Albany Creek Business Contacts

COMPUTER VIRUSES 101

Main Computer Viruses explainedLet me start by saying “I like my computer guy, but most of the time I have no idea what he is saying”. It’s like he is talking a foreign language when he asks me about Trojans, Worms and Logic Bombs. Unfortunately, my eyes glass over, my mind starts to wonder and when I think he has paused for a breath, I jump in and say “but you’ve got it all under control don’t you?”

Yes, I am guilty sometimes of not following my own advice. When talking to clients I say you must never give full responsibility of functions of your business to someone else. If your supplier is not reputable, you won’t know and then it may be too late when you find out. Every business owner needs a level of understanding in relation to all functions of their business to ensure they are protected from fraud, negligence and misappropriation.

I was most fortunate to be at the Albany Creek Business Contact’s networking meeting this week to listen to Nathan Dobbins (Core Computers) – yep, my computer guy – speak in very lay terms about computer viruses, what they do and why it is so important to have virus protection on your computer (even if you have to pay for it). Here’s what he had to say.

Nearly one (1) million new malware threats are released every day. After we all got over the shock of this statement, he went on to explain the seven (7) major types of viruses:

  • Crimeware
  • Macro Viruses
  • Trojans
  • Worms
  • Logic Bombs
  • Malware
  • PUPs

Crimeware

This software is designed to steal personal information and perform some other illegal operation. In other words, it is a malicious software that causes a crime to be committed. Crimeware facilitates programs and documentation (or “kits”) that enable even non-technical people to set up their own spam, virus or phishing attacks.

Macro Virus

This is a virus written in a macro language and placed within a document. The viruses have to be “run” in order to do things. When the host document is opened and the macro is executed, commands in the macro language do the destruction or the prank.

Trojan

A Trojan is similar to a virus except that it does not replicate itself. Often sneaking in attached to a free game or other supposedly worthwhile utility, the Trojan remains in the computer doing damage or allowing someone from a remote location to take control. Trojans can be programs that look legitimate however, when run may be used to locate password information or make the system vulnerable to future entry or simply destroy the user’s stored software and data.

Worms

Worms (Write Once Read Many) are destructive programs that replicate themselves throughout a computer or across a network (both wired and wireless). Worms can do damage by sheer reproduction taking up internal disk and memory resources. They can also deposit a Trojan.

Logic Bombs

Logic Bombs are programs that destroy data when certain conditions are met. For example, a logic bomb may reformat a hard disk or insert random bits into data files on a certain date or if a particular employee records is missing from an employee database. Many viruses are logic bombs because they deliver their payload after a specific trigger event occurs.

Malware

Malware (MALicious software) is software designed to destroy data, steal information and/or aggravate the user.

PUP

A PUP (Potentially Unwanted Program) is an application that is installed along with the desired application to user actually asked for. Also known as a “barnacle”, in most cases, the PUP is spyware, adware or some other unwanted software. What makes the spyware or adware a PUP and not pure Malware is the fact that the end user license agreement does inform the user that the additional program is being installed. Given that most people don’t read the license agreements, the distinction is a subtle one.

Even I can understand this information and am checking computers to ensure sufficient protection.

 

Albany Creek Business Contacts consists of local quality and reliable businesses who provide a wide range of services from home and residential services to B2B and commercial services. Our service areas cover primarily Albany Creek, Eatons Hill, Brendale, Aspley, Warner, Chermside, Strathpine, North Lakes. However many members will cover greater areas.

Albany Creek Business Contacts meet fortnightly on a Wednesday morning for a 7am breakfast and networking meeting.

Balanix Solutions – Accountant, Business Advisor, Bookkeeping.

Situated in Strathpine on Brisbane North, we partner with our clients to assist them in their accounting, business management and bookkeeping needs. Our clients vary in industries from professional services (such as law, vet and dentist) to the trades (mechanic, bricklaying, plasterer etc), hospitality and retail. Are clients are located in the Pine Rivers area (including Brendale, Lawnton, Albany Creek and Eatons Hill) through to Kallangur, Petrie, North Lakes and Caboolture, as well as Brisbane South, the Gold Coast and various other parts of Queensland.

