Small Business Advice in Three Short Words

Small Business Advice - Make it Happen

When we decided to update our website at the start of the year, the team spent hours writing, rewriting and fine tuning the copy on every single page until it was perfect. Developing content is often one of the most difficult (and important) aspects of defining your brand, and for us, we wanted to make sure it was just right. After all, we were developing our voice – how we would communicate our message and how that message would be perceived by the masses. It had to be perfect.

As a brand, we decided that if we were going to be heard, we needed to be bold, and this was reflected throughout all of our messaging. One of the subtleties that has truly stuck with me however, was in the form our Call to Action…

Make it Happen – Small Business Advice that Everyone should adopt.

At the time, it seemed like a simple phrase to use as a creative alternative to ‘Contact’ or ‘Enquire.’ Now however, as we delve even deeper into our business and continue pushing the boundaries in all directions, it’s becoming one of our defining attributes – our ethos, if you will.

Truth is, running a small business is tough – a sentiment to which many of our clients and partners can also attest. Hours are long, the workload immense, and we’re surprised the coffee machine hasn’t spontaneously combusted from overuse. So what is it that drives us and pushes us through the seemingly endless roadblocks? It’s our passion for what we do, our passion for the success of our clients and most of all, our drive to make it happen, no matter the circumstance. We’re in it because we love it – and we wouldn’t have it any other way.

This doesn’t just apply to our own business of course – it applies to that of our clients’ too. We’re often engaged by people who want to work with Amergin based solely on our credibility. This speaks volumes to us as a business, because it’s that ethos – those three short words – that got us to where we are today, and it’s that same driver that we apply to all the work we put out. After all, without our valued clients, Amergin as we know it may not even exist.

For those of you are going through a similar phase of starting and maintaining a small business in today’s entrepreneurial landscape, I implore you to keep pushing. The days won’t get shorter and the workload will keep piling up, but as the old adage goes, you only get out what you put in. Keep pushing the boundaries, keep working, keep doing. When everything seems overwhelming or like you’re fighting an uphill battle, remember why you decided to do it in the first place. Make it happen and enjoy it for what it is – yours.

Federal Budget: What does it mean for the NDIS?

The Federal Government announced its 2017-18 Budget on Tuesday, 9 May. Here's what it means for the NDIS.

Federal Budget Update: The Federal Government announced its 2017-18 Budget on Tuesday, 9 May. It encouragingly included a range of measures that will support continued growth and security within the disability sector.

Key measures include:

  • A commitment to fully fund the NDIS, which up until now faced an expected funding shortfall at full rollout of around $3.8 billion. Filling this gap will be enabled by an increase in the Medicare Levy by 2.5%.
  • $209 million to establish an independent NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission to oversee the quality of Registered NDIS Providers and enforce the rights of participants. The Commission will be responsible for registering new NDIS Providers, responding to complaints and providing leadership to eliminate physical restraint practices. The Commission is part of a broader National Quality and Safeguarding Framework which will see registration requirements for NDIS Providers become consistent across states and territories as the Scheme rolls out.
  • $33 million to ensure NDIS participants and older Australians requiring aged care services can access quality services in their local area. The Local Care Workforce Package will help service providers in the disability and aged care sectors grow their workforce to support the expected significant growth in demand in both areas.

While ultimately all measures need to be agreed by both sides of Parliament, this year’s Budget demonstrates a long-term commitment from the Government to fully implement the NDIS and support the service industry that will underpin it. It also provides new and existing disability service providers transitioning to the NDIS the confidence that the market to provide high quality, person-centred and innovative services is only set to grow.

Enjoy the Federal Budget recap and want to find out more?

Click Here to find out how you can become a NDIS provider. Amergin have a dedicated and knowledgeable team that can assist in navigating the NDIS registration process.

A HUGE Opportunity for Australian Businesses

NDIS - What you need to consider

The changing face of disability services

Today, we’re seeing a growing segment of Australians realising they are no longer fulfilled by their jobs. Many are forced to work longer hours, expected to do more than ever before and with fewer resources. These expectations have left thousands of people working in organisations across Australia – quite simply – worn out.

