August 2019 #Smallbizchat LIVE: How World Entrepreneurship Is Impacting Your Small Business

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8-21-19 SBChat All Guest Promo Graphic 1080x1080 #Smallbizchat is a weekly conversation where small business owners can get answers to their questions. The focus of #Smallbizchat is to end small business failure by helping participants Exchange bitcoins for dollars. Each month different experts join the discussion, and the August 2019 #Smallbizchat LIVE was all about how world entrepreneurship is impacting your small business.

Please join us live on Twitter every Wednesday from 8-9 pm ET. Here’s how: follow @SmallBizChat on Twitter and follow the hashtag #Smallbizchat and click here for directions to join the weekly conversation. 

This week on the August 2019 #Smallbizchat LIVE, our show featured three guests: How to Sell in the Chinese Market with Laurel Delaney, @laureldelaney,  Impact Funding in International Markets with Thelma Ekiyor, @ThelmaEkiyor, and How to Get to 7 Figures in Your Small Business with Steve Dailey, @KumuKupuna.

I pulled three of the best questions from each of them to share with you. Every third Wednesday of the month, Smallbizchat LIVE is broadcast on my SmallBizLady Facebook Page, YouTube channel, and on Twitter @SmallBizLady.

Laurel Delaney - thumbnailLaurel J. Delaney is founder and president of GlobeTrade.com, a management consulting company that helps small businesses go global and Women Entrepreneurs Grow Global™, a nonprofit that educates women business owners on how to go global.  She is also the author of Exporting: The Definitive Guide to Selling Abroad Profitably. For more information, visit www.globetrade.com.

SmallbizLady: What’s the best way to enter the Chinese Market?

Laurel Delaney: The best way to enter China is to know someone – someone who has boots on the ground and can assist you with entry issues with the people and the opportunities.  But before you do that, make sure you understand access demand, supply, data, deliveries, and the complexities of the market.  Then establish your top 3 China goals, determine how you will get there, and outline what steps to take immediately to achieve success. Just know, it’s no walk in the park to sell in China.

One option is China-based Alibaba. The online platform has opened up its marketplace to U.S. small businesses so they can sell their products to Chinese consumers.  There is a fee involved to build an online store on Alibaba.com; nevertheless, it still presents a huge opportunity for SMEs to sell to countries served by Alibaba, including India, Brazil, and Canada. Another interesting twist and point here:  U.S. merchants, previously only able to buy on Alibaba.com, can now also sell to other U.S.-based businesses on the marketplace too.

Another interesting method of entry is to connect with a ‘daigous,’ a person who buys products internationally for friends, family, or friends of friends and makes his or her money by charging a small fee to the people in China buying the products.  Think of them as an agent. 

At Women Entrepreneurs Grow Global, a nonprofit I run, we educate female entrepreneurs and business owners worldwide on how to go global, we offer lots of resources and insights on exporting.  

Women Entrepreneurs Grow Global

SmallbizLady: How can you capture customers in China, and what might be some popular products to sell?

Laurel Delaney: The best way to capture Chinese customers is to go where they are.  The old way used to be to accept Union Pay, develop an online presence in China, hire a Chinese translator, and partner with people on the ground.  The current way is to leverage WeChat, a multi-purpose messaging app, and integrated e-commerce platform. There you utilize WeChat Pay to conduct business.  Also look into Weibo, a Twitter-like service, and promote your WeChat account. It also helps enormously to know Mandarin Chinese!  You will then be able to interact with customers directly and send deal and event notifications.  It is very important to coordinate your branding and promotional efforts to big events in China, such as the Chinese New Year, Singles’ Day, Children’s Day, and the Autumn Moon Festival. Children’s products, nutritional products (vitamins, skincare, and cosmetics), luxury fashion items such as handbags, jewelry, and branded clothing all sell well in China. 

SmallbizLady: What are 3 things small businesses should be careful of on the legal front when exporting to China?

Laurel Delaney: I checked in with Dan Harris, Partner at Harris Bricken and a leading authority on legal matters related to doing business in China.  Here’s what he said:

  • “They [small businesses] should be certain to apply for a China trademark for their brand name before selling anything in China, because if they don’t do this, the odds are good someone else will register their brand name as their own in China and then be able to block that company from using its brand name in China.
  • They should also be sure they are set up (the business) properly both to get paid and to get their money out of the country. If selling on a reputable platform like Alibaba, this is not an issue, but otherwise, it certainly can be.
  • Be sure that what they are selling is legal to sell in China and their representations about their product are legal in China as well. “ 

Building a large presence in China requires exporting top-quality products that are affordable to the masses.  Small businesses that might not have the deep financial pockets that big companies do need to be extra careful on how they approach entering the Chinese market.  Hopefully, the above provides a starting point and a thoughtful road map.

