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The Golden Rule of Business Card Etiquette At Networking Events

88% of business cards from networking events get binned. (Survey by Adobe). So, if 9 out of 10 cards you hand out were discarded, whats the point of giving out the cards you may think. Well, I am not too surprised given the business card etiquette at networking events generally. Like the video below (funny business networking Mistakes 6), business cards are being given out or collected without following any real reason and without building any relationships. I can guarantee you, your card will not be discarded if you had built a relationship and added great value to the conversation. If you came across someone who is worth knowing, keeping in touch, referred to, of value to them and potentially their clients, your card will be treasured. The main purpose of a business card is to exchange contact details, which makes perfect sense. You will be remembered the next day based on the conversation you have had, the impression you made on the person and the value you added to the conversation. You don’t want to become the person who just gets added to a mailing list who doesn’t abide by the anti spam act. The Golden Rule is to never give out a business card until you are asked for one. By all means, if the conversation you have had and you would like to stay in touch with the person, request for a business card. Email them and let them know it was great to meet them, remind them briefly about how/when you met and may be even about the conversation you had with them. A few important points of business cards: Your business card represents and reflects YOU. Does is have the same personality as YOU? #brandcongruency Yes, its great to have a unique card to be remembered, but does it pop up or not fit in standard card holders/pockets or too small to get lost amongst other cards? Australia being multicultural, also give importance to the way you hand a card to someone; ie respectfully with two hands. Author: Zeeshan Pasha; CEO Nifnex The Card Collector Video Credits: Paul Duncan, Marcello Sirignano, Prash Nair, Murtuza Sial Film & Edit: 2PuBs Production Team

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Art Of Influencing People & Building Relationships At Networking Events

There are certain people that draw your attention when you walk into a room or a networking event. There’s a presence about them. You feel the need to want to speak to them and connect. Charisma! There are 3 components which every charismatic person has. An article I read on Huffington Post referenced below, explains the three components well.   Presence – can be displayed by being there with undivided attention. Research also shows that one of the most attractive quality in someone is ‘availability’. You giving them the time to listen to them. Power – Body language is the key. Only 7% contributes to speech and a whopping 93% is body language. Your stance, your gestures, the way you dress, your handshake makes a big impact. Warmth – It’s the empathy, the ability to step into someone’s shoes to understand how they feel. Can you learn to become charismatic? I believe, you can certainly display the above characteristics authentically to create the charisma which makes you more attractive to people to connect and build relationships. It makes it so much easier to building relationships when you are authentic and display the below characteristics. Ask deeper questions than doing small talk Authentic Smile & Eye Contact Give your undivided attention and listen when the other person is talking Give them an authentic compliment Have your own sense of humour – even if its quirky (that’s you) Be comfortable within yourself & be confident Happy Networking!   If you find this article of interest, please do like and share. Author: Zeeshan Pasha; CEO Nifnex The Friend Collector Video Credits: Zie Cooper, Murtuza Sial, Marcello Sirignano Film & Edit: 2PuBs Production Team Source: Huffington Post reference: https://goo.gl/y4DKto  

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4 Ways to be a better listener and be remembered at networking events

It makes me wonder sometimes, what is the compelling factor that people may want to remember the other person. How do we make ourselves unforgettable or atleast be remembered the next day when they get into work? Ideally for the right reasons not because you spilled wine on them. I believe there are certain aspects to this. Synergy, Impact, Branding, Conversation, Something of value/interest to the other person. They say, if something really matters to you, you will remember it. In the context of business networking however, we meet so many people at an event and how do you remember their names and what they do? Is it even important or necessary to remember it? On the contrary, is it important to you to be remembered by others? Absolutely! I am an avid networker and I am very good with faces and not always the name. I can hear you say, “Me Too”. I believe, we remember experiences. So, when an interesting conversation takes place at the networking event, I happen to remember that and make reference to that conversation when I meet the person somewhere else at another event. If we strive to be different and do what most don’t do, then we increase the likelihood. Most people talk more, give out business cards randomly and it’s all about me me me. What if you contributed great information and value to the conversation, what about if you gave them a lead/referral/contact, introduced them to someone else at that event with a great intro about them, what if you actually listened to them and NOT faked attention? YOU WILL BE REMEMBERED We see this very often – Faking Attention. We are just “hearing” but not “listening.” There may be some eye contact and the person may even be nodding, but the mind is elsewhere. Faking attention is a habit for some people, but it conveys lack of respect and dishonesty. 4 things you can do to change that: Be in the present Make it a habit to listen attentively. Avoid thinking about how to reply when the other person is speaking. Always assume that the other person knows something that you may not know.   All of the above, makes you a good listener and will make you be remembered, which leads to more conversations, referrals, leads, meetings and sales. If you find this article of interest, please do like and share. Happy Networking. Author: Zeeshan Pasha; CEO Nifnex The Goldfish Video Credits: Zie Cooper, Kez Wickham St George, Carolyn McAndrew, Paul Duncan, Anita Bobanac Film & Edit: 2PuBs Production Team  

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Dealing with Ramblers at business networking events?

It is way too often we come across The Rambler! Here are reasons why someone would generally ramble on at a networking event: Self Obsessed Nervous The other person is looking really interested in the conversation (we sometimes look very interested to be polite even though we are not) They have lots to say In any case, if you find yourself stuck with a Rambler, find the best possible pause in conversation to interrupt it with a little distractor or a statement but never another open ended question. Unless you want to be stuck there longer. A good question can be: Who do you know here that you think I should meet ? (generally opens up a question about what you do; if it hasn’t already been addressed). If you feel you are a Rambler at times, consciously or unconsciously, here are some tips: Sometimes we ramble without even knowing it. We could be nervous or just feel the person we are talking to is really interested in the conversation. However, if you find yourself talking longer than the other person/s, pause, take a deep breath and ask them a question. The golden rule is, we have two ears and one mouth, use them proportionately. Remember, networking is a two way street and the whole reason is to meet like minded people to exchange contacts, ideas and build a relationship. The Rambler Video Credits: Marcello Sirignano, Carolyn McAndrew, Khem Alexis Aw Film & Edit: 2PuBs Production Team

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How to politely include yourself in conversations at business networking events

How often do we come across rude conversation intruders at a networking event? Well, the Golden Rule is to always carry yourself professionally & politely. When you see a group of people conversing (open and closed loop tips below), it is necessary to go introduce yourself politely. It is often hard (and scary for some) to join a conversation as they feel they would be intruding. Please be assured, you are definitely entitled to go say hi and introduce yourself. That’s exactly what everyone in the room are there for. Firstly, networkers must remember to not create a ‘closed loop’. Allow space and welcome others to join you. When someone does join you, please do take the initiative to introduce yourself and others who are conversing in that group. Secondly, if you feel you would like to join a conversation, be mindful of the tempo of the conversation. You can change the tempo after (if needed) introducing yourself politely to everyone in the group. Below is the first of the 12 mini funny skit that we enacted at our Nifnex TV shoot, with business networking Do’s & Don’ts. Subscribe to receive updates when the next funny business networking mistakes Credits: Paul Duncan, Lorraine Ogilvy (Princess Awesomer), Murtuza Sial, Marcello Sirignano, Anita Bobanac. Film & Edit: 2PuBs Production Team

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In conversation with: Bridget Holland, NoBull Marketing

With over 20 years experience in marketing, business development and general management across three continents, Bridget Holland loves solving problems and using the power of digital to make businesses better. Her ‘no nonsense’ approach to marketing sees her empower small and medium business owners to scale and achieve their growth targets. Tell us about NoBull Marketing and the audience to which you are catering. I started NoBull Marketing three years ago, primarily catering to start-ups and fast-growing small-to-medium businesses who sell B2B services, B2C services, or both. We offer everything from assistance with a specific project, mentoring to develop in-house marketing capability or fully outsourced marketing for their business. Tell us about the meaning behind the name “NoBull Marketing”. Many marketing consultants talk so much ‘bull’ about the latest trends on social media or digital platforms. What clients really want is usually quite simple: more leads, more conversions, and more revenue per customer. Moreover, the first steps to take for most businesses are simple too. The name of the business describes my approach; cut out the ‘bull’ and focus on those key goals. In addition, it helps to filter out clients I wouldn’t necessarily be happy to work with; the ones who can’t call a spade a spade. How has the business name helped you in your journey? The name has been a great help! It often happens that when I meet new people at a networking event, they say, “I love the name!” This then gives me a chance to start a conversation about my business and truly engage people without being pushy. What is something you have been able to accomplish that you take the most pride in? Hard question. On a personal level, it is probably raising two wonderful kids who are independent, capable, happy and most importantly kind. On a career level, it has to be tripling revenue in two years at RSVP (a leading online dating site) and positioning the company for sale to Fairfax for nearly $40 million (wish I’d had equity!). Within my own business, I get the most buzz from clients implementing simple marketing activities that make a real difference. I helped one client start a monthly email newsletter, and three months later, she had generated nearly $50,000 worth of business just from newsletter enquiries (NoBull!). What is your vision for NoBull Marketing? I want to grow the mentoring aspect of the business. Many small business owners are very smart and they are their own best sales people. They know their business well and they have the passion. They just need a bit of help with turning that into an ongoing marketing plan and then doing the work regularly. That’s where the mentoring comes in. It is like having a personal trainer for your marketing; someone who works out a plan to suits your goals and then makes sure you follow through. While juggling between professional and personal commitments, how do you find time for yourself? This one is HARD, especially with two kids! I am a bit of an introvert, so I need quiet time to recharge. I love my veggie garden for that. Fresh air, exercise, time to think, plus I get something out of it. I also love escaping into a book, and recently my daughter got me doing art again. What three pieces of advice would you give to someone who aspires to become an entrepreneur? 1.    Keep going. It will be tough, and you will have doubts. But keep going. Fake it till you make it. 2.    Find someone who believes in you, for the times when you don’t believe in yourself. 3.    Keep your fixed costs to a minimum. It is better to be small and profitable rather than being big and broke. What does success mean to you? Making enough to live the way I want AND having enough time to live the way I want. Running my own business is not about getting rich, it’s about freedom. Do you have a quote or life mantra that motivates you? Money wasted can be regained. Time wasted is lost forever. *** To make sure your marketing strategies are working for you, visit www.nobullmarketing.com.au.

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Giving You The Gift Of Time!

Interview with Belinda Pope from Bee Organised as we discuss her journey and how she got started offering much essential services such as Decluttering, Professional Organising & Concierge Services. Bee, Welcome, Please tell us about Bee Organised and what inspired you to provide these services? As a Professional Organiser I typically work with professionals, busy mums and small business owners. Their greatest challenges are being time poor and overwhelmed, and as a Mumpreneur, I totally get it. I help them by getting more organised at home and in business so they can focus on the more important things in life. I also offer Concierge Services which is basically taking any tasks off your hands that you can’t do, don’t have time to do or just don’t want to do. This can free up so much of your precious time while you achieve great things that you enjoy doing. To make sure you have all the right tools for the job, I have designed planners to keep you organised in all aspects of your business and in life. What is unique about your business? How are you different to other businesses offering similar services? At first people think as a Professional Organiser I will be militant, dry and boring…and that I am not hehe. My motto in life is to have fun in all that you do and if it’s not fun, make it fun! I suppose this is evident when I work with busy families on a decluttering and organising assignment. We dance, we play games while the kids get to task, we role play how we can carry out more organised practices in the family routines, and then the kids and parents voluntarily report back to me with their progress and are proud of their achievements. It also helps having my teaching background and being a busy mum myself. It is also important to me to spark joy and happiness wherever I go so with my planners that I have designed, I know that each person that I work with is enjoying the progress towards their success each and everyday. Please tell us about your journey As a busy mum of three, trying to survive the daily grind through demands of the children, the household, relationships, finances, work, health, well being and the awful ‘mothers guilt’ associated with being a mum, there came a time where treading water became more like sinking. And unfortunately I hear this same story all too often. There came a point where something had to change. I reflected on all of the things that were holding me back from being the fun, vibrant, energetic person and mum I wanted to be. It started with Decluttering! Decluttering the house of so much ‘stuff’ that can take so much of your time to clean up each day. Decluttering the mind space of all of the must do this, must do that, still haven’t done this and why can’t I do it all… Then came the goal planning, schedule, routine, positive habits and meal planning etc. Finally I felt a massive weight lift off my shoulders. I could breathe! I could feel joy again! I had time and energy for my kids and relationships. I then realized, I could share this process with others to bring them the same joy, freedom and time to spend on the more important things in life. Helping people is what I love to do! I have travelled the country with my previous job, changing young people’s lives and making a real difference in this world. I also ran a catering business on the side at the same time, because I just can’t sit still. Until I fell pregnant with twins, and crazily had another baby less than two years later! So why not start another business now?! I love a challenge and I just love love love helping people. I wanted to help other busy people feel the freedom, success and joy that I discovered just by changing a few simple things in their life. We all deserve it, it’s just sometimes hard to see it when we are so tired, so drained and giving so much to everyone else around us except ourselves. Your vision for your business in the coming years… In the next few years Bee Organised will have a team of Professional Organisers working to help change the lives, and give the gift of time to as many busy people as possible in WA and possibly around the country with our Decluttering, Professional Organising, Concierge Services and Planners. You will see some amazing workshops coming your way and maybe even a retreat. I want to make sure all of you busy people get to take some much deserved time out for yourselves and help you on your journey to success in life, your business and your journey to self. You will see me speaking on stage and around the country, empowering people and giving you the gift of time. In the future I hope to be the Ambassador for Glad. Haha I just love all things that Glad do with Zip Lock bags being my favourite! A key tool for organising spaces. There, I have put it out there universe…let’s see what the future holds! What is one thing that you would need right now that will propel you/your business to the next level? Changing peoples’ mindset that it is strength to ask for help and to outsource more so they can free themselves up to live life to the fullest!    For more information on Belinda Pope from Bee Organised Email: Bee@BeeOrganised.net.au or visit: https://www.facebook.com/BeeOrganisedbyBee/  

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Giving a gift of time!

Interview with Belinda Pope from Bee Organised as we discuss her journey and how she got started offering much essential services such as Decluttering, Professional Organising & Concierge Services. Bee, Welcome, Please tell us about Bee Organised and what inspired you to provide these services? As a Professional Organiser I typically work with professionals, busy mums and small business owners. Their greatest challenges are being time poor and overwhelmed, and as a Mumpreneur, I totally get it. I help them by getting more organised at home and in business so they can focus on the more important things in life. I also offer Concierge Services which is basically taking any tasks off your hands that you can’t do, don’t have time to do or just don’t want to do. This can free up so much of your precious time while you achieve great things that you enjoy doing. To make sure you have all the right tools for the job, I have designed planners to keep you organised in all aspects of your business and in life. What is unique about your business? How are you different to other businesses offering similar services? At first people think as a Professional Organiser I will be militant, dry and boring…and that I am not hehe. My motto in life is to have fun in all that you do and if it’s not fun, make it fun! I suppose this is evident when I work with busy families on a decluttering and organising assignment. We dance, we play games while the kids get to task, we role play how we can carry out more organised practices in the family routines, and then the kids and parents voluntarily report back to me with their progress and are proud of their achievements. It also helps having my teaching background and being a busy mum myself. It is also important to me to spark joy and happiness wherever I go so with my planners that I have designed, I know that each person that I work with is enjoying the progress towards their success each and everyday. Please tell us about your journey As a busy mum of three, trying to survive the daily grind through demands of the children, the household, relationships, finances, work, health, well being and the awful ‘mothers guilt’ associated with being a mum, there came a time where treading water became more like sinking. And unfortunately I hear this same story all too often. There came a point where something had to change. I reflected on all of the things that were holding me back from being the fun, vibrant, energetic person and mum I wanted to be. It started with Decluttering! Decluttering the house of so much ‘stuff’ that can take so much of your time to clean up each day. Decluttering the mind space of all of the must do this, must do that, still haven’t done this and why can’t I do it all… Then came the goal planning, schedule, routine, positive habits and meal planning etc. Finally I felt a massive weight lift off my shoulders. I could breathe! I could feel joy again! I had time and energy for my kids and relationships. I then realized, I could share this process with others to bring them the same joy, freedom and time to spend on the more important things in life. Helping people is what I love to do! I have travelled the country with my previous job, changing young people’s lives and making a real difference in this world. I also ran a catering business on the side at the same time, because I just can’t sit still. Until I fell pregnant with twins, and crazily had another baby less than two years later! So why not start another business now?! I love a challenge and I just love love love helping people. I wanted to help other busy people feel the freedom, success and joy that I discovered just by changing a few simple things in their life. We all deserve it, it’s just sometimes hard to see it when we are so tired, so drained and giving so much to everyone else around us except ourselves. Your vision for your business in the coming years… In the next few years Bee Organised will have a team of Professional Organisers working to help change the lives, and give the gift of time to as many busy people as possible in WA and possibly around the country with our Decluttering, Professional Organising, Concierge Services and Planners. You will see some amazing workshops coming your way and maybe even a retreat. I want to make sure all of you busy people get to take some much deserved time out for yourselves and help you on your journey to success in life, your business and your journey to self. You will see me speaking on stage and around the country, empowering people and giving you the gift of time. In the future I hope to be the Ambassador for Glad. Haha I just love all things that Glad do with Zip Lock bags being my favourite! A key tool for organising spaces. There, I have put it out there universe…let’s see what the future holds! What is one thing that you would need right now that will propel you/your business to the next level? Changing peoples’ mindset that it is strength to ask for help and to outsource more so they can free themselves up to live life to the fullest!    For more information on Belinda Pope from Bee Organised Email: Bee@BeeOrganised.net.au or visit: https://www.facebook.com/BeeOrganisedbyBee/  

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In conversation with: Rick Gilmore, Good Company Coaching

Good Company Coaching founder Rick Gilmore – one of Australia’s pioneer executive coaches – blends eastern and western philosophies ensuring business leaders and organisations stay relevant. Tell us about Good Company Coaching. Learning how to avoid reputational risk today, to remain relevant tomorrow, is now a top-shelf priority. After working with numerous executives, business leaders and professionals for over 25 years, I can vouch that the fear of becoming obsolete and irrelevant is sadly rising. Many tell me that their secret fear is seeing their career or business flatline or not advance as fast or far enough as they hoped for. The truth is for many of us there’s a growing gap between the rapid rate of change and our ability to remain relevant. The chances are that by the time I’ve finished this interview, I’ve likely become more irrelevant than relevant! That’s a long lead into saying that Good Company Coaching helps individuals and organisations stay relevant, avoid reputational risk and realise their potential. What motivated you to “look east” and move to India after pursuing Western Philosophy in university? As a young man I majored in Western Philosophy at university, then my dial moved to “east”, where I spent time sitting at the feet of masters in India, contemplating the meaning of life, human potential, practising 30-day silent mindfulness meditation retreats and all the rest of it! Why did I do it? Apart from the luck of the draw, serendipity and working on “my stuff”, the two primal drivers were: •    While studying Western philosophy, I remember reading an epistemology question – “Who knows more about electricity, an electrician or an electric eel?” – that said a lot to me then and still does today about the difference between theory and actionable knowledge and asking the right sources and people for help. •    The other driver was more experiential and a tad esoteric. Personally, I don’t like using words like ‘spiritual’ or ‘peak state’. But back then, I had some “experiences and insights” that self-authenticated a lot of what I had read about in the Eastern spiritual traditions. It felt like I had been given a vision of something that I had to act on. So, looking back maybe there were deeper impulses and connections at play that drew me to India at the time. How has the application of Eastern and Western philosophies impacted your approach to consulting clients? It’s impacted everything. All through my career, I’ve believed that if we are to grow in our professional journey, improve our lot and make a better life for everyone, then a new integration of our individual and collective wisdom is critical. Yet, as many an entrepreneur would likely agree, you’ve also got to meet people where they are and give them what they want now, so you can give them what they really need later. What that means is that even though my “East-West” approach is always turned on, how ever high-beam or low-beam it is, depends on the readiness, context, and outcomes my clients want to achieve. What’s good about the present, is that compared to 25 years ago, there’s a lot more cut through with “what’s old is new and what’s new is old.” When I first started out, getting business leaders to practice mindful leadership was an alien concept, something best a kept secret. What does success mean to you? To me, success is an emergent property or process. You’ve got to embrace the process, the journey, and who you are becoming. Ultimately, as good as the specific successes, results and big wins are, there’s always, “what’s next?”. Success lives in the unfolding process that propels you towards realising your potential and highest opportunities and purpose. In plain English, fall into your masterpiece and let the music in you out; that’s success to me. What is the one thing you’ve accomplished that you take the most pride in? A description that echoes down through the ages is that, whenever in any moment you genuinely connect with who you are, there is a feeling of ‘being home’ at last. Being ‘good company’ and helping clients lead naturally, be successful and feel ‘being home’ at last has been my one thing. If you were to start over again, what would you do differently? •    Trust and let go •    Start before I’m ready •    Learn from the best *** For more information, visit www.goodcompanycoaching.com.au.

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In conversation with: Ting Zhou, Abundance Property Group

Ting Zhou, Founder and Director at Abundance Property Group, believes in being invested in the development of her venture and self in pursuit of a worthy idea. Tell us about Abundance Property Group. Abundance Property Group is specialised in facilitating aspiring property developers and investors both locally and from overseas to initiate, complete and invest in development projects successfully and profitably in Sydney, Australia. We provide the following services: •    Property Development and Investment training courses •    Property Development and Investment consultancy •    A service directory to connect all service providers with buyers/potential clients •    Abundance Property Development and Investment Club Membership You moved into property development & investment after an accomplished career in financial services. What attracted you to the industry? The opportunity to be my own boss. Property is an excellent investment vehicle to generate cash flow and create wealth, and property development is one of the most effective ways to build net worth in a relatively shorter period. With finance being an essential part of this business, the knowledge and experience I accumulated while working in the financial services/banking industry have given me a competitive edge. I love the opportunity to learn and improve daily (because there is so much to learn!), run my own projects, own my property assets, and operate Abundance Property Group in a way that brings value to our clients daily so they are informed and can be successful in pursuing their investments too. What was the biggest hurdle you faced in the formative years of your business and how was this overcome? The biggest obstacle I had to face was to become aware of what my personal limitations are in terms of making a small business successful, work to improve them and eventually overcome them. It is more of a personal transformational journey. I undertake daily personal development activities to make sure I am on track. There are many aspects of the business we have to deal with as a business owner, but we need to be the master of ourselves before we can effectively direct and manage as a leader and eventually get the results we want from a team. Prior work experience although helpful, in a way, can hinder our thinking ability as an entrepreneur because we were given lots of resources by our employers. As entrepreneurs, we have to create everything ourselves with not many resources to draw from. That is tough for anyone to start with. What does success mean to you? Success means having a “worthy idea” and then eventually make it a reality in the physical world. A worthy idea is a vision or goal that you are happy to dedicate the rest of your life to because it represents the authentic you. As this idea benefits clients, employees, investors, and community as a whole; it needs to be so good that without realising its potential, would mean a loss to the community. What is the toughest decision you have made? Letting some people go. It is not easy to find the right people to work with, and letting them go is even harder. However, it is important to work with people whose value systems are aligned with yours and the organisations; as such, they also need to feel that they are developing themselves by working with you. What is one thing you’ve accomplished that you take the most pride in? Identifying a gap in the market and created the business model for Abundance Property Group from scratch. I had to refer to a lot of existing business models of course. I believe our business model is unique, and really addresses the unmet demand from clients in this market. What advice would you give to an aspiring entrepreneur? Determine your “worthy idea”, have a plan, and act. The plan does not have to be perfect since the “how” is not as important initially as the “what”. Also, work on yourself daily so that you can persist with your goals and not be affected by anything external. *** Visit www.abundancepropertygroup.com.au for more information.

