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With their range of solar power solutions, Solar Dynamics can tailor a package to suit the needs of each specific business or home owner. Solar Dynamics have been using a range of products over the years, with Canadian Solar Industries being their flagship product. As part of their partnership with Canadian Solar Industries, the latest Canadian Solar ELPS 265 watt Monocrystaline panels with a massive 10/25 Linear Warranty plus an added 25 year insurance cover, has just been released in Australia. According to Solar Dynamics, the Canadian Solar ELPS range has a range of advantages for the homeowner or businessperson. One of the advantages of the ELPS units is that they are capable of delivering up to 6.3 per cent more electricity than conventional solar modules.

the years, with Canadian Solar Industries being their They also have industry leading power tolerance, which flagship product. gives customers up to five watts per panel of extra power. As part of their partnership with Canadian Solar ELPS units also perform well during those times when the Industries, the latest Canadian Solar ELPS 265 watt light is low, such as mornings, evenings and cloudy days. Monocrystaline panels with a massive 10/25 Linear The ELPS technology allows the solar cells to collect more Warranty plus an added 25 year insurance cover, has just light, which results in a high mono cell efficiency of up to been released in Australia. 19.5 per cent. According to Solar Dynamics, the Canadian Solar ELPS Solar Dynamics strive to not only meet but exceed range has a range of advantages for the homeowner or customer expectations. businessperson. Not only do they assist you in getting connected to the One of the advantages of the ELPS units is that they are grid, they will also claim your rebate for your installation, capable of delivering up to 6.3 per cent more electricity so you only pay your out of pocket expenses. than conventional solar modules. The business will ensure you are on the best overall deal for your electricity bill by arranging power brokers to review your deal for you. Solar Dynamics use local, fully accredited installers, so you are still dealing with a local, and any issues can be

Backed by a 10/25 Linear Power Warranty a Highest Mono cell efficiency up to 19.5% • 6.3 % more Electricity generated than conventional panels • 10 Year Manufacturer's W solar hot Water - solar eleCtriCity- solar solutions industry normal 5 year wa • Best Power Tolerance-gives up to 5 watts extra per panel • Locally supported with offi • Excellent low light performance • cover Leading international com • Backed by a 10/25 Linear Power Warranty and 25 year insurance • 10 Year Manufacturer's Warranty instead of 70 years of power electro • Highest Mono cell efficiency up to 19.5% solar hot Water - solar eleCtriCity- solar solutions industry normal 5 year warranty • 6.3 % more Electricity generated than conventional panels • European Company comp • Locally supported with offices in Victoria • Best Power Tolerance-gives up to 5 watts extra per panel engineered • Leading international with over • Excellent low light performance • 96%company Maximum Efficiency, 70 years of power proof electronics experience • Backed by a 10/25 Linear Power Warranty and 25 year insurance cover and dust proof • 10 Year Manufacturer's Warranty instead of• European Company completely German • 6.3 % more Electricity generated than conventional panels • Highest Mono cell efficiency up to 19.5% industry normal 5 year warranty • Best Power Tolerance-gives up to 5 watts extra per panel engineered • Locally supported with offices in Victoria • 96% Maximum Efficiency, no fans, fully wate • Excellent low light performance *Our Solar Experts will develop a system to meet your specificourt site needs with a r Teamed up insurance with Delta Grid h electricity aPital rising Electricity up to .33 cents Free On site We25will also ashop • Beat Leading international companycosts with over specific terms • Backed by a assessment 10/25 Linear Power Warranty and year coveraround proof and dust proof and conditions applicable for qualification. Establishment fee and t property suitability and provide full quote on selected system. *Excess electricity Connect Inverter *Our Solar Experts will develop a system to meet your specific site needs with a range of panels and inverters to choose from each wi 70 years of power electronics experience • Highest Mono cell efficiency up to 19.5% perofkwh for you tofeatures get a better ith a range panels and inverterscompleted to choosebefore from each with• different andGas benefits. Finance package with Certegy Ezipay with specific terms and conditions applicable for qualification. Establishment fee and transaction fees apply with finance package. Minimum 10 Year Manufacturer's Warranty instead of • European Company German property suitability completely and provide full quote on selected system. *Excess electricity at 0.25 cents per kwh legislated and up to 0.08 cents ordering and Electricity account e and transaction fees apply with finance Minimum 10% deposit required for/finance. On site Visit free of charge to assess industry normal 5 year 2012 |warranty Frankston Mornington | BusinessTimes Teamedpackage. up with a Delta Grid September h engineered Peninsula / DandenongaPital ourt | 3 raeside Free On site assessment • Locally supported with offices in Victoria • 96% Maximum Efficiency, no fans, fully water tricity at completed 0.25 centsbefore per kwh legislated and up to 0.08 cents extra depending on retailer Connect Inverter *Our Solar Experts will develop a system to meet your specific site needs with a range of panels and inverters to choose from each with different features and bene We will also shop around • Beat electricity costs Leadingrising international company with overspecific terms and proof andapplicable dust proof conditions for qualification. Establishment fee and transaction fees apply with finance package. Minimum 10% deposit required for fin • your 10 Year Manufacturer's instead of *Our Solar Experts will develop a system to meet specific site needs Warranty with a range of panels andof inverters to chooseexperience from each withsuitability different features and benefits. Finance with Certegy Ezipay with J/27D025551/32 property and provide full quote on selected system. *Excess electricitypackage at 0.25 cents per kwh legislated and up to 0.08 cents extra depending on retailer 70 years power electronics ordering for you to get a better Gas industry normal 5 yearfee warranty specific terms and conditions applicable for qualification. Establishment and transaction fees apply with finance package. Minimum 10% deposit required for finance. On site Visit free of charge to assess •

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Carnival hours cut during established events like the Waterfront Festival and Blessing of the Waters. 
Neighbouring attraction Sand Sculpting Australia objected to the carnival, citing noise, crowd control and security issues. The exhibition of themed sand sculptures is heading into its fifth season at Frankston,

Activities on Frankston foreshore last summer, including the sand sculpture exhibitiion in the foreground.

2015

CARRUM Downs company Showtime Attractions has won council permission to stage an annual summer carnival on Frankston foreshore, but the opening hours have been shortened. 
 The carnival, including rides, stage events and community stalls, will run from December 26 to January 29.
 Showtime told council that restricted operating hours to allow for other scheduled beachside events could mean scaling down Summer Fun in Frankston in its first year. Organisers said they would assess the viability of significantly shorter opening times imposed by council as part of the permit agreement.
 Showtime Attractions wanted to operate from 10am to 10pm seven days a week. Council countered with 5pm to 10pm Monday to Friday and 2pm to 10pm Saturday and Sunday. The carnival will close on New Year’s Eve and operate changed hours

opening Boxing Day and closing late April.
 Sandstorm Events joint owner Sharon Redmond said the sand sculptures attracted 70,000 visitors between December 26 and January 28 last summer.
 Showtime Attractions will pay $5000 a week rent and contribute $5000 towards the Frankston Waterfront Festival.
 Also, the company will operate a free shuttle bus service between designated car parks and the foreshore.
 

