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Archive for November, 2010

Cash Discounts can speed up Collection

Saturday, November 27th, 2010

Christmas is approaching and your small design business is a little hungrier than usual for cold-hard cash. You owe your contractors and suppliers and there are presents to buy for your loved ones. You know there is earned profit out there in the world, but your customers are under the same pre-Christmas pressure. What can you do?

Calculate the Value of your Discount Options

It’s time to pull out your calculator, a sheet or two of A4 paper and a biro and quantify what discounts you can offer to incentivise and speed up payment. Step away from your computer… it’s not about using powerful software, but about making tactical and strategic decisions.

The question is how much better or worse off will your business be in the big picture. Make a column for full payments owed… a column for a 2% discount offered… and a column for a 5% discount offered. The rows down the page should list your outstanding client accounts. Once you’ve done that you’re ready to make a decision.

Don’t be Impolite or Sarcastic

It’s difficult for small business to figure this out but don’t take the debt personally. Remember that a human being with their own financial pressures approaching Christmas will read any letter that you send saying – “PAY NOW OR ELSE” – whether it’s direct or veiled in sarcasm. Their reaction may be negative. And just because someone is a little late paying their account doesn’t mean they’re bastards.

Sometimes they’re caught in short-term finance issues that are partly out of their control – for example, their client hasn’t paid them yet… or an unexpected bill threw them askew for a few weeks. Just be understanding.

Pre-Christmas Amnesty Discount

If you can afford to lose 5% of that debt you might consider allowing it as an amnesty for overdue accounts paid in full before a certain date. So if you’re owed $2000 then you’re offering $100 discount if they pay in full within two weeks.

Don’t think about the $100 you might be forfeiting… if you can afford the short-term hit then it’s a sound business initiative because money in your account is far better than money in their account – you can use it to pay your own short-term financial obligations.

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Damn Lies & Statistics

Friday, November 26th, 2010

Note: This feature article was a part of assignment 3 for HEJ606 Advanced Journalism at the University of Tasmania in Semester 2, 2010.

“I’m from Sydney, I moved down six years ago to focus on my film work, my writing and stuff.”

The first thing you notice is enthusiasm to be in the conversation; he’s almost throwing teeth across the table and feeding fingers to the budgerigar to get his story out there. That’s the indie film industry in a nutshell – it’s self motivated, self directed, self promoting. It’s self actualising from the ground up.

“Sydney is a big place that has lots of distractions and it’s a much more expensive place to live,” he says. “So I figured if I moved to Tasmania it might put me in a hard practical situation but it would force me to focus on what I wanted to focus on. And it’s working really well.”

The everyday world imagines Sydney-born Dan Weavell as an indie filmmaker, soundman, writer, director and producer. He relaxes at an upper-level window table of the Criterion Café in Hobart’s Central Business District enjoying the opportunity to discuss his passion – the Tasmanian indie film industry. Dan’s a thin guy, 31 years old, unfettered by creative ambition and intentionally understated – if he were a bottle of wine in the foyer of North Hobart’s State Cinema a critic might describe him as being ‘of a very good year without the hint of arrogance one would assume from that vintage’.

Dan wears a dated earthy-green tweed jacket with the sleeves rolled up two-parts to the elbow and drinks the mocha he ordered with delicate and expressive vein laden hands that attest life and filmmaking are all about hard work and sweating out the details. His sunglasses are pushed back like a torso-less rodeo wrangler and that impression is only heightened by the four or five sharp turrets of hair manufacturing themselves around the black plastic ear stems.

Dan Weavell looks every part the multi-talented and highly respected passionate filmmaker that the Tasmanian taxpayer has been investing in.

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Undergraduate Bachelors versus Coursework Masters

Monday, November 22nd, 2010

Often in coursework Masters the curriculum states an identical unit name as an undergraduate course equivalent with identical textbook and often the same lecturer. The only obvious difference to the layman is the unit code is different for undergraduate and postgraduate units. Unfortunately, this superficial similarity leads to a myth that undergraduates and postgraduates do the same coursework.

Undergraduate Coursework

The point of an undergraduate course is to provide students with the generic graduate attributes within a general discipline – the ability to learn, to research, to write a minimum level of essay and reports. The firm who hires an undergraduate at the end of their course is receiving an empty container…

… a computer graduate is someone who isn’t a trained out-of-the-box programmer but someone ready to embark on a career as an IT professional. The same goes for accounting graduates and marketing graduates. You don’t hire an undergraduate and sit them in an office expecting them to do much at all except be the standardised product of the university system.

Here is an example. In undergraduate business courses there is a heavy emphasis on working through the textbook and learning the models, terminology and underlying theory. The exams and assignments are designed primarily to ensure that base level of understanding is achieved… but rarely will it extend the student.

Postgraduate Coursework

I recently completed a Master of Business Administration (Journalism and Media Studies) that entailed two years of post-graduate coursework at the University of Tasmania. The product of an MBA graduate is completely different than the undergraduate.

MBA graduates will mostly go overseas to large organisations and perform middle management roles… or become entrepreneurs… the MBA program is globally considered as the training ground, the only real training ground, for middle managers in large organisations. The course assumes 7 years business experience when you walk in the door (as opposed to the blank post-college canvas of an undergraduate).

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About the Author

Steven Clark Steven Clark - the stand up guy on this site

My name is Steven Clark (aka nortypig) and I live in Southern Tasmania. I have an MBA (Specialisation) and a Bachelor of Computing from the University of Tasmania. I'm a photographer making pictures with film. A web developer for money. A business consultant for fun. A journalist on paper. Dreams of owning the World. Idea champion. Paradox. Life partner to Megan.

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