While we’ve seen mining booms come and go, Australians are looking for new ways to build a business in a secure marketplace and move away from the old dynamic that’s simply not working anymore. The good news for the tired workforce is that Australia is poised to enter a significant economic shift that will change the landscape, forever. According to a recent Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) survey, Australia ranks third for total early-stage entrepreneurial activity among innovation-driven economies.

An agile Australian economy will need creators, innovators, start-ups and entrepreneurs – more people will need to create, rather than apply for, their job.

So where does this opportunity present itself – technology startups? In part, yes. Technology will continue to shape our daily lives and thus economic and employment influence. However, a fundamental shift in the way governments conceptualise and fund essential support services is also creating new opportunities for innovative service providers wanting to give back to their communities.

For instance, the National Disability and Insurance Scheme (NDIS) is a new way of providing individualised support for Australians with disability, their families and carers across Australia. With the previous state disability systems throughout Australia seen as inefficient, fragmented, unfair, underfunded and leaving people with disability without the support they needed, the NDIS provides a national response to move Australia forward.

The NDIS presents huge growth opportunities for Australian businesses. As a Federal Government initiative with bipartisan political support, its future is secured. Once it’s fully operational, the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) will be one of the biggest Government-funded programs after Medicare.

As a result, the disability services market is set to expand dramatically in the coming years, creating significant opportunities for the existing service sector and for new entrants, as well as mainstream businesses seeking to make their services accessible and inclusive. Nationally, the level of expenditure on disability supports will more than double, reaching approximately $22 billion per annum and supporting 460,000 participants, once the NDIS is fully implemented. As such, there has never been a bigger opportunity than right now to partner with the NDIS and realise your business goals, while providing quality person-centred, innovative and responsive community services.

Amergin is helping a number of Australian businesses to become Registered NDIS Providers, providing support at each stage of the process. This includes meeting state and Federal government registration requirements while also differentiating businesses to help them stand out above the crowd and lay a pathway for a postivie and successful future.

Becoming a Registered NDIS Provider can be an overwhelming task, requiring a lot of preparation and planning. We’ve put together a comprehensive guide to step you through the key things you need to consider before applying to deliver services to NDIS participants.

Access our FREE Provider Guide now and take action to change your life and those of other Australians.

Wishing everyone a wonderful and safe Christmas break

It’s been a very busy year for the team at Amergin and we want to reflect on a few of our highlights.

We are open for business until 23 December 2016 and recommence on 9 January 2017.

We wish you and your families a wonderful and safe Christmas break. If you (or any other businesses you know) could benefit from our services, don’t hesitate to get in touch. Thank you again and we hope to work with you in 2017!

A children’s story that will change the way you think

Meet Jack, Yuri and Olivia. They’re your friends, and you’re stranded, alone, in a desert wilderness, trying to find them, and your way out. To do so, you need to solve a series of clues and puzzles and if you do, you’ll be a hero – the hero of your own story. Sounds fun – right?

What looks like a graphic novel-cross-adventure story-cross-activity booklet is actually a mental wellbeing resource for children aged 6 to 12 years old, developed recently by the Amergin team for Richmond Fellowship Queensland and UnitingCare Community Sunshine Coast.

A couple of months ago I blogged about the need for community organisations to start focussing on and prioritising their marketing and communications, in order to distinguish themselves in a rapidly changing market where your client is now your paying customer. In the article I discussed the need for imaginative and engaging marketing practices that clearly distinguish your service and your brand and appeal to your target stakeholders in an innovative and modern way.

Marketing and communications isn’t just about getting clients in the door; it’s also about engaging and helping them in the most effective ways possible. The Escape from the Desert story is an evidence-based, concept-tested product that provides information to kids in a way that really appeals to them, through a recognisable brand that can be built upon and leveraged in multiple ways and formats.

