Saturday, January 30, 2010

Self Managed Superfunds

Alex Lee of Ark Total Wealth talks about what a Self Managed Superfund is, the benefits,the risks,the requirements and how to go about creating an SMSF.

A must listen for anyone interested in having an SMSF

Wednesday, January 27, 2010


A letter from our friend David Berman in New York. David founded "Chess for Change" in South Afirca (A programme teaching four thousand underpriviliged kids to play Chess each week) and the "author" of the "rugger bugger letters"

Dear Rugger Buggers,

Last week in NYC there was a big charity dinner arranged and Pienaar was the guest speaker. I had just seen the movie the night before at the NYC Premier so I asked Pienaar questions in addition to his awesome talk. My short review of the film follows this.

It was a truly outstanding evening and the event was a sell-out, including 20 of us rugger buggers at one big table.

Pienaar is a magnificent speaker and leader who is now cemented into history through this film. Beneficiaries of this dinner were kids in SA - mainly Pienaar's MAD charity, but also Chess for Change, the Section 501 (C)(3) charity I founded four years ago, where we are now teaching chess to over 4,000 kids a week in the Cape area primarily. Chess is proven to make kids smarter and is a very cost effective way to help children.

Pienaar is a brilliant speaker and captivated us all with his honesty, humor, laid back demeanor, and stories, but before he spoke, there was a very successful live auction with a signed rugby jersey going for a whopping $14,000, a Madiba first edition signed book going for $13,500, and a bronze limited edition statue of Pienaar and Madiba going for $22,000, just to mention a few of the items. Guests were unusually generous. Clearly New Yorkers are feeling better than they did a year ago!

Permit me to share some of what we learned:

Pienaar met with Matt Damon as Damon wanted to get a sense of the role, and "to get into my head". Similarly, Morgan Freeman met with Mandela. Damon's words to Pienaar when they first met were "Don't worry...I am much bigger on the screen!" Its quite funny because in truth Damon is not very big, most especially for a loose forward! Pienaar was however very impressed with Damon's hard work ethic and trained with him in the gym where Matt worked on his upper body, which they focused on in the movie, and did a good job. Pienaar said that as a rugby player he has brute legs but that this was a problem for Damon, and that they laughed about how he would have to wear a few pairs of socks, and take the focus away from the legs, and that he'd wear tighter shorts to make him look bigger. Pienaar spoke very complimentary of Damon saying he was a real down to earth guy, which I concur with having spent a half hour talking to Damon myself, and that they hugged each other at one point. Pienaar said "I could not ask for a better actor to play me".

Of Clint Eastwood, Pienaar said Clint doesn't play dirty harry, "he IS dirty harry":.. On the set there is "NO faffing and its all very orderly" .. People call him Mr. Eastwood...

A few other issues were discussed:
1. Accent. Very good. Pienaar tried to convince the movie guys not to use that slow stupid SA accent one often hears in movies that makes them sound stupid, but rather to speak faster like Pienaar does. So they paid closer attention to the speed too.
2. The scene in the prison cell happened exactly like that and when Pienaar saw it, it made him cry.
3. Not necessarily in movie but Pienaar saw what happened in six weeks in SA and he saw SA change and the whole vibe changed, and he really did say he was playing for 43 Million not 60,000 fans.
4. Madiba never gave him a poem.
5. The poem Pienaar used was another which he personally loved, about a man in the arena by Theodore Roosevelt... about "If he loses ..." (my baby was named Theodore a few weeks ago, so that was good to hear)
6. Madiba came to locker room before the game. It was a great moment.
7. Players in the movie resisted singing the anthem but in reality everyone learned it and no one resisted; in fact, a coach was even hired for this. The players weren't as "bad" as they were made out to be in Hollywood style
8. While Matt Damon comes across as a quiet leader, leading by example as Mandela did, Pienaar was hardly this passive. I did think this was odd in the movie, didn't you? When the team in the movie didn't want to practice the anthem and Damon walked away, Pienaar said that would never have happened as he would've just made them. He spoke to the boys a lot more before the game than Damon did and he took no kuck!
9. Hollywood tried to make it more movie-friendly - note the plane heading for the stadium in 9/11 style only to say "Good Luck Bocke" as it did in real life - but Pienaar insisted that the players do not come across as racist, and thy didn't. They came across simply as resistant to change, as did many blacks in the movie.
10. Pienaar drizzed a lot throughout the film as he felt it was very moving most especially as it captured the emotions of the day. He felt it was a great honor.