Thelma Ekiyor- thumbnailThelma Ekiyor is a seasoned social entrepreneur, impact investor, and international development expert. She is the Founder of the Funding Space and The Ebi Fund in Nigeria. The Funding Space is a training, mentoring, and access to finance platform for Social Entrepreneurship in West Africa. Ebi Fund is a women’s impact fund dedicated to helping small and medium-sized women’s businesses access local and international markets. She has experience working in over 22 African countries. Learn more at www.thefundingspace.com

SmallbizLady: What is the current financing landscape for women businesses?

Thelma Ekiyor: Globally, there has been an increase of women-focused and/or women-led investment funds. However, women still get only 2-3% of venture capital funds. This means that there needs to be a concerted effort to level the financial playing field. This will take a while, but the promising development is that women are not waiting for men to finance them…women are now raising capital and putting their wealth in “women-only” funds. 

SmallbizLady: How can women entrepreneurs prepare for financing?

Thelma Ekiyor: Entrepreneurship is not a job; it is a vocation. Being entrepreneurial is a mindset. Many women want to start businesses to have additional income but not to be full-time entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurs identify an opportunity and develop a solution to capitalize on it. The starting point is not financing. The starting point is the opportunity and the solution. It is only then that women…or any entrepreneur can start to identify how to locate the right kind of financing to commercialize their solution. 

communities of women entrepreneurs

SmallbizLady: How can communities of women entrepreneurs be linked globally?

Thelma Ekiyor: Any time women connect across borders on any issue, the impact is powerful. My background is in peacebuilding. It was women’s global advocacy that brought attention to the plight of women and girls in conflict situations and brought about significant changes. I recognized that entrepreneurship and financial literacy are a way out of conflict.

Women entrepreneurs and investors need to identify and establish linkages with other women beyond their communities and countries. I have met and become “sisters” with some many women, including Melinda Emerson. We support each other. We advise each other. We promote each other. This is a potent force that if harnessed, can break the barriers that keep women in poverty in many countries across the world. I have a responsibility to be a successful entrepreneur. I know if I do it right, some woman, somewhere will say, “I can do it also.”

Steve Dailey -thumbnailSteve Dailey is a pioneer in the business coaching business serving thousands of clients for over 30 years. His focus and specialty is guiding seasoned Entrepreneurs and Small Business Owners to lifetime best income while structuring their business to work as well WITHOUT them as it does with them. He is a lifelong advocate of personal challenge, adventure and pushing limits to achieve optimum wealth, health, connection, and influence. He is the Founder or AchievementBridge, inc, the Entrepreneur Excellence Alliance – a community of inspired small business owners, and a contributor to over 10 best selling books on business success. Learn more at www.achievementbridge.com.

SmallbizLady: Is a 7 figure business truly attainable to any small business regardless of what business you’re in?

Steve Dailey: Yes! Every business has 7 figure potential – it simply depends on how the business is structured. If a business owner structures their business based on transactions vs relationships, only sells products and services but doesn’t sell knowledge as well, or if the business is dependent on too few clients or customers for survival – all of these scenarios will limit or become obstacles to attaining 7 figure production and impact. But turn it around: if your business embraces the notion of the lifetime value of a customer – then more people will spend more money with you. When you find ways to sell what you know as well as what you do…that opens the potential for revenue generation massively. And if you are sure to diversify your client base so that you are generating – for example – $1 by serving 1000 clients vs serving only 1 client paying you $1000 then you change the upside for your business dramatically.

SmallbizLady: What would you say is the very first step necessary to building a million-dollar business?

Steve Dailey: First, and critical, is to adopt the mindset of abundance and believe that you can do it. Now, this isn’t simply positive thinking hocus pocus! Everything we do is defined by everything we think. You might have a million-dollar potential right under your nose right now, but if you don’t believe it’s possible, you won’t see the opportunity. But this goes a bit deeper too: you have to “do the math”. What I mean by that is, to make a million-dollar business believable to you, you need to get your calculator and work the math – how many customers, buying how much volume, at what level of frequency adds up to $million? What is the array of products or services I can sell to contribute to the total? How many different areas or ways can I serve people so that I generate more income from people that love me? Money in our society is an expression of appreciation for value received. When you want to generate more money, simply look for ways to give people value.

7 figure business

SmallbizLady: Is there a formula for building a 7 figure business?

