Tuesday, 6 August 2013

Never Too Young To Enter: Gen Y Shines at the Business Awards

Showing that the local business has an exciting future, Matt Ozolins from Webics and Eliza Gentles from Cherub Rubs, say you're never too young to win an accolade.

Matt Ozolins: Highly Commended - E-Business
• Webics is a Digital Agency that works with businesses wanting to implement an effective online strategy to drive increased leads and sales. 
• We are 100% focussed on value in our business. We felt that delivering that value using digital marketing platforms on the scale we have within the Shoalhaven would be good to have recognised within the local business community. 
•The awards night was huge; I had completely underestimated the size of the local business community. I think the business awards really helped us come out of our shells and push forward with the knowledge that we have a responsibility to work with as many local businesses as possible. Allowing them to remain ill-informed as to the online potential of their business would be doing them a huge disservice. 
• Apart from generating a huge amount of business out of that night, I met someone that night that is now one of my closest mates and most reliable mentors. Cheers Sturty!
• Being radically transparent is something to focus on, especially if you are still really small. What you will notice is that when you stop trying to sugar coat aspects of your business that you think are not as good as they could be, you end up noticing the things you really should be proud of in your business and that positivity motivates you to continue moving entropy forward. 

“The business awards is more than just a chance to tell people how fantastic you are, it is a rare opportunity to actually analyse your business. The more honest you are in that analysis, the more successful you will be in the awards and the coming year in business.”

Eliza Gentles: Highly Commended - Export
 Cherub Rubs is an Australian based company producing a certified organic baby range and exporting these products to Honk Kong, Malaysia, Singapore and Canada.

• We entered the Shoalhaven Business Awards to share our success in the export market. We learnt a lot about our business and how successful our last year of exporting had been and it showed us that we had achieved the goals we had set out. It also showed us what a great job other businesses in the Shoalhaven are doing with exporting.

I• t was a great achievement to receive highly commended in excellence in export and has become a valuable marketing tool.

• Ensure you have a well written submission that you have good knowledge of for the interview process.

Being awarded Highly Commended was a great privilege and although we did not win the category, it was an honour to be recognised for all of our efforts with our export markets. "One of our main competitive advantages in our overseas markets is that our products are Australian made and having received a Highly Commended award at a prestige event in the Shoalhaven has been a great marketing tool. We have been able to use this in our social media and to help gain new distributors and for our current distributors to use in marketing material."

Tuesday, 30 July 2013

NOWCHEM's John Lamont talks about the Business Awards

John Lamont

• 2012 Winner: Business Leader of the Year

• 2012 Winner: Employer of Choice

Can you briefly describe your business?
Established for over 35 years, Nowchem is a family owned business making Alum Sulphate and Water treatment chemicals. The diversity of the company means it is also a
Manufacturer of speciality chemicals including Pharmaceutical, Organic Cosmetics and a large variety of cleaning and Industrial Chemicals.

What made you decide to enter the Shoalhaven Business Awards in 2012?
The Business awards are an excellent way to review your current practices and benchmark these with other organisations within the region. Latter it also helps add to the history of the business and to look back and see how the company has improved each year.

What did you learn about your business or industry from the process of entering the awards?
It showed how when we focus on people, as well as physical assets, we can achieve so much with the dedication of our staff and how they interact as a team.

It also highlighted to staff the impact the business has within the wider community in regards to sponsorships, community assistance and the ongoing spending with other trades and services.

Could you outline some of the positive outcomes from having entered the Business Awards?

All of the staff were very proud to be associated with the recognition that the awards gave the organisation as a whole.

What advice would you give someone who was considering entering this year?
Enter, use the time to reflect on what you have been doing and what you can achieve.

There is nothing to lose by spending your time, documenting the business and using this review to enter the awards. It is also a great motivating night out for staff, who do not get many opportunities to attend a premier event like this in the Shoalhaven.

Friday, 26 July 2013

Service Excellence Award Winners - Jeni Harvie and Gary Wall

The Anchor Bay Motel's Jeni Harvie and Gary Wall  entered the Shoalhaven Business Excellence Awards for the first time last year and took out the Service Excellence category with their thoughtful and consistent approach to running their motel.

