Archive for September, 2013

Brisbane businessman turns disaster into dollars

Monday, September 30th, 2013

Brisbane businessman Michael French turned the raging floods in that city in 2011 into a successful online business by filling a niche that so many people don’t know they need until it’s too late.

Photo credit; johndal on Flickr

Photo credit; johndal on Flickr

While he watched flood waters near his home, French worried about the state of his office, which held his digital marketing company only a few kilometres away. That’s when the idea for his Bizeo app hit him.

Essentially a dashboard app, Bizeo monitors all available data from servers to engines on key machinery, to temperature to exchange rates and social media for a business that is experiencing an emergency like a flood.

“Business owners spend a lot of their time running around checking on things, but this does it for them, and gives them a single indicator that everything is alright,” French says. “Bizeo monitors the status and data across your whole enterprise, and watches everything at once.”

As many Brisbane businesses struggled in the aftermath of the floods, French realized he could add even more functionality to the app.

“Our cashflow was struggling as our debtors blew out and our sales pipeline struggled as many Brisbane groups went under,” French says. “Bizeo now plugs into your CRM, accounting and social media systems.”

Bizeo received a $200,000 grant from Commercialisation Australia last year and French used those funds to hire a business development manager, and file for intellectual property protections such as trademarks and patents and is currently working with clients in Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, Mexico and London.

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Australia’s subject of takeover bid

Friday, September 27th, 2013
Photo credit; David Beyer on Flickr.

Photo credit; David Beyer on Flickr.

The Sydney-based online job outsourcing website has received a $US400 million takeover offer from a Japanese company.

Adelaide-born entrepreneur Matt Barrie, who owns 50% of the company, is currently mulling over the takeover offer.

The business has gone through massive growth since Barrie bought it as in September 2007, when it had already signed up about 500,000 freelancers and fulfilled contracts worth about $US23 million.

Barrie said he had fielded several offers for minority investment by ­private equity and venture capital funds over the past four years.

“You name it and there’s a fund out there that has pitched to us,” he said.

He has also fielded offers “in varying levels of completeness” to sell the entire company, but has so far declined.

The company, with offices in Manila, London, Buenos Aires and Jakarta, says it has 8.8 million registered users and has facilitated $US1.2 billion worth of projects.

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The Sydney Morning Herald offers you top tips for online expansion

Thursday, September 26th, 2013

Australians have spent $13.9 billion online in the past year, so that means if you’re a small or medium business owner or you have an idea that you think could fly online, now is the time to do it.

But don’t go in blindly, use these tips from the Sydney Morning Herald to help you.

Photo credit; SEOPlanter on Flickr

Photo credit; SEOPlanter on Flickr

1. Look beyond eBay – Many online businesses start off on eBay because the auction site makes it easy to get your toes wet in the online marketplace. But if you’ve found that you have an aptitude for it, don’t just stay stagnant with eBay, push your products out into more places to try and reach as many potential customers as possible.

The best way to do this is by using multiple channels. You can get e-commerce management software to help you utilise a comprehensive range of channels, from Amazon, Trade Me and Facebook to comparison shopping engines like Shopbot.

2. Inventory management -If you are thinking about selling across multiple channels, you do need to maintain careful management of orders and inventory levels so that products are distributed on each channel effectively.

3. Information is king – You should spend the time and effort to publish as much information about your products or services as possible. Smaller retailers often struggle to do this. However, the more information you have and put forward, the easier it is for shoppers to find your product on Google, comparison shopping sites and eBay.

4. If in doubt, get advice - There are several options that retailers can take up to kick-start or grow their online business. Web agencies or independent developers can help retailers get up and running online; some also specialise in different vertical industries.

5. Invest in your own website – For more seasoned eBay sellers, it’s worth considering investing in your own webstore, which lets you ‘take back control’ of the customer experience and control your branding. You will also own the customer data and thus be able to harvest these customer details for marketing purposes.

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William Hill aims to cut Australian online betting brands

Wednesday, September 25th, 2013

London-based sports betting company William Hill, which acquired Australia’s recently, will scrap online betting brands Sportingbet and Centrebet from the Australian marketplace.

Photo credit; Tsutomu Takasu on Flickr

Photo credit; Tsutomu Takasu on Flickr

William Hill chief executive Ralph Topping told The Australian Financial Review that the London Stock Exchange-listed company wanted eventually to consolidate most of the businesses under the William Hill brand to take on what he described as “struggling” online operations of local companies such as Tatts Group and Tabcorp.

It would be the London group’s first move since the $40 million acquisition of Tom Waterhouse’s company.

William Hill spent $700 million establishing a presence in Australia through the purchase of and Sportingbet (which owns Centrebet) in March.

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The Australia Business Review shows you how to rebuild a damaged brand online

Tuesday, September 24th, 2013

Brands can be badmouthed, bullied, beaten up and bruised by anyone online but there are ways to fight back and repair the damage.

