Your database is like a giant hive of potential clients

If you haven’t yet discovered the power of a well utilised database, then you are in for an exciting journey that, if you do it right, will drive sales and brand recognition.

A database is a collection of people that you’ve interacted with in some form or other. Whether they are past clients, people who’ve entered competitions you’ve run, people who have contacted you for information – generally speaking, they can be added to your database. You need to have T’s & C’s around your interactions with people so that they understand that if they give you personal details, you are going to store them and contact them.

Privacy of people’s information is also vitally important. Ensure that you have sufficient protection around your technology that the database can’t be hacked and exposed.

But once you have these protocols established it’s well worth the hassle. Got a new product you’re releasing? Discounting stock? Supporting a worthy cause? Made a video about a new store? Share it with your database. An eDM (or electronic direct mail) is the efficient way of spreading your message. Don’t forget the mandatory “unsubscribe” link. And if someone asks to be taken off your list – do it.

If your business is less retail and more one-to-one relationship based, you can set up a system where you can store additional details about your clients. Say you rang a great customer just to touch base and he tells you he’s going on a trip to… well, it is still a pandemic, so let’s say a houseboat trip on the Murray… put those details in the notes and next time you call, ask him about the trip. People appreciate that you have attended to the detail in their life.

If you have a database with entries that go back over many years, there are artificial intelligence (AI) programs that will sort through your data and match people with new details. Well worth investing in.

Integrate your database into a Customer Relationship Manager (CRM) program and you can automate a lot of the follow-up and contact. But don’t forget the still make time for the personalised information that is specific to various categories within your database. Which brings me to my last point. Categorise your database. Everyone is different, and so they are going to need different information on occasions. Use AI to track activity and your messages will be well targeted and produce results.


Your team – the most valuable item on your Asset Register

You can have the most innovative product or world beating services, but if you don’t have the right team backing you, then your business will never meet its full potential.

Building the right team won’t happen overnight, and getting the skillsets you need in people whose personality gels with your overall team is challenging, however, the results when you have built a knowledgeable, supportive team who are committed to your business’s success will be well worth it.

Hiring new team members is something most employers dislike spending time on. It is time-consuming if you are doing it right.  Make sure you employ someone, who not only has the skills you need, but also the personality you need.  Utilise ‘personality profiling’.  Understand where there are gaps in your team.  Are you over-subscribed on creative people with no one to implement their ideas?  Are you top heavy with detail driven people who stifle creativity?  

While there will be defined roles and responsibilities, measurable KPIs and down the line management, there should also be a culture that lets every team member know that you value them and their input. Encourage innovation and the sharing of ideas – not just from those whose role it is to be inventive.  Turn your team into an ideas shop. Designate responsibility then step back a little and give your people the opportunity to grow. 

Building a cohesive, loyal team is also about taking time out to have fun, getting to know each other on a personal level.  When you understand what is going on in someone’s life, it helps you understand what influences their behaviour and what motivates them.  

Look at flexibility in how your people work.  Is it a hybrid of on-site face-to-face hours combined with home working where it’s possible?  Is it letting people start early and finish early so they can do school pick-up?  

Invest in training, for example, in personal development both measures will give you a return in higher skilled, more professionally-rounded team members.  

Don’t underestimate the value of having a charity or cause that you, as a company, highly support.  A lot of great businesses have the concept of putting back into the community as one of the measurables in their bottom line.  There’s a pride people feel in working for a business that is generous in helping support causes the community.   Once again, get your team involved in brainstorming how you can support your chosen cause in ways other than just providing a donation. 

Above all, cultivate a workplace culture that is strong and has “respect” as it’s guiding principle.  Respect for your products or services; respect for all your clients; respect for your suppliers or distributors; respect for your teammates; and respect for the community in which you operate.

Here are the top 3 team building   strategies that a business should start implementing today: 

1. Take  the time to build a team –
that is loyal, committed, well-rounded and diverse. Hire judiciously, employing ‘personality profiling’.

