Archive for November, 2013

Australian small business websites hit by hackers in wake of spying scandal

Wednesday, November 6th, 2013
Photo credit; Eliot Phillips on Flickr

Photo credit; Eliot Phillips on Flickr

Hackers claiming links to international activist group Anonymous defaced dozens of websites belonging to Australian businesses recently.

A group calling itself Anonymous Indonesia posted on Twitter a list of more than 100 Australian sites it had hacked, saying the action was in response to reports of spying by Australia.

The websites were defaced with a message reading “Stop Spying on Indonesia” and are mainly owned by small Australian businesses. They seemed to have been chosen at random.

Australia has been implicated in spying by its role in a U.S.-led surveillance network.

Reports that the Australian embassy in Jakarta was being used for spying prompted Indonesia to summon the Australian ambassador last week. And China demanded an explanation from the United States after the Sydney Morning Herald newspaper reported Australian embassies across Asia were part of the U.S. operation.

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Survey shows majority of Australian businesses suffer from digital illiteracy

Wednesday, November 6th, 2013
Photo credit; Justin Marty on Flickr

Photo credit; Justin Marty on Flickr

A survey commissioned by PayPal Australia has found that 57 percent of local businesses identify as having such low levels of digital literacy that it is preventing the business from operating more efficiently.

The survey also found:

  • only 51 percent of respondents said they have tried to improve their digital skills.
  • only 26 percent of respondants were selling online
  • just over a third were listing the business contact details online,
  • 65 percent said that conducting business online is the key to growing.

The survey was conducted by Lonergan Research, which sampled 507 Australian businesses with less than 20 employees.

“Small businesses are a cornerstone of the Australian economy; it is vitally important that public and private sector unite to empower their ongoing success, ensuring that technology does not serve to disproportionately favour geographies, demographics, or industry sectors,” said Jeff Clementz, managing director of PayPal Australia.

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Regional Development Australia Southern Inland wants to boost Australian online business presence

Tuesday, November 5th, 2013
Photo credit; Angela Thomas on Flickr

Photo credit; Angela Thomas on Flickr

Regional Development Australia Southern Inland aims to help local community organisations and small to medium businesses navigate their way around the internet and take advantage of high speed broadband with the Capital Digital Enterprise Program.

“The Australia Government has done research and the reason this program exists is because it showed that only 23% of Australian businesses have a proper online presence,” project officer Richard Everson said. “So 75% of businesses could do better online, there’s a huge potential there.”

The program will be delivered through a series of free weekly workshops facilitated by Three Sides Marketing as well as one-on-one mentoring sessions.

The two-hour workshops include topics such as:

  • creating a website
  • online marketing principles
  • e-commerce
  • online security, and
  • online business tools.

“There’s 16 workshops in total and we’ll run the circuit three times. There’ll be plenty of opportunity to attend workshops over the two years,” he said.

The program is designed for total novices to those who have already ventured into the online world.

Everson encouraged local community groups not just businesses to take advantage of the program which is scheduled to run until August 2015.

“Almost every single person in Queanbeyan belongs to a sporting group or a church group or a youth group or some sort of association. Don’t think just because it’s technology, it has to be a business,” he said.

“Sporting groups can run a website, send text messages to their players if the game’s cancelled, things like that.

“There’s something for everybody.”

An Introduction to the Capital Region Digital Enterprise Program will be held on Tuesday, November 5 at the Airport International Hotel from 5.30 – 7.30pm. Workshops will be held every Tuesday after that. For more information or to book, visit

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iSelect to miss revenue target, CEO resigns

Monday, November 4th, 2013
Photo credit; Dan DeChiaro on Flickr

Photo credit; Dan DeChiaro on Flickr

Australian online comparison company iSelect Ltd said recently it would miss its revenue target for the first half of fiscal year 2014 and revealed that its chief executive, Matt McCann, who had been with iSelect for six years, had resigned just four months after taking the firm public.

iSelect has lost almost 30 percent or about A$120 million ($113.56 million) of its market value since its June listing as earnings missed prospectus projections, raising doubts about the firm’s management of its initial public offering.

“They missed the mark in terms of expectations. There are issues around the whole IPO process – over-promised and under-delivered,” said Peter Esho, chief market analyst at Invast Financial Services.