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Would you like to begin a career in bookkeeping? We are taking enrolments now for our next course that will start in October in the Frankston/Peninsula area. The course leads to a nationally accredited qualification: Cert IV in Bookkeeping – FNS40211 For those looking to gain or develop skills the course involves: • 20 weeks of training (1 day per week). • Allowing participants to share experience and ideas. • Fully planned sessions including hands-on practical exercises for core units. • All participants will need computer access during and after class. • Previous knowledge of MYOB is useful but not essential. We can also offer one on one, on the job for training for those with experience. Call us today to register your interest now or just to find out more.

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BusinessTimes Frankston / Mornington Peninsula / Dandenong | September 2012

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Finding your online clients THE online space can be a minefield, even to those with some experience. Focusing on a few key areas will help you get ahead of the pack. Get started with these tips on driving traffic to your website. Having a website is a necessity these days, but it is useless unless you are driving traffic to it. Options include Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), Google advertising (paid ads), banner links and social media linking back to your website. A broad strategy often works best, but keep it focused on your key message. A website is only as good as its content and this is true for both visitors and search engines. Keep your content relevant and update it regularly and make sure you have the right keywords on you website. Once a visitor reaches your website you want a conversion. Think about your business and then think about what you want your visitors to do. What is the best outcome from their visit? Do you want them to call you? Do you

want them to fill in a form? Do you want them to purchase something? Do you want them to come into your bricks and mortar store? Keep your message targeted and most importantly make it simple for the visitor to get what they want. Have a mechanism to capture visitor’s details throughout the process. Once you have a visitor you want to be able to capture their details either as a new prospect so you can complete the process or for retention purposes. Using an electronic direct marketing system or CRM (client relationship management system) can enable you to not only capture a visitor’s details, but also to profile them (based on information supplied, preferences or purchases) and market back to them. Utilising a good CRM allows you to create targeted direct marketing campaigns. Keep your message simple and focused. Chris Nimos is director of Rapid Click, tel: 9766 2602, email: chris@rapidclick.com.au

A-frames get the big A GREATER Dandenong Council will ban Aframes and the display of goods on footpaths in the central business district for two years. The ban will begin 31 January next year. At least three months before the end of the trial ban the council will report publicly on the impacts of the prohibition. The ban will cover central Dandenong bounded by Robinson, Walker, Lonsdale, Foster, Clow, Stewart, King and Cleeland Streets. The council will continue processing applications for outdoor eating facilities and planter boxes in this central area as well as applications for A-frame advertising signs and goods displays in other areas of the city. Existing goods display permits in the area will continue at no additional cost to traders until 31 January when all permits will be revoked at midnight. The following day, 1 February, a replacement footpath code of practice will be introduced.

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September 2012 | Frankston / Mornington Peninsula / Dandenong BusinessTimes | 5


BUSY bites

Salary considerations Steven Paola, senior consultant at global management consulting firm Hay Group recommends employers need to focus on the following five tips when considering staff salaries: • Link reward to performance and align individual’s targets with organisational objectives • Reward outstanding performers, not just everyone equally • Communicate the total pay and benefits you offer employees and ensure you have the right mix of tangible and intangible elements to appropriately reward and recognise employees – often intangible rewards speak a lot louder than money • Align the job to the organisation strategy, ensure you have the right person in the right role and reward accordingly • Adopt a long term view of rewards by creating a two or three-year plan instead of a year on year approach.

Updating the welcome FRANKSTON Council will nominate a working group to advise on signage for the city’s entry roads. Keen to move, councillors have requested a vision and action plan to be presented to the next meeting. They regard current ‘gateway’ signage as outdated.

Upwardly mobile: ready to work anywhere MOBILE technology continues to revolutionise the way we live, with a jump in the past 12 months in the number of Australians using technology to get online no matter where they are. The number of consumers accessing the internet on their mobile phone has more than doubled in the past three years, from 26 per cent to 58 per cent. The annual Sensis e-Business Report released 7 August showed significant growth in the ownership of smartphones, tablet devices and wireless internet access among small businesses and consumers. Report author Christena Singh said the results showed that Australians were increasingly relying on access the internet at all times. “Internet access is now rarely just about logging on to a desktop computer,” Ms Singh said. “Many consumers and businesses now rely on being able to access the internet 24/7 wherever they are,” she said. “We are revolutionising the way we look for information, and small businesses have the opportunity to use the internet and mobile devices to reach customers and grow their market.” The Sensis survey found that more than half of all Australians now own a smart phone. Smart phone ownership has jumped by a third in the past year, up from 44 to 59 per cent of the population. Smart phone ownership among small businesses is even higher, with almost two-thirds (63 per cent) now using such a device, up 17 per cent on last year. The most popular use of the internet on mobile phones is looking for maps and directions (69 per cent) and looking up weather information (69 per cent), followed by social networking (64), and looking for information on products and services (62). Business owners are gradually getting more savvy about responding to an increasingly mobile online customer base. While only nine per cent of SMEs have mobile-specific websites, a further 21 per cent

say they are planning on getting one in the coming year. There has also been a 10 per cent jump in the number of businesses loading location maps onto their website. The most frequently nominated place that people use their mobile phones to access the internet is at home (56 per cent), despite many people also having access through computers or tablet devices. The statistic highlights that using a phone is a preference for many people, rather than a necessity. The popularity of tablet devices has also more than doubled during the year, with 30 per cent of Australians saying they currently have one, up from 12 per cent last year. Another 16 per cent say they plan to get one in the next 12 months. Small business is increasingly turning to tablet devices, with a 13 percentage point jump in ownership since last year. This has been reflected in slight drops in small business ownership of desktop computers (three per cent), notebook computers (five per cent) and satellite navigation devices (five per cent). There has also been strong growth in wireless broadband connection among small businesses, with an increase of 12 per cent over last year (to 37 per cent). Of those small businesses that don’t have wireless,

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Optimism rebounds for most AUSTRALIANS’ optimism about the future of the economy has rebounded strongly from its postFederal Budget low. The rise in optimism is almost entirely attributable to the improved economic outlook of non-Coalition voters, that is, ALP voters and the 40 per cent who vote ‘Other’. Optimism about the future of the economy has improved by various degrees in all mainland states, except NSW where it languishes at near record low levels, according to an Allianz/Newspoll survey announced 14 August Optimism has risen among both men and women, with men maintaining their relatively more optimistic economic outlook compared to women. The increase in optimism is apparent among both younger and older Australians but this sentiment is not shared by those aged 35 to 49, whose optimism remains at around 18-month lows.  Allianz Australia

Managing Director, Terry Towell, said “Australians optimism about the future of the economy hit a low point immediately after the Federal Budget, but has since rebounded quite strongly. “Interestingly, the rise in optimism appears to have clear political underpinnings. It is almost entirely driven by an improved sentiment among ALP voters, as well as those that vote ‘Other’, a group about 40 per cent made up by Greens voters and other minor parties or independents. On the other hand, optimism among Coalition voters continues to languish at near record lows. “This is the first Allianz Optimism Index survey following the introduction of the carbon tax but I will leave it to others to speculate about whether there is any relationship between that and the increase in optimism among ALP and Green voters.” Allianz and Newspoll have joined forces to conduct a bi-monthly survey which measures Australians’ level of optimism about the future of the economy, environment and society, as well as their overall happiness.

