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How to Find a Good Niche

In business, finding a niche that can supply enough revenue is important. More entrepreneurs than ever are realising the importance of finding a narrow set of customers and catering their product or service to them. This allows you to focus your efforts on being great at a few things, rather than mediocre at many. But how do you find your ideal target market? This article will get you started by telling you how to find a good niche.

Research

This stage is probably the most important and most overlooked part of finding a good niche. Many entrepreneurs try to take a shortcut by spending very little time on this part of the process. Some don't do any research at all. Don't make the same mistake. Instead, use the amazing (and free) tools available to conduct market research. For example, Google's Keyword Planner allows you to enter a set of keywords and see the search volume for those terms. By analysing traffic and then searching the web for competitors, you can see if a given keyword is worth pursuing. Instead of wandering around in the dark, save yourself countless hours by conducting great research upfront.

Track Behavior

Once you've found a niche that looks attractive and created a website and brand for your product or service, you will hopefully get your first customers. It's important to be prepared for visitors and customers by installing tracking software on your website. Luckily, Google has a free service for this as well called Google Analytics. It only takes a few clicks to set up, and it allows you to see where visitors are from, how much time they spent on your site, and at what point they left your site. With this newfound information, you can tweak your product or service to align with the behavior of your visitors. This way, you can adapt to new sub-niches that may be more profitable than your original idea.

Evolve Your Idea

Now that you've done research upfront, created a site for your product, and analysed the behavior of the visitors, you're ready to pivot. You can now evolve your original niche into a better niche based on what your customers click on, read, and buy. Using the above-mentioned tools, you can craft a customised experience for an even more specific set of customers. This is where the real success is. Improving on your first idea allows you to use its strengths without any of the weaknesses. With your new product serving your newfound niche, you'll be ready to turn on the thrusters and watch the sales come flooding in.

Gone are the days of trying to appeal to everybody. By focusing on these principles and taking action, you can find the perfect niche and create all the income you need to be successful in your online business.

Advantages of Digital Signing

Electronic signature software offers small business a number of time and cost-saving benefits. If you've considered going paperless but haven't yet made the plunge, here are 6 excellent reasons to start using digital signatures today.

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Xero Two-Step Authentication

We have had many clients calling about Xero's implementation of Two-Step Authentication (2SA), so we have created this guide with links to all the information you need to set it up.

2SA is two factor authentication. This has been introduced to add an extra layer of security for Xero account users to protect your account from being compromised by phishing and malware.

How to setup 2SA

Xero have developed comprehensive instructions and videos on how to set up 2SA on your iPhone, Android and PC as well as links to the recommended authenticator apps.

How does 2SA work?

When you have Two-Step Authentication enabled you need to use a second method to login to Xero, e.g. your smart phone. In addition to your standard Xero username and password, you also have to enter a six-digit code provided by a separate app on your smartphone, Google Authenticator .

If you don't have your mobile device available when you need to login to Xero, you will be able to fall back to answering questions you set up when you enabled Two-Step Authentication in order to gain access to Xero.  The fallback questions should only be used when necessary and not as a regular alternative to the authenticator app.

In addition, Xero's Two-step authentication will have trusted device recognition. You'll be able to select "Remember me for 30 days" as an optional setting. If you select "Remember me for 30 days" you won't need to perform the second authentication step on that device for 30 days.

To find out more about Two-Step Authentication, please review Xero's Help Center.

Security is a constantly-evolving issue for the tech industry and we strongly encourage all Xero users – and technology users in general – to remain vigilant about the online solutions they use. If you have any questions about this area, please check Xero's Security Page.

Legislation passed by Parliament late last month introduces a new test that will restrict some companies from accessing the lower company tax rate from the 2017-18 financial year.

Across a 3 year period, the company tax and franking rate changed, then the definition of what is a small business entity changed (from a $2 million to $10 million turnover) along with how the franking rates apply, and now we have a whole new set of definitions and rates that have come into play. Complicating the change is the issue of timing; the legislation was passed by Parliament after the end of the 2018 financial year and could impact on not only the tax rate that applies for the year ended 30 June 2018 but also the franking rate on dividends paid since 1 July 2017.

For the 2017-18 income year, the lower company tax rate of 27.5% is available to 'base rate entities'. This means a company that had an aggregated turnover of less than $25 million and no more than 80% of its assessable income for the year was classified as "base rate passive income" (which includes things like rental income, interest and some dividends). While the new $25 million turnover threshold is good news for many companies, the new passive income test will create a problem for others and potentially move them from the reduced rate to the higher general 30% company tax rate. This also has an impact on the maximum franking rate that applies to dividends paid by companies in the 2018 income year onwards.

For the 2018-19 financial year onwards, the turnover threshold has been increased to $50 million.

The problem with the new passive income test is that it is not just a gross turnover test but a test that requires an analysis of the components of that turnover. The new test adds another layer of complexity going forward.