Call us today … we can help (07 3264 4783)

6 Simple Actions to Kick Start an Awesome 2016 for Your Business

Unfortunately that holiday break is now a distant memory. On the bright side, now is the time to channel that new found energy into ensuring an awesome 2016 for you and your business.Taxation Accountant Brisbane North

“ Yeh Yeh Yeh,” I hear you say. It’ll be right – we just need to keep doing what we are doing.

Maybe, Maybe not!

I was privy to be a part of a discussion between 15 savvy business owners who were asked “What are you going to do in 2016 to improve your business?” Here’s what they said:

  1. Get out more face-to-face with prospective customers or referrers. Physically cold call prospects – be visible. Make sure you dress appropriately when doing this – example given was if you are a plumber, don’t be visible to prospects from a job which has left you dirty and smelly – dress in clean uniform or business like to project the image you wish to give as the first and lasting impression. Also, ask the prospect questions where they are compelled to give an answer (ie, open questions). For example: don’t ask “do you know anyone who would be interested in my product/service” – ask “Who do you know who would be interested in my product/service”.
  2. Set and write down your goals and actions for the year. Schedule actions and activities where possible to ensure they get done. If you are in a business where you have repeat regular customers, schedule these customers in as much as possible and then look at your gaps for follow-up and filling.
  3. Schedule regular time in your diary to work on your business. Treat your business as a customer and give it time and invest in its success. Develop processes and systems where possible in your business to free up time and ensure consistent quality service.
  4. Continuously know your clients and communicate with them. Build a very detailed database of your clients. Have frequent contact with them over a coffee/event, through an email or newsletter, maybe a phone call, through a birthday/Christmas/special occasion card etc. Provide interesting, timely and relevant information to your clients so they know they are not just a dollar to your business.
  5. Look at your expenses and see where you can reduce some. Conversations around me at the moment centre on Australia Post and the increase in fees/stamps. Businesses I know who traditionally mailed invoices, quotes etc are now turning to email to reduce costs.
  6. Look after yourself. As business owners, the buck stops with us and generally we are the last to be paid and the last to be cared for in the business. But, if you were to take ill or for some reason not be able to be there for your business, could it survive? Look after you – (physically, mentally & spiritually) – sleep, exercise, relax, eat well, drink lots of water, take a time-out, have that massage, read, ask yourself – does this have to happen today or could it wait until tomorrow, take time to hug your partner and/or kids and let their days fill-up your mind for a while rather than thinking about your business.

Wishing you well for an Awesome 2016!

Contributors from the Albany Creek Business Contacts – Sally Balwin (Balanix Solutions) Kathy Patterson (Brendale Stationery Supplies) Matthew Fox (Brisbane hosting & Web Design) Kirsty Newbery (Caring Cottage) Brad Davies (Conquest Pest & Termite Control) Nathan Dobbins (Core Computers) Scott Deaves (David Deane Real Estate) Oriano Giammichele (GT Racing, Mobile Mechanic)  Rhennen Ford (Streten Mason Lawyers ) Jason Matthey (InsuranceWeb) Tracie Palmer (Cornerstone Home Loans) Tracey Carter (Scrub Mutts) Deborah Marler (Just Blue Home Services) Allan Hewish (Pinnacle Phone & Data) Warwick Royal (Plumbaround)

 

Albany Creek Business Contacts consists of local quality and reliable businesses who provide a wide range of services from home and residential services to B2B and commercial services. Our service areas cover primarily Albany Creek, Eatons Hill, Brendale, Aspley, Warner, Chermside, Strathpine, North Lakes. However many members will cover greater areas.

Albany Creek Business Contacts meet fortnightly on a Wednesday morning for a 7am breakfast and networking meeting.

Balanix Solutions – Accountant, Business Advisor, Bookkeeping.

