Ignite your entrepreneurial spirit

Ignite your entrepreneurial spirit

Entrepreneurs have long been instrumental in changing the way we live and work. Just think about Thomas Edison’s inventions when you switch on a light, the contribution of Henry Ford to the motor industry as you jump behind the wheel of your car, or even the way Steve Jobs transformed computers as you open your laptop.

If you aspire to join the ranks of those that initiate change, whether you want to develop a new ground-breaking business offering or simply employ a bit of lateral thinking to a problem you are mulling over, igniting your entrepreneurial spirit can help you embrace opportunities, seek solutions, and innovate.

While true visionaries tend to follow their own path to achieve what was previously deemed impossible, there are some common traits shared by those who reach for the stars, and you can cultivate those traits.

A positive mindset

“Whether you think you can or think you can’t—you’re right.”- Henry Ford

Entrepreneurship is very much a mindset. Successful entrepreneurs are possessed with a great deal of self-belief. They believe not only in themselves but also in their vision.

Thinking outside the box also comes in handy. Lateral thinking is like a muscle that can be strengthened with use. One of the best ways to flex your creative thinking is to brainstorm and let your imagination run wild. No idea is too crazy and there is no such thing as too many ideas at this stage. If something has ‘always’ been done the same way question, why? Free up your thinking and look for constructive solutions to problems.


“I have not failed; I have just found 10,000 ways that won’t work” - Thomas Edison

Being successful does not mean never failing. In fact, the road to success is often littered with failures, and let’s face it, risk taking is an intrinsic part of pursuing innovation. They key is to learn each time something did not work and use the knowledge to rectify what went wrong.

That’s clearly a lot easier said than done. It can be hard to bounce back from repeated failures and to redefine failure as a lesson. Resilience will build with each obstacle you overcome if you frame failure as an opportunity to grow.

Focus on continual improvement

“Have no fear of perfection - you’ll never reach it” - Marie Cure

Creating and maintaining a focus on continual improvement will help you to build a better business, while making you stronger and more successful in all your other pursuits. The way to achieve this personal growth is to make the choice to open yourself up to new opportunities to acquire knowledge.

We are fortunate to live in an age where so much information is available at our fingertips so explore your passions and interests: read, listen to podcasts, watch videos and Ted Talks, and soak up that knowledge. Ask others if they have recommendations for you to try.

Collaboration and teamwork

“Great things in business are never done by one person, they are done by a team of people” - Steve Jobs

Speaking of asking others, one of the most powerful things you can do is to surround yourself with those who can help you, whether that’s building a high calibre team of amazing individuals or nurturing a network of people with relevant skills that you can call upon from time to time. It’s fantastic to have people you can use as a sounding board for ideas, especially when thinking creatively or strategically.

There are a lot of groups you could join including broad-based groups of like-minded businesspeople in your area to industry specific groups, who will have an appreciation of your challenges and objectives. You could even approach someone you look up to, to act as a mentor.

Knowledge of individual strengths

“You were born an original - don’t become a copy” - Coco Chanel

It’s important to note that everyone is different and brings different qualities to their endeavours. So, make sure you walk your own path: think about what you are good at, what you enjoy doing, as well as what the world needs. Your unique vision will come from developing your entrepreneurial talents.

This article is intended as an information source only and to provide general information only. The comments, examples, words and extracts from legislation and other sources in this publication do not constitute legal advice, financial or tax advice and should not be relied upon as such. All readers should seek advice from a professional adviser regarding the application of any of the comments in this article to their particular situation.

Cyber Security in Australia: Is Your Small Business Prepared?

Cyber Security in Australia: Is Your Small Business Prepared?

In the wake of major data breaches, Australian small businesses are at the forefront of cyber threats. Discover how to fortify your digital defences and navigate the evolving cyber landscape.

Recent high-profile data breaches, including those at Medibank Private and Optus, have highlighted the pressing need for cyber security awareness in Australia.

Although these crimes involved large organisations, email scams, cyberattacks and online scams also represent a major risk for small businesses, particularly if you don’t have the funds or knowhow to strengthen your digital security.

Simple scams, big costs to business

According to the government’s Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC), small businesses in particular are at increasing risk of cyberattack, with 43 per cent of all Australian cybercrime now targeting these entities. A cybercrime is reported every seven minutes on average. This alarming frequency underscores the urgency for businesses to bolster their cyber defences.

Cyberattacks often involve fairly straightforward scams. The ACSC highlights the example of a small construction business that received an email from a supplier saying they had changed banks and providing new account details. The construction firm didn’t call their supplier to check and twice paid an invoice for over $70,000.