2. Utilise every aspect of your team –
encourage idea sharing, delegate responsibility. Train, develop and have fun too.

3. Have a culture of respect –
Celebrate your wins, help your community and enjoy the rewards of a more successful business.


Eight-week Business Bites

Align your team to your goals and reap the rewards.

While we continue to operate in a climate of economic uncertainty brought about by the fact that COVID-19 has not been eliminated, it’s important that businesses re-think how they approach both business planning and the empowering of their teams.

You should have a long-term vision for your business. There’s nothing wrong with your five-year plan having a generous serving of optimism. But your 12-month breakdown of that plan should be far more pragmatic, with a list of “must achieves” and a second list of “nice to achieves”. As always, revisit your plan regularly to tweak it, based on what’s happening in your industry sector, your state’s restrictions, and the geographical locations of your marketplace. All these moveable parts need to be constantly monitored, in order to keep your plan on track and realistic.

The current uncertain environment makes it really important that you break that 12-month plan down into small 8-week bites. By doing this, you can be really forensic about what you want to achieve in that timeframe. And at the end of the period, you can review your results and modify your 12-month plan based on your outcomes.

While it’s critical to have a detailed planning process, even more important is sharing your vision and the 8-week goals with your team.

First, share your blue-sky vision with your team, paint an exciting picture of what the future holds. Generate excitement and a desire to be part of the journey.

Then, share your 12-month business plan. Be honest about the challenges that are faced but also detail the opportunities.

However, where the rubber really hits the road, is to take out your 8-week plan and give every team member (or every team if you have a big business) their goals for that period. Make the goals clear, make your team accountable for the outcomes, and explain how everyone’s actions go toward completing the “must achieve” tasks for that period. Add some “nice to achieve” tasks, and think about structuring a reward or recognition program around the results.

Don’t wait eight weeks to see what’s been achieved; you or your management team should be holding a weekly meeting with everyone who is accountable for a result, to track how they are performing, unearth any problems or unforeseen roadblocks. Share the results with everyone.

The ability to envisage possible future challenges; to strategise solutions or work arounds; the capacity to very quickly put these solutions in place; with the full support of your team, is what it will take to ensure your business will continue to grow in these uncertain times.

To summarise:

  • Share your long term vision, then your 12 month business plan. Be honest about the challenges and opportunities.
  • Divide your 12 month plan into 8 week segments and give your team members or teams KPI’s to meet, so that your 12 month plan is kept on track. Incentivise, reward and recognise.
  • Review regularly throughout the 8 weeks, share the results, assess whether your 12 month plan needs to change based on what’s achieved.

10 Steps To An Effective Business Re-Opening

For many businesses, staying productive and competitive during a pandemic has been one of the biggest challenges. However, with certain areas across Australia soon to have their doors re-opened, now more than ever is the time for businesses to adapt, improve and innovate their operations. We have collated a list of steps to help prepare and plan the changes any business should address in the coming weeks.

1. Understanding Federal Government requirements

The Australian government has released a series of resources and initiatives to support businesses through the COVID-19 changes. For employees that return to the workplace there are strict social distancing and safety requirements – you may need to rotate the number of staff in the office at one time, for example. In addition, review JobKeeper updates and ensure that employees are being adequately paid for the hours they work, in accordance with the relevant awards. If necessary, increase payments or decrease hours. Keep an eye on your state government’s websites too, such as Victoria’s roadmap for re-opening, for example.

2. Change or scale down operations

Changes in how your employees operate within your business – whether they are physically in the workplace or working from home (or a combination of both) – require you to clearly communicate what is happening, backed by processes. If you need to scale down your operation, ensure your staff are consulted with and understand their rights. Managers should be readily accessible to all staff during times of change.

3. Develop your policies and procedures

Your workplace and method of work has changed. You need to document the new policies and procedures that reflect these changes. Complete and coherent procedures ensure that your entire work force understands what is expected and help to ensure an effective business.

