28 October 2014

"The Superannuation and Retirement Minefield" Article by Tina Zawila

This week, as part of our ongoing professional development, Steve and I travelled to Brisbane to hear from Australia’s leading experts in Superannuation, Retirement and Taxation.  It was an intense day of training and it was very clear that no-one should try to navigate the superannuation and retirement ‘minefield’ alone.  

Australia is confronting significant social and economic issues associated with a large and rapidly growing aged population. 
It has been estimated that people need to save at least 15% of their annual salary for their entire working life to provide an acceptable standard of living during their retirement.  Now think about your retirement savings (for most people it is held in the form of superannuation), how much are you saving?  If it’s always just been the compulsory superannuation contributions made by your employer (currently at 9.5% since 1/7/14), then you are likely to have a substantial gap between your desired lifestyle in retirement and the lifestyle that can be funded by your retirement savings!
If you think you will be able to rely on the Aged Pension provided by government to cover the shortfall you may want to think again. 
Interestingly, when the Age Pension was introduced in December 2010, the Age Pension age was set at 65 years, which was the life expectancy of a 16-year-old male at the time.  It may sound harsh, but you weren’t expected to live long enough to get the pension!
Another interesting fact, in 2010, there were 5 people of working age to support every person aged 65 and over.  Alarmingly, it is projected that by 2050 there will be 2.7 people of working age for each person aged 65 or over. (Reference: Intergenerational Report 2010). 
So the pool of funds available for the Age Pension will be considerably smaller and more people will be looking for a share.
At Sothertons Gladstone we encourage everyone to get actively involved in planning for their retirement, even if you are 18 and just entering the workforce.  Failing to plan, is planning to fail, and your lifestyle in retirement is simply too important to ignore.  Call our professional team on 4972 1300 to discuss your retirement dreams.

21 October 2014

"Is your idea worth protecting...? Article by Steve Marsten

Recently we have had several new business people talk to us about their new idea or the new concept for commencing a business. People are genuinely very passionate about these ideas and some are being tested in the market while others are still in the concept stage. It’s refreshing to hear new concepts and ideas being taken to market or at least being planned.

Once upon a time it was about the physical property. Who owns the land and what capital gains will they make? How much money could you borrow from the bank using the equity? Now it’s about securing the intellectual property (IP) rights and creating digital products that will enhance our lives.
The most important thing to do is register your IP early or the opportunity may pass. If you can establish that you are the creator and maintain exclusive ownership and control; then you have the right to protect this design for up to 10 years or as a patent – for up to 20 Years. Trademarks are indefinite if you keep up the renewal fees.
The important thing is to be clear that the idea or product you are protecting is original, YOU are the creator and you have not disclosed it to the public domain before registration.
One of the biggest issues is protecting the idea while you develop it. You need to be able to state that the product you are developing or have developed belongs to you exclusively with full title to the ownership rights and cannot be reproduced or used by anyone else in any form. IP notification can then be posted on your website to let the world know. IP registration helps you build your business by protecting your assets and helps fend off unfair competition. It’s much easier to pitch to investors the value of your assets and business when you can show them a registered protection and ownership of your assets.
At Sothertons we walk clients through Effective Business Strategies and solutions to ensure they are aware of what needs to be undertaken to protect their most important assets. Ring us on 4972 1300 for your consultation.

14 October 2014

"Buying a Business isn’t always as easy as it seems" Article by Tina Zawila

At Sothertons Gladstone, I am astounded how often we meet new business owners who have already purchased a business without seeking any advice before signing the contract and sealing the deal.  To be fair, sometimes they do at least call the office to ask "how much is a one-hour appointment to look over the figures of a business I am buying next week?". 

Seriously, buying a business is one of the biggest financial and lifestyle decisions you will make in your lifetime, surely it's worth seeking professional advice before investing?

Misunderstood contracts, incorrect structuring, inflated valuations, inappropriate finance arrangements and under-funded start up capital are just some of the issues we have to attempt to overcome after the deal is done. All of these issues could have been avoided or improved, if proper due diligence and advice was sought prior to settlement.

So if you are considering buying a business here are the first steps to put on your to-do list:
  • Talk to an experienced business advisor
  • Talk to your bank manager
  • Talk to your solicitor
Remember, these professionals are here to help you appreciate the issues and help you make an informed judgement as to whether or not to proceed.  At Sothertons Gladstone, we have assisted many clients though this process previously and we would like you to benefit from our experience.

We will help you make a good business decision, not an emotional one.  As one of the original American oil tycoons, J D Rockefeller once said, "Some of the best business deals I ever did were the ones I walked away from."

If you have already done the deal, it’s not too late, but for some issues time is of the essence, so make sure you find a trusted advisor sooner rather than later.  Don’t wait for “tax time”!

Call us now on 07 4972 1300 if you are considering buying a business, or are a new business owner, we would be happy to help you achieve your business and lifestyle goals.

07 October 2014

"Footy is like Business!" Article by Steve Marsten

The NRL Grand final will be over by the time you read my article this week. Now let’s be clear – I’m not a fan of either team. The Bunnies after 43 years in the wilderness are finally back in a grand final and as a result tend to tug on the heartstrings given they are one of the true traditional teams left. Booted out and then picking themselves up, dusting themselves off and forcing themselves back into the competition shows a certain grit, focus and determination necessary to maintain their relevance and continuity. There is a lot we can learn from them in relation to the way we conduct business. 

Owners are more like the team coaches. They have had plenty of experience and in a good team – simply need to provide guidance, support and motivation. Maybe even a game plan each week that is part of an overall goal – The Annual Business Plan.
Often when the economy slides or things become tight and revenues are falling, some owners want to try and play all the team positions – the salesman; the Administration manager, the HR manager, the IT Manager; the operations manager or the rainmaker. They tend to panic and stress out and don’t actually play well in any position. It would be like Des Hasler strapping on his boots and running out. He would probably go ok for the first 10 minutes and then fatigue would set in and he would be good for no one!
Really what needs to happen when things get a little difficult is to call timeout – have a half time break. Talk to the team. Review the game plan. Highlight your strengths and see if there are better strategies that you can utilise. Maybe someone needs to be removed from the game or maybe you need an injection of enthusiasm and hence a personnel change may be called for. Either way it’s important the business owners adopt the Wayne Bennett approach – stay cool; stay calm no matter how disastrous things are looking. Replan and refocus will achieve the result! At Sothertons we can show you how to stop playing every position and focus being the coach in control. Phone us on 07 4972 1300.