Tuesday, December 31, 2013

5 Practical Financial Resolutions for 2014

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Did you achieve your financial goals in 2013?

With New Year's Eve are you resolving to do more to improve your financial situation in 2014?

 the top 5 resolutions over the years has been

1. Reaching a savings goal 
2. Saving and investing more 
3. Having an up-to-date will 
4. Maintaining an emergency fund (fruit on the sideboard! )
5. Getting a new job or a better job with higher pay 

When it comes to setting resolutions, keep in mind that financial toughness is a marathon, not a sprint, 

Just as you don't hit a fitness goal on day one, ( believe me, I know) you aren't likely to hit a financial goal on the first day either. 

Even small changes, though, can add up to big results in the end.

Taking it one step at a time will help you build good financial habits that are sustainable through the good and not-so-good times.

We all stumble--at least I do! -- the key is to regain our balance and keep moving, rather than let that misstep derail us for weeks, months, or years.

As you create your financial goals -let them be SMART

Smart, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and have a Timeframe 

For example,

 if you want to cut back on expenses, but be specific about how much you want to cut back and how you are going to accomplish that, such as making your lunch 3 days a week, taking public transport on Thursday and Friday, review your insurances , cut back on Foxtel etc. 

If you want to save :-

Set up an investment account - invest 50 per week in your investment portfolio , and arrange for a margin loan for a further 50 per week ( take advantage of leverage )

Make an appointment with your financial planner to set up your will

Prepare a detailed budget

I find that sharing your goals with family and friends will not only encourage you to stay on track, but also give you a support system to help you achieve your goals.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

The first follower is the man behind the leader!!

How to create a movement and get viral

12 Things to make more sales before Christmas

It’s a week before Xmas and nearing the ens of the 4th Quarter. Most of the number counters see this as crunch time to achieving your sales goals, and beginning the build-up for next year.
Many of us are unsure what we can do to spped up your prospect and customer decisions. The days seem to be closing faster and if you need to fill your sales gap now is the time to do the best you can without burning the deals.
Below are 12 strategies you might want to review for yourself or your sales team as a way to close more deals without having to resort to cut price discounts or other costly offers
  1. Review a range of your closed deals this year and make a list of why those customers choose to "wait until ... " and have answers for these objections.
  2. Allocate the next 2 days trying to close those lingering proposals and maybe go back up to 12 months.
  3. Try adding some add-ons to solutions you have already sold this year. We have all heard the saying "would you like fries with that" but do you know how much that little saying is worth to McDonalds every day?
  4. Sell additional items to existing orders. Go back over your orders for the past 3-4 months and see which customers you might be able to "Sell one more". Surprising how many 1 make up a bunch if we only just ask for the order.
  5. Review your top 10 customers for the current year and see if you can close at least one additional deal with at least 1 of them before year end. If you are not able to close a new deal it gives you an opportunity to see what may be available you can put into your next year forward planning.
  6. If your clients still have budget to speand see if you can assist them to bring forward spending on 2012 priorities.
  7. Call every client you have not spoken to in the past 90 days and see if they need your services in December to help get them off to a fast start for 2012.
  8. Make contact with all of your prospects where they have deferred your advances to see which ones you are able to move to the hot prospects list.
  9. Review your forecast and identify what is required to meet your target on a daily quota. Then execute.
  10. Enlist your managers's and / or team's support to overcome the roadblocks holding back your prospects from buying.
  11. Review your referrals and the customers who gave you these. Contact these and see if they have any additional prospects for you to follow up.
And finally begin setting appointments for January to give yourself a head start to 2012. In doing this and reviewing each of your contacts you may find a list minute opportunity while you doing this review.

301 billion reasons to export!

A recent media relaease by Trade Minister Andrew Robb, indicated that total exports of $301b represented a 6% increase in volume but a 4.5% decrease in value.

Australia's total export volumes grew by 6.0 per cent in 2012-13 lead by
  • minerals and fuels (up by 9.8 per cent – compared to average of 5.3%),
    • natural gas     $14.3b (up 19.4%) (5th largest export after iron – ore, coal and education)
  • rural exports (up 8.7%) – 3rd year of growth
    • wheat    $6.8b (up 6.3%)
    • vegetable, fruit and nuts $2.2b (up 19%

1.    China-     $131b, (21.1% of total trade).
2.    Japan     $69b (11.2% of total trade)
3.    USA     $53.9b (8.7% of total trade)

What does this mean for SME exporters?
There is great opportunity for food and education and China, Japan and USA are definitely open for business with Australian Companies representing 40% of total exports.

