Welcome to September 2021
In this issue:
- Industry News
- GRANTS – check you are receiving the right grant support
- NO COST lockdown learning now on offer
Ellie & Phil
Lockdowns are never easy and we know how hard this period has been for us all. We are STILL HERE, offering advice and support and we will be continuing our check in’s and keep in touch calls this next month.
We know many of you have valued this connection. Phil and I are both now proudly Mental Health First Aid qualified, and so we are able to use these skills to support you and ask the right questions if you are encountering some mental health challenges as you run your business, or have an idea for your business. Our approach will be to ensure we provide a safe way to ask the right questions as part of our advice session. The National Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing 2007 (this is the latest data) estimated that nearly 1 in 2 (46%) Australians aged 16–85 had experienced a mental disorder during their lifetime and those are only the ones who admitted their issue. We know that this can be triggered by financial challenges or other socioeconomic factors.
Whilst we aren’t trained medical physicians, we will be asking the right questions and be able to signpost you to the right advice and support. Look after one another and yourselves.
Business NSW calls for vaccinated people to be at front of reopening
Business NSW, the paid membership advocacy body for small businesses in New South Wales has called for a reopening of the economy based on vaccinated people having increased freedoms. Business NSW CEO Daniel Hunter said that vaccinated people should be at the forefront of reopening, with services that can be delivered outdoors at the top of the list of those which could reopen.
“The current COVID-19 lockdown is having a significant and damaging impact on our economy, on our community’s mental health and on livelihoods,” he said. “It is now time for us to start the planning for reopening parts of the economy in a COVID Safe way, starting with people who are fully vaccinated.”
“Reopening low-risk businesses, particularly those that are primarily based outdoors, such as outdoor personal trainers or hospitality venues with outdoor seating, to people who are fully vaccinated should be a priority.”
Phil covered this same issue in the the first 20 minutes of the show from, 31/8/2021, so you may wish to take a listen for a local angle on this listen here.
Make sure you are across all the grants available to you
With the 2021 COVID-19 Support Package, the NSW Government will provide financial assistance, support measures and tax relief to help businesses and people across the state impacted by the current COVID-19 restrictions. Make sure to check the eligibility criteria – all the available grants are here and they include:
- Apply for the 2021 COVID-19 business grant
- Apply for the COVID-19 micro-business grant
- Apply for the small business fees and charges grant
DID YOU KNOW?
Free Lockdown Learning
If you’re currently in lockdown and want to upskill, you can with a fee-free* online short course. TAFE NSW, in conjunction with the NSW Government, is offering a number of fee-free* short courses to all NSW residents*, but places are limited. Courses are a mix of self-paced online or teacher-led virtual classrooms, which can pathway into a variety of full TAFE NSW qualifications.
*Eligibility criteria and T&Cs apply including one course per person.
- Statement of Attainment in Business Administration – Computing Skills
- Statement of Attainment in Business Skills for Supervisors
- Statement of Attainment in Construction Materials and Work Health and Safety
- Statement of Attainment in Digital Security Basics
- Statement of Attainment in Drones in Agriculture
- Statement of Attainment in Emotional Intelligence
- Statement of Attainment in Food Handling
- Statement of Attainment in Introduction to Accounting
- Statement of Attainment in Mental Health
- Statement of Attainment in Producing Documents and Spreadsheets
- Statement of Attainment in Small Business
- Statement of Attainment in Social Media Engagement
Other events news…
To find out about other NORTEC courses on offer click here
To find out about The Australian Small Business Advisory Services (ASBAS) program provides services that help small businesses to make the most of digital tools and offers broader advice specific to your business needs. Northern Region BEC is the ASBAS provider that covers Northern NSW, with offices located in Armidale, Coffs Harbour and Port Macquarie. We run an extensive program of high-quality workshops and training webinars and have advisors on the ground speaking with clients daily. We have around 700 small business clients in Northern NSW alone – from Coffs Harbour to Tweed Heads, check out their training here
Self care isn’t selfish
WHAT IS SELF-CARE?
Self-care is a deliberate activity to maintain or improve our physical, emotional or mental health.
It includes acts that revitalise us and give us a sense of pleasure and well-being. It is not those tasks or activities that we dislike but force ourselves to do; it is something that restores us.
It is not selfish. It is looking after ourselves, so we are better able to look after others as need arises.
It excludes strategies that may be described as avoiding stress or pain, such as addictive patterns e.g. alcohol and other drugs, gambling.
SELF-CARE WHEN WORKING
- Balance challenging and difficult work with simpler, more enjoyable tasks
- Take all breaks – resist working lunches or eating at your desk
- Try to eat healthy, balanced meals
- Identify and connect with support networks, especially colleagues who re-energise us
- Take sick leave when you notice increased signs of stress and fatigue
- Check personal boundaries.