The supplier was unaware one of its email accounts had been hacked and was sending out fraudulent bank account details. No funds were recovered.

Government Initiatives: Tools and Training to Combat Cyber Threats

To counter growing cyber risks, the government allocated funding to upskill small business owners and employees in the May Federal Budget.

Run by the Council of Small Business Organisations of Australia, the new $23.4 million Cyber Wardens program aims to build small business cyber resilience by training 60,000 non-technical employees.

Cyber Wardens will help other employees prevent digital threats in a similar way to workplace safety officers. This initiative is a testament to the government's commitment to ensuring the digital safety of Australian enterprises.

ACSA has revamped its Cyber Security for Small Business Guide and accompanying video. One of its key recommendations is for small businesses to create a cyber emergency plan and test it using the ACSC’s Exercise in a Box tool.

The ATO is also emphasising the importance of business cyber security and has released a checklist of tips for businesses, such as turning on automatic updates.

"Mitigating Risks: The Importance of Cyber Insurance for Small Businesses

Aside from the obvious inconvenience resulting from a cyberattack, small businesses also face other considerable risk exposures.

There is a mandatory reporting obligation under the Notifiable Data Breaches scheme requiring a business to report data breaches to the government and its customers if the breach is likely to result in data being misused.

The financial losses resulting from a cybercrime can also be considerable, making cyber insurance a worthwhile investment for many small businesses.

These policies cover a wide range of cyber-related financial risks, including losses suffered by third parties (such as customers), cyber extortion, public relations expenses, system and business interruption expenses, and data breach notification costs.

Ensuring Business Continuity: Beyond Cyber Risks

Expenses resulting from a cyberattack are not the only potential risks a small business can face, making appropriate insurance cover invaluable if the worst happens.

While most small businesses have traditional business cover for building, contents, theft, commercial vehicle and general property, other business risks such as business interruption are often overlooked.

Management liability insurance protects the company and the people managing it against the risks and exposures of running the business, such as allegations of misconduct or legislative breaches.

It can also be worth considering key person insurance to compensate your business for financial losses arising from the death or extended incapacity of an important staff member. The lump sum payout can be used to offset costs such as recruiting a successor, or losses such as a decreased ability to transact business in the event of losing a key person.

Public liability insurance covers you and your employees for potential liabilities to third parties if your product or service cause bodily injury or property damage, while professional indemnity protects against liability for damages and legal costs arising from claims due to acts or omissions. It's crucial for businesses to understand the different insurance options available and choose the ones that best align with their unique risks and needs.

In a constantly evolving risk landscape, taking proactive steps within your business can work to reduce the likelihood of a cyberattack or limit damage should the unfortunate occur.
Staying informed, vigilant, and proactive is the best defence in today's digital age. Equip your business with the knowledge and tools to navigate the cyber challenges ahead.

This article is intended as an information source only and to provide general information only. The comments, examples, words and extracts from legislation and other sources in this publication do not constitute legal advice, financial or tax advice and should not be relied upon as such. All readers should seek advice from a professional adviser regarding the application of any of the comments in this article to their particular situation.

A Guide to Online Business Registration in Australia

A Guide to Online Business Registration in Australia

While setting up new online accounts for government services can initially seem daunting, the benefits for small businesses can make the process worth the trouble.

Understanding the Basics of Business Registration in Australia

Most businesses have the basic registrations under control such as: the Australian business number (ABN), tax file number, pay-as-you-go (PAYG) withholding, fringe benefits tax (FBT) and goods and service tax (GST). But in recent years, government services have extended their online offerings.

The type of registrations you require hinges on your business structure, be it a sole trader, partnership, company, or trust.

Business registrations differ from licences, which give you permission to operate or for certain activities. You can check the Australian Business Licence and Information Service website to find all of the local, state and federal licences, registrations and permits you need for your business.

Apart from the legal requirement for you to register for various business operations, one benefit to small business is in the access to your details online, which may be easier than hunting through your filing system to find odd documents.

The Importance of myGov and myGovID for Your Business: Proving Your Identity

The relatively recent requirement to create a myGov account allows access to your ATO details to check transactions and details of upcoming payments. Your myGov account also links to a range of other services such as Centrelink, Medicare, Child Support, My Health Record, JobSearch and NDIS.

While your myGov account is largely for personal matters, the similarly named but quite different myGovID account registration provides a digital identity that allows you to log into government services as a business. It is a way of proving your identity online and can also be used to create a director ID, which is a requirement for all directors of companies and some other organisations.