There are numerous grants and incentives on both a state and federal level to support Innovative Australian Companies looking to export and grow their business.
Andrew Robb has indicated that he is keen to take businesses on trade missions. This is an amazing way to grow your profile both nationally and internationally. 

This time of the year is a time where Directors and owners should be looking at their business, getting clarity of vision and plan for tgrowth opportunities that will present themselves in 2014 and beyond.
Have you developed a plan of action. Have you got clarity of Vision?

Have a great Christmas and New Year.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

New Improved Referron - now with the power of messaging

You know about Referron, the mobile app that allows you to easily Connect, Reward and Measure effective referrals. 

Now you can use "Referron Messaging"  to send messages direct to the mobile phones of your connections or group you select - instant, direct and in their hand at the click of a button.

Start using the power of "Referron Messaging"  by updating your Referron mobile app on the App Store or Google Play, or via  www.referron.com

Be sure to connect with me on http://members.referron.com/bsivc

Enjoy the benefits today! 

Rgds Ivan

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Growing middle class in Asia could trigger export boom

Statement by Trade Minister the Hon Andrew Robb AO MP
Published in the Financial Review
26 November 2013

As consumer demand surges in Asia in response to extraordinary levels of middle-class growth, what are seen as niche markets in our north will actually resemble mass markets to Australian international businesses.

If trends continue, within five years the Asia Pacific region will be the world's largest producer and consumer of good and services. Today there are about 500 million people in the region's middle class, yet by 2030 that figure is expected to reach a staggering 3.2 billion.

As consumer demand escalates in-line with increased middle-class purchasing power, enormous opportunities will be created for Australia's entrepreneurial exporters and service providers.

These dramatic economic and demographic shifts will make the 21st century the century of food and water security. By backing their strengths, Australian exporters are extremely well placed to capitalise on this unprecedented opportunity. 

Mining and resources, agriculture, education, medical research and tourism are things we do as well as any and better than most.

Additionally, we have an excellent reputation across a multitude of services; in many cases they have evolved around our core industries, including adaptable, high-end manufacturing.

During a recent visit to Hong Kong, no fewer than 32 services were raised with me that are in demand in China, and which Australian providers are capable of delivering to the highest standard. The list included banking and financial services, architecture, logistics, healthcare, education and vocational training through to project and events management.

Highly competitive

Exporting to Asia is highly competitive and the opportunities won't just fall into our lap; we need to be innovative and be responsive to emerging demands, but we are certainly up for the challenge. We are a high-cost country and consequently we are best served focusing at the quality, high-gross margin, end of the market. There are countless success stories of Australian businesses exporting to Asia that are doing just this. Exports contribute about $300 billion to our economy a year, or about 20 per cent of GDP. This achievement is something to celebrate and to build on. Recognition of achievement can serve as inspiration to other entrepreneurs to pursue new markets.

Exporting certainly takes courage, particularly for those businesses just starting out. Among the challenges they face are cultural and language barriers, different regulatory systems and ways of doing business combined with the problem of accessing finance and finding distribution channels. Our government remains committed to providing strong levels of support to exporters, with export market development grants, regular trade missions and other assistance provided through Austrade. The free-trade deals we are seeking to conclude with our major trading partners in China, Japan and South Korea, will make our existing exporters more competitive and open up new opportunities in various areas of these markets. Regional trade deals such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership will help integrate our economy into the broader Asian economic zone. We are determined to do what we can domestically to make our exporters more cost competitive by abolishing unnecessary taxes. This helps add weight to our core "open for business" message to the world.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

“The Coolest Marathon on Earth”

By Eric Heine Director 
National Windscreens

It has taken me nearly 30 years of continuous  running , 24 consecutive Melbourne Marathons and  89 in total  to prove the saying “the older one gets, the slower one becomes “ is not true. 