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In conversation with: Megan Edwards, mWords

mWord’s Expert Content Marketer and Trainer Megan Edwards emphasises the value of content marketing for businesses to connect with their customers. Tell us about mWords. mWords is a boutique content marketing business that assists corporates and SMEs to develop strategic and tailored content marketing strategies to build awareness, generate leads and position themselves as industry experts. There are two key arms to the business: 1) content creation & distribution, and 2) content and social media training. Our services are designed to help business owners and professionals build an empathetic relationship with their customers through solution-focused content that bridges the gap between what the business sells and what their customer wants or needs. Our training empowers business owners and professionals with the strategic knowledge and skills they need to design and implement an effective content marketing or social media strategy to build their personal or company brand. How can time or resource-poor start-ups or SME business owners fit content marketing in their day’s routine? Effective content marketing is all about planning. A content calendar is one of the best planning tools a business of any size can use to take control and be strategic about content marketing. A calendar can be established by investing a few hours once a month in identifying key messages, areas of expertise and topics you want to promote, then composing a series of posts for each. To further streamline your content marketing, invest in a scheduling tool such as Buffer or Hootsuite. These allow you to not only upload your posts in advance across all platforms but also provide insights and analytics to help you determine the best answers for what, where and when to post. What was the biggest challenge you faced in the formative years of your business and how did you overcome it? There are two key challenges which were present when I first began, and which I still face today: competition and customer perception. I have overcome heavy competition by refining my focus to specialise in HR & Recruitment and Property & Real Estate; sectors where I spent the most time during my corporate days and in which I have the greatest depth and breadth of knowledge. Customer perception of the value of content marketing is an ongoing challenge. Though the market has a greater broad appreciation of its value these days, there is still a perception that since a) writing is a skill we all possess, and b) most aspects of social media are free to use, it should be cheap and easy. I have found the best way to overcome this is by educating my customers about the ‘value adds’ that enrich the process and elevate it from just content generation to strategic content marketing. My writing skill draws on marketing expertise as well as creativity and language. I also explain the additional steps I take to support the actual writing, such as researching the market, defining the buyer’s persona and performance analytics. With a gradual increase in content skimming and reduced attention spans, it is worth investing time to create long-form content such as blogs? Long form content is still worthwhile if it focuses on providing information and education. Before writing anything, put your idea to the “So what?” test: what will your target audience think after reading it? Will it make them feel any different? Make their lives better? Inspire them to action? If the answer is no, you need a new idea! When creating long form content, it’s also important to consider how your audience will consume it. Sometimes a lengthy content piece is more impactful and more likely to be read when broken down into several smaller pieces. Simple formatting like bullet points, tables and visuals can all help to convey your message more efficiently. What advice would you give to someone aspiring to become an entrepreneur? •    Understand that everyone is an expert in something, but rarely an expert in everything. You don’t have to know everything to be of value to someone. •    Be willing to try something several times before you decide it doesn’t work. Sometimes repetition is key. •    Don’t be too proud to accept help when it’s offered or ask for advice. •    Build your knowledge in a range of areas, not just those directly related to your business. This will give you a broader, richer reference base and the ability to communicate effectively with a wider range of people. *** Visit www.mwords.com.au for more information.

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In conversation with: Natalie Goldman, FlexCareers

While FlexCareers draws on the untapped talent pool of Australia’s 2.1 million career women, going forward, CEO Natalie Goldman sees it enabling businesses to realise the power and potential of flexible employment. Tell us about FlexCareers. FlexCareers is changing the way careers are pursued by redefining ‘success’, rewriting talent management and realigning workplace expectations within the current workforce. It is a disruptive online talent matching platform connecting skilled people with progressive employers offering flexible work. Our initial focus is to tap the underutilised talent pool of 2.1 million career women. However the market is shifting, and flexibility is something that more and more people are wanting. In the meantime, we are enabling Australia’s workforce of the future and delivering gender diversity in scale. FlexCareers also offers a fully integrated suite of products, including its proprietary ‘Relaunchships’ program, which facilitates a return to work after an extended career gap. How are Australian businesses responding to the growing demand for flexible work arrangements? More and more candidates are seeking flexible employment, and with such a small talent pool in Australia, businesses are responding by offering more flexibility. But attracting talent is not the only reason why companies are focusing on implementing flexible work practices. It is also about retaining talent and engagement – when employees are happy and engaged, they are more likely to stay, be highly productive, profitable and give discretionary effort. It’s also the future of work conversation – the way we work is changing due to changes in technology, markets and more. Progressive employers need to be agile and responsive, and flexible working is one of the key enablers to creating such a workforce that breeds creativity and innovation. Finally, it’s also about diversity and inclusion. Flexibility creates a highly diverse workforce. This addresses numerous issues businesses face, such as women who are not fully participating in the labour market due to barriers of being the primary caregivers or perceptions around women and work. It also encourages diversity as not everyone fits the same mould and it allows us to be human at work. How is technology assisting the adoption of flexible work among employers? Technology is one of the fundamental aspects to implementing successful flexible work cultures and arrangements along with trust and communication. Technology enables working from wherever we are and whenever. I often say that my office is in the bag; between my laptop and smart phone, all technology is cloud-based and we can access each other through communication channels such as Slack. Without technology, we wouldn’t be able to collaborate, communicate or create in real time from wherever we are. What was the biggest challenge you faced in the formative stage of FlexCareers? There is a growing demand for what we are offering, but only so many of us are able to connect with employers – which is a great problem to have. From the candidate’s side, all interactions are primarily using the digital interface – hence, that can be managed easily. Although we have a robust AI platform, technology isn’t what ‘wows’ people. It’s the human connection, and that requires presence and time, and there are only so many hours in the day. What does success mean to you? Having so many flexible jobs that surpass non-flexible jobs… everyone wants to have some agency over where, when and how they work – we are working hard to achieve this. What is the toughest decision you have made and how did you handle it? One of my colleagues had a great idea about a product line for FlexCareers. However, we didn’t have the capital nor bandwidth to focus on it, so I had to say no. The truth is we still may very well do it, but timing is everything. If you were to start over again, what would you do differently? Nothing…we have learnt from our mistakes, and everything happens for a reason. We are still learning but open for others to provide their guidance at all times. What advice would you give to an aspiring entrepreneur? Being an entrepreneur now has the association of something cool and aspirational. The reality is that it isn’t glamorous but full of hard work, tough decisions and lots of pressure. Not everyone is made for this kind of work. At the same time, it is also incredibly rewarding and the best thing ever; I love what I do and jump out of bed each day energized and excited about the possibility. I wouldn’t change it for anything. *** Visit www.flexcareers.com.au for more information.

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In conversation with: Frances Quinn, Athena Management Consulting

Athena Management Consulting’s Managing Director Frances Quinn believes in recalibrating and reinventing her approach to deliver the best for her clients and challenge the status-quo. Tell us about Athena Management Consulting. Athena Management Consulting is a boutique consulting firm specialising in contact centre and customer operations. We work with clients who seek improvements in their customer experience or staff engagement by helping them get the most from their people, processes and technology; often by way of strategy advisement or transformative initiatives. During our conversation, you mentioned that you became an entrepreneur by accident. What sparked this venture? The stars aligned and the universe conspired to push me down the entrepreneurial path! After being made redundant for the second time in three years on a Friday and making the decision to move inter-state over the same weekend, I received a call on Monday from one of my connections wondering if I knew anyone with my specialist skillset to deliver a project in the location where I decided to move! Thus, began my career as a consultant and shortly after came the creation of Athena and my journey as a business owner. What was the biggest challenge you faced in the formative years and how did you overcome it? I was lucky to start my journey with a meaty project that kept me engaged for 18 months, so I didn’t think much about marketing and selling my services. I built a website and got business cards, and that was it. When I finished that contract, I had a naive expectation that the next opportunity would arrive at my doorstep. I did very little to get my brand out there; moreover, with zero networking effort and being in a new city, my professional networks were practically non-existent. I found myself without work for six months, which was exceptionally challenging. When I did come by a great opportunity, I didn’t win the business. After a healthy dose of self-pity, I found some resilience buried deep within and started to rebuild my confidence and thought processes. I developed services-based products and marketing materials, invested in conferences and networking events, and signed my second client within a few months. What does success mean to you? Success means challenging the current state and striving for a better outcome. Professionally, it means creating a company that attracts exceptional talent, and a brand that is renowned for providing quality and value. Personally, it means building positive, authentic relationships with everyone in my sphere, backing myself, taking risks and living a purposeful life. What is the toughest decision you have made and how was this managed? I started the business with my partner at the time. Together we built two brands, both consulting firms in different industries with different service offerings. However, we had conflicts over professional ideals that leaked into our personal lives. Eventually, I decided to end the relationship. It was one of the hardest decisions I’ve made; having both personal and professional ramifications. We had to untangle our lives, belongings and businesses. This became a time of significant growth, and I had to learn to back myself 100%. I no longer had a sounding board to share in the decision-making. Win or lose; it was all on me. Since then, when bringing on new team members, I apply my own process to ensure their values and attitudes align with those of the business. What advice would you give to an aspiring entrepreneur? 1)    Price is only an issue in the absence of value. Don’t undervalue yourself or sell your products/services at the lowest price to win business. Know your worth and focus on how to articulate your value rather than driving price-based decisions. Don’t be afraid to turn down a client if your values don’t align. 2)    Find a niche. You may be great at ten things, but pitching yourself as the company who is great at all these things will dilute your brand. Choose one unique thing and focus on that. Once customers are on board, then they will organically see the other things you are great at. 3)    Be clear on who you are. What does your brand stand for? What are your values? What is your mission? Knowing this will help you choose the right clients and people to help you realise your vision. Make it personal; people connect to real stories, not corporate jargon. *** For more information, visit www.athenaconsulting.com.au.  

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In conversation with: Lisa Rubinstein, The Institute for Human Potential

The Institute for Human Potential’s CEO Lisa Rubinstein combines the ancient wisdom of martial arts with modern neuroscience to improve organisational and team performance by cultivating people’s readiness to learn. Tell us about The Institute for Human Potential. We help companies create a new and sustainable future that delivers dramatic improvements in individual, team and organisational results and culture. We also teach managers and leaders about how to cultivate their people’s readiness to learn – the holy grail of performance. You’ve combined teachings of neuroscience and martial arts to approach leadership and organisational challenges. How did this combination develop? The martial arts side comes from my training in Shotokan Karate with the head of the Japanese Karate Association in North America; now the highest-ranking sensei in the world. He taught leadership, integrity, resilience and most importantly, the responsibility of power. I picked up neuroscience when I researched for my book, ‘True Leadership’, which combines the neuroscience of leadership with insights from highly-respected business leaders. The two are very compatible. Neuroscience gives us the answer to what is going on inside our head, but martial arts points to actions you can take to be a great leader, no matter your title. You have an accomplished career in leadership training. What is the biggest challenge you face in your role today? Keeping things fresh is a constant challenge as is keeping people engaged and ready to learn. That ‘ready to learn’ aspect is the biggest problem leaders face. When people are open to learning, they’ll be more proactive, communicate when something comes up, be more accepting of changes and able to deal with curveballs. Today, more than ever, business is about constant change and dealing with the unexpected. Handling both of those well depends on being ready to learn and change. However, today’s workplace environment drives us to be less willing, less open and able to deal with the unexpected. The increasing pace of business coupled with the high rate of change challenges all of us and kills people’s readiness to learn. It’s the biggest threat to success and sustainability for any company. What does success mean to you? Success will always occur as elusive. As soon as I get close to the goal, I’ll shift to an even greater challenge to keep life interesting. It’s most important to recognise this, so we don’t relate to ourselves as less than, only because we still haven’t achieved our expectations. If we know we’re resetting the bar; we can own it! What is the toughest decision you have made and how did you handle it? To walk away from a project that I had worked on for over 11 years. We had reached a point where the energy and focus needed to take it to the next level wasn’t going to pay off and hence, I stepped away. It was a relief and opened an even better pathway to achieving what I was after. But, until that first step, it was a hard decision to make. What is something you’ve accomplished that you take the most pride in? Making time for my two girls while they wanted me around. Business can always fit in. I have memories and a relationship with them that is far more valuable. Now that they’re grown and building their own lives, I have plenty of time to put everything into the business with no regrets. What advice would you give to someone aspiring to become an entrepreneur? •    Build a team first. Make sure you identify where your strengths lie and cultivate them. Then find great people to fill in the gaps. •    Every week, make sure you are out somewhere and meeting new people. It’s not just about filling your pipeline, it’s about being connected, knowing what’s going on and getting out of your own head. •    Go to events without an agenda save for meeting people. So many people go in like sharks in a feeding frenzy. It’s a real turn off and stops you from meeting what could be an interesting contact. •    Build a business that also helps in some way to heal the planet. We are at a point in our history that if more people do not take on sustainability projects, we will not have a future to pass on to our next generation. *** For more information, visit www.thehpinstitute.com.

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In conversation with: Aishwarya Bedekar, Magnus Software Testing

Realising the gap in the provision of end-to-end support for businesses’ IT infrastructure, Aishwarya Bedekar founded Magnus Software Testing to apply her experience in testing and deliver creative solutions for her clients. Tell us about Magnus Software Testing. Magnus Testing started solely as a testing firm initially and has since transformed into an IT services-orientated organisation following high client demand and interest in website, apps and other development. We support in-house development, provide software testing and continual IT support, so organisations don’t have to worry about spending time and resources on their IT infrastructure. Magnus Testing caters to anyone requiring IT solutions or services for their product or organisation. What made you take the leap into entrepreneurship?     Having worked as an IT test consultant for the last five years, I came to realise there was more to the industry than the limited amount of work that I was handling. It became evident that there was a gap in how the testing field operated; players in the industry were providing resources but fell short when it came to ongoing support; how the job is done is no longer the provider’s concern once the resource is provided. Over time, I also realised that there more was required by businesses than resource sharing. It was evident that while organisations needed a proper infrastructure set-up, ongoing support was critical to its functioning. This is where I saw the opportunity and took the leap. What was the biggest challenge you faced in the initial months of your business and how did you overcome it?      With several players in a competitive space, promoting the business and generating client interest and trust was the biggest challenge in the initial months. Working as a consultant prior to this venture was a very positive experience as I got to work with people from various backgrounds and diverse industries; as such we reached out to people whom we worked with, many of whom were kind enough to share our business via word of mouth. Networking, business forums and B2B Expos gave us the opportunity to expand our network and gain some constructive feedback, enabling us to mould ourselves to meet customer expectations. Even today, we don’t advertise and rely primarily on word of mouth; allowing our work to speak for itself. This enables us to be agile and adapt to feedback from clients and deliver something better and unique each time; generating higher trust. The trust from our customers has become the basis of our lead generation efforts and seen the creation of healthy and ongoing relationships. What does success mean to you? From a professional viewpoint, success means being able to deliver quality and retain our customers. It isn’t a one-time thing, but rather an ongoing effort. If my clients are happy with the work and quality we provide, then that’s success to me. What is the toughest decision you have made and how did you handle it?       The hardest decision was creating Magnus Testing. I knew that there was a gap in the industry, but I was not sure if I had what it takes to meet that gap. However, inherently, I also knew that self-doubt wasn’t going to take me anywhere and that there was no room for anything to go wrong. Magnus either works, or it doesn’t, and I knew I didn’t want to look back with regret for not trying. The initial months certainly weren’t easy as I had no prior experience as a small business owner, but you learn on the job if you want to make your venture successful. What is the one thing you’ve accomplished that you take the most pride in or satisfaction from?      I have created a venture that I am proud of calling my own! Through Magnus, I have been able to work with numerous people and organisations and know that I have successfully created a trust for our service through the quality of work we provide. What advice would you give to someone aspiring to become an entrepreneur?        Don’t ever doubt yourself; everyone has the ability to make a mark in their own way. If you know that there is a problem to solve, get to it! Never give yourself a reason to look back and regret something that you could have had the opportunity to achieve. Nothing can go wrong if you have the patience, trust and conviction to achieve, so keep striving! *** For more information, visit www.magnustesting.com. 

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In conversation with: Ashley Elliott & Matthew Metcalfe, Rise Digital Marketing

Recent graduates and Managing Directors of RISE Digital Marketing, Ashley Elliott and Matthew Metcalfe founded their venture on a shared vision to help SMEs accelerate their digital presence. Tell us about RISE Digital Marketing. The name RISE came about because we wanted to use digital marketing to help small and medium enterprises (SMEs) rise to the top of their industries. The real power of digital marketing is that it levels the playing field for businesses. Gone are the days when you require large budgets and resources to be able to reach your target audience. This means that SMEs now have just as much opportunity to compete in the marketplace. SMEs have great products and services to offer, but many often struggle to be heard due to high competition, usually from larger businesses with more resources. Our core focus is to help SMEs share their message and promote their solutions to the right audiences. What did you do to start this venture? We started the business when we both were in university. Initially, it was challenging to get the venture off the ground due to limited resources and experience. However, we knew that the success of our business would come by expanding our network and contacts. After establishing our business plan and marketing strategy, we put the word out to family and friends as the first step in initiating our network. On several occasions, people questioned our skills due to our age. To overcome this, we offered “free trials” for one to two weeks to demonstrate what we could do. This was a successful campaign and led to our first paying clients. How did you form your business partnership? Our partnership initially developed from our personal relationship. While attending the same university and working part time at our respective employers, we then came to learn about our shared passion for digital marketing. Noticing the stress on our employers to meet requirements and sometimes just to pay the bills, we also saw that their marketing efforts were limited and not as impactful. From these experiences, our objectives began to develop: 1) to help SME’s by giving them a voice in their industry, and 2) to start something that was more than just a business generating money. We wanted to make a difference. What was the biggest challenge you faced in the initial phase of your venture and how did you overcome it? Baby faces, as we looked very young! Starting out when were 21, people were sceptic about our skills and experience. People naturally questioned our ability to deliver, and it did create a barrier. Refocusing on our business plan and the driving passion from which it developed, we shored up our skills to match, master and polish as much as we could. We also reviewed our personal branding, developing a more mature style for conservative clientele. What does success mean to you? We believe that success is making a genuine impact on people’s lives and inspiring people to live their dreams. It’s easy to get lost in just chasing money, but we like to stay grounded in things that really matter. With many established competitors in digital marketing, what challenges did you see entering this space? It is true that the digital marketing industry is extremely crowded and competitive. Our biggest challenges have emerged from having insufficient resources and budgets which have meant we have had to work smarter and be more innovative than our competitors. Another big problem is only having two of us rather than a whole team. We have had to continuously evolve and grow our skills sets to be able to help our clients in the most efficient way possible. What advice would you give to someone aspiring to become an entrepreneur? Be comfortable with the unconventional. We looked around our workplace and struggled with being different. We didn’t have the regular schedule, and we didn’t think conventionally. But that’s okay. That’s what will make you a standout entrepreneur. Our advice would be to keep struttin’ when everyone else is walking. *** Visit www.risedigitalmarketing.com for more information.  

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In conversation with: Alexander Slade, A Corp Computers

Defying age and perception, 21-year old CEO Alexander Slade founded A Corp Computers at the age of 12 with a vision to support businesses utilise IT at their optimal best. Tell us about A Corp Computers. A Corp Computers is a team of IT professionals looking to help small-to-medium businesses achieve their goals and assist them in utilising IT to serve them best. We are a Managed Service Provider, and when we work with clients, we become their on-call IT team. We aim to completely take the stress away from maintaining and servicing IT infrastructure and services. You started A Corp at the age of 12. What sparked your entrepreneurial spirit? As long as I can remember I have had a strong drive to achieve something incredible in the business world. The idea of running a tech firm stemmed from my interest in computers, which had been fostered from a very young age. Even in primary school, I showed a keen interest in technology and my teacher at the time would give me pieces of old computers to tinker with at home. At one point, I actually ended up electrocuting myself, but that didn’t stop me! I still keep on and off communication with that teacher and am very grateful for his encouragement. What was the biggest hurdle you faced in the initial years of your venture and how did you overcome it? Without a doubt, one of the biggest obstacles in my early years of business was my age. Having started the business early, I was often confronted with business owners who doubted my abilities. The way I worked around this was demonstrating, as clearly as possible, my knowledge in IT and the dedication I have to the work I do. After winning over my first major client, this task became easier as I drew on them as an example of my skills and professionalism. It helped immensely that my first client was a long-standing business in the field, and as it happens, they are still an A Corp client today. You’re currently pursuing a double degree at university as well as managing your business. How do you balance this with personal time? It’s definitely a challenge, especially during peak study and exam times. I’ve been studying at University for almost two years, and I’ve found some great ways to manage my time effectively, schedule my classes at night and make sure everything I learn benefits the business. What does success mean to you? Success for me isn’t a huge spike in profit or sales growth – both of which are vital but don’t necessarily spell out success. For most businesses, especially SMBs, IT is a significant investment, so it is important that their IT works for them. For me, success comes in the form of seeing the results of helping a customer to achieve their own goals in their business. What is one thing you’ve accomplished that you take the most pride in? One thing I take pride in is growing the company significantly in the last two years. Since moving to Sydney from the Hunter Valley, where I started the business, I have found that we have experienced growth in terms of revenue, workforce and client numbers. If you were to start over again, what would you do differently? The only thing I would change would be to bring additional technical support into the business sooner. A Corp has always been my passion, so I found myself hesitant to let go of smaller aspects of the firm. Having a strong team of people just as dedicated to A Corp as I am, has been the best thing that could happen. What advice would you give to someone who aspires to become an entrepreneur? The best advice I can give is to simply “have a go!”; this is something that has stuck with me from a young age and happened to be the words my high school principal would say on a daily basis. This rings true for anyone looking to become an entrepreneur. If you’ve got a good idea, there shouldn’t be anything stopping you from turning that idea into a reality. *** For more information, visit www.acorpcomputers.com.au.

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In conversation with: Abdul Abu, Rapid Delta

Leadership Coach Abdul Abu addresses the need for effective training programs that enable professionals to seamlessly transition into managerial and leadership roles. Through Rapid Delta, Abdul brings a positive change for individuals, communities and organisations by not only enhancing their leadership capabilities but also improving their competitive advantage. Tell us about Rapid Delta and the audience to which you are catering. I have been a student of personal development for more than two decades. Since moving into management, I’ve identified a gap in effective leadership development. I wanted to help professionals make the transition into management and leadership roles as efficiently and as fast as possible. The idea of Rapid Delta was born to help organisations, schools and individuals develop their leadership capability. As such, we have worked with everybody from small to large businesses, to local communities and youth mentoring programs. At the individual level, our website is host to a leadership personality test for those looking to move into management roles, as well as an extensive series of blogs and posts for those looking at their personal development. Due to the varied nature of the client groups we work with, our products too vary from workshops and seminars covering topics such as presentation, negotiation, and first-time leadership, to one-on-one performance coaching for individuals and business leaders. What were you doing when the idea about Rapid Delta came to you? I was in a management role with 15 technical specialists in my team. I was responsible for their skill development, coaching, resourcing on projects, budgeting and project delivery. What is the story behind the name ‘Rapid Delta’? I wanted to give the business a catchy name, something that reflects the need to change (delta) in a fast paced and agile environment (rapid). Everyone faces difficulties during a start-up phase. What keeps you motivated in the face of challenges? What keeps me motivated is my passion to help others change their lives for the better. I am reminded of my passion when I witness or hear about situations where I know that problems could be prevented if people communicated better, took responsibility, had a better understanding of human behaviour, or showed more empathy. What is your vision for ‘Rapid Delta’? I see Rapid Delta becoming a globally recognised brand in leadership and organisational development. We will be helping people and organisations all around the world and will contribute to a better and more peaceful future for all. It is important the while we are empowering people to become influential and high performing leaders, they use the knowledge and techniques we offer ethically, to the betterment of their business and society as a whole. What does success mean to you? To me, success is to know that because of my help, people in an organisation are happier, more engaged and more productive, and in turn, the organisation meets its strategic objectives. This is the driving purpose of Rapid Delta, to assist organisations to ‘Engage your team, Drive performance, and Achieve Results’. You are currently engaged in a full-time role, as well as managing your business venture. How do you balance these with family time? I can’t say it’s easy and some days are more challenging than others. However, my passion keeps me going and my wife is very supportive. The key is to manage my energy, emotions and focus effectively. Also, knowing when to take breaks and celebrate the achievement of goals. What do you do to wind down? It’s important to give my mind and body the right fuel. So, I’m mindful what I eat and drink. To wind down, I go for walks, play with the kids, connect spiritually (a form of meditation) and catch up with friends when I can. What business or life lessons have you learnt that you would share with our readers? •    Keep learning and improving •    Have a mentor •    Never ever give up; and •    Be okay with making mistakes How would you describe your dream lifestyle? My dream lifestyle is where I work a couple of days per week and spend more time to help empower youth in the community. I would also spend more time with my kids, experiencing more of life, together. *** Check out Rapid Delta’s website www.rapiddelta.com to learn more about your leadership capabilities.

