Business Matters Seminars Series

Melbourne - 20-22nd April, 2018, Melbourne Convention & Exhibition Centre
Sydney - 15-17th June 2017, ICC, Darling Harbour Sydney, Hall 1

Do you have a laundry list of things you want your business to accomplish as we enter the new financial year? Sales growth, addressing cyber risks, exploring new technology, the hiring of employees, and successful marketing of your business and products, to name just a few.

Well, we have great news for you! 

Business Matters Seminar Series focus on trending topics and issues affecting SMEs in Australia including growth opportunities for SMEs and how SMEs can harness success in the digital economy and the challenging global market. The series address key SMEs challenges and aspirations: digital disruption, access to finance, government grants, marketing, growth and profitability strategies, exporting and more

Business Matters Seminar Series will commence registration at 9:30AM for a 10:00AM start.

Register Free

Previous Program - Day 1

10:00AM – 12:30PM

Navigating Digital Disruption – Insights & Tips for Small Business
Theatre A

Digital disruption transcends industry borders and doesn’t just impact big business. Look around and you’ll see that change is occurring at a dizzyingly rapid rate. Companies like General Motors, Borders, Brashs and Kodak had learnt the hard way. What can we learn from these experiences?

This highlight seminar session focuses on helping small businesses seize the opportunities of the digital economy and look for ways of using digital technology to improve their processes, products or to expand into new markets

Topics include:

[10:00am] Future Proofing Your Business
There’s never been a better time to be an entrepreneur. Glen shares his thoughts and observations on the five key changes in the small business landscape over the next 5 years which will disrupt and impact it for the better: baby boomers turning 70, the millennial mindset, technology unemployment, government inefficiencies, and systemic collapse. Glen will demonstrate how to surf the waves of change to grow a successful and lasting enterprise.

Glen Carlson, Cofounder – Dent Global

[10:30am] Navigating Your Business through Digital Disruption
Every business, large or small, faces both the challenges and the opportunities presented by an era defined by digital disruption. Disruption isn’t new to Australia Post but the constantly accelerating rate of change is. Find out what we’ve learnt along the way, how it helps us serve you better, and what tips we can share to help you navigate your small business through rapid change in an immediately global environment.

Rebecca Burrows, General Manager Small Business – Australia Post

[11:10am] Game Changing Business Communication in the Cloud

David Palmer, Director Business Channels, SMB – Optus

[11:40am] Data Security for SMEs
In today’s data-driven, hyper-connected digital age, more data is collected, stored and shared than ever before. The benefits this information brings to organisations is undeniable, but as data sets expand and grow in sensitivity, so does the associated cyber risk.

In 2016, there were 4,149 confirmed breaches which exposed 4.2 billion records, and it is estimated that fighting global cybercrime will cost USD$6 trillion by 2021. Whether through cyberattack, a malicious internal leak or an accidental internal breach, organisations of every size and every industry vertical are vulnerable to the ongoing battle to safeguard sensitive information. Failure to do so means risking substantial costs, penalties, reputational damage and loss of business.

Hugh Stodart, Head of Product and Engineering, will explain how small to medium organisations can:

  • Understand the true value of their sensitive information
  • Ask the right questions when scrutinising security vendor solutions
  • Develop and implement practical strategies for data-centric security
Hugh Stodart, Head of Product and Engineering


2:00PM – 4:30PM

Growth and Profitability Strategies for SMEs
Theatre A

How do you re-invent your business!? How do you recover from a business downturn!? How do you give your business a competitive edge to take it to the next growth phase!?

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, more than 60 percent of small businesses fail within the first three years of operating. Australian small businesses are not only struggling to survive, they are finding it even harder to thrive.

Whether you are a b2b or b2c business, you’ll have found that rising labour costs, changing customer needs and preferences, other expenses and increasing global competition have put a big crimp on your revenue and profits.

Register to attend this seminar session to hear experts share advice and strategies to grow your business and make it more profitable.