You can conveniently set up your myGovID using an app on your mobile device. After downloading the app, you will be asked to share various documents that help to identity you including your licence and passport. You can choose to add a photo of yourself to provide the strongest form of verification to allow you access to all participating government services.

It is important to keep in mind that if you forget the password you have set, you will need to repeat the entire verification process. But once myGovID is set up, you can use it to access services without proving your identity each time or remembering different passwords.

Leveraging the Relationship Authorisation Manager (RAM) for Your Business: Authorising Company Access

The next step involves registering with the Relationship Authorisation Manager (RAM) This platform empowers you to authorise yourself and others to act online on behalf of your business. This could include checking and lodging tax forms or updating your ABN details on the Australian Business Register.

You use your myGovID to log in to RAM then link it to your business using your Australian Business Number (ABN).

Note that you will need your phone nearby for two-factor authentication when you are logging into government websites.

Also, be prepared for some difficulties in setting up your registrations. While the app and the websites are quite straightforward, these processes can be time consuming to set up and it may be best to do it when you have some time to calmly work through it. For example, adding your photo to the myGovID app can be tricky. It is suggested you force the closure of the app and perhaps reboot your phone then try again. It is also important to make sure that the details you enter into the app are exactly the same as they appear on your passport and driver’s licence.

Why invest the time? Despite initial setup challenges, the benefits are clear: easy access to your business information online, quick updates to business records, and a streamlined process for applying for a director ID.

This article is intended as an information source only and to provide general information only. The comments, examples, words and extracts from legislation and other sources in this publication do not constitute legal advice, financial or tax advice and should not be relied upon as such. All readers should seek advice from a professional adviser regarding the application of any of the comments in this article to their particular situation.

Harnessing the power of LinkedIn to build your personal brand

Harnessing the power of LinkedIn to build your personal brand

Linkedin is a powerful tool to help you establish and maintain your reputation and develop your career and business. So, if you either don’t yet have a presence on Linkedin or suspect you may not be getting the best out of the platform, we’ve got a few tips for you!

Linkedin was created in 2003 as a way for professionals to network and has been around longer than many other social platforms including Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, and Instagram. Its popularity is one reason why it’s a platform you need to have a presence on. It hosts more than 900 million professional profiles, which means nearly an unlimited supply of network connections and opportunities.i

What are the benefits of Linkedin?

Establish yourself as the knowledgeable professional you are. One way to think of Linkedin is your digital business card. Unlike a business card, you can say a lot more about who you are, your strengths, expertise and experience.

Expand your network. Linkedin allows you to reap the benefits of engaging with others. It’s a critical tool for professional development and business development as you connect with those who could potentially benefit from what you offer.

Learn and grow professionally. Given Linkedin’s professional focus, it’s a great tool to build your knowledge and keep you up to date with what is happening in your industry. It features business news and educational articles on various topics. With a bit of regular scrolling, it’s possible to do a lot of learning.

How to master Linkedin

Power up your profile – It’s important to have a complete and compelling profile. If you’ve signed up with good intentions at some point and never got around to completing your profile, you are doing yourself a disservice. Linkedin's internal search only ranks profiles that register as "complete," and these can get more than 20 times as many views as incomplete profiles. Here are some things to consider doing:

  • Add a good-quality photo of yourself and a background image that reflects your personality and profession.
  • Mention your industry and location in your headline.
  • Include a summary of who you are, what you do, and what you have to offer. Include a call to action for people to contact you.
  • Build keywords into your profile so that they will come up if people search for a particular skill set. Also consider customising your unique link address so you can be found easier.
  • Describe your current position. Sharing samples of your work is a great way to demonstrate your skills and capabilities.
  • Add your previous work history, education details, and at least four skills or areas of expertise

And finally, when it comes to your profile and presence on Linkedin, there is nothing more powerful than an endorsement from a client or colleague. Be strategic about what you ask for and use on your profile to highlight your strengths and skills.

Connecting with others – This is what Linkedin is all about so make the most of your existing connections. It can be challenging reaching out beyond those to people you don’t know, and the most successful approach is always going to be a personal message rather than the default ‘I’d like to add you to my connections’. Think about why you’d like to connect with them, whether you admire their achievements or work in the same industry sector. Linkedin also offers interest-based and professional groups, which can be a great place to connect with others.