Connecting with your client base doesn’t have to be hard or onerous. It can be fun, interesting and incredibly effective, particularly when it’s done right. If you’d like to get your own copies of the Escape from the Desert story and the accompanying educational posters, or if you’d like more information about how Amergin can help you make your creative mark – get in touch!

The Evolution of Amergin

The Evolution of Amergin

Welcome to our new website! It represents the next phase for our business and we hope you like it as much as we do.

Amergin has come a long way since our first client over 4 years ago. Over the last few months our team has worked particularly hard to re-focus the business and expand its services to better cater for Australian community organisations and businesses.

Today, we’re ready to reveal the next phase of our journey.

What does this mean for our clients?

We have made some significant changes including consolidating our marketing and consultation services under one brand ‘Amergin’. Our business is built on credibility, expertise and trust. We are committed to the success of our clients (not making a quick dollar). This is what sets us apart from everyone else and means we go further for our clients.

Marketing

As well as launching a new logo and website, we have enhanced our overall service provision while also looking to improve the journey our clients experience with us. This is represented in the following ways:

  • A ‘hand-held approach’ that keeps us connected with our clients through the entire project journey. It means we’re on the same page and deliver exactly what clients want, on time and on budget;
  • Keeping up-to-date with new strategic and digital marketing practices to keep our clients ahead of the game;
  • Access to the best design tools to build stunning websites and collateral;
  • First-class reporting mechanisms to measure campaign success; and
  • Marketing Workshops to share the knowledge we’ve acquired from years of experience and research, to help businesses nurture their own growth and success. We will tailor topics and duration to suit your business needs.

Consulting

This area of our business is growing rapidly, particularly due to the enormous changes currently occurring in the disability and mental health sectors. We are helping a long list of community organisations apply for State and Federal Government funding, assisting with business, program and policy development and supporting existing and new organisations through the varying State processes to apply for NDIS Provider registration.

To learn more about our services or to book a free 30-minute discussion to talk about your next project, contact us now!

Is it time to put your hand up?

Consulting - Is it time to put your hand up?

In a time of unprecedented reform in Australia (particularly in the disability and mental health sectors), State and Federal governments are increasingly focussing taxpayer dollars on the individual, as well as towards willing community organisations geared to support this focus. Is your business one of these?

There is growing recognition that individualised, person-centred support produces the best outcomes for the people who need it. To stay relevant and financially viable, community organisations must clearly differentiate themselves to an increasingly discerning client base – or they will inevitably lose out.

Unfortunately, many organisations rely on traditional, out-dated methods of stakeholder engagement (particularly those solely reliant on government funding) or have never really worried about strong communication at all! However, community organisations need to be more competitive, outcomes focussed and financially efficient than ever before. Creativity and innovation are crucial to avoid falling behind.

Imaginative and engaging marketing practice is no longer an ‘optional extra’. Australian community services must remain competitive in the face of evolving service delivery requirements, increased competition from traditional and non-traditional providers, streamlined service provision and changing financial conditions.

The 7 top areas all community organisations in Australia should currently be seriously considering include:

  1. Appealing to your target audience in a modern and engaging manner;
  2. Stepping outside the box and engaging people in new and exciting ways;
  3. The importance of having both an offline and online footprint;
  4. Developing unique, clear and well-represented campaigns;
  5. Strategic market positioning;
  6. Being relevant in the modern digital age; and
  7. The value of working collaboratively with private sector experts in this field.

Community organisations must prioritise and evolve their marketing and communication practices to be able to provide the support they know achieves the best outcomes for people.

We’ll be covering some of these issues in more detail on the blog in the coming weeks. If you need help in the meantime, Amergin has the knowhow to help community organisations communicate with their audience better – so get in touch!

Christine

How I can help you with the NDIS

Consulting - How Can I help you with the NDIS?

Last week Amergin Consulting was approached to help an organisation with their NDIS provider registration.

There is a Provider Toolkit on the NDIS website, however if you want to be supported through the process and provided with information that is specific to your organisation and the requirements you need to fulfill, I can help you.

