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The services provided by BEC
(Darwin Region) Inc are partially
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Message from the Manager

What will 2016 bring for your business?

As we kick off the New Year this is often the question we face. Will it be more of the same or are there new horizons out there for us to conquer?

Sometimes knowing how to do something different can be difficult. Where do I start, how do I go about it and what should I be doing that’s different?

One simple thing I have learned is the following. “To work out where you should be heading, have a good look at where you have been”. Make sense?

Now is a great time to review your customer base, segment it into groups and identify who were your best and most profitable customers in 2015. Sometimes, this will confirm what your gut feeling already tells you. But when you drill down a bit deeper you may also identify another group of customers who are growing in sales and who are worthy of more of your attention.

Have a look at your quote and order books. Do they tell you anything about how people found out about you or give you any intelligence about why customers chose you over your competitors? If not, what are you going to change to start gathering this information?

One really practical example of gathering market intelligence was given to me a long time ago by a tradesman.

I was trying to decide whether or not to renew a subscription to a trade magazine and I asked him how he made such decisions? His answer was simple. When he provided customers with quotes he asked them where they heard about him and why they chose him and he recorded their responses in the book copy of the quote. When it came to decide each year which marketing channels to maintain he simply summarised the responses in his quote book and supported those channels that delivered him the best results.

Simple but very effective!!

Start thinking now about how you can devise simple but effective ways to improve your market intelligence.

Another approach is to commence an interesting dialogue with your customers by way of a blog. Takes a bit more time but can deliver good results. Starting a conversation with your customers on a relevant topic, or providing them with useful information is a good way to generate feedback, strengthen a relationship and attract new leads. However, if you ask customers for comment, you need to be prepared to handle not only the compliments but also the criticisms!!

A colleague of mine has recently started a blog for his business ServiceM8, a Telstra Australian Business Awards Winner in 2014. Have a look here and let me know what you think.

Jack Hughes



Inside Small Business magazine is a fantastic resource to keep the Australian small-business community up to date on topics relevant to the small-business market.

The magazine looks at how Australia’s small business can enhance the way they manage operations, resources, staff, marketing, finances and technology to create a more positive and profitable outcome. The magazine provides readers with a wealth of knowledge combining feature articles, case studies, interviews and regular contributions from business leaders.

Inside Small Business is teaming with BEC Darwin to provide you with a FREE initial copy of the magazine then take up the special subscription offer of five issues for the price of four if you sign up before 31 March 2016.

To register for your FREE magazine email us at


In 2016 BEC Darwin continues to provide low cost business advisory services as part of the ASBAS Programme for a wide range of useful topics.

All workshops run for 2 hours from 7.30am – 9.30am and cost only $55 to attend.

Limited places are available so book online today.

  • Is your business easy to find online?
    Tuesday 2 February
  • Preparation of Funding Applications
    Thursday 4 February
  • HR Essentials for Small Business
    Tuesday 9 February
  • Getting the most from your social media
    Thursday 11 February
  • Managing Debtors and Business Cash Flow
    Tuesday 16 February

  • Social Media Advertising
    Thursday 25th February


Last month we introduced Jurek Leon’s Terrific Tips e-newsletter that is packed with anecdotes, ideas and examples on service excellence, customer focused selling, motivation and marketing.

As a speaker, trainer and retail consultant Jurek provides entertaining, energising seminars and workshops are filled with practical tips, ideas and down-to-earth examples on word-of-mouth marketing, motivation, customer focused selling and designing and managing the customer experience.

The January edition is filled with more great advice and tips including six fundamentals for a successful life. View it online.

Sign up here for your monthly dose of Jurek style inspiration, and let us know what you think.



Developed in conjunction with business experts, MarketMyBiz is the Australian Government’s tablet app for iPad and Android designed to help you to identify your target market and understand how your product or service meets their needs, as well as your competitors and what your target market believes their strengths and weaknesses are. Then you can position your brand, product and services so your target market sees you as better than or different from the competition.

Read more via the Inside Small Business website.


Make 2016 the year you kick-start your own small business. We can help you with our FREE Small Business Workshops introducing you to five specific and important areas of business including business structures and tax, marketing and bookkeeping.

Venue: BEC Darwin, 20 Catterthun Street, Winnellie (Lower Level)
Dates: 21-23 March 2016

Alice Springs
Venue: QUEST, 9-10 South Terrace, The Gap, Alice Springs
Dates: 25-26 February 2016

Venue: Katherine Regional Training Centre, 19 Second Street, Katherine
Dates: 30-31 March 2016

Bookings are essential: register online



The ATO are running a webinar series on tax basics for small business that are perfect for anyone just starting a business or thinking about starting a new business, or anyone who wants to update their knowledge.

These sessions run for approximately 45 minutes from January - February and you can book your spot online.



Read this great article by Dr Travis Bradberry which talks about emotional intelligence which can improve your skills to achieve and exceed your goals.



Mark McDonald is the co-founder and co-CEO Appster, a leading mobile app and product development company with offices in Melbourne and San Francisco.

Read his article via Startup Smart on how to avoid advice that is, if not useless, plain wrong and can cause more damage than good.



A new program of events called Open Territory will be driven by the Northern Territory Government’s Department of Business in 2016. Open Territory will provide NT businesses, including small to medium enterprises (SMEs), with new means to enhance their national and international profiles. From March – May 2016 the program will include expos, guest speakers, conferences, and sporting and cultural events across the Territory.

Visit the website for more information.



In 2015, the ACCC, Australian Securities and Investments Commission, Australian Taxation Office and the Fair Work Ombudsman took part in the free and interactive ‘What’s new for small business?’ webinar.
Some of the topics discussed included:

  • start-up businesses – what you need to think about in the first few months
  • franchising – how the new Code of Conduct will affect you
  • the new business-to-business unfair contract terms law taking effect on 12 November 2016
  • new government initiatives including online resources
  • red tape reduction – how this affects your business.

A video of the webinar is now available on the ACCC YouTube channel.



Risk - it’s a hurdle every business is required to overcome. Simply starting a business is a risk in itself, but as the winners of the SmartCompany WFI Smart50 awards have shown, challenges can come in different forms.

It’s only by identifying a risk and then taking a leap that these SMEs are able to achieve such high levels of success.

The new SmartCompany eBook, Worth the risk: How Australia’s fastest growing businesses embraced their greatest challenge, examines how some of Australia’s fastest-growing SMEs have turned their greatest hurdles into a success.

Brought to you by WFI, this free eBook explores:

  • The importance of emotional intelligence in business
  • The reality of putting your wallet on the line
  • Innovation and fighting resistance to change
  • Growth strategies for your business, and more.

Head to the SmartCompany website to access this free eBook.


The voice of micro and small business - supporting the BEC network across Australia

Read the latest issue of 'Inside Small Business' magazine online now.

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