I couldn’t help myself with this blog photo. I’m pretty sure they are looking at the Our South West Market website given their level of excitement. Intrigued about this new community online idea we have been talking about? Well here are the essentials you need to know.
What is Community Ecommerce?
Online Shopping is not a new concept by any means, but the idea of Community Ecommerce is a new derivative of this model. The “Community focus” (the South West region), of the initiative, draws all businesses and services of a region together on a centralised digital “Market” platform for the combined purposes of cooperatively marketing & selling services and products online. There is no limit to what can be sold on a community ecommerce platform, as we can also sell professional appointments and business bookings alongside a broad variety of business products.
The community ecommerce concept:
- centralises all web development work
- shares the cost of expensive technology / software, add ons & upgrades
- offers payment security for credit card purchases
- provides ongoing website maintenance and local, contactable tech support
- offers online compliance to all businesses
- provides a supercharged community marketing and advertising campaigns
- provides hands on business development support
- provides marketing content highlighting individual vendors and available specials
- improves online traffic to individual businesses and services
- Increases small business visibility online in a vast internet
- provides a delivery option for the region & also connects to existing delivery services
- protects the south west small independents / producers from unfair technological monopolising by the big online retailers and large supermarket chains.
- Increases purchasing and delivery of local produce over other imported options.
Our South West Market is therefore a South West supercharged “Support Local” online campaign to revive a region. Our South West provides every business with a prominent online presence, an extensive marketing plan, an ability to sell products and services, and the ability to deliver South West produce locally. So nobody is going to miss your business if its on the on Our South West Market.
As a social enterprise, we choose not to exploit our position with crippling commissions that amazon and booking.com charge. With the help of potential community grant support, we can offer a free service until the end of 2020. Beyond Covid 19 Our South West offers a socially responsible service in the future that gives back to the community. Our South West Pty Ltd is specific to the needs of the south west, we understand the local people and businesses and have the means to make Our South West and their businesses a success in struggling times.
So Join Us in creating a sustainable region and supporting south west businesses and services in a time of crisis.
Time for a New Normal!
Dear “Our South West” community,
As you are probably aware, the JobKeeper legislation was passed through Parliament, however, we have been waiting for the ATO to provide further guidance. Last Friday, the ATO provided more clarification and the enrollment process commences tomorrow, Monday 20 April.
The JobKeeper involves the Government providing $1,500 per fortnight per employee for up to 6 months (April to September 2020) to eligible employers. Businesses may be eligible for the JobKeeper if they have had, or forecast to have, at least a 30% fall in turnover (i.e. income). The JobKeeper payment is made by the ATO to the business through the Single Touch Payroll System however the business must pay a minimum of $1,500 per fortnight to each eligible employee before receiving the JobKeeper as a reimbursement from the ATO.
The JobKeeper may also be paid to active workers in a business that are not paid wages such as sole traders, a partner in a partnership, a director or shareholder in a company or a trust beneficiary.
Given the extensive legislation, explanatory memorandums, fact sheets and ATO updates, we have spent quite a bit of time understanding the JobKeeper and as such we have updated our website with all the information you need to understand how it works:
- JobKeeper Explained – https://www.financialutilities.com.au/covid19/jobkeeper
- JobKeeper Frequently Asked Questions – https://www.financialutilities.com.au/covid19/jobkeeper-frequently-asked-questions
- JobKeeper Key Dates and Tasks – https://www.financialutilities.com.au/covid19/jobkeeper-key-dates-and-tasks
- JobKeeper Checklist and Calculator – https://www.financialutilities.com.au/covid19/jobkeeper-checklist-calculator
Please find attached the JobKeeper Checklist and JobKeeper Calculator to help you navigate this new stimulus package.
We understand that cashflow may be tight and a major concern. We will be sending through a cashflow forecast template as well as a Business Continuity Plan this week to help you.
Please reach out if you need any help with working out your fall in turnover, enrolling and applying for the JobKeeper or forecasting your cashflow.
B.Com, Chartered Accountant (52356)
t 0415 378 181
A big welcome to a somewhat shell shocked but resilient South West Region,
The COVID 19 pandemic has most definitely hit the South West hard. Tourism and Hospitality being the worst hit across the board and these are two of the South West’s main economic Industries. Its hard to believe that on March 13th I was holding a Youth forum with 13 speakers – for 100 high School students – on the topic of how the Busselton Margaret River Airport Development will impact industries. Now on April 19th the excitement of the Jetstar flights has most definitely disappeared and we have airlines struggling to remain viable in Australia without Government support.