When I later asked Pienaar if he was disappointed with the Haka as I was, and the rugby in general, as well as the rugby players who didn't seem tough enough, he said he felt that an opportunity was missed in that they could have used real players BUT importantly he added that to rugby connoiseurs like ourselves, it may be disappointing, but from a normal viewer's perspective it was done very well. To this end we must concur as we have only had rave reviews, especially from my biggest critic, my mother-in-law, who now understands me and my love for rugby a little better, as well as my desire to help kids in SA through chess!

From a personal perspective, and surely for all you rugger buggers in America, it is truly wonderful for the world to see what a great game rugby is, albeit about such a bunch of thugs as is often made out... though we love the phrase that its the smart man's sport - and its also lovely to have a movie about our home country in all its glory.

I hope you found this helpful and interesting, as well as my review below.


PS Enjoy the reports and comments that follow!


Below is my review of the film as written to Pienaar just after the film (I was at a premier - it wasn't out yet). Love to hear your thoughts as always. Enjoy, DB


Francois, hope you had a good day in NYC and that your wife and boys are having a blast. Good touching base today. You can be very proud. You are immortalized. You asked I should email my thoughts to you, so here we go... film was great. The "PEE FACTOR was 9/10 for me (see definition later). They def did not make your teammates out to be racists as I had heard. Rather everyone was made out to be resistant to change - both whites and blacks. In classic Clint Eastwood style, not much talking in film. No real relationships. Superficial. Kind of weird in that way. . But great to see feelings of people changing thanks to rugby game.. Best game on planet...Not overly impressed with Morgan Freeman who I loved in Shawshank Redemption; his speeches did not move me in the slightest. Politically correct however to nominate him for an Oscar. We'll see. Matt Damon as Pienaar OK I suppose but could've heard more speeches from him to his players and guidance. Too much "leading by example" and hardly any motivational and leadership talks. All Black HAKA WAR CRY scene lousy and I had expected so much here... would've been nice for the world to see the real intensity of this .. and rugby scenes exciting but too close up and full of grunts.. as Matt Damon told me in Cape Town, it wasn't hard to do the rugby acting as the cameras did the tricks and made him look good, as he said, which is so true - but Lomu scenes are absolutely outstanding.. only real rugby looking player - a real Somoan! Should've used real rugby players as actors.... Never got a team spirit feeling either, until right at end. One feels the movie should've gone back and forward between real scenes from the game and the acting. Feel they could've done a lot more with the movie - great opportunity - but loved the music and feel good at end - sho shaloza amazing- oh My Captain - and of course being S African made it unusually good.


Friday, January 22, 2010

Property and Self Managed Superfunds

A fantastic explanation by Alex Lee of Ark Total Wealth on Property and SMSFs with the use of Warrants.

Ways to reduce your mortgage

1. compare the interest rate to other lenders' rates and fees

2. contribute extra to the loan by paying fortnightly instead of monthly, or making the loan a partial offset.

3. repay the mortgage as if its interest rate are two percentage points higher. This encourages a good savings habit and prepares for likely rate increases

4. List expenses and work out where expenses can be cut so more can be contributed to the mortgage.

For borrowers, especially those with multiple mortgages, it's important to give your borrowings a health check and see if there are savings to be made and if you can reduce the life of your loan. or if you're struggling financially, refinancing the loan and extending the term of the loan may just give you the relief you need."

House Prices set to rise

Australian Property News

Posted on Friday, January 22 2010 at 6:00 PM

Australians expect house prices to rise over the next 12 months, according to January's Westpac-Melbourne Institute Consumer Sentiment Survey.

Of the 84 per cent of respondents who predicted this rise, 21 per cent expected gains above 10 per cent.

Across all respondents, the average expected price rise was 5.4 per cent over the next year, 1.5 per cent higher than the average expected rise in October's survey.

Across the states, Victorian respondents predicted the highest price rises, of which 87 per cent expected house prices to rise over 2010, and 29 per cent of these respondents expected gains of above 10 per cent.

Of the age groups represented in the survey, 18 to 24-year-olds were the most optimistic and expected the greatest increase, followed by the investor and first homebuyer age groups.

The only sub-group to predict a decline in house prices were the respondents earning $71,000 to $90,000 per annum.