SELF-CARE AT HOME
- Engage in regular, moderate exercise
- Spend time on non-work hobbies
- Spend time relaxing; try meditation, progressive
- muscle relaxation, yoga, and just getting some rest
- Reduce or disable work access – set limits on
- your availability on the phone, and don’t check
- email after a specific time
- Spend time away from screens of all kinds for
- at least an hour before bed
- Try to have a regular bedtime and maintain
- good sleep hygiene.
For more resources on helping with anxiety and depression visit Mental Health First Aid’s website
NEW CLIENT UPDATE
Welcome to our new clients, including Matt Williamson from Good Cover, a local Bangalow based personal insurance company that is already getting some good deals for businesses locally and cutting money off their premiums. Drift n Tides, an amazing digital print business that has turned photography into an art form, a new business about to launch in October (under wraps until then) Charlie and her jewellery business, the Wild Kinnection Kollective, a community dedicated to finding authentic health & wellness through nature immersion, and wild therapies, who is exploring another idea with Build Grow Run and Affirmation Nation (yet to launch formally) building positive affirmations into a range of products and services.
We love supporting you, hand holding your ideas, your energy and your entrepreneurial vibes! Don’t forget you can literally ask us anything… here is a sample of what we have been working on with our clients this week:
- Motivation hacks
- Quarterly marketing tactics
- Advice on naming and research
- Business planning for non finance heads
- Profitability and cash flow challenges
- Automating your business
- Helping focus your efforts
- Being a friendly ear/sounding board
FAST INSIGHT FACTS
82% of small businesses fail because of cash flow problems. Proper financial management is the key to ensuring that your business is in the 18% minority. The cruel truth about entrepreneurship is that 31.8% of small businesses go bust in their first year. 50% fail before their fifth birthday. The reason? Most small businesses fail due to cash flow problems. They run out of money!
The good news is that if you’re a business owner, then you can easily avoid such an eventuality by properly managing your finances. Here’s how: Your cash flow is the total amount of money coming into and going out of your business. It’s usually affected by many things, one of the most important being your pricing strategy.
If you underprice your goods or services, then you won’t have enough cash flowing in. On the other hand, overpricing may push you out of business because you won’t make enough sales. So you want to price yourself at that sweet spot where you’ll be competitive enough without having to work too hard for little pay.
It would help if you also had a good billing strategy to ensure that money flows into the business. If you have lots of cash tied up in unpaid invoices, then you may lack the liquidity to stay afloat. If you are facing issues with billing, try to encourage your clients and customers to pay on time by offering time-based discounts.
You can, for example, introduce terms when a customer pays ahead of time they receives a 2% discount when they pay an invoice within 10 days. Otherwise, the full amount is due in 30 days.
Don’t forget to create a budget, which is much easier to do if you have a dedicated business account. For one, it will help you to track your income and expenses. Secondly, you can use the budget to set a revenue line and a ceiling for expenses. By doing so, you’ll ensure that your business always has some operating cash.
Use affordable credit
Contrary to what many business owners think, credit is not a bad thing when used responsibly. An influx of loan capital can help you acquire equipment, hire more people, meet payroll needs, pay utility bills, and so on. Ultimately, a good line of credit will keep you operational until your invoices are paid.
The trick lies in choosing an affordable credit product for your business. For example, traditional banks typically charge high-interest rates. In addition, you’ll also be obliged to pay origination fees, processing fees, packaging fees, NSF fees, late payment fees, prepayment penalties, and so on. These charges make bank loans costly for small businesses. Therefore, it’s important to compare alternate sources of finance to see what would work best for your situation.
DID YOU KNOW?
How to stay motivated when you just aren’t feeling it!
Design Goals, Not Chores
Ample research has documented the importance of goal setting. Studies have shown, for example, that when salespeople have targets, they close more deals, and that when individuals make daily exercise commitments, they’re more likely to increase their fitness levels. Abstract ambitions—such as “doing your best”—are usually much less effective than something concrete, such as bringing in 10 new customers a month or walking 10,000 steps a day. As a first general rule, then, any objectives you set for yourself or agree to should be specific.
The trick is to focus on the elements of the work that you do find enjoyable.
Take New Year’s resolutions. People who made resolutions at the start of January that were more pleasant to pursue—say, taking on a yoga class or phone-free Saturdays—were more likely to still be following through on them in March than people who chose more-important but less enjoyable goals. This is despite the obvious fact that aspirations for the New Year are usually tough to achieve; if they weren’t, they wouldn’t require a resolution!