Can you briefly describe your business?

The Anchor Bay Motel is a 12-room motel overlooking the Shoalhaven River in Greenwell Point. It provides three levels of accommodation: Standard, Deluxe and Waterfront Suites. We primarily cater for couples, trades people and business executives seeking a quiet place to relax and recharge.
What made you decide to enter the Shoalhaven Business Awards in 2012?
Over the previous five years, we had built the business substantially, tripling our turnover and occupancy. We had many repeat customers and our reviews were excellent. We were seeking an independent assessment of our efforts and wanted to see how we compared with our peers. We also thought the awards would raise Greenwell Point’s profile in the local area. The township is just a wee dot on the Shoalhaven map and many people don’t realise how picturesque and tranquil it is. The awards offered us the opportunity to gain some very positive publicity.

What did you learn about your business or industry from the process of entering the awards?

The questions asked as part of entering the awards focused our attention on the business operation. As we worked through the questions, we realised how far we had progressed and how comprehensively we had adapted to a changing environment, particularly the internet. We embraced online marketing early and this has proved to be our lifeline in a very competitive industry.


Could you outline some of the positive outcomes from having entered the Business Awards?

By entering the awards, we were forced to review our business and take stock of the entire operation. We had to describe the business, outline our achievements, reflect on our progress and discuss our vision for the future. We had never done this before and it proved a healthy and satisfying process which gave us a real insight into our product.

We were named as a finalist in three categories and ultimately won the Service Excellence award. This was very gratifying and provided great publicity for our business and the village of Greenwell Point.

It was also wonderful to meet the award judges, all of whom are professional people who passionately believe in the Shoalhaven region and promoting business excellence. Interacting with them was an inspiration in itself.  

"Our approach to customer service: Greet every guest with a smile and cheerful greeting, inquire about their day, give them a Cartoscope map and information about where to go for a meal/walk/fish/bike ride etc. We book them into restaurants, cruises, other motels (if we are booked out), order the courtesy bus. On departure, we help them plan their trip and  suggest places of interest along the way. If there is a problem, we resolve it quickly, almost always in the cusomer's favour."

What advice would you give someone who was considering entering this year?

Don’t hesitate! It is a very worthwhile process. Read the questions carefully and answer them honestly and comprehensively. Don’t hesitate to sing your own praises. You must be proud of what you are doing and have the confidence to promote your product. Not everyone can be a winner, but you learn a lot about your business along the way and the judges are encouraging and supportive. They may even offer invaluable advice and are good contacts for future business needs.

Thursday, 25 July 2013

Why I entered the Business Excellence Awards...

The 2013 Shoalhaven Business Excellence Awards are now open. Previous winners tell us how entering, and winning, has made a real difference to how they and others see their business.

Brian Bramble
Clifton Accountants

• 2012 Winner:
Excellence in Professional & Commercial

Can you briefly describe your business?
Clifton Accountants are Accountants and Business Advisors with offices in the Shoalhaven and Southern Highlands. We engage with our clients to help them develop their business to be all they want it to be, to their level of success and satisfaction. We take a team approach, working with our clients to help improve their profitability, increase cash flow, grow at a greater rate than their competitors, structure for asset protection, move towards succession or a sale, whilst minimising tax and retiring financially secure.

What made you decide to enter the Shoalhaven Business Awards?
We saw the business awards as a chance to benchmark ourselves against other professionals in the Shoalhaven. And equally as an opportunity to promote our business amongst a gathering of the best businesses in the area.  We really enjoy mixing with successful people and finding out what they do in their businesses.  We’re also a bit different to other accountants in that we’re active self-promoters!

What did you learn about your business or industry from the process of entering the awards?
We were forced to think about our service offerings and how we engage with our clients.  This ”just happens” on a day to day basis, so it was good to actually analyse why we do what we do to make sure our actions are in line with our goals and philosophy.

