you will do for them?

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  • Why Trademark your IP

    Losing a trademark could move your business a step closer to obscurity.

    Do you believe that Dyson would ever allow the loss of their intellectual property to protect the manufacture of their bladeless fans? Would Rhianna give away the copyright to her multi-million selling songs around the world? Would McDonald’s allow their trademark ‘M’ symbol to slip across to a competitor?

    For the same reasons, establishing the core management of your trademarks is a necessity for your business, not just an occasional problem for any individual to deal with.

    What does your trademark do for your business?

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  • Building Your Personal Brand

    Even people who market products and services don’t always agree on what makes up a brand, but they certainly know a good brand when they see it.

    Think Coca-Cola with its white and red can, or its unique-shaped bottles. The throaty rumble of a Harley-Davidson motorcycle. Distinct brands. But, a brand is more than a red and white can or a motorcycle kicking up dust. 

    At one time, brands were generally associated with companies. Today, with the epic expansion of the Internet, people also build personal brands.

    A brand is anything – positive or negative – associated with a business. A personal brand is anything – positive or negative – associated with an individual.


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  • Insurance Insights – Terrorism

    Every business insurance policy has a hidden levy to cover terrorism risks. In this video Insurance House Marketing Consultant Michael Harrison asks Prof Allan Manning how the levy works and whether it is another form of taxation on business.

    Dr Manning has lectured at Victoria, RMIT and Melbourne Universities on a range of insurance subjects, and has delivered over 1,200 seminars on insurance topics. He holds the post of Adjunct Professor at Victoria University in the faculty of Law and Justice and is the author of 13 books about insurance.

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  • Get What’s Best for Your Business

    Business owners negotiate. The monthly rent, outsourced projects, a company car – we’re used to negotiating for a better price or better terms, but are we good at negotiating?

    Negotiations are part, science, part art, and a whole lot of reading peoples’ feelings from body language, facial expressions, tone of voice – each provide clues to just how negotiations are progressing.

    Little things – a pause that’s a bit too long, a slight downturn of the brow, slouching – these little things add up to a clearer picture of your negotiations.

    In almost any negotiation, you won’t get every thing you want, but neither will the other guy. Negotiation is all about give and take – and who’s willing to swap what for that.

    As a business consultant I’m often engaged before a business is sold to develop a strategy to get the best price. The strategy doesn’t change. You, the business owner, want the best price given current circumstances. The individual with whom you negotiate wants the opposite. She wants your business for less than you want to get.

    Let the negotiations begin.

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  • The Consultant’s Curse (2)

    by Guest Blogger Michael Harrison

    I Can Hear You, Too

    Occasionally I get stuck sitting in a waiting area until my appointment is free to talk. (Already a sign of poor scheduling.) However, this usually gives me a chance to listen in on the receptionist and how phone calls are handled within the company.

    We ALL hate automated phone menus (Press 3 to place an order). However, as consumers or clients, we do like it when a human answers the phone and directs our query to the right person.

    If the receptionist lacks enthusiasm, or doesn’t offer to help the caller, I cringe. That customer may not know with whom he needs to talk. The receptionist should know how to direct any call to the right employee.

    If I’m in a small office, I can sometimes hear office chatter coming from a nearby work station. I’ve heard voices raised while waiting to meet with the company’s CEO, and shouting is not conducive to making a good impression on clients sitting in the waiting area with me. I smile at the others waiting for their appointments, pretending to ignore the “discussion” taking place right over there. We all hear you and the staff.

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  • The Consultant’s Curse

    As a business growth strategist I work with big and small companies. I encounter big challenges and small “problems.” Every company faces challenges and bringing in a fresh set of eyes may provide the answers to why customers or clients aren’t beating down your door.

    You’re in the office every day. You spend hours in your office or on the factory floor. You’re on the move, running double-time just to keep up. You’re also used to your work space because you see it a lot.

