Greenwash won’t work in this franchise

Nanotek franchisee cars have distinctive branding.

During the global financial crisis while other businesses cut back, the car-wash franchise Ecowash Mobile splashed out. The Sydney-based franchise run by former racing driver Jim Cornish used recession downtime to perform a $300,000 makeover.

“We saw that as an opportunity to do what we didn’t have time to do in the beginning, which was sit back and have a look at the business,” says Cornish, 40, a director on the Franchise Council of Australia.

Too many entrepreneurs just jump in, pick a name and build a business without gathering feedback, he says. Read more…

March 25, 2011

More speed for small business

You’re a graphic artist and you’ve just completed that large job and you need to get a high-resolution proof to the client before close of business – but you’re stuck with a slow internet connection, or one that drops out intermittently. Or both.

Or you’re a video producer and you need to send footage to a client – or you’re in one of many other lines of business that rely on fast communication with customers for your livelihood. There was a time not that long ago when burning to CD and popping it in the mail was the fastest and cheapest way to send large files around the country, and even now with fast, cheap internet and plenty of options, that may still be the case for many of us. Read more…


March 18, 2011

Ten ways to waste money on a start-up

How to blow money fast – 10 stupid expenses to avoid at all costs

So you want to avoid blowing money and busting the budget?

Regardless of whether Australia’s fabled “Goldilocks economy” stays strong despite the floods and forecast housing bubble, thrift always makes sense. After all, saving a dollar is easier than earning one.

The question is how to be frugal without wreaking personal industrial sabotage. Essentially, the trick is to skip paying for anything that scores high on style but low in utility.

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“Many start-up entrepreneurs subscribe to the romance of running their own empire and shy away from the reality,” says the head strategist at Sydney-based Financial Spectrum, Brenton Tong. The result, Tong says, is squandered cash.

Learn about some enticing expense traps that you must sidestep. With sales expectations at a 19-month low, the money you save could be vital. Read more…


March 14, 2011

Tapping the power of service aggregators

Physical phone directories of a certain sunny colour are often demoted to doorstops. For the clued-up consumer in search of a service, it is much more convenient to click links than physically flip a reference bible’s paper pages.

The virtual version of the directories,, addresses the itch for quick-fix business information, supposedly luring 2.5 million unique visitors each month. TrueLocal performs a similar function. But you might win more work if you drop directories and court clients through an alternative conduit with an interactive tilt. Consider the charms of the service aggregator.

Despite the clunky name, this alternative marketing tool can be powerful. Think of it as a client capture magnet or matchmaking machine, which spits out job leads to listed businesses via SMS or email. Read more at The Age…


November 30, 2009

How to grow an idea

There is no formula for hot ideas. You have to learn to recognise them – and learn how to act on them, says start-up guru, John English.

On the hunt for a new idea perfect for converting into a business? Already thought of an idea with bags of potential

Either way, business writer Jack English appears uniquely qualified to cast light on the dark art of incubation. A cut above the typical have-a-go school-of-hard-knocks go-getter, John English is a University of Tasmania professor in entrepreneurship and Deputy Director of the Australian Innovation Research Centre.

What’s more, the self-styled ‘shy and retiring academic’ with a string of successful Australian and overseas businesses behind him has written over 20 books.

His best-known: the best-selling entrepreneur’s bible How to Organise and Operate a Small Business, which is still in print after 25 years. Read more at the Age…


June 23, 2009

Getting clients to pay up

The American wit Dorothy Parker once said that the two most beautiful words in the English language are “cheque enclosed”. Many entrepreneurs will agree.

One of the hardest parts of running a business is tackling deadbeats. Some clients dither and wriggle as long as possible. The money will arrive in your account or in the post any moment now, they say. Alternatively, they plead that the delay will end just as soon as a flood of new business materialises or Mercury is aligned with Jupiter. Read more at The Age…

March 12, 2009