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Australian PM urges Australians to support small businesses

Saturday, November 2nd, 2013
Photo credit;

Photo credit;

While doing some light tie shopping at the Ronald King clothing store in Croydon, Victoria, recently, Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott officially launched the Shop Small campaign, saying small businesses are at the heart of the Australian economy.

“We want see these businesses flourish and we want to create the economic conditions that make it easier for small business to start, to grow, to expand, to employ and to invest,” Abbott said at the launch. “Small business is not just at the heart of economy but it’s also at the heart of communities.”

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Australia’s top entrepreneurs share the best piece of business advice they’ve ever received

Friday, November 1st, 2013
Photo credit; Laughlin Elkind on Flickr

Photo credit; Laughlin Elkind on Flickr

Australia’s greatest entrepreneurs recently shared the best piece of business advice they’ve ever received with Here is the rundown.

1. Michael Fox – co-founder of Shoes of PreyKeep focused on one core product

His favourite piece of advice came from investors Mike Cannon-Brookes, (of Atlassian), and David Cunningham: “Keep focused on the one core product; don’t try to do more until you’ve nailed that.”

2. Dean Taylor – owner of online wine selling site Cracka Wines – Always have a back-up plan

His favourite piece of advice is a crucial one for business owners, who always need to be prepared with a back-up plan.

Never walk into a room that you can’t walk out of,” he says.

“The person who said it to me was Brett Chenoweth, an old friend and the former CEO of APN. He swears by it,” Taylor says.

3. Mick Liubinskas — Pollenizer founder – Run the numbers

When Liubinskas enjoyed a short stint at IBM, he met a friend — Kurt Bilderback — who told him to “always run the numbers”.

“Mick, you’ve got to run the numbers. Always. Not to get answers, but to know what the questions should be.”

4. Gabby LeibovichThe difference between success and failure

Leibovich said his favourite piece of advice was actually something he received just a couple of weeks ago from retail entrepreneur Joe Segal:“The problem with people is not that they aim too high and fail, but that they aim too low and succeed.”

5. Gary Ng — manager of E-Web Marketing, a digital agency which has won several BRW “Best Place to Work” awards — Get rid of the rules

His favourite piece of advice was provided to him by his mentor, Anthony Robbins: “The more rules you have about how people have to be, how life has to be for you to be happy, the less happy you’re going to be.”

6. Bruce Billson — Australia’s Small Business Minister — Get to work

His favourite piece of advice actually comes from Jason Gehrke, franchising expert: “For every $1000 you plan to invest in your business spend an hour of due diligence, planning and working out how you can profitably engage your customers.”

 7. Dave Slutzkin — head of website marketplace Flippa –  Listen to your customers

His favourite is a mantra for good customer service — although he can’t quite remember who told him the proverb.

“Customers have your best ideas,” he says.

8. John Winning — head of Appliances Online — Control the supply chain

Winning’s favourite piece of business advice actually comes from his grandfather:

“You can’t control what you sell something for; all you can control is what you buy something for. The market controls the sell price, so the only thing you can control is the supplier relationship and this will help you remain competitive.”

9. Andre Eikmeier — Co-founder of Vinomofo — Be careful what you spend money on

His favourite piece of advice comes from his “biggest inspiration”, entrepreneur Seth Godin.

“Don’t spend your resources on ‘customer acquisition’,” he says.

10. Tristan White — Founder of aged healthcare business The Physio Co. — Don’t try to do too much at once

His best piece of advice comes from George Nadaff, the founder of the American fast food chain Boston Market: “You can’t sit on two toilets.”

11. Naomi Simson — Head of ‘experiences’ retailer RedBalloon — It’s in your control

This proverb comes from a colleague who attended a presentation.

“If it’s meant to be, it’s up to me,” she says.

12. Jacqueline Arias — Founder of Republica Coffee — Your products aren’t special

Her favourite piece of advice comes from Carolyn Cresswell, who founded Carman’s — one of Australia’s other food-based success stories.

“Stop believing that your products are special, and start playing the very best game you can play.”

13. Dean Ramler — Founder of online furniture business Milan Direct — Details matter

His best piece of advice comes from his grandfather, who also worked in the furniture trade.

There is no such thing as a detail too minor!”

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