Yet in the midst of the dire daily news of job loss, illness and economic down turn comes small but consistent glimmers of hope in the South West. That hope has declared itself in the guise of a fighting community spirit, flexibility, creativity and a region’s willingness to stretch beyond what was thought possible. Situations thought outrageously “end of world”, such as closed borders and closed shops, has not brought the South West to a complete standstill just yet.
When a community can no longer look outward to Global enterprise and opportunity, it rapidly and dramatically has to focus on a local market base of which it may have ignored for many years. To do this now requires some ingenuity, lateral thinking and almost completely scrapping the “old way” and rewriting your business plan from scratch.
Creating Our South West Directory and Market, has allowed me to observe and admire the amazing transformations of many local businesses to creatively adapt to this “wackadoodle Covid 19 era”. I could almost actually hear peoples brains ticking and ideas popping each day, as one by one, each business recreated themselves like a caterpillar on steroids – breaking out of their sheltered cocoon and launching with wings still damp, into an unknown economy.
Its been a relief to also see a marked shift toward adaptable working hours, home office options and real consideration for peoples right to work in ways that suit their own needs and families – not the 9-5 treadmill of a past industrial age that has been hard to shake off. Everybody actually has a way that they work best, so surely allowing employees to align themselves with this higher self, only aids company profitability and output. Lets hope this positive element of change has been well noted. Productivity does not always correspond to sitting in an office for 7.5hrs a day.
As Our South West Directory and online Market takes shape, I can also see another real shift for our region. A shift to a combined coexistence of shop front and online business, which is enormously additive for all businesses and services way beyond the pandemic era. By thinking outside the box, every business has now been forced to conquer the “online” option and create a product line that suits this medium. In doing so they’ve realised that in fact there was a whole new path to market that they hadn’t even tapped into yet.
Watching gyms, music teachers, and yoga instructors, suddenly realise that in fact they can reach anybody with their online classes and that they are not just the sum of their immediate surroundings. Cafes and Shops are now seeing that you do not have to be reliant on just attracting the customer into your bricks and mortar space, and that the delivery side line was always an option demanded by customers here, but never previously achieved well in the region. So we are starting to see a stretching of the imagination and perhaps for the first time in the South West, the willingness for our economy to try something completely new and out of the comfort zone.
As a customer, to be honest, I think I just found my new comfort zone! I’m living in a beautiful regional town and I suddenly have all the convenience of a city from an access point of view. Maybe it was time for a new normal and I sincerely hope that the new normal continues well beyond this pandemic. I’m looking forward to seeing what other initiatives pop up as we traverse this new landscape – historically great change always seems to come from great hardship. As we move toward ANZAC day, I imagine that notion is well understood by all Australians and indeed this will be another time in our history that will make us ponder and contemplate for many years to come.
The Our South West Directory and Market is now open, free and accessible to all businesses and services in the South West. How you choose to use this online tool will be up to your imagination and inspiration. I look forward to seeing more caterpillars on steroids !
Phone Counselling and Support
Where people are in crisis and need to talk to someone about their distress or trauma, there are a range of organisations listed below that can assist them.
1300 22 4636
beyondblue is a national organisation that has a range of information and resources associated with depression and anxiety. Useful resources and further information about beyondblue programmes are available on its website at www.beyondblue.org.au or by contacting its Support Service on 1300 22 4636 (toll free). The Support Service runs 24 hours a day, seven days a week. All calls are one-on-one with a trained mental health professional, and completely confidential.
13 11 14
Lifeline Australia provides a free, confidential and anonymous, 24-hour telephone counselling service for adults needing emotional support. Lifeline Australia also has a range of information and resources available from their website, about providing care in times of crisis.
1300 78 99 78
Mensline Australia provides a free, confidential and anonymous, 24-hour professional telephone counselling service for men needing emotional support or in crisis. Mensline also has a range of information and resources available from their website, about providing support and taking care of yourself, in times of crisis.
Kids Help Line
1800 55 1800
A number of children and youth may also need emotional. Kids Help Line is a free and confidential, telephone counselling service for 5 to 25 year olds in Australia.
Black Dog Institute
The Black Dog Institute provides a 24 hour free mobile phone/computer-based programme to assist those with mild to moderate depression, anxiety and stress (myCompass).
Suicide Prevention Services
For those at risk of suicide or self-harm the Suicide Callback Service is available seven days a week. Similarly, bereavement services are available 24 hours a day for those bereaved by suicide.