The survey also reported a decline in positive responses to the question: "Is now a good time to buy a dwelling?" which suggested that affordability had become an increasing issue for buyers.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

A Laundry List for the Entrepeneur - A Whitepaper

A Whitepaper by Ivan Kaye
1. Foreword
BSI – Ivan’s Entrepeneurial Journey
Will it succeed??

BSI began as a consulting company, started - with 1000 dollars and one client-in 1989. Before we knew it, we had a real consulting business.

Once we had clients and revenue coming in, we realized that we had a real business that we could grow. We picked a business strategy, thought about what we were going to do for our client’s long term, what kind of company we wanted to have, both culturally and functionally and gave it a go!!

The business has always developed with an exit in mind…..

The Unique Selling Proposition is to retain brightest and best. Have living values and let them have the freedom to pursue their dreams. Give the “players” latitude with boundaries. Let the workplace be a place that they can achieve and enjoy.

BSI is a global model. By 2015 our business will be +$100m and will be approached by a larger company or get listed.

2. The importance of a Mission Statement:

Be prepared: have a clear vision of your company and its goals

“it must become the organization’s governing ‘constitution,’ the standard by which strategy, systems, structure, style, and skills are developed and judged” , [1]

The principles of creating and implementing a Mission Statement needs to encompass the following

■Identify the organization’s fundamental reason to exist
■Primary, long-term goals crystallized
■Core principles and values – solid corporate ethics [2]
■Key needs of primary stakeholders
■It inspire and motivate both management and employees
■KISS – keep it simple stupid
■Concentrate on running the business. The rest will follow
A Goal is a Dream With a Deadline

3. Be a great leader

■Rule #1 – there are no rules
■Have a vision and articulate it –. Become a giant by standing on the shoulders of giants. You can be a midget! Get other people to buy into and join you in achieving your vision
■Be adaptive as situations change or don’t work out.
■Be decisive and implement decisions quickly.
■Have a mentor that gives you the energy, strength, and confidence you need when struggling with an issue, or when things weren’t working the way you wanted them . It is gr8 having somebody look out for me-and all they want in return is that I succeed!

4. Be able to sell and network.

■You need to constantly sell. You have to sell to customers, employees, shareholders; you have to sell ideas; you have to sell everything.
■Listen and be responsive to customers, suppliers, employees, and investors.

5. Passion And Drive

■You aint got passion – get a job!!
■Whatever can go wrong will go wrong
■Believe in yourself.
■Believe and do
■Without this constant focus and unwavering belief, the plight of the company will probably be less then ideal.
■Be willing to work seven days a week for the company if necessary. I do it, and I expect my people to as well.
■Be there . Be involved with the business 365 days a year. Even when I travel I stay in touch with what’s going on. You have to be willing to sacrifice time whenever necessary.
■Most entrepreneurial endeavor can cause huge personal and family stress. You must at least acknowledge that these stresses exist and find balance
■Hands on. Know every aspect of the business , from manufacturing to selling to collecting money.

6. Be honorable.

■You can’t fool people all the time, so don’t try. When we had rough times and payroll money came up short, I was always last on the list—everyone else in the company got paid before I did. A Good Hire is Hard to Find
■Be involved in all levels of the company’s operations—the more you know about how the people above and below you do their jobs, the better off you’ll be.
■Take time out to take your receptionist/secretary to lunch… they will let you know what is happening in your business.

7. Develop detailed plans and goals and go for it

■keep reviewing and updating. They are not static.
■Continually measure against your goals
■reward yourself. Take a day off for golf or take a holiday.

8. Focus on niche markets.

9. Cash and Finance
■Maintain CFN—cash flow now.
■Minimize layers of management.
■Maximize profits by keeping costs low and productivity high.
■Learn the numbers: you don’t need an MBA but you should take some courses to be able read balance sheets and income statements.
■Be a miser: spend your hard earned cash only on the necessities
■every decision you make should be guided by sound business instincts.

10. Team up with large companies that have similar objectives, but do not compete with you but are reaching the same people

■For example Lucent continually looks for innovative companies that can use their distribution to help commercialise
■A client had a small innovative system in storage software, and teamed up with Microsoft as it assisted there sql products – they were able to take product to market and now sold for many millions.
■Another had a CRM that used INTEL worldwide to get to market
■Small web developer aligning with service company to increase the service to their clients
■Financial Services Company aligning with Accounting Firms…. Using the name of the large accounting forms providing a niche service.
■If you have a fire in your soul, it will show through. Bigger fish will see themselves in you and want to work with you

11. Avoid FTI (failure to implement)

■Implementation is king
■Have courage to take the step of action: leaps of faith are a necessary action.