Engaging with others – This is a key component of leveraging Linkedin. If you are on Linkedin but do not engage with others, you are unlikely to generate many new connections. The beauty of social networks is they promote dialogue - so they enable you to demonstrate your expertise and position yourself without overtly ‘selling’ so you can have the conversations you would like to with the people you would like to talk to.

Sharing valuable content - Through sharing articles or insights, you can establish yourself as a knowledgeable professional in your field. Think of what useful information for others would be and provide some commentary on content that you don’t generate or write.

Whether you use Linkedin and/or other channels to build and strengthen existing client relationships and to find and help prospective clients, the principles are the same: focus on the other person and their needs, be yourself and build relationships one at a time. If you do this, you’ll reap the rewards!

i https://news.Linkedin.com/about-us#Statistics

This article is intended as an information source only and to provide general information only. The comments, examples, words and extracts from legislation and other sources in this publication do not constitute legal advice, financial or tax advice and should not be relied upon as such. All readers should seek advice from a professional adviser regarding the application of any of the comments in this article to their particular situation.

Cashflow Management Amidst Changing Australian Business Regulations

Cashflow Management Amidst Changing Australian Business Regulations

Navigating the complex world of Australian business regulations is key to maintaining a healthy cashflow. This article breaks down recent changes and their implications, providing you with the knowledge to keep your business thriving.

For small businesses, maintaining a healthy cash flow can often be a challenging task.

In this climate, recent changes to rules and regulations may both help and hinder cash flow. Here are some key changes you should be aware of.

Minimum wage rise

The Fair Work Commission’s recent increase to the national minimum wage will add costs for some employers.

Employees not covered by an award or registered agreement must receive a 5.75 per cent wage increase. The new minimum wage of $882.80 per week or $23.23 per hour must be paid from 1 July 2023.i

Changes to employee super

The Superannuation Guarantee – the amount that employers must pay to their workers’ super funds – has increased again from 1 July 2023.

Employers are now required to contribute 11 per cent of an employee's ordinary time earnings to their super fund. This amount will increase by 0.5 per cent in 2024 and a further 0.5 in 2025 bringing it to 12 per cent.ii

Payment of the superannuation guarantee payments to your employees should be made at least four times a year. Full payments must be made within 28 days following the end of each financial quarter.

However, some employers – often those with cashflow issues - have been dragging the chain on payments. As a result, billions of dollars in super are owing. The Australian Taxation Office says that, in 2019-2020, $3.4 billion in employees’ super went unpaid.iii

The solution will potentially have a big effect on small business cashflow.

From 1 July 2026, employees’ super must be paid at the same time they receive their wages.

This initiative is termed 'payday super' by the federal government. Treasurer Jim Chalmers says more frequent super payments will make payroll management smoother and employers will have fewer liabilities building up.

And to strengthen the system, the ATO will receive extra funds to help it detect unpaid super payments earlier.

New PAYG and GST instalment rates

The Federal Budget delivered a potentially positive boost for small business cashflow with a change to the quarterly Pay As You Go (PAYG) and goods and services tax (GST) instalment payments.iv

These payments are available to small businesses with an annual turnover of up $10 million for GST instalments and an annual turnover of up to $50 million for PAYG instalments.

Each year, the ATO adjusts the amount based on the previous year's increases or decreases in Australia's GDP. That would have meant a 12 per cent increase to instalment payments because GDP has performed strongly in the last 12 months. But the government has decided to cut the increase to 6 per cent for this financial year.

Instant write-offs

In another bonus for cashflow management, the new rule for instant asset write off is good news if you are considering any big purchases this financial year.

The instant asset write-off allows eligible businesses to claim an immediate deduction for the cost of assets including: tools, computers and office equipment, freestanding office furniture, and vehicles.

The instant asset write-off can be applied to an unlimited number of assets purchased for use during the year, provided each individual asset costs less than the $20,000 threshold.

However, there are some exclusions. These include some assets that are leased out, plants including grapevines, assets used in research and development activities, and capital works such as new buildings and structural improvements.

Assets valued at $20,000 or more, which can’t be immediately deducted, can be depreciated at 15 per cent in the first income year and 30 per cent each income year after that.

Get in touch with us for more information on the new rules and regulations or to help improve your cashflow management.

i https://www.fairwork.gov.au/pay-and-wages
ii Super guarantee percentage | Australian Taxation Office (ato.gov.au)
iii Introducing payday super | Treasury Ministers
iv Small Business Support – helping small business manage tax instalments and improve cashflow | Australian Taxation Office (ato.gov.au)

This article is intended as an information source only and to provide general information only. The comments, examples, words and extracts from legislation and other sources in this publication do not constitute legal advice, financial or tax advice and should not be relied upon as such. All readers should seek advice from a professional adviser regarding the application of any of the comments in this article to their particular situation.