Could you outline some of the positive outcomes from having entered the Business Awards?
Well naturally, winning gave us brag points.  To be able to use that in our promotions and marketing was really beneficial.  It was surprising and a great feeling to have people contact us that we normally may not have had contact with.  And the dinner and awards night was a great opportunity to have a relaxed catch up with a whole host of businesses.  It made us also realise that to be doing the best for our clients we had to keep raising the bar.

What advice would you give someone who was considering entering this year?
Don’t let doubt about whether you’re good enough or embarrassment about putting yourself forward stop you. Take the focus off winning. The process is, to our thinking, more important.  See it as a challenge and use it as part of your planning and goal setting.

Friday, 10 May 2013

Shoalhaven Business Leaders Series: Raj Ray from Silos Esate Winery

Silos Estate was the Shoalhaven Business of the Year 2012. Silos owner, former corporate high flier Raj Ray is a passionate tourism entrepeneur who has turned his property in to a benchmark for sustainable tourism businesses. Here Raj talks about how important tourism is to the region's economy.

Sunday, 28 April 2013

Talking Business: John Lamont, NowChem

2012 Shoalhaven Business Leader of the Year, John Lamont, talks about the growth of his own business, Nowra Chemicals and the future of the region.Nowra Chemicals will be exhibiting at the upcoming Shoalhaven Business Exchange Expo on Friday 17th and Saturday18th May at the Shoalhaven Entertainment Centre, Nowra.

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Shoalhaven Business Exchange EXPO

Friday 17th & Saturday 18th May,  Shoalhaven Entertainment Centre

About The Expo:
● The Shoalhaven Business Exchange Expo is all about getting your businesses in front of new customers and building on existing relationships.

The Business Exchange Expo gives you an opportunity to create new relationships, generating new leads which will assist to grow and build on your business profile.

The Business Exchange Expo is a cost effective marketing tool for you to get your business directly in front of local customers, allowing you face-to-face contact to start conversations and relationships.

Key Benefits:
● Targeted media campaigns through local newspapers, radio, flyers, posters and on-line.
● Showcase your organisation/business and increase your brand awareness.
● Build relationships w
ith other businesses and the general public.

Attend Business Workshops: FREE to Chamber members
On Friday 17th May, the Expo is running a full day of key-note speakers, “Thought Leaders” and business workshops with topics covering issues such as:
- Growth through Innovation

- NBN & Mobile Technology
- Branding
- Human Resources
- NSW Business Chamber Update
- Business Grants & Funding

Exhibit at the Expo:
● Expo stands will be positioned in the main auditorium, foyer and gallery. Outdoor space is available.
● Expo stands will be 3m x 1m or 6m x 1m with a full expo shell scheme and signage supplied.
● Expo stands include power, table and chair.
● Exhibitors will be included in a expo directory on the Chamber’s expo website and on the
Chamber’s facebook site.

Contact Linda Marquis on: 0412 357 423
or email:

Small Business - Too Big To Ignore

The NSW Business Chamber's "TOO BIG TO IGNORE"  advertising campaign was launched last week. The Shoalhaven Business Chamber, along with other business stakeholders in the region, attended a briefing last week.
Here is what CEO Stephen Cartwright presented:

7 million Australians are employed by small businesses across this country – that is 60% of our national workforce. Yet our political leaders continue to ignore this fact, and continue to ignore the hard working small business owners who put their family’s assets on the line every day to create jobs for other Australians.

That’s why it was an easy decision for me, as the CEO of the NSW Business Chamber, and representing more than 12,000 business owners across this State, to join with the other Chambers of Commerce across Australia to conduct a united campaign in the lead up to the next Federal Election.

This is the first time that the State Chambers have united for a national election campaign. In the past, State interests have tended to take precedence over national issues – but that’s in the past, because the challenges currently facing the Australian business community, and therefore the wider community, must be confronted by the next government of this nation.

Small Business – Too Big to Ignore is the name of our campaign, and the slogan accurately reflects the frustration felt by business owners across the country, and particularly in NSW which is the engine room of the national economy, contributing around one third of Australia’s GDP.

Not only will we back up our campaign with a range of targeted advertising, but we are asking business owners and their staff to tell us their stories through our website www.toobigtoignore.org.au.