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Top Suburbs to Invest in Perth for a Diverse Portfolio

Many people I talk to always say they have been considering property investments but either don’t know where to start or don’t have someone to guide them. Investing in high quality tenant ready properties throughout Australia is a great way to secure your financial security. The reason for investing is to create wealth through strategic planning and understanding what city or suburb you should invest in is a great start. So, which suburbs in Perth are strong to invest in and why? One thing to always look for is what your return on investment will be and have the final outcome or future buyer of your investment in mind. There are so many properties available and how do you choose? I’ve always been very particular with my selection of the properties based on quality and location. Ironfish is known for helping create wealth through smart investing and the above two points are the key. Location for strong capital growth and great rental yield, location is for uniqueness in livability and management of tenants. High quality is the standard we expect on all properties. As quality will withstand time and visual sexiness to your tenants and first buyer. Investing is a smart future plan for any individual or professional, and having a strategist work with you to build a diverse portfolio will equip you with the tools to become a strong educated investor. The top suburbs in Perth to invest in are: Claremont Claremont is the 8th most established, wealthy and sought after suburb in Perth and is surrounded by some of the most expensive and prestigious suburbs in Perth. Claremont with its highly regarded reputation, home to high end boutiques, top private schools and the Claremont yacht club on the Swan River. The medium house price for Claremont is roughly $1.5M, a price that takes most buyers out of this exclusive market place. However,  there are property developers that have opened the door for smart investors, the ability to come into the market now with apartments starting from under $550 000, allowing investors to capitalise on this prestigious postcode at this more accessible price point. Claremont is located near Perth CBD. Perth River and Cottlesloe Beach offering the ultimate balance of work and leisure lifestyle. A private suburb without the bustle of a high profile city life. Claremont is an established and prestigious suburb with a recorded 20 year capital growth rate of +7.35% p.a for houses and +5.16% units p.a offering strong long-term growth. The average income in Claremont is $1,674 per week, compared to $1,459 per week in Perth. Supporting a vibrant shopping culture and outdoor activities such as tennis, sailing and golf. The attraction for tenants to live in this suburb is unique. Innaloo We can travel north up the Western Highway and past Scarborough go inland slightly, to the suburb of Innaloo. Home of one of the biggest Westfield shopping centre in Perth, the Iconic IKEA and near to the top beaches in Perth. The lifestyle in this suburb is unmistakably very convenient , with a hint of city lifestyle yet a mixture of summer coming. It’s designed to create one of Australia’s best beachfront destinations, with an array of choice of fresh food markets, restaurants, entertainment and international retailers. Innaloo is one of Perth’s fastest growing economic hubs and just a short commute to our CBD. Popular for professionals with no children as well as small families. Average income is $926 – $1640 per week, tenancy quality high. Westfield Innaloo will be 1of the top shopping centres in Perth, once the billion dollar renovations take place. Innaloo will be the place to shop, dine, socialise and live. Where ever there is strong developments, money being spent on infrastructure is genuine clue where is a smart place to invest. Average +7.58% capital growth for units in the last 20 years. Enjoy what Perth is famous for, our beaches and extravagant sunsets by the beach! Ferndale Now with investing with a difference we can drive down to Ferndale, this suburb is tranquil, quiet and close to again Carousel Westfield Shopping centre and Riverton Shopping Centre. Study at our state of the art modern library and the Riverton Leisureplex. Ferndale is strategically located with easy access to all major highways which makes exploring Perth very easy. Has spacious parks for an active lifestyle and close by our Canning River. Rental yield in Ferndale is 3.86%.Livability is a key focus if you are to invest in Ferndale, with everything you need, shops, schools, educational faculties, parks, recreational choices, public transport and more is all within easy reach. Medium average income is $665 per week a medium household $1292 per week. Medium rent is $320 a week. Lathlain, Ascot, East Perth We can move to the Eastern Suburbs, Eastern Suburbs are like Perth’s little secrets, these suburbs are very long-term and boating orientated. The suburbs are prestigious but lack shopping districts and restaurants. I would like to see a more vibrant dining, entertainment scene here. In the heart of these suburbs is the Perth Stadium which is the home of many world – class sports events. With projects totaling over $16 billion in both private and government investments, all Eastern suburbs of Perth will be fast becoming the suburb to invest in. Close to airport where FIFO workers like to live close by, close to the city, the hills and to our tourist destination Swan Valley, experts say these areas could be the remedy to enhance our coastal living. To invest in our Eastern suburbs is to invest in our economical future. Look no further than in your backyard at Claremont, Innaloo, Ferndale, Lathlain, East Perth and Ascot for your next investment property. Would you like to know more on how to pick the perfect property for your portfolio, that strengthens your financial security, talk to one of our professional property strategists today (obligation free) to ensure you get the best recommendations on the market. Build up a mindset for investing and empower your investing journey with a plan. This month Ironfish is holding a lunch event with our CEO, the topic is not on property at this moment but targeted at entrepreneurship so I still extend a invitation to members of Nifnex. VIP Lunch Invite Join the Founder and CEO of Ironfish Joseph Chou to explore “A Journey to Success” at Bankwest Place, 18th September, 12- 1:30pm. Contact me for more information & a  complimentary VIP ticket to hear Joseph Chou speak about entrepreneurialism and his amazing journey. Email: marilyn.balois@ironfish.com.au Mob: 0403824655 Office number (08) 6399 6688 www.ironfish.com.au

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Collaboration at its best in Perth

We have all heard of collaboration…. however, we sometimes can’t see how best to collaborate. Below is a fine example of collaboration right here in Perth. We recently were contacted by Brad from Digidoc who wanted to have a collaborative service offered at the Nifnex Business Essentials Expo. Below is a story of how three separate businesses collaborated to create a unique service offering which creates a win – win not just for the customer and for themselves but also for the community. This is a fine example of how we as business owners can be working with each other to enhance collaborative opportunities. Managed Media tells us their story below. A client, Ben, recently contacted me to get some printing done for a new business he had taken over. The previous owners had business cards and some A4 flyers, and Ben just wanted some more of the same but with a few changes as he wanted to go for a bit of a different look. It was all part of his plan to ‘freshen up’ the business now that he was running it, and he mentioned that he was going to have to do something with the website too. This is typical of the initial conversation with so many clients, whether they are starting out in business or have been operating for years. It’s a set of simple requirements that people like Ben just need sorted out so that they can get on with what they do best, running their business. When you have a business you’re typically an expert in your particular field, but that doesn’t mean you know much about printing, or graphic design, or websites, or a host of other issues that come up in your business operations. Although Ben came to me for printing, what he really needed before any printing could happen was graphic design. We can print anything, but we need to have something to print, and if you want it to be effective for your business it needs to be professionally designed. A good graphic designer creates professional, effective, print ready (or web ready – they’re different!) artwork. Once you have artwork, a printer can give you exactly what you need, as can a website creator, or a digital marketer can create your social media pages (Facebook, LinkedIn etc). We’re starting to talk about a bit more than just getting some business cards and flyers printed! And as a business owner, now you’re faced with sourcing a graphic designer, website creator, and a digital marketer. What a headache! That’s where Managed Media (www.managedmedia.com.au) can help. Managed Media is a collaboration between independent but complementary service providers, who together ensure your marketing needs are covered. Instead of having to find separate suppliers for each requirement you can simply contact Managed Media and we will manage it all for you. This kind of collaboration represents an innovation in small businesses working together. Managed Media is comprised of DigiDoc (printing), Halberd Designs & Consultancy (graphic design) and 3am Ideas (web design and digital marketing). Each business specialises in its area, while working closely with the other two as required. You won’t always need all three services, but we’ve got you covered for any or all of it. You want a successful business and we want to make it easier for you to achieve that. If you’d like to know more about how Managed Media can help your business simply visit www.managedmedia.com.au or contact us at info@managedmedia.com.au. We look forward to hearing from you!  

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Vodafone Wanneroo Freedom Plans plus Free Lavazza Coffee Machine

As you may have seen in the news  – Vodafone are doing things differently and it’s all about YOU the Customer…..we are putting the customer first! Check this article out on News.com.au Let me introduce myself , my name is Shoeb Kapasi and I own the local Vodafone store in Wanneroo. I manage a small retail team and also specialise in SME business customers. I have been working for Telecommunication industry for 10 years and with my extensive product knowledge and business understanding help you select the right business solution. As a special offer we are offering all business owners and their friends a FREE Lavazza Coffee Machine (RRP $99) if bring your number to Vodafone on a 40 plan over 12, 24, 36 months. Limited to first 20 Business owners! Come say g’day at the Nifnex Business Essentials Expo and or setup a time to come and meet me in our store at Wanneroo Central Shop 7 950 Wanneroo Road, Wanneroo 6065 or call us on 0894047098 or email us at wanneroo@mosmobiles.com.au Regards Shoeb Kapsi 0433215011

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5 common mistakes made by employers

While you may know how to drive a vehicle you would not venture out on the road without knowing the road rules. The legislation in relation to employment is complex and unwitting error is common.  It’s important to know and understand the rules and regulations relevant to your employment environment. Mistakes can be very costly if left uncorrected.  The most common errors unwittingly made by employers are.     Confusing the State and National workplace relations environments Often employers unwittingly operate between the two systems. Note only one system applies to your business. Ensuring employment contracts are well written Employers at the very minimum should observe the statutory employment terms and conditions in contracts of employment. Not knowing the correct awards that cover your business and misinterpretation of awards. It is essential to correctly identify the awards covering your business and understand how to interpret the information.     Misclassifying the independent contracting relationship Because a worker has an ABN and submits an invoice does not in itself determine that the worker is an independent contractor. Lacking a thorough understanding of the employer obligations relevant to the workplace relations environment within which the business operates. WA is the only State in Australia that has two workplace relations systems.  In brief, the WA workplace relations environment covers unincorporated entities such as Sole Traders and Partnerships whereas the National workplace relations environment includes constitutional corporations. That is, Pty Ltd companies, trading or financial corporations. The State and National System have their own Act, set of awards and minimum conditions of employment and different rules apply to each of these environments. Knowing and understanding your legal obligations, ensuring employment contracts are well drafted, understanding the content of awards that cover your workplace, classifying the worker correctly under the award, paying the correct rates and knowing how to correctly define the contractor vs employee relationship, will in the long term save employers grief and will avoid giving rise to costly and unnecessary employee claims. Book in to hear Maria Odlum speak at the Business Essentials Expo on the 15th Sep or Call Modlum for HR Consulting for a free no obligation HR Health check to ensure you are in the right track with employment! Direct line:  9417 7672 or  Mobile 0400 566 701 www.modlumforhr.com About Maria Odlum: Building HR departments from ground up to successfully support major business expansion, Maria Odlum has built a strong reputation as a Qualified HR Practitioner, with over 17 years’ experience. Maria provides advice and cost effective, low risk solutions to day to day employment problems and has gained great client confidence by mitigating potential risk for small business and educating SMEs on the legislative complexities relevant to their business to ensure that they are on the right track with employment.

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In conversation with: Susie Campbell, Little Black Book Marketing

Susie Campbell found herself in new territory when she started her business Little Black Book Marketing nearly three years ago. With a list of contacts in her ‘little black book’ and belief in the power of building connections, Susie began her journey to empower Australian businesses with her unconventional approach to conventional marketing. Tell us about Little Black Book Marketing. I started Little Black Book Marketing to help businesses market themselves locally through connections, partnerships and other cost-effective marketing strategies. It primarily caters to brick-and-mortar (B&M) businesses – be it retailers, services such as hairdressers and clinics, or cafes and hospitality outlets. I believe businesses do better when they work together, and engaging with their community is key to their success. Why the name, “Little Black Book Marketing”? Little Black Book Marketing came about from my time in the Royal Navy where I became the person who would know someone and would always have a contact number in my address book (black of course!). Hence, when I started the business here in Australia and began utilising my network, the name ‘Little Black Book’ was the obvious choice. My speciality is essentially to show B&M businesses how to create their own “little black book”. I had to add the word ‘marketing’ to the name to avoid the enquiries for escorts and the like! How has the business name helped you in your journey? I’ve received many positive comments about the name; it is memorable as it is different. I market using traditional methods, and the use of the word ‘book’ reinforces that. Having a memorable name can only help; nothing worse than someone saying, “I can’t remember what they are called but…” What is something you’ve accomplished that you take the most pride in? I think it has to be creating a growing bootstrap business. Having moved to a new country with no local contacts whilst juggling a young family with a partner who works away a lot and no money to invest, I found creative ways to achieve what I needed to do to grow and turn a profit. I started with an old laptop, a mobile and my ability to chat!  I bought nothing unless the business could pay for it and have never gone into debt or borrowed cash. I use barter, swapping, trading in many situations. Without partnerships, my business would not be where it is today. What is your vision for Little Black Book Marketing? To become the Australian-based equivalent of ‘Mary Queen of Shops’ – Mary Portas is a UK-based retail expert who has supported many struggling independent B&M retailers. I want to do the same here to keep Aussie shopkeepers in business, building a strong reputation locally and expanding nationwide. Alongside this, I have the vision to grow my team with people who need flexible work arrangements. I have experienced some very poor leaders and inflexible managers and know how often flexibility is valued over salary. While juggling professional and personal commitments, how do you find time for yourself? Ha, there was very little of that to begin with, but I knew this needed to change to stay healthy and fit for business. With a young family and no family support around, time is very hard to come by. Therefore, I set goals early on – one was to earn enough to pay for a gym membership and second was to take on a cleaner!  This has allowed me to not only have more time for myself but maintain a good level of fitness that is vital for both physical and mental wellness and the resilience required to deal with the challenges life can throw at you. What advice would you give to someone who aspires to become an entrepreneur? First, it is important to understand what self-employment means and if you could cope with the demands, the risks and the uncertainty; it is not for everyone. My advice is, where possible, to find your first client before you commit to too much. Next would be to know your numbers (ROI/P&L/cost per lead) from the start. It sounds dull and even scary, but you will thank yourself later for taking the time to sort this from day one. Finally, document your processes; anything you do more than once. From how you answer the telephone, to processing an order, email enquiry or even complaints. This will pay dividends when you come to employ staff, want to identify ways to save time or money, or when valuing your business to sell. If you had a magic wand, what is the one thing you would change right here, right now? Unemployment, because this leads to so many other issues – homelessness, malnutrition, physical and mental illness, substance dependency, isolation, and much more. I want to be able to employ homeless or long-term unemployed, offering meaningful employment to hopefully make them feel valued and able to contribute to a team. *** Visit www.littleblackbookmarketing.com for more information.

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In conversation with: Colm Dolan, Publift

Google alumnus Colm Dolan has traversed the highs and lows of both startup and employ worlds before taking the plunge into the competitive space of ad tech, specifically; digital publisher monetization with Publift. Today, with a team of experts and innovative technology at its core, Publift optimises ad revenue for websites and enables them to focus on delivering high-quality content. Tell us about Publift and its audience. Publift is a team of digital publisher monetization experts, founded and based in Sydney. We provide cutting edge technology solutions to online publishers. Our client base is websites that generate revenue through advertising. What were you doing when the idea about Publift came to you? I was working for a startup called Rollup Media. The company failed to win a series B funding round, which meant they were shutting down the Australian operations. As I was the sole director of the company, I had to sell assets and liquate the business. After that, I interviewed for many companies but was overlooked every time. I was low on confidence, which came across in every interview! I had thought about setting up a consultancy business previously but never acted on it. At this stage, I thought I might as well give it a go. I was at my lowest ebb with absolutely nothing to lose! With many established competitors in ad tech, what challenges did you face entering this space? The biggest challenge was getting our name out there and winning the trust of publishers. I was lucky to get some great clients over the first three months with whom I still work. I used them as case studies straight away. The first six months were tough. I had a good story because of my experience with Google, and was lucky, as there were no partner-agnostic consultancy businesses. Our core USP is that we will work with any partner, and focus on increasing revenue for our clients.  What is your vision for Publift? Publift’s vision is to help online publishers increase their revenue so they can reinvest more resources to create great content and improved design with relevant, engaging ads. This attracts more users and creates a great user experience. I want Publift to be the industry leader providing cutting edge technology and market leading expertise. I believe in creating a fantastic working environment, building excellent products and providing exceptional customer service. I want team members to enjoy coming to work, feel energised by working in their area of strength and passionate about new products and efficiencies we are creating. What is the toughest decision you have made, and how did you handle it? Saying “no”. We have moved to a product-based business in the last six months. Often, we can take on new clients that will generate large amounts of money in the short term. I’ve had to say no on several occasions because our resources are building new technology. As a startup when cash flow is a regular issue, it’s hard to say no, but these decisions have to be made for the greater good of the business. I hate saying no though! While juggling work and personal commitments, how do you find time for yourself? I’ve gotten better at finding time for myself – I used to take work home with me. Not only continue doing work but also thinking and worrying about it 24×7. Are we going down the right path? Is our strategy sound? Since we have gone down the tech/product route, I’ve been able to sleep at night. It’s hard to find time for myself, especially with a nine-month-old boy! I now follow a strict routine as I only work from 9 to 5 and spend more time with my son Kian and wife Becky. I play football, so we have a game on Sundays and training on Wednesdays. At lunchtime, I usually go to the gym and listen to sports or business podcasts on the way. I also try to meditate regularly, which is a great way to unwind. What three pieces of advice would you give to anyone who wants to take the entrepreneurial path? 1. Take risks and make mistakes: I’ve read lots of self-help books and business podcasts explaining how best to run your business. These are great, but nothing beats making mistakes and giving things a go. You learn a lot about yourself. 2. Recruitment: Spend time in picking your team. Make sure to hire to accommodate your weaknesses. Personality tests, such as DISC profiles, help you identify the right fit for your team. 3. Time Management: Ask yourself every hour and day, is what I’m doing right now the best use of my time? Is this growing the business? Do you have a quote or life mantra that motivates you? Work smarter, not harder! *** Visit www.publift.com for more information.

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Leadership Do you have these 5 Traits?

The topic of Leadership is continually debated in management channels across the world, at every level and size of business. Luke Verhoogt from GBC (featured speaker & exhibitor on Leadership at Business Essential Expo) addresses the 5+5 traits of a leader with an X factor, in this Leadership article. Register to Listen to Luke – Register to Exhibit What is Leadership?  What makes a good leader? Who are Leaders? What traits do leaders have? Are leaders Born or Made? There are a lot of different and varied opinions on all of the above questions.  Given the nature and variations in humanity, these differences are understandable. One size does not fit all, nor does it suit every business and the needs of its people. However, there are some aspects of good leadership that remain consistent. I believe good leadership comes as a five plus five package with an optional X factor. The first five are must haves; Integrity Empathy Vision Communication Intelligence The next five are good to have: Resilience Optimism Pragmatism Problem Solving Community And then an undefinable X factor.  Leadership is not necessarily charisma, beauty, idealism, faith, passion or determination, but these may be a part of the X factor. I believe good Leadership is a blend of all of these traits and the mix will vary from leader to leader with a blend that is unique to the person and the context or business.  None are a given and a leader for one group may not be a leader for another group of people. I will say that I think leaders are born and not made.  However, I believe that those leadership traits and abilities can be awakened in some people through training, coaching and mentoring in the right environment.   Leadership is about people and we all know how different each and every one of us can be.  What leads one person may not lead another and how a person leads is very much about their style and completely different to the traits that are needed to lead.  Time, economic, social and world events may make a leader out of a person who at another time or place may not be.  A person may be in a position of power, responsibility or authority but that does not make them a leader just because they are there, it may just make them a commander, which is not leadership. To me leadership is about convincing other people to follow you because they can see and understand the vision that you are giving them, they trust and agree with that vision and they can also see how they fit into it. As a person in a leadership role, there are some behaviours that you can develop and demonstrate that will improve your leadership capacity. Have a plan Communicate, and listen Trust and empower others Be open, honest and transparent Be fair Be consistent Know yourself Seek help and assistance Treat all people with respect, acceptance and dignity We at GBC can assist you in developing your leadership capacity, and your business with coaching and mentoring personalised to the needs of you and your business. www.growingbusinesscapability.com.au Luke Verhoogt; Growing Business Capability  

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Protect your workers, protect your business

WorkCover WA (featured exhibitor at Business Essentials Expo) is the government agency responsible for regulating the Western Australian workers’ compensation scheme to ensure injured workers are able to return to work promptly and safely; and are compensated for lost wages, medical expenses and associated costs whilst they recover. Workers’ compensation insurance reduces the impact on your business of a work-related injury or illness. This includes the cost of a claim and managing an injured worker’s rehabilitation. Compensation can include weekly payments, lump sum payments in the case of permanent impairment, assistance with medical and related expenses, and workplace rehabilitation assistance. In Western Australia, you are required to provide workers’ compensation insurance cover for anyone you employ who fits the definition of a worker. This includes: full-time workers on a wage or salary part-time, casual and seasonal workers workers on commission piece workers and in some circumstances: contractors and sub-contractors working directors You can take out a policy through an insurance broker, or directly with an insurer. Refer to the WorkCover WA website for the list of approved insurers. As employers you are also legally required to: lodge a workers’ compensation claim form and a First Certificate of Capacity to your insurer within five working days of receiving them from an injured worker; make payments to injured workers when directed by the insurer; have a documented injury management system that outlines the steps to be followed if an injury occurs in the workplace. The WorkCover WA website has a downloadable template available to help guide you with creating your injury management system; and establish a Return to Work Program for an injured worker as soon as practicable. This is required once the worker’s treating medical practitioner advises that a Return to Work Program needs to be established, and once they have signed a Certificate of Capacity indicating the worker has partial capacity to return to work. Refer to the Return to work section of the WorkCover WA website for further information and a downloadable Return to Work Program template. WorkCover WA’s Inspectors regularly visit workplaces in WA to check they have a current policy. Failure to adhere to the abovementioned legal requirements can result in the following penalties if an employer is found to have breached them: Failure to have a valid workers’ compensation insurance policy $5,000 per worker Failure to submit a Claim Form and First Certificate of Capacity to their insurer within 5 working days $1,000 Failure to make payments to an injured worker $2,000 per late payment Failure to have an injury management system in place $2,000 Failure to have a return to work program $2,000 WorkCover WA will be exhibiting at the Nifnex Business Expo (Attend Free or Exhibit) on Friday 15 September at Platinum Blu. Our staff will be there all day to answer any questions you have about workers’ compensation, injury management and returning to work, and chat to you about your employer obligations. For further help or information, contact our Advice and Assistance line on 1300 794 744, or visit our website at www.workcover.wa.gov.au . We have a range of resources including information on how to engage an approved insurer and utilising an insurance broker; and educational videos relating to workers’ compensation.