Dealing with the stress SUPPORT and resources for effectively dealing with stress in business and the workplace can not only help business owners and employees, but the business’ future success. The University of Tasmania is conducting the Business in Mind research project to help small business owners and not-for-profit organisations manage mental health in the workplace. As part of the project, they have developed free tools to help owners manage mental health and wellbeing for themselves and their employees. The tools include a DVD and resource kit, freely available to business owners and managers who participate in the research. To participate in the research or to find more information on mental health issues, visit the Business in Mind website. Visit business. gov.au directory of Personal counselling services for a list of services available .

For the love of Apple APPLE has topped a “most loved” list of brands in Australia. Market research company Square Holes calls its brand top 10 the Make Love Not War research project. Managing director Jason Dunstone said the research is based on in-home discussions among groups of friends, an online survey of 1000 18 to 65 yearolds selected from MyOpinions panel and ethnography. Since the 2010 survey, Apple has risen from second to first in popularity. Mr Dunstone said the most loved brands in Australia share two common traits – authenticity and relevance. “It’s interesting to note that each of the top 10 brands were perceived to have better products than their competitors but their communication, service and advertising are viewed as being the same standard.” The research also found that Australians are most likely to engage with their most loved brands through their website, closely followed by Facebook. However, when it came to buying 78 per cent of people “move offline and still prefer the personal experience of buying products from the top brands in store”. Top 10: Apple; Cadbury; Holden; Qantas; Toyota; Sony; Ford; Samsung; Virgin; and Coca Cola.

Treat the team this Christmas at RACV Cape Schanck Resort Your team have worked hard – reward them with an extra special Christmas this year with dinner and an overnight stay on the Peninsula. Enjoy a two course Christmas dinner, one nights’ accommodation in an ocean view room, plus a full buffet breakfast from only $135 per person*.

To book call Relly Bruce on 5950 8029 *All offers are valid Sunday – Thursday from 1 November - 21 December 2012. Twin share rate per person, based on two sharing. Terms and conditions apply, see racv.com.au/venues for details.

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22 per cent say they plan to get wireless broadband in the next 12 months. “The rush to embrace mobile technology is backed up when you look at the way small businesses say they use the internet,” Ms Singh said. The top five reasons small business says they use the net are: • To communicate via email (97 per cent) • Internet banking (91) • Looking for products/services information (89) • Getting reference information or researching data (87) • Looking for suppliers of products or services (86) Teleworking (working outside the normal workplace aided by some form of technology) is also on the rise, with almost two-thirds (65 per cent) of employees reporting that they had used technology in the past year to help them work from a location other than their office. This is a nine per cent increase from last year. One in five Australians who teleworked reported doing so at a client’s premises, and 13 per cent said they had teleworked in cafes.

September 2012 | Frankston / Mornington Peninsula / Dandenong | BusinessTimes | 7


NETWORKING

1. ActionCOACH David Guest and Extreme Networks owner James Eling at a networking night at The Bay Receptions Brighton on 24 July. 2, Businesss Network International Mt Eliza group met at Mornington Golf Club on 25 July. From left are Petrau Massoud, Mortgage Brokers Mornington, Steve Gagliardi, Allstates Safety Services, and Rohain Bixler, of law firm Marshalls and Dent

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3. BNI Mt Eliza group guests Phil Harris, Lennox Productions, and Tony Groves, dealer principal Mornington Mazda. 4. Professor Colm Kearney, Dean of Business and Economics, Monash University, discussed ‘Lessons from Europe for Local Business’ at the university’s peninsula campus Business Associates’ Seminar at Peninsula Country Club on 26 July. He is pictured with Natalie Garner, Sorrento-Portsea Chamber of Commerce. 5. Frankston Business Chamber’s (FBC) monthly networking night was hosted by SkillsPlus at its Wells St offices on 22 August. From left are Stuart Taylor, branch manager of Bank of Queensland, Lyndal Luca, Creative Hampers and Gifts, and John Pollard, Bank of Queensland business development manager. 6. KATIE Hunter, manager of Dogs for Kids With Disabilities, is pictured with Roly at the FBC networking night. 7. FBC networking night hosts Ben Vasiliou, SkillsPlus general manager of employment services, Tenille Cahill, of SkillsPlus, Karly Carson and Rhiannon Smith, both of The ORS Group 8. SKILLSPLUS chief executive Sue Cattermole with (from left) Mark Sammut, Frankston North Rotary, Andrew Burge, of Westpac Banking Group, and Eric Neill, Frankston North Rotary.

8 | BusinessTimes Frankston / Mornington Peninsula / Dandenong | September 2012


9. BNI Frankston met at Peninsula Country Club on 3 August. Pictured are Doris Bretherton, CBES Electrical Contractors, with Mark Noble, Celebration Station. 10. BNI Frankston members David Thornburn, home maintenance and repairs, and Brett Hicks, Ozeye Design and Media.

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11. BNI Dandenong met 9 August at Beletti restaurant, Punt Hill Apartments, Dandenong. Pictured are Rachel Caulfield, Joy Voice Messages on Hold, with Alison Gardiner, BAS Attack Bookkeeping

12. Len May, Quad Security, and Kristy Herman, Optus Business Centre, at the Condoleezza Rice live broadcast breakfast at Mornington Racing Club, Friday 10 August. The talk by the former US Secretary of State was sponsored by Optus and the Bendigo Bank and hosted by Mornington Shire and Frankston 12 councils’ business development units. 13. At the Condy Rice broadcast are Optus team members Stephanie Lindemann, Cam McLeod and Ashlee Boaler. 14. Optus Business Centre co-owner Wes Bourke with David Begg, Easy Website Creation, at the 10 August breakfast at the racing club. 15. MORNINGTON Job Expo at Mornington Peninsula Community Theatre on 15 August attracted participation by regional schools. Brendan Thomas and Lucinda Goninon, of Apprenticeship and Trainee Employment Partners with, Keith Kasimiotis, of Peninsula Food Alliance.

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14 16. Tanya Treasure (right), team leader of business development for Mornington Peninsula Shire Council, with Mark Davis, of Peninsula Food Alliance, at the Mornington Job Expo.