In August and September, we will be taking the campaign on the road, travelling across the State, in the same way we did with our 'NSW Deserves Better' bus campaign prior to the NSW election in 2011, where regional business communities will be visited to highlight the crucial role they play in supporting their local communities.

It doesn’t matter where you travel across NSW – it is obvious that the health and well-being of the local town or region is directly linked to the health of the local business community – a vibrant business community means a vibrant town. Sadly, the opposite is also true.

Local business owners are local heroes – and we need everybody to understand that. They employ locals, contribute to the local economy, and are always the first to lend a helping hand. But where will people get jobs if business owners suddenly decide that it’s all become too hard because of government burdens and interference?

Remember, governments don’t create jobs, business people do.

So what is it that we actually want? It’s a question I’ve been asked a lot over recent days. Apart from R-E-S-P-E-C-T, there are some questions I would like to pose to the major political parties:

  1. Why should the Government interfere if a small business owner and one of their staff reach a genuine agreement over working arrangements that suit both of them?
  2. Why do governments try to prevent aspirational Australians from becoming self-employed or independent contractors?
  3. Why doesn’t the Australian Government provide access to the same financial support fund for small business growth that the UK and Canadian Governments do?
  4. Why is an automatic interest charge not applied when a Government department doesn’t pay its bills within 30 days?

These might not sound like big things – but trust me, to the small business owner already working 16 hours a day on their business, it’s the little things that add up and get in the way of their ability to innovate, grow, and employ more Australians.

An important part of what we launched today is the Your Say part of the website where we want business owners and their staff to tell their stories. Like the cafĂ© owner who can’t open on Sundays because the penalty rates mean she would lose money, or the butcher whose electricity bill has exploded as a result of the carbon tax. Real business owners and their staff telling real stories.

Trying to change mindsets, particularly those of politicians, is not any easy job. But as the representative of the business community in NSW, I am definitely up for the fight, and I am enthusiastic about the challenge ahead, because small business is too big (and way too important) to be ignored!

Stephen Cartwright
Chief Executive Officer
NSW Business Chamber

Monday, 22 April 2013

Shoalhaven Business Exchange EXPO

Shoalhaven Business Exchange Expo 
Friday 17th May and Saturday 18th May
Venue: Shoalhaven Entertainment Centre

Growth Through Innovation 
is the theme for this year’s Shoalhaven Business Exchange and Expo.

Join us for the region’s most dynamic Business Conference and Expo as we look at rocking our business comfort zones to break through problems and challenges!

The Shoalhaven Business Exchange Expo (previously Shoalhaven on Show)  will be held over two days 17th and 18th May at the Shoalhaven Entertainment Centre, Nowra. This year’s event will see a smorgasbord of more than 60 of the Shoalhaven’s most progressive businesses exhibiting and a whole day dedicated to professional development.
Friday is all about Business-to-Business with workshops, forums and opportunites for businesses to network. An impressive line-up of speakers have been engaged to inspire, challenge and inform.
‘Thought Leader’ for the day, Matthew Ayres, will be sharing his own experiences working with companies like AMP, Lend Lease and General Electric to tackle some of their biggest challenges with breakthrough innovative thinking and planning.
During the day, experts in the fields of branding, human resources, funding, the tourism economy and technology will be holding workshops to help business people make the most of the opportunities, trends and resources on offer.
For the first time on Friday evening, a Q & A Panel will be live on stage with some of the region’s most successful business leaders taking on some of the most challenging topics facing our region.

How do we attract investment in tough economic times?
How do we convert our unique regional attributes into dollars?
How do we position our businesses to make the most of better access to NBN technology?

Saturday is when the Expo is open to the public with the ever-popular Nowra Markets, sports personalities, the latest in boats and cars and lots to see and do for the whole family.

Both days have a clear message:  the Shoalhaven is open for business and it’s a great place to live, work and bring up a family.

For more information on exhibiting or attending workshops call:
Linda Marquis on: 0412 357 423
or email: events@shoalhavenbusiness.com.au
See the Shoalhaven Business Chamber’s Facebook page for updates on speakers and events
website: www.shoalhavenbusiness.com.au