Steve Dailey: Actually it turns out that there is. As you’ve pointed out, I’ve been working with Entrepreneurs and Small Business owners for over 30 years…and in the last 10 or more years, I’ve consciously reflected on the biggest success stories in looking for consistent areas of focus that can predict a spike in business. I’ve narrowed it down to just 7 areas of focus – or what I call “Triggers”. I’ve built a framework around this called The 7 Triggers to 7 Figures. Each one of the Triggers creates a catalyst for opening up new potential and sparking new growth. [And I can elaborate on the framework as time allows.]

If you found this interview helpful, join us on Wednesdays 8-9 pm ET; follow @SmallBizChat on Twitter.

Here’s how to participate in #SmallBizChat: http://bit.ly/1hZeIlz 

Now that you’ve caught up with the August 2019 #Smallbizchat LIVE – would you like to be a guest on the next #Smallbizchat?

If you are a small business owner, author, or subject matter expert, we’d love to have you appear as a guest on #Smallbizchat. This chat is focused on educating our business community. Once your topic is selected, you will be required to submit 12 questions and answers in paragraph form to demonstrate your expertise. For details on how to submit your information to be a guest on #Smallbizchat click here.

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Warning on US-China spat: Phillip Lowe, RBA

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The trade war between the US and China is the biggest threat to the global economy, Reserve Bank governor Phillip Lowe has reportedly told a business event.

The trade war between the United States and China poses the single greatest threat to the global economy, the Reserve Bank governor has warned.

The trade tensions are harming global investment, wages and economic growth, Phillip Lowe told a business event in Sydney this week.

“I do not have a clear idea of what strategy the US has,” Dr Lowe said, according to Nine newspapers, citing sources who attended the meeting.

“(Some people in the US) say that it is time for Team West to muscle up against China and that is very worrying.”

But US President Donald Trump says China has to be taken on, arguing that the short term impacts are irrelevant, even if it means a local recession.

“Long term, it’s imperative that somebody does this because our country cannot continue to pay China $500 billion because stupid people are running it,” he told reporters at the White House on Tuesday.

“My life would be a lot easier if I didn’t take China on. But I like doing it because I have to do it. And we’re getting great help.

“China’s had the worst year they’ve had in 27 years, and a lot of people saying the worst year they’ve had in 54 years, OK?”

US concerns about China’s approach to intellectual property, state funding and pursuit of overseas assets are also colouring the tariffs spat.

Australia’s economy is on track to expand by between two and three per cent, but this prediction could be threatened if the trade war worsens.

Scott Morrison has offered a bleak assessment of the trade tensions, saying the world needs to get used to it.

“We’ve just got to accommodate that, we’ve got to absorb it, we’ve got to see the opportunities in it, of which there are many,” the prime minister said on Tuesday.

Mr Morrison is treading a fine line in the protracted trade war as he prepares to visit the G7 Summit in France this weekend.

China is Australia’s largest trading partner, while the US its most significant security ally.
He said given China’s economic success over the past few decades, it was time Beijing adhered to the same rules other countries faced.

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Ombudsman urges action on small business growth “collapse”

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The Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman, Kate Carnell says she is deeply concerned by fresh data showing small business growth is in crisis, urging the government to do more to break down the barriers to business expansion.

“The Institute of Public Affairs’ (IPA) latest research has found an alarming decline in the rate of small business growth,” Ms Carnell says.

“What concerns me greatly about this report’s findings is the sharp drop in the percentage of small businesses hiring additional staff.

“Less than one per cent of small businesses with 1-4 employees in 2017, employed more than four workers in 2018.
That’s significantly below the historical transition rate of 6%.

“Less than one per cent of businesses with 5-19 employees were employing more than 19 people in 2018. That’s also well under the historical transition rate of 4%.

“A major issue is Australia’s rigid industrial relations system.

“The research cites World Economic Forum surveys, which have consistently found Australia’s Labour Market regulation is the most problematic factor for doing business.

“Part of that broad picture is ensuring small business owners can feel confident they can meet their obligations and avoid an unfair dismissal claim in the event they need to let a worker go.

“That’s why my office has recommended a number of important changes and additional checklists to the Small Business Fair Dismissal Code.

“A clearer Code would reduce the risk of unfair dismissal claims and provide small business owners with the impetus they need to hire more staff.

“The government has announced a review into the industrial relations system. The Small Business Fair Dismissal Code should be number one on that agenda.”