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List your networking events free in BusinessTimes. Contact Marg Harrison on marg@businesstimes. net.au, listing the event, a brief description, date, time, venue and a contact number.

September 2012 | Frankston / Mornington Peninsula / Dandenong BusinessTimes | 9


APPOINTMENTS

GERALD Richards is the principal of the new Peninsula enterprise 3X5X7, a business coaching and mentoring organisation. He has held executive positions in finance, sales and marketing in international organisations. Gerald has trained, coached and consulted to varied businesses, both here and overseas. He has also been a visiting facilitator at the Mt Eliza Business School. Contact him on 0418 101 202 for a no obligation chat.

TELSTRA Business Centre Mornington sales consultant Joe Pugliese
 started with Internal Telstra in December 1988 as a linesman, progressing to installing phones in houses then working on complex cable jointing and network fault restorations. During Foxtel’s start-up Joe was programming and monitoring installations, managing up to hundred installers in Sydney. In 2001 he began selling for Telstra – phone systems, fixed services, data services and mobile services including wireless data. 



Len Barda has been appointed senior branch manager at the Carrum Downs Community Bank. His role primarily will  be expansion and development. Mr Barda said he was excited about returning to Carrum Downs where he lived for 15 years. “The role is a great opportunity for me to combine 29 years financial services experience with my aspiration to make a more significant contribution to the community”, he said.

Colin Baird has joined the Barlowworld team Mornington, replacing Chris Bowen who retired earlier this year. Colin has a wealth of knowledge in the automotive industry with more than 35 years experience working with vehicle manufacturers, specialist data supplier services and within the dealer network. Colin spent the past eight years working in Asia and the Middle East. Originally from the area Colin is glad to be home and is very much looking forward to meeting the Barloworld Mornington clients.

ASHLEE Kay has been appointed marketing coordinator at Peninsula Hot Springs, near Rye. She has had more than five years’ experience in the tourism industry, both on the Mornington Peninsula and in Melbourne. Ashlee says she is passionate about the region and enjoys working with a diverse range of businesses that offer great partnership opportunities with accommodation operators and tourism businesses. Contact her at: ashlee@ peninsulahotsprings.com

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A screenshot of Extreme Network’s latest business aid, time2roster.

Simple rosters ... done fast!

NINETY per cent of small businesses are still using pen and paper or Excel to do their staff rosters. They find it difficult and time consuming because there is no error checking, it is difficult to send the rosters out to everyone and it is difficult to keep the roster up to date when changes are made. Finally, there is an answer – time2roster allows small businesses to roster their staff quickly and easily, to keep track of when staff are working and to sending the roster out quickly and easy. Using time2roster, small businesses can now get their rosters done quickly, send them to their employees very quickly and dramatically decrease the number of errors that they have in their rosters when they send them out to employees. “There are a lot of productivity gains to be made when using time2roster”, founder, James Eling stated. The rosters can be done a lot quicker than with pen and paper and getting to roster out to all employees is quick and simple. The error checking means that employees aren’t rostered twice or for less than the shifts they need. For businesses that are rostering casual staff who have

other jobs, being able to roster quickly means that staff commit to their shifts that they know they have first, which means work trying to find other staff or hiring more expensive temps when you can get your roster out quickly. Time2roster is free to use until 31 December this year and will remain free for customers rostering less than 80 hours per week. This means that many small businesses, such as shops only having 1 staff member on at a time will be able to continue to use tme2roster for free. Go to www.time2roster and start saving time and money today. Extreme Networks has developed time2roster over the last 2 years with the support of a Commercialisation Australia grant. It is part of the core mission of “Solving Small Business Problems.”

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September 2012 | Frankston / Mornington Peninsula / Dandenong BusinessTimes | 11


HIGHLY CHARGED: Brothers S

WORDS & PICTURES BY Keith Platt

WHILE Australia’s two-speed economy is becoming one of the most overused buzzwords, brothers Brett and Stuart Davies are running a $250 million turnover company that is staking part of its future profits on the stop-start principle. But rather than lurching from one financial imperative to another, their focus on “stop-start” is all about vehicle engines: ones that turn themselves off at red lights and become active again when the lights go green. The Davies brothers head up the Club Assist Corporation, the global company that is 80 per cent owned by Australian motoring clubs, principally the RACV in Victoria and the NRMA in New South Wales. Brett Davies is chairman and group chief executive; brother Stuart is chief executive officer and executive president. Their rise to such prominence in the motoring world came on the back of what now seems a very simple idea: offering to help members of motoring clubs fix the most common fault that brings cars to a standstill – flat batteries. While car clubs had mobile mechanics (or agents) to send to emergency breakdowns, callouts to merely re-start a car or fit and supply a battery were costly and time consuming. An 18-month study of emergency callouts identified for the Davies brothers a niche where they could step in and help out. Already running a family-owned battery sales company, they were ideally situated to fill the obvious gap in services offered to its members by the RACV. That was in 1992. Club Assist now boasts at being “the largest mobile battery service product and service provider in the world today”. In the past year the company sold more than 1.2 million batteries. The advent of all-electric car holds little fear by Brett Davies, who says Club Assist believes EVs (electric vehicles) and stop-start

BRO

technology can only increase the company’s customer base. Studies show internal combustion engines powered by petrol, diesel or gas, operate up to 12.5 per cent more efficiently if they are not left to idle at traffic lights. However, turning them off and then turning them on, without any loss of momentum, requires a new electrical system with two batteries, not one. So, there will be more batteries breaking down and going flat – and Club Assist will be there to help. That is the new theory propelling the company’s thrust into the ever-changing world of motorised transport. “We think start-stop technology will slow the transition to EVs,” Brett Davies says, sitting in the boardroom of the company’s headquarters in Dandenong. “Start-stop is here already, but you don’t know when you see them on the road.” Davies says the start-stop technology is “flying under the radar, it’s been here eight years”. BMW, Kia and Mazda are already selling cars equipped with the fuel-saving systems. Club Assist also has provided for broken down electric vehicles with a lithium-based emergency charging unit that will provide enough power for five or six kilometres. However, product and technical development vice-president Al Bradshaw believes 60 per cent of new cars will be stop-start by 2015. “The do-it-yourself battery charger will become a thing of the past,” Bradshaw says, while explaining the three different battery technologies needed to power the change. He says lithium batteries, suited to electric vehicles because of their lightness, are 10 times more expensive than heavy lead acid batteries. Davies believes United States authorities will next year recognise the fuel efficiencies of stop-start technology, leading the way for it to be adopted for fleet vehicles which have government-regulated fuel efficiency targets. With no end in sight for batteries – which have a life of about 42 months - and by gearing up services for electric cars Club

12 | BusinessTimes Frankston / Mornington Peninsula / Dandenong | September 2012


cover story “We approached the RACV and proposed offering a fully integrated service to its members. We were effectively sub-contracting to them,” Brett Davies says. “They couldn’t offer the solution on the roadside that we could.” A third brother, Scott, became part of the business in 1996, but has since been bought out by Brett and Stuart. The family remains close, with Brett and Stuart living in Mt Eliza, Scott at Red Hill and Russell about to return to Victoria. Control of Club Assist has effectively passed to motoring clubs through the Davies brothers “selling down” in three tranches, although they hold the most senior positions on the board of directors (Brett) and in the senior management team (Stuart). Sixty per cent of Club Assist is owned jointly by the RACV and NRMA, with four other clubs holding 20 per cent and the two Davies brothers 20 per cent. There are 600 employees and 3000 contractors involved in roadside service, which has been extended to include windscreens, alternators and starter motors.

ers Stuart (left) and Brett Davies at their Dandenong headquarters.

