Archive for November, 2013

Cybercrime still huge concern for Australian businesses

Friday, November 29th, 2013
Photo credit; elhombredenegro on Flickr

Photo credit; elhombredenegro on Flickr

Business standards company BSI says still too many Australian companies aren’t taking cyber attacks seriously.

 BSI recently revised its Information Security ISO and the 2013 revision by BSI of the international standard organisation’s (ISO), ISO 27001 Information Security, combined with the launch of Star Certification for Cloud security providers represents a comprehensive rethink of the organisation’s approach in addressing cyber security.

BSI’s CEO, Howard Kerr, said that ISO 27001 is one of the fastest growing management systems globally, and the 2013 revision of the standard will assist businesses of all sizes to address cyber security threats.

“The challenges currently faced are quite phenomenal and with the introduction of the cloud, these issues potentially impact the whole supply chain,” he said.

According to Symantec’s Internet Security Threat Report 2013 the risk of a cyber attack on any business has risen by 250% since 2010.

As ARN reported back in October Cyber crime costs Australians $1.06 billion, cyber crime cost Australian business $1.06bn in the last year, and affected 5 million people.

Businesses are now doubling their data every 1-2 years, which puts a strain on company infrastructure, and the employees that administer it. Plus, the move to Cloud computing has seen more and more companies putting commercially sensitive information outside the physical company premises – and into the unknown.

Kerr also cautioned that, with the rise of mobility and BYOD, these more flexible forms of working are producing even more security hazards.

“All of these developments are making information security increasingly difficult to manage with threats are growing in sophistication and impact and greater penalties being imposed by regulators for breaches and the risks associated with reputational damage,” said Kerr.

BSI certifies more than 3500 clients in Australia.

To read more on this story, click here.

eWay partners with netsuite

Wednesday, November 27th, 2013
Photo credit; Neil Duncan, Deutsche Messe & CeBIT Australia on Flickr

Photo credit; Neil Duncan, Deutsche Messe & CeBIT Australia on Flickr

eWAY, a global online payment gateway provider based in Australia, has joined the NetSuite SuitePayments program to offer businesses greater payment options when using the NetSuite SuiteCommerce platform.

NetSuite said, in a news release, that by partnering with eWAY, it continues to open the door for more ecommerce, retail and wholesale distribution organisations to move their entire business to the cloud-based business management suite. This will help to improve operational efficiency of these organisations and offer their customers a richly interactive and friendly shopping experience.

Headquartered in Canberra, eWAY has processed over 80 million credit cards since it was started by CEO Matt Bullock. It now processes over $300 million per month for its rapidly growing customer base of more than 13,300 merchants in Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Canada and the UK.

“Time to go live to market is critical for any ecommerce business and any delays can be costly,” Bullock said. “By combining our leading payment gateway with the NetSuite SuiteCommerce platform, customers now have a solution to turn on online payments within days instead of weeks. Talking to the banks, gaining approvals and completing their forms is a painful process. As a one stop shop for merchants, eWAY makes this process much faster and easier.”

To read more on this story, click here.

OneShift founder defies odds, wins awards

Monday, November 25th, 2013
Photo credit; Epic Fireworks

Photo credit; Epic Fireworks

Although just 22 years old, Genevieve George can count herself as the CEO and founder of a successful online start-up.

George runs OneShift, an online jobs platform which matches employees with employers.

“I know it’s not that common for a 22 year-old female to run an online business but I had an idea and I had a strong feeling that this idea would work out,” George said.

And it’s even more uncommon than George lets on. A report conducted by the government’s Department of Innovation, Industry, Science and Research revealed 68.5% of small business operators were male and 31.5% were female. It also found that the lion’s share of business owners are aged 25 to 54 years old (28.2%). In 2007, business operators aged 20-24 years represented just 2.5% of all owners.

“Obviously one of the difficult challenges for a younger business owner is finding the funding to back your idea and to prove that your idea can really work. OneShift started off as a free WordPress site and was embraced predominately by restaurant, bar and caf?? owners in Sydney,” George said.

OneShift now has 217,000 users in a wide variety of businesses all around Australia.