Situated in Strathpine on Brisbane North, we partner with our clients to assist them in their accounting, business management and bookkeeping needs. Our clients vary in industries from professional services (such as law, vet and dentist) to the trades (mechanic, bricklaying, plasterer etc), hospitality and retail. Are clients are located in the Pine Rivers area (including Brendale, Lawnton, Albany Creek and Eatons Hill) through to Kallangur, Petrie, North Lakes and Caboolture, as well as Brisbane South, the Gold Coast and various other parts of Queensland.

Call us today … we can help (07 3264 4783)

How Small Business Value Competes with Price

Small Business CompetitionIn most industries, there is a big player usually taking market share based on price. You’ve seen the ads –

Bunnings – Where lowest Prices are just the beginning.

Officeworks – Big Ideas, Lowest Prices

Specsavers – Stylish Frames, Great Prices … and so on.

As we know, small business makes up 90+% of businesses in Australia. Unfortunately, many of them can’t compete with the large corporations on price. So how then do these businesses be heard over the noise of the large corporations?

This question ignited great discussion amongst my fellow members of the Albany Creek Business Contacts (ACBC) networking group. With a terrific cross section of small business represented not only from industry perspective but also taking into account micro-business, small business who employ and franchise representation, it was unanimously agreed that the message is the value small business can provide can outweigh dollar savings.

If you are in the business of selling products, small business can struggle with competitive price in relation to large corporations because they don’t have the buying power of the larger competitors – for example, large organisations purchases products for resale in much larger quantities than a small business competitor thereby having a better bargaining position to drive the purchase price down and then, in turn, being able to resell at a lower price. However, in many instances, you get what you pay for – cheap, short life, limited service and in some instances, low value for money.

Which leads to the point that the Best Price does not necessarily mean the cheapest price. By way of example, Uncle Henry does weekend electrical work at mates rates. Henry has worked in the construction industry for 15 years however, he isn’t a qualified sparky but has done lots of electrical installation in his time. His price to do some rewiring work and power point installation works out to $150 plus a six pack (and he will require lunch and a chat). A qualified electrician, with 15 years’ experience as an electrician, who keeps his skills current, uses correct and appropriate equipment which has been correctly maintained to industry standards, provides a guarantee/warrantee in relation to their work done and carries all appropriate insurances in relation to their business/work charges for the same job $250.

Using this example, a price driven customer would use Uncle Henry and run the risk of unsafe work and loss of insurance in the event of destruction caused by the electrical work. However, look beyond the price as to the value for money proposition and in this event, I would suggest, the customer would choose the qualified electrician to do the work.

So how does small business communicate the value proposition in the market place in order to compete against those promoting based on price? Well my ACBC colleagues believe it is about reputation for the value of using the small business.

OK, well that’s great I hear you say, but how does a small business build that reputation and get it out there?

Well here is some suggestions:

  • Blog about your business and how you add value/demonstrate expertise. In my example above, the qualified electrician can blog about his safety processes/checks and balances, the equipment he uses and why, industry knowledge and scams customers should be aware of and so on.
  • Promote the ethics of your business.
  • Engage in referral networks like ACBC where people get to know you and form strong bonds with your business to promote you to others.
  • Client Nurture Programs to engage existing clients/customers to share the love of you.
  • Gather and publish testimonials and reviews about your business.
  • Don’t assume that people (even friends and family) know about your business – explain to them what you do and what sets you apart from the competition.

When thinking about your value proposition you wish to communicate to the market place, ask yourself – if all businesses were the same for a customer, what would make them choose one over the other?