OTHERS IN CHARGE

The Davies are bringing power to the people

Assist’s future seems assured. The gradual sale of a large chunk of the company to car clubs was always something the Davies family planned “but it has happened probably quicker than we anticipated”, says Brett Davies. One of four brothers who all went to Frankston High School, Davies’s family’s links to car batteries goes back to his when his late father, Ian, owned Dandenong Batteries. Club Assist was launched by Brett and Stuart Davies in 1991 after they spent 18 months assessing breakdowns reported by RACV members. The statistics showed that 40 per cent of breakdowns were battery related and 16 per cent of all breakdowns needed a new battery.

Its services are provided to motoring clubs in New Zealand, Europe, the United States and Canada. Brett Davies says no other roadside car repairers can respond as quickly or effectively. “There’s no direct competitor to what we do,” he says. Batteries are all made overseas, mainly in South Korea, with some coming from China and the US. While running Dandenong Batteries the Davies family also owned the Australian Battery Company with a manufacturing plant in Western Australia, but this was eventually sold to Fiji. A decision to adopt a “cradle to the grave” approach to their products led them to set a target of recycling one battery for every one sold. “Ninety-six per cent of a battery can be recycled,” Brett Davies says. “Including the lead, polypropylene casing and, to some extent, the acid.” “The world is reliant on this above ground mining and for us it is another income stream. “We made recycling part of our first proposal to the motoring clubs. We saw the environment would be important to them and their members.” Club Assist has this year made big inroads into France, which had no motoring clubs of its own. Motorists from other countries stranded in the Gallic countryside had limited roadside assistance, but 50 per cent of vehicles were unable to be made mobile because they belonged to motoring clubs in other countries. “We went on a rescue mission to get their members moving and we’ve now got 60 vehicles on the road in France and the number of club members being made mobile again in their own vehicles has jumped from 50 to 80 per cent.”

September 2012 | Frankston / Mornington Peninsula / Dandenong BusinessTimes | 13


Dining out can be just a click away Part of the packaged site includes connections to social media such as Twitter, Facebook, SMS and email that in turn means transmission to smart phones and iPads. The best part, according to Eling, is his company’s ability to “optimise search engine results”. “You Google restaurants of a particular type or location, and up it pops.” The product devised by Eling is called Marketing 4 Restaurants. Once up and running, restaurant owners can update and change their site’s content and readily monitor traffic.
Customers’ birthdays can be pre-programmed, so that specials or simply ‘happy birthday’ can be sent on the appropriate day. “It fits with our underlying philosophy of being able to solve the problems of small business,” Eling says.
“A lot of clients are looking for a website that’s not costing an arm and a leg. We kicked this idea around for about two years and it’s now structured so they can do their

marketing in about half an hour a month. “It’s simple and quick and there are a few add-ons so that within 60 seconds they can Tweet or Facebook the day’s specials at the same time.” Eling plans for Marketing 4 Restaurants to “go global” and already has one client up and running in New Zealand. Earlier this year he was part of a group of Australians on a government-sponsored trip to Silicon Valley in California run by Advance, a non-profit organisation that encourages innovative businesspeople in Australia and overseas. “They’re experts who help Australian businesses build businesses abroad. We don’t need to be overseas to operate but it was good to find out what it would be like to have another office, meet successful Australian entrepreneurs and maybe find a venture capitalist.” Eling says Marketing 4 Restaurants has 50 clients and he wants to see this rise to 1000 “as quickly as possible”. He says “slicing and dicing big data” is

2030

LIFE is a numbers game for James Eling. Whether it is writing computer code for programs or advising clients on how to attract customers, Eling is working out the maths. Right now, he’s figuring out how best to get bums on seats in restaurants.
How many seats, how many bums and how often. Eling’s company, Seaford-based Extreme Networks, offers clients the full IT service, from installation to 24-hour support. But lately, restaurants have been consuming a lot of his time.
His interest has not necessarily been influenced by the popularity of the television-fed fascination in all things cooking, although it may be feeding the reasons for his entering this new realm. “We’ve developed a system that builds revenue for restaurants, cafes and take-always,” Eling says. “We can provide very good websites very quickly. Something that would have cost thousands of dollars, is now $450.”

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14 | BusinessTimes Frankston / Mornington Peninsula / Dandenong | September 2012


FEATURE

James Eling is directing diners to their tables with a new click and book interactive website.

daughter.
The store had steered a sales campaign at women in the first trimester of their pregnancy identified through items bought on their credit cards. The hope was to interest them in other items as the pregnancy progressed.

2030

the best way of reaching target clients. A graphic example of the effectiveness of this type of data investigation occurred in the United States when a large department store was asked by a father not to contact his 15-year-old

The store apologised to the father who later “came back to say she had been 16 weeks’ pregnant”. “Fifty per cent of traffic to restaurants arrives through search engines and people who don’t have a website are missing out. Only five per cent of restaurants are optimised for smart phones,” Eling says. “No one is doing what we do and the model can easily be carried to other types of businesses such as mechanics and hairdressers.” A graphic example of the effectiveness of Marketing 4 Restaurants came when Eling uploaded a dummy site to show potential customers what they could expect for their money.
Despite it carrying the message that it was inactive and “Melbourne’s best burgers” Rooster Burgers, did not exist, a woman called to ask the exact location as she was armed with orders from her co-workers.
Rooster Burgers now comes with even more explicit disclaimers, but at least Eling can confidently tell and show clients that the model works.