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The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) has announced a new data-matching program targeting taxpayers earning income from the exploding popularity of short-term rentals available on platforms like AirBNB and Stayz. 

Utilising information from online platform sharing sites matched to information from financial institutions, the ATO is targeting 190,000 individuals to make sure they have not failed to declare or under declared rental income or have overclaimed deductions. In effect, whatever data your sharing platform holds on you will need to match what you have declared in your tax return. And yes, the ATO can potentially check what is coming in and out of your bank account.

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Getting your deductions correct can make a BIG difference to your tax refund!

There are deductions available relating to your rental property, however, they are only available for the period your property is rented or 'available for rent'.

Deducting expenses on your tax return can boost your tax refund and leave more rental income in your pocket.

To ensure the correct deductions are made you should talk to your accountant.

Some of the claimable expenses are:

  • Professional fees – accounting, agents and legal fees.
  • Finance and borrowing expenses – bank charges, borrowing expenses and interest on your loan
  • Insurances – insurance premiums and mortgage insurance.
  • Maintenance and repair costs the rental property – some repairs and maintenance.
  • Building write-off and depreciation
  • Other Costs – land tax, Council and water rates, owner's corporation fees and administrative fees.

You should make sure you keep documentation records relating to the expenses you claim, including bank statements, rates notices, tax invoices, insurance documents, depreciation schedules and anything else you feel would back up expense claims. These documents may need to be provided to the ATO in the event you are selected for audit of your taxation affairs.

Note: The above is only recommended as a guide and not intended to constitute advice. We recommend confirming any expenses you wish to claim with your accountant or the ATO.

Article by Macquarie Business Accountants

When to Engage With Your Accountant

Business owners are often not sure when or how often they should engage with their accountant.

Trying to save on resources and attempting to tackle your own accounting, can lead to an expensive decision in the long run.

Update your calendar with financial due dates to ensure you keep in touch with your accountant at the right times. We have a list of key dates on our website and you can also follow the MBA Facebook page for key dates and reminders.

Clients should engage with their accountant at least quarterly, even if it is just a phone call.  By checking in with your accountant, you can plan for any changes in your obligations. If you are having trouble paying debts, your accountant is best positioned to help you work through the process.

A regular conversation with your accountant ensures your business responsibilities are managed no matter what the circumstance. If you have any questions, don't hesitate to give your account manager at MBA a call.

Article by Macquarie Business Accountants.

You know you are with the leading accounting firm in Port Macquarie when they make it to the finalist stage of the 2018 SMSF and Accounting Awards.

MBA are very excited to share with our clients that we are finalists in the category "Tax and Compliance Firm of the Year" for the 2018 SMSF and Accounting Awards.

Our hard work, knowledge and dedication to ensuring we produce nothing but the best for our clients has definitely paid off.  Recognition from industry leaders for our exceptional work is such a fantastic achievement.

The SMSF and Accounting Awards is the first nationwide industry awards program for state-based performance - recognising excellence in the SMSF advice and accounting professions. These awards acknowledge individuals and businesses who are leading the way in SMSF advice and accounting by championing professionalism, quality advice and innovation.

We are very excited to be finalists this year and we'll be anxiously waiting for the winner to be announced in Sydney on 23 November. Wish us luck!

You can find out more about the awards here.

At June 2018, asset value in accumulation phase was $422bn, a 90% increase from March 2017. The hard hitting impact of this change is that almost 25% of SMSF tax free assets have lost that status.

Kevin Bungard, Class CEO said: "The forced shift of assets out of pension phase has dramatic tax implications for SMSFs. Assuming a modest return on assets for the 2018 financial year, we estimate this shift will result inan increase in the gross tax due on SMSF earnings of nearly 90% from 2017 – a massive impact."

A silver lining of Super Reform change highlighted by the Report, is that the increased adoption of contribution splitting and recontribution strategies has led to a significant improvement in the gender imbalance in SMSF assets and balances.

Download the Class June 2018 SMSF Benchmark Report here.

Do you pay tax on your super when you die?

Not sure?  Well, it seems neither is the ATO.

The ATO commented that "There are no inheritance or estate taxes in Australia" (ATO 18.08.16)  and then, "Super law sets out who a death benefit is payable to and taxation law sets out how the benefits will be taxed" (ATO 16/03/18)

Sound a bit contradictory? We agree.

There is both good and bad news in relation to your superannuation and tax.

Bad news - there definitely is a chance your super will be taxed when you die, and this tax could be as high as 30%.
Good news - by taking the appropriate steps and by knowing what to do and when to do it, you can avoid and/or minimise this tax.

Effective Estate Planning is a key element in minimising how much the tax man gets out of your estate.  If you have a sizable superannuation balance (as a lot of people do) then we'd strongly recommend you give estate planning some consideration.

We can advise you on some simple steps you can take to reduce the chance of letting the tax man be a beneficiary of your estate.

Call us today to arrange an obligation free discussion with one of our super and estate planning specialists.

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