AI: The Game-Changer for Small Businesses in Australia

AI: The Game-Changer for Small Businesses in Australia

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is reshaping the business landscape in Australia, particularly for small businesses. With its ability to automate tedious tasks, provide insightful data analysis, and improve customer service, AI is a game-changer. Discover how your small business can leverage AI to reap these benefits and more.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) has evolved from a concept in science fiction to a crucial component of our everyday lives. The term ‘artificial intelligence’ was coined back in the mid 1950’s, when a number of academics and professionals in the field of technology first proposed a study of the term.i In that same year, the first AI program was developed.

Previously seen as a tool for large corporations, AI technologies have become more affordable and accessible, making them a popular choice for small businesses. You may already be using AI without realising it.

Not just for big business

Recent research by Deloitte and Stanford University reveals that approximately one in four small businesses are utilising AI in various forms, such as chatbots, predictive analytics, and marketing automation.ii

While that adoption may seem a little slower in the context of large enterprises’ use of AI which sits at around 40%, many small businesses have the edge on the bigger players when it comes to embracing innovative technologies.

The benefits

The appeal of AI lies in its capability to automate tasks that are time-consuming or mundane for humans. Some areas of the business where AI can play a powerful role include:

Administration: AI can help small businesses reduce the time spent on administration tasks, eliminate duplication, and minimise human error, ultimately freeing up resources for other activities. AI can be used for time and task management, bookkeeping activities, scheduling meetings, managing emails, and generating reports. Another area where AI is making an impact is in data analysis, which can be time-consuming, especially when dealing with large data sets. AI-powered analytics tools can make it easier for small businesses to extract insights from data and make more informed decisions.

Sales and client support: One of the most common applications of AI is the use of chatbots to answer frequently asked questions. These can include questions on available products, delivery dates, the status of orders and more, freeing up your resources to focus on more complex enquiries. AI also has the potential to assist with lead generation, marketing automation, client engagement and sales forecasting.

Supply chain enhancements: AI’s capacity for data crunching makes it ideal for identifying supply chain trends and making predictions to assist in the optimisation of a supply chain.

Strategies for Integrating AI into Your Small Business

These examples illustrate some of the prevalent ways Australian small businesses are leveraging AI. For your business to get the most out of AI, the first step is to identify your specific business needs and then choose the applications that can help you meet those needs. Take advantage of the wealth of online resources available to familiarise yourself with the potential AI offerings.

It’s important to also recognise the potential risks of using AI. Some review of the information generated by AI is needed as mistakes can occur. Also consider security risks and take the appropriate steps to keep your customers’ details and information about your business secure.

When it comes to implementing AI within your business consider the business case for its deployment (it’s easy to get carried away when it comes to new technology) and how it will be managed, what resources will be required including internal processes that need to be refined before you get going.

The true value of AI lies in its ability to liberate your team from tedious tasks, allowing them to focus on what they excel at. Consider how AI can optimise your team's productivity by reducing administrative burdens and freeing up resources for critical operations.

i http://www-formal.stanford.edu/jmc/history/dartmouth/dartmouth.html
ii https://aiindex.stanford.edu/report/

This article is intended as an information source only and to provide general information only. The comments, examples, words and extracts from legislation and other sources in this publication do not constitute legal advice, financial or tax advice and should not be relied upon as such. All readers should seek advice from a professional adviser regarding the application of any of the comments in this article to their particular situation.

Boost Productivity: Overcome Urgent Tasks & Focus on What Matters

Boost Productivity: Overcome Urgent Tasks & Focus on What Matters

Imagine finally breaking free from the endless cycle of busywork that consumes your day. By understanding the difference between urgent and important tasks, and using the Eisenhower Matrix, you can transform your productivity and focus on achieving your most meaningful goals.

“I have two kinds of problems, the urgent and the important. The urgent are not important, and the important are never urgent.”
— Dwight D. Eisenhower

For most of us managing our time means dealing with the million and one little things demanding our attention, which often takes our focus away from the vitally important things that might not be so pressing right now.

Dwight Eisenhower, five-star general and 34th president of the United States of America, was a master of time management who managed to tick off quite a few items on his to-do list during his time as President. His achievements included ending the Korean War, keeping the peace during the Cold War with Russia, introducing the Interstate Highway System, creating NASA, and drafting a major piece of civil rights legislation.