    That’s where the problem starts. You’re used to the cracked ceiling. You don’t notice the faded signage outside street-side. You don’t see the opportunity to lower production costs by moving these desks to a spot closer to the production line over there.

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  • Data Theft: Are You Exposed

    Businesses are storing more client data than ever before and that data is at greater risk of being stolen than ever before.

    If you’re an adviser, consultant, physiotherapist or electrician, you have a lot of sensitive client data stored on your network. Names, addresses, telephone numbers, possibly tax-file numbers, and credit card numbers – virtually all the data a hacker needs to create false identities on the Internet and start buying everything from electronics to a new home!

    Think about the data stored on your computer system. Then think about the problems your clients would experience if that information fell in to the wrong hands.

    And here’s the scary thought. You’re more likely to be hacked by someone you know than a total stranger. 

    Trusted employees land a better-paying position with a competing firm and download the client company’s database. It happens and it’s simple.

    Disgruntled employees, recently-fired employees, unhappy spouses, even the kids who use your business computer to chat with friends can leave you vulnerable to data theft – theft that can bring down a business that took years – decades – to build.

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  • Business tools to enhance your wealth

    The Internet offers a multitude of tools that can save you time, protect against risks and improve your knowledge.

    In this post we look at some of the tools that can work for you.


    Encrypto aims to keep prying eyes away from your private data. It works on both PC and Mac and gives you a simple way of sending encrypted files to a colleague or business associate. It’s sister product, Hider moves files into an encrypted vault for even greater security.


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  • Add Value to Your Business - Part 2

    (Part 2)

    The day you open the doors to your new business, chances are, it doesn’t have a great deal of value – even if you’ve leased the ideal location and sell the best products or deliver unparalleled service in the area.

    In the first part of this post we looked at three ways to add value. Here are four more.


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  • Add Value to Your Business - Part 1

    The day you open the doors to your new business, chances are, it doesn’t have a great deal of value – even if you’ve leased the ideal location and sell the best products or deliver unparalleled service in the area.

    Your business is new. It probably has a few regular customers, but it lacks a reputation (positive or negative), and you haven’t had the opportunity or the time to demonstrate the quality of what you deliver to your client base.

    Also, chances are, you’re cash tight. You’ve courageously invested in yourself, but in many cases, that cleans out the savings account and leaves you working from day to day hoping you earn enough from sales to make the rent this month.


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  • Keep An Eye On Your Business

    You’ve worked hard to build a business, but you could lose a lot if you don’t protect what you’ve built. Inventory. Proprietary information. Tools and machinery. Raw materials. Company vehicles. Your business probably has numerous assets that need to be watched – 24/7.

    Surveillance cameras, properly positioned inside and outside your workplace, are a proactive step to protect business assets from intruders who don’t view you as a business. They view you as a target.

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  • Low-Cost Training Opportunities

    In almost every business sector, big changes are happening. Pay for lunch simply by flashing your embedded-chip EMV credit card. Order your office supplies using your smartphone. Track each order using the latest in contact management software (CMS). It’s all happening…all of the time! 

    The knowledge your business team picked up at university may already be out of date. If it’s digital, it may be really out-of-date. But keep your employees current on the latest strategies, tools, best practices, lead generation, and other business activities for less. 

    Here are some tips to train the team for tip-top performance.

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  • Social Media – making it pay

    If it seems like everyone has a Linked profile, a Facebook page or a Twitter account, you are probably right. After all, there are over 800 million users on Facebook and more than 80 per cent of Americans use at least one social network on a daily basis. In Australia the percentages are similar.

    More than 60 per cent of people who use social media websites do so from their smartphone and adults who use social media websites are over 45 percent more likely to spend more money on clothes, accessories, shoes, music and more. Social media is a powerful factor in our society these days and as such, is an even more powerful source of sales leads and marketing.

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  • Insurance Insights

    Pricing … should premiums rise

    In this interview, Insurance House Marketing Consultant, Michael Harrison asks Professor Allan Manning if insurance prices will rise following the earthquake in Nepal and the floods in NSW.