4. Prepare for blended workplace environments

With a shift to online working, businesses should prepare for the scenario that some employees will still need to work from home or are, in fact, more effective working from home. The systems and platforms that have seen you through the COVID-19 crisis should be reviewed for effectiveness and then integrated into policies and procedures to facilitate a smooth blended transition.

5. Ensure a safe and healthy workplace for all

From social distancing, to kitchen cleanliness, to elevators, stairs, doors – all businesses must maintain a high level of hygiene in this new COVID normal world. Working from home environments need to be considered and included in policies that address workplace safety.

6. Focus on the mental well-being of staff

The last few months have had a significant impact on everyone’s mental health. Regular check-ins with staff to see how they are going physically and mentally is essential for maintaining a positive and effective team. Staff should feel comfortable with reaching out to their leaders with any concerns, and leaders should feel they have the resources and power to enact positive changes in the workplace. Varying organisations have stepped up to plate to offer services that could help address the mental impacts of staff such as SALT’s (Sport and Life Training) Workplace Re-Connect program.

7. Setup your online communications infrastructure

From online conferencing tools such as Zoom and Microsoft Teams, businesses need to plan how to keep staff connected, when it’s a blend of on-site employees and those working from home. Accounts and logins should be secured and safe systems put in place so that at-home staff can easily access any important information such as files and documents.

8. Ensure you have a COVID-19 Safety Plan

Jurisdictions across Australia have differing obligations upon employers – in order to minimise the risk of transmission of COVID-19 in their workplace(s). Ensure that an up to date plan is available to staff, is followed, and that they have access to it during these times. For a scope of what should be included, click here: FC – COVID Workplace Safety

9. Customer considerations

It is not just your employees that are going to be transitioning into the new post COVID-19 world. Customer support and interactions in a physical space must be setup in a way that makes people feel safe and confident, when engaging with your people and buying your products and services. Consider services such as a support desk whether that be a direct phone line, email contact form or full platform such as;

10. Review your process and gather feedback

As things are constantly evolving, it is vitally important to update processes and procedures as these changes are occurring. Subscribe to Federal and State Government updates and find a trusted news source to keep you abreast of changes when they happen. Also, invite honest feedback from your staff as to what is working and what isn’t, and how you can make them more effective.


COVID Workplace Safety

As we know, all businesses, irrespective of size and type, are bound by State and Federal Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) laws and regulations. COVID-19 has added a new dimension to employer responsibility, in order to ensure a safe workplace for its team, visitors and customers.

Every business has had to modify the way it operates, in order to protect their staff and the wider community from this pandemic – e.g. whether it be virtual workplaces; plastic screens at point of sale and customer service counters; staggered office attendances; strict cleaning regimes; the wiping of shared gym equipment or power tools; wearing of gloves; mandatory face masks at all times. The list goes on!

Business Leaders need to assess every aspect of how things are done; how can COVID-19 safety be improved; and how can the risks of exposure to the virus be minimised.

Jurisdictions across Australia have differing obligations upon employers – in order to minimise the risk of transmission of COVID-19 in their workplace(s) – and common themes include:

  • Having a comprehensive COVID-19 Safety Plan in place;
  • Signage on display about COVID-19 safety and hygiene practises (what is expected from not only staff but also whomever is on-site also – including customers);
  • Register of visitors – to assist in contact tracing;
  • Notification to relevant authorities of potential workplace transmission of COVID-19;
  • Social distancing – including a “four square metre rule”;
  • Face masks;
  • Cleaning, hygiene and disinfection in the workplace;
  • Self-isolation and quarantine; and
  • Working from home – has been mandated during lockdowns but less workplace attendance will become more common and expected by many staff.
  • Every workplace has unique OHS circumstances, considerations and challenges.
  • Governments and Statutory authorities encourage you to visit websites such as safeworkaustralia.gov.au or Worksafe in your state, for example, for comprehensive guidance about making your workplace(s) safe – they contain useful links covering dozens of industries, including yours.

