Oranges and Lime Blog

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What You Need to Start a Business in Australia

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I meet a lot of people who have great ideas, but are not quite sure of the steps they need to take. This is a very big topic but in this article I want to focus on what you need to start a business in Australia. Specifically, the process of legally formalising a business, such as registering a business name, a domain name, trademark, GST, ABN and so on.

To start a business in Australia, you will need to:

Choose your Legal Business Structure

There are 3 main Legal Structures from which to choose: Sole Trader, Partnership or a Company. There are Trusts and Joint Ventures also but most readers of this article will primarily be concerned with the main three.

Apply for an Australian Business Number (ABN) and/or Australian Company Number (ACN)

Even though it is not compulsory, having an ABN makes it easier for you to do business with others , especially when ordering and invoicing. It helps you avoid PAYG (Pay As You Go) tax on payments you receive and allows you to claim GST credits and obtain an Australian Domain name. Registration is free. For more information, visit the Australian Business Register, https://abr.gov.au/.

If you are a Company, you need an ACN first before an ABN. To apply for an ACN, visit ASIC.

Register your Business Name

Your Business Name is the name under which you will be trading to identify you to your customers, partners and competitors. If you are trading under your, or your partner’s, first name and surname, there is no need to register.

At the time of writing this article, the cost of Business Name Registration Fees and Payment Methods is $34 for one year and $78 for 3 years. To register a business name, visit ASIC: http://www.asic.gov.au/

Register your Trademarks

What might be confusing for most people is that a registered Business Name is not protected. Anyone can use your name. If you want to protect it, you need to register a trademark as well. This protects your business name and stops others from trading it.

Register your website domain name

A Domain Name is a Web Address. It is what you see after the @ of an email address (eg: yourname@domainname.com) and after the www of an internet address (eg: www.domainname.com).

It is not legally obligatory to register a Domain Name. However, I recommend you do it early if you are serious about the long-term prospect of your business, and this for the following reasons:

If you do not register your domain name, anyone can register it and use it, especially if it is an international domain like .com, .net or .org. When you finally decide to get a website, you will get to use the domain name of your choice and won’t have to compromise because someone else has registered it.

Secondly, it is more professional to have an email address from your own domain name and a website with its own domain name, rather than a sub-folder of someone else’s web domain name.

At the time of writing, international domain names can be registered from about $15 per year and about $30 for Australian domain names like .com.au for two years.

I cannot recommend a domain name registrar but you can search for a phrase like “domain name register” in Google and you would be met with an extensive list of Search results.

If Oranges and Lime is building and developing your website, we can register your domain name for you with a registrar of our choice.

Register for Tax File Number (TFN)

Every business need a Tax File Number (TFN). Sole Traders can keep their individual TFN. Partnerships and Companies need their own separate TFNs.

To register for a TFN

Register for Goods and Services Tax (GST)

If you are trading goods and services, register for Goods and Services Tax (GST)

GST is compulsory if your current or expected turnover is greater than $75000, or if you provide taxi travel services as part of your business.

Register for Pay-As-You-Go (PAYG)

If you are paying employees, directors or businesses that do not quote their ABN to you, you need to register for PAYG before you can withhold that amount.

Payroll Tax

If your staff is paid above particular threshols set by each state or territory you operate under, have a look if this is relevant for you.

Fringe Benefits Tax (FBT)

Look into this if you are providing your employees company cars, car parking discounts, low interest loans, Christmas parties and if you intend on paying for Private expenses.

Register for FBT.

Miscellaneous Items

There is also Fuel Tax Credits, Wine Equalisation Tax and Luxury Tax. Check the ATO website to find out more.

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This article is written for the Australian context and it may not touch on all possible businesses and business types, but I hope I’ve provided a quick reference here to lead you in the right direction. If you are from another country, and you are professionally familiar with the alternatives, write it up and send us the article to be considered for publication.

I will try to update this resource as often as I can to keep it accurate and timely. If it is outdated, needs correction or addition, feel free to post the details in the comment field below to help us maintain a good resource here for business owners.

Building Your First Website

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Building your first website can be daunting. If you are about to have your first website put together, you will no doubt have many questions. In this article, I will take you through the major items you need to consider to ensure your first website project goes smoothly.

