Categories
Business

Four tips to being an amazing public speaker

When you own a business, any time you speak in public you’re representing your company. That’s a lot of pressure, especially when you consider that most people are already nervous about speaking in front of people. There’s no magic cure for fear of public speaking but there are some things you can do to feel more confident, comfortable and natural in the spotlight while drawing your audience in.

Tell a relevant story

Stories are a great way to hold your audience’s attention and keep them emotionally invested in your presentation. Make sure the story is relevant to your overall topic, otherwise they’ll wonder why you spent time on it. The story can be about you personally or about someone at your company or a client—though don’t give away personal information without asking permission first.

Audiences like a personal connection with their speaker, and telling a story is a great way to not only establish credibility but to connect with the people listening to you. Be honest with your story and don’t be afraid to share tales of your own failures or adversity.

Keep the focus on you

Figures and graphics make presentations memorable but too many slides and your audience will stop focusing on what you say. Their attention will only be on the visual in front of them. Use graphics sparingly, to make a vital point or to illustrate data that’s too complex to say easily. Don’t read directly from the Powerpoint—use it as a prompt to remind you of what you wanted to say and grab the audience’s interest.

Be yourself

Audiences like speakers who are genuine, whether that’s in the form of being highly energized, somewhat funny, or more laid back. They can tell when speakers are trying to be something they aren’t, and changing your style will make you more uncomfortable when the spotlight is on you. If your style is laidback develop a more relaxed presentation. If you’re very comfortable improvising then make room for it when you talk. If you hate improvisation then make sure you’ve written your entire presentation ahead of time.

Know who you are and how you’re most comfortable and stay true and authentic during your presentation.

Practice, practice, practice

Okay it’s not the most ground-breaking advice, but one of the main concerns about public speaking is the worry that something will go wrong. The best way to prevent something from going wrong is to practice it as much as possible.

Write your presentation beforehand and read it out loud. First practice reading it out loud just to yourself. This will help you find any awkward phrasing or sentences that are too long. Then get your family or some friends together to hear it. Ask them for feedback about your content or your presentation. Did you speak too quickly? Look down too much? Seem uncomfortable? Use their feedback as you continue to practice.

The more familiar you are with your presentation, the more comfortable you will feel. And, because you’ll become more familiar with it as you practice you’ll spend much less time checking your notes, which will make the whole thing feel more natural.

Final thoughts

There will always be minor glitches or unexpected snags that happen in presentations. Audiences know that and are generally very forgiving of such things. Don’t spend too much time worrying about everything that could possibly go wrong, instead focus on things going right.

If you go into each presentation feeling confident and prepared, you can handle any minor issues that might arise.

Categories
Firm News

2018 Federal Budget

Hi There

Below is a link to the summary of the 2018 budget delivered by the Government on Tuesday night.

Undoubtedly the headline item is tax relief for individuals by lifting the 32.5% tax bracket to $90,000 from 1 July 2018 and the Government’s announcement of its intention to abolish the 37% tax bracket in 2024-25. In the 2022-23 financial year we will also see the Low Income Tax Offset increased to $645 and the 19% tax rate from $37,000 to $41,000.

Health & aged care was a key focus for this announcement. In the build up to the budget, we heard that there will be no increase to the Medicare levy, as the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) has been funded from other sources of revenue. Whilst we do not know the exact details of where this extra money has been found, the abandonment of this proposed increase is certainly welcomed. The Medicare rebate is increasing by 55¢ for a visit to the GP after a four year freeze and the Royal Flying Doctors Service given an additional $84 million to expand its services.

The Government is also tackling the sin taxes in this year’s budget. After crackdowns in recent times on the black economy, the Government’s next project to recoup lost revenue is to establish a tobacco task force – expected to raise an additional $3.6 billion in additional revenue – to crack down on the “chop-chop” tobacco trade. With regards to alcohol, the excise charged on craft beer kegs over eight litres will be equalised. This is intended to level the competition between small craft breweries and large multinational beer producers.