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How to Write a Killer Business Plan in 7 Days

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write a business planIf you’ve got a business or start-up, a business plan is vital, especially when it comes to securing funding. Investors want something that they can look at and say, “Wow, this is surely going to head somewhere.” Your business plan should serve as a roadmap for explaining your business. Prospective investors should be able to know what you’re doing at a specific time and the business plan can also reassure them that you’re heading in the right direction.

While there is no one size fits all plan, a lot of experts on business will advise on writing short plans. You need to put some meat on the bone, so to speak. The most important thing is quality, not quantity, so a detailed and high-quality business plan is your gateway to profitability. So how can you create one? Let’s look at how to write a business plan in just seven days.

1. Problems in the Market + Solutions

Whatever market you choose, there is always going to be a problem that causes some painted customer. Problems can be turned into opportunities for business, and a killer business plan will highlight a problem within the market and present a strategy for solving it. If you’re entering a competitive market, think about strategies that will solve problems better than existing companies are solving them. This will give you an edge on your competitors.

2. Understanding Your Customers

Whether or not you can provide your customers with solutions is based on how well you know them in the first place, which is why customers should be a focus when you write a business plan. The best business plans will demonstrate awareness and insight into prospective customers, so it’s vital that you understand them before moving on to any other technical aspects of the plan. Listen to the opinions of others when presenting your ideas, carry out preliminary market research, and do all you can to understand prospective customer needs. The analysis of these customers is what is going to be included within your business plan, and it is what will tie together the problem and the solution.

3. Clarity and Being Specific

Everybody dreams big, but it’s also great to be realistic when you write a business plan. Don’t go overboard and start coming up with far-fetched ideas. Keep your vision rooted firmly in reality and don’t make any wild and exaggerated evaluations. Take the time to really study your market competition and estimate a realistic market size. Your plan should be based around the most solid facts and figures, not just pipe dreams and illusions. It’s great to be realistic, and prospective investors will appreciate this too. Illustrate key ways of how your plan is going to make money for investors.

4. Executive Summary

Coming towards the end of the business plan, it is time to create your executive summary. Really take time with this, because it is a make-or-break point, and if you don’t win over the hearts of potential investors, they will not continue reading your business plan. It is at this point that you need to hone in on the reasons why an investor should go with your business. It’s really important to emphasize what your business is going to do that others in the market have failed to do. Inspiring this confidence in prospective investors is key within the executive summary.

5. Marketing Plan

When you write a business plan, it is also important to present to investors how you’re going to market your business. You want to demonstrate that you can make your business known by as many ideal customers as possible. When presenting your marketing plan to potential investors, come up with a reasonable and competitive pricing strategy. Once you have this all sorted out, potential investors will begin to understand that they can get a return on their money.

6. Appendices

The appendix section within your business plan acts as a sort of backup. Appendices flesh out the arguments that are in your business plan in greater detail. It’s important to have this in order to illustrate any financial projections for your business. It may not seem like the most glamorous section, but it does help to provide clarity and confidence in your plan.

7. Review

It goes without saying that once you’ve completed all of the steps above, you should really go through your plan. Other than dotting the I’s and crossing the T’s, make sure that there aren’t any ideas that you’ve left out. You may only have one chance, and you won’t want to spoil it with careless mistakes.

Wrap Up

Business plans present the steps in which you will make your dreams come true. With the tips that we’ve offered you, you’ll be able to write a business plan that demonstrates how your business can make money for potential investors.

write a business planAbout the Author: Mollie Porein is a former career mentor and business expert, with over 7 years of experience working in the financial industry. She now spends her retirement as a contributor for various blogs and as a content writer for essaywriterforyou. Aside from business, she loves cars, outdoors, and photography.

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Australian small and medium businesses confident despite economic worries

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 The August 2019 Sensis Business Index has revealed that Australia’s small business confidence is strong, with 57% of businesses now confident in their prospects over the next 12 months.

Tasmania, with 63% of businesses expressing confidence in their prospects, remains the most confident state followed by Queensland at 60% and Victoria at 58%.

Commenting on findings of the latest index, Sensis CEO John Allan said: “It’s great to see more than half of small and medium businesses across the nation feeling upbeat about their business outlook post-election, despite their concerns about the current state of the economy.”

One in three business owners and managers believe the economy is slowing and one in two believe it is at a standstill. Overall, 22% of businesses expect an improvement in the economy over the next 12 months and 30% believe the situation will get worse.

South Australian businesses are the most concerned, with 24% expressing fears about the economic slowdown, while 21% of businesses in both New South Wales and Western Australia are worried about their prospects.