12. Getting Capital – where are you in the process

■From the perspective of a small business owner seeking capital, the “pass the hat” to relatives and friends scenario is usually the first source of financing.
■Then the growing company will seek a second round of financing through a professional source.
■Finally, the third or fourth round of financing replaces the founders of the company, usually creative and talented in their own right, are replaced by professional managers installed by the investors. Again, the driven entrepreneur may not be the best management solution for the now established business. This is not always the case at all, but management replacement does happen in the real world. The financing process is long and difficult, but necessary.

13. Aquisition Decisions

■Knowledge is key when it comes to buying other businesses—the more you know, the more money you stand to gain.
■Make sure it fits with your existing business and strategy
■Make sure it adds value vs sucks value
■Never get involved with a business that you and your associates are not familiar with. When in doubt, leave it out.
■Only enter into negotiations when you can walk away.
■Don’t think you can ever protect your idea from someone who wants it. Charge forward. If they think you will be the first to cross the finish line, they’ll throw in with you.
■The seeds of mistrust are sown early. Don’t skew the benefits of a relationship too much in anyone’s favor. And make sure that each other’s goals and objectives are well defined and achievable.
■Leave something for the next guy

14. Workplace

■Establish a workplace environment that fosters innovation.
■The entrepreneur must learn to be a manager of people as well. This is a very fine line and often goes completely unrecognized. Sometimes the entrepreneur is not a manager type and never will be. They end up burning through employees because they are long ideas but short on management skills.
■Entrepreneur does not translate well into the task of a manager.
■Understand the value in having a talented set of people around you-an exceptional team is absolutely key. If you have people who are not first-class, building a real, meaningful, successful company is virtually impossible.

15. Growth is key but dangerous

■Leverage. What would happen if I added twice as much of x or stirred y for twice as long? Factor 4
■Growth is good but be prepared for the financial ramifications.
■When business is exploding you must act most cautiously.
■Rapid growth costs money, increased staffing, working capital, infrastructure and technology to meet additional demand is expensive.
■You must consider your balance sheet and sources of funds before quickly burning money on information technology and human resources.
■Do you have a sustainable pipeline of business to maintain cash flow?
■Can you find a cash infusion?
■If you aren’t growing and you have adequately consolidated, you are stagnating…. Eat or be eaten

16. Point of Difference
■If you don’t have a unique POD you probably shouldn’t be dabbling in that market
■Ideally – be indispensable to your clients
■The importance of uniqueness is critical to an investor. The world would still spin without most of the products we see. And no one is really in pain without them. So what makes yours special? It’s a tough question. Be ready to answer it.
■Know your market, business and industry.
■Marketing is key: when you have the best technology or systems, make sure your customer knows it.
■Every entrepreneur must have a feel for what makes a desirable product. You must seriously consider the demand for the product or idea that you seek to market.
■Accessibility and communication – Immediate and quality response to client inquiries. Service service service . Not just band aids.
■Know your customers: they are the key to your survival-listen to them.
■Know the competition
■Try to concentrate on:
■Offering unique products that public truly wants
■Adding a personalized touch that makes the customer feel special, (i.e. monogram)
■Providing value-the coveted more bang for the buck
■Ensuring prompt delivery-no one likes to be kept waiting.
■Focus on the little things

17. Innovation

■As long as you have new people and new ideas, something new will occur—a different invention, a different method of distribution.
■Innovation is at the heart of competitiveness – the economic driver – needs a fertile environment. Government, Industry, Universities,Investors and Entrepeneurs are all actors on the stage, and all play a vital part in the ecosystem.
■Innovation is at the heart of competitiveness – the economic driver – needs a fertile environment. Government, Industry, Universities,Investors and Entrepeneurs are all actors on the stage, and all play a vital part in the ecosystem.