(Blog contributors – Rob Carmody (Australian Integrated Communications) Sally Balwin (Balanix Solutions) Kathy Patterson (Brendale Stationery Supplies) Matthew Fox (Brisbane hosting & Web Design) Kirsty Newbery (Caring Cottage) Brad Davies (Conquest Pest & Termite Control) Scott Deaves (David Deane Real Estate) De Wet van der Nest (Express Air Con Cleaning) Oriano Giammichele (GT Racing, Mobile Mechanic) Rhennen Ford (Streten Mason Lawyers) Tracey Carter (Scrub Mutts) Jason Matthey (Insurance Web) Damien Jenkins (Australian Unity, North Lakes) Anne-Louise Underwood (SMS Toolkits) Bruce Hall (Wombat Electrical)

Albany Creek Business Contacts consists of local quality and reliable businesses who provide a wide range of services from home and residential services to B2B and commercial services. Our service areas cover primarily Albany Creek, Eatons Hill, Brendale, Aspley, Warner, Chermside, Strathpine, North Lakes. However many members will cover greater areas.

Albany Creek Business Contacts meet fortnightly on a Wednesday morning for a 7am breakfast and networking meeting.

Balanix Solutions – Taxation | Accounting | Business Advise.

Situated in Strathpine on Brisbane North, we partner with our clients to assist them in their accounting, business management and bookkeeping needs. Our clients vary in industries from professional services (such as law, vet and dentist) to the trades (mechanic, bricklaying, plasterer etc), hospitality and retail. Are clients are located in the Pine Rivers area (including Brendale, Lawnton, Albany Creek and Eatons Hill) through to Kallangur, Petrie, North Lakes and Caboolture, as well as Brisbane South, the Gold Coast and various other parts of Queensland.

Call us today … we can help (07 3264 4783)

Business Planning-Why Do It?

Sally Balwin from Balanix Solutions presented a seminar on Business Planning to local business owners who belong to the Albany Creek Business Contacts (ACBC). The Seminar covered why all business owners should go through business planning and what they should look at and do to complete a plan.

Hear what Sally had to say about why business owners should do business planning.

… of the Business Plan … You will actually see that because some of you will sit back and say “Oh my god, I don’t do that – Oh I don’t think about that” … You actually should; and the reason being is the last point , but I will get to that in a minute.

You gain a deep understanding – you really understand the business that you are in. And we’ve talked about in ACBC Jobs verses Business – are we creating a job – are we creating a business. But one of the things is the serious business owners do this sort of stuff. People playing in business are really creating jobs for themselves or playing with it. But you really get a deep understanding of what you are doing.

It’s great for accountability and keeping you on track. Being small businesses, there tends to be one or two of you in the business – it’s just keeping you accountable particularly if you are married to each other – we know this – who keeps you accountable – so this is a good way to do it.

Practicality verses reality. We’re all passionate about our business ideas – we know what we want to do with everything, but you’ve got to have something that is a bit practical that goes with it. Very few people leap from idea to millionaire.

It’s a great way to work through what ethics you want for your business – how do you want to be perceived in the market place; what sort of image you want for your business and how you operate.

It’s a great way to know your message. We talk about our “Elevator Pitch” – when we get up in networking and we’ve go 30 seconds to engage people in our business. If you go through this process, you’ll really understand about your business and you can pull out the key components and we’ll see why.

Benchmarking. If you review every year, you’ll start to get data on the performance of your business. You’ll know your trends; you’ll know the influences on your business and things like that. And that’s invaluable.

If you need to borrow money. Banks won’t lend you money without a business plan – and a really robust business plan so if you are ever looking at finance for, big finance for bits and pieces, then you’ll need the business plan.

And … this is the one that people don’t like to hear, but a business plan tells you whether you actually have a valid business or not. And, that’s a really tricky one because people can be very very wedded to their business idea but when they go through the business plan they find they’ll never make a living out of it – it just won’t fly. And that’s a good thing – it doesn’t mean failure – it actually means you haven’t set yourself up to fail.

Balanix Solutions – Taxation | Accounting | Business Advice.

Situated in Strathpine on Brisbane North, we partner with our clients to assist them in their accounting, business management and bookkeeping needs. Our clients vary in industries from professional services (such as law, vet and dentist) to the trades (mechanic, bricklaying, plasterer etc), hospitality and retail. Are clients are located in the Pine Rivers area (including Brendale, Lawnton, Albany Creek and Eatons Hill) through to Kallangur, Petrie, North Lakes and Caboolture, as well as Brisbane South, the Gold Coast and various other parts of Queensland.