Metropolitan businesses (58%) are feeling more confident than their regional counterparts (52%), with half of metro SMB owners and managers (52%) expecting significant or moderate expansion in the coming 12 months, 7% higher than the regional average. Regional businesses are 13% less likely to increase headcount of their current operations than metro businesses.

One in three Australian small businesses (36%) said that the current Federal Government policies for small business are having no impact.

“Over the years we have seen a growing perception among SMBs that Federal Government policies do not affect them and our latest index further cements this,” said Mr Allan.

Less than one in three Australian small businesses applied for the $30,000 instant asset write-off introduced by the Federal Government this year, citing lack of funds and spending as a deterrent. Two industries that took advantage of the scheme were the manufacturing and building industries.

At the state level, only one in five Australian small businesses believe that state policies are supportive of small business with ACT leading the pack, followed by Tasmania and NSW.

Across the country, 37% of businesses believe excessive ‘red tape’ is holding back their growth. This was highest in Victoria with 41% of businesses quoting red tape as an issue. In NSW, 35% of businesses view insurance as the second highest hindrance after red tape (36%), while 37% of South Australian and Tasmanian businesses believe insurance is putting the brakes on their growth. Interestingly when pressed further as to what red tape specifically, few business owners and managers could name specific examples.

Access to finance remains a pressure point for Australia’s SMBs

Access to finance is still a significant issue for Australia’s small and medium businesses. The index found that 30% of business owners and managers believe it is harder to access finance than it was six months ago, while 57% believe there has been no change.

Access is most difficult in regional areas with 37% reporting it is harder than it was six months ago to access finance and 52% reporting there has been no change.

A quarter of businesses are using credit cards to access finance, and more than one in five are increasing their overdraft facilities.


The report surveyed 1,019 small and medium business owners or managers across metropolitan and non-metropolitan regions throughout Australia between 23 and 31 July 2019.

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Ask SmallBizLady: What Is the Best Time to Post Facebook Ads?

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What Is the Best Time to Post Facebook Ads? - small biz ladyOne of the most common questions I get from business owners when it comes to selling on Facebook is…Does it really work? Here’s my answer: yes, yes, and YES! Then, once convinced, they ask “what is the best time to post Facebook ads if I want to drive sales?”

Well, the short answer to that is there is no perfect time. The best thing about Facebook is that with just $100 spread over 5 days, you can test which time and day work best for your campaign.

If you want to find success selling on Facebook, you must learn your client’s schedule, and then build your ads around how your client’s day is set up. 

Example: Most people check their phones as soon as they wake up (something I don’t recommend if you plan to become a major player in your industry), so if they’re working 9 to 5 and you want them waking up to your post, you should post somewhere between 6:00 am and 7:30 am.

SmallBizLady’s Game-Changing Marketing Tip!

What the “Major Brands” know is…that it’s not what time you post, but it’s about posting at the same time.  One of the key elements to getting sales on Facebook is trust, so if you post content that helps your client achieve something they can’t achieve on their own at the same time every week or every day, they will start to trust you and your sales will explode.

Selling on Facebook is the key to growing your business, paying your bills and becoming the “Major Brand” that banks want to take meetings with. WHY? Because there is no other place on earth where you can guarantee over a billion of people will be active for hours every single day except Facebook.

If you have a great product and pair that with more exposure, you will surely blow up, which is why you need to learn how to sell on Facebook. That’s why I created my new eBook “How to Make Facebook Your #1 Salesperson” – so you can get more exposure, generate more sales, and become that “Successful BOSS” you know you can be.

I am not blowing smoke! I went from being a frustrated business owner forced to work every weekend to selling what I learned running my business and becoming America’s #1 Small Business Expert. My advice has been sought out by Visa, Chase, FedEx, and over 150 other “Major Brands.” 

All you need is some professional insight to go with all your hard work and you’ll be on the path to retiring rich, so let me, “SmallBizLady,” help you.

Marketing is expensive, frustrating, and risky…but worth it, especially when you have a proven strategy you can rely on to get your phones ringing. But it won’t be risky for you because right now, you can get your own copy of my new FREE eBook “How to Make Facebook Your Number #1 Salesperson.” 

No Shipping! No Handling! Just click the link, fill out a short survey, and it’s yours.

If you really want to increase sales, improve productivity and have a business then makes you money while you sleep, grab your copy and watch things change for the better in your business!

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3 tips to ranking first on Google

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By Sandra Falzon, General Manager: Marketing, InfoTrack


When people are searching for information, their first step is to head to the internet and google. So much so, that the company name is now a verb. How you rank on Google is likely to have an impact on your brand awareness, exposure and selling power.

So, what can you do to enhance your brand’s rank on Google? Here are three tips.