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  • Google Launches the Game-Changer

    On April 21, 2015, Google changed its latest search algorithm, only this time, it wasn’t a change to improve content or simplify website navigation.

    The Internet is abuzz over Mobilegeddon – Google’s latest algorithm – and if you aren’t up to speed your down in page rank – big time!

    Google controls 87% of all online search so when this behemoth hiccups the whole Internet realm takes notice. Couple that gigantic market share with the move away from desktop computers and big screens, and you’ve got Mobilegeddon.

    The result? If your website doesn’t look good on smaller smartphone screens you’ll lose page rank. Why? Currently, 40% of Internet search takes place using portable devices – smartphones, tablets, minis – the days of the desktop big screen computer are coming to an end. By 2017, Inc. magazine projects that the vast majority of us will access the Internet using smartphones and tablets.

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  • Raising Capital is Not Just About Money

    If you’re running into snags or having a hard time raising capital to fund your business, you could be doing something wrong. Perhaps you should stop thinking banks and start thinking people instead.

    Many lending organisations have made business loan conditions quite restrictive, creating a real problem for many small business enterprises.

    Unfortunately, the reality is that very few businesses, even if they’re operating with good margins, can continue to grow without access to capital. Costs will simply keep rising. Costs like equipment, labour, rentals, permits and regulations have a way of piling up quickly, you’d find yourself short of funds at a time when it’s most needed.


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  • Growing a Small Business

    Small companies often turn into big companies. Have you ever wondered why some restaurants, retail outlets, consultancies, financial institutions –enjoy business growth, whilst others don’t? If your business isn’t enjoying the success of other companies, here are some suggestions from business owners who’ve made small business big business.

    Schedule everything.

    Each day you go to the office or manufacturing plant, there are going to be distractions. This department head needs to speak with you now! Your business manager is waiting on that report, and your bank representative is on Line 1. When the owner is distracted, the tasks that need to be done sometimes fall by the wayside. Use a scheduler. You can find them for browsers, tablets, smartphones – and in many cases, the scheduler is free. Plan you time well. Avoid distractions. Hang out the DO NOT DISTURB sign and get your tasks finished before heading to another department to handle yet another emergency. The fact is, there are some tasks that only the owner can handle. Handle those tasks first.



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  • Nepal: A timely reminder

    The tragic earthquake in Nepal is a timely reminder of the importance of travel insurance.

    The Australian government travel advisory website issued a warning on Friday, 1 May 2015 that a number of protests have occurred following the 25 April earthquake. Australians were reminded to avoid all large crowds, demonstrations and protests, as they may become violent without warning (see Safety and security).

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  • The Profit Formula

    One of the few things I recall from my accountancy studies was the “Profit Formula” – you can only impact profit by doing one of three things

    • Reducing Expenses
    • Increasing Margins, or
    • Growing Sales

    Doing all three provides a self-leveraging bonanza. As a result I’m always on the lookout for technological solutions that can act on one of these three levers.

    This week I want to share some tools that I use to leverage my business.

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  • Be Better. Save Money. Grow Faster. (Part 2)

    Outsourcing isn’t a new business concept. It’s been around for decades, and the proliferation of Internet connectivity has made it simpler to outsource just about any job, save on the cost of in-house services, lower your business’ prices to beat the competition, and pay only for work delivered.

    In this post we look at minimising the risk of outsourcing.


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  • Be Better. Save Money. Grow Faster. (Part 1)

    Outsourcing isn’t a new business concept. It’s been around for decades, and the proliferation of Internet connectivity has made it simpler to outsource just about any job, save on the cost of in-house services, lower your business’ prices to beat the competition, and pay only for work delivered.

    Using outsourced talent, your company doesn’t pay extras, which can add 25% to the cost of hiring a full-time employee. In other words, straight out of the gate, your company is up 25% on savings when you outsource.

    So, what’s the downside to outsourcing? And which positions should you outsource and which should be kept in house?

