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The services provided by BEC
(Darwin Region) Inc are partially
funded by the Australian
Government and NT Government.


Message from the Manager

Hi, Welcome back for 2015. I hope the holiday period was good to you and the New Year turns out to be both fulfilling and profitable.

Talking about profits, what are your plans for driving additional sales and increased profit for the upcoming year?

Profit is that bit that’s left over after you have paid for all your inputs and expenses and whilst it is easy to talk about, it’s hard to nail.

Start by focusing on two important areas, both of which contribute to your gross profit…that’s the bit that you have after the cost of sales is taken from your total sales income and from which you pay all your other expenses.

The first is sales. How can I increase my sales? Set yourself a growth target and formulate a strategy to achieve this additional income. Such a strategy might include identifying a new market niche, or a new product segment, or both. Don’t over reach in the first instance, try and keep it achievable and realistic.

Secondly, look closely at your supply arrangements and see if you are able to find a way to reduce the cost of supply inputs. Are there other suppliers who might deliver a cheaper comparable product? Can I achieve a discount by bulk purchasing? Is there better technology that might have a bearing on supply costs?

Your goal is to build sales at a reduced input cost for a better gross profit. It is here that the biggest impact can be made on overall profitability compared with trying to trim expenses where there is often less opportunity, particularly in a small non employing business. 

What are your plans to increase your profits in 2015?

Jack Hughes


Looking to start a new business or expand your existing business in 2015?

The BEC is all about supporting individuals with sound practical advice from start up to business growth in the early years. 

Our Small Business Workshops provide an introduction to five specific and important areas of business including business structures and tax, marketing and bookkeeping. Best of all the workshops are FREE! 


Venue: BEC Darwin, 20 Catterthun Street, Winnellie (Lower Level)
Dates: 28-30 January, 23-25 February, 30 March – 1 April 2015

Alice Springs

Venue: Quest Alice Springs, 9-10 South Terrace The Gap, Alice Springs
Dates: 12-13 February 2015


Venue: Quest, 18 The Boulevard Palmerston
Dates: 9-11 March 2015

Bookings are essential phone 1800 229 500 or register online.


From 1 January 2015 there are a number of changes to regulations that will affect business.

Changes to the Franchising Code of Conduct

Is your business involved in franchising? If so, you'll need to be ready for the Franchising Code of Conduct changes beginning 1 January 2015.

The changes to the new Franchising Code (the Code) include:

  • a requirement for franchisees and franchisors to act in good faith when dealing with each other
  • new fines and penalties for serious breaches of the Code
  • improved transparency of marketing and advertising budgets
  • a requirement for franchisors to provide a short information sheet to prospective franchisees that outlines the risks and rewards of franchising
  • simplified disclosure requirements about selling online.

These changes are significant, so if you're involved in franchising, it's important to check your agreement and make sure you're still compliant in 2015.

Visit the Franchising Code of Conductpage on the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission's website for detailed information on the changes.

Japan-Australia Economic Partnership Agreement

The Japan-Australia Economic Partnership Agreement (JAEPA) starts on 15 January 2015.

The JAEPA will remove tariff between Japan and Australia and make it easier for you to do business with Japan.

Visit the JAEPApage on the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade website for more information on the JAEPA.

Visit our Free Trade Agreements page to find out what other Free Trade Agreements Australia has in place.

Value Added Tax (VAT) in the European Union (EU)

Does your business operate in the EU?

Starting 1 January 2015, there are going to be changes to how VAT is charged for businesses that supply:

  • telecommunications (e.g. SMS, phone, internet access)
  • broadcasting (e.g. television, radio)
  • electronic services (e.g. software downloads, cloud business online gaming, e-learning, online payment services).

EU based businesses

Currently, VAT is charged according to where the supplier is based. As of 1 January 2015, for trade from one EU nation to another, the VAT will be charged according to where the customer is based.

Non-EU based businesses

If you're a non-EU business but supply to customers in the EU, there are no changes to the rules as current rules already charge VAT according to where the customer is located. This means exports direct from Australia to the EU will not be affected by the changes.

Check out the Changes to VAT in the European Unionpage on the Austrade website.

Visit the European Union Taxation and Customs Union  for more information on the changes.


Applications are now open for the new $476 million Industry Skills Fund – Growth Stream.

The fund is a key element in the Australian Government’s Industry Innovation and Competitiveness Agenda and will provide up to 200,000 training places and support services over four years.

The fund prioritises SMEs, including micro businesses, and is delivered through the single business service, which streamlines access to essential information for all Australian businesses.

The fund assists industry to invest in training and support services, and to develop innovative training solutions. The fund will help build a highly skilled workforce that can take advantage of new business growth opportunities and adapt to rapid technological change.

Applications are accepted on an ongoing basis, throughout the year. Guidelines and more information are available at


The ACCC is warning Australian businesses to beware of an invoice email scam.

The scam involves scammers pretending to be legitimate suppliers advising changes to payment arrangements.

Scammers hack into vendor and/or supplier email accounts and obtain information such as customer lists, bank details and previous invoices. Your business then receives an email, supposedly from a vendor, requesting a wire transfer to a new or different bank account.

The email may look to be from a genuine supplier and often copies a business’s logo and message format. It may also contain links to websites that are convincing fakes of the real company’s homepage or links to the real homepage itself.

For tips on how to protect your business, visit the SCAMwatch website and read our SCAMwatch radar.

SCAMwatch is also urging consumers to be alert to scammers offering fake vouchers in exchange for financial and other personal information.

SCAMwatch continues to get reports from consumers about receiving emails, text messages and coming across social media posts possibly misusing the names and logos of well-known retailers such as Coles, Woolworths, ALDI, IGA, Bunnings and Myer.

Consumers are typically asked to click on a link, to complete a survey or to download a program to receive a free voucher, in some cases for an amount as high as $1 000. As a slight variation on this scam, consumers may be asked to pay a very small amount (sometimes even as low as just $1) to receive a voucher for a substantially higher amount.

Scammers often use such promotions as a disguise to collect credit card or bank account details and other personal information from consumers to access their money and commit identity theft.

Don’t be fooled by a fake promotion – verify whether the offer is legitimate by getting in touch with the retailer purportedly offering the voucher using contact details you find independently.

You can report scams to the ACCC via the SCAMwatch report a scam page or by calling 1300 795 995.

© Business Enterprise Centre (Darwin Region) Inc. All rights reserved

Phone: 1800 229 500 | PO Box 37192 Winnellie NT 0821 |

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