  1. Write interesting, unique content

People use the web to find information, which is why Google puts such a high emphasis on unique content. Creating great content that begs to be shared like videos, blog posts and e-books has major benefits. Not only does it get your brand name out there, but it also encourages people to link back to your website meaning Google gives you points in its search engine calculations.

Creating compelling, relevant and useful content like writing about what products you offer and how these can help solve problems as well as sharing industry updates and thought-leadership articles. Google has recently ranked InfoTrack as number one in Australia for national property searches. InfoTrack ranked first for organic keyword searches for “national property search” and “how to find out who owns a property Australia”, according to SEMRush. What this means is that when people look for information on title searches, InfoTrack comes up first because the information on their website is of good quality that good algorithms calculate that this information is useful to solve people’s problems.

InfoTrack also leads their competitors in keyword searches for land titles across NSW, VIC and QLD. This demonstrates InfoTrack’s leading position within the property law and conveyancing industry particularly across the Eastern states. The content on the InfoTrack website is continually kept up to date. It is recommended that thought-leadership content should be posted at least two times per week, with more being better. Google favours websites with frequently updated material that contains unique and relevant content.

  1. Link to authority sites

And request that they link back to you. Linking to authoritative sites and positioning your brand as an authority in your industry is a great way to drive more people to your site. Whether you link to high usage sites like news or choose sites that you know your brand will be mentioned, linking away to sites helps people find you when they come via another website.

Recently, the Australian Financial Review and Boss Magazine ranked InfoTrack as a leader in innovative technology. As the only legal technology firm to win this award, this positions InfoTrack as leading legal tech innovators. In addition, InfoTrack recently won two 2019 Australian Business Awards (ABA), further strengthening their position as a legal technology innovator. The first as ABA100 Winner for Service Excellence award and the second as 2019 ABA Employer of Choice. By linking to these sites, InfoTrack is driving the opportunity for people to understand more about the the AFR and ABA. Both award providers have mentioned InfoTrack as an award winner, thereby encouraging visitors to the InfoTrack page.

  1. Enable social sharing

If you have great content but won’t let colleagues and clients share it, then some off your selling power is lost. Social media doesn’t have a direct influence on Google rankings, but it does help spread your content and get it in front of people, increasing brand awareness and encouraging people to visit your site and engage further.

InfoTrack has almost 5000 followers on social business platform LinkedIn, positioning the brand as both a thought-leader and information broker. InfoTrack makes it easy for people to further share content with their audience by sharing posts on social media.

Taking these steps to work towards improving your brand on Google helps to increase your brand awareness. Think about ways that you can share interesting industry updates and news, so you position your brand in a much more natural way. Google continually changes their ranking algorithms and currently, the best way forward is to keep you site up to date and full of information that will add value to your customers. Rather than selling, the emphasis needs to be on helping to solve problems and sharing content and growing a strong social community can help that. 


Sandra Falzon is a passionate and authentic executive leader with deep experience in brand transformation and business growth. Sandra offers broad management expertise across marketing, sales, product management and consulting and has worked across large matrix organisations within financial services and telecommunications, medium-sized profit-for-purpose organisations and small businesses. A Fellow Certified Practising Marketer (CPM AMI), Sandra actively contributes to the profession as a mentor to young marketers, representative of the NSW State Chapter of the Australian Marketing Institute and judge of the Australian Marketing Awards.

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What You Need to Know About SEO for Your Business Website

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About SEO for Your Business WebsiteEvery week as SmallBizLady, I conduct interviews with experts on my Twitter talk show #SmallBizChat. The show takes place every Wednesday on Twitter from 8-9pm ET.  This is excerpted from my recent interview with Akilah Thompkins, @girlgetvisible. Akilah is the owner of Girl Get Visible, Author of My SEO Workbook and the host of the Girl Get Visible Podcast.  Using her 15 years of IT experience and over 10 years working with small businesses, Akilah has created a unique way for female business owners to learn and implement SEO. Akilah’s goal is to help women of color entrepreneurs get their business out there in a big way, even if they don’t have million-dollar budgets. Akilah uses her technical, marketing, and corporate experience to help make technical topics more accessible to the small business community. Learn more at GirlGetVisible.com. 

SmallBizLady: What is SEO?

Akilah Thompkins: SEO is search engine optimization. It is the process of making your site look good for search engines so they will show your page to more people when they search for the products and services you offer.

SmallBizLady: If I already come up for my name, why do I need to work on SEO?