OneShift is doing so well, it has been awarded the 2013 Winner of the Australian Business Award for three different categories:

  • Innovation
  • Enterprise
  • E-Business.

George was the 2013 Winner of the Anthill 30Under30, which recognises entrepreneurs under the age of 30 for their outstanding entrepreneurial endeavours. She was also a finalist for Australia’s Small Business Awards.

“I do think that many young, business-savvy individuals lack the support and assistance to launch their ideas into the real world of business but it’s not impossible,” George said. “You do need a strong idea and you need to be able to let this idea go wild – change it, shape it, develop it. Finally you need a lot of motivation and persistence.”

To read more about this story, click here.

Step-by-step guide to registering your own small business online

Friday, November 22nd, 2013
Photo credit; Midiman on Flickr

Photo credit; Midiman on Flickr

The Sydney Morning Herald recently published a step-by-step guide for who want to register their own small business online.

Here is what you need to do:

1. Decide on your business structure.

2. Apply for your Australian Business Number (ABN).

3. Check that your chosen business name is available.

4. Register your business name.

5. Register your website domain name.

Step 1: Decide on your business structure
When starting a business choose the business structure that best suits your needs.
Your business structure (aka applicant or entity type) refers to the way you will operate your business.
These include:
  • Sole trader: an individual trading on their own
  • Partnership: an association of people or entities running a business together, but not as a company
  • Trust: an entity that holds property or income for the benefit of others
  • Company: a legal entity separate from its shareholders.
You can change your business structure as your business grows.
Visit the Australian Taxation Office website for more information on each business structure.
Step 2: Applying for your Australian Business Number (ABN)
Your ABN is a unique number that allows you to identify your business to government and other businesses.
You can get your ABN online at the Australian Business Register.
Applying for an ABN is free and should take about 30 minutes.
Things you will need to provide:
  • your personal details
  • your business information
  • your associate details
  • reasons for your application
  • your business activity details and
  • a declaration that the information you have provided throughout the application is true.
Your new ABN will appear on the completed application screen and will be ready for you to use right away.
Step 3: Checking your chosen business name is available
You can check the availability of a business name online at the Australian Securities & Investments Commission (ASIC) website.
To check if your proposed business name is available:
  1. Search business names register on the ASIC Connect website.
  2. From the drop down menu select ‘Check business name availability’.
  3. Enter the name you would like to search in the field below.
  4. Submit your search by pressing the ‘Go’ button.
If your name is not available, keep searching until you find one that isn’t claimed.
Step 4: Registering your business name
After you have found an available business name, register the name with the ASIC to secure it by:
  1. Going to the ASIC Connect website.
  2. Signing up to create an account with ASIC prior to beginning your application. Once you have your account you can begin the application.
  3. Completing the application. This should take you around 15-20 minutes to complete and at the end of the application you will receive confirmation that your chosen name has been registered.
Applying for a business name costs $33 AUD for one year or $76 for three years. Visit the ASIC website for more information on business name payments and fees.
Your business name is only your identification and registering it does not give you full rights over the name. You should trade mark your business name, too.
Step 5: Registering your website domain name
Your domain name is your website address on the internet and gives your business an online identity or brand for your customers.
When picking a website name it’s best to go with a name that:
  • represents your business
  • is easy to remember, pronounce and spell
  • is three syllables or less.
If you want to buy a or web address you will need to have an ABN.
To register your domain name go to the .au Domain Administration Ltd (.auDA) website for links to registrars and resellers, and to confirm current fees and options.

To read more about this story, click here.

David Jones online sales up 1,000%

Wednesday, November 20th, 2013
1000 - Miguel

Photo credit; Miguel on Flickr

While sales growth for David Jones is flat-lining, its online sales increased by more than 1,000% in the first quarter of this financial year just ended.

Compare that to total sales revenue of $424.2 million, up just 2.1 per cent.

David Jones didn’t put a dollar figure to the online sales.

The key takeouts from the quarterly David Jones report:

* New South Wales and Victoria stores are the strongest for sales.

* Online sales up more than 1,000 per cent in the quarter. Its relaunched webstore is 12 months old next week.

* Total Sales up 2.1 per cent to $424.2 million from the same quarter the previous year of $415.6 million.