September 2012 | Frankston / Mornington Peninsula / Dandenong BusinessTimes | 15


SURVIVAL

Not just about increasing sales THE Small Business Administration states that 49 per cent of small businesses will not survive the first five years, and seven out of 10 won’t make it past the first two years. Small businesses are built on the hopes and dreams of the owners, sometimes remortgaging the family home and nearly always putting their happiness and that of their family members on the line. Dunn & Bradstreet has reported that more than 80 per cent of small business failures in Australia result from bad financial management. Business coach Gerald Richards says a number of small to medium enterprises still struggling after the GFC are focusing solely on generating revenue as a means of correcting their situation. “Sadly, business coaches with little or no business experience promise to alleviate

the situation by showing SMEs how to increase their sales. However, that is only part of the solution. What happens if those sales aren’t profitable or to achieve profitability some 50 per cent more sales have to be made? And to achieve such sales, the business has to have another employee, which then adds to the costs.” Richards says sales need to be proven profitable through metrics analysis, percentages and ratios. “Let’s take a real life example: an optician’s supplier suggested he reduce his prices to generate sales. On the surface this seemed a reasonable approach, but closer examination revealed he would have had to generate an extra 33 per cent in sales to make the same dollar margin if he did not reduce his price. So he would have needed to either sell 33 per cent more to existing clients or generate sufficient new traffic to

which he could increase sales by 33 per cent. As a successful business coach and principal of 3x5x7, Gerald Richards works with entrepreneurs looking for a competitive edge and those committed to gaining and retaining a valuable and profitable customer base. 3x5x7 works with small to medium enterprises to increase sales, improve profit, direct the management of cash flow, generate wealth, motivate staff and, of course, generate repeat business from happy customers. Book for a presentation on 25 September titled “Increasing Revenue, Profit, Cash Flow and making the most out of the internet”. Gerald Richards will co-present with Chris Nimos, of Rapid Click at Frankston International, 8.30am to 12.30pm; $99 or $55 early bird. Contact Gerald at profit@3x5x7.com

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n Bizzquiz LAWRENCE Jarvis is executive officer of Mornington Peninsula Gourmet, a regional tourism association. He has a “great passion for food, drink and local produce”, as well as more than a decade managing creative, design and marketing projects. He has recently moved to the peninsula from the UK, where he worked for a leading consultancy developing international hospitality brands and businesses.

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I dreamed of being a... pilot. While I don’t now have a jet at my disposal, I did enjoy some serious adventure and learnt how to press a shirt well (among other things) with the help of the Air Training Corps, a youth organisation part funded by the RAF. Youth groups can really spark the imagination of our youngsters. My first paid job was... as a shop floor and tasting assistant at the then newly-opened wine section of Waitrose, the UK based supermarket retailer. In 10 years I will be... enjoying the continued benefit of working with a broad range of passionate individuals and business types, sharing my knowledge, learning from others and making big ideas a reality. I quite enjoy the journey of the unexpected, doing what you love and seeing where you end up. Our business planning entails... constantly looking at how the assets of, or those available to MPG and its affiliate networks, may be used to assist our member businesses. Tip for success... hang on to the coat tails of ever-changing technology. Never presume that you know it all and above all else, just keep engaging your end customers. Be willing to ask the question – what could I/we be doing better? Or what do you want? It’s amazing how in the heat of the moment we sometimes forget to ask those who matter what seems obvious. I am inspired by... the fact that crowd sourcing websites such as Kiva are empowering those less fortunate entrepreneurs and businesses around the world. Anyone starting a business should... research your business idea thoroughly and test the market to ensure there is a need for your product. Also, keep abreast of what your potential competitors are doing. I’ll know I’m successful when... Oh, it’s happened already. This happened when I was younger in the UK. Farmer: Lawrence, I have something to talk to you about. Lawrence: Hmmm (what could be the problem)? Farmer: I’d like to name that cow Lawrence, do you object? Lawrence: No. Some people get species, stars, streets or buildings. Me? A cow. There’s an indicator of success. My mother and father always told me... have a sense of occasion, make time to celebrate your small victories. I wish I had... I think myself lucky to not want for much, or regret anything I have done. Here’s hoping I’ve learnt from my mistakes. I wish I had not… As above.

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September 2012 | Frankston / Mornington Peninsula / Dandenong BusinessTimes | 17


COMPUTING

Costs hidden in the cloud competitive differentiation; and • Lock-in with specific cloud provider or proprietary service model, which may slow down future adoption of open standardsbased services. “It is critical that tangible and intangible issues are given full consideration when signing up for any out-sourcing initiative particularly the use of cloud computing,” said Tony Hayes, International vice -president, ISACA “For some organisations the move to cloud computing may have a sound ROI, but it may also limit future business choices and opportunities due to difficulties in unbundling or unpicking the deal. “However, cloud computing will continue to present new options and service mixes to existing and potential clients into the future. The important challenge for decision makers is to get it

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2029

CLOUD computing promises a low cost of entry and fast return on investment (ROI), but that return can fall short of expectations if hidden costs are are not considered. A report from global IT association ISACA ‘Calculating Cloud ROI: From the Customer Perspective’ looks at the true costs of cloud migration and offers a practical framework for calculating returns. The report outlines five hidden costs that enterprises may fail to anticipate when moving to cloud-based services: • Cost of bringing services back in-house due to regulatory change (e.g. stricter data privacy laws) • Cost of implementing and operating countermeasures to mitigate risk • Unexpected expenses involved in initial migration of systems • Loss of internal IT knowledge providing

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Relocation Show specialists how

• Personal service if you are 2021

 • International Relocation Contactspecialists Robyn relocating ONE or 100  For details see our website or call 9782 0555 • Tailor made plans to suit your budget W: www.personnelrelocations.com • Personal service if you are  E: info@personnelrelocations.com • Local consultants in your area relocating ONE or 100 Contact Robyn F: facebook.com/PersonnelRelocations  W: www.personnelrelocations.com  • Tailor made plans to suit your budget E: info@personnelrelocations.com Contact Robyn facebook.com/PersonnelRelocations 18  | BusinessTimes Frankston / Mornington Peninsula / Dandenong F: | September 2012 • Local consultants in your area L: linkedin.com/in/robynvogels W: www.personnelrelocations.com    

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Founder of Personnel Relocations, Robyn Vogels, knows what it takes to move internationally, having spent 15 years of her life, moving and living around the world. Robyn’s understanding of cultures, language barriers; of moving processes, and urgency to make important decisions, has all mixed together with her love of helping others.

E: info@personnelrelocations.com F: facebook.com/PersonnelRelocations Just like the first time you wanted to build a puzzle, someone sat with

2002

Show how specialists • Personal service if you are Successful business professionals are using BNI to gain • International Relocation  much you much youif you are  • Personal service Word of Mouth Referrals as a cost effective marketing relocating ONE or care, 100 help care, help  relocating ONE or 100 strategy. Why not pay a group a visit?  • Tailor made plans to suit your budget them make them make • Tailor made plans to suit your budget  the right Locations Include: Berwick, Carrum Downs, Cranbourne, • Local consultants  • Local consultants in your area in your area the right start Dandenong, Frankston, Hallam, Mordialloc, Mornington  start  • International Relocation specialists (2 groups), Mt.Eliza & Pakenham.


news

Calculating Cloud ROI: From the Customer Perspective is available free at www.isaca.org/ cloud-ROI.