During his career, he often had to make ruthless decisions about how he spent his time and developed a concept of categorising and prioritising tasks to aid in time management. This concept was expanded upon three decades later in the best-selling book, ‘The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People’ and termed “The Eisenhower Matrix”.

While it sounds quite an obvious thing to focus on the most important tasks, it can be something we struggle with as we tend to have an innate bias toward the urgent, at the expense of the important.

We are hard wired to focus on urgent tasks

Time management research reveals that when faced with tasks of mixed urgency, people tend to focus on time-sensitive tasks over tasks that are less urgent, even when the less urgent tasks offer greater rewards. This is known as the "Mere-Urgency Effect", and it explains why our approach to task and time management often means we don’t get the important stuff done.i

And the more you have on your plate the more pronounced this is. The same research found self-described ‘busy’ people were more likely to prioritise urgent tasks with lower rewards because they are more likely to be focused on the clock.

The Eisenhower Matrix

Eisenhower’s matrix has four quadrants and users are encouraged to decide which category their activities fall into and there are strategies for how best to deal with each one.

Urgent & important activities are tasks with clear deadlines and consequences if immediate action is not taken. Examples include finishing a client project or picking up a sick child from school. These should be prioritised.

Not urgent & important activities are those without a set deadline that bring you closer to your goals. As these are not urgent these are easy to put off so should be scheduled for a later date – but you must ensure you stick to that schedule. Examples include strategic planning or networking to develop your career.

Urgent & not important activities don’t have to be done by you and if possible, should be delegated to someone else. These are often smaller everyday tasks, such as setting up meetings or uploading blog posts.

Lastly, activities in the not urgent and not important category often serve as distractions to the important stuff. Think binge watching a program or time spent scrolling through your social media. These can be avoided altogether or at least done in moderation.

Keep in mind that everyone has different priorities and only you can know which tasks are important for you, and which ones aren’t.

And even if you don’t want to emulate Eisenhower and run all your activities through the lens of this matrix, maybe just instead of trying to cram as many tasks as possible into your day, try prioritising those that matter to you and will improve your life or those that progress you toward achieving your goals and dreams.

i https://psycnet.apa.org/record/2019-23349-011

This article is intended as an information source only and to provide general information only. The comments, examples, words and extracts from legislation and other sources in this publication do not constitute legal advice, financial or tax advice and should not be relied upon as such. All readers should seek advice from a professional adviser regarding the application of any of the comments in this article to their particular situation.


Risk management key to building a strong business

Risk Management Essentials for Small Business Success

Risk Management Essentials for Small Business Success

Running a successful small business requires more than just hard work and dedication; it also involves implementing effective risk management strategies. In this article, we explore the key steps to building a robust risk management plan that will safeguard your small business and pave the way for long-term success.

Running a small business can be difficult enough without having an unforeseen event disrupt or cripple your operations.

Imagine a trusted employee is found to have embezzled hundreds of thousands of dollars over a number of years. Can the business withstand the financial hit? What is the effect on their colleagues? And how will you deal with the betrayal?

It is often said that many small business owners are too busy working in the business to find the time and resources to work on the business. But protecting your business from disasters is worth setting aside some time for.

Recognising Potential Threats to Your Business

Identifying risk and working out your options for dealing with them, not only helps form a risk management strategy that might see you through disaster, but can improve and strengthen your operations in the meantime by minimising some risks. Involving stakeholders like employees, contractors, clients, suppliers, investors, insurers, and government agencies can provide valuable insights for effective risk management.

Many risks are common to all businesses, while others are specific to your industry and operations. Key risk categories to evaluate include:

  • Financial – including rising interest rates, fraud, tax issues, payment system disruptions or major economic shocks such as a sharemarket crash
  • Competition – a new player enters the market or a current competitor closes, flooding you with unexpected new orders
  • Environmental – natural disasters, pandemics or other health events (what happens if the annual flu season sees a number of key employees out of the office at once)
  • Reputation – an employee is charged with a high profile offence or there is a social media pile-on against your business
  • Political – a change in the rules that cover your operations or a change of government
  • Technology – software and hardware crashes, failing to upgrade leaving you with obsolete technology or cyber security breaches
  • Health and safety – an employee or customer is injured (or worse) because of an unsafe process
  • Security – vital plant and equipment is stolen or vandalised
  • Operations – your business aims, policies or strategies are out of date or not appropriate for current conditions

Remember to regularly review and update your insurance coverage. Insurance is one of the most important ways to deal with many business risks so make sure that your cover is appropriate for your needs.