* Like for Like Sales down 0.3% to $414.2 million from $415.6 million.

* Sales were up 0.6 per cent excluding the disruption impact of the Canberra Centre store

To read more about this story, click here.

CEO of eWay vows to drag Aussie businesses to ecommerce, even if they are kicking and screaming

Monday, November 18th, 2013
Illustration credit; Tsahi Levent-Levi on Flickr

Illustration credit; Tsahi Levent-Levi on Flickr

The CEO of Australian online payment gateway provider eWay has taken it upon himself to try and coax more Australian businesses to embrace ecommerce by dramatically overhauling the speed at which businesses can gain a merchant account and get paid after transacting.

“We are going to change the speed of how long it takes to get a merchant account. Right now, if you try to get a merchant account, it takes four weeks, six weeks, six months,” eWay CEO and founder Matt Bullock says. “We are pushing it down to four days, and then we will change that down to four hours next year, then eventually get that down to nought hours. That is by getting rid of a whole bunch of banking processes which are busted, and us fixing them and doing them properly.”

The increased speed comes at a price: 2.2 percent and AU$0.30 per transaction, and an AU$25 per month fee. However, that also includes 24/7 support, which banks don’t offer.

Bullock says the higher cost won’t deter merchants, as they are more concerned with the issue of the time taken to get online, get trading, and get paid.

“You talk to the [payment] gateway [company], they say, ‘go away and talk to a bank’,” Bullock says. “You talk to the bank, and that is a long and painful process; sometimes you finish through it and sometimes you don’t. We’re saying, ‘talk to us, you don’t need to talk to your bank. We will do it all and we’ll do it quicker than the banks have ever done it before.’”

To read more about this story, click here.

Australia ranks 11th in ease of doing business

Friday, November 15th, 2013
Photo credit; Marc Falardeau on Flickr

Photo credit; Marc Falardeau on Flickr

Australia ranks 11th in the world for the ease of doing business and scores highly in terms of the ability to obtain credit and start a venture according to the World Bank/International Finance Corporation’s (IFC) latest annual Doing Business survey of 189 economies.

“Australia continues to rate highly overall and ranks among the top five economies when it comes to the ease of getting credit and starting a business,” IFC senior operations officer for the Pacific Jonathon Kirkby said in a statement on Tuesday.

Singapore continues to provide the world’s most business-friendly regulatory environment for local entrepreneurs, followed by Hong Kong and then New Zealand.

To read more about this story, click here.

CMS Critic gives you 10 reasons to embrace WooCommerce for your online startup

Wednesday, November 13th, 2013


Photo credit; SEOPlanter on Flickr

Photo credit; SEOPlanter on Flickr

CMS Critic has published its 10 reasons why people thinking of creating an online store should think about using WooCommerce.

Kaya Ismail, who wrote the piece, says you’d be hard-pressed to find a similar plugin which holds the same level of potential as WooCommerce.

WooCommerce now supports a sizeable slice of the ever-growing ecommerce pie, with over 1.6M downloads from around the world.

The open-source platform provides users with a feature extensive, yet hugely user-friendly experience, making it perfect for ecommerce startups to get a feel for online business in a way which is easy to digest, and doesn’t cost too much money.

CMS Critic’s reasons to check out WooCommerce for online startups:

1. It’s Free

Despite being free and open-source, WooCommerce offers extensive features out of the box, whilst also being extremely flexible both by nature, and via the additional of extensions.

2. Huge Flexibility

Merchants using the platform can exercise a whole lot of flexibility with their products, without having to know too much about the technical side of things.

3. More Than Ecommerce

WooCommerce doesn’t force users to go beyond their comfort zone when building their online store, yet at the same time, it readily opens the door for more than just ecommerce.

For example, WooCommerce users can build a fully functioning store within a professional website, alongside an integrated blog.

4. Familiar Friendliness

With WooCommerce being a WordPress plugin, past users of the platform will benefit from being able to recognize the user-friendly WordPress interface. That kind of familiarity when building an online store could easily save time and confusion, whilst bolstering creativity.

5. Vast Customization Options

Currently, users can choose between 39 different WooCommerce enabled themes. Once a theme has been selected, you can then get to work on changing pre-set CSS styles and colour themes, tweaking the code and experimenting with the special features which each theme offers.