    Read More
  • Storms, rain and winds pound NSW

    The flooding in NSW is a timely reminder that it can be difficult to recover from unforeseen events. Days of wild weather have claimed the lives of four people and caused devastation.

    As at last Thursday about 160,000 homes and businesses were without power.

    Imagine what would happen if your business is unable to trade. Your income stops but your expenses continue. Overheads and costs (such as wages and rent) still need to be paid.

    Unfortunately, that’s what has happened to hundreds of NSW businesses.

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  • Mistakes That Ruin Conference Calls

    Whilst some business executives believes you need to see the whites of a person’s eyes to understand what they really feel, there are equally as many that believe the money and time saved using conference calls outweighs the expenses of meeting in person.

    Even with advances in technology, conference calls, including video calls, are still used relatively infrequently in most businesses. Learning from other people’s mistakes is the best way to ensure that you make the most out of your calls.


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  • Get The Experience You Need To Succeed - Part 2

    Senior job seekers between the ages of 40 and 70 often face an uphill battle to find a position that pays well, encourages new ideas, and respects these talented workers for the experience they bring to the office every day.

    In part 2 of this discussion we look at the specific skills senior works bring to a business.

    In addition to real world experience, seniors bring attitudes and behavioural skills to the workplace.


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  • Get The Experience You Need To Succeed - Part 1

    Senior job seekers between the ages of 45 and 70 often face an uphill battle to find a position that pays well, encourages new ideas, and respects these talented workers for the experience they bring to the office every day.

    Australians are living longer. We’re working longer because we want to, and in some cases, we need to. We take on new challenges as we age, confident that we can meet that challenge using the experience garnered over the decades in the trenches.

    Unfortunately, many small business owners don’t recognise the value senior employees deliver to the workplace. Older workers are perceived to be less motivated than younger workers, out of touch with new technology, and too old to learn new tricks.

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  • Surviving in Business

    Forecasting company performance for the next 12 months isn’t always easy – especially in uncertain economic times. With Australia’s unemployment rate hovering at around 6.4%, what can your company expect in the coming months?


    What are the most reliable indicators of where your business will be this time next year?

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  • Managing changes in your business

    Businesses need to change from time to time. It might be to adapt to financial, customer or community implications or it might be due to a changing economy.

    Change can be painful and disruptive especially role changes. It is how you manage those role changes in your business that will dictate how you are seen both by individuals on your side and your competitors.

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  • Stress and Productivity (Part 2)

    You don’t need insurance statistics to tell you that stress levels are rising. Whether you are a business owner or a member of a growing firm, stress is part of your job description. Unfortunately, stress is not only a health hazard, it’s a business hazard leading to more sick days, greater turnover, lower standards of output and less creative energy.

    (Continued from Part 1)

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  • Stress and Productivity (Part 1)

    You don’t need insurance statistics to tell you that stress levels are rising. Whether you are a business owner or a member of a growing firm, stress is part of your job description. Unfortunately, stress is not only a health hazard, it’s a business hazard leading to more sick days, greater turnover, lower standards of output and less creative energy.

    There are two critical tasks for long-term business success – servicing your expanding client base and continuing to market your business.

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  • Good Safety Practices Make You Money

    Small business owners know that receivables, outstanding debt interest rates, P & L information for the last eight quarters, and trend lines used to point the way to success.

    However, they sometimes don’t know if there’s a safety issue on the factory floor, or a fire exit is blocked by raw materials.

    Employee injury and illness don’t help your company’s productivity, its cash flow, or the bottom line. In fact, lose a key employee and you could quickly see a cash flow shortage in your business’ future.

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  • Videos: Adaptable Time-Saving Sales Tools

    The Internet is crowded with videos – music videos, sales videos, cute kitten videos – lots of options, but not a whole lot of useful content for viewers. Sure, if you want to kill some time until you punch out, watching puppies on YouTube may do the trick.