18. Corporate Database

■My most valuable asset is my customer database. In any business, the customer list is crucial to the company’s prosperity.
■Excellent customer records must be a priority.
■Demographic information like address and buying patterns can help you target clients and their needs.
■Lillian said of his direct marketing business:- “In 1960, I had 125,000 names and did proportional business. Today, the corporation has in excess of 18 million names and our sales reflect the exponential growth in our name acquisition. You must look for new ideas in building clientele as well as developing great products” [3]

19. Image and Perception

■The best way to deal with the big boys is act like one. Talk the talk and walk the walk Do what the big boys do and be recognized for it.
■Be at Clubs, Seminars and Events….
■If people perceive you as a leader, performer, and creator, then that is reality. PERCEPTION IS REALITY
■Be in customers’ sights everywhere they turn. Go on constant sales calls, advertise, attend trade shows, and get coverage in the trade press.
■Become so good that you shut out your competition.
■Another good rule is to be first.
■Dominate the niche with the highest quality product possible. When you begin to show success competitors either think you already own the market, or it’s too small for them to bother.
■Know what cross-sells. If you can do a joint promotion with a much larger, non-competitive brand, some credibility will rub off on you.

20. Developing your brand

■A strong company must produce more than good products or services—a good name is equally important, and this you must work for. It’s not enough simply to be the best; you have to be perceived as being the best as well. The payoff? Wait until you try to raise money. What investor doesn’t want to have a stake in the best?
■Have confidence in your product and your company’s abilities. This confidence should manifest itself in all aspects of your business: in conversations with suppliers, skirmishes with competitors, and interviews with the industry press.
■Building a reputation is not a passive process. Work to establish an image and mold it into the shape you want. Then don’t stop polishing it .
■Be better than your competition and be prepared to prove it. When you have all the ammunition behind you, it’s easy to ask for a premium price and be reasonably assured you can get it.
■If you have the reputation and the product, a strong sales force , obviously, completes the picture.
■Perception is crucial . Often times in marketing, a company’s appearance is as important than function or value. Add the best packaging and sizzle you can afford without skimping. These are great places to appear larger than you are- and reduce the chance of someone jumping in because you appear strong. So, not only must you sell customers on your product, you must also sell us.
■Look professional. The step up you get from having a well designed, well printed business card, brochure, stationery, web site, and collateral material is a real boost. People want to feel that you will be in business for a while, and looking professional helps them along.

21. Worthy Offices are Welcome Sites

A well-conceived, uncongested office will give your company the edge. Be a winner in this category, and it will carry on into others.

■Banks and investors don’t go on sales calls with you. Rather, they observe what they can observe—i.e., your office and workplace.
■Impressing your customers is as important as impressing your bank. If you don’t deliver, your competition will.

22. Sound Mind and Sound Business

■the key to running a business is thinking every detail through.
■Once you understand the marketplace, you can trust your gut reaction. If someone calls you with a business plan and you possess the basic knowledge, then you can go after it.
■Before you do, first write down the complete sequence of what it will take to get the product to the market. Then arrange the sequence in a logical order.
■Next, weigh the plan to see how much of it you can enact yourself. If you already have most of the talent yourself, then you can tackle the plan yourself without much cash. If you have to buy the talent, the plan is still possible but will require more cash. I had the talent and started with little cash. It worked.

23. Strong Business Plan

■A quality business plan is essential. It needs to be focused and well thought-out. A business plan will only get you in the door. A business plan is what investors and financiers have to judge you on. How you lay it out counts almost as much as what is in it. People look at both. Also, listen to investors’ concerns when you shop the plan around. You can always go back and improve the business plan.
■The executive summary, obviously, is most crucial in that it answers in a short space. The who, what, when, how, and how much?
■Your business plan must demonstrate that you’re organized in your thinking. There are some basic things in a business plan,
■Like clearly defining the business concept,
■The economic model- how you’re going to make money in this business.
■The market you’re addressing,
■The product and service you’re providing for that market,
■Who you’re competing with,
■Who the management team is, what their skills are, and why they’re ideally suited for this business;
■What they’re providing to the customer that has value, that somebody’s actually going to pay for. This needs to come out in several of the sections-in the market section, the product section, the competition section (because it shows how you differentiate yourself).
■Where the revenue is going to come from. It’s really easy to list different revenue models that apply to your business potentially. It’s a lot harder to say here’s how we’re going to make money for the first year. And then here’s how we’re going to build on it and build on it and build on it.
■And really, the basic quality-attention to detail-really make a business plan stand out. I’ve read so many plans that were just poorly written-grammatical errors, poor formatting, missing big chunks of information, not proofread.
■A business plan is a sales document and I’m going to draw my impression of people and their capabilities from how much effort and care they put into writing their plan.
■Once a plan gets above the good threshold, I don’t have a clear understanding of whether or not the concept is great and the business is great, until I spend time with the entrepreneur and until I try to really understand the products and talking to potential or existing customers.
■The qualities of the people are fundamental in determining whether we will invest or not.
■I also have to think hard about the revenue model and make sure that the business has appropriate economic parameters.
■The actual numbers in a business plan are less important than the structure of the cost and expense model and the revenue model. It has to fit with the relevant KPI’s. I’m not worried about whether it’s a 50 million dollar company in year five or a 10 million dollar company in year five.
■But if it’s a 50 million dollar software product company in year five and it’s making $700,000 per employee, then their model’s screwed because there are very few software companies that have more than $200,000 a year in revenue per employee. In that way I try to see if it holds together when I look at it from thirty thousand feet.