6. Professional Yet Simple

Built into the platform can be found detailed order tracking and customer engagement tools, which allow merchants to view past and open orders, update delivery statuses, apply discounts and so forth. Pretty much everything else you need for a professional ecommerce setup, is part of WooCommerce, right out of the box.

7. Analytics Made Easy

The built in analytics system makes a wide array of statistics crystal clear. Figures like total sales, sales by date, average order totals, individual customer statistics and much more are all neatly presented via graphs, without the user ever having to leave their admin panel.

8. Apps Galore

There are hundreds of WooCommerce Extensions available, some of which are free, and some of which require a fee. From these extensions, one can find applications relating to accounting, payment gateways, marketing, reporting and more.

9. Room For Growth

As simple as WooCommerce is as an ecommerce platform, it also allows you to exercise some growth and expansion in terms of how you manage your store, products and customers.

10. Because WooThemes

They  have a wonderful track record of being reliable and exceedingly professional with both their products, and their support system. On top of a myriad of real, contactable people to talk to, WooThemes users can benefit from community forums, video tutorials, and more.

To read more about this story, click here.

Australian businesses ready to embrace cloud computing

Monday, November 11th, 2013
Photo credit; Kei51

Photo credit; Kei51

Australia is the second-most cloud ready country in the world, according to the Business Software Alliance.

A report from the International Data Corporation (IDC) revealed that about 86% of businesses in Australia were using the cloud in some aspect in July this year, which was a 15% increase compared to the same time last year.

The IDC also predicted that the Australian market for public cloud services will grow at a compound annual rate of 24.7% over the next five years, reaching about A$2.6 billion in 2017.

The Australia Business Review says more Australian businesses should embrace cloud computing because:

  • It is relatively easy and inexpensive to set up a cloud computing system.
  • The cloud enables you to streamline your computing processes and achieve economies of scale.
  • You can complete your computing tasks in less time and increase your productivity with fewer workers.
  • It provides easy and secure data backup and recovery.
  • Cloud computing technology will continue to evolve and get better in the future.

To read more about this story, click here.

Harvey Norman is late to the online party, but a welcomed guest nonetheless

Friday, November 8th, 2013
Photo credit; Nicolas Nova on Flickr

Photo credit; Nicolas Nova on Flickr

Harvey Norman has moved from confrontation to convert when it comes to online sales.

The retailer’s executive chairman Gerry Harvey famously described internet retail as “a lot of crap” in 1999 and was skeptical about it even as recently as 2006.

In November 2011 Harvey Norman finally joined the 21st Century and launched a website  that now accounts for 2% of group sales and is reporting annualised growth of more than 100% as sales from the Australian business overall have fallen for six of the past eight quarters.

“We were a little bit behind but we’re catching up,” says Gary Wheelhouse, Harvey Norman head of digital. Harvey Norman was so behind, in fact, that Wheelhouse’s job title didn’t even exist three years ago.

But he agrees with the prediction of Myer boss Bernie Brookes that Australia will follow the US and British markets, where big department stores such as Nordstrom and John Lewis are the biggest players in the online sector.

“Pure plays are great but one of the challenges that they have which we don’t is having inventory close to where customers are, and that’s really driving a lot of our thoughts on development,” Wheelhouse says.

“Very few online retailers would be able to get a camera to a customer in Karratha this afternoon, but we can because we have inventory in 170-odd locations across Australia. A lot of our products are about instant gratification — Lumia 1020 phones and Grand Theft Auto 5, people want it right now. That’s one of the big things driving our growth.”

The store network, mostly franchised outlets, are used as “click and collect” points for customers. The payoff for franchisees is that they have a chance to sell the customer picking up their online purchases something else — on that visit or in the future.

“We think of our store network as being our fulfilment partners, and click-and-collect customers buy more when they go into the store,” Wheelhouse says.

“It’s a local Harvey Norman customer, so sometimes they’re buying online and picking up in store, and other times they’re doing research online and then going into the store, so it works both ways. The benefits for franchisees are about servicing their local customer who is going to do the majority of their business with that store.”

To read more on this story, click here.