Suicide Callback Service
1300 659 467
The Suicide Callback Service is a free nation-wide telephone support service available to support people at risk of suicide and their carers, and is well suited to people who are geographically or emotionally isolated. The service can support callers through structured 50 minute telephone counselling sessions, scheduled according to the caller’s needs. The Suicide Callback Service operates seven days a week.
Don’t you just love the facial expressions. Think we have all seen these before…..
In stressful times we get so busy looking after the family, children and work, we forget about the “couple “unit – you know that person you fell in love with. Often when kids or responsibilities come along, this unit of two gets given the back seat! When the core of the family unit aren’t getting along, it affects everybody in the family. With of without kids, COVID 19 provides enough stress for everybody. Have the courage to acknowledge the difficulties, rather than putting it in the too hard basket. After a while that basket gets too full! Taking time to strengthen that unit of 2 right now, and cut each other some slack, might just make a difference in the long term.
Shantell Mclenaughan, a counsellor from South West Counselling Service provides a few tips.
Tips for couples during social isolation:
- Communication is key, being able to express thoughts, feelings and needs while also being open to hearing your partners thoughts, feelings and needs is a way to see and hear each other clearly.
- Try not to go on the defensive as this only creates a block in the communication. If able to hear the others hurt, dissatisfaction or frustration at your actions it is important to validate their feelings while owning your actions.
- Deescalate when conflict feels like it is getting out of hand. Its ok to say you need time to calm down but it’s important to let your partner know you need to time out and how much time you might need. It’s also important you both come together to revisit the conflict to resolve rather than sweep it under the carpet only to come up again.
- The current social isolation laws have thrown families together for long periods of time in the family home. Talk with your partner about sharing household chores, parenting, time spent as a family, time as a couple and time for yourself.
- Be tolerant of each other’s faults, we all have them, they are part of our individuality – who we are.
- Practice kindness, towards yourself and your partner, this is not an easy time and many of us are struggling.
- Be willing to repair the relationship after an argument, this can be as simple as saying sorry I upset you.
“Our South West” is proudly assisting South West Counselling reach out to people during COVID 19. Counsellor, Shantell McClenaughan wanted to advise that she and her colleagues are offering free phone or Zoom counselling sessions throughout May. This is a great service so please call them if you need support.
In a crisis or even in the good times, our mental health is not something to be ignored or dismissed. The “she’ll be right attitude” really does nothing to help us. Our mental health deserves our daily attention to ensure we all have a good quality of life. You wouldn’t ignore a physical health concern , neither should you ignore ongoing feelings of loneliness, sadness or anxiety. With good support, these often overwhelming feelings, can be well managed, resolved and in addition we often learn more about ourselves as a result of the uncomfortable times in our life.
We have three areas to look after -Our Mind, Body and Soul. We need to keep each area in good shape as we traverse this life. How you choose to do that is up to you, but I would like to suggest that a free chat might just help your mind and your soul. In turn this might help you look after your body. A phone call and some good advice might just be what you need to move forward.
South West Counselling provides quality, confidential and affordable counselling to support our community in these challenging and uncertain times.
For the months of April and May we are providing free sessions to all current and new clients booking a phone or video counselling session. Increased after-hour sessions are also being offered.
Please contact us to discuss your options
Phone: 9754 2052
South West Counselling is a community based not-for-profit organisation supporting children, youth, adults, couples and families.
There have been further changes announced by the ATO this week for the JobKeeper payments, mainly:
- Alternative test criteria has been published by the ATO for businesses that did not meet the basic test: https://www.ato.gov.au/General/JobKeeper-Payment/In-detail/Applying-the-turnover-test/?anchor=Alternativetest
- The date to register has been extended to 31 May 2020: https://www.ato.gov.au/General/JobKeeper-Payment/?fbclid=IwAR0V4dCpZ8k6zLo0J6H2-qU-XRT-7SLI_DqYq6G9OH95Uy1IzOPr6P5wYGc
- Full time students aged 16 and 17 years old and who are not financially independent are now not eligible for the JobKeeper: https://ministers.treasury.gov.au/ministers/josh-frydenberg-2018/media-releases/jobkeeper-update?fbclid=IwAR3z99v65zcvglRgqvj51r_L8M2WYBdBOh-WQq20TrNiCjutXLNkYnnZ49U
- The STP exemption for employers of closely held payees has been extended from 30 June 2020 to 30 June 2021: https://www.ato.gov.au/business/single-touch-payroll/concessional-reporting/closely-held-payees/?fbclid=IwAR3nqSF8BThqPtnkUq50d2c5UyHVu3UWWkBD0e947uHtKRrPtAk68hNjv1E
- The ATO has clarified that if an employer decides to participate in the JobKeeper payment scheme, they must nominate all of their eligible employees (“all-in“) and cannot choose to nominate only some of their employees
As mentioned before, follow us on Instagram or Facebook or check our website as we are issuing updates almost on a daily basis. Things are changing daily and its difficult, even for us, to keep up but we are doing our best to keep you updated.