In Summary
Entrepreneurs come in a million configurations, but some of these configurations have been proven to be more successful than others.

■When planning the launch, take advantage of all the entrepreneurial services—BSI – Business Planning , Growth Strategies, Governmentt Incentives, Investors
■Think of every customer as a partner and business as a mutually beneficial relationship
■Avoid being backed—or backing other people—into corners.
■Innovation is the lifeblood of entrepreneurs, but ensure the backroom and systems are strong.
■Anticipate Your Obstacles
■When starting a business, the only certainty uncertainty. Use all the resources at your disposal to prepare for it.
■Your passion won’t be felt by all - handle it
■Secure enough capital to get you through the unprofitable growth period . Entrepreneurs who are too optimistic at the outset can run out of money early on—and watch their enterprises crumble.
■Know your market
■Getting the company off the ground is only the first of many tests to come. The successful entrepreneur is always looking forward and planning ahead for what’s next. Plan each month something new to tell your investors
■Keep overhead low during the growth period . Minimal overhead is sure to impress investors down the road.
■Cash flow cash flow cash flow
■Hire people based on your actual needs, not your projected needs . A small, agile company can best respond to the ever-changing marketplace.
■You must earn your customer’s trust, and crisis situations, though harrowing at the time, are the ultimate test of your mettle. If you can perform when the chips are down, your customer will have complete confidence in you when everything is running smoothly. Always be sure your system can handle a breakdown.


[1] Dr. Stephen R. Covey “Principle-Centered Leadership”

[2] Chuck DeMarest, Rocky Mountain Rescue Unit,

[3] Lillian

A Summary of Ivan's Laundry List for Entrepreneurs

By Ivan M. Kaye
Director BSI/ADI
Business Strategies International
Suite 1, Level 3, 51-57 Holt Street
Surry Hills NSW 2010
Ph: 02 92125505 Fax: 02 92125545

  • Entrepreneurs come in a million configurations, but some of these configurations have been proven to be more successful than others.

  • When planning the launch, take advantage of all the entrepreneurial services—BSI – Business Planning , Growth Strategies, Government Incentives, Investors etc etc


  • Think of every customer as a partner and business as a mutually beneficial relationship

  • Avoid being backed—or backing other people—into corners

  • Innovation is the lifeblood of entrepreneurs, but ensure the backroom and systems are strong.

  • Anticipate Your Obstacles

  • When starting a business, the only certainty is uncertainty. Use all the resources at your disposal to prepare for it

  • Your passion won’t be felt by all…..handle it

  • Secure enough capital to get you through the unprofitable growth period.

  • Entrepreneurs who are too optimistic at the outset can run out of money early on—and watch their enterprises crumble.

  • Know your market

  • Getting the company off the ground is only the first of many tests to come. The successful entrepreneur is always looking forward and planning ahead for what’s next.

  • Plan each month something new to tell your investors

  • Keep overhead low during the growth period. Minimal overhead is sure to impress investors down the road.

  • Cash flow cash flow cash flow

  • Hire people based on your actual needs, not your projected needs. A small, agile company can best respond to the ever-changing marketplace

  • You must earn your customer’s trust, and crisis situations, though harrowing at the time, are the ultimate test of your mettle. If you can perform when the chips are down, your customer will have complete confidence in you when everything is running smoothly.