Bookkeeping course

RACV Cape Schanck Resort and its golf professional Peter Tate hosted invited women to join a clinic with guest golf professional Stacey Keating. The clinic was followed by a lunch where Keating spoke about her experiences on tour. The 25-year-old is a brand ambassador for RACV and this year has represented the organisation in the RACV Australian Ladies Masters tournament and won the 2010 Victorian Women’s Amateur Championship (after which she turned pro). She is now on the European tour where she has placed in the top 10 eight times in the past year. Find out more about Keating and RACV Cape Schanck Resort at racv.com.au/resorts

FS Learning has developed a new course for MYOB-based bookkeepers. Training will be conducted by Tina Hanigan, whose experience spans more than 20 years. The course provides a nationally recognised qualification. Four streams will accommodate differing needs of participants based on their work role or experience. Separate course units will apply to new entrants, others with some experience working in bookkeeping role within a company, contract bookkeepers and even franchise owners. Training manager Hannah Downie said tailored courses are available both on the job and as classroom sessions. Classroom sessions will start in October, but enrolments can be made now. Downie said there had been a gap in bookkeeping training and “we are confident our new course will provide the training that both business and individuals have been seeking”. For course inquiries, call FS Learning,1300 550 482.

2009

complex ROI calculation can make it hard to understand why a decision was made or measure its effects. Do as thorough a job as possible, but don’t let perfect be the enemy of good. • Cloud is not right for every organisational need. The type of cloud service selected – and the decision to use cloud computing services – depends on the specific enterprise’s risk appetite. • ROI is a good start, but other financial indicators should also be calculated. ROI coupled with total cost of ownership , net present value, internal rate of return, or payback period will provide a more accurate financial picture across the life span of the cloud investment. • It is far easier and less costly to change a decision when it is still on the drawing board.

SS S

S S S September 2012 | Frankston /S Mornington Peninsula / Dandenong BusinessTimes | 19

S


markets

One stand-out from the recent reporting season may be the best business in Australia. Against the gloom of the east coast economy its profits have been rising at better than 20 per cent a year for several years: margins are 50-55 per cent; it doesn’t handle goods or deal face-to-face with customers and it has a better than 70 per cent dominance of a market niche that is more than a niche – 87 per cent of households own one or more of the products in question. Not only has this company been growing sales at more than 20 per cent a year for the past five years, it may keep up a similar pace for another five before expanding offshore. Petrol heads have already guessed that this is the auto portal Caresales.com. In a “winner-take-all” world, Carsales has almost literally done that. It has pulled away from its five or six small competitors and rubbed salt in the wound by charging 50 per cent more than the one serious competitor that does charge for ads – the Fairfax owned Drive.com.au. It even dismisses the relatively small numbers of ads on other sites as duplication at no cost rather than different listings. In raw economic theory this should not be happening. Lowest price should always win and that was how most internet entrepreneurs framed it: capture as many “eyeballs” as possible to sell mass advertisers a captive audience. Carsales has done the reverse. It is effectively a traditional retail business using traditional retail verities: good display; customer convenience; depth of offer; affinity with its customers; and good supplier relations. There is a

Richard Campbell* Stock analyst

rich irony here. Specialists in media like News and Fairfax didn’t grasp that the internet works best when it offers more service than bricks and mortar outlets, not less. As we noted earlier this year the comparable Realestate.com is not merely an adjunct to the real estate business it is often its shop window. The intending buyer consults not just her laptop, but her iPhone to look at the location, street front, the plan, the aspect from the sun room and more. Agents were at first resentful and to an extent still are, but many now find both sites filter the tyre-kickers and often improve the quality of the leads. Neither estate agents or car salesmen have been cut out of the loop, as the purchaser still needs to touch and see. In one sense this is obvious, but it is also quite subtle. The major competitors have similar features including apps and trade data, but Carsales has gone far deeper and in fact earns about 20 per cent from data sales alone.

*Richard Campbell is Executive Director of Peninsula Capital Management, Tel. 9642 0545

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2011

Finding net value

It has also added caravans, bikes and other products which might seem unfocussed but is a natural extension. The net effect of good display ads, articles about the latest gadgets or new designs add up to what is more like an emporium than simply many pictorial ads. Spending $60 for a listing is trivial given the potential for a better sale or a quicker one. The auto trade seems to have responded much like the real estate industry and pays for leads. The fact that this can all be done via smart phones and iPads is also profound. Carsales (like CBA in banking and Dominoes Pizza) has invested heavily in apps and can now claim a million downloads by mid-year. Business can be done on the bus, in the coffee break or a long boring meeting which grants people more time. This may also mean that the vehicle market may offer a level of transparency that the ASX is actually losing as High Frequency Trading starts to infiltrate normal activity. HFT now dominates US share transactions as programmed trades dart in and out in micro seconds ahead of those intending to make actual transactions. (HFT aims to own zero securities at the end of each session). That’s a topic for another day, but whether HFT is having a corrupting effect on the ASX, Carsales is taking a market that had a very dubious reputation to a better level and it is winning market support for doing so.


MAnagement

Marketing your business The discipline of marketing was created a little over 100 years ago at the University of Pennsylvania when it introduced a course on the marketing of products. The marketing function’s influence has grown rapidly since then, and has become a key strategic process in large businesses with dedicated specialists that help them achieve their long-term goals. Smaller businesses usually can’t justify having a marketing person and so they must rely on having a marketing process as one of the many hats that the business owner must wear. A marketing process should be a key part of every small business: it will help to ensure that the business can survive and achieve its strategic goals. By a marketing process, I mean that the business owner should spend some time applying some of the marketing tools and techniques that have been developed in the past century. The first step is to understand exactly how your product or service is perceived by your customers, and by the ultimate consumer, if your product is on-sold within your customers’ products. Marketing people use a different set of measures to assess performance, by analysing your customer and business data using both financial and non-financial measures. A great starting point is to analyse your revenue and profit margin for each product, review how this changes through a calendar year, and which products are generating growth, etc. This style of analysis can be strengthened if you can correlate it with non-financial data like customer satisfaction feedback. Sometimes, even collecting this basic data may be difficult for small businesses, so it may be worth considering how you can develop data to support your marketing analysis. Once you can collect basic customer data, there are literally hundreds of ways that you can analyse the data to provide an understanding of your current performance. This, however, is just the start point for a complete marketing process. Another facet of a marketing process is to look forward from your current customer data to predict how this will change over time. Sometimes products that are winners today will fade in the near future due the fashion, technology or other market changes. One of the proven tools to this type of analysis is a SWOT analysis, i.e.