Please contact us for clarification, or further advice, regarding any of the topics covered in this newsletter through our contact form on the website.

HG-May-2018

Categories
Business

Update your business plan for a new year

As another year winds down, it’s a good time to reflect on your recent business successes – and consider what you’d like to achieve in the coming twelve to fifteen months.

These tips can help you with the process of making plans to help guide your business to greater success.

Set priorities

Entrepreneurs are typically highly creative and optimistic; as a result, they often have difficulty narrowing down their ideas from among all the exciting possibilities, whether it’s an opportunity to expand to a new market or choosing a better time management strategy.

As you update your business plan, focus on what’s most important for your business to achieve this year. Then break your goals down into smaller tasks, to maximize productivity and enjoy the little successes that lead to big changes.

Start by defining your top three business goals for the next four quarters. With those in mind, do some research to help you decide on the best way to achieve those three goals – and a reasonable timeline for meeting specific targets.

Think different

Your priorities in the coming year may be to hit a certain revenue target, launch a new product line or tap a completely new market.

An important thing to keep in mind as you make plans to move your business forward is how you’ll stay competitive. For instance, it’s important to review your pricing strategy on an annual basis, to ensure you continue to attract new prospects and retain customers.

As part of your overall business planning process, spend some time on competitive intelligence, too. Include in your plans how you’ll increase value for your offerings and continue to stand apart from the crowd.

Find money

If scaling your business is on your agenda for the year ahead, and you don’t have savings earmarked to fund your ideas, you’ll want to make sure your business plan includes adequate financial planning.

Applying to a lender for a business loan is one option. In this case, you’ll want to include up to date cash flow reports, income statements, budgets and projections in your plan for a potential lender.

If your business doesn’t have a credit history, you may need to look at other options for financing your plans. Using a business credit card on a regular basis and paying off the balance can help you build a good credit rating, which will help you prepare to apply for a loan down the road.

Your accountant can also help provide additional financial advice and support as you update your business plan, based on your most current financial records.

With these business planning tips in mind, you’ll be well-prepared for a new year of growth and continued success.

Final tips

  • Review your business plan every quarter to ensure you stay on track with your goals and priorities throughout the year.
  • Be realistic about opportunities and challenges as you plan ahead. Your accountant can offer business advisory services – and help you set meaningful short and long term goals.
  • As alternatives to applying for a loan or line of credit, consider crowdfunding or angel investing to help you meet your business goals.

 

 

 

 

 

Categories
Business General Financial Information

Growing your business without borrowing

Taking out a business loan may be your first plan of action for financing business growth. But there are excellent reasons to consider other options for finding capital to expand your business.

For one, it can be very difficult for a small business to secure financing, especially in the early days. You’ll need to prove to a lender that you aren’t a high risk, with financial documentation that shows your company has been profitable for a few years.

When you take out a loan you’ll need to consistently make payments toward the principal, interest, or both, depending on your agreement. If for some reason you can’t make your payments, the problem can snowball from losing the assets you pledged as collateral to more devastating losses, including bankruptcy.

Consider these four ways to finance growth without approaching a lender for money.

Ask for pre-payment

This option is as simple as asking your customers to pay you in advance of receiving your products or services. Explain that you are changing your payment policies and your new terms are that you receive payment on the first of the month, at the beginning of a project—whatever works for you. As the owner of your business, you get to decide when and how much you need to be paid in order to deliver your products and services.

On a related note, you might consider using a subscription model for a new income stream. Some possible subscription-based services with a recurring pre-paid fee are:

  • a password protected website offering valuable info and community for your customers
  • a monthly service membership website (i.e. beauty, dry cleaning, home maintenance)
  • box kits for DIY enthusiasts (i.e. cooking, crafting, and other hobbyists)

Try Crowdfunding

Crowdfunding campaigns connect individuals with a community of willing donors via a platform such as Kickstarter, Fundable, or Indiegogo in exchange for some reward.