Akilah Thompkins: Your name is only a small part of what you want to show up in a search for. You want to show up for the services you offer, like “business coach in NJ” or “small business web designer.” You also what to show up for the people you help and how you help them, like “help female business owners get online.” 

SmallBizLady: Is SEO only a Google or search engine thing?

Akilah Thompkins: No, SEO helps on all platforms that use search. We talk about Google because it’s the largest, but YouTube, Pinterest, even podcast platforms like Apple Podcast are all search engines.

SmallBizLady: What are 3 things businesses can do get started with SEO?

  1. Research the questions people ask the most about your niche. I call them beginner or basic questions. 
  2. Create content and write a blog post answering those questions. These are likely the topics that are searched the most. 
  3. Get on other sites sharing your expertise (podcasts, interviews, guest blog posts, etc.) and ask them to link to your site. Search engines like when you have other sites recommending you too. Unfortunately, social media links don’t count. 

SmallBizLady: What are keywords? 

Akilah Thompkins: Keywords are the words people type when they are searching in the search engine. They can be one word or a short phrase of words. Keywords are important because the more your site matches what people are searching for, the more Google will show your site to those people. Your site can rank for more than one keyword, so you have millions of chances to be number 1.

SmallBizLady: What is ranking?

Akilah Thompkins: Ranking is the order search engines put websites on the search result page. Example: when you search ‘dog walkers,’ on the screen you get 4 options, so they are ranked 1, 2, 3, 4. Rankings can be 1 to 1 million. We look at the top 200, and the goal is to be 1 or at least the top 10 (which is considered page 1).

SmallBizLady: How do you find the right keywords? 

Akilah Thompkins: The goal of finding the right keywords is to find words that people are searching for (search volume), but a lot of people aren’t writing about (keyword competition). I use a method of keyword research called the R.A.C.E method. First, we round up the keywords you want your site to show up for and related keywords. Then you analyze to see if other people are searching for them and the competition is low. Next, you make sure the keywords with good numbers connect to your business (this is a critical step for business owners). And last, use them to engage with your audience to test them out.

SmallBizLady: What should a small business owner do to add in SEO?

Akilah Thompkins: First, look at your pages (home, about, services, etc.) and see if you are using the keywords throughout the site. If not, add a few of your chosen keywords on each page. Next, write 3-4 blog posts about those basic topics and incorporate your keywords. Then, look through old posts and pages to link to the new content.

SmallBizLady: Do I have to blog for SEO? 

Akilah Thompkins: You don’t have to blog for good SEO, but it really helps a lot. Search engines help people find the content on your site. The more relevant content you have, the better your chances will be in the search engines, and the more traffic you have the opportunity to get. Blogging also gives you the chance to talk about different topics that are related to your niche and could be searched. If you don’t want to blog, I recommend creating resource pages, FAQ pages, and other helpful information pages on your site that will give search engines more content to work with. 

SmallBizLady: If you have a YouTube channel or a podcast, do you need SEO? 

Akilah Thompkins: Yes, even with video and podcasts, you still need text to makes sure that search engines can tell what’s in the video or audio. Videos and podcast are great, but to get the most benefit from them, you need 2 things. 1. Good show notes that use the keywords that you are talking about. And 2. Embed them on to your website, so they drive traffic to your website and not to other platforms

SmallBizLady: What tools do you recommend for SEO?

Akilah Thompkins: The two most important tools are Google Analytics and Google Search Console. These 2 free tools give you an idea of what Google sees. Google Analytics tells you who is coming to your site, what pages they are looking at, and how they found you. Google Search Console tells you what keywords Google is ranking your site for, and who is linking to you. They give other information too, but this is what you need for SEO.

Some paid tools I like that make SEO easier and help you peek at your competitors’ sites are Long Tail Pro for keyword research, SEM Rush for site audits and SEO Analysis and Buzzsomo for content ideas and what’s working where 

SmallBizLady: How do I decide if I should focus on SEO or social media?

Akilah Thompkins: SEO works well for just about any website. If you have a website and you have a niche where people have questions, then you will do well with SEO. The key benefit of SEO is you get targeted traffic – people who are looking for a solution. This is different from social media where you are giving information that people may not need just yet, and they have to remember you when they are ready. To make things easier, I always recommend focusing first on creating SEO content for your site. Then break that content down into shareable post for social media. This way, you get two birds with one stone. 

If you found this interview helpful, join us on Wednesdays 8-9 pm ET; follow @SmallBizChat on Twitter.

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Queensland Xmas Eve public holiday ‘a mistake’

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Industry groups have voiced their concerns over the Queensland government’s plan to make Christmas Eve a part-public holiday.