Business Planning – What Do We Include and How Does It Look

Caring Cottage Vision Board

Caring Cottage Vision Board

In a previous blog, business owners who are members of the Albany Creek Business Contacts discussed whether businesses really need to undertake business planning (“We Know We Should, So Why Then Don’t We?” http://balanixsolutions.com.au/we-know-we-should-so-why-then-dont-we/ ). It was agreed that businesses did need plans and that business planning needed to be more than just “in our head”. However, it was also agreed that business planning and plans could take various forms with various detail to support and meet the needs of the individual business.

So, what do business owners believe are the critical information to be contained in plans and what can they look like?

In relation to content, the following was proposed:

  • Real and enduring purpose – this needs to be clearly stated so every decision you make must support this purpose.
  • Stakeholder analysis – stakeholders include clients, suppliers, owners and staff.
  • Marketing/Advertising/Sponsorship plan.
  • Cashflow/Budget/Revenue & Expense analysis.
  • Risk Management/Contingency Plan
  • Pricing/Price Structure (eg, current pricing and planning for future increase)
  • Staff – roles/nature of employment (eg, part-time, full-time, contract etc)
  • Responsibilities and timeframes – ie, who is going to do what by when.

So what does the Business Plan need to look like? Well, in a nutshell – whatever suits you and your business, that you are going to use – whatever makes it visible!

Whenever business planning is mentioned images of 50+ page documents, which sit in a draw, never get used and collect dust, emerge. But this doesn’t have to be – they can take whatever form that makes sense to a business owner and enables them to run and grow their business. Suggested mediums that business use include:

  • Vision Boards (like the one Kirsty has above)
  • Operational Boards – eg, Marketing Board, Operations Board, IT Board etc
  • Notebook
  • iPad/Tablet/Phone
  • Mind Map
  • Whiteboard

The thing is successful businesses need to have direction and plans. However, those plans need to support the business not hinder.

(Blog contributors – Leonard Whittaker (Action Cycle Learning) Rob Carmody (Australian Integrated Communications) Sally Balwin (Balanix Solutions) Kathy Patterson (Brendale Stationery Supplies) Matthew Fox (Brisbane hosting & Web Design) Kirsty Newbery (Caring Cottage) Brad Davies (Conquest Pest & Termite Control) Scott Deaves (David Deane Real Estate) De Wet van der Nest (Express Air Con Cleaning) Oriano Giammichele (GT Racing, Mobile Mechanic) Stuart Bywater (Bywater Design) Rhennen Ford (Streten Mason Lawyers) Tracey Carter (Scrub Mutts) Jason Matthey (Insurance Web) Damien Jenkins (Australian Unity, North Lakes) Anne-Louise Underwood (SMS Toolkits) Bruce Hall (Wombat Electrical)

Albany Creek Business Contacts consists of local quality and reliable businesses who provide a wide range of services from home and residential services to B2B and commercial services. Our service areas cover primarily Albany Creek, Eatons Hill, Brendale, Aspley, Warner, Chermside, Strathpine, North Lakes. However many members will cover greater areas.

Albany Creek Business Contacts meet fortnightly on a Wednesday morning for a 7am breakfast and networking meeting.

Balanix Solutions – Taxation | Accounting | Business Advise.

Situated in Strathpine on Brisbane North, we partner with our clients to assist them in their accounting, business management and bookkeeping needs. Our clients vary in industries from professional services (such as law, vet and dentist) to the trades (mechanic, bricklaying, plasterer etc), hospitality and retail. Are clients are located in the Pine Rivers area (including Brendale, Lawnton, Albany Creek and Eatons Hill) through to Kallangur, Petrie, North Lakes and Caboolture, as well as Brisbane South, the Gold Coast and various other parts of Queensland.

Call us today … we can help (07 3264 4783)