  • Always be sure your system can handle a breakdown

Top Ten Tips for Successfully Exporting to the USA

Article by Ivan Kaye BSI

1. Do your Research

• Investigate: Competitors in terms of Prices, Packaging, Promotion, and Point of Purchase
• Check out assistance available through Trade Start and Australian government
• Use the Export Market Development Grant (EMDG) and other assistance wisely

2. Develop Preliminary US Prices

• Americans are not good importers-Price Ex-US location
• “Delivery Duty Paid” shipping terms – landed and cleared prices
• Use a general exchange rate
• Base freight costs on small, medium and large sized shipments
• Contact US Customs Brokers to determine import requirements / duty
• Use a sharp pencil to determine COG ex factory
Note: US Customs do not require paying duty on freight

3. First US Market Visit: Investigative

• Trade Show(s)– obtain price lists
• Visit stores – buy samples
• Meet with sales agents, industry specialist and/or brokers – not buyers
• Use samples and price lists to show factory and office

4. Develop a Strategy

• How to approach the market: i.e., via distributor or direct?
• What is the product range: US buyers prefer specialists
• Who are your key customers: Focus to save resources and time
Note: Start with smaller orders and buyers for the first few shipments

5. Investigate Legal Aspects

• Product liability, labeling, patent & trademark concerns.
Note: US government websites that can help (“for business”) outlines labeling for consumer products - US Food and Drug Administration for registration - US Small Business Administration - US Patent and Trademark Office

6. Second US Market Visit: Meet with Targets

• Set appointments with potential sales reps, brokers, distributors, buyers
• Check on customer credit references
• Visit websites and research background on buyers and distributors
• Ensure that your company representative can quote delivery and negotiate prices
• Respond quickly to sample requests – don’t wait until you get home to organize

7. Prior to Shipping, Consult a US Customs Broker

• Double check all export documentation
• Include tariff codes on export documents
• Don’t use wholesale invoices as the commercial invoice for shipping
• Confirm the Importer of Record with the Broker
Note: For samples or shipments under 50 kilos, use Federal Express

8. If Selling Direct, Establish an Independent US Base

• US business address
• Receiving checks
• Vendor applications

9. Build Relationships

• Developing relationships with the right people in the USA.... getting somebody on board you can trust and communicate with is paramount

10. Be Persistent and Patient

• Visit market regularly (1-2 times per year)
• Starting a new business can take 3-5 years to generate a profit
• Volume business starts after the products and supplier have been tested

For more information please contact:
BSI Services Pty Ltd
Ivan Kaye
Ph: (02) 9212 5505

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Great Snippets from succesful entrepreneurs!! awesome !!!

There are many more - let me know if you want me to post them

Snippets of Advice from Entrepreneurs.... awesome!!!

How do suburbs rate in Sydney?

extracts from Stuart Fagg, ninemsn Money

SYDNEY: The 5 property hotspots in Sydney are located largely in the west and southwest of the city, although there is one within 10km of the CBD.

Granville, NSW: With a population of around ten thousand, a median house price of $347k, and a high rental occupation, the numbers make Granville seem like a great opportunity for investment. But is it really worth the money? What do you think? Click here to rate and review Granville.

, NSW: “Distance to city and beach and airport is ideal. It has supermarkets, a shopping centre, places to eat and good public transport. I can not understand how it could be so cheap,” said resident Charlie, even though Rockdale ranks only 6.3/10 on our suburb review tool. Higher median house prices and negative growth could be bringing down Rockdale’s reputation. Do you agree?

Lidcombe, NSW: Although Lidcombe hasn’t been rated, it’s logical to assume that with a median house price of $450k for houses and it’s proximity to major roads, it’s a bargain. But how does the community hold up?

, NSW: Though one of the most remote suburbs listed in the Sydney area, Riverwood boasts a median house price of $455K and a busy rental market. The older population – with a median age of 40 – might be a factor for many young families looking to buy. Is Riverwood really a bargain? Rate and review it now.
Waterloo, NSW: Waterloo resident “Trosa” is very enthusiastic: “Inner city suburban living - love it. Best value for money in Sydney!” Another Waterloo regular visitor has different views: “I work here and hate the noise this suburb has. Its concrete roads and high units being built is just too crowded and claustrophobic. You cannot breath. Just sit on O'dea Avenue for get run over by a truck and you have a headache. YUK.” Rental rates are massive – 77% – which means it might be a great place for investors. What do you think?