Before you start looking for a web designer and developer, you need to ask yourself the following questions:

  1. How can your website be of most help to you and your customers?
  2. What are your competitors doing on their website?
  3. How much would you budget to get your first website up and running?

By being clear about these questions, you are able to have productive conversations with web designers and developers you are considering hiring to build your website. To help you find the answers to these questions, let’s discuss the main objective of your website, your competitors and your budget.

THE MAIN OBJECTIVE OF YOUR WEBSITE

Considering your stage of business development, your online strategy and thinking about your daily interactions with your customers, what do you need most from a website? What does it need to do for you? If you are a service provider and you just need a website to tell people about your services, show some of your past works and display your contact details, then perhaps you might just need to discuss Static Websites, especially if you have no need to update your website content every two weeks. If, however you have products to sell and you want to provide an online catalogue for your customers to browse, place orders and make payments online, then you will need an e-commerce website, which is a lot more complex.

If you want to constantly publish special announcements or updates to your customers and visitors, maybe you should consider having a blog as well. Blogs are a compilation of short articles arranged in a timely manner: daily, weekly or monthly. They are very useful to engage your customers in topics that are of interest to them, and in which you can provide the necessary expertise to comment and inform them of the latest trends. You can let them know of products or services you may offer to help remedy problems or take advantage of opportunities.

Having the ability to blog allows you to create fresh up-to-date content that is crucial for keeping your audience engaged. You can also post the release of these blog posts to assist your Social Networking strategies using Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus and other tools. Fresh content is also an essential component to having search engines index your web pages.

YOUR COMPETITORS

You should have a look at your competitors online. Find their websites using Search Engines or their business cards, flyers, brochures or catalogues. When you visit their website, click around and find out what they are doing and how they are utilising their websites? Are there ideas you might be able to apply on yours? Are there elements of their website that you do not like? Studying how their websites look and how they are structured, may help you get a clear understanding of both the aesthetics and functionality of your own website. This, in turn, will assist you with formulating your requirements to your web- designer or developer.

YOUR BUDGET

Many businesses across diverse industries with a certain type of customers have varying needs and priorities. After you have clarified for yourself what you would like your website to do for you, by having a clear objective and studying your competitors’ websites, you will gain an idea as to what you need to do to compete online.

For example, if your business is in the fashion, shoes or jewellery industry, then you must be prepared to invest more in aesthetics of your website  – much as you would if you are in the finance or advisory industries where the image of success and professionalism are highly regarded.

Further, the more functions your website needs, the more you should expect to invest in the development, testing and support of these functions. E-commerce websites, for example, automate the process of serving your catalogue to your customers, taking orders and accepting payments from your customers. To ensure your online shop is always working as it should, you need to keep it updated, regularly maintained and tested rigorously.

Before you have a chat with prospective web designers and developers, you must have a rough idea of how much you are willing and able to invest in your website. I recommend being up-front with your designers and developers about your budget… even if it is a rough range. I understand you  might have some reservations about ‘showing your cards’ however as web designers and developers ourselves, knowing what our client’s limitations are allows us to explore all the alternatives and find the best solutions for your requirements given your particular budget in the shortest amount of time.

Getting your first website might be a daunting experience. However, by taking the time to prepare by asking yourself the questions outlined in this article, you will be better equipped to find the best solution for your budget and the right team to build your website.

Google’s Panda 4: What does Panda mean for your website?

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What does Panda mean for your website? Panda 4 is the latest update Google made to the way it ranks pages. Panda is designed to reduce the ranking of pages and websites that have duplicate content and/or short content.

As a website owner, this is what you can do to ensure you keep up your page rankings with Google:

  1. Avoid duplicating your content
  2. Create your own content
  3. Articles might benefit from being longer
  4. Use unique title tags and meta descriptions

Quite ironically, this post is likely to be too short for Panda. Sometimes, there’s just no use intentionally padding up every article to suit the preferences of an algorithm.

Have you noticed any changes to your website due to Panda? Keep an eye on your Google Analytics report in the next few weeks or months.