Of course, if the external reward is great enough, we’ll keep at even the most unpleasant tasks. Undergoing chemotherapy is an extreme example. In a work context, many people stay in their jobs for the money, feeling like “wage slaves.” But in such situations they usually do the minimum required to meet the goal. Extrinsic motivation alone is unlikely to help us truly excel.
In an ideal world we would all seek out work roles and environments that we enjoy and thus keep our engagement high. In cases where that’s impractical—we don’t all find jobs and get assignments we love—the trick is to focus on the elements of the work that you do find enjoyable. Think expansively about how accomplishing the task might be satisfying—by, for example, giving you a chance to showcase your skills , build relationships, or create value for customers.
Finally, try to offset drudgery with activities that you find rewarding—for instance, listen to music while tackling that big backlog of e-mail in your in-box, or do boring chores with friends, family, or your favourite colleagues.
Find Effective Rewards
Some tasks or even stretches of a career are entirely onerous—in which case it can be helpful to create external motivators for yourself over the short- to-medium term. You might promise yourself a gift for doing something. But be careful to avoid perverse incentives. One mistake is to reward yourself for the quantity of completed tasks or for speed when you actually care about the quality of performance. An accountant who treats herself for finishing her auditing projects quickly might leave herself open to mistakes, while a salesperson focused on maximizing sales rather than repeat business should probably expect some unhappy customers.
Another common trap is to choose incentives that undermine the goal you’ve reached. If the reward for excelling at work one week is to allow yourself to slack off the next, you could diminish the positive work you’ve achieved. Research on what psychologists call balancing shows that goal achievement sometimes licenses people to give in to temptation—which sets them back.
In addition, some external incentives are more effective than others. For instance, in experiments researchers have discovered that most people work harder (investing more effort, time, and money) to qualify for an uncertain reward (such as a 50% chance of getting either $150 or $50) than they do for a certain reward (a 100% chance of getting $100), perhaps because the former is more challenging and exciting. Uncertain rewards are harder to set up at work, but not impossible. You might “gamify” a task by keeping two envelopes at your desk—one containing a treat of greater value—and picking only one, at random, after the job is done.
Loss aversion—people’s preference for avoiding losses rather than acquiring equivalent gains—can also be used to design a strong external motivator. In a study scientists from the University of Pennsylvania asked people to walk 7,000 steps a day for six months. Some participants were paid $1.40 for each day they achieved their goal, while others lost $1.40 if they failed to. The second group hit their daily target 50% more often. Online services such as StickK.com allow users to choose a goal, like “I want to quit smoking,” and then commit to a loss if they don’t achieve it: They have to donate money to an organization or a political party that they despise, for example.
When people are working toward a goal, they typically have a burst of motivation early and then slump in the middle, where they are most likely to stall out. In an experiment, participants who were working on a paper-shape-cutting task cut more corners in the middle of the project than they did on their initial and final shapes.
There are several ways to fight this pattern. If you break your goal into smaller subgoals—say, weekly instead of quarterly sales targets—there’s less time to succumb to that pesky slump.
Giving advice may be an even more effective way to overcome motivational deficits.
A second strategy is to change the way you think about the progress you’ve achieved. When we’ve already made headway, the goal seems within reach, and we tend to increase our effort. For example, consumers in loyalty programs tend to spend more when they’re closer to earning a reward. You can take advantage of that tendency by thinking of your starting point as being further back in the past; maybe the project began not the first time you took action but the time it was first proposed.
Another mental trick involves focusing on what you’ve already done up to the midpoint of a task and then turning your attention to what you have left to do. For example, in a frequent-buyer promotion, emphasizing finished steps (“you’ve completed two of 10 purchases”) increased customers’ purchases at the beginning, and emphasising missing steps (“you are two purchases away from a free reward”) spurred consumption as buyers neared the goal.
Harness the Influence of Others
Humans are social creatures. We constantly look around to see what others are doing, and their actions influence our own. Even sitting next to a high-performing person can increase your output. But when it comes to motivation, this dynamic is more complex. When we witness a colleague speeding through a task that leaves us frustrated, we respond in one of two ways: Either we’re inspired and try to copy that behavior, or we lose motivation on the assumption that we could leave the task to our peer. This is not entirely irrational: Humans have thrived as a species through individual specialization and by making the most of their comparative advantages.
We can still use social influence to our advantage. Research shows that when a friend endorses a product, people are more likely to buy it, but they aren’t likely to if they simply learn that the friend bought the product. Listening to what your role models say about their goals can help you find extra inspiration and raise your own sights.
A final way to harness positive social influence is to recognise that the people who will best motivate you to accomplish certain tasks are not necessarily those who do the tasks well. Instead, they’re folks who share a big-picture goal with you: close friends and family or mentors like us!. Thinking of those people and our desire to succeed on their behalf can help provide the powerful intrinsic incentives we need to reach our goals.