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Managing online reviews


Online reviews are important to business and need to be managed appropriately as they can influence the purchasing behaviour of customers and your overall reputation.

Online reviews provide information about your business’s products and services based on the opinions of customers. One of the first steps in managing online reviews is monitoring where they appear. Reviews can be found on a business’s own website, social media, blogs or third party review sites. Managing your online presence helps to monitor customer satisfaction and provides leverage from criticisms to improve your business.

Responding to feedback
To successfully manage online reviews, both positive and negative feedback should be constructively responded to. It is a good idea to allocate a staff member to handle online reviews. Responding to positive feedback shows your appreciation which helps to foster a relationship with your customer. On the other hand, negative feedback should not be ignored, instead it can be turned into an opportunity to show your concern and rectify the problem.

Identifying fake reviews
Fake or misleading reviews pose a concern for business owners but there are ways to identify and combat reviews that are not genuine. It can be challenging to distinguish between fake and genuine reviews; however there are some characteristics to look out for:

  • a significant spike in reviews about a business over a limited period of time

  • written in overly enthusiastic writing style or extreme use of marketing jargon

  • written in a similar language as other reviews of the same business

  • written about the same business, product or service where the reviewers’ accounts are very similar

  • written from the same email or IP address as one another

Avoid misleading reviews for your business
To ensure your business’ reviews are not misleading they must not be written by the reviewed business, someone who has been paid write the review but has not used the product or by someone who has used the product but written an inflated review to receive a monetary or non-monetary benefit.

A review may be deemed as misleading if you encourage family and friends to write reviews without asserting their personal connection to the business or request others to write reviews about your business or a competitor if they haven’t experienced the product or service. Businesses should also be wary if considering offering incentives to those that write positive reviews for their business as it may be considered misleading.

Simple ways to save more money in 2016


Even the best of us can make foolish (and quite often avoidable) money mistakes from time to time. But simply looking at your spending behaviour objectively, altering your bad habits and even developing a few new ones can help make a difference when it comes to saving money.

Here are some money-saving tips to help get your personal finances off to a great start in 2016.

Create a mortgage offset account
A mortgage offset account allows individuals with a home loan to offset their non-deductible interest on the loan with the interest on the normal taxable earnings of money in a deposit. It is an arrangement where individuals create a savings account with their lender. Instead of receiving interest on the full home loan, individuals are charged interest on the loan minus the amount in the savings account.

Don’t pay an annual fee
Individuals who pay an annual fee on their credit card can asked to have it waived.

Transfer any debt
Moving existing debt onto a balance transfer can lower your interest repayments.

Shop around online for the best deal
Online shopping is has become more and more popular, with retailers now competing for customers by continuously releasing exclusive discounts and deals. Don’t make a purchase until you’ve done enough research to be sure that you’ve found the best deal available.

Consolidate your super
Those who have super in multiple accounts should transfer their savings to the most appropriate, single provider. Consolidating super is beneficial, as individuals are generally rewarded for the more money they invest. Before you decide, research different options; consider if there any termination fees, if your employer contribute to your fund and the level of insurance offered.

The three phases of super


Having a basic understanding the different phases that your superannuation goes through during your life can help when it comes to working out the tax treatment of an individual’s fund and any pension they take.

While not directly related, the overall investment strategy of a fund will also tend to change as the super transitions from one phase onto the next.

The lifecycle of superannuation can be divided into three phases; accumulation phase, transition to retirement phase and pension phase.

The accumulation phase is often the longest phase super goes through, running from when an individual starts work until they reach their 50s. The key during this phase, is to save and invest in as much as possible through contributions to super. Individuals can make concessional contributions, which are subject to an annual cap of $30,000 (or $35,000 for those over the age of 49) or non-concessional contributions, which are subject to an annual cap of $180,000.

Even though it is the shortest of the phases, the transition to retirement (TTR) phase is still quite important. A TTR typically starts when an individual turns 55, but individuals can also begin a TTR pension when they reach their preservation age. A TTR allows individuals to reduce their paid working hours (therefore, ‘transitioning into retirement’) and start taking money from their super.

The pension phase is when an individual has stopped accumulating and is now only withdrawing from their savings. The pension phase begins when an individual satisfies a ‘condition of release’. The main conditions of the release are:

  • retiring from the workforce at or after your preservation age
  • leaving one paid job after age 60
  • reaching age 65

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