Developing a Comprehensive Risk Management Plan

Once you have identified the risks your business faces, evaluate each risk by determining its likelihood and potential consequences. Some risks are preventable, and others may be easy to eliminate by, for example, installing an alarm system or buying extra personal protective equipment (PPE).

It could be useful to chart them on a risk analysis matrix or a risk analysis template to highlight areas that may need your focus.

Finally, you will need to work out your response to each. Can the risk be avoided or reduced or are you prepared to accept it? The plan should include strategies to treat each risk, timeframes for each strategy, an outline of who is responsible for each part of the plan and the resources required.

With all of the hard work completed, regular monitoring and review of your risk management strategy is essential to ensure it is effective and relevant. This includes ensuring any changes needed are implemented and carrying out regular risk assessments to update your plan.

Investing in risk management can help small businesses thrive in a competitive marketplace, allowing them to focus on growth rather than worrying about potential risks. So, take the time to develop a risk management plan to make sure that your business is prepared for whatever the future may bring.

Contact us for help in identifying and mitigating your business risks.

This article is intended as an information source only and to provide general information only. The comments, examples, words and extracts from legislation and other sources in this publication do not constitute legal advice, financial or tax advice and should not be relied upon as such. All readers should seek advice from a professional adviser regarding the application of any of the comments in this article to their particular situation.

Productivity - the key to thriving when times are tough

Boost Your Small Business Productivity: Learn from the Cactus

Boost Your Small Business Productivity: Learn from the Cactus

Just like a cactus that thrives in harsh conditions with minimal resources, your small business can also flourish in tough times by focusing on productivity. In this article, we'll explore how you can optimize your business processes, empower your team, and make the most of available resources to achieve sustainable growth, even in a challenging economic environment.

With high inflation, rising rates and even talk of a possible recession on the cards for Australia, it can be a tricky time to be running a small business.

It can be beneficial during tough times, or even in anticipation of challenging times on the horizon, to focus on increasing productivity - doing more with less resources. Some species of cacti can do without water for up to two years - they are masters at doing a lot with a little, but as a business it can be hard to ensure you are running a lean machine without losing output, sacrificing quality or profits.

Here are a few ways you can improve your business’s productivity and run a lean, but productive, machine:

Keep Growing Your Business, No Matter What

Just like the cactus that manages to keep growing with minimal resources, your business should also focus on growth. It’s important that the processes you are putting in place to enhance productivity and remove unnecessary costs do not constrain growth.

Make sure you set goals for achievable growth milestones and review them regularly against progress.

Unlocking Your Team's Potential for Better Results

One of the best ways to improve productivity is to involve the team. Share your goals and aims and get everyone in on the journey with you. Equally, working together to set achievable goals and targets for individuals will improve buy-in as well as productivity, as people tend to work more efficiently when they’re involved in the decision-making process and focused on achieving clear objectives within agreed timeframes.

Do More with Less: Find Smart Ways to Use Your Resources

Innovating does not mean you have to reinvent the wheel – there are a lot of existing systems and applications out there that can help you to be more productive as a business. Seek out technology solutions that remove mundane, repetitive tasks and support collaboration and automation. Review your processes and try to streamline how things are done and promote efficiencies.

Put Your Customers First: A Simple Strategy for a Better Business

Productive businesses tend to be focused on business processes that deliver customer value. Orienting and pivoting to the provision of customer value will help you uncover inefficiencies like outdated procedures and unnecessary steps.

The process works best when employees at every level are encouraged to suggest changes to improve the way things are done. If an employee can identify a shortcut that makes their work faster without sacrificing results, support them to implement it.

Practise Outsourcing for a Leaner Business

Using third party providers can enhance productivity as you can pay for services as you need them and avoid making major investments in infrastructure, software, or personnel.

Another advantage of outsourcing is you’re able to increase the efficiency of your business by getting expert help without having to hire experts full-time.

Streamline Your Finances: Find Ways to Adopt Lean Financial Management

Running a lean business means reducing or removing unnecessary costs so it’s a clever idea to review your cash flow to see whether you can reduce your costs anywhere in the business. Review your suppliers and ensure you are getting the best deals from utilities providers.

Part of your lean implementation can also be to cut down on liabilities by not keeping excessive amounts of stock. You can do this by implementing good inventory management practices and forecasting to match supply and demand.

