Things to consider before hiring an intern
Business | 01 22nd, 2020|

Hiring an intern can sound like a win-win situation; the intern gets an opportunity to learn and boost their career, you get some extra help generally at a lower wage rate than regular employees. However, it is important to first think about if an intern would be right for your company before you make the commitment.

Consider remuneration:
If an intern is hired in accordance with the law, then they do not always require compensation. Think about what kind of tasks they would do, how much they would work and their academic and professional experience to help you decide on appropriate remuneration. Many companies choose alternatives to regular payment, such as gift cards, free lunches, public transport remuneration or free company products.

Think about resources:
Do you have the time and resources to train and mentor an intern? Often, interns are part of educational programs which means they may also have to commit to their studies as well as the internship. This requires more flexibility as to which days they can work each week, as well as periods they wish to take off to study for exams. It is therefore important to think about if you have enough resources to not become dependant on the intern for certain tasks.

The importance of keeping business records
Business | 01 15th, 2020|

Probably the most important reason behind sound record-keeping is that it allows you to learn and grow from your own business experiences. Keeping your records in check will help you understand the current situations of your business and also project future profit or losses. In addition, good record keeping will also show you where your business needs improvement or re-invention. Here a few records to keep that will prove invaluable in the future.

Financial Statements:
Keeping accurate and up to date financial statements will help you at a time of lending applications. These finances include income statements as well as balance sheets that show assets, liabilities and the equities of your business at a specific date.

Purchases and expenses:
The items you buy and sell to your customers and the costs of running your businesses. Supporting documents for both of these include invoices, email records, credit card slips, cancelled cheques, cash registrar tapes and account statements. These can help you to determine whether your business is improving, which items are selling, or what changes you may need need to make.

Assets:
The properties that you own and use in your business. These records verify information regarding your business assets, such as when and how you acquired these assets. They will also help you to determine the annual depreciation when you sell the assets. Examples of these records include the purchase or sales invoices and real estate closing statements.

Closing the office for the holidays
Business | 01 13th, 2020|

As the holiday season approaches, the workplace often gets more relaxed as things wrap up. However, closing the business for the holidays usually isn’t as simple as turning the lights off and heading home for a few weeks. There is often a lot of preparation and work that needs to be done before everyone leaves the office.

Notify staff:
Giving your staff at least two to four weeks notice of business closing dates will allow them to prepare for the shutdown and organise their workload appropriately. Having reminders through announcements, in-office calendars, emails or signs on notice boards will allow employees to ensure their work is done on time and organise personal events.

Notify other stakeholders:
Important stakeholders such as customers, suppliers or vendors should also be informed in advance of when the business is closed for the holidays to ensure that any services or needs are completed prior to shutdown. Customers can be notified through your business’s website, emails, signs around the business or letters and phone calls for close clients.

Update your security:
If your business has a security team or service, make sure that they are kept updated about your closing dates, as well as an emergency contact list with the owner and key employee details so they know who to contact in the event of a security issue, even when the business is closed. It is also a good idea to ensure that all cybersecurity software is up to date before you leave to prevent hackers and viruses from damaging your assets while you’re away.

Backup data:
Backing up your servers will reduce the risk of losing crucial business assets to hackers, viruses or software malfunction while you’re away. By making backups of your data through tools such as cloud storage or hard drives, you don’t have to worry about coming back to a corrupted system.

Change automated greetings:
If you have an automated answering service for business dealings, consider recording a message letting people know that your business has closed for the holidays. It is also a good idea to detail what dates you will return.

Turn off equipment:
Don’t forget to shut down any equipment that won’t be used throughout the holidays, such as lighting, copiers, computers and kitchen supplies. However, be aware of equipment that shouldn’t be turned off, such as fax machines, security systems, servers and backup systems, and refrigeration units.

Can you change your business or company name?
Business | 01 9th, 2020|

Changing your business or company name can be an exciting leap. You can find yourself thinking about things like redesigned logos, rebranding and new customers, but before that, you have to think about the steps required to officially change your name.

You cannot request to change the name of your existing business once it has already been registered under the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC). If you decide you want to trade under a new name, then you must register a new business application through the Australian Government Business Registration Service. If you choose to register a new business, you can cancel the existing registration through ASIC, however, the fees for a cancelled name will not be refunded.

If you’ve realised that a legitimate mistake has been made in your existing business name, then you can request for a correction to be made if there is a typographical error, the name of a place is incorrect, or the date of birth is incorrect. To support your correction request, you must provide evidence of the error, for example, a driver’s license or passport. You can request a correction through your ASIC Connect account.

If you have a company, which is a separate legal entity registered with ASIC, then you are able to change the name of your registered company without applying for a new company for a fee of $408. The new name you choose in this case is still subject to be rejected if it does not meet the following criteria:

  • It cannot be identical to an existing company name.
  • It must not contain any restricted words, e.g. consumer, bank or ANZAC, unless Ministerial or Public Authority consent has been granted.
  • It cannot suggest a connection to the government or other organisations if the connection doesn’t exist.
  • It must not be offensive to members of the public or suggest illegal activity.
Doing market research for your business
Business | 12 11th, 2019|

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

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

  • Surveys (postal, online or face-to-face).
  • Focus groups.
  • Customer feedback.

Meanwhile, useful secondary research can be conducted through:

  • Academic journals and research.
  • Social media and websites.
  • Industry and trade publications.

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

Pros and cons of hiring an intern 
Business | 12 4th, 2019|

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

Pros:

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

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

Cons:

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

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

What to include in a business partnership agreement
Business | 11 27th, 2019|

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

  • Name of partnership: agree on a name for your business. This may seem simple but many partners have different ideas for what they think the business should be called.
  • Contributions to the partnership: work out and record how much each person initially contributes to the business, whether it’s cash, property, or services, and decide what percentage each owner will have.
  • Admitting new partners: agree on a procedure for admitting new partners so that you can equally decide on a new person.
  • Distribution of profits/allocation of losses: decide how profits and losses are allocated to partner shares.
  • Death, disability, or withdrawal: if a member of the partnership wants to withdraw from it, or is forced to due to death or disability, then a buy/sell agreement is needed to manage the situation. Consider who you trust to make decisions on your behalf, who would inherit the shares of your company etc.
  • Non-competition clause: if you’re concerned about a partner leaving and then competing with the partnership’s business, you can include a clause that restricts them from doing so within a defined time period.
CGT concessions for shares and trust interests
Business | 11 25th, 2019|

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

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

  • The taxpayer must have carried on a business just before the CGT event or meet the maximum net asset value test.
  • Meet the 90% test, satisfied when the CGT concession stakeholders in the company or trust where the shares or interest are held have a total small business percentage in the entity of at least 90%. The percentage can be held directly or indirectly through multiple included entities.
  • The company or trust in which the shares or interests are held must either be a CGT small business entity for the income year or meet the maximum net asset value test. The rules for determining whether an entity is connected with the company or trust for this purpose are modified. Under the modified connected entity rule, the company or trust controls another entity if it has a control percentage of at least 20% or more, in that other entity.

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

How to prevent non-paying clients
Business | 11 13th, 2019|

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

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

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

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

Moving your business online 
Business | 11 7th, 2019|

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

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

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

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

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