    On the other hand, if you want to boost sales, lower customer care costs, and show prospects what you’re all about, videos are a low cost option – as long as they don’t look low cost.

    Creating the right video, with the right information or message, takes planning.

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  • A Business Advisory Board - Your Company Compass (part 2)

    The concept of a business advisory board is based on the “Mastermind Group” principle first introduced by renowned personal success author, Napoleon Hill, in his famous book, “Think And Grow Rich.”

    Continued from part 1.

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  • A Business Advisory Board - Your Company Compass (part 1)

    The concept of a business advisory board is based on the “Mastermind Group” principle first introduced by renowned personal success author, Napoleon Hill, in his famous book, “Think And Grow Rich.”

    In his research of the most successful people of his time, Hill found that a membership in a mastermind group made a key difference in business success. Masterminding brings together people from different spheres of expertise, authorities with different experiences and opinions, and experts with diverse modes of problem solving, to collaborate, brainstorm, and provide support to help group participants and advisory board clients achieve their individual business and personal goals.

    The benefits to even small business owners?

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  • Your income is your lifeline.

    According to Australian Government statistics over four million Australians have a disability. That's 1 in 5 people.

    They also indicate that 2.1 million Australians of working age (15 – 64 years) have an illness or injury.

    As a business owner, or even as an employee, could you support your family if you were ill and needed to take time, perhaps even months off work? How long would your savings last?

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  • Tomorrow’s Trends Today

    by Guest Blogger Michael Harrison

    As a business consultant I’ve had the privilege of working with some of the greatest minds on the planet – experts at everything from assessing insurable risk to selling widgets on the Internet.

    I speak at business conferences, industry and association conventions, big groups, small groups, and sometimes, I speak with one person – the owner, the decision maker, the person who can best implement suggestions.

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  • Taking charge of business alliances

    The business landscape is littered with failed alliances. Collaborating or forming partnerships with friendly commercial associates can lead to bigger profits for all concerned. But, learning how to take charge of these business partnerships will help your business maximise the potential you hope to achieve. The most effective collaborations work when partners have similar goals and values. Trust is an essential component for these arrangements to function productively.
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  • You Don’t Know What You Don’t Know!

    A company of 20 or 30 employees generates a lot of important data – data critical to making fundamental business decisions, to determining the company’s course and to increasing productivity.

    Unfortunately, much of the data is never collected and that which is received by mid- and upper-tier management is virtually useless. Why?

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  • Using networking to update cyber-crime education

    Do you really network to the best of your ability or do you just accidentally talk to a few colleagues or competitors in the same industry, because you have come to know them over the course of time? With cyber-crime becoming one of the scourges of the business community, the more education you can get by collaborating through networking, the better you will be able to prepare and plan against future attacks. Networking isn’t simple and it takes effort to achieve great results, but if you want to reduce your cyber risks it’s in your best interest. 
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  • Could disruptive innovation kill your business?

    Whilst the banks have been busy modernising their branches to “tellerless” machine only branches and losing customer loyalty along the way along came the disrupters.

    First it was PayPal that allowed you to send money anywhere in the world at the push of a button. Now it is peer-to-peer lenders that facilitate loans between parties wishing to lend and parties wishing to borrow. The service is fast, the rates are cheaper and the banks are cut out. PayPal now handles 18% of the Internet based banking transfers.

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  • Face to Face versus Online

    Not that long ago most meetings were face-to-face. There were a few conference calls but generally people used to like to “eyeball” each other.

    Technology has changed that. VOIP and online meeting software allows users to see each other, download and view the same documents and even instant message each other during the meeting, so face-to-face meetings are no longer the only choice. The question remains, are face-to-face meetings still better? The answer is that it depends.

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  • Are your personal assets at risk?

    As a business owner you work hard to grow your business and support your family. The more successful you are, the more assets you build outside the business. After all, isn’t that why you are working?
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  • Make Your Customers Look Good

    Fans of Basil Fawlty who are in the service industry will cherish what they learnt from Basil; and how we both laugh and cringe at the bumbling character of Basil as he manages to offend customers, employees and suppliers.