By demonstrating your commitment to a COVID-safe environment, it will not only lessen anxiety within your team, but also give confidence to your customers who physically attend your workplaces – e.g. retail, medical, beauty services, gym and fitness, real estate, hospitality – that it is safe to attend your business.

Given the lockdowns, border closures and restrictions which we have all painfully endured this year, no one wants themselves, their business or their brand, to be the source of a COVID-19 outbreak, and thereby be exposed to both the legal repercussions of harming public health (through poor practises), but also having to the face the negative publicity that will ensue.


JobKeeper 2.0

JobKeeper 2.0 comes into effect from 28 September 2020, as part of an extension plan. These changes by the Federal Government will force businesses to change how their eligibility criteria are selected, as well as reducing eligible employee and business participant payments.

It is now a stricter regime – the details of these changes must be adhered to for payments to be collected – so what are the key points to know?

Key Dates

The extension periods are:

Extension 1: from 28 September 2020 to 3 January 2021

Extension 2: from 4 January 2021 to 28 March 2021

What are the rate changes?

The rate of the JobKeeper payment in each extension period will depend on the number of hours:

an eligible employee works, or

an eligible business participant is actively engaged in the business.

It will be split into two rates.

Tier 1 Rate

This rate applies to:

  • eligible employees who worked for 80 hours or more in the four weeks of pay periods before either 1 March 2020 or 1 July 2020, and
  • eligible business participants who were actively engaged in the business for 80 hours or more in February 2020, and provide a declaration to that effect.


Tier 2 Rate

This rate applies to:

  • any other eligible employees and eligible business participants (i.e. employees who do not meet the 80 hours in four weeks test (before either 1 March or 1 July 2020) and business participants who were actively engaged for less than 80 hours in the business during February 2020).

What is different from the previous JobKeeper 2.0?

Unlike when businesses calculated the original decline in turnover test, they do not use projected GST turnover for the relevant quarter being tested. Current GST turnover must be used instead against the actual decline of turnover.

Payment rates if eligible will change to the following:

Extension #1 (28/9/20-3/1/21) 

  • Tier 1: $1,200 per fortnight (before tax)
  • Tier 2: $750 per fortnight (before tax)

Extension #2 (4/1/21-28/3/21) 

  • Tier 1: $1,000 per fortnight (before tax)
  • Tier 2: $650 per fortnight (before tax)
What is unaffected by JobKeeper 2.0?
  • Employers do not need to re-enrol for the JobKeeper extension if you are already enrolled for JobKeeper for fortnights before 28 September.
  • Employers do not need to reassess employee eligibility if you are already enrolled for JobKeeper for fortnights before 28 September.
What you must do, if you are seeking to claim under JobKeeper 2.0
  • You have until 31 October 2020 to meet the wage payments condition for fortnights ending in October for all your eligible employees.
  • You will then need to have paid eligible employees by 8/11/20 for the fortnight ending on 8/11;
  • You will then need to have paid eligible employees by 22/11/20 for the fortnight ending on 22/11;
  • You will then need to have paid eligible employees by 6/12/20 for the fortnight ending on 6/12;
  • You will then need to have paid eligible employees by 20/12/20 for the fortnight ending on 20/12;
  • You will then need to have paid eligible employees by 3/1/21 for the fortnight ending on 3/1/21, and so on (subject to further advice).
  • To remain eligible for JobKeeper 2.0 extension #1, you’ll need to demonstrate that you satisfy the actual decline in turnover for the September 2020 quarter (July, August, September) relative to a comparable period (e.g. July, August, September 2019).
  • To remain eligible for JobKeeper 2.0 extension #2, you’ll need to demonstrate that you satisfy the actual decline in turnover for the December 2020 quarter (October, November and December) relative to a comparable period (e.g. October, November and December 2019).
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