How To Use Social Media Networks to Promote Your Business Online

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We were building a website for a Shopping Centre recently, and many of the businesses owners there wanted to know more about how they can promote their business on the Internet. So how indeed does a business owner promote his/her business online?

There are many ways to do this. In this video, Marquez talks about Social Media. It is amazing how many businesses have not yet signod up for an account with Facebook, Google or Twitter. They have heard of these Social Networks but it is all still very vague in terms of what they are supposed to do. So here, in three simple steps: How to use Social Media Networks to promote your business online.

TRANSCRIPT:

Hello. This is Marquez from Oranges and Lime. Oranges and Lime is a Digital and Web Company helping business owners do business online.

We were building a website for a Shopping Centre recently, and many of the businesses owners there wanted to know more about how they can promote their business on the Internet. So this is our topic today: how indeed does a business owner promote their business online?

There are many ways to do this. In this video, I just want to talk about Social Media. I chose this as my topic today because it is amazing how many businesses have not yet signed up for an account with Facebook, Google or Twitter. They have heard of these Social Networks but it is all still very vague in terms of what they are supposed to do.

If you’re a small business owner or a start-up, you can start by signing up for an account on any of the Social Media Networks around like Facebook, Google Plus and Twitter. You then invite people to join your network. You follow their tweets, you like their Business Pages on Facebook or in Google Plus. Get interested in what they’re doing, post comments and engage.

Once you have a small network, the next step is to start sharing items to them too. What sort of items should you share? Well, think about your audience. What kind of people are they? What are their interests? If you own a business selling jewellery for example, then it would be obvious that your audience is following you because they want to know more about jewellery – especially if they are following your Business Pages with Facebook or Google Plus, or your Business Account with Twitter. For a business selling jewellery I would also recommend joining Pinterest, because it has more of a visual focus. There are lots of people sharing photos of things they find beautiful from shoes, clothing and handbags to jewellery.

Now, you might be asking: where will I get the content to share to your network of people? Well, you can get content from other websites and share their articles, photos or so. But why not create content yourself? Write an article about jewellery-making or about the rarity of gems for example, take pictures of your products or of your jewellery-making process. Then you post this article, or a video or a podcast on your website. Then you share the link to that content with your Social Media Networks. When people click to view your post, they go to your website. If they like your content, they might be compelled to share it with the people they know. Pretty soon, you have lots of people visiting your website looking for more useful, fun or informative content they can entertain themselves with. If you have a catalogue or a fully functional e-commerce site, they might just start looking through your products and make a purchase. That’s what you want.

In a nutshell, that’s pretty much all there is to it. Sign up for an account with Social Media Networks and build up your network. Create content and share it. If people like what you are sharing they visit your website, they email you, they ask you questions and they buy from you.

This is pretty much all from me today. If you have questions about this topic, send them through to us. We may even make a video, a podcast or an article about it. Until next time, it’s Marquez here from Oranges and Lime.

Do Facebook and Twitter help your Google Rank?

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Ryan from Michigan asks Matt Cutts from Google: Are Facebook and Twitter signals part of the ranking algorithm? How much do they matter with regards to Google Rank?

Conclusion: Matt Cutts seems to say, that for the moment, “No”, links from Facebook and Twitter are not considered into Google Rank. I point out that so long as Facebook or Twitter continues to add the rel=”nofollow” tags to links then the links won’t count for Google Rank. This is not to say that sharing content has no use because it is still effective in driving interested people to your website.

Yay! We have a new website!

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After a couple of years of working and focusing on our Clients’ websites, we finally took the time to update our very own website!

Apart from sporting a brand new look, we have added a private and secure Clients’ area where we can share information that is relevant and specific to their project. It offers a variety of ways we can communicate like…

  • Private Messaging
  • File Uploads and File Sharing
  • Project Feedback

We have also improved our Estimates Form to simplify the experience of our visitors, looking to get an estimate for their web projects.

The blogging area has also been improved and it certainly is a lot easier to share articles, videos and other types of resources relevant to you, our website visitors and to our clients.

The website is so new that we’re still playing with the bubble-wrap and we will continue to fine-tune it.  Why not try out our new contact form to say hello or share your ideas and suggestions?!

Find out how we can help you, fill out our online form Get A Free Estimate!