    How often do each of us, as customers, experience service providers who are clueless?

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  • Will your business survive?

    Business Continuity Planning is an essential part of business planning. The ability to recover from a disaster is the key to survival. That’s why you need a well thought out business continuity strategy.

    While you may have business interruption insurance, you need to understand that you are dealing with much more than the financial loss. Insurance may cover costs but you also need a strategy to get operations back to normal.

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  • Marketing Tools for small businesses

    Marketing your business is one of the most important components of being successful.

    As nice as it would be, people aren’t just going to find your business just by chance. You have to guide them to you, and you have to do it in a way that makes them think it’s their idea. That sounds tricky, but people don’t like to be constantly ‘sold’. Here are some tools you can use.

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  • 3 Ways to Beat Your Competitors

    In virtually every business you are faced with competition. Put simply, they want a share of your business and you want theirs.

    In reality, a number of similar competitors can work within a sector of the industry and each make a substantial profit to maintain their business or provide you with the ability for a generous sale.

    That doesn’t mean you should stop trying to increase your share. Here a some ideas.

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  • Web Users Want to Know – NOW

    YouTube and other video hosting sites are booming. There are video how-to’s to show you how to turn a flashlight into a laser, how to chill a Coke in two minutes and start up a PC quickly.

    These instructional videos generate revenues for producers and customers for businesses.

    They are also a model for the importance of information velocity – how quickly can you get the word out. Web users are eager for information. They’re want to access quality information about everything from managing investments to legal liabilities. The desire for quality (and quirky) information NOW has become an expectation of web users. And, that information should be easily accessed.

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  • Are you a target for no-win, no-fee lawyers?

    As a professional you take great pride in your work, and you provide the best service possible. Your advice, services, and designs are all top-notch.

    Even so, the slightest oversight or inadvertent error can cause customer dissatisfaction, or even worse, damage to their business.

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  • Monetising a big idea

    You might think YouTube has been with us for decades. For many it’s become an integral part of our daily online existence.

    Yet YouTube has only been in existence since 2005. In a relatively short 10 years it has become one of the most important, most powerful, persuasive communication forces to influence both our personal and professional lives.

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  • Web apps that work for business

    The most successful business owners constantly ask – how could I do this job better, faster, more effectively?

    The Internet offers a plethora of applications designed to provide us with short cuts and new ways to do things – some paid and some free.

    With all the options – how do you choose?

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  • Credit Card Travel Insurance: Will you be covered?

    If you’re planning to travel anytime soon, you might want to ask yourself if that free travel insurance that comes with your credit card, will really covered if something goes wrong.

    Or to put it another way, how does it compare with the traditional policies arranged by brokers?

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  • Dealing with Cynics

    The reality is that in most of us, there’s this little devilish cynic that doesn’t trust people. It’s a teeny-weenie character that simply won’t take people at their word …rightly or wrongly, thinking people usually have got a hidden, selfish, ulterior motive behind their actions.

    So, if you’re in a business that deals with people and relies on how they respond, how do you manage these little cynics? Do you even want to bother with them?

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  • Could you be liable?

    As a director or officer of a company, you have a lot of responsibility on your shoulders. Not only for the business itself, but also you could be liable if something goes wrong, or even if someone perceives that something has gone wrong.

    You could find yourself defending civil court claims, paying lawyers, and liable for any damages that may be awarded by a court. This could add up to millions of dollars, which could send even the most well off member of management into bankruptcy.

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  • “Soft benefits” sell: Tips to create goodwill

    If you own an insurance brokerage, an accountancy or law firm, a financial planning practice or other service-based business, your core benefit to clients is hard information: metrics, cash flow analysis, investments, insurance products and other service deliverables. This is why your business is paid by clients, but…

    …it may not be the reason a client remains a client over the long-term. “Soft” benefits often keep clients in place as part of your business base.