Industry groups say the Queensland government’s plan to compensate Christmas Eve workers for lost penalty rates by making it a part-public holiday is a mistake.

The Palaszczuk government says the proposal would compensate workers for recently-reduced penalty rates and give them the right to have the evening off as a public holiday, just as they do for Christmas Day.
But the National Retail Association and The Australian Industry Group have taken aim at the plan, saying it will drive up costs and hurt struggling businesses.

“The retailers who will be hurt most by this are not large multi-nationals, but mum-and-dad small business owners who work ridiculous hours just to make ends meet,” NRA CEO Dominique Lamb said in a statement on Monday.

The proposal, which is set to be introduced this year following a consultation period, would push up wage bills and potentially lead to higher prices for shoppers, Ms Lamb said.

Australian Industry Group chief executive Innes Willox urged the Queensland government to abandon the plan, saying it will make local businesses less competitive with interstate and overseas firms.

“The government’s reported argument that cafes will be able to recoup the cost by charging a public holiday surcharge, fails to recognise that most of the businesses that will be impacted are not cafes,” he said.

The current ad-hoc approach to declaring public holidays across Australia is undermining the national economy, he said.

Queensland will be the third Australian jurisdiction to implement this measure if the plan is adopted, with South Australia and the Northern Territory making similar changes in 2012 and 2016 respectively.

A five-month public consultation period will close on September 2.

The post Queensland Xmas Eve public holiday ‘a mistake’ appeared first on Dynamic Business.

Growing demand for alternative lending

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New PayPal research reveals growing demand for alternative lending, with 42% of Australian SMBs saying they have used a non-bank, alternative lender. 

PayPal Australia has today announced that it has provided over $500 million (AUD) of finance to Australian small business through its alternative finance offering, PayPal Working Capital.

Demonstrating the demand for faster, flexible funding alternatives, over 25,000 business loans have been made to more than 7,000 Australian small businesses since the launch of PayPal Working Capital locally in 2014.

In line with their announcement, new independent research commissioned by PayPal has been released, which reveals that that three quarters of Australian SMBs (75%) think the process of securing a traditional business loan is more difficult than it used to be. A further two thirds (67%) think getting approved for a business loan is increasingly becoming a barrier to doing business. One in five (20%) SMBs have even been refused a bank loan in the past.

Andrew Baines, General Manager, PayPal Credit in Australia said, “At PayPal, the support we offer to small businesses goes beyond being a button on a website. PayPal Working Capital only launched in Australia less than five years ago, and with over $500 million now issued to more than 7,000 businesses, we can see that there is an ongoing demand for alternative finance solutions to support small businesses and to help them thrive.

“The PayPal Working Capital product allows our customers to access the finance they need, typically within minutes. The fast and easy application process removes the barriers to what business owners need to focus on most – the successful running and operation of their business.”

PayPal’s research found that 2 in 5 SMBs (42%) have used a non-bank, alternative lender and when asked how their consideration of sourcing a business loan has changed in the last year, 2 in 5 (39%) said they would be more likely to consider a non-bank, alternative lender, compared to only 18% who said they would only consider a traditional bank loan. This preference for alternative lending jumps to 54% for SMBs that have been operating for less than 5 years and 70% for SMBs that have previously used a non-bank, alternative lender.

“The businesses we work with have told us that securing a traditional business loan can be a long and drawn-out process; time which many small businesses just don’t have. Increasingly, we are seeing businesses seek tailored solutions which meet their business needs, and bridge the gap left by traditional funding providers. In order to remain successful, it is important that Australian SMBs are weighing up their options and sourcing the best lending solution for their business,” Mr Baines said.

The research also found that the majority of Australian business owners are stressed about cash flow, with the research revealing nearly 2 in 3 SMBs (61%) are concerned about the new financial year and half (48%) are more anxious than they were last year about cash flow. In fact, over a quarter of Australian SMBs (28%) are always worried about cash flow. According to the research, the main factors causing cash flow pressure are customers spending less, rising costs and tougher lending standards imposed by the big banks.

Melbourne based Phoebe Yu is one of the small business owners to have benefited from this alternative funding, after setting up Ettitude, a high-quality, innovative bed linen company, in 2014.

Ms Yu said, “It was extremely difficult to get a traditional bank loan without having collateral assets and whilst trying to reinvest to help grow the business. PayPal Working Capital offered us the perfect solution, alleviating cash flow and inventory stresses, particularly around holiday seasons. We are currently paying off our 10th Working Capital loan and will most definitely be drawing from it again in the future. The flexible funding has helped us expand our business across Australia and into the US”.

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