Photo credit; Joshin Yamada on Flickr

Photo credit; Joshin Yamada on Flickr

The Australia Business Review recommends that you:

Apologize if the problem has been caused by your actions or those of your staff and put it on your social networks, your website and anywhere else your customers can see it. Make it honest and straightforward.

Remove negative remarks if possible, even if that means having to hire a lawyer to help you remove them from other sites. Remove the ones that you have control over.

Drown the negativity with SEO by burying them with SEO campaigns until they don’t show up on Google’s search results until the 10th page (most people don’t dig this far back into search results).

Re-Direct attention away from the negativity by doing something positive and promoting it, like holding a contest or donating to charity.

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Ladbrokes plc acquires Australian sportsbetting business

Monday, September 23rd, 2013

Photo credit; Images Money on Flickr

Ladbrokes plc, one of the world’s leading betting and gaming companies, has agreed to acquire Gaming Investments Pty Ltd, a fast growing online sports betting business in Australia. Gaming Investment’s business includes Pty Ltd, operator of the online bookmaker and Panda Gaming Pty Ltd, operator of an extensive racing and sports focused affiliate network in Australia.

The acquisition sees Ladbrokes acquire Gaming Investment under its newly formed Australian arm ‘Ladbrokes Australia’ for an initial consideration of A$22.5 million, plus an earnout payable at the end of 3 years which is based on the EBITDA for Ladbrokes Australia for the year ending 30 June 2016.

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iSentia acquires TwoSocial

Friday, September 20th, 2013

MEDIA monitoring company iSentia has acquired social media creative agency Two Social.

Rich Spencer, founder of Two Social, said the company helped organisations understand “if, why, how and when they should engage through social media and, most importantly, how to leverage these channels to achieve business objectives”.

Last year iSentia acquired social media monitoring group BuzzNumbers.

To read more on this story, click here.

Working from home increases in Australia

Thursday, September 19th, 2013

An increasing number of micro businesses are using the internet to let people work from home or other locations outside the office, according to figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics recently.

Illustration credit; Sean MacEntee on Flickr

Illustration credit; Sean MacEntee on Flickr

“More than a third of micro businesses now use the internet to enable staff to work from home,” said Andrew Puljic, ABS Director of the Innovation and Technology Statistics Branch. “That’s an eight percentage point increase in two years.”

“For larger businesses, more than three quarters have the facility for staff to use the internet to work from home.”

One fifth of Australian businesses had a social media presence as of June 30, 2012.

“Just over half, or 52 percent of large businesses use social media, but when you get to micro business that drops to only 13 percent,” said Mr Puljic.

“Businesses in the Arts and recreation services industry were the biggest users of social media, with nearly half having a presence on social media, followed by the Information media and telecommunications industry.”

Four fifths of Australian businesses with internet access use it for financial activities including online banking, invoicing and payments, however not all businesses with internet access have a website or other web presence.

Nearly two thirds of these businesses said they did not see the need to have a website, and one quarter reported they lacked the technical expertise to set one up.

To read more on this story, click here.

Fresh fruit and vegetables over the internet? Why not?

Wednesday, September 18th, 2013

Loveday fruit and vegetable growers Megan and Mark Whateley shut down their roadside produce stand in the Riverland region of South Australia and have opted instead to make sales online and deliver the produce directly to consumers’ front doors.

The convenience of online purchasing has proved popular for people in metropolitan areas.

Photo credit; Umstwit on Flickr

Photo credit; Umstwit on Flickr

“We know it’s quite a popular thing in other country areas and in Adelaide, we’re not sure that anyone else has trialled something like this up here, so we’re going to give it a go,” Megan said.

The couple decided to start off slow with just a Facebook page but will soon launch a website to go along with it.

“Friends of ours would buy from us and we thought there was a bit of a need for it and we trialled it with a few people and it’s grown fast,” Megan said.

The service has appealed to the younger demographic including working families.

“It’s just the convenience, working people, busy families, mums, they can just have everything brought to their door,” Megan said.

“It’s what people are looking for, a lot of shopping is done from the comfort of your home, without leaving the house.”

The family grows primarily sweetcorn, broccoli and cabbage for South Australian and interstate markets.

To read more on this story, click here.

SiteMinder sets its sites on Dallas for Americas headquarters

Tuesday, September 17th, 2013
Photo credit; David Herrera on Flickr

Photo credit; David Herrera on Flickr

Australian-based online hotel booking engine SiteMinder has chosen Dallas, Texas in the United States as its headquarters for North and South America.

“Dallas is just an exceptionally good market because of its connectivity, human resources available and the ability to have clientele that will serve Dallas,” said David Chestler, executive vice president of the Americas. “Dallas and Texas are pro business so we see great potential.”

The company offers cloud-based technology to help hotels with their booking processes and employs about 180 people in Sydney, Australia; Cape Town, South Africa; London and Bangkok.

To read more on this story, click here.