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  • Ready, set, go

    To win a coveted gold-medal, the Olympic sprinter must leave the start line of the 100m races at least equal, if not better, than the competition.

    Similarly, when you read about the different ways in which business owners begin their day, there is a consistency and a pattern for the most successful individuals; they start early and carefully plan the beginning of every business day.

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  • Using the Internet to Generate Leads - Part 2

    In part 1 we looked at how a blog, Facebook and Twitter can be used enable small businesses to compete with major international firms.

    In this post we look at some more options.

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  • Using the Internet to Generate Leads - Part 1

    The rise of the Internet has irrevocably altered the world. Today, we shop, communicate, socialise and find entertainment online. For businesses, the growth and spread of ecommerce has had a tremendous effect, enabling small businesses to compete with major international firms.

    Of course, all the capabilities and potential of the Internet are wasted if you don’t know how to generate leads online. Marketing online is similar to marketing offline, but there are some differences. The most important thing is for you to be aware of the tools available to you and what they offer. So, how do you generate leads online?

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  • Is your Insurance Broker up to scratch?

    Choosing the best insurance broker is not just about getting the best price for your cover, it is equally about receiving a high standard of help and advice to ensure that your company is covered against any disasters that would otherwise ruin your business.

    How do you go about choosing a commercial insurance broker that is perfect for all of your requirements?

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  • Need quick sales?

    It’s common for most business owners to get so engrossed in the day-to-day hustle that they forget to focus on the activities that will keep generating sales. Here are five techniques that should help achieve your monthly sales targets:
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  • Getting Negative Feedback to Work For You

    You put in boundless energy and effort, and lots of hours into your small business. So when a negative, unflattering comment comes in, perhaps on social media, it totally crushes you. It seems like it’s an affront to your business and to yourself, personally.

    It’s not the end of the world. These non-complimentary comments need not be a crisis for your business. Most people who post complaints in social media just want to be heard. Ignoring them or sweeping their feedback under the rug sends a bad message. It says you don’t care about their experience. If you pull back a bit and take a little time to respond, you can actually turn around this negative thing into a positive experience for your business.

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  • Creating a Winning Pricing Strategy

    Marketing people will usually advise you … never compete on price.

    They are right. At the end of the day, only one company can really end up with the lowest price. If you decide to compete with them and have the same low price, customers will go looking for another feature or point of differentiation. Worse, if you are relying on repeat sales, they will shop your price you're your competitors every year.

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  • The Hackers Are Here

    All of a sudden your website goes down. Dead. Inaccessible.

    People can’t access the information on your website. Worse still, they can’t purchase anything from your e-store. It gets worse. You learn that your server has an unpatched hole that enables access to personal data (names, address credit card information etc.).

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  • Brand You (part 2)

    Market recognition

    Back to my friend, the insurance man. His name and picture appeared weekly in the newspaper. He was on TV offering his opinions. He spoke at least once a fortnight and he blogged his way to on-line recognition.

    Then he repurposed his content by uploading clips to YouTube, his own web site and other digital media like Facebook. People come to recognize him, his name and his area of expertise.

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  • Brand You

    Many self-employed service providers are one-man (or woman) shows with the principle doing everything from booking appointments, farming leads and emptying the wastebasket.

    In some cases the business has grown to the point where the owner has hired an assistant and a couple of experts in a particular field. In either case, we’re talking small business – a business in which the owner is the brand.

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  • Good marketing is good business

    It’s a pretty basic concept that a successful business must have effective marketing strategies. Another basic concept is that 50% of marketing is wasted; the problem is that we seldom know which 50%.

    With the internet offering an ever increasing array of options, there are some weird and wonderful ideas out there, however if you are trying to save money here are some effective yet pocket friendly ways to market your business.

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  • Why use a CRM

    Customer relationship management (CRM) technology is the easiest way to manage business relations with customers. Apart from integrating, marketing and customer support, it can play a fundamental role in e-commerce.