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In conversation with: Rajesh Kumar, Just Grow

Real estate investor Rajesh Kumar believes that individuals have the potential to grow their wealth and create themselves a ‘safety net’ using the right investment approach. Through his venture, Just Grow, Rajesh hopes to share his knowledge and experience with the community, helping them secure a better future. Tell us about Just Grow and its audience. Just Grow is a mortgage and finance company, which is just over 45 days old (as at June-end). With over 10 years of mortgage industry experience behind us, we help clients with residential, commercial development and small business loans. Having serviced over 75 clients since our launch and seen $24 million collectively in loans secured, we are excited to see the rapid uptake and trust in our services at this initial stage of our business. This rapid growth can be attributed to two factors. First, the recent Budget announcement outlined changes to grants and stamp duty exemptions for first-time homebuyers. This segment requires immense support in terms of advice, information and options to make sound investment decisions. Second, the combined capabilities of our team allow us to offer tailor-made solutions for each client. We don’t go by the usual checklist, as every client’s aims and aspirations are different. What is the story behind the name ‘Just Grow’? It’s simple. We want to help people not only grow their investments but also create a secure ‘safety net’ for the future. I came to Australia with just $800 and now hold a portfolio of $8 million. I know this is a land of opportunities and want to help others grow like I did. I believe that only money can make money, whether it’s your own or loaned from the bank. Just Grow was a strategic choice to build a brand that reflects what we do. While having many personal successes you chose to start a new venture. What motivated you to do so? I like moving forward in life. When my wife delivered our child, I started taking some family photographs to cherish the moment. Close family and friends loved my work and approached me to take their family portraits. I saw an income opportunity and pursued my passion. I then went looking for the next level where I began my journey in real estate investment. Having achieved success in the field, I felt it was the right time to take the next step and help others. I firmly believe that people need to create their ‘safety nets’. If someone is working in a 9 to 5 job earning $250K/year and thinks that it is enough; it is not. My business partner, who comes with a strong experience in financial services, and I teamed up to offer our collective knowledge and strengths to help benefit the migrant community and society as a whole. What is the biggest challenge you’re facing in the startup phase? Our biggest challenge is dealing with clients who aren’t prompt; either with their documents or when their loans are ready. During these times, one needs to have patience as some of these deals are valued at half a million dollars or more. We also have clients who have no idea about the market or are scared to enter it. We reassure them with tailor-made investment strategies. What do you do when experiencing a low point, and how do you celebrate your highs? Photography is one of my passions and when things aren’t working, I focus there. I also write humour based on current events to share with my Facebook connections every Friday and have been doing so over the past six years. Making people laugh every Friday helps me de-stress. I celebrate highs with my family and business partners. Life is a celebration, and we don’t need an occasion to celebrate it. What is your vision for ‘Just Grow’? Our vision is to help, help and help! Many people don’t know the difference between making money and growing wealth; we help people learn the difference. What lessons have you learnt and what advice would you give our readers? •    Dream big, keep chasing the dream •    Stay focused, work hard and think smart •    Never ever let your emotions empower your intelligence. •    Get into the market, whether you like it or not. If you’re not involved, you will never be. It’s like buying a car; if you don’t buy until you can afford a Rolls Royce, you will never buy a car. You have to start somewhere. If you had a magic wand, what would you change right here, right now? Fear. I would make fear disappear. I see the fear in everyone, especially when making a decision. It’s contagious. People allow their emotions to inform their decisions and that’s where things go wrong. Impatience is another. Everything is fast-paced, even making money is like fast food. However, mortgage is a long-term strategy and you need to have the patience to make it work for you. *** Visit www.justgrow.com.au for more information.

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In conversation with: Cigdem Pearsall, Turkish Murkish

Drawing inspiration to start her own venture whilst in her corporate role, Cigdem Pearsall wanted to bring the rich fabric of Turkey to Australia. Through Turkish Murkish, Cigdem offers a range of rich, hand-loomed and machine woven fabrics; sharing a piece of heritage and history with her clients. Tell us about Turkish Murkish and its audience. I started the business three years ago whilst working with a corporate. As part of a planning session, we invited two speakers who had crossed Antarctica. Their talk inspired me to pursue my own dream and start my own business. My products, specifically Turkish towels, cater to all ages. The higher-end luxe hand-loomed towels and throws primarily cater to homeowners who love unique and eco-friendly textiles to decorate their homes. Tell us about the meaning behind the name “Turkish Murkish”. Turks love to play on words and names with the letter “M”. When I was thinking of a business name, I wanted something that was authentically Turkish. It had to have the word Turkish in it and then it dawned on me to use the same play of words, as Turks do all the time. That is how Turkish Murkish came to life! How has the business name helped you in your journey? As a unique name, it has definitely helped! I have also had it trademarked. Both, customers and radio & TV presenters I have met mentioned that the name was catchy and unforgettable. Many people say it is also fun and quirky, while some even assume that “Murkish” means towel in Turkish. What is your vision for Turkish Murkish? I have big aspirations for Turkish Murkish. I would love to be the go-to brand that people think of when they want a Turkish towel. I am looking to expand the range of new designs and into soft furnishings for the home. My customers inspire me and I always take note of what they would like to see. While juggling professional and personal commitments, how do you find time for yourself? I’ve only been able to carve time for myself this year. Ever since I left my hectic corporate role two years ago, I haven’t taken time out for myself and started to fall ill both physically and mentally. We moved houses during the busiest time and I was all over the place. Then I met my gorgeous neighbour, Justine from New Leaf Healing. I realised I could no longer put myself off any further and started healing starting from the inside. I did a few courses and workshops in meditation and energy healing which gave me clarity on what I wanted, not only for myself but also for the direction of my business. I gave this gift to myself. I no longer wanted to be in constant juggling mode. I am learning to surrender and balance my time whereby I spend quality time with my loved ones and pets and set aside time from my business. The biggest lesson I am learning is to set boundaries in both my personal and business life. What three pieces of advice would you give to someone who aspires to become an entrepreneur? •    Do what you love. People not only buy the product, they also buy a piece of you. Infuse a bit of your love into everything you put out there, and this energy will attract loyal customers. •    Invest in yourself. The biggest investment I made into my business was taking a PR course, which gave me the tools to get my brand out there. The second was hiring a fantastic web and graphic designer who understood me. I had a business consultant but decided it was not for me. I learned a few things but at the end of the day, I wanted to run my business guided by my customers and my gut. •    Be kind to yourself and in every single interaction you have with people. Treat every single customer as your best customer. You never know, they may become your number one customer! What does success mean to you? Success means having a healthy and supportive network of loved ones who surround you, especially during ups and downs. Businesses come and go but connections with people and family will always be there. I have learned that focusing on money does not give me happiness. When I am happy and feel loved, the business grows organically. Do you have a quote or life mantra that motivates you? I know it sounds cliché, but I always listen to the very first gut reaction I have when meeting people or making a decision. Whenever I have gone against it, I have been disappointed. In addition, learning to say “no” was not easy but I have learned to say no with grace. *** Visit www.turkishmurkish.com.au for more information.

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In conversation with: Jeff Muir, Thats Easy Learning

Drawing from tough life experiences, Jeff Muir’s passion to poise business leaders for success is founded on his belief to improve lives. Through online leadership courses offered by That’s Easy Learning, Jeff has not only contributed to strengthening bottom lines for a number of companies but also enriched personal relationships. Tell us about That’s Easy Learning and its audience. Business owners and organisations looking to go from good to great, where they have a genuine commitment to growing and developing their people. What were you doing when the idea about That’s Easy Learning came to you? I was delivering a ‘leadership training’ at a construction company in Sydney when one of their executives, Nick Loan came to me after we had been training there for three months and said, “I don’t know what you are doing but it’s working for me. My wife asked me to thank you for your work, as she has noticed a big improvement in my communication and it has massively improved our relationship.” My frustration was that the company could afford big money to train their highly paid executives, but there were two very important groups of people missing out – everyone in their company below the executive level, and partners at home with their children. What is the story behind the name ‘That’s Easy Learning’? Being dyslexic and ADHD (none of those conditions were available to me back then), I was brutally shamed, caned and humiliated for most of my time at school. When I left school, I could barely read and write and a few years later, when I was 28, my cousin Tom started a horse-riding tour business. We ran that business for 17 years teaching people how to stay alive for a week on a horse, which was a very important skill. After that, I bought an Apple11e for $3,250 in 1983. It was a miracle machine because it had a Word Processor. Since then, I am driven to find a better way to teach and learn and have spent the last 32 years studying and perfecting ways to make learning easy – therefore www.ThatsEasyLearning.com. I see myself as one of the crazy ones who think I can change the world. You have trained and guided many entrepreneurs and business leaders to overcome challenges to meet their goals. What are the biggest challenges you face in this role? Sales and marketing, and to massively scale what I have and take it to the entire world are one of my biggest challenges. I think that the confidence and belief in myself are also always in the background as one of my biggest personal hurdles. Sometimes I still feel like a skinny little kid in a calliper, being told I’m stupid and no good at anything and they I shouldn’t let kids like you come to this private school. Nifnex says: Wow Jeff, you show us that deep down everyone has insecurities that we can’t shake, but despite this, you inspire others daily for a living! What is your vision for That’s Easy Learning? To have 1,000,000 users of my program, and to have the program available in 15 different languages across the world. You have an extensive background in conflict resolution and management for businesses. What motivated you to pursue this career path? I’m really good at keeping people safe, which probably came from experiencing the worst of humanity early on. When responsible for 20 people on horseback for a week, you learn how to tell people to pull their head in and do what is right. Conflict resolution is a natural part of leadership. With the skills of a master group process facilitator for executives at all levels, I have spent over 10,000 hours facilitating difficult conversations, both one-on-one and in groups. What does success mean to you? Improving lives of people whom I will never meet because of the program I have created. Success also is riding my bike, spending time with friends and loved ones, my children and grandchild. While juggling work and personal commitments, how do you find time for yourself? I love my work so much I could do it all day and night. However, I also ride my bike, sail and spend weekends away with close friends. What advice would you give our readers? •    Hold the vision for what you want and never ever let it go. •    If you have a fallback position, then you don’t have a strong enough vision. •    Never ever ever ever ask permission for anything. How would you describe your dream lifestyle? Working with people who love and trust me, and to help them learn and grow. Sailing around the harbour a few times a week and hanging out with my friends who are down to earth, genuine, centred men and women. *** Visit www.thatseasylearning.com to explore leadership courses by Jeff.

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In conversation with: Robyn Chuter, Empower Total Health

Naturopath Robyn Chuter’s ambition to help people adopt healthy lifestyles was founded in her formative years. Having witnessed the impact of chronic diseases, in particular within the immediate family bringing the topic closer to home, Robyn aims to make ‘Lifestyle Medicine’ the go-to therapy for a healthier and happier Australia. Tell us about Empower Total Health. Empower Total Health helps people live their happiest, healthiest lives by mainstreaming ‘Lifestyle Medicine’ in Australia. Lifestyle Medicine’s central premise is that health conditions caused by lifestyle choices – such as obesity, Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, cardiovascular diseases and common cancers – should be prevented or treated by addressing lifestyle factors rather than by prescribing medications and performing procedures. Over 80% of Australia’s healthcare budget goes towards treating chronic diseases, most of which are preventable and reversible using Lifestyle Medicine. I am devoted to bringing its principles and evidence-based practices to people who want this life-changing information now. My audience is anyone who values their quality of life and is prepared to take responsibility for their well-being, from teenagers to 90-year-olds. What were you doing when the business idea came to you? I wanted to build a business around helping people live healthier lives since I was a student at a naturopathic college in my late teens. My training focused on prescribing nutritional supplements, herbal medicines and other remedies to treat clients’ symptoms, but this approach didn’t resonate with me. In the early 1990s, the term ‘Lifestyle Medicine’ was not in currency but I was fortunate to work for and receive mentoring from practitioners who followed its principles. After graduating from college, I opened my own practice at the age of 23. How did the name ‘Empower Total Health’ come about? Actually, my husband suggested the name! I ran the business under my own name for several years until he recommended ‘Empower Total Health’. It perfectly encapsulates what my business is about: empowering people to take charge of their behaviour that affects their well-being and attain optimal physical and psychological health. What is the biggest challenge you face when consulting clients? My message for clients is that the choices they make on what they do with their forks, feet and fingers (i.e. what they eat, how much they move and whether they smoke), along with how much they sleep, stress and love, are primary determinants of their health. This message of personal responsibility is opposed by the culture we’re immersed in, which sells us the message that our genes are to blame for whether or not we get sick; that there’s a pill for every illness; and to indulge in alcohol and unhealthy food because ‘we deserve a treat’. What is your vision for Empower Total Health? I see Empower Total Health at the forefront of the Lifestyle Medicine revolution in Australia. In particular, I see us as a prime mover for the promotion of healthy plant-based eating to prevent and treat myriad illnesses that beset both young and old. While juggling professional and personal commitments, how do you find time for yourself? In addition to my full-time practice, I’m a mother to two teenage children and currently pursuing an Honours degree in preparation for a PhD in Nutrition Science. Spare time is an unfamiliar concept! I’m a firm believer in Stephen Covey’s principles of ‘first things first’. I have a daily routine of rising early to meditate followed by weight training. I walk my dog for an hour every afternoon, which is a precious wind-down time to spend in nature. Meditation, exercise and healthy eating are non-negotiable as they bring mental clarity, energy and stamina. What advice would you give to someone who aspires to become an entrepreneur? First, become damn good at what you do! I see many, especially in healthcare, call themselves ‘experts’ when they have next to no training, qualifications or experience; often harming those naïve enough to take their advice. Invest heavily in education, not just to receive a paper qualification, but also to keep learning on an ongoing basis. Second, invest in yourself. Running a business requires a skill set of its own. Most education and training courses don’t teach these skills. Third, be open to changing your vision for your business. Initially, I envisaged conducting in-person one-on-one consultations and group sessions. Then the Internet took off and now over 70% of my consultations are online, enabling me to help people not just in my local area but also across the world. If you had a magic wand, what is the one thing you would change right here, right now? I would change the way healthcare services are reimbursed so that practitioners are incentivised to offer genuine preventive measures rather than prescribing pills and performing procedures. It would be a game-changer if practitioners were paid more to conduct therapeutic nutrition consultations or offer healthy cooking classes than to perform a bariatric surgery. *** Visit www.empowertotalhealth.com.au for more information.

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Are Leaky Buckets Draining Your Growing Business?

Are Leaky Buckets Draining Your Growing Business? In businesses – the buck stops with you, the business owner. You know only too well how the money side of things no longer just sorts itself out somehow. Growing a business in these times are more likely to see you constantly hanging on by your fingernails, waiting for money to come in while trying to work out whom to pay first – staff, suppliers, or the tax man. You want to start recruiting that new staff member, but your bank account is hurting. If you’d like to see an end to the monthly money drama, in your growing business, I have some suggestions. Financial Clarity in Buckets The key to running and growing your business smoothly and profitably on a consistent basis lies first in separating out its distinct categories. We first need to understand the profit-ability of each bucket, so that we can then investigate the time invested into each bucket and improve efficiencies. Let’s use a SignWriting business as an example.  This type of business sells shop signs, billboard signs, promotional signs and vehicle signs and wraps. These include over 80 different signs in these categories.   Outdoor signs, Indoor signs, Promotional signs, Vehicle signs and the Admin Costs related to these are what I call the ‘buckets’ of this type of business. Each bucket must have – and be seen to have – its own inflow and outflow. Separating them out (as much as you can) shows how much is going into and out of each bucket. It also helps as a reminder that the Admin Costs bucket needs to be supported by inflow (profits) from the other buckets. For example: How much does the Outdoor & Indoor sign bucket make after paying related staff wages for indoor & outdoor signs specific material, printing & installation costs motor vehicle costs/crane hire related to these jobs. How much does the Promotional sign bucket make after paying related designer cost for these jobs specific material, printing & freight costs postage costs to the customer. How much does the Vehicle sign bucket earn, after paying? related staff wages for vehicle signs specific material, printing & installation costs. What does it cost to run the Admin side of the business? support staff insurances bookkeeping costs and the like? Overspending doesn’t have to happen when you can identify and track early on any area’s excessive outflow. Noticing how other buckets may be perilously propping it up, you can take timely action to rebalance your buckets.  This can also help to investigate time spent by you and your staff on each of these area’s and determine what the most efficient and profitable buckets are. We all want to know; how can we make the most amount of profit in the least amount of time. Leaky Buckets Make for Leaky Bank Accounts An unprofitable area – a ‘leaky bucket’ – is even more serious than overspending. Why? Because in spite of its low-to-zero inflow (profit), that unprofitable area still attracts its own related bank outflows. And the effect on the bank account can be dire. The times may be challenging as you grow, but you absolutely don’t need to find yourself scrounging and scrabbling to deal with GST and PAYG withholdings from salaried staff – not to mention tax office demands for settlement of businesses tax debts and PAYG installments. Remember also that leaky buckets also attract their own element of over spent time, which you can never get back. No less than a lawyer or a medical practitioner, a plumber, or any other business for that matter, needs to fully understand where and how the ‘water’ is flowing at any given time, how it might be leaking in destructive ways, and what can realistically be done about it.  This is the most important step before spending more money on growth. Take the following steps to know the truth about how much money each distinct area of your business is making– and how much it actually needs. Identify the average monthly amount of profit made by each “bucket”. Identify how much money is needed to support the Admin side of your business – support staff, insurances, bookkeeping, rent etc. (Remember to account for your own wage) Does the money made from each bucket cover this? If not, exactly what is the shortfall? Facing the reality of a shortfall may not be comfortable. If the situation looks unsustainable, then you will need to either cut costs or find a way to ensure you consistently earn that dollar value. Clarity gives you Power With the figures, clearly visible, you can determine your flexibility regarding future quotes to prospective customers, and well as area’s which may be more profitable to grow in a short-er amount of time. Sometimes it may be better cut back on certain service offerings which drain your profit and time before you take the steps to grow.   By doing this I have witnessed businesses cut back on offerings and in return enjoy more money and more time!! Here’s to your freedom from the cycle of scrounging and overspending! The Queen of Cash Flows Tracey Loubser has been dubbed the Queen of Cash Flow! Through her multi-award winning business, Confident Cashflows, Tracey has helped many business owners to achieve higher profits & improve their cash flow.  Her acclaimed Seven Step Process has proven the key to such transformations as a shift from NET Loss to Net Profit in only ONE month, and Net Profit improvement of 65% in just seven months. M: 0409081991     E: tracey@confidentcashflows.com.au. W: confidentcashflows.com.au  

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In conversation with: Jill Storey, ReadyFundGo

After leading large teams in global conglomerates, Jill Storey forayed into startups to pursue her passion and make a difference. Through ReadyFundGo, Jill enables and empowers new ideas and businesses – offering viable ventures a launch pad to realise their goals. Tell us about ReadyFundGo and its audience. ReadyFundGo is a reward-based crowdfunding platform. We help start-ups get off the ground, and support existing businesses to grow. When businesses start, they are typically set up with the founder’s own funds. Some approach banks for funding, but invariably the answer is “no” at this early stage. As founders continue to “bootstrap” their start-ups, often the next step and only recourse are to tap friends and family for money. This group is often and fondly referred as “Friends, Family and Fools”! As this source of funding starts to run dry, there is then often a sizeable gap between moving along the funding journey from “F, F & F” funds to angel investors. This period, known as the “valley of death”, is where many start-ups fail. This is where ReadyFundGo seeks to assist businesses. Cash flow is a frequently stated reason for the failure of businesses. Crowdfunding for businesses often involves pre-sales or pre-purchases of products, which enables businesses to get through to the next stage of development through effectively providing cash flow. There are all sorts of opportunities for start-ups and businesses, and we love to have the opportunity to help them with a crowdfunding project. As a relatively new financing concept, crowdfunding may not be a ‘top of mind’ option for many startups and small business owners. How can they best approach it? Crowdfunding is a game-changer for startups. If someone is looking at starting their own business, it is a great way to get market validation for their idea or product. Let the crowd decide! To be successful, you will need to spend time and effort on engaging your audience and building awareness even before your campaign launches. For example, some campaigns engage a resource to execute social media activity for them. We work with video producers, content creators, PR, and social media specialists when campaign creators do not have those skills in their team. What is your vision for ReadyFundGo? To be the “go-to crowdfunding platform in Australia” for business start-ups, and those creating projects or ventures for a better Australia. You have moved from leadership roles in large conglomerates to driving your own start-ups. How challenging was the transition? It is a great privilege to have the freedom to follow your passion, and spend time in areas where you believe you can make a difference. It takes a while to get used to not having a large team of people to make what you would like to happen, as quickly as you would like. In large corporations, the buy-in and decision-making process typically takes longer but when you reach a decision, you have the resources and funds to implement. In a startup, you can be agiler and make decisions quickly, but having to wait for resources and funds is more challenging. Everyone faces difficulties during the start-up phase. What keeps you motivated in the face of challenges? It is about picking yourself up again and realising a journey of a thousand miles begins with one small step. You may do one small thing in a day, and at the time that may lead to something that helps you in a small way on your journey. While juggling between work and personal commitments, how do you find time for yourself? When you love what you are doing, the dividing line can become somewhat blurred. I love helping people achieve their dreams and follow their passion. I did an executive coaching course a few years ago, and now it is great fun talking to people about their business plans, feeling their passion, and helping them on their journey. When I am not talking about crowdfunding (or rather boring my friends and family about crowdfunding), I enjoy sports, travelling, learning about new countries, and the environment. I am a big tennis fan – it used to be playing, but now it seems to be more watching. I did manage to do the Grand Slam in a season as a spectator! What business lessons have you learnt from your professional journey that you would share with our readers? Enjoy the journey! In the end, follow your passion and think about what you will remember when you look back. Will you be more likely to regret what you did not do, rather than regret what you tried? Ultimately, it is all about the people. Do you have a quote or life mantra that motivates you? Smile and the world will smile with you! *** Have an idea and need funding? Visit www.readyfundgo.com to learn more.