I have just completed running the polar circle marathon in Greenland with my 29 year old son , Ronen (his first full  marathon ) and my  adventurous running partner Dr Julian Sack.

After entering this marathon in the 59-65 age group and finishing in a respectable time of just over 5 hours.

I came 1st in my age group This has never happened before !

Now here is my point. I had to go to the most remote place on Earth to achieve this as there were no other runners in my age group  who had entered, confirming the saying the” older one becomes , the wiser he gets”, might just be true, but not in my case .
The moral of the story is, do not put yourself down, but rather adjust your options to experience other  magnificent wonders of this world. You  will then be able to achieve any of your goals. 
“Adjusting to old age means adjusting to a healthier life”   

Spark Weekly

Saturday, October 26, 2013

How to Get Employees to Embrace Social Media

 October 24, 2013 at 3:00 am

social media how toAre you struggling to get your social media activities off the ground?

Do you want to get more people inside your organization to support your social media activities?

If so, you’re not alone. Small businesses to Fortune 500 companies find themselves facing these challenges.

In this article, I’ll show you how tocreate an internal social media structure that will help you develop an effective long-term social media presence.

#1: Define the End Goal

First, identify how and why social media will be used to meet specific business and brand goals.

For example, a business goal is to increase revenue by 10%, whereas a brand goal is to create deeper relationships with your existing clients.

Clearly define realistic, concrete and measurable goals to give your team objectives to pursue.

set goals

Define your goals to create the internal structure you need for your social media presence. Image source: iStockPhoto.

#2: Create a Social Media Task Force

Depending on your company’s size, one person or a group of people will lead your social media efforts. Assign the following roles to group members:

  • Lead strategist: Responsible for long-term strategic vision and ensuring day-to-day initiatives are mapped back to specific goals.
  • Content manager: Leads all content strategy and development across social. This role often extends into website and other digital properties.
  • Community manager: Publishes content across all social media channels; spurs conversations with existing and prospective customers, influencers and media.
  • Analyst: Measures the success of social media by benchmarking key performance indicators (KPI) against business and brand goals.
  • Social media coordinator: Facilitates communication by planning monthly meetings and staff emails. This individual may also be a resource from the core team (versus creating a new role).

Kathleen Ngo, social media specialist at Sony Electronics, says:

“At Sony, we recognize the impact social can have in terms of driving brand awareness and even conversion. Having a team devoted to social allows us to be nimble and responsive. We’re able to implement real-time marketing efforts to supplement our larger brand campaigns, as well as to understand the voice of the customer and pass valuable feedback along to our product teams. We can go beyond content creation and focus on other verticals, including events/sponsorships and influencer relations.”

All of these individuals work closely together to collaborate on content approaches that appeal to your target audience(s) and decide how to execute campaigns and find the most valuable and relevant tools your brand will use.


Your social media task force will work together for successful social media campaigns. Image source: iStockPhoto.

#3: Develop a Holistic Social Media Strategy

Once the team is assembled, strategists lead and work with all team members to lay the groundwork for your social presence through aholistic social media strategy. The team answers questions such as:

  • What do you want to achieve by being present across social media? What’s the goal?
  • What are your target audience segments? Are there multiple segments—for example, media versus consumer? Based on this, across which social networks should the brand be present? What should each channel do? What should it not do?
  • How does brand voice translate across social channels? What types of words and tone best describe your brand? What types of words do not?
  • Using social media monitoring, competitive insights and focus groups, what is/are your target audience(s) interested in learning? Based on these insights, what’s your brand’s content strategy?
  • How often should content be proactively published across each channel?
  • Which tools can be used to streamline publishing, monitoring and measurement?
  • How do social media efforts tie into your larger digital ecosystem? How can your team support and/or leverage other groups working in digital, such as your brand website, one-off campaigns, SEO, SEM and display advertising initiatives? How often should you meet and communicate?

The team will develop company-widesocial media guidelines, which are applicable to both the social media task force and employees. These rules are shared and approved by senior leadership, and made public to the company through a staff email and on the company intranet to minimize risk of how your brand is represented across social media channels.

This strategy is referred to during each team meeting to ensure all individuals are collectively working toward the same goals.