Topics include:

[2:00pm] Correlation between Digital Technology and Growth
Digital technology is redefining the competitive landscape and how businesses, large and small communicate and connect with customers & prospects. With ‘smart’ device ownership more than doubling since 2010, mobile technology disruption is a growth engine for SME’s looking to facilitate deeper customer engagement, build loyal relationships and provide differentiated service levels. This session will explore how businesses can harness mobile technology to create additional value and develop a customer-centric business model to accelerate growth.

Andrew Mumford, Chief Sales Officer – MessageMedia Group

[2:30pm] Connect with Your Customers in a More Meaningful Way
How can you harness your existing customer base to help you attract and retain new customers, and ultimately increase sales? In this session, Rebecca will give some practical insights into how you can actively engage with your customers to help you grow your business. This includes strategies to better connect with your customers through a range of channels, partnering with customers to help tell your story.

Rebecca Burrows, General Manager Small Business – Australia Post

[3:00pm] New Business Now: How to Increase New Business by 20% in 20 Days while Cutting Costs, Stress and Frustration
In this condensed hands on workshop, News Business Development expert, Ciaran McGuigan will share his key principles, tactics and techniques to dramatically increase your sales results. Ciaran’s techniques are used by global and local organisations to create immediate and measurable revenue improvement. Whether you have a sales team of one or one hundred don’t miss this session it is packed with handouts, tips and real solutions you can use today.

Ciaran McGuigan, MD & Founder – Strike Force Sales

[3:30pm] 6 Steps to Building a Better Business
Benefit from Paul’s wealth of experience. Paul has invested 30 years in business. He’s bought, built and sold businesses, mentored businesses, managed businesses and led businesses over that time. In this presentation, Paul shares with you some of the business building strategies that have been used successfully with his clients. You’ll get the edge over your competitors and come up with the best strategies for your business growth today.

Paul Henshall, CEO, ActionCOACH Australia and NZ


10:00AM – 12:30PM

Small Business Financial Challenges and How to Overcome Them
Theatre B

Uncertainty in global markets, credit liquidity, financial literacy as well as obstacles with respect to lack of access to mainstream finance, working capital and cashflow are some of the financial challenges faced by SMEs. Failure to address these critical challenges can be detrimental to a small business.

Join us in this seminar session to learn why savvy SMEs are turning to non-bank lenders, ways to reduce risks associated with late payments and how to manage currency risks to improve profit margin and cash flow.

Topics include:

[10:00am] Big picture threats – Translating the economic and market impacts on SMEs
Peter Munckton, Head of Markets Analysis, is Bank of Queensland’s resident expert in business economics and market strategy, providing economic and financial market advice to the bank and its clients. During this session Peter will share his macro view to help you get a better understanding of the potential economic challenges ahead for Australia and what impact this could have on your business.

Peter Munckton, Head of Markets Analysis, Bank of Queensland

[10:30am] Keeping the Financial Sector on its Toes – Why Savvy SMEs are Turning to Non-bank Lenders
Aris Allegos, CEO and Co-founder of Moula, discusses how the emerging industry of online lenders is working to improve access to capital for small businesses. He’ll cover the evolution of the industry, how the availability of online data is influencing the efficiency at which capital is provided; the importance of the quality of this data; and how savvy small business owners are using their online profile to apply for finance to grow.

Aris Allegos, CEO and Co-founder – Moula

[11:00am] Super Challenges for SMEs
Katie Pittman, Account Manager at Australian Super, discusses the key pain points faced by SMEs when managing their superannuation obligations. She provides tips and tools to simplify super for SMEs and explains how selecting the right default super fund can make a difference to your employee’s retirement

Katie Pittman, Account Manager – AustralianSuper

[11:30am] Managing Currency Risk in a Dynamic Business Environment
In today’s volatile economy, the currency market plays a significant role in profit margins and your ability to budget with accuracy. Currency hedging can help you do business with more certainty. In this session {speaker} explains how hedging can help stabilise profits and will take you through the 4 steps to hedging

Roy Agostino, Senior Corporate Hedging Manager, APAC at Western Union Business Solutions

[12:00noon] Taming the Cash Flow Beast
What one monetary factor can force even a highly profitable business to close its doors? Cash flow. Sneaking up on you without warning, running out of cash is a common killer of businesses.