In addition to providing an inexpensive source of financing, crowdfunding allows entrepreneurs to gain market validation for a new idea before overinvesting—and provides an opportunity to market to potential new customers. You’ll be able to start selling before your new product or service is ready so you can continue to avoid the small business debt trap.

Form an alliance
Partnering with other businesses is mutually beneficial: each company can increase their sales by introducing each other’s products and services to their own customers at no added cost. You can potentially attract brand new customers, too, by increasing your range of offerings by way of your alliance.

 

Likewise, a marketing alliance is a simple strategy where two companies agree to spread the word about each other’s products and services with their customers. Each partner would earn royalties on sales to the other partner’s customers, bringing in easy growth revenue without any additional marketing or advertising costs.

Final thoughts

As you move forward with your next phase of business growth—no matter how you fund it—be sure to touch base with a business advisor. Seeking the guidance of experienced business experts who can help you update your business plans, and choose the best strategies to cut costs, increase profits, and achieve your short and long-term goals, will lead to greater success.

Categories
Business

Is a business mentor worthwhile?

“Mentoring is a brain to pick, an ear to listen, and a push in the right direction.” — John Crosby

The opportunity to learn from a mentor can do more for a small business owner than any course, educational program, or degree. Being a mentee means you get the benefit of first-hand experience, without having to make all the mistakes yourself.

There are, in fact, a host of reasons why a well-matched mentor is an invaluable asset for an entrepreneur. You’ll have someone you can trust and confide in, lean on for advice, bounce new ideas off of, and get help refining your business plans.

Read on to learn how to connect with a mentor and get the most out of a mentor-mentee relationship.

Finding the right fit

The first step to seeking out a mentor is to know the kind of guidance you and your business would most benefit from, right now.

For business owners in the early start up stage, someone who can provide advice for surviving the first few lean years—and someone you can touch base with more often—may be the perfect fit.

In this scenario finding a mentor with experience in your industry is a plus, but not absolutely necessary (which can make your search for a mentor a bit easier).

If you’re in a highly specialized field (like IT), if you’re running a business in a niche market, or if you’re at the point where you’re ready to scale, you’ll likely want to narrow your search to a more selective pool of mentors with pertinent experience.

Where to look for a mentor

Start your search for a mentor in your current network. Think about who you know through your previous jobs, educational history, professional associations, and the local business community.

Your social media networks can be a great place to find a mentor, too. Be sure to get the word out via your LinkedIn groups, the Twitterverse, and Facebook. You never know who might be out there, just on the periphery of your social network, by one or two degrees of separation.

Another option is to search for organizations in your area—like Australia’s International Business Mentors—that help match up business owners with trained mentors.

Alternatives mentoring opportunities

Let’s face it: all business owners are busy people. And although it’s most beneficial to meet with a mentor consistently, doing so in person on a regular basis can be a challenge for both parties.

For some mentors and mentees what works best are facetime chats. Other options to consider are “flash mentoring” via quick lunch hour sessions, or connecting with a mentoring group that meets online. If you’re willing to pay to work with a mentor, a group scenario can also help reduce costs. 

Final thoughts
To get the most of out of mentoring—and to demonstrate how valuable your mentor’s help has been—be sure to follow up on your progress. A mentor will appreciate hearing how you’ve put their advice to work, your milestones and successes, and the goals you’d like to work on in the future. Acknowledging your progress will help you stay motivated, too, by seeing how far you’ve come.

Categories
General Financial Information

How to Maximize your Assets before Retirement with Tactical Investing

Risk tolerance, time horizon, and asset allocation – you’ve dealt with these factors for a good part of your life, but now, in the face of retirement, they take on a more urgent and significant role. These factors – particularly tactical asset allocation – are vital to maximizing your assets before your retire in a few years’ time.