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In conversation with: Mike Boorn Plener, Catapult

Businesses struggle at different stages of their lifespan. Either in their initial phase, when trying to get an idea off the ground; or later years, when facing stagnation after success. Mike Boorn Plener founded Catapult with a vision to help organisations focus and have the right help at hand before pushing forward into a growth phase. Tell us about Catapult Business Accelerator and its audience. In essence, we help entrepreneurs and business owners grow their business. When a business is coming out of the startup phase, we help them scale up what’s proven to work best. When a business has been running for years and hit a stagnant point, we help rekindle the growth and set it on a straight path towards new successes. Or when an employee has been tinkering with a great product/service for a while, we help bring that to market with a high certainty of success. For us to do that successfully, we are selective about who we work with. We evaluate all businesses and founders very carefully to ensure we can add significant value before we engage, this itself ensures a very high level of certainty for their future success. We believe it’s important to build the relationship first before looking to do business together. What were you doing when the idea about Catapult came to you? While running events, more and more people came forward and asked if we could help them with growing their business. From this, I realised that the business growth technology and systems we already had developed could have much wider applications. Catapult sprang naturally from these early beginnings. What is the story behind the name ‘Catapult’? Short and simple. The name to me illustrates in a single word the force and speed with which we can help a business grow. It originally was designed for a reality TV show we were planning! You enable businesses to overcome challenging periods and meet their growth objectives. What is the key challenge you face in your role today? We are always challenged by how fast the world moves. We are constantly reinventing ourselves, improving processes, building more relationships and partnerships so that we can assist our clients even better. A big challenge is that business growth can only be hurried along to a certain extent; sometimes we want things to go faster and can get impatient but the business owner might not be fully ready for the changes and so we have to work it through with them until they are. What keeps you motivated in the face of challenges? We’re in this game for what will be a very long journey, so I know that even if we cannot resolve all the challenges today, somebody else can help us resolve them tomorrow. We also have an amazing team of partners that include Deloitte Private, Hicksons, Sydney SEO, AWS and many others, and this really strengthens our resolve – as well as our capabilities. At the end of the day, it’s about that smile on a business owner’s face that makes it worthwhile to do it all over again tomorrow! What is your vision for Catapult? It’s straightforward. We aim to be the biggest business growth platform, enabling more business owners to achieve a higher level of success in a shorter period than they otherwise could. An important part of the vision is that the technology and wisdom we have is available to as broad a segment of the marketplace as possible. Too many businesses struggle for no reason, other than because they simply don’t have the right structures and advice to lean on. We are here to fix that and in the process make a real impact on the economy. For example, imagine you ask a $1B company to double in size in the next five years instead of its usual sluggish 5% growth rate; not easy to do even for a great CEO. Now, imagine 1,000 smaller businesses growing an extra $1M in revenue in that same five years – many owners and entrepreneurs would find that both feasible and delightful. What does success mean to you? Success is looking at the face of a client when you see that light bulb go on inside their head and they silently say, “Got it!” – to me that’s priceless. How would you describe your dream lifestyle? A great balance where I spend time consulting and helping people achieve their life goals, counterpointed with quiet time for reflection and writing, peppered with lots of great moments with people full of wisdom and love. HC Andersen once said, “To travel is to live” and being able to practice this anywhere in the world would be the ultimate dream. Do you have a quote or life mantra that motivates you? “See the world; it’s the most mind-expanding drug available.” *** Visit www.mycatapult.com.au for more information

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In conversation with: Rog Chhabra, ArtsReady

Rog Chhabra’s role within ArtsReady sees him work with young Australians to get their foot in the door towards a career in arts and other creative industries. By supporting their transition from secondary education to the wider community, often involving relocations from hometowns to the major cities, and facilitating placements in the right kind of work environments, Rog provides guidance and empowers a new generation towards success. Tell us about ArtsReady and its audience. ArtsReady is a national program that works in partnership with young people to provide them with entry-level opportunities in arts and creative industries through the employment/ education model. ArtsReady is an initiative of the AFL SportsReady program and is supported by the Federal government. In this program, we work with young people between ages of 16 and 24 years; however, there is no upper age limit. Our target audience also includes businesses and organisations that are either a part of the creative industries or are willing to give young people an opportunity to work and learn with them. How can Australian entrepreneurs, start-ups, and SME businesses encourage youth employment? The Australian way of life is different compared to other countries. Young people here start their work life early by undertaking different roles in supermarkets, fast food outlets, restaurants etc. This is a great model if executed correctly, however many of these young people are not shown a professional path beyond their initial roles and often end up with either low or no career aspirations. My suggestion to entrepreneurs, start-ups and businesses is to involve young people from the community, give them meaningful opportunities, and to communicate with local schools. Work experience opportunities are great but need to be made more tangible. Non-profit organisations affect lives by making a positive change, but face several challenges to building success stories. What are the key challenges you face in your role today? Non-profit organisations assist people directly and help communities grow as a whole. The challenges we face are no different to any other organisation. The majority of the time challenges are economic, but the most difficult ones are the social and cultural barriers that take longer to overcome, and can be achieved over time, through education and by setting examples. Non-profit organisations set a great example of overcoming challenges with flexibility, and their ability to act swiftly to changes. What do you do when experiencing a low point, and how do you celebrate the highs? This answer may not resonate with many people but the first thing I do during a low point is sleep as much as I can. Sleeping allows my body and brain to rest, which helps me think clearly and find effective solutions to a problem. The way I celebrate my success depends on various factors. For personal success, I celebrate with close friends and family over dinner. For professional ones, I involve my colleagues. I believe success and good news stories must be shared as it may motivate someone else to do good for the community. What does success mean to you? While this may seem cliché, I find this to be the most straightforward way of defining success: S Swift – Act quickly and responsibly U Understand – Know your market, audience, product or service C Collaborate – Don’t fight a lonely battle, collaborate and participate where possible C Culture – Be proud of your roots and establish a culture of transparency & equality E Environment – Respect your environment, respect the community you operate S Standard – Pick a standard and stick to it, under promise and over deliver S Simple – Keep it simple and to the point; there is a lot of cluttered jargon in the market How would you describe your dream lifestyle? My dream lifestyle would be to work in a super-connected society where we all work to help each other, almost like the ancient times of barter system but with a modern take on it with the help of technology. If you had a magic wand, what would you change right here, right now? The first thing that I would change immediately is access to clean water and food for everyone on our planet. As necessities, I don’t see any reason why people are still dying of hunger and thirst. This problem may not need a magic wand if we all learn to share and avoid unnecessary wastage of resources. *** Visit www.artsready.com.au for more information

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In conversation with: Dr Michael Kasumovic, arludo

As a university lecturer and researcher for over 10 years, Dr Michael Kasumovic observed the growing disconnect among his students in the classroom. The culprit: mobile phones. The solution: mobile phones! Through arludo, Michael aims to bridge this disconnect and help educators and learners perform better in the classroom. Tell us about arludo and the audience to which you are catering. My goal with arludo is to make it easy for teachers to become experts in a topic and to excite their students about what they are teaching. I see all the new products coming out every day and all the hope that teachers and institutions put in digital tools, but the bottom line is that all these new digital tools are time-consuming or difficult to learn. Our goal was to make it as easy as possible because as a teacher, I know how difficult it is to find time to plan a lesson and change what you’re already doing. That’s why everything we create is ready for use right off the shelf. We’re catering to all the teachers that want to be digital and don’t know where to start or don’t have the time to invest in something new. What were you doing when the idea about arludo came to you? I’ve been a university researcher and lecturer for 10 years now and I’ve been watching my students and colleagues struggle in class. Students are struggling because their whole lives revolve around mobile phones, yet when they come to class, the mobile is put away. Teachers struggle because they want to engage their students, but they often don’t know where to start because they see the world differently than their students do. Then I realised that there is a way to solve the problem that both individuals are having – by bringing mobiles into the classroom! This would help students feel more engaged, and if the apps were developed for teachers, they wouldn’t have to struggle to try and build something they don’t understand! After some trial and error, arludo was born. What is the story behind the name ‘arludo’? arludo comes from the “AR” – augmented reality, and “Ludo” – Latin word for play. To our team, arludo is really blending the real world with the digital world using social interactions to make the learning experience more enjoyable. In your view, how can augmented reality (AR) influence the academic delivery and student engagement in the coming years? When most people think of augmented reality, they think of overlaying images on the real world or manipulating what you see or hear depending on where you are – but we see AR as something broader: using technology to immerse individuals in a social environment where they feel comfortable to learn and experience new ideas. In this sense, we use anything that we can to help students lower their guard and feel comfortable to make mistakes while learning. What prompted your career move from a university lecturer to a startup founder? I haven’t moved – I’m still a university lecturer! I can’t see myself stopping from being a university lecturer because as soon as I did, I feel I wouldn’t know or understand what it is that teachers and students struggle with every day. That said, keeping two full-time jobs has become exhausting! Everyone faces difficulties during the start-up phase. What keeps you motivated in the face of challenges? The students. Seeing their faces light up and having conversations with them after they used our products makes me realise that we are making a difference. We’ve gotten some incredible feedback from students and teachers and it’s the feedback that keeps us going. As soon as I feel that we aren’t helping teachers and students, then I need to re-examine what we’re doing. What does success mean to you? Making a difference in the field that I’m in. That’s why I feel that arludo is already a success. We may not be making millions of dollars, but we are helping people teach and learn. I think I’ll consider arludo a huge success when we’re able to reduce the education gap and ensure that every child gets a high-quality education. We are really far from that, but I feel that we are travelling the right road to get there. What do you do to wind down? Right now, there is very little time for myself, which is good and bad. It’s good because it means that things are going well! It is bad because it’s difficult to wind down when you know how much you have to do. My family helps me keep things in perspective, however, so I am very lucky to have them. If it wasn’t for them, I think I’d sit in front of a screen all day! *** Visit www.arludo.com for more information

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In conversation with: Joanne Cooper, Cloud Insurance

Businesses and individuals stand more vulnerable than ever to the misuse of their digital footprint, putting data privacy at stake. Joanne Cooper aims to shift control into the hands of consumers to empower them and the businesses that support them, working to consciously protect data and create a digitally secure world. Tell us about Cloud Insurance and its audience. We are about Privacy Enhancing Technology.  In our connected society, Cloud Insurance products will be catering to any person or business that has privacy concerns around the handling of personally identifiable data information. We are witnessing a consistent rise in trust issues when it comes to personal data, and the market is telling us something is wrong and needs to be addressed. As the world becomes increasingly governed by big data, information is proliferating and personal data is being shared in both offline and online channels at alarming rates. It is no wonder that individuals are feeling dismayed regarding a loss of control. This is compounded when we are led to believe this issue is beyond reapproach with claims that privacy is dead. What were you doing when the idea about Cloud Insurance came to you? In August of 2015, I was watching an episode of 60 Minutes called “Bugged, Tracked, Hacked” featuring journalist Ross Coulthart and Independent Senator Nick Xenophon exposing vulnerabilities in the SS7 Mobile telecommunications network, that demonstrated how a hacker could remotely access a mobile telephone device and could record or film you. As an IT professional, the episode alarmed me and fuelled my deep concerns that our connected society faces.  Also being a parent, I felt further exasperated, as children will inherit the net effects of transformation that brings both the bad with the good. It then dawned on me, why is it so hard for us as individuals to control who has electronic access to us, why aren’t we effectively using our privacy rights and do we realise the systemic cyber threats our collective complacency is driving. By automating consent controls around your digital identity credentials, often referred to as the “golden record”, we can construct an intelligent and centralised “Opt Out or Opt In” instrument to regain our rights and start to empower ourselves. That idea correlated with an article I had read about the NSW-based innovation hub called Stone & Chalk, which spurred me into action. Within 48 hours, I contacted Stone & Chalk, arranged a time to pitch and literally 16 days after that 60 Minutes episode was aired; Cloud Insurance was proudly on stage alongside 42 other start-ups selected as foundation residents at Stone & Chalk’s official launch. What is the story behind the name ‘Cloud Insurance’? The Cloud Insurance name seeks to represent a range of products or services that will assist or protect data flows transmitted through cloud technology environments.   While Cloud Insurance is your first start-up, you’ve pursued similarly styled projects during your professional career. What sparked your entrepreneurial spirit? I grew up in the PC revolution. My first start-up was at the age of 18, back in 1983 when I was distributing Taiwanese manufactured computers. I was encouraged by my father, Tom Cooper – a pioneer in the Australian PC landscape – to import products in order to test the appetite for lower cost products. As my mentor, my father quickly distilled a high degree of self-accountability and tenacity into my thinking. I recall him constantly reminding me to think two steps ahead and with the right attitude when you start doing instead of doubting, progress will be made. Three decades later, with entrepreneurial DNA, Cloud Insurance was not a whimsical decision.  With my career spanning leading systems integrators, Telco, data centre, start-ups, and a global financial services player, I knew firsthand the complexities of this undertaking.  It was only with Innovation awards under my belt that I felt confident of the comprehensive skills and vision required to commence this compelling journey. What do you do to wind down? My drive and energy are accelerated by an innate passion for technology.  After 30 years, I guess that helps form unconscious awareness, so even in my down time, you will find me researching global tech trends. From your professional journey, what advice would you give our readers? Seek interplays with like-minded people where synergistic knowledge can combine; it is electrifying and in those moments, passion ignites and such collective creativity can underpin tangible results. How would you describe your dream lifestyle? I look forward to a time where I can rest my mind knowing that I contributed to commercialising social innovation, and perhaps enjoying a yearly ski holiday in Aspen with my daughter. Do you have a quote or life mantra that motivates you? The day I walked into the Stone & Chalk incubator, I noticed a sign that read, “You are you, and you are enough”, that spoke right to my core and hopefully will yours too. *** Visit www.cloudinsurance.com.au for more information.

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In conversation with: Sharon Melamed, Matchboard

Have you experienced a situation where your search for a service provider or business vendor resulted in a ‘less than satisfactory’ outcome? Most likely, the response is affirmative. Digital entrepreneur, Sharon Melamed’s vision is to change this pervasive business problem through her innovative B2B services matching platform, Matchboard. Tell us about Matchboard and the audience to which you are catering. Matchboard is a free to use B2B services matching site, which is suitable for all business types and sizes. You simply enter your requirements for a product or service and our platform finds you the ‘perfect match’ of vendors to help. We specialise in solutions around acquiring, servicing and engaging customers, such as digital marketing, call centres, back office outsourcing, sales training and more. What were you doing when the idea about Matchboard came to you? Five years ago, I was unhappy in my job. The plus side to that was it motivated me to get OUT!  I consciously started thinking about problems facing a business to see if I could come up with an idea to solve one of them. The problem I identified is something I call “search engine blues” – where people hop online to try to find a new supplier and are overwhelmed with hundreds of thousands of search results. Often, companies that have the best SEO ranking come out on top and usually may not be the right fit at all. I thought there has to be a better way to narrow down that list. I hypothesised that by asking 10 filter questions (such as service type, budget, timeline, location, industry) that made it possible to shrink the search results between one to five suitable options. I tested the idea and it worked, so I quit my job and invested my savings into developing matching algorithms that power our site today. What is the story behind the name ‘Matchboard’? We are a matching platform at heart and I wanted a name that reflected that. The “Board” element says we are all about business (as opposed to being a consumer platform) – think “Board of Directors”, “Boardroom”. It also reflects my personal love of board games – I was a Scrabble champion in my younger years and love chess as well! What is the one thing you have accomplished that you take the most pride in? Just this April, Westpac named Matchboard as one of Australia’s top “200 Businesses of Tomorrow”. Often as a small business, it’s hard to get recognition, but receiving this prestigious award from Australia’s oldest bank personally was the ultimate endorsement of what I’ve achieved. Westpac had backed AGL and Qantas when they were startups, so they can obviously spot a winner! What is your vision for Matchboard? The vision I have for Matchboard is still the vision I started with; that is to help people save time and money in finding suppliers online. This vision was initially limited to the Australian market, but off the back of a government grant, we were able to expand into the UK last year, and I hope our expansion into other markets will follow. What does success mean to you? The definition of success is very personal. For some, it is all about success at work, but for me, it’s about success in life with key components being family, health, happiness, and professional and personal fulfilment. The allure of money that comes with business success can be blinding, but I like to stay grounded in the things that really matter. As such, setting an excellent role model for my children is very important to me; I want to set them up for success too. What business lessons have you learnt from your professional journey that you would share with our readers? I have a lot of rigour around family commitments and manage to schedule business around that, not the other way. You can never get back those golden years as your kids grow up, and I know too many people with regrets. My advice is, to be honest with yourself about your priorities and be true to them. Beyond this, if you are thinking of starting a business, there is one skill you need in my opinion and that is sales and marketing. Never underestimate how hard it is to find customers! If you could talk to one person from history, who would it be and why? I would love to talk to the grandmother I never met – a cellist in what is now the Sydney Symphony Orchestra and a great woman. I believe in the power of music on so many levels, and the cello moves me more than any instrument. I’m in awe of professional musicians. In one word, characterise your life as an entrepreneur. Fulfilling *** Visit www.matchboard.com.au for more information.

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In conversation with: Ian Aldridge, Progressive Legal

When asked by a group of startups to help review their legal work, Ian Aldridge realised the lack of sound legal advice and access to cost-effective resources made available to the small business community. Through Progressive Legal, Ian not only aims to make legal services accessible and affordable but also change the underlying mindset among small business owners that such legal support was beyond reach. Tell us about Progressive Legal and the audience to which you are catering. Our goal is to help as many Australian small businesses and startups, just like us. We provide structure advice, intellectual property protection, workplace law, commercial legal documents and dispute resolution. What were you doing when the idea about Progressive Legal came to you? I was mixing with a bunch of startups and small businesses, who asked me to run my eyes over legal work they had done for them. I quickly saw they were getting the wrong advice and were being completely ripped off, without even realising it. What is the story behind the name ‘Progressive Legal’? Our previous name was iLawOnline, and found out very quickly that none of our audience was responding to it, not surprisingly! I put a list of alternatives together and asked people one by one. It was a resounding yes for ‘Progressive Legal’. What is the one thing you have accomplished that you take the most pride in? Legal Shield. It’s a revolutionary way of providing legal services to start-ups and small businesses. It means that business owners can get the legal protection and tailored documents they need now, and not when they can afford to pay for it. We believe it is the future of legal services for small business in Australia and it’s a world-first. We now have over 100 clients on the packages, allowing them to spread out their legal costs instead of having to pay lump sums, which we know kills cash flow. All the documents are tailored to the business – nothing is off the shelf so you know they actually protect you. The additional bonus is having an experienced lawyer available who understands their business to answer quick legal questions from time to time, without wondering, “how much is this email going to cost?” or “am I being charged for this phone call?” We think most people would rather go to the dentist than talk to a lawyer. We are changing this. What is your vision for Progressive Legal? We want to be Australia’s best provider of legal services for small businesses. What does success mean to you? Lots of happy clients. What do you do to wind down? I really enjoy the gym, pool and personal training, trying to get fit again. We have such sedentary jobs, sitting in a chair in front of a computer for 12 hours a day, but our bodies were made to move! I also really enjoy ocean swimming or riding my bike when I can and getting away for skiing or scuba diving holidays. There is no internet or phone reception under water!   What do you feel is the major difference between entrepreneurs and those who work for someone else? Entrepreneurs can see opportunity everywhere and are by definition, “risk-takers”. This is both a blessing and a curse. Those who work for others are usually happier with a consistency that comes with accountable pay-cheques. Totally understandable, but I wouldn’t go back to working for someone else now. What business lessons have you learnt from your professional journey that you would share with our readers? •    There is a reason why they call it the entrepreneur rollercoaster; remember that there are going to be ups and downs. •    I have found that the hard-working small business owners are far more resilient than those who have had it easy. You have a much better chance of survival if you have been through “the desert”. See it as a rite of passage. •    Keep reminding yourself – you are building an asset, even if you can’t see the results right now. Most of the time taken to build is in the foundations. •    Don’t underestimate personal connections and friendships; people do business with people, businesses don’t do business with businesses. •    Honesty goes a long way. •    Whatever you need to do to keep your cool, do it. Meditate, rest, clear your head, run, or bike. •    Don’t make split second decisions •    Be diligent towards businesses that supply services to you. Treat them as you would a prospective employee. •    Get a good bookkeeper, accountant and financial adviser. Many entrepreneurs are great at knowing the big picture, but sometimes they ignore the finer details. •    Assemble your A-team and reinvest back in the business as much as you can. •    Have a separate account to put money away for your tax obligations. In one word, characterise your life as an entrepreneur. Relentless *** Check out Progressive Legal’s new product, Law-in-a-Box

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In conversation with: Caroline Trotman and Bruce Wren, Wordflow

Partners for life, Bruce Wren and Caroline Trotman, also decided to join hands in business to solve a challenge not addressed by any present-day platform. Their powerful software WordFlow is a breakthrough answer to optimising content for the web and mobile in a digitally consumed world, especially for information-rich organisations. Tell us about WordFlow and its audience. WordFlow is a software company that digitises your knowledge base by transforming documents in Word and PDF formats – that predate the web era – into HTML web and mobile formats. WordFlow means ‘goodbye PDF’, as once we convert your knowledge to the web, everything is viewable on mobile; there is no need to download anything, and all related information is a click away. WordFlow suits information-rich companies who want to give their customers a friendly and efficient online experience. What were you doing when the idea about WordFlow came to you? For the 10 years before we started WordFlow, Bruce built a CMS business focused on managing the content of large government and corporate websites. Caroline meanwhile was pursuing a corporate career. As the market matured, it was increasingly difficult to differentiate as most content management systems did the same job. The “a-ha” moment came when we realised there was no way to automate the placing of large amounts of content online. Populating a website either was a manual process or achieved using the quick attachment of a PDF to a web page. The second “a-ha” came when we realised that once information was online we could enrich it by contextualising and cross-referencing it. This meant our clients could tailor information to their customers. What is the story behind the name ‘WordFlow’? It’s all about making information fluid.  We wanted a name that embodied our ability to make information flow from legacy systems and pre-web formatted documents into today’s web and mobile format that everyone now uses. What are some of the challenges you have faced in building your team? We subscribe to the philosophy that you don’t build a business, you build people and the people build the business. We made some poor hiring decisions early on and soon learned that a big corporate CV doesn’t always work in a startup. We look for passion, understanding of our vision and a willingness to roll up your sleeves. We are very proud of the team we are building. What is your vision for WordFlow? We have always believed that technology should come to the people, not the other way around.  Certainly, it has to be better, faster, cheaper, but technology is only ever great if it solves real problems and can be used by everyday people, not just the tech experts.  Our vision is to build a bridge from the desktop to the web – a platform that allows anyone to be a web author, and any website visitor to be a few clicks from the information they need. In short, to be a leader in providing friendly technology that makes people’s lives better. Apart from co-founding and leading WordFlow, you are also life partners. How does this affect your professional and personal synergy? We have very complementary skills, which was key to our decision to start the business. Bruce has always been a driver of sales and business development, while Caroline is marketing and operations, delivering the projects and managing our customer relationships. We work very well together. It can be a little intense at times, but knowing we are building something for our family, our wonderful team and ourselves makes it all worthwhile. While juggling work and personal commitments, how do you find time for yourself? Not as much as we would like but we are both keen runners, which we find helps to take the pressure off and wind down. We also love to ski with our boys, which is our favourite family holiday. We would love to say we don’t take work home, but…! What advice would you give to those looking to become an entrepreneur? 1.    Build a product or service that solves real problems. 2.    Find people who share your vision. Fire quickly if they don’t fit. 3.    Have a clear strategy, but be ready to pivot if it is not working. 4.    Be prepared to be terrified and elated in equal measure in your early days. 5.    Start the way you intend to continue – be values driven, disciplined and focused on your goals. If you had a magic wand, what is something you would change right here, right now? The willingness and ability for leading companies to effectively engage with startups. Our experience is that there is a lot of rhetoric about innovation, but an inability to execute quickly. Startups don’t have the time or resources to navigate huge bureaucracies and 12-month sales cycles. People with an innovation portfolio in large companies need to be empowered to innovate. *** Visit www.wordflow.info for more information.

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In conversation with: Cristian Trujillo, CreativeCreations.tv

Identifying opportunities and taking a leap to realise them is one thing. Achieving what seems unimaginable is another. Cristian Trujillo’s journey from Chile to Australia to the now is one such story. Through his video production agency, CreativeCreations.tv, he eyes a world of creative possibilities, both personally and professionally. Tell us about CreativeCreations.tv and your audience. CreativeCreations.tv is a Sydney-based boutique video production agency. We create corporate video productions across a wide variety of industries for online distribution and TV broadcast, including profile videos, testimonials, event coverage, training, recruitment, promotional and how-to videos, among others. We run monthly workshops for business owners, leaders and marketers on developing video strategies, and offer consultancy services on video strategy and production. We work with clients across Australia and Asia, and produce content in multiple languages. What were you doing when the idea for CreativeCreations.tv came to you? This is a long story in the making. I am a Chilean-born engineer by profession and former PwC employee who decided to come to Australia to learn English in 2007. I arrived with a four-month student visa, no English skills and no contacts. When I decided to stay on, I put my money into education and sustained myself by working odd jobs, from cleaning toilets to delivering milk. Over time, I picked up basic English skills and got a job as a junior video editor at UnseenTV. In three years, I mastered editing, filming, direction and production, and I loved it! I then received my permanent residency as a skilled professional. I left video production and got a full-time job as a solutions architect for an IT company. I worked there for a year and a half until I realised that my heart really wasn’t in it. The day I realised this I quit the job, secured a $50K bank loan and founded CreativeCreations.tv, from my spare bedroom. Everyone faces difficulties during the start-up phase. What kept you motivated? I was doing what I loved and trusted that if I was able to break through the initial difficulties, I was going to succeed. I decided to focus on just one thing. Video production and business development became my life 24×7. I kept learning, growing my network and building relationships with like-minded people. What do you do when experiencing a low point, and how do you celebrate your highs? During both highs and lows, I work. When experiencing a low point, I identify what is not working and reflect on what worked in the past. The key is to never feel emotional about it, stay focused and identify solutions rather than pondering over problems. When I win, I want more. Hence, I focus on what I do well and how I can replicate that. I believe that we are in control of our success and happiness. It’s important to be grateful for the highs and lows, as they are equally important to your success and will always be present. What is your vision for CreativeCreations.tv? We’re nowhere near where we want to be, but with a stronger team, our dream is to obtain funding from large organisations to engage in meaningful charity projects and create documentaries across the world to support humanitarian causes, especially children and education. You overcame a number of challenges during your move from Chile to Australia, what drove you to be where you are today? Challenges have played a big part in my life. Tell me I am unqualified to do something and I’ll show you how capable I am. Moving to Australia was the biggest challenge of my life – going from being a successful business consultant with beautiful family and friends to being a “nobody”. What drove me was the discovery that nothing is impossible and that I am capable of achieving anything I set my mind to. I never thought I would speak the language, become a permanent resident or work alongside people who spoke a language other than Spanish. All of those seemed impossible tasks. When you achieve the impossible, you discover that there are no limits. What does success mean to you? Success means happiness. It means doing what you love and doing it often. It means you can express yourself, your knowledge, your emotions and your passion freely. Having the time and the resources to do what you love. And when you are paid to do something you love, that you contribute to and grow within the process, it means you are fulfilled and can sleep in peace at night. How would you describe your dream lifestyle? Where I have the time and resources to do what I love and share experiences with the people I love. Today, it is primarily business. Tomorrow, it will be my children and family. Time is the only thing we have, and the only thing we cannot recover once it’s gone; it’s a scarce resource that only a few can master. *** Visit www.creativecreations.tv for more information.