    A CRM application can help your sales team organise, automate, and coordinate business processes to help you find, attract and win new customers, as well as manage those you already have.

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  • Good Advice Is Good Business

    We find ourselves living in interesting economic times.

    Oil and commodity prices are falling through the floor. Politicians are unable to sell a balanced budget. There is unprecedented turmoil in the Middle East and in Europe the Greek crisis is unfolding daily.

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  • Can Affiliate Marketing Work for You?

    Affiliate marketing can be a highly effective business tool for since it harnesses the networks and leads of one company to help grow another.

    While affiliate marketing is available in a variety of contexts and markets, service providers are in a particularly good position to use affiliate marketing to their benefit.

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  • Are you insuring yourself, without realising it?

    Many insurance policies have what is known as a co-insurance clause.

    In simple terms, what it means is, that in the event of a claim, if your property or business is under-insured, or not insured for it’s full value, the insurance company can discount your claim.

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  • Using the Internet to Generate Leads

    Once upon a time, the world of sales leads consisted of attending business social functions and collecting business cards while hobnobbing with others in the industry. While happy hour remains an excellent time and place to garner a few leads, the Internet has paved a completely new way to develop sales leads.

    Using the Internet wisely for a few hours now can do more for you now than hours of endless social functions could do for you back then.

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  • The most valuable sales tool is influence – here’s how you build it

    If George Clooney or Nicole Kidman walked up to you and asked you to purchase a product or a service, chances are good that you would seriously consider it. The reason why is that being a celebrity is a powerful influence in our world and influence in turn is a powerful sales tool. You don’t have to be a famous celebrity to develop influence, however, and it is one of the best (and free) ways to become a better sales person. 
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  • Why Businesses Need to Protect The Money Earners

    In other words the real profit comes from human assets. The skill, judgement and initiative of the key players; whether they are managers, sales people or specialists.

    Most businesses owners would not dream of operating without insuring their physical assets. However, very few apply the same principle to insuring their human assets. A business can be likened to a three-legged stool where the legs are capital, labour and management. If one leg is missing the stool will fall over.

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  • Do Online Meetings Work?

    There’s no doubt that digital communication has opened the door to faster communication and better affordability. However, is it really all it’s cracked up to be? Is it actually better than meeting face to face?
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  • Even Insurance Companies Aren’t Safe From Hackers

    A report in last week’s Australian newspaper stated that Australians are reporting 500 cybercrimes every week and recent stories about the hacking of large companies such as Sony, Target, Home Depot and Apple, make you wonder if your own company's information is in jeopardy.

    Getting hacked can be a scary thing to contemplate, especially if your (and your clients’) confidential information at stake.

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  • Must Know Lead Generation Ideas

    Most business owners know how important it is to have a steady flow of leads coming into their business. Lead generation can be a daunting task for many especially for small business owners. Here are some must know ideas that have been proven to be effective.
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  • Social Media

    A West Australian woman won $48,404 in compensation for emotional distress from an ex-boyfriend who posted sexually explicit videos and photos of her on Facebook.

    The judge ruled that the woman was entitled to an injunction and compensation, including $35,000 for emotional distress and $13,404 for loss of wages while on leave.

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  • Low Cost Ways To Promote Your Business

    Statistics show that many small businesses fail within two years of commencement. The principal reasons quoted are undercapitalisation and ineffective marketing.

    Here are some low cost methods you can use to boost your business.

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  • Jim & Rachel Murray From Cobbas Pipeline Installations

    Watch Jim & Rachel Murray from Cobbas Pipeline Installations as they share their story.

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  • Are Your Business Risks Manageable?

    Most business owners don’t often think about risk, but facts show that the smaller the business; the less room there is for error. Small business owners seldom have vast resources available to weather a risk incident.

    Unidentified risk can destroy a business of any size, so it’s especially critical for small business owners to be aware. Understanding as many business risks as possible will keep you prepared and able to anticipate and adjust.

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