7 Legal Essentials for Business Online: Part 7 – Discrimination & Accessibility Online

An accessible website should operate the same way for all its users, regardless of their physical ability. In other words, web accessibility is all about inclusiveness; it is about making sure no one is left out because they cannot see, hear, or use a mouse or keyboard like any able-bodied person. With Google’s algorithm change in April 2015, this also means your website has to be mobile friendly.

Advocacy groups argue that having an inaccessible website is discrimination and violation of human rights. Some have even gone on to file high-profile lawsuits against multinational companies like Target, Sydney Olympic Committee, AOL and others receiving favorable decisions in court. These cases were able to set some important precedents so that if your site is not yet optimized for disabled users, your company may be at risk of civil litigation.

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Three Ways to Grow Your Business Using Twitter

Social media is heavily promoted by bloggers as a marketing must. For most B2B companies, Twitter is one of the most frequently used and often wrongly used social media channels. Below are three ways we use Twitter every day to improve our business.

1)    Listen closely to your customers

Most companies do a good job of listening to customers when they directly complain or message the business. It’s not enough in 2015 to do a good job of hearing direct messages. You can learn more from your customers by listening to everything they’re saying. When you find a customer on Twitter simply add them to a list. (We called ours simply #ourclients) By occasionally reading this list we are able to predict what clients may want from us before they tell us. We’re not mind-reading just paying attention.

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How to Get Rid Of Unnecessary Internal E-mails

Do you wish you could get more e-mails every day?  I didn’t think so!  Today I would like to share with you a simple strategy on how you can get back control.

I remember a couple of years ago I was about to deliver a keynote presentation when the CEO of the company asked if it would be OK if he could quickly make an announcement.  Well it didn’t turn out to be announcement, it was more like a full on rant!  He walked onto the stage looking a little disheveled and in his hand he had a whole pile of paper, no actually it looked like a ream of paper.  He went on to explain that this was all the e-mail correspondence he had received with regards to one particular project that he wasn’t even involved in! It also turned out that this was a minor project!  What had been happening is everybody had cc’d every single person they could think of who was even remotely involved in the project on any correspondence!

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7 Legal Essentials for Business Online: Part 6 – Anti-Spam Compliance

Anti-spam rules apply to telephone messaging as well as emails. Anti-spam is not just about bulk messaging. It only takes one text message or one email to be found liable for breaches of anti-spam legislation.

If you have a new business and you don’t use one of the common auto-responder or CRM services like Aweber or SalesForce then you might not be complying with anti-spam laws. If you are non-compliant and there are enough complaints made against you, your text or email system can be blocked or cancelled and your whole method of communication disrupted.  Do you want to be blacklisted and lose the trust of your newest customers before you even get a chance to show them what you’ve got?

Being anti-spam compliant is so EASY I am constantly surprised at the businesses that don’t get it right.

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7 Legal Essentials for Business Online: Part 5 – Website Terms and Conditions

If you’ve been following this series of articles you’ll be aware that terms and conditions have been mentioned a couple of times in different contexts, and there is good reason for that. Creating an online business allows you to interact with people all over the world. You no longer have the relative security of watching someone walk through the front door of your store and being able to make a judgment about how you want to behave with them, and how you might expect them to behave.

In an online environment the space is open and accessible 24/7 and you don’t necessarily get to check out your customers before they go to buy. The beauty of being online is that you get to set your own rules, within the context of the laws you chose to apply to your website.  How does this work in practice?

If your business is here in Australia you don’t really want to get involved in a dispute somewhere the other side of the world. You particularly don’t want to get dragged into a court proceeding that is in America, where ridiculous damages claims appear to be the norm. As an aside, did you know that New South Wales is the second most litigious state in the World, behind California?

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Tomorrow Starts Today (And Three Other Time Saving Tips)

At one time I was running four successful businesses. At once.  I get a lot of business questions: how much should I charge (as much as you can), is SEO worth it (of course) and will this ever get easier (I hope so!)  But easily the most frequently asked question was “how do you have so much more time than I do?”

To be hyper-efficient takes time and dedication. However, below are a few of my top tips to get you started on your path to more productive work.

 1. Tomorrow Starts Today

Tomorrow’s productivity is highly dependent on how you finish today.  The last 30 minutes of your day should always be spent preparing for tomorrow and the rest of the week.  What work is outstanding? What are the three most important things for you to get done tomorrow? What can you knock off early in the morning when you first walk in?

We all know the lesson about putting the big rocks in the jar first so that the rest fit, right? Don’t forget it. Every day should start with the biggest project you need to work on or finish.

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7 Legal Essentials for Business Online: Part 4 – Consumer Protection Online

First rule of online business: Do Not Piss Customers Off – They Will Tell the Whole World!

Ok, so some people agree with the idea that any publicity is good publicity and if you’re in that camp, do what you will! For those of you who are concerned about the viability of your business and would rather see no comments on social media rather than negative comments, listen up.

Consumer law (trade practices/ fair trading) was consolidated and made consistent around Australia in 2012 and is now overseen by the ACCC rather than your local consumer affairs or fair trading office. Those offices still exist and continue to manage a raft of local legislation as well as investigating consumer complaints. This consolidation saw an increase in what was covered by consumer laws.

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7 Legal Essentials for Business Online: Part 3 – Online comments

For some reason a lot of people say things on social media and blog posts that they would never say in a letter to the editor in the traditional newspaper format. It’s an interesting phenomenon and one that will no doubt fuel all sorts of legal disputes for years to come.  With the fast pace of online interactions you might forget that your comments remain accessible online indefinitely for those who want to look, and if legal proceedings are involved, someone will be looking!

Did you hear the one about the woman in Western Australia who posted some unflattering comments about her ex-husband on Facebook? The comments were posted in December 2012 and taken down in January 2013. In the meantime a bunch of mutual acquaintances, including the man’s brother, saw the post. Court proceedings were filed and it wasn’t heard by a judge until 2015. Don’t assume that because you’ve forgotten about it, everyone else has too! The Judge decided in favour of the ex-husband and the woman was ordered to pay $12,500 in compensation as well as legal costs.

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7 Legal Essential for Business Online: Part 2 – Privacy Online

What is the big deal about privacy? Everyone gives all their personal information to companies like Facebook and Google, so why not give it to your business? Data privacy is a big deal, particularly in Europe and Cyber-crime is on the increase, or at least awareness of it is. If you collect information, then you are obliged to provide at least minimum protection against disclosure.

So who is covered? If you collect the contact details of your customers, you are collecting personal information which is protected under privacy laws.  If you are a small business, you may not have to comply with privacy laws, but if you want your customers to feel secure in giving you their information, it is advisable to comply.

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6 Tips for Mums Who Run Their Own Business

It is a very appealing option to many mothers. Imagine being able to work for yourself so that you can incorporate all the flexibility you need into your working day. There may be an option to work from home so you have no commute times and to reduce child care fees. It often seems like the closest we will get to work-life balance.

There is of course another side to running your own business. The difficult side which can be riddled with problems.
Here are some tips for mums who currently run or who are looking to run their own business.

1. Being the business owner means that you are never off duty. There is a huge temptation to work day and night and to grab those extra spare moments at weekends when you can. After all, what you are building here is for you and your family. If this works out the way you want to then the hours will be worth it.

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