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In conversation with: Nitin Madan, Radio Sur Sangam

A vision to make the South Asian community feel at home in Sydney through music and events brought Radio Sur Sangam to life in 2009. Nitin Madan – the man behind the mic – pursues a career he never trained for and brings thousands closer to home, one tune at a time. Tell us about Radio Sur Sangam and the audience to which you are catering. Sur Sangam is a Hindi radio program for South Asian communities. Our primary listeners include Indians, Pakistanis, Nepalese, Sri Lankans, and Bollywood fans from other communities. Started in April 2009, we recently completed eight years of an adventurous musical journey. What were you doing when the idea about Radio Sur Sangam came to you? They say, “There’s no business like show business”. I always wanted to do something that provided an outlet to my inner talent and skills. Living in a foreign country, migrants always carry the nostalgia of their homeland, especially music, and want to know what is happening in the community. I saw the opportunity and idea of producing a radio show started evolving. As you’ve heard, “where there’s a will, there’s a way”. One thing led to another and after eight years, here we are today. What is your claim to fame? Our biggest achievement was when we were featured on international TV channels, including ESPN, Star Cricket and Ten Sports during the Australia-India test series. We interacted with members of the Indian cricket team and played their favourite songs too. It was a dream come true to be on a global platform and get recognised. Besides radio, you’ve organised many successful events. Tell us more. I stepped into the field of events in 2011 with the launch of Indian Australian Idol, followed by Indian Australian Dancing Star. These were the national-level talent competitions to encourage and provide a platform to local talent. Thousands of people attend our community events such as Holi Mela – Festival of Colours, and Diwali Mela. Our most popular event so far has been The Curry Festival at Castle Hill, a multicultural food fest attended by more than 18,000 people from various communities. Besides, our New Year’s Eve Royal Ball has been a sold-out event for past five years. Everyone faces difficulties during the start-up phase. What kept you motivated in the face of challenges? The biggest hurdle was a lack of experience, as I had no previous knowledge. I took it as a challenge and kept giving it my best. One thing I learnt during the process was that only constant thing in this world is change. You need to keep your mind open to new ideas. There is always something new to learn. How do you respond to the high and low points of your personal and professional life? Highs and lows are part of business as well as life; I have always found that low points actually give you more strength. They make you ‘stop and think’ to analyse what’s going wrong and you bounce back to achieve greater heights; whereas high points give you the energy to perform even better. What does success mean to you? More success brings more expectations and hence responsibilities. The goals get bigger and it is a continuous journey to thrive more. What business lessons have you learnt from your professional journey that you would share with our readers? Never give up. Keep dreaming, as dreams will give you goals to achieve. Make utmost use of all the available resources. Read motivational stories of successful people, they can become your guidelines. How would you describe your dream lifestyle? Keep a balance between work and play, and spend maximum time with your family. If you had a magic wand, what would you change right here, right now? Corruption. I believe it is the root cause of many issues affecting the society in every manner, from business to everyday life. Do you have a quote or life mantra that motivates you? Live life as if there is no tomorrow. Celebrate small moments, create beautiful memories with your family and friends, remember Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara! (Loosely translates to “life will not return again!”) Before signing off On behalf of Radio Sur Sangam, I would like to express our deepest gratitude and credit to our listeners, who always have provided their unconditional love and support throughout these years. Also, big thanks to our sponsors who believe in us and provide us with the resources to keep doing what we do best. I hope this relationship will continue to grow even stronger in the coming years. *** Don’t miss Radio Sur Sangam 99.9 FM on Sundays from 3.00 pm to 4.00 pm (AEST)

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In conversation with: Asha Murphy, Edu-fy Pty Ltd

With a strong background in teaching and education, Asha Murphy’s venture into app development is a story of resilience and passion. Her vision to enhance learning skills in children led to the creation of ‘Straylings’ – a gaming app that aims to change the way children engage, learn, and understand educational concepts. Tell us about Straylings and its audience. Straylings is a gaming app that engages children to master learning skills such as mathematical tables and facts. The purpose for playing is to achieve the outcomes of the game, but to do so they need to know their facts well. For parents, the game ensures that their children practise and gain the required skills. The Education at a Glance: 2009 report by the OECD found that the learning gap between the top and bottom performers in Year 9 was equivalent to five years of schooling. The app can help teachers identify and plug these gaps while engaging students. What were you doing when the idea about Straylings came to you? I was watching my son play a video game that required him to perform a task repeatedly until he gained adequate skills to progress to the next level. This drive is missing for children in today’s academic environment. Moreover, children know that regardless of the level of effort they put in at school, they can progress to the next grade. There is no challenge to level up their skills. Around that time, I had written a book – Mathematical Journey: A Game to Improve Mental Arithmetic – about a maths card game that I had designed. I decided to turn the card game into a digital game that would make achieving academic skills important in the minds of children. What is the story behind the name ‘Straylings’? During brainstorming sessions with the game developer, we thought of using creature cards as rewards. The Pokemon phenomenon was strong at the time. I thought that this was a great idea and we made a back-story about the opening of a portal to another dimension. Thinking along the lines of these creatures having strayed into a foreign world, I came up with the name Straylings. What did you do to start this venture? I left my work as a teacher and decided to pursue my dream to make a difference for learners everywhere. With encouragement from a group of friends and supporters to pursue my dream, I started ‘Edu-fy’ – meaning to edify through education. Everyone faces difficulties during a business start-up. What keeps you motivated in the face of challenges? Keeping focused on the goal. I know the product we have created is a much-needed addition to the educational games market because unlike many others it is based on sound game mechanics as well as cutting-edge learning theory. The learners of tomorrow need this product and we are here to make it. Focusing on the positive outcomes that we can create for so many learners, who currently fall through the cracks of the present system, is what keeps me going forward despite setbacks. What do you do when experiencing a low point and how do you celebrate your highs? When I feel like things are going off-track, I solve logic puzzles as a way to fine-tune my brain and refocus my thinking to the higher purpose of the venture. When things are going well, I have a celebratory meal with Edu-fy team members. What is your vision for Straylings? I see Straylings as the great leveller in education. I imagine children who currently have no access to formal educational facilities using solar powered digital devices to educate themselves using Straylings. What business lessons have you learnt from your professional journey that you would share with our readers? There have been so many setbacks to the venture and I could have given up at any one of them. However, there is a higher purpose for Straylings and that keeps my belief strong. My advice to myself and to others is that you have not failed until you think you have failed. How would you describe your dream lifestyle? I would like to travel the world and tick off a few places on my bucket list. Combining this travel with attending events where I can meet other educators to share ideas on how to get good educational outcomes for disadvantaged learners around the world would be an added bonus. Do you have a quote or life mantra from which you draw motivation? “Every cloud has a silver lining,” not “Every silver lining has a cloud.” *** Straylings is available for free download from Google Play and the Apple Store

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In conversation with: Angela Emmerton, Nutritional Matters

Practical Nutritionist Angela Emmerton switched gears from a corporate role to starting her own venture. Her passion for adopting and promoting a healthy lifestyle saw her start from scratch – right from pursuing an education in Nutritional Medicine to establishing her own practice. Through Nutritional Matters, Angela aims to enable people to reach their peak health. Tell us about Nutritional Matters and its audience. I help people solve their health problems so they can feel their optimal best. My patients range from teenagers to over 80 years of age who engage with me to improve their health. Everyone is unique and no two DNAs are the same. Because of this, I tailor treatment programs to suit an individual’s specific needs. With two clinics and the option for home, office and Skype consultations, I aim to be available to help as many people as possible. What were you doing when the idea for Nutritional Matters came to you? Prior to this venture, I spent over 20 years in the corporate world and felt the side effects of working long hours and juggling a busy travel schedule, until I reached my ‘burn out’ point. That was my ‘wake up call’, so I began to turn my health around and learnt by experience that good nutrition and good health go hand in hand. I went on to pursue studies in Nutritional Medicine during which time I worked towards establishing my own private practice. What did you do to start this venture? With a background in business marketing and project management, it felt quite natural for me to map-out the tasks required to establish my business and get to work on creating the business name, brand and website. I did all of this whilst completing my studies in Nutritional Medicine. Then, it was on to find the ‘right’ clinic and I was fortunate to find two – one in my neighbourhood and another in the centre of Sydney with a lecturer of mine, whom I aspire to. With the foundation laid, everything moved quickly from there. I submitted my final assignment, signed leases on both clinics, pushed the live button on my website, and with business cards in hand, I started to introduce my business to others. What is the one thing that you have accomplished and take the most pride in? I’m super proud to have been selected as an Ambassador for ‘That Sugar Film’. I get great satisfaction sharing the message about the film and educating people about the damaging effects of a high sugar diet on a healthy body. Nifnex says: For anyone who has not heard of this documentary-style film, it is a “unique experiment that documents the effects of consuming 40 teaspoons of sugar every day, but the catch is they can only come from foods commonly perceived to be ‘healthy’”. (www.thatsugarfilm.com) What is your vision for Nutritional Matters? My vision is to reach out to as many people as possible and help prevent ‘unnecessary’ chronic diseases; specifically, those caused by a lack of education, poor nutrition and unhealthy lifestyle choices. What is the toughest decision you have made, and how did you handle it? Giving up a regular income was the hardest decision to make. However, once I made that decision I felt a sense of relief and free to immerse myself in my new career. I am a great believer in the need to let go of the old in order to embrace the new. While juggling professional and personal commitments, how do you find time for yourself? I realised early that running a business is all-consuming, so I set physical goals and challenges for myself. These included registering for long walks, learning how to ride a stand-up paddleboard, and more. So far, I have completed two 35km walks, one 55km walk, have learnt how to ride a standup paddleboard and now own one! Currently, I am training for the Oxfam walk in August. Walking outdoors, in the bush or along Sydney’s beautiful coastline is my natural medicine and it helps me wind down. What advice would you give to someone who aspires to become an entrepreneur? •    Stop dreaming and ‘Just Do It’, as Nike would say •    Keep believing •    Don’t wait for something to be perfect (whatever that word means). Go ahead and trial it on a small scale and learn from your mistakes. This is something I have done in the past and it’s worked well for me. If you don’t act swiftly, you may never do it. How would you describe your dream lifestyle? I love what I’m doing right now, so I’d have to say I’ve built my dream lifestyle. I am fortunate to have good health and continually enjoy beautiful walks around Sydney’s sensational harbour and coastline. I have a kind, supportive husband and two fur kids (cats). My clients are wonderful, and I value their relationship and continually learn from them. Another dream lifestyle I have in a very embryonic stage is to experience working with international travellers wanting to improve their health at a wellness retreat, somewhere in the world…destination to be confirmed. *** Visit www.nutritionalmatters.com.au for more information

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In conversation with: Richard Scenna, YourLink

A personal life experience and the passion for helping those in need inspired Richard Scenna to use technology for the benefit of the community. In an era where technology forms the primary interface for social interactions, YourLink aims to bring our senior citizens into the digital realm to better connect them with their families, friends and community members. Tell us about YourLink and the audience to which you are catering. YourLink is a social enterprise enabling digital inclusion for seniors whether living in a family home, retirement village, or aged care residence. We do this in a number of ways. First, we have created a free app called YourLink that has been designed for seniors to stay in touch with their family, friends and the local community. Second, we run Tea and Technology events for seniors where we help attendees learn more about using an iPad or tablets, apps and the internet in general. Third, we work with aged care residences and villages to help them utilise technology to support the residents and their families to be connected. Our work with aged care poviders helps them bring their noticeboard and flyers directly to families’ mobile devices. Finally, we work with organisations to help them with digital inclusion activities for older people. Our primary B2C audience is the ‘over-60’ community and their adult children as they are key influencers for their parents and grandparents. From a B2B perspective, our audiences include aged care providers, villages, government, and organisations communicating with senior citizens. What were you doing when the idea about YourLink came to you? Personally, I saw my grandmother undergo the change from a strong, independent woman, to one impacted by ill health and dementia, ultimately seeing her living with my parents and later in various aged care homes for the remainder of her years. Once when she was moved to aged care, I recall walking past the foyer, and saw a noticeboard with activities, which caused me to wonder how would I have known about that unless I had walked past that specific noticeboard? A couple of years ago co-founder Rick Hollingworth and I started talking about how we could use our skills and experiences in some way to make a difference. We have been friends for over 20 years, share a passion for the benefits technology can bring to our community, particularly for senior citizens. We wanted to make a difference for our families as well as many other families and those around us. YourLink developed naturally from here. What is the one thing that you have been able to accomplish that you take the most pride in or satisfaction from? I take most pride in two things. One is the success of our Tea and Technology events with up to 60 seniors in a room. The feedback is overwhelmingly positive and the feeling of empowerment the attendees feel when we take the time to help them is incredibly rewarding. The second one is critical from a business perspective. It was when we signed our second paying client. While having your first client is an amazing feeling, the second one reassured me that there is a real business in what we are creating and that the first client wasn’t just a fluke or luck. What are some of the major hurdles you have encountered? One of the biggest hurdles is perception, particularly from the younger generation, that seniors don’t want to use technology, nor have an appetite for it. The feedback we have received from the groups we work with is that many seniors do want to use technology, but they lack confidence. Our Tea and Technology events have proven this. Another hurdle for us is that as a social enterprise, we don’t have access to government or private grants like those available to the not-for-profit sector. Access to funding for social enterprises such as YourLink, which want to be both commercially minded and sustainable whilst giving back to the community, is lacking in Australia. What advice would you give to those who aspire to be an entrepreneur? 1. Avoid being wedded to a single idea that may blind you to other opportunities. Part of the beauty of running your own business means you can easily adapt and do different things, which is essential when starting out. 2. Be authentic; don’t try and be something you are not. Rick and I genuinely believe in the problem we are trying to solve, what we are doing, and for the people whom we are doing it. 3. Be persistent. You may have to knock your head on doors several times before they finally crack open. 4. And one that I remind myself of daily: If it were easy, everyone would do it. It takes guts and bravery to create something new, so congratulate yourself for being brave. In one word, characterise your life as an entrepreneur. Educational *** Visit www.yourlink.com.au for more information.

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In conversation with: Amor De Libasic, Wealth Line

At the age of 26, Amor De Libasic took the bold step to move from a stable career with one of Australia’s largest banks to start his own financial advisory. Each day he now takes a step closer to his vision – to build and nurture a community of clients based on meaningful relationship, beyond just numbers. Tell us about Wealth Line Advisory and its audience. Wealth Line Advisory is a boutique advisory firm that provides holistic financial advice. We assist clients with their investments, tax planning, superannuation, insurances, and company structures. Our audience generally comprises families and individuals in their 30s and 40s who want to achieve a better financial future, but are not quite sure how. However, it isn’t just about numbers. When we take a client on board, they become a part of our family.  Our intention is to stay small, and develop a lifelong and deep relationship with our clients rather than grow to the point where the client becomes a number. What were you doing when the idea about Wealth Line came to you? I was working at one of Australia’s largest banks and was recognised as one of their top 20 advisors nationally. However, I was not content, as I did not feel that the advice structure in banks allowed me to bond with my clients the way I felt I needed to. I chose to take a step into the abyss of business with the vision that advice could be different – that it could be a community rather than a purely profit driven enterprise. What is the story behind the name ‘Wealth Line’? It came to me when I was thinking about what we really do, which is to help people. A financial helpline if you will, which in turn transformed into Wealth Line. What did you do to start this venture? The first step was coming to terms with uncertainty. This is something I believe everyone who walks away from a stable career has to face. It is daunting. Before I left, there would be nights where I would wake up and an overwhelming sense of dread would befall me. It was paralysing. However, once I committed to my goal, this feeling stopped and thankfully now I sleep easy. Everyone faces difficulties during a start-up phase. What keeps you motivated in the face of challenges? A certainty that given sufficient commitment, hard work and a little bit of luck that any challenge can be overcome. The greatest resource, after all, is resourcefulness. It is also important to remind yourself that the beginning of any enterprise whether it be financial or otherwise is unsettling. The first time you get on a bike, the chances of ending up with a few scrapes are high. What do you do when experiencing a low point and how do you celebrate your highs? The low points are hard; there is no denying it. Emotionally, it has been a rollercoaster. I try to manage my state of mind to be as productive as possible. When I am down, I go to the gym or go for a walk while listening to music that motivates me. I’ll try and stay away from work until I’m in the right state because I know it isn’t the best I can give. When things work out, I will talk about it with someone I am close with and use it as motivation to go that next step. What is your vision for Wealth Line? My vision for it is that we push the boundaries of advice, and learn to engage with people on a different level – to not just give them great advice but also motivate and inspire them. To allow them to connect with their money on a more meaningful level and understand what they really want, and then help them get there. What business lessons have you learnt from your professional journey that you would share with our readers? 1.    If you are supportive of people, they will be supportive of you 2.    Trust is the greatest currency 3.    Your reputation and brand is priceless, you need to cultivate it through honest service and work 4.    There are no shortcuts, you need to work hard If you had a magic wand, what would you change right here, right now? Hmm, good question. I think I would reverse the way people age. We should start old and sick, and then over time progress towards health so that we understand what a gift it is. This would give us a better perspective on life and in doing so solve many of our other problems. Do you have a quote or life mantra that motivates you? I have a favourite line from a poem by Robert Frost. It goes “The woods are lovely, dark and deep, but I have promises to keep, and miles to go before I sleep, and miles to go before I sleep.” *** Visit www.wealthline.com.au to learn more

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In conversation with: Clare Mann, Communicate31

As an experienced organisational psychologist and psychotherapist, Clare Mann empowers people to achieve their full potential in all aspects of their lives using a simple, yet complex skill – communication. Her journey reflects her mission to positively impact and improve lives while exemplifying the message of sustainable and ethical leadership. Tell us about Communicate31 and its audience. Everyone is frustrated when they cannot communicate what they truly think or feel. I believe that the quality of our results directly relates to the quality of our communication – both, with yourself and others. What we do is to make communication one’s strength, empower people to be heard and have greater influence, and develop linguistic mastery in people so they get better results in all aspects of their lives. What were you doing when the idea about Communicate31 came to you? I always say, “It takes 20 years to become an overnight success”. I originally trained as an organisational psychologist and ran programs and interventions to help organisations and people perform better. Behind closed doors, people, irrespective their authority, told me about the imbalance in their lives, their fears and how they felt competent at work but not in other areas of their lives. I did not have the expertise to take them on a journey they were asking me to take, so I re-trained as an existential psychotherapist for four years in the UK. This enabled me to take people on a journey of self-discovery to align their values with their actions and improve their ability to be competent in all areas of their lives. I ran a successful private practice in Sydney CBD and senior leaders and managers came to see me, this time working through their personal problems and telling me they avoided conflict at work, felt overwhelmed managing teams, and experienced the imposter syndrome – that one day they would be found out and lose their position of authority. C31 was born when I realised over hundreds of clients that people tend to be competent in one area and not another. They can have difficult conversations in one area of their lives and not the other. The missing link was ‘communication’ – communication with one’s conscious and unconscious self, and the linguistic mastery to have conversations that matter. We now teach people to do this 31 days a month, across time and situation.  What did you do to start this venture? Few great accomplishments are achieved single-handedly. I believe that if you want to go quick you go alone, but if you want to go far and sustain it, you go with others. I work with a great team of people – particularly Brendan Norris, our technical director – who make this possible. As a small team, we sat down and highlighted our ‘sweet spots’, looked at the tasks to be done, identified gaps, and put a plan in place to fill them. What do you do when experiencing a low point, and how do you celebrate your highs? I live in the Blue Mountains that provides a great balance between the action-packed city, and a green environment where I can do long walks with my dogs. By taking time out daily for yoga and being with nature – more so when experiencing a low point – I can regain perspective, maintain my health and motivation and see a new way forward. We always celebrate our highs by taking the time to reflect, discuss and see how far we have come and by visiting the ocean or being with nature, which gets everything into perspective. And a good glass of malt whisky is often on the agenda to celebrate big wins! What does success mean to you? I live by the quote of the late Earl Nightingale, “Success is the progressive realisation of a worth ideal”. If you do what is your love and passion and have a benevolent reason for doing it (beyond making money alone)… the money will follow. Combined with the right actions and alignment with people’s needs (some of which they may not know about), you will be successful. How would you describe your dream lifestyle? I am a minimalist really, and I do not want more (material possessions). Everything we own is a responsibility and often takes us away from our life’s purpose through the complexity it causes. Therefore, my dream lifestyle would be: •    Living a life aligned with my values •    Doing what I love, making a difference and positive contribution to the world without compromising my integrity •    Investing time and energy into relationships, and solving ethical dilemmas of our time •    Having a level of comfort and ease that enables creativity to flow and have time to smell the roses, watch good movies, and have time for friends and loved ones •    Spending time around nature and animals, and contributing pro bono and philanthropically to ventures important to me •    Doing all the above with a smile and good coffee *** Check out this free video course by Communicate31 on “Communication Mastery for Better Results”

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Book Released and Available For Purchase The Entrepreneurs Journey

Are you an entrepreneur who battles each day with decisions & discussions between your AlterEgo & Unconscious Mind? Then this book is definitely for you. Click to Purchase Your Copy Now The Entrepreneur’s Journey – Book is my personal journey in the past few years of starting Nifnex and has some key lessons for all entrepreneurs as we went through many different challenges, experiences, ups & downs. The book is engaging and each chapter has key takeaways whether it is starting the newspaper in 10 days, organising the biggest small business expo, the Influential 100 Awards which had everyone talking or spreading our wings into 15 cities globally. The learnings at the end of each chapter guide you through ideas and strategies on personal branding, client contact, event management, marketing out of the box. The reviews have been extremely positive and I look forward to hearing your review when you have read The Entrepreneur’s Journey. Click to Purchase Your Copy Now

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How To Consent In The Digital Age

As data ownership lines blur in the world of big data, sit up and think about the ongoing collection of your personal information and the endless appetite a voracious breed of algorithms, artificial intelligence (AI) and predictive analytics that are geared to access it. Begging the question, are all uses of personal data consented or legitimate? Yes, big data is the future and we surely will experience a time soon where your choice of biometrics will confirm, verify, and authenticate your identity, swinging open the door for consent to rightfully action an orchestrated array of “Internet of Things” with devices thirsty to interact or transact. Today, the connected society has arrived and your identity footprints are somewhat declared. Coupled with consent, countless decisions are gathered and stored, and will play an increasingly important role in the digital economy.  Small tasks that once upon a time we “just did” may now be recorded, measured, and compiled in the vastness of data lakes. So, what price or benefit will all these countless flows of personal data really pose? Who decides what is recorded and what isn’t, and has the price of convenience entrapped us to be forever bombarded with services?  When consent is compulsory for services, will we be provided with clear and transparent Opt Out options or are we to feel hard lined into policy or terms acceptance. When will our digital identity as a commodity come into effect and how much is it worth per transaction? As in an “always connected” future delivering faster transactions, robotics and the dawn of Blockchain permissioned or decentralised immutable records, we must realise that we do has a say about controls and in many cases, it comes down to the way we consent. Remember, you’re the last mile and as a consumer, you retain permission to hold the power to cease or select a trading partner or choice when casting a vote. Perhaps, it’s why in this time we are seeing citizen-based movements forming to encapsulate the collective views of the everyday grassroots individual to cause paradigm shifts where policy or process is not serving us via amassing undeniable, society-led consensus. With your individual consent directly collating to digital identity and privacy aspects, we are witnessing concerns amplifying across the globe on how personal data is handled or shared. It’s not surprising considering the upward trend in significant global data breaches or hacks on entities we would like to trust. Recently, as part of Australian Privacy Week, the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner released the Australian Community Attitudes to Privacy Survey 2017. The report states that eight in ten (79%)  Australians are uncomfortable with businesses sharing their personal information with other businesses, with women and older Australians showing greater concern with this practice. Legislation like the European Union General Data Protections Rights (GDPR) are setting the pace for consumers “right to know” and “right to be forgotten” data governance frameworks around personal data, which I believe will – within Data Sharing legislation – protect citizens. In a digital world, we also need to think about how our current or paternal data history, one’s internet DNA footprints might be linked. The combination of inherited genomics, political, religious, and cultural statistics can form profiling markers that if misused can impact the fate of just not ourselves but others. It’s easy to be dismissive because it’s hard to get our head around it, but it’s time to get hold of digital consent. Personally, I do not discount all the wonderful advantages that our digital “internet of me” lifestyle will bring, particularly in the areas of eHealth. It also strengthens a call for self-sovereign consumer-centric identity platforms so that we each can control our holistic digital footprint and auditable unified consent. Right now, consumers can step up to a base level of self-accountability by taking greater stock of terms and conditions, service level agreements, security and the value of trust seals displayed by businesses collecting and using big data, as apathy may come at a high price until we see behaviours forcing a paradigm shift where the consumer ultimately controls the pathways of data interactions. If you’re a parent, hold regular conversations about offline and online cyber risks and consent with your children. Learn what apps they use and who they share information, talk about how they identify people at the other end of the Net. Check out sites like eSafety.gov.au and OAIC.gov.au for useful resources and decide what is acceptable in your online world. Reinforce data respect on how we each present ourselves in words and images, so in turn, you can enjoy a safe and enriched digital life.   by Joanne Cooper Technologist, Co-founder & Managing Director Cloud Insurance