#4: Consistency Is Key

To ensure content is consistently developed, published, tracked and analyzedhold weekly one-hour social planning meetings where each resource spends 10 minutes to update team members on what he or she has recently learned.

planning meeting

Regular social planning meetings facilitate the success of your social media marketing. Image source: iStockPhoto.

Devote the meeting’s last 20 minutes to brainstorming. One-half of the month’s meetings focus on strategy to ensure all parties are on the same pathtoward the brand’s long-term social media footprint. The other two meetings focus on content ideation to identify new ways to deliver content through creative assets, contests, etc.

#5: Use Tools to Your Advantage

Whether you do or don’t have a budget, various tools are available to effectively support content publishing, tracking and optimization:

Free tools:

  • PublishingHootSuite simplifies content publishing and helps you track links. Use this tool to schedule content in advance, but keep in mind the importance of proactively checking social profiles daily to respond to messages. Be cautious of pre-scheduled content during current events such as natural disasters, and be sensitive to the local, regional and/or national community during difficult times.
  • Measurement: Use Wildfire App’s monitoring tool tobenchmark against competitors and gauge social community growth over time.

    wildfire app

    Use Wildfire to monitor the growth of your social community.

Paid tools:

  • Workflow and publishing: For more complex organizations with longer-cycle approval processes,Kapost helps create workflow streams and assigns specific roles such as “final approver” to various individuals.
  • Social media listeningNetBaseprovides tracking of specific keywords including branded, competitive and topical terms (to gauge general chatter around set topics) across digital. NetBase supports content strategy development to ensure materials created for social channels align with what the target audience is interested in learning.
  • Measurement and competitive benchmarking: Plug in your social channels against competitors throughSocialBakers to get a sense of how you stack up in the industry. You can discover which specific campaigns, individuals and content perform best.
  • Referron - www.referron.com - make it easy to refer, track, measure and record referrals! 

#6: The Team Should Be “Social”

Create awareness of your brand’s social presence to support the growth of your community and engagement rate online, and create appreciation among peers for how you manage your company’s digital brand presence.

Tips for getting your company involved in your social media presence:

Whether you’re a small or large organization, the social media task force is critical to ensure content is published from a consistent voice on a regular basis. However, opening up the conversation to other employees creates a new platform and way of collecting points of view and content sources to support the content manager.

Set up an email alias specific to social media content submissions, curated by the content manager, to provide new content opportunities and fresh thinking on a regular basis.

Remind team members of their ability to contribute through company meetings and staff emails to energize and enable creativity.

  • Initially, send out a staff email that features the social media team and captures what the group will be doing across digital to illuminate brand channels.
  • Emphasize that company involvement is an important part of your brand presence. While you’ll be sending out notes periodically to facilitate brainstorming, you are interested in learning about who would like to participate in the brand’s social presence, which requires minimal involvement.
  • Create a Google document to send out in this email andencourage employees to log their name in this document, with their favorite part of social media (some might be more interested in brainstorming; others have a soft spot for analytics.
  • Work with these individuals and the social media task forceto support day-to-day and campaign-related activities.Make participation easy for them. Ask simple questions andprovide easy ways to respond.
  • Send out monthly staff emails with top-performing content or announcements you would like employees to propagate. If you request sharing of specific content across employee social media channels, draft 1-2 sample posts for easy copy and paste.

    Add brand social media channels to your company signature with hyperlinked URLs, encouraging other employees to do so. If you are a part of a larger organization, altering the official signature may require coordination with HR.

    social signature

    Add links to social media accounts to your company email signature.

    Regardless of where social media sits within your company, craft simple-to-digest emails to send off to executives and senior leadership. This keeps them in the know about what is happening across social.

    Depending on your goals and target audiences, consider training senior leaders about how they can personally use social media as a voice for the brand and to achieve specific objectives. Keep their busy schedules in mind and provide solutions for how they can consistently be active; perhaps with the support of an assistant, for example.

    A few more thoughts…

    Creating a social media account takes seconds, but maintaining a presence is a long-term commitment. When you set up an account and fail to consistentlypublish fresh content and points of view, your brand is hurt.

    This is particularly true when key audience segments and media follow the account. From the start, create an internal plan to set up your company for long-term social media success.

    What do you think? Do you have a social media plan in place? What would you add to this list? Please leave your questions and comments in the box below.