Working with Family Members

My husband and I purchased our company, River City Trees, when our youngest son was only 1 year old and have been working together ever since.  When we first started working for ourselves Bart was in the truck full time and I looked after the office.  Since then we have managed to grow our business, starting with Bart getting out of the truck in 2012, to now where we only go into the office three days a week.

The first family member we employed was our daughter. We have been fortunate to have her work with us while she is going through university, which has greatly benefited both of us as it has given her a great insight into how businesses run (she is studying Marketing at QUT) whilst she is helping us. She also recently converted our Operations Manager into a son-in-law who has now been working for us for 5 years.  Our son who is completing grade 12 in 3 weeks time has been doing a School Based Apprenticeship throughout years 11 and 12 in Arboriculture, which has given him the opportunity to work 1 day a week within our company and grow his skill set. As of next year, he will start working with us full time.

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Secure Your Business From Data Breaches

Identity theft is increasing on a global scale, with financial information and client records considered foundational data for cyber criminals that indulge in this practice, whether for strict financial gain or use in fraudulent transactions. The normal practice is that harvested data is used to create other accounts (such as bank, email or other) or indeed continue using existing accounts but changing passwords to prevent legitimate access.

Small to medium enterprises obviously store both financial and health information and are prime targets for hackers. In August 2014. These criminals do not care about your business information but focus more on your personal details such as date of birth, address, etc., using them for services or credit applications.

Australia has had its fair share of data breaches. In 2012, ransomware (software that locks down a computer until a ‘ransom’ is paid using an untraceable digital currency such as Bitcoin) was used to compromise the operations of a Gold Coast medical centre.

Luckily, with a little knowledge and some forward planning, you can protect your medical practice from most of these data breaches. I say most, as even large enterprises are successfully breached by highly skilled hackers on occasion and few servers can continue operation if thousands of hackers launch a simultaneous attack.

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Top Tips when Working with Family Members

A number of business owners employ family members in their business. It is great to have a business where you can give work to family but is this a good idea and how do we ensure it doesn’t hurt our relationship?

Family can be our greatest strength while at times our worst nightmare. When we are in business what is the best way to ensure our relationships remain healthy while family is employed?

If you have other employees it is important you do not show preferential treatment to your family member undertaking the same job as staff. If the family member is not pulling their weight then staff duties are escalated due to your family member and this may cause animosity with other staff.

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How Well Do Australians Protect Their Online Security and Privacy?

Ever seen your hipster mate on Facebook gush about how talented Justin Bieber is? We’ve often laughed at friends who’ve had their social account hacked as part of a harmless prank. But is this a symptom of a wider problem? Perhaps there are many of us who are leaving our social media accounts vulnerable to much more sinister attacks on our privacy and security.

Melbourne based SEO agency Optimising conducted a recent survey to attempt to find out how educated Aussies are when it comes to protecting their online social profiles. The team surveyed 853 adults across the country earlier in 2015 and asked respondents whether their profiles were public or private, if they’d had their data or personal information shared against their will, as well as their knowledge of some common privacy related technologies.

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Data Security In The Age Of The Mobile Worker

The brave new world of increased mobility means work is an activity rather than a destination. Employees can work from anywhere in the world using mobile devices: they can even choose, manage, and use their own devices in many cases.

This carries enormous benefits to businesses as employees become more productive and available. However, it also creates risk because these devices and the data that resides on them may not be adequately secured, so sensitive company information may be compromised. Organisations must take measures to protect business information on mobile devices.

Using mobile devices comes with new concerns around securing and protecting company data, especially when it comes to storing and transmitting information. When employees use mobile devices, they often also use public cloud services like Google and Dropbox to store documents and information – and these are often beyond the visibility and control of the IT department. As a result, businesses need to consider ways to ensure maximum security for mobile workers that access, share and collaborate on work and documents over mobile devices.