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How Can Online Payments Put Your Organisation At Risk

Selecting a payment gateway can be a difficult decision. Merchants too often overlook many gateway features, whether it is the payment methods offered, easy integration, long-term costs, notifications, recurring billing, refunds, reporting functionality, FX fee, and so forth. With so many factors in the mix, how can merchants make sure they are making the correct assessment? While merchants investigate solutions, the online payments landscape continues to change. Their benchmarking studies are already lagging in the constantly evolving online payments space. Neglecting this point is a risk that may lead to revenue loss and higher costs that could be easily avoided. The dictionary defines ‘risk’ as a situation involving exposure to danger. What might be the dangers of selecting only one payment gateway? What if a more suitable option arises? Can you easily add a new payment gateway offering varied payment types for your customers? What about your customers’ payment details? Can they be used against other gateways? To what extent are you truly free to choose at any point in time? At some point, merchants have to stack payment gateways. They may be looking to provide new payment methods (dozens of new payment methods are created every year), optimise transaction costs, expand overseas, have more adapted features, and so forth. Merchants who decide to use new payment solutions often stumble across a million issues related to the portability of customers’ data. Routeing their customer’s payment details from one provider to another is a lengthy and costly process. Some merchants even find it easier to require all their customers to re-enter their payment details. How many customers do they lose in the process? So, why don’t merchants stick with only one payment gateway? Payment gateways are great when they become part of an intelligent structure. As merchants scale up, using one payment gateway hinders their ability to reach out to their market in its entirety. They may miss out on payment methods that online consumers demand, and these consumers are only a click away from the merchants’ competitors. Failing to provide a preferred payment method might cost merchants up to 30% of their market. The merchants’ flexibility with payment gateways highly contributes to online businesses’ success or failure. In many cases, merchants find that having a single payment gateway may compromise their ability to save costs. For international businesses, it is wiser to select niche, local and more specific payment gateways for they are the most cost effective in the long run. They let merchants expand while not killing their margins. Keeping transaction costs low is essential to stay competitive. Global businesses often find that using local gateways that accept payments in local currencies reduces their transaction costs. This way, they can avoid foreign currency exchange fees and design their online payments structure in a way that truly benefits their organisation. Is there an ideal solution? Using only one holistic payment gateway is fantastic because of a single entry integration point. However, experienced investors often advise diversifying portfolios to minimise risk. The same applies to payment gateways. Relying on a single payment gateway might be a risk, as it doesn’t give merchants the ability to optimise their costs. On the other hand, although multiple payment gateways allow merchants to create cost friendly payment infrastructures, integration costs increase significantly as multiple entry integration points are required. Each of those points has to be connected to their entire ecosystem (i.e. CRM, accounting system, etc.). Can merchants have it all? The ideal online payments infrastructure lets merchants optimise both transaction and integration costs. This architecture should have a single entry point of integration that connects all the payment gateways to their entire ecosystem. All businesses that take online payments are longing for this ultimate online payments structure   by Justin Hubert Payments Advisor, PayDock

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Network like a Pro

When you ask people what ‘networking’ means to them, they often say it is about building relationships, getting to know like-minded people and so on. Whilst all this is true, you often come across people armed with a stack of business cards and an invisible ‘sales hat’ on instead of people wishing to engage at the human level. So how did we get here, and how do we get back to networking effectively? Mr Sales Hat is a networker and runs a business. His mortgage payment is coming up, as are the kid’s swimming lesson fees and he needs to meet his monthly target. He is desperate and needs sales quickly. The easiest way, he thinks, to meet prospective customers is to attend some networking events. But in doing so, is Mr Sales Hat thinking of building relationships or generating sales prospects? If you ever get into this pickle, it probably means there hasn’t been a consistent approach to building your lead generation pipeline. From a networking perspective, the last thing you want to do when you are desperate is to ‘sell’ at events. So next time you have someone pushing a business card at you; give them a virtual hug and the chance to build a meaningful connection. Here are a few things I would do to get sales NOW: • Call your existing customers and ask for referrals. Your existing client list is GOLD. A referral from a satisfied customer is so much easier to close than a cold contact. • Check your diary from previous months, you are bound to come across people that you may have forgotten to call or follow up. • The same goes for your drawer; I can guarantee you will find business cards that you haven’t filed away or you have been meaning to call. In order to avoid getting into a desperate situation altogether, and to begin networking like a pro, here are some top tips I have learnt. Define your objective Is your objective to have fun, meet like-minded people, self-development, to develop new business contacts or build existing relationships? Having an objective will keep your mind focused, allowing you to maximise opportunities and ensure your conversations lead to more fruitful outcomes. Identify your customers’ avatar Recognising your ideal customer is one of the most important things you can do. If you haven’t done this already, feel free to reach me to brainstorm this with you! Categorise your customers if you have multiple products, and then detail what your ideal avatar looks like. Determine what they wear, what they eat, where they eat out, what they drive, what they read, what they watch, where they socialise. These factors will determine what they will need to see from you and as such will determine your personal branding. Strategic networking This comes down to location and approach. First off, once you have identified your avatar and the type of events they attend, wouldn’t it make sense for you to be there? For instance, if what you offer is suitable for established businesses, why attend networks for startups? I often hear people say that networking doesn’t work for them, which tells me they either aren’t networking where they should be or just don’t know how to network. Which brings us to ‘approach’: do you introduce yourself in a professional manner and have an effective business pitch? Do you build an instant rapport and credibility? These things matter and you need to be congruent with your personal brand. There are 16 areas of personal branding, which if paid attention to, will make an enormous difference. If you would like to learn more, don’t hesitate to contact me for a free report. Be consistent If you plan to attend one networking event every week or six events in a month, ensure that you keep to it. Some of the best networking concepts around the world such as BNI exist due to consistency. Follow-up This is easily the biggest area of downfall. We allow ourselves to get busy with our routines after attending an event. Focus on the reason you asked for someone’s details and exchanged business cards. There is also a good chance you said, “let’s keep in touch”; and no, that does not mean that you put them on your mailing list. A short follow-up email on the lines of, “It was great meeting you,” and asking if you can share additional information is a good way to go about it. Build relationships One of the best ways to build a relationship with someone you meet at a networking event is to offer referrals or introduce them to someone from your network they could benefit from.  When building relationships, do what comes naturally to you. This is important, as ultimately, while they may or may not be your client, they may know someone else who could be your ideal client. I always say that I don’t have clients, but ambassadors. It is powerful! Happy networking everyone! by Zeeshan Pasha Founder and CEO, Nifnex Success Academy Image © 2017 Nifnex

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The Womens Money Forum Illuminating pathways for financial transformation

Exclusive interview with Deanne Carter, the Investment Mentor from Womens Money Forum. What would we generally catch you wearing on a Sunday morning 10am? Are you kidding me – definitely active wear!!!! Life is about being comfortable, flexible and fun – this has me covered on all angles J What do you currently drive/ride? VW Eos convertible – number plate AWAKEN – Eos is goddess of the dawn and therefore Awaken seemed so appropriate. I also love that it reminds me daily to be present and grateful for how lucky we are to live in Australia. What is your morning routine? Describe a typical morning in your house. (optional) I’m a 5.30am girl. I absolutely love to wake up with nature, and so you’ll find me out with my pooch most mornings. I’ve had this routine for 20years and I love the solitude of the morning. It’s a chance to tune into the hum of the universe, reconnect with my spirit and set my intention for the day Would you say you have had an interesting and unique life so far?  What I find fascinating about my life is how everything seems to have led me perfectly to this point where I now feel I am embarking upon my greatest adventure yet. I’m an avid learner and thrive on the challenge of stepping outside of what I know and what is comfortable. I approach life with a sense of curiosity and wonder, and as a result, I’ve re-created myself and career several times over. Each opportunity has provided an extensive platform to develop skills and expertise around how we position ourselves to lead a life which we get to design. Life doesn’t happen to you, we get to create how we want it to look. Describe what success means to you ?  Oh that is an easy one – Success for me is measured by one simple thing – am I happy? We’ve all had times where we’ve asked ourselves the question ‘what is my purpose in life’ – mine is simply to be happy. When I am that, I feel free to live impactfully. And this means giving others reason to smile and feel good within themselves too Subscribe to be invited to Nifnex business events What & When did you see a niche in the market to go after it? I first started investigating and gathering data around Womens attitudes to money and investing back in 2009. At the time I had been working with a family around designing an investment strategy which was how I met their 6 year old daughter. She was very curious to know why and what I was speaking with her parents about. It was at this point I recognised the trajectory of her family’s financial future was forever changed. As a result of sharing my expertise, the modelling she was receiving by her parents would thus be very different to that of the majority of her friends. I realised that this was exactly what I had received…. an absolute gift from my parents. And the Womens Money Forum, in principle was formed. How do we change the modelling to our children about money? By changing the relationship that their parents have with money! And specifically the redundant financial blueprints which no longer represent the type of lifestyles women are leading now and into the future. Describe one of your products/services? The Womens Money Forum is illuminating pathways for financial transformation. Together with my business partner Fran Hughes, we are bringing our 50+ year of financial expertise to creating a digital automated and systemised financial platform. This is a new way for women to access information in a way that is not only super easy and without financial jargon, but enables them to access the strategies and tools to move them ahead. It’s the solution for women who are at that time in their life where they are asking themselves, “what now, what next, what else? And what can I be doing with my money to give me more of what makes me happy?” The Forum enables them to connect, design the life which makes their heart sing, whilst also ensuring they’ve got their future financial covered so their family can flourish. What’s the highlight of your career? A driving theme throughout my working career has been what can I do to positively impact anothers’ experience of life. I’ve loved every moment of what I have done thus far so that in and of itself is the biggest highlight I could possibly dream of. How would you describe your journey so far? I made a promise to myself when I came out of Uni that I would never work in a job that I disliked or with people who were not congruent with my core values. I have navigated my journey around this premise and can therefore say that life has indeed been very fulfilling. I am so blessed to be surrounded with extraordinary humans who inspire me constantly. Read all 25 interviews in this Perth May Edition: Print Magazine $5 + $3 P/H Within Australia Everyone goes through ups and downs in life and its only relative. What would you say are your highs and lows? Your experience of life is created by the moments you spend with people you adore and doing things that gift to you great joys. My highs have therefore been times when I have challenged myself whether it be in learning new skills, gaining further academic qualifications, or stretching my mind on what’s possible both mentally and physically. So I like fun and adventure, I love goofing around with my family, I love travelling, I love dancing, and I love being active. These are my daily ups. When life unexpectedly throws a curveball I resort to doing more of the things that lift me up to compensate!! Where do you see yourself next year, 5, 10, 20 years from now? Our business is in start up phase so we have a lot ahead of us. The exciting thing is, the world is changing so rapidly which means we have full capacity to dream, design and create our reality for the future. The fundamental component for us is the ability to be flexible to run our business wherever we are, and having fun in the process of doing it. We love the connectedness that the digital space gives us and with incredible and amazing women all over the world it gives us the opportunity to make a massive impact in the arena of financial wellness. What is your dream lifestyle? I really am living it! If you had a magic wand, what would you change and replace right here, right now? The gender pay gap! What life lessons have you learnt that you can share with the readers? That everything happens for a reason and there is a perfect conspiracy for your success…. If you believe it! What business lessons have you learnt and from your professional journey, what advice would you give readers? My underlying philosophy – stay true to who you are, listen to your intuition, ensure everyone wins and you leave people in a better place than when you met them. Your favorite quote? The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams – Eleanor Roosevelt  

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The Entrepreneurs Journey Book Pre Sales

A book written by Zeeshan Pasha for entrepreneurs who battle each day with decisions & discussions between their AlterEgo & Unconscious Mind. Book Pre Sales are through Ready Fund Go and a pledge as little as $20 secures you a copy of this book which is written to inspire you and take you through a journey of entrepreneurialism where decision making is made simple and asking the right questions uncovers a whole new world of opportunities.  

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Perths Small Business Newspaper _ Feb 2017 Edition

Perth’s most read small business newspaper features business rockstars, entrepreneur hotshots and also great marketing & lead generation articles. Currently available at 150 cafes & business centres across Perth. Also available at the Business Expo this Thursday 23rd Feb at Ascot Raceway – Free Entry Click to register: Download your 2mb Pdf – Online edition e-Reader below via flip view.

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Fool Proof Marketing Guide for a Successful 2017

  Written by Zeeshan Pasha; CEO Nifnex Put on your creative hats people as you need to be more innovative and different in your marketing than you have ever been!!! It’s the year for many who have ridden the journey this long and making traction slowly. Hang in there and get those creative juices flowing about how you can be different. Here are 6 practical areas that can make your 2017 a more successful year. Goals Let’s be completely honest, we all want to achieve our goals. We may not have written them down (yet), and have them sitting in our heads. If you have written your goals down, I congratulate you. Others who haven’t, well, I know it’s not the easiest of things to do as you are possibly battling being realistic and dreamland. Either way, I believe writing them down is a great start. Stay in a happy zone whilst doing so. You can possibly look at a realistic point of view after. What you think is possible, is actually possible. So don’t limit yourself and when you have finally decided on your goals, believe that it is possible to do it even if you don’t have the answers and strategy yet. Universe will assist but sketch out what needs to be done and be open to opportunities that will show up (sometimes in disguise). Do things Differently Doing what you have always done will always get you what you have always got. So, if you need more results and better outcome, think different, do different, serve differently, be different. If you really think of it, you have survived a year of so many adversities and hardship in the economy. So, give yourself a pat on the back. From here on, the only way is UP! So, ask yourself what you can do differently. Can you serve your clients differently? How can you be different to your competition? How can you work with your competitors to serve another segment of the market? How can your marketing change? Where and how else can you be generating (quality) leads? Where can you be saving a few expenses or reallocating them to achieve (better) results. The thing is you don’t know if it will actually be better, and the only way you will know is to try. Why? Because if you continue to do what you did, you will get what you always got. If you are hesitant and in doubt, it’s ok. Just do it. This year is about being different. Collaboration & Community Minded Community and collaboration is the way forward. Why is a community important and what is the benefit of being involved. An effective and sharing community consists of like minded people, who are or have gone through what you are currently going through. Having to learn from them and also sharing your insight and experience from your industry is invaluable. So, if you are in IT, be part of the likes of computer societies, Tech groups etc for collaboration opportunities and also to keep abreast of what’s happening in the industry. Also be part of at least 2 other communities that bring in 2 different sectors of your target market together. Attending expos and awards is important to keep yourself seen and around the people who are making a difference to themselves, community and the economy. Networking with a difference For those that are new in business and starting a new venture or feel they can’t add anything to a conversation or even the introverts who may be shy to network, YOU JUST NEED TO STEP IN and be involved. There is no other choice. Yes, you may choose to stay behind a phone, email, social media etc if your market is global etc but still, the face to face conversation with like minded people is eye opening, encouraging, empowering and liberating. Step Up Do you ever want to get advice from people you think are average? The main factor is that people sometimes feel bad about promoting themselves and using terms such as expert, guru etc. The thing is you don’t. You need others to call you that. The question is how can you do that? AMBASSADORS are the key. But you don’t get ambassadors without positioning yourself as the go to person in your industry and doing things that make a difference to your clients, industry, community etc. There are many things you can do to position yourself as the go to person. I have written many articles on personal branding on my LinkedIn that will assist you in creating a strong personal brand which is essential. Creating Social Proof What is social proof? Unless you are living in a cave, you are most likely already influenced by people and community around you who are all going to a restaurant because they seem to be putting up social media posts that they are enjoying it or going to a seminar that is much talked about or buying a certain brand because it is the new trend. The influence on our behavior based on what others are doing is social proof that you are not the only one doing it as others have tested and tried it, and it’s ‘amazing’, ‘safe’, ‘awesome’. People like to be associated with people or communities that have a following. The best way to create social proof is to build a following. Be seen, heard and talked about. Make your achievements public, get live testimonials from your clients, create a campaign that gets people talking about what you have done amazingly well for them. Social media is a great platform to highlight these in a humble yet effective manner. Video speaks louder than text or pictures. With our smart phones it is so easy to do so and don’t feel that you need a professional video done. No doubt, professional videos have their place and all credit to photographers and videographers for what they do so amazingly well. In summary, these are a few of the points you can keep in mind in 2017. We at Nifnex, believe in creating a community of business people, entrepreneurs, start ups and corporate that come together to help each other learn and share knowledge and experiences to achieve greater results. Some of the Nifnex Business Community initiatives that might interest you in 2017 are, the remodeled relaunch of the Success Academy, Business Expo 2017, Influential 100 Awards to empower business people in 22 cities globally. Wishing you all a fantabulous New Year!!!

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Christmas With The Stars Party

Business Tips Expression of Interest Form Please express your interest in presenting a 60 second business tip from your area of speciality at the Nifnex Christmas With the Stars party on the 15th Dec 2016; 6PM at Integrity Business Centre. Speakers, experts, coaches, business owners from all areas of business & lifestyle are encouraged. All tips will be filmed during the event with over 150 attendees. Loading…

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Poem on Millionaire Habits

I am not a poet, but I wrote it… and I hope you like it. It’s based on research that was done and an image I found on LinkedIn. I felt inspired to write it and play with the rhyming words but kept it straight forward.   I want to be a millionaire I hear you say, So lets reflect on things they did day after day. Entrepreneurialism sure isn’t an easy life, but research shows a pattern that made them thrive. Firstly, they weren’t scared to say nay, They always kept negativity at bay. Early they wake and not scared to make a mistake, They learnt and grew their network with every handshake. You will see them grab opportunities and make no excuses, Always closed one ear to people who hurled abuses. They shall not rush, nor will they procrastinate, Setbacks do not stop them thinking it’s just fate. Eat well, exercise and sleep is their tantra, Love, gratitude and humility is their mantra. With smarter people they stand, Always ready to give others a hand. Look, there’s no easy way to success, Remember, our constant hustle is a work in progress. Ask a lot of questions, Because opportunity exist beneath every client’s objections. Do one thing each day you loved as a child, Through this journey, you have always smiled. Yes, there will be times that you think life’s not fair, But I have no doubt one day you WILL be a MILLIONAIRE. Stay Blessed, Zeeshan Pasha, Nifnex

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One thing that Many Small Business Owners Lack!

Have you seen a photograph or video of the wall street office? What about the movie The Wolf of Wall Street? There is a sense of urgency in what they do. Many Small business owners have goals, aspirations, to-do lists, dreams and sometimes even the right attitude but they lack the urgency. They think they are hustlers but sadly many are not. We can all hustle…. number of zeroes we hustle for are different It’s worth a visit to a sales team environment in any organisation driven by sales. (especially end of the month). They are trying to close deals, looking at who else they can contact to get over the line and sign the dotted line…. The point i am trying to make is, we don’t hustle enough as if we have a boss watching and KPI (key performance indicators) to reach. We take each day as it comes and work as if yes we can do it tomorrow….tomorrow we make the calls, send emails, check LinkedIn and Facebook, have a coffee with a ‘prospect’, shake hands and promise to be in touch and that’s the end of the day. Where is the hustle? Where is the urgency and the drive to close a sale? Each and everything we do, needs to have a sense of urgency and calm. How do you do that? Well, it’s an art. We all have it in us….It’s called Being Authentic. How can you be authentic and still hustle? Ok, i am not saying try closing every prospect, friend and your neighbours. But it begins with knowing you can truly make a difference to your client. Anyone you meet is an influencer to a prospective client. How can you pitch yourself without coming across salesy? It starts with your passion to help…  Make it clear that you are hustling to help people. Show your passion for what you do. Have clear objectives to why you are meeting a prospect. A coffee chat shouldn’t end with “Yes, lets just keep in touch”. It needs to end with ‘I will put you in touch with so-and-so’ and will email you about what we discussed, so we can help each other’ That’s the very least. Maintaining a CRM and keeping track of who you meet, documenting the result of the meeting will help you track productivity and also manage the relationships with key people that refer and engage with you. Ensure you don’t go easy on yourself and make sure you pretend you have a boss who will crack the whip if you don’t meet your KPI / goals for the day/week/month. Have an accountability partner… who could crack the whip if needed. No one wants to be whipped….well, then again some do. Point i am making is that you need to hustle….hustle… hustle …bring some urgency into your work and go close some deals! To your success! Zeeshan Pasha

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Door Prizes at the StartUp Event

Start up event is a Nifnex initiative to help 300 Perth businesses and individuals get their business flying. 300 participants have registered for this free event (40% looking at starting a business, 40% started their business but looking for strategy and planning help, 20% mentors, speakers and exhibitors). If you would like to support the start up event and also promote your business by giving away prizes, free/discounted consultations, mentoring/coaching sessions, event attendance, gift cards, free/discount vouchers, please complete the below form and we will be in touch. Only 1 item per business can be included as door prize and we will ensure your prize is announced and published along with the winners details passed on to you. Event Date: 26th Nov 2016 9am – 4pm Event Address: Integrity Business Centre, 67 Howe Street, Osborne Park Contact us at +61412291206 or zeeshan.pasha@nifnex.com.au Tickets: http://nifnex.com.au/business-start-up-free-event-for-perth-entrepreneurs/ Sponsored by: CherryBlack Business Builders; Subaco, 08 9381 5027; Exhibitors: ATO, SBDC, CrazyDomains, AusDigitalMS   Loading…

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WA Finalists Revealed Australian Accounting Awards 2016

The AccountantsDaily  Australian Accounting Awards is the premier accounting event of the year. This prestigious event recognises individual excellence in accounting, from the profession’s most senior ranks to its rising stars. This year’s awards program casts a wide net, to not only capture new market players, but to also recognise the contributions of the accounting profession’s quiet achievers. Below is a list of Finalists from WA in various categories. The awards will be presented at a black-tie dinner at the prestigious Four Seasons Hotel Grand Ballroom, located in the historic Rocks district of Sydney, on 14 October , 2016. Congratulations to all WA finalists. We at Nifnex and onbehalf of the entire small business community in Perth, wish you the best!   Category Name Company/Organisation State Bookkeeper of the Year Dinesh Bhatia Phoenix Accountants & Advisors WA Bookkeeper of the Year Hollie O’Donnell Hollie O’Donnell WA Bookkeeper of the Year Jacqueline Becker First Class Accounts – Subiaco WA Bookkeeper of the Year Leah Moore Digit Books WA Bookkeeping Firm of the Year Andrew Erkins Digit Books WA Bookkeeping Firm of the Year Charles Klvana Eye on Books WA Bookkeeping Firm of the Year Frank Alderton Alderton Financial WA Boutique Firm of the Year Nathan Hood Carbon Accounting WA Diversified Firm of the Year Nathan Hood Carbon Accounting WA Fast-Growing Firm of the Year Nathan Hood Carbon Accounting WA Innovator of the Year Andrew Erkins Digit Books WA Marketing Program of the Year Andrew Erkins Digit Books WA Marketing Program of the Year Nathan Hood Carbon Accounting WA Professional Development Program of the Year Jennifer Brennan RSM WA Rising Star of the Year Frank Alderton Alderton Financial WA Rising Star of the Year Mark Pozzi Pozzi Financial Services Pty Ltd WA To secure your ticket and avoid disappointment, call Craig Lynch on 02 9922 3300 to book over the phone or email Craig.Lynch@momentummedia.com.au