My experience and knowledge regarding the National Disability Insurance Scheme means I can also help service providers with the following:

  • Moving from block funding arrangements to delivering services on a fee-for-service basis;
  • Identifying opportunities for new or different service delivery within an NDIS framework;
  • Program and policy evaluation, design or redesign; and
  • Whole-of-business analysis, modification and change management to prepare for NDIS transition.

The NDIS started rolling out across the country on 1 July 2016, so if you’ve still got some work to do to prepare, let’s have a conversation about how I can help you!

Christine

The best advice I was ever given

Consulting - The Best advice I was was ever given

I used to be really stressed. Really, really stressed. All. The. Time. Don’t get me wrong; I enjoyed my life and my work, but I’m a perfectionist and someone who can’t be idle. I was very good at prioritising everything, sticking with things I just had to get finished before I could move on, and often prolonged my efforts trying to resolve unimportant detail. I always wanted to please and couldn’t say ‘no’. Now on their own these things aren’t necessarily bad, but as an approach to living and working? Well, it wasn’t working for me.

It got to the point that I felt I was juggling too much, trying to be too much to too many people and things. While I felt the work I was doing was meaningful and important, the stress and pressure I was putting myself under was burning me out, at work and personally. Then, someone very important to me pointed out a simple fact: ‘You’re getting paid to go to work and do your job, not to die of a heart attack’. Something in that simple sentence – said to me in so many different ways by that same person many times before – hit home.

A light bulb flicked on inside my head and I opened myself up to the possibility that things didn’t have to be this way. Since then I have been on a journey towards a better way of living and working. I started small – taking 5 minutes every day to plan and prioritise my day, learning to delegate better, and starting to say ‘no’ (in a nice way of course ☺). I also learned the value of meditation and mindfulness.

Then I started to leap. I left my steady, stable job, knowing that striking out on my own would better help me make the tangible difference I want to make in the world. I found a great mentor, who taught me to question my beliefs and habits, and to respond to my world vs. react. I was introduced the concept of working smarter, not harder, and now fit more into my days than I ever have before. I’m in no way perfect. And I’m still learning – I hope I always will be. In a way, with a growing family and business, I’m busier than I ever have been. But I am calmer, more relaxed, more confident and happier. I love my work and I love what my business is here to achieve. I hope I can share it with you sometime soon!

Christine

6 Tips for Preparing a GREAT Annual Report

Consulting - 6 Tips for preparing a great Annual Report

It’s end of financial year and Annual Report time! While preparing an Annual Report can feel overwhelming, it is well worth the effort. In addition to reporting on financial performance, Annual Reports are an excellent way of showcasing an organisation’s achievements and a great marketing tool! Here are 6 tips for preparing a great Annual Report:

  1. Plan and project manage the report’s development, making sure to engage all relevant stakeholders. Ideally one person, consultant or team should coordinate the report’s production.
  2. Comply – Include all the elements required to meet your regulatory requirements. More information can be found on the Institute of Chartered Accountants Australia’s website.
  3. Tell your story – Showcase your achievements and use case studies to emphasise the real, day-to-day impact your organisation has on its clients. This demonstrates the organisation’s value as well as its capability to meet the needs of its clients.
  4. Thank your stakeholders – Acknowledging your staff (paid and unpaid) and donors and showing them what their investment has meant for your clients will motivate them to continue supporting your organisation – and encourage others to do the same.
  5. Talk about the future – Keep your supporters on-board by showing you have a meaningful vision for the future and clear plans for how you will achieve this.
  6. Make it an enjoyable read – Yes it is possible! Use simple and concise language, provide easy-to-understand explanations of the financial information provided, triple-check your spelling and grammar and make the report aesthetically pleasing through the use of a good layout, graphs, tables and engaging pictures and captions.

Annual Reports take time and effort but provide a considerable return on investment when done well. Amergin Consulting can help you prepare a professional and polished Annual Report in consultation with your financial team. Contact us to find out more!