What most business owners don’t realise is that the usual methods of managing cash flow are leaving their businesses highly vulnerable. To control cash flow successfully, we need to throw out the conventional wisdom and take an alternative path.

In this seminar, serial entrepreneur and business leader Rick Chisholm will share his tried and tested tips on how to tame the cash flow beast. Rick has launched and grown over 30 companies with a turnover of more than $300 million. Rick will share actionable cash flow strategies that he has learned over the years that you can put into practice immediately.
You’ll learn from Rick’s presentation:

  • Why net variable cash flow is the most important indicator of performance
  • How to track net variable cash flow
  • How to overcome cash flow shortages through the cash growth calculator
  • Why chasing more sales may actually be pointless for your business
  • How to leverage the revenue profit calculator
Rick Chisholm, Founder, InnovestSME


2:00PM – 4:30PM

Grants and Government Supports
Theatre B

There are a range of initiatives available, designed to help small businesses innovate and grow:

  • Measures to lessen red tape
  • Tools to help you comply with your tax responsibilities
  • Services for employers
  • Grants and services to help with innovation and commercialisation help for start-upsor start-ups

Hear from representatives of the following federal and state agencies about the various sources of funding and support services available for businesses:

  • Department of Industry (NSW government)
  • Office of the NSW Small Business Commissioner (NSW government)
  • AusIndustry (Federal government
  • ATO (Federal government)
  • Fair Work Ombudsman (Federal government)
  • ASIC (Federal government)


Previous Program - Day 2

10:00AM – 1:00PM

Planning and Action: Key to Business Success
Theatre A

If you don’t know where you’re going, how will you know when you’ve got there? As a business owner and executive, one of the most important decision you’ll have to make is whether you want things to happen by default or by design.This FREE seminar session focuses on helping you to get there …wherever you want to go

Topics include:

[10:00am] Growing Medium Sized Businesses
What happens to businesses as they continue to grow over the years and move out of the “small” business space to reach the medium space? This presentation is all about you! Mike co-founded Attaché Software in 1984 when the first PC was released to provide business systems to medium-sized businesses (MSBs). Attaché became one of the top providers of accounting software with 70,000 users across Australasia. As one of the first local start-ups Mike will share valuable insights into his formula for success as well as the pitfalls and challenges he learned a long the way.

Mike Rich, Co-Founder of Attaché Software & NFP M-Institute

[10:30am] Three Stages to Success – Speed Planning Workshop
Goal setting, planning and action are essential in creating successful SMEs. Yet so many business owners make the costly mistake of ignoring these because they think ‘it’s too hard’ or ‘they don’t have the time’! Michele Carson identifies the crucial competitive advantages goal setting, planning and strategic action provide for SMEs; why they are worth investing time and resources in; and how you can easily integrate these practices into your business – starting right now! This fast paced, hands on workshop is speed planning for your business.

Michele Carson, Principal – Influence

[11:15am] Key Metrics of Peak Performing Businesses
Business is a maths equation – gaining clarity in the numbers to hit each week makes all the difference. Join Anna Samios as she shares quick and simple financial and non-financial measures that will help you keep a finger on your business’ pulse. What you measure, you can manage – it’s the difference that helps businesses achieve peak performance

Anna Samios, Business Strategist – Samios Partners Chartered Accountants

[11:45am] Maximise the Value of your Business – the Importance of Succession Planning
Most business owners go into business planning to maximise the value and extract that value (most often by selling) when they exit. But the research tells us most don’t have a plan or strategy around how to do this, and therefore often fail to either maximise the value or extract the value, or both. Michael Vincent, Partner at Succession Plus, shares the latest research and key issues that help business owners obtain maximum value and achieve a successful exit, and outlines why a succession plan is necessary for every business owner, big or small.

Craig West, Managing Director – Succession Plus


2:00PM – 4:30PM

Marketing for Growth
Theatre A

To achieve growth you must drive awareness, attract and retain more customers for your small business. When every dollar counts, the thought of marketing can be overwhelming and an added stress!