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Creative small businesses supported by City of Fremantle & fSpace

The City of Fremantle and fSpace, a coworking space in Fremantle, are pleased to announce a second Business Development Program to help small businesses within the creative industries sector. The City of Fremantle and fSpace Business Development Program offers qualified businesses three months of subsidised workspace at fSpace, a vibrant coworking space located in the heart of Fremantle. To be eligible, a business must satisfy a number of criteria, including operating within the creative industries sector. Architecture, IT services, Design (graphic, fashion or product) and Film, TV & Video production are some examples of creative industries. The program helps small business owners looking to take the next step by subsidising their workspace costs and providing them with an opportunity to work alongside and collaborate with other successful business owners and professionals. “Last year the City’s partnership with fSpace supported 11 businesses across various knowledge-based industries and we’re proud to again be supporting this great initiative,” said Fremantle Mayor Brad Pettitt. I’m really looking forward to seeing the next batch of creative and innovative entrepreneurs and start-ups realise their potential and help contribute to the transformation of Fremantle’s economy.” Sabine Albers, owner of fSpace, is excited to partner with the City of Fremantle again to help small businesses. “We received 20 applications for the initial program back in February of this year. Of those 20 applications, 11 were accepted into the program and 8 of those businesses are still going strong in Fremantle today.” “As with the initial program, this will provide the opportunity for a new group of people to work alongside some wonderful small business owners and professionals at fSpace, giving them a greater chance to succeed with their business venture.” The program is available to new business start-ups as well as existing businesses looking to develop and grow in Fremantle. To view the eligibility requirements and to apply visit http://fspace.me/business/ About fSpace: fSpace is a creative, professional coworking space located in the heart of Fremantle, WA. fSpace offers a variety of desk space plans to business professionals, freelancers, and small business owners – from a single shared desk just 1 day a month to a fulltime team of 2 or 3 people for years. The layout and energy of the space creates a relaxed, inspiring community – an atmosphere that encourages people to work at their highest levels. fSpace, Coworking HUB Suite 18, 27 Market Street Fremantle, WA 6160

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PALEO MEALS DELIVER SUSTAINABILITY ACROSS PERTH

PERTH – 20 SEPTEMBER 2016 – Local Perth Company Paleo Meals Direct are delivering more than just delicious healthy meals, they’re delivering sustainability and a whole new way of looking at food. Started in a bid to take the preparation time and effort out of eating a Palaeolithic diet for their customers, the company has grown to encompass a strong culture of ‘think local, act global’ around everything they do. The company and the name are based on Paleo principles, which Co-Founders Nesh and Nigel explain ‘is about eating a rainbow of nutrient rich vegetables and good quality proteins for optimal performance and health.’ At their core, the Company’s chef prepared meals are made using whole organic ingredients and locally sourced produce from local suppliers with no sign of processed food to be seen. Looking beyond sustainability in their food, the two friends take things a step further using new environmentally friendly and 100% biodegradable delivery boxes. “For us the packaging has always been a big one to align with our goals for being an environmentally conscious business, but you can’t have meal delivery without packaging and Eskis just yet – so we want to make sure those are having the least impact possible,” says Managing Director Nesh Sooria. Their new Eskis are made from 100% biodegradable and compostable felted sheep’s wool, sealed within recyclable food grade polyethylene wrap. “The wool is actually waste wool,” says Director Nigel Clifford. “So instead of getting used as landfill, it’s being repurposed for our delivery boxes. Nobody in the food delivery industry has put much effort into getting rid of Styrofoam eskis, which seem to be the norm no matter who you use, so we wanted to set ourselves apart from the rest and provide a much better solution for our customers and for the environment. We even collect them back off customers in exchange for credit on their next order. A natural washing and scouring process leaves the wool sterilised, hygienic and proven to effectively absorb moisture from the air to minimise humidity, keeping the contents of the box within the critical 2 – 8 degrees for at least 24 hours, potentially more. The two owners say one of the drivers behind swapping to this more expensive solution is that Paleo Meals Direct aim to stay true to their beliefs in every aspect of their business possible, and refuse to compromise on quality. “Our Company is about more than just delivering food, we want to change the current food system. We want to create a more mindful culture when it comes to how we fuel our bodies and encourage a move towards nutrient dense produce. We also want to encourage a culture of shopping local, and believe it’s important we empower local producers through technology in any way that we can.” It is this kind of ‘shop local, think global’ attitude that has led to Paleo Meals Direct fast becoming one of Perth and the South West’s (yep, they deliver to Bunbury with plans to expand!) favourite meal delivery services, and a one-stop shop that brings together all things Paleo and healthy in WA. To learn more about the Paleo lifestyle head to www.paleomealsdirect.com.au About Nigel Clifford, Nesh Sooria & Paleo Meals Direct Vision – “Growing a sustainable nutritious future” Mission – “A nutritional insurance policy for you and your loved ones. Making whole food an enjoyable, sustainable and time friendly experience” Paleo Meals Direct Co-Founders Nesh Sooria and Nigel Clifford grew up in rural Western Australia where they gained an appreciation for sustainable farming practices and the power of community. Having both been diagnosed as ADHD and having family histories of heart disease, diabetes and age related dementia; they reached crossroads realizing optimum mental and physical health were essential to balancing career and life aspirations. Both got into Paleo after working long hours in the corporate world and finding a passion for biohacking; as a survival mechanism to stay healthy while minimizing the effort and time required while focusing on your career. Reading authors like; Dr Mark Hyman (The Ultramind Solution), Prof Loren Cordain (The Paleo Diet), Robb Wolf (The Paleo Solution), Gary Taubes (Why We Get Fat & Good Calories Bad Calories) and Mark Sisson (The Primal Blue Print & Mark’s Daily Apple) of course. Fed-up not having enough time to do all the shopping, cooking and cleaning needed to maintain health without craving junk food, and rather than fall off the band wagon. Nigel and Nesh collaborated with Crossfit fanatic & Chef Paolo Butto. Tapping into three decades of experience in the food service industry and hungry to redefine convenience food; They set about building a tribe focused on servicing the whole food requirements of a larger community.

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Nominations Now Open For Western Australian Young Achiever Awards

Nominations are now open for the 2016-17 Western Australian Young Achiever Awards! The purpose of the Western Australian Young Achiever Awards is to acknowledge, encourage and most importantly promote the positive achievements of all young people up to and including 29 years of age as of 31st December 2016. Please see below a list of categories that are now open for nomination! Nominations can be completed online to access the online nomination form please click here We understand that most people would love to nominate someone they know but like a lot of us we are time poor. We are more than willing to help! If you are able to provide the following we can do the rest for you: –          Your name contact number and email address –          Category you wish to nominate the person/group into –          The nominees first name, last name and group if applicable –          Email address –          Contact number We can then get in contact with them and let them know you have nominated them and have them complete the questions. Category winners will each receive $2,000 and a magnificent trophy. To find out more please click here We hope you can help recognise our amazing young achievers. Website: http://awardsaustralia.com/young-achiever-awards/wa Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/WAYoungAchiever/

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Australian Made Campaign welcomes research that shows consumers want Australian made

The Australian Made Campaign (AMCL) has welcomed the latest research from Colmar Brunton which reveals ‘Australian made’ has moved to the third most looked for statement on product labels, the first 2 both being price related. AMCL Chief Executive, Ian Harrison says it proves that Australian consumers want to buy genuine Aussie produce. “The finding that an ‘Australian made’ claim ranks second behind price factors in the information shoppers are looking for clearly establishes that they want to know where their food is coming from and where their products are made. Primarily they want to buy Australian made and Australian grown,” Mr Harrison says. “The Australian Made, Australian Grown logo provides that immediate connection and gives Australian consumers confidence and trust that what they are buying is in fact from Australia.” Recent changes to country of origin food labelling in Australia will make discovery of provenance much easier for shoppers and will give them a better understanding of how much of their food is sourced locally. The Government system, which features the Australian Made, Australian Grown kangaroo logo along with a bar chart and statement showing what proportion of ingredients come from Australia, will feature on most food products produced for sale in Australia. Consumers will gradually start to see the new labels roll out over the two year phase-in period. “Shoppers buying local products and produce will continue to enjoy great quality while giving opportunities to Australian manufacturers and farmers,” Mr Harrison said. ABOUT THE AUSTRALIAN MADE, AUSTRALIAN GROWN LOGO The green-and-gold Australian Made, Australian Grown (AMAG) logo is the only registered country-of-origin certification trade mark for the full range of genuine Australian products and produce. It has been helping Australian consumers, farmers, processors and manufacturers for thirty years. The AMAG logo can only be used on products that are registered with the not-for-profit organisation Australian Made Campaign Limited. The strict set of rules governing the logo’s use also require that it must always be used with one of five descriptors; ‘Australian Made’, ‘Australian Grown’, ‘Product of Australia’, ‘Australian Seafood’ or ‘Australian’ (for export use only). To use the logo goods must meet the criteria set out in Australian Consumer Law as well the more stringent Australian Made, Australian Grown Logo Code of Practice. More than 2500 businesses are registered to use the AMAG logo, which can be found on some 15,000 products sold here and around the world. Australian Made Campaign Limited is located at Suite 105, 161 Park Street, South Melbourne, VIC 3205. www.australianmade.com.au

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CONFLUENCE PROGRAM AUSTRALIAS LARGEST INDIAN FESTIVAL

Confluence Festival of India has partnered with some of Perth’s most iconic cultural venues, including His Majesty’s theatre, the Perth Concert Hall, the State Theatre Centre and the Octagon and the Dolphin theatres of the University of Western Australia to entice music lovers. Relish the infectious, happy tones of India’s most popular folk band, the Raghu Dixit Project. Perth will also host two different performances of India’s most ancient dance form – Odissi as well as the mythology based dance-dramas of The Kalakshetra Foundation and the energetic, acrobatic dance of Pung Cholom. A major art installation, the Borderless Gandhi Project, will have its world premiere in Perth as part of the festival, exploring the life, work and legacy of Mahatma Gandhi at Elizabeth Quay. Finally, the Ishara International Puppet Trust, one of India’s leading contemporary puppet theatres, will showcase the multifaceted traditions and techniques of puppetry in India and the world. Perth Events: The Raghu Dixit Project – 26th September 7pm, Perth Concert Hall – Book your tickets here for a $10 discount Sriyah Nrityagram Dance Ensemble – 27th & 28th September 6:30pm, Studio Underground Jatayu Moksham – 1st November 7:30pm, Studio Underground, State Theatre Centre Borderless Gandhi – 2nd October- 2nd November 9am -10pm, Elizabeth Quay, Perth – Free Transposition – 5th & 6th October 7:30pm, His Majesty’s Theatre

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Incubator Support Initiative Perth

Perth information session – October 6 2016 The Incubator Support initiative provides matching grants of between $10,000 and $500,000 for the creation of new incubators in regions or business sectors with strong links to international trade, and for existing, high-performing incubators to expand their services.The Turnbull Government has opened applications for the $23 million Incubator Support Initiative to help local start-ups gain valuable connections and access advice. Incubators can also access matching grants of up to $25,000 to engage experts-in-residence from Australia and overseas. This will help start-ups access top-quality research, managerial and technical talent they need to develop their capabilities and commercialise their ideas. There is an information session for local businesses in Perth – the details are as follows: 9am to 11am, October 6 2016 Level 25, St Martins Tower, AusIndustry WA State Office 44 St Georges Terrace, Perth, WA, 6000 For further information about the Incubator Support initiative, including instructions on how to apply or to attend an information session you can visit www.business.gov.au/incubator-support or call 13 28 46

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Applications Open for Various Associations Business Awards SWAN, CEBA, Wanneroo, Armadale

West Australian Businesses based in the Swan Region, Wanneroo, Armadale and Central Eastern Business District are encouraged to apply for the awards run by associations and chamber of commerce. Awards form a big part of encouragement in business and have proven to be a great marketing tool to not only build credibility amongst clients but also a great morale boost for management and staff. CENTRAL EASTERN BUSINESS ASSOCIATION: Are calling for nominations for their CEBA 2016 Business Awards For More Information Click Here WANNEROO BUSINESS ASSOCIATION: In conjunction with the City of Wanneroo and major sponsors are calling for  nominations for their 2016 Business Awards. For More Information Click Here SWAN CHAMBER OF COMMERCE: Are calling for nominations for their 2016 Swan Business Awards For More Information Click Here BUSINESS ARMADALE: Nominations have opened for the 2016 Examiner Business Awards For More Information Click Here Nifnex Small Business Awards – Influential100 Global – Feb 24th 2017 – Nomination and Voting in 22 cities opening very soon.

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Australian Company Nifnex Goes Global To Empower Small Business

Every entrepreneur started his/her journey for a reason. It’s not an easy journey yet with a vision and hard work and ignoring the neh sayers and sometimes the closest to them suggesting to get a ‘paying job’ they stand tall and believe in themselves to make it work. Nifnex Influential 100 started for that one reason to support the entrepreneurs 3 years ago in Perth;Australia. With almost an overnight success and community backed the founder Zeeshan Pasha, to see it to fruition. The annual awards turned many heads and ruffled many feathers but the positive nature and entrepreneurial spirit of the awards was very well received and supported by the business community, many government bodies, corporate organisations who believed in the vision to empower small businesses. With over 400 nominees by the third year in Perth, Nifnex decided to carry out its mission and live by its name. Nif = Nity= Smart & Nex + Nexus= Connections. Nifnex estimates 22 awards in 22 cities is what is needed to empower 11,000 nominees and will be supported by just over a million people worldwide who are related and believe in the nominee’s vision. Awards are being run in the following 22 cities worldwide with the Gala Awards in Perth on the 22nd Feb 2017 to honour its roots where it all began. To register your interest in being part of the awards please visit: http://nifnex.com.au/nifnex-influential-100-awards/ Australia Perth (Gala Awards – 24th Feb 2017) Sydney Melbourne Adelaide Brisbane Hong Kong India Bangalore Mumbai New Delhi Malaysia Kuala Lumpur New Zealand Wellington Auckland Philippines Manila Singapore South Africa Cape Town Johannesburg Sri Lanka Colombo Thailand Bangkok UAE Dubai UK London USA New York Los Angeles Media Contact: Zeeshan Pasha; CEO; Nifnex +61412643639 Australia: 1300643639 Send an email

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Small Business Ministers show their support for the Belmont & Western Australian Small Business Awards

Small business represents around 97 per cent of all businesses in Western Australia. The 23rd annual Belmont & Western Australian Small Business Awards will be announced from 6pm October 26th in the Ballroom, Perth Exhibition and Convention Centre. Special guests will include The Hon Michael McCormack MP, Minister for Small Business and Member for Riverina, and also The Hon Sean L’Estrange, MLA, Minister for Mines and Petroleum; Small Business and Finance. Also attending will be WA Shadow Treasurer Ben Wyatt MLA, Member for East Metropolitan Region, Samantha Rowe MLC, Western Australian Senator Sue Lines and Member for Belmont, Glenys Godfrey, MLA. Consul Generals from Vietnam (Phung The Long), Sri Lanka (Rosh Jalagge) and Mongolia (Peter Stuart) will also be in attendance at the high profile event with over 350 attending. This year’s Awards included a total of 23 categories with high profile sponsors Best Marketing Award sponsored by Westways Visual Communication & Worldwide Printing Solutions to be presented by Neil Cranny Most Innovative Business sponsored by Mustera Property Group to be presented by Anthony Ho Most Creative Award sponsored by Belmont Business Enterprise Centre Inc. to be presented by Jules Lewin Technology Award sponsored by Qbit to be presented by Dave Musarra Achievement Award sponsored by Aaragon Construction Management to be presented by Robert Francis Karl Farrell Inspiration Award sponsored by TCFWA to be presented by Carol Hanlon Volunteer of the Year Award sponsored by Perth Airport to be presented by Gemma Hunter Community Spirit Award sponsored by Southern Gazette to be presented by Nathan Wayne Environment Award sponsored by WA Treeworks to be presented by Tracie Barker Best Retail Business sponsored by Belmont Forum to be presented by Julie Elliott Business Woman of the Year sponsored by Business & Professional Women WA & BPW Business Incubator to be presented by Kate Waters Best New Business sponsored by City of Belmont to be presented by Cr Steve Wolffe Spirit of Australia Award sponsored by Hanssen Project Management to be presented by Gerry Hanssen Home-Based Business Award sponsored by NAB to be presented by Brad Stone Young Entrepreneur Award sponsored by Business News to be presented by Charlie Gunningham Indigenous Business of the Year sponsored by Perth Airport to be presented by Gemma Hunter Fashion Industry Award sponsored by TCF Global to be presented by Irving Lane WA Racing Industry Award sponsored by Racebreed Australia to be presented by Marjorie Charleson Customer Service Award sponsored by Telstra Business Centre Belmont to be presented by Andrew Willoughby Business Migrant of the Year sponsored by The Australian Asian Association of WA Inc. to be presented by Mel Fialho International Trade Award sponsored by BEC Global to be presented by Ben Wyatt, MLA Enterprise of the Year sponsored by Watering Concepts to be presented by Bev Poor Business Person of the Year sponsored by Belmont Rotary to be presented by Teresa Turnbull Carol Hanlon, Founder of the Awards and CEO of Belmont BEC said, “The Awards were open to businesses both within the Belmont area, Perth Metropolitan and across regional WA. We are proud that so many small business dignitaries will be in attendance and the high quality of entrants has highlighted the many great achievements and business excellence in WA small businesses”. We thank our major sponsors City of Belmont, Belmont BEC & TCFWA and all our wonderful sponsors supporting the 23 categories”. The Awards event will also feature Spirit of the Streets Choir and a WA Fashion Parade showcasing the talent of WA creative designers. To book tickets for the event please contact Belmont BEC on http://belmontbec.com/23rd-belmont-western-australian-small-business-awards-2016-presentation-evening/ About Belmont BEC The annual Belmont & Western Australian Small Business Awards are coordinated by the Belmont Business Enterprise Centre (Belmont BEC). Belmont BEC is a non-profit community based organisation established, in 1994, to assist in the start-up, growth and development of small business. Over the years it has originated a large range of well-known projects and programs for the benefit of its small business clients that have included Belmont Small Business Awards, designedge Innovation Festival, Multicultural Business Support Services, TCFWA, WA Racing Industry Project, BPW Business Incubator for Women in Business and the Belmont BEC is also an industry specialist on creative industry, fashion and TCFL industries.

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Influential 100 Awards 2016

Nifnex Influential 100 Awards now in its third year, recognises individuals in Perth’s business community who are well connected and use their connections & influence for the greater good by

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Supercharged Business Networking Event in Perth

Supercharged business networking event challenges for Guinness Book of Records By Mike Peeters Media 12th Nov 2015 Fun, frantic and frenetic – three words that perfectly captured the atmosphere at

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Speed Business Networking Perth Guinness Book Attempt

Perth’s business community is set to gather at Ascot Race course to break the Guinness Book of World Record on the 12th Nov 2015 by attending one of the three

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Winners Nifnex Influential 100 Awards 2015 in Perth

The Nifnex Influential 100 Awards were created to honor the small business sector in Perth and recognising those who are doing something proactive in their local business communities, who are

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Entrepreneur Interview Feature Ray Mancini

Perth based entrepreneur and Director of SIG Group, Ray Mancini originally started in the executive protection sector and has worked with big stars in the entertainment industry such as Mariah

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Smart Move, Smart Connections, Nifnex

Nifnex, an abbreviation of Nifty Nexus or Smart Connections, is a networking platform for businesses in the bustling West. It operates under the title of Nifnex Success Academy and it’s

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Photographs from The Nifnex Influential 100 Awards 2015 in Perth

The Nifnex Influential 100 Awards were created to honor the small business sector in Perth and recognising those who are doing something proactive in their local business communities, who are

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Influential 100 Perth Small Business Community 2015


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Can businesses afford not engaging a CFO? Interview with Rupen Kotecha

Whilst large organisations traditionally enjoyed the luxury of engaging a Chief Financial Officer (CFO), the services of a part time CFO are getting more and more essential within the small &

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PALM OFF your tasks for a better lifestyle; Interview with Sara Stockdale

Personal Assistance and Lifestyle Management is growing in importance and technology is making it somewhat harder for people with busy lifestyles. Zeeshan Pasha (CEO Nifnex), interviewed Sara Stockdale from PALM

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Are you tired of sore feet everyday? Interview with the founder of Louise M Shoes; Perth Entrepreneur

Shoes are such an important part of everyone’s day, and have a huge impact on life! We spoke with Louise M, who designed fashionable, stylish and comfortable shoes because she

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Do your customers owe you money?

When you provide a service/product to a customer, you obviously expect to get paid. What happens when you don’t? What happens when you get the run around or no response

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Perth Business Landscape Questionnaire

Perth’s business landscape is changing and we need the ability to not only do things better but also perfect the art of doing things differently. Loading…

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Get ready to take your business to the cloud

Christmas is coming! What homework does Your Business need to do to get ready for the cloud? By Nick Shmakov; Res-Q IT         Office 365, Exchange Online,

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Interview With John Assaraf

The Neuroscience of Business Success by John Assaraf Zeeshan Pasha interviews the Star of ‘The Secret’ & Author of 2 New York Times Best Selling Books   Why is it

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Interviews with Perth Businesses

Interviews based around Inspiration, Positivity & Knowledge, find out what makes these businesses unique and differentiates them from the competition. If you want us to interview you and highlight your

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NifnexTV Business Challenges Addressed By A Panel of Experts

Panel Discussions addressing Small Business Challenges   Zeeshan Pasha hosts a series of  Small Business TV episodes with a panel of three subject matter experts. Informal discussion that will address

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Business Networking Events in Perth

Are you looking for business networking opportunities in Perth? Nifnex hosts a number of business networking events in Perth and we also work with a number of business dissociations, chambers

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What does your website look like on a mobile device?

Is your business prepared for the MOBILE revolution? Did you know that 90%1 of smartphone users search for local information on their mobile device? As a local business owner that

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Overall Image, Presentation & Content When Submitting A Proposal or Tender

First impression is a lasting impression. When submitting a proposal to a prospective client or a tender, a number of factors need to be considered. Overall image of a business

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Is Your Team Constipated?

Today, people management is not an option. Managing the team can be an illusion of control. Trying to ‘manage people’ is dealing with the effect not the cause. The cause

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Four Ways to Boost Your Elevator Speech For Better Networking

“It isn’t just what you know, and it isn’t just who you know. It’s also WHO KNOWS YOU and knows what you do.” Networking is hands down the best way

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How You Can Revive Yourself & Your Business When You Are Almost Ready To Give Up?

Running a business has many challenges and it can take a toll on the business owner and their families. Thoughts of giving up on their venture is a common occurrence,

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The Courage To Fly This Financial Year

Imagine fearlessly launching programs and reaching your dream clients with ease, doing business the way you love to do it, having freedom to live life your way, taking action and

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Industry Update: Property Council Survey Findings Hight the Need for Flexibility and Foresight

By Jamie Vine, CEO and Founder, Liberty Executive Offices The Property Council of Australia recently surveyed office tenants across a broad range of businesses to understand the sentiments of tenants

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Social Media & Digital Advertising Myths. Facebook Vs. LinkedIn Vs. Google Ads

      We live in a digital age with clutter and there are misconceptions of social media advertising. Each platform has its benefits to target various segments of one’s

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First Home Owner Changes

3RD July 2014 Zeeshan Pasha of Nifnex interviews Doc Casely (Certified Practicing Conveyancer) o f  Thane Conveyancing. ZP: What are the changes that came into effect on 3 July 2014?

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The New Financial Year is Here Will It Be Different To Last!

The buzz catch phrase in financial circles over the last few months is the term “Business Financial Planning”. The truth is that the better advice businesses have been giving advice

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How Can You Manage Your Digital Clutter, Email & Newsletter Marketing Better?

Digital Newsletters can be annoying yet they are an important communication tool. How can SMEs handle receiving emails & newsletters, and also on the flip side manage their own newsletters

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