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Five Tips for Running a Business That Doesn’t Take Over Your Family Life

Running a business is challenging at the best of times. It’s not all lunchtime meetings and evening client drinks. And when you have kids, there are even more considerations on the table. Having run my own digital marketing business for seven years, I’ve identified the things that help to make me and my business successful. Here are my top five tips:

Be clear about your vision and purpose for the business as well as your personal vision and purpose

If you have a clear goal and direction you’re going in, it’s easier to take purposeful steps to get there. If you want to have a good work life balance, to spend quality time with your kids, maybe building a billion dollar business that requires 60-70 hours of your time each week isn’t the best idea after all.

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Mother-daughter Businesses Share Their Secrets to Success

The relationship between a mother and daughter is often complicated. But some women choose to add a further dynamic to the mix, by starting a business together.

Jillian Intini and her daughter Casey Bryden began working together four years ago designing and manufacturing modern sun parasols for their business Sunbella.

“For us, it was a natural progression,” Says Jillian.

“As a nurse I was seeing skin cancers on a lot of women and I had the idea to design a sun parasol. At the same time Casey left her marketing job to have a baby, so we started brainstorming together and bouncing ideas around.”

“Our little family business is now bigger than we could have imagined a few years ago. We sell online, through retailers, we wholesale, hire and offer corporate branding options.”

“We’ve landed some large corporate deals with Peroni and the One & Only resort and there are some exciting opportunities coming up for us this year. I would not be doing this without my buddy by my side, plain and simple.”

The recently launched Willa In Spades brand are another mother daughter duo, with Amanda Wearn designing and her mum Beth King sewing each piece in the collection.

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How To Fix A Data Breach: Fast And For Good

The Australian Federal Government this week launched the annual Stay Smart Online Week. In conjunction they have released the Stay Smart Online Small Business Guide. Business owners can use this guide to ensure they are following safe online practices, and have sufficient security in place to protect sensitive data from a potential breach.

This comes at a time when businesses, organisations and government departments are increasingly being subject to data breaches on a regular basis. Yet in what is a growing concern, there appears to be little consensus about what entities should do once a breach is discovered.

Defining a data breach is an exercise in itself. At its core, it refers to an unauthorised access of information on a computer or network. Hacking is the most common example, however the guidelines below apply not just to data breaches but to instances of online bullying, defamation, threats and similar problems in the digital space.

So who should you call when you want to investigate a data breach? The straight answer is that it all depends on what you want to achieve.

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Mastering the Art of Mumpreneur

Running my own business has been one of the most rewarding but challenging experiences of my life!  It fulfils a lifelong dream I have had to work for myself and be master of my own destiny.  Working from home gives me the flexibility to work hours that suit me and the opportunity to work in with our crazy family life.  BUT… it is not for the faint of heart!  The challenges sometimes seem insurmountable and on occasion my confidence wavers and I am left wondering if I can do this.  Here are some of my tips for surviving the journey.

Be Confident

I have a fundamental belief that I can do anything, it all comes down to how much work I am prepared to put in to achieve a goal.  As a small business owner you need to have an unbreakable belief in your ability to make it work.  Self-doubt is corrosive and can very quickly undermine your energy levels whereas positive thinking breeds positive energy.  Surround yourself with avid supporters and energetic, like-minded individuals who will encourage you along your start-up journey.

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Adjusting to Life – Working from Home

Have you ever tried to work on your business with a toddler at your feet, a partner off at work and an ever growing pile of emails and missed telephone calls?  Welcome to my day and that of many other mumpreneures around.

When I was first pregnant I went to great lengths setting up my office to make sure that it was “child friendly”.  Naively I had thought that by bringing my baby into a world where I work from home, she would adjust and understand that quiet is needed when I am on the telephone and patience is required when I need to answer an urgent email.  Now I just look back and laugh! What was I thinking?

My daughter is 2.5 years now; and realistically it took me almost 20 months to figure out how to wear all 3 of my hats and not feel like I was letting anyone down.

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