Hamish Petrie*

Business Consultant

strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. Today, I believe that this analysis Stock Analyst should be expanded to a SWOTT analysis where the extra T stands for Technology. Technology is changing so many of our products and business processes that it permeates every aspect of business and cannot be overlooked in any analysis of the future. For example, think of Nokia which owned the mobile phone market ten years ago and lost it because it did not comprehend the impact of the smart phone revolution led by the Apple iPhone. Once you have your current product performance analysis and a SWOTT style analysis, then the fun part begins. Collect as many news snippets, supplier inputs and other customer feedback as possible and then polish up your crystal ball. One important step in this process is to look for gaps – gaps in data, gaps in customers, gaps in competitors’ offerings. These gaps will often be the source of your next opportunity. See if you can work out why potential customers are not buying your products; look for new products that strengthen your connection with customers. There are an enormous range of possibilities that could strengthen and grow your business. Obviously, any future search needs to include general economic and social factors even though these are well outside your control. A key marketing responsibility is to set the pricing guidelines within which your sales people have to operate. To do this, pricing policy needs to focus on analysis of your market competitors to understand how they are behaving and how this is likely to change as a result of any change in your market position. Sometimes you may only have one significant competitor (i.e. a duopoly) where an action taken by one of you will echo backwards and forwards for several months. Think of Coles and Woolworths, Telstra and Optus. Things are more complex when you have many competitors

and hence different pricing frameworks may need to be established. In small businesses, you are often trying to supply a premium product or service and so great care needs to be taken to monitor the pricing premium that you are charging in return for your superior service. One of the risks of pricing analysis is placing excessive emphasis on the cost base of each product or service. Cost plus pricing is a dangerous concept and has often led to customers getting out of step with market competitors, who can change the rules by changing their internal costs. While cost and supply line reductions are important, they should not be confused with the price that a customer is prepared to pay. So, if you want to get started with a new marketing strategy to reinvigorate you business, the best place to start may be to select two or three people who you trust and who know your business and spend an afternoon away from the office to discuss and design an appropriate marketing process. It is likely that this process will include several steps including some data analysis, research of competitors, customer analysis and technology reviews. Don’t rush the process, it is important not to race to conclusions. Remember, a well designed and executed marketing process can be the basis on which your business stands out in your market, thereby positioning your business for long term success. Actions Planning Questions: 1. Do you have a system for collection of basic product and customer data in a format that will support marketing analysis? 2. Have you completed a “future search” exercise to identify the key forces that will change your business in the next few years? 3. Have you sought out the gaps in your current products, or markets where growth opportunities exist? 4. Do you have a pricing framework as a result of your analysis of competitors and customer expectations? 5. Have you selected a few key people to assist you to design and implement a marketing review process? *Hamish Petrie had a 37-year corporate career including 25 with Alcoa Inc. His latest position was VP People and Communications for the Global Alcoa Corporation based in New York. He can be contacted at hamish@nitroworld.net or on 0404345103. © Hamish Petrie 2012

September 2012 | Frankston / Mornington Peninsula / Dandenong BusinessTimes | 21


health

Now, what was I saying These days we know so much about the dire degenerative conditions – cancer, heart disease, stroke … I won’t go on – that contemplating our retirement years can be downright depressing. Alzheimer’s disease is just another of those swords apparently dangling over us. I won’t bore you with the stats, but suffice to say dementia looms as one of the great health issues of the next generation. First a simple explanation: Alzheimer’s is caused by a loss of blood circulation in the brain caused by the blocking action of fatty plaques, or what Chinese medicine calls “phlegm”. I may have explained phlegm before, but essentially it’s any type of congealed fluid in the body. Phlegm forms when the normal, healthy fluids that moisten the tissues and lubricate the system stop moving and instead congeal (such as what happens when a pathogen binds up our lungs). It can form anywhere in the body, including in the cardiovascular system as plaques that clog up blood vessels, any place where circulation fails. So from our point of view, Alzheimer’s prevention involves two things. One, maintaining blood circulation, and two, reducing “phlegm”.

Michael Ellis*

Chinese Herbalist

It’s that simple. Understanding that, you can pretty well work out for yourself what will tend to prevent Alzheimer’s – anything that maintains circulation – and what will not – sitting on your bum eating pizza, for instance (cheesey dishes being a prime phlegm-producer). For example, a European study showed that drinking several cups of coffee a day in middle age cut Alzheimer’s risk by 65 per cent in later life. Where that study went wrong – as usual – was in seeking an explanation for that in the biochemistry of coffee (although researchers did establish it’s not the caffeine alone). Coffee works because it’s a stimulant. It stimulates circulation of fluids – evidenced by the almost instant diuretic effect – and it of your qi and blood – evidenced by a lift in energy and mood. (The downside

You heard the one about...

An elderly man gets the test results back from the doctor. “I’m sorry to tell you this but you have cancer.” “I do?” “Yes, but that’s not all ... you also have Alzheimer’s.” “I do?” “Yes.” “Oh well, at least I don’t have cancer!”

and... Today I noticed an elderly woman sitting on a park bench sobbing. I stopped and asked her what was wrong. She said, “I have a 32-year-old husband at home. He makes love to me every morning and then gets up and makes me pancakes, fresh fruit and brewed coffee.” I said: “Well, why are you crying?” She said: “He makes me homemade soup for lunch, cleans the house, then makes love to me the rest of the afternoon.” I said: “So why are you crying?” She said: “For dinner he makes me a gourmet meal with wine and my favorite dessert and then makes love to me until midnight.” I said: “Well, why are you crying?” She said: “I can’t remember where I live!”

22 | BusinessTimes Frankston / Mornington Peninsula / Dandenong | September 2012

is that it also dehydrates your fluids, but hey, nothing is all good!) But you can see how that could be helpful for some people in diseases involving phlegm and blood stagnation. A mountain of research is revealing other simple suggestions that cut your odds of losing your mind to Alzheimer’s. Notice that all of them have to do with stimulating activity in order to encourage blood circulation and reduce phlegm. Here are five suggestions out of Western research. • Fill your brain. A rich accumulation of life experiences – education, socialising, a stimulating job, language skills, having physical and mentally demanding leisure activities – maintains brain function, even in the presence of plaques (ie. phlegm). • “Google.” For older people, doing an online search can stimulate your brain even more than reading a book, says the University of California, which used brain MRIs to prove it. The effect was greatest for novice internet surfers aged 55 to 80. • Protect your head. Blows to the head, even mild ones early in life, increase the odds of dementia years later. (Professional footballers in the US have 19-fold the rate of memory-related diseases later in life.) • Tea is good too. A cup of black or green tea a week cut rates of cognitive decline in older people. Only brewed tea works. So does red wine but only one to two glasses a day (stimulating blood flow), but any more can accelerate Alzheimer’s (as it easily creates phlegm). • Avoid soft drinks, especially those sweetened with high fructose corn syrup. They make lab animals dumb. (That sugar issue again!) • Grow new brain cells. Scientists used to say that was impossible, but now believe that thousands of brain cells are born daily, and survive best with aerobic exercise (such as a brisk 30-minute walk), strenuous mental activity, and eating fatty fish. Bottom line is, just about anything will reduce the chance of developing Alzheimer’s if it stimulates circulation and activity. The ‘move it or lose it’ principle is alive and well. * Michael Ellis is a registered Chinese herbalist in Mt Eliza. Visit www.mtelizaherbal.com.


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