The good news is that marketing doesn’t have to be expensive – you can market your small business on a shoestring budget!

Attend this seminar session to gain the latest information and insights from small business marketing experts and a suite of best-practice strategies designed for you to implement to grow your business.

Topics include:

[2:00pm] Offline and Digital Marketing Strategies and Tactics (Sponsored by GoDaddy)
As a successful Small Business Owner, Dean will share his experiences and tips for digital marketing strategies and offline promotions. He will cover the following topics:

  • Agile Marketing- Creating differentiation and competitive advantage as a Small Business, and the resources available for help
  • How to have an unlimited marketing budget: Simple formula for success, determine your cost to sell and then sell for that cost as much as possible.
  • Lead generation hacks-Networking (BNI, Industry Events, create a peer network) – Givers gain
  • Free Marketing through PR and influencers- Brand building through Online Bloggers, Celebrities, Instagramers etc.
  • Developing a good website- Building a simple mobile optimised, SEO and Social friendly
    Social Media Marketing
Dean Salakas, CEO – and GoDaddy Customer

[2:30pm] Utilising local top-level domain names to boost SEO and SEM (Sponsored by GoDaddy)
James is the Marketing Director at Neustar, Inc. – a global information services company and the world’s largest Registry services provider, operating the marketing and technical solutions for a number of top-level domains including, .AU, .CO, .Melbourne, and Sydney. James will speak about new research into SEO, SEM and country/city-specific domain names suggests that many businesses can do better with a local domain. This session will also address how to improve brand recall in online and offline marketing efforts, and James will also share proven case studies demonstrating these tactics- from small business to iconic brands.

James Brown, Marketing Director, Neustar Inc (GoDaddy’s Registry Partner)

[3:00pm] Using LinkedIn to Grow Your Business
Mark will show you how you can drastically improve your LinkedIn strategy to be more effective in reaching out to potential buyers on LinkedIn. Having a great profile is just the start of the process, however typically it’s where most people stop. The tips Mark shares are the very same strategies he uses to grow his own business and that have resulted in him being awarded the # 1 Social Seller on LinkedIn.

Mark McInnes, LinkedIn Social Selling Coach – SalesITV

[3:30pm] The Importance of Brand Building in the Age of Disruption
Build a brand, not a business. People inherently trust brands. Disruption has 2 sides. You can disrupt.. or you can be disrupted! There has never been a time in business where you can build a brand, either in your city or even Australia wide at warp speed and on autopilot. People are in information overload. They don’t want more information, they want answers to questions. This represents a fantastic opportunity for brands to engage with them. John will give real life example on how to identity disruption opportunities and build an Australia wide brand in a matter of months.

John Reynold, Director, Mediaworx Multi Media Agency


10:00AM – 1:00PM

SME Workforce – Trends, Tips & Technology
Theatre B

When it comes to running a successful business, one of the most often cited challenge small business owners face is staffing – finding, retaining, motivating and keeping them. Not to mention the compliance risks and costs associated with poor hiring and management practices.

In this session, you’ll hear from our industry experts discuss:

  • The cost of a bad hire and how to avoid it
  • How to attract and retain staff in a competitive environment
  • The key pain points faced by SMEs when managing their superannuation obligations and the tools available to simplify super for SMEs
  • HR processes to assist with compliance with Australian employment laws
Topics include:

[10:00am] Implications of Digital Trends in Labour Markets and Talent Sourcing Strategies
Pervasive collaboration of technology and the push towards freelance and portfolio careers is reshaping the workforce and re-configuring long established norms of employment. Maturing digital customers and the rise of the millennial generation results in not only a new type of customer, but also a new kind of employee with different outlooks and aspirations. Simon will shed light on:

  • Optimally transforming products, business models and processes to stay competitive and be winners on the playing field
  • Adapting to diverse and more agile ways of working across ecosystems based on partner-based collaborations
  • Monitoring core movements pertaining to people and talent sourcing strategies
Nick Antonopoulos, Head of Talent Management Solution – Drake International

[10:30am] Common HR Mistakes and How to Avoid Them: What every employer needs to know!
Do you ensure good HR processes and full-compliance with Australian employment laws such as the Fair Work Act? Things like:

  • Hiring, Managing and Exiting Employees Effectively
  • Compulsory National Employment Standards
  • Employee Modern Award Entitlements
  • Record-Keeping & Pay-Slip Obligations

If not, you may at risk of penalties of up to $54,000 per breach. And uncapped General Protections claims from current or prospective employees and contractors.