Waterloo, NSW: Waterloo resident “Trosa” is very enthusiastic: “Inner city suburban living - love it. Best value for money in Sydney!” Another Waterloo regular visitor has different views: “I work here and hate the noise this suburb has. Its concrete roads and high units being built is just too crowded and claustrophobic. You cannot breath. Just sit on O'dea Avenue for get run over by a truck and you have a headache. YUK.” Rental rates are massive – 77% – which means it might be a great place for investors. What do you think?

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Investing in Property Starts with Developing an Investment Strategy

Investing in Property starts with developing an Investment Strategy!
Before Investing in Property, Shares or other Asset Classes, one should consider factors that include their current financial situation, their existing investment portfolio and their goals for the future.
Each investor is unique and have different goals for investing – some want a passive income streams, others may want to invest for capital growth so that they can sell their property when they retire, while others may investment in property for their children or parents to occupy.
The process of building an investment portfolio should involve planning and research vs taking an educated guess on a property and hoping that it will double in value every 10 years. A property is a substantial asset, and if one buys a property at the wrong time, it could take many years for ones investment to be successfully realized.
It is essential to do RESEARCH RESEARCH RESEARCH!! Take emotion out of your decision making process. Look at the area – demographics, infrastructure, population growth/change, desirability of area for tenants, yield, and accessibility to transport, shops and schools…. amongst other factors. Where you want to live vs. where you and to invest are 2 different decisions
For more information, please don’t hesitate to email me on

Australia Property Market set for good year

The most recent news out of the Australian property market indicates that 2010 should be a strong year. Better-than-expected data on the housing sector has many people involved in real estate down under saying that this year will be red hot.

Building approvals rose 5.9 percent in November to a seasonally adjusted total of 13,724 units. That is up from 12,962 units in October, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics. One economist, Adam Carr of ICAP, said that “Australia is going to be red hot in 2010.”

“I know that this is November, 2009 data, but we have all the conditions to see a very strong housing market – low interest rates, we saw 100,000 jobs created in the last few months, and a housing shortage.”

While the year ahead looks to be a strong one, some analysts are expecting an interest rate hike from the RBA, the country’s central bank. The RBA is scheduled to meet next on February 2.

Investors brace for rental boom in 2010

Investors in residential property will benefit from shortage of residential stock.
key drivers:-
population shift
quality of developement and developer


article from "your mortgage"
After a lacklustre performance in 2009, property investors across Australia can finally look forward to a bumper year in terms of rental increases.

According to a report by Australian Property Monitor, NSW property investors are poised to double their rental income in 2010 with houses set to fetch $500 a week in median rent.

Melbourne rental properties are also forecast to resume its long-term growth trajectory, with rents expected to climb by an average of 5% t0 6%.

APM said the strongest growth in rents is set to occur in both Brisbane and Perth. Median house rents in Perth could hit $400 or an increase of 11%, in line with the average growth rate of 12.4% recorded since 2003. Brisbane rents are also expected to grow solidly, surging to around $400, with growth rate closer to the 8% expected.

"Brisbane and Perth are poised to outperform the rest of the country as their property markets play catch up to Sydney and Melbourne," said Matthew Bell, economist with APM.

The temporary increase in rental supply over 2009 is also expected to be soaked up quickly this year as buying a home becomes less attractive for first homebuyers.

"The winding down of the first home owner boost along with very strong house price growth makes moving from renting to owning a less attractive proposition in 2010 than it was during the majority of 2009," said Bell.

"Vacancy rates remain very low across the country and population growth is at historically high levels. On the supply side, there simply aren't enough new properties being built for investment purposes to meet this increased demand. Increased costs for landlords in the form of rising interest rates and rising land taxes due to increasing land values should mean that asking rents will start to increase steadily throughout 2010."

While rents are forecast to increase throughout 2010, Bell added that the outlook for house price growth is also strong, "meaning that yields that hit their peak in March 2009 are unlikely to move very far in 2010."

Friday, January 01, 2010

A wish for 2010

a verse that I copied from my friend Joey Benadrretti of Syspro, who copied this from his friend Karen Merson’s Facebook page which I think she got from Karen Zieper…..:

May peace break into your home and may thieves come to steal your debts
May the pockets of your jeans become a magnet for $50 notes
May love stick to your face like Vaseline and may laughter assault your lips
May happiness slap you across the face and may your tears be that of joy
May the problems you had, forget your home address
In simple words ....May 2010 be the best year of your life!!!