There are still some areas of the JobKeeper which ATO clarification is required however we feel that we are in a good position to assess, enrol and apply on behalf of employers and employees.
We have put together a JobKeeper Form that outlines the JobKeeper Payment, the action list, our fees, the conditions that need to be met and the information we require to help you through the JobKeeper process.
If you need assistance to claim the maximum amount of the JobKeeper within the deadline dates, please complete the attached JobKeeper Form and Employee Eligibility Sheet (if applicable) and email it back to us. We can then send you an engagement letter for you to sign and we can add the work into our schedule.
Please note that our pricing enclosed is based on a business with employees. If you do not have employees, we can apply a 30% discount.
Seeing that all our clients are wanting their work done ASAP to receive the JobKeeper payments, we are doing our work on a first paid first done basis. We’ll send you our invoice for your upfront payment to us, and as soon as we receive your payment (plus your payment for any outstanding invoices), we’ll put you in our queue to get your work completed. With our ongoing work, we will invoice you at the beginning of each month, and after you pay our invoice we will lodge your Monthly JobKeeper Declaration Report with the ATO.
We have limited time to enrol you for JobKeeper and then making your first Application for JobKeeper Payments (starting on 4 May 2020).
Please let us know ASAP if you would like us to immediately start the above work for you, and we will send you the engagement letter.
We look forward to hearing from you soon.
B.Com, Chartered Accountant (52356)
t 0415 378 181
Our South West is now launching a free e-commerce platform called the “Our South West Market” in conjunction with the Free Business Directory and Community blogs.
There are NO SET UP FEES and NO COMMISSION charges. To Join, simply add your business or service to the directory and tick the Vendor box at the bottom of the form.
For those businesses who are new to this concept, an e-commerce platform creates an “online shop” for you to sell your products, services, and appointments to your customers via a website. Instead of every individual business having to create this on their own website, we have designed a “market” where all the businesses & services are advertised in one central place.
Customers can browse various products and businesses in the one convenient and central location which increases value for your business marketing, visibility and likelihood of a sale. By using the Our South West market, you will mitigate the cost and the time of building and running this yourself.
What we are creating is like a micro version of Amazon for businesses in the South West Region to boost their visibility and profitability in this difficult economic period. We believe that the Our South West Market will be an enormous benefit right now but will also continue to ADD value beyond the Covid 19 era and will offer everybody an extra pathway to customers in the future. Every bit helps!
We are asking vendors to offer free local delivery to postcodes close to your business given that we are offering this service to you for free. As Our South West is a “social enterprise” where profits are given back to South West community programs, we ask vendors also show the same community spirit when they join.
Emma Morgan & Justin Liu
We will be launching the Our South West Market next week and will be emailing those that are currently on our Community Directory and giving them instructions how to login, create their Shop and add products to sell. So In order to participate in the Free online Market please do the following:
- Join the Free Community Our South West Directory by “adding your business” and creating your login. Then tick the Vendor Box at the bottom of the directory form.
- We will then start on boarding Vendors when the Market is live
- You can then Create your “Shop” and add your products to the online Market.
- Then Get selling! We will also help you advertise your specials through the Our South West Market FB group.
We are looking forward to creating this exciting venture with all of you very soon. Thank you for your support and encouragement and remember – We are all in it together. So lets all help each other through this. I cant tell you how much fun I’ve had creating this venture and talking with everybody. Isn’t it odd to experience that joy when you work for free and give of yourself without expectation. Meaning and happiness always seem to follow. Something I wont forget and perhaps a huge learning for all of us in 2020. Its the “happiness of pursuit” versus the pursuit of happiness which will stand out as the major lesson of 2020.
Given that this is a free website and a free online market that has been created from two peoples spare time, if you are interested in sponsoring the venture in any way , please give me a call on 0400 351 508. Every bit helps. Id like to thank the City of Busselton for their assistance in helping us with $1000, to purchase software needed to create the Directory and online Market. It was a great help to get Justin started on the necessities, considering I had become unemployed and would have struggled to pay for upfront costs such as this. It really showed us that our Council really care about the businesses in our region and keeping them viable. I’m sure it will be appreciated by many people in the near future.