Sean Wilson, Chief Operating Officer – Workforce Guardian

[11:00am] Accelerate your Business Performance – Cost Effective, Agile Solutions for Engaging Talent
The Australian workforce is changing rapidly. You can see this is a risk or an opportunity. The opportunity for SME’s is to embrace change and think beyond permanent full-time employment as the only solution for building your team’s capability. By tapping into different approaches to engaging talent you can access the skills and experience of experts that would otherwise be out of your reach as a SME and super charge your business performance.

In this session Katriina will share insights and her top tips for SME’s based on successful client case studies as well as the personal perspective of how A Human Agency has been able to accelerate it’s own performance as a rapidly growing SME by utilising different strategies for engaging top talent

Katriina Tahka, Co-CEO – A Human Agency

[11:30am] Get the best out of your team by unlearning everything you were taught about performance management
To be a modern, inspiring leader you need to drop nearly everything you learnt about performance management. The old school command and control management style is mostly dead but conventional wisdom captured in company policies sends a clear message that staff are a risk and they need to be controlled.

Find out how modern leaders avoid the use of control, in favour of enabling and empowering their teams from the ground up. Learn how to create an environment where individuals express a preference and willingness to achieve their team’s common purpose.

Mark Lewis, Co-Founder, CrewMojo


2:00PM – 4:30PM

International Trade – Opportunities and Challenges
Theatre B 

Despite the many challenges in the global arena – shifting borders, unstable laws and regulations, foreign exchange problems, IP pirating, to name a few – To truly expand, SMEs cannot remain in the relative safety of their domestic market.

SMEs facing the challenge of expanding across borders need to be armed with robust expertise and drive that allows for a smooth transition to international market expectations.

Topics include:

[2:00pm] Free Trade Agreements and Export Grants – Unlocking Global Market Opportunities for Small Business

Elena Kirillova, State Director NSW/ACT of Austrade

[2:30pm] Critical Steps for a China Market Entry

Steve Foo, Head of Asia Business Development (ECommerce & International), Australia Post

[3:00pm] Leveraging Technology as Your Business Grows in a Global Market Place
This panel discussion focuses on leveraging technology to grow your global market. The panel will discuss:

  • The challenge of a growing marketplace
  • Visibility, certainty and efficiency over your international transactions
  • Connecting B2B suppliers and clients
  • Using technology to improve your cash management forecast
Justin Hall – Affiliate & Partnership Manager
Adam Curtis – Product and Program Manager, APAC – Western Union Business Solutions
Sam Fitzpatrick – Head of Corporate Sales and Coverage, Australia – Western Union Business Solutions

[3:30pm] An Innovation in Supply Chain Management for Goods Imported from China
The costs of producing stock in China and managing the supply chain can be very challenging to many SME’s. With large deposits and even larger balance payments, it sometimes proves hard for smaller businesses to maintain a positive cash-flow. A recently licensed innovation now helps businesses procure goods and services from China with much lower time and financial outlays. Even for those Australian businesses that are managing their stock well, this innovation allows for greater cash-flows with very few changes to the current processes

Sam Wang, Director – Trade Touch Supply Chain Management and 2Star International

[4:00pm] Exporting – Opening Your Business to Global Markets
Why export? Where are the opportunities for SME companies looking to export – by channel, market and sector. Leela will also share some insights on the challenges of exporting as well as addressing the importance of export finance and why you need to know what your options are before you go overseas

Leela Hanson Director Business Development, SME – EFIC


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