While for many businesses it’s important to project an image of success with big fancy offices, lavish workspaces can incur excessive costs that that eat into profits. With working from home becoming more common, it might be worth reviewing your office space requirements while looking for ways to reduce ongoing costs.

Operating your business in the most productive manner and with minimal outlay and overhead costs isn’t about penny-pinching – it’s a mindset shift that will enable your business to be sustainable in the long term, not just responding to adverse economic conditions.

This article is intended as an information source only and to provide general information only. The comments, examples, words and extracts from legislation and other sources in this publication do not constitute legal advice, financial or tax advice and should not be relied upon as such. All readers should seek advice from a professional adviser regarding the application of any of the comments in this article to their particular situation.


Small Business Exporting: A Pathway to Growth and Resilience

Small Business Exporting: A Pathway to Growth and Resilience

Imagine your small business flourishing in the global market, reaping the rewards of increased sales, profits, and growth opportunities. Exporting can not only make this a reality but also bolster your business's resilience during economic shocks.

Exporting can provide your business with benefits such as improved productivity, increases in sales and profits, new customers and potential growth opportunities.

In fact, exporting is associated with a higher likelihood of a business surviving. A study has found that exporters are larger, more productive, more skill- and capital-intensive and more innovative. The study also found that exporters tend to be robust during an economic shock. For example, Australian exporters were more resilient to the shocks of the pandemic than non-exporters.i

That is because exporters were able to spread their business across different markets, taking advantage of markets that were growing while others were floundering.

We often think of exporters as massive mining companies or manufacturers. But small businesses make up 62 per cent of the more than 56,000 Australian businesses that sell to international markets.ii

Online selling provides a platform

The growth in online sales is helping many small businesses to become exporters.

Despite online sales growth slowing a little in 2022, there has been an eyewatering expansion in online sales over the past 5 years. In 2016, global online sales were worth US$1.9 trillion or 8.7 per cent of retail sales.iii By the end of 2023, online sales are expected to reach US$6.51 trillion or 22.3 per cent of total retail sales.iv

While traditional exporting usually means selling to another business overseas such as a distributor, wholesaler or a retail store, online exporting provides more options including selling directly to consumers as well as experimenting with different business models and export methods. You might need to engage some extra help in logistics, social media, foreign language customer service and e-commerce website design.

You could join one of the major platforms such as Amazon, Etsy or eBay. For a fee, these types of platforms can give you a ready marketplace and may suit smaller businesses that are inexperienced in online selling.

What are the risks?

It pays to keep your eyes wide open when it comes to exporting. Success rests on being prepared and knowing the risks.

You will need to understand your potential customers by researching your target markets and looking into local regulations. One of the biggest risks is movements in the Australian dollar. When our dollar is low against other currencies, it is good news for you and your customers. You will still earn the same profit, but your product or service will be relatively cheaper for your customers. That might lead to an increase in demand and help you to win a bigger market share from competitors in other countries.

On the other hand, when the Australian dollar is strong and performing well against other currencies, goods and services are relatively more expensive for those in other countries.

Know the rules and regulations of the countries you are exporting to andwhat documentation is needed for your goods to clear customs, as this will vary between countries.

Another risk – a big spike in demand - might appear to be in the ‘good problem to have’ category but may cause business failure. Consider how your business could handle a large increase in overseas orders while still meeting demand for your Australian market.

Meeting the costs

Make sure you have enough working capital to fund a push into export markets. The costs involved can include hiring consultants to provide advice on aspects of e-commerce, website building, customs and export rules and specific markets, and you may need extra capital to increase production.

Export Finance Australia (EFA) provides small to medium businesses with loans to help with the finance needed to secure export contracts or purchase orders. EFA also provides approved export businesses a guarantee to help access finance from their bank.

All state and territory governments also offer support for exporters based in their jurisdictions.

If you would like to discuss how to prepare your business for exporting, give us a call.

i https://www.austrade.gov.au/news/publications/australian-state-of-exporters-report-2022
ii https://www.exportfinance.gov.au/resources/article/taking-on-export-opportunities-five-top-tips-for-australian-smes/
iii https://www.austrade.gov.au/ecommerce-guide/guide/introduction-to-online-exporting
iv https://www.shopify.com/au/enterprise/global-ecommerce-statistics.

This article is intended as an information source only and to provide general information only. The comments, examples, words and extracts from legislation and other sources in this publication do not constitute legal advice, financial or tax advice and should not be relied upon as such. All readers should seek advice from a professional adviser regarding the application of any of the comments in this article to their particular situation.