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Planning a bright 2017

LOOKING AHEAD: Use the holiday period to really look at where you spend money and where your business is going. Use this time to create a roadmap for the way forward in the next 12-months.*Sponsored by Small Business First

A new year is a fantastic time to refresh and re-energise your business.

As 2017 rolls around, it’s a chance for you and your business to assess where you are at, what issues may have been mounting that can be fixed, and where you want to take the business over the next 12-months.

But you know as well as I do that unless you really sit down to plan, identify some goals, and make sure it happens, nothing will change.

So, time to make some new year’s resolutions for your business. Here are a couple that I’ve found are a great starting point.

Get planning

They say that if you fail to plan, you plan to fail. If your business is going to achieve anything this year, it’s going to need a roadmap and some real, tangible goals and objectives.

Big businesses do this religiously every year – they plan out their marketing objectives for the year, outline revenue targets and then detail the exact steps to achieving those targets. This is something every small business needs to be doing too.

Plug the leaks

I hate the feeling of knowing your business is leaking money but not knowing where or how to stop it.

But over the course of a year, as we get busier and busier and processes fall by the wayside, this can become incredibly harmful for your business.

Over the new year period get your reports out, go through with a fine-toothed comb, and look at where you could be saving money. Then spend some time shopping around for ways to cut costs.

Sites like Small Business First can really help. For example, there’s currently an offer from Uber for business which could take a bucket load off your travel costs.

Get paid on time

It’s so important to your business to get paid on time. If late-paying customers have been an issue, it’s time to address it. Identify your worst paying customers and question whether they are worth hanging onto.

Change your payment terms to include upfront deposits, incentives for early payment, or even late fees. And automate your reminders so that you don’t need to be chasing up paymentson the due date.


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Australian Bloodstock change course in hunt for Magic Millions starts

HUNTER syndicators Australian Bloodstock will saveDeneeky for an easier assignment at Scone on Saturday but test Rhymes at the Wyong Magic Millions meeting on Thursday.

Luke Murrell. Picture: Getty Images

The Kris Lees-trainedfillieswere nominated for the main Wyong events, which serve as qualifiers for races at the rich Gold Coast Magic Millions carnival next month.

Deneeky, a winner on debut at Muswellbrook, was down to race in the $200,000 two-year-old race(1100 metres), while Rhymes is in the $100,000 three- and four-year-old feature (1200m).

However, Australian Bloodstock director Luke Murrell saidDeneeky would be scratched given the strength of the Wyong race, which features black-type winner Madeenaty.

“The aim has always been to try to get her into theMagic Millions race and that one tomorrow is probably the best edition of that race there’s ever been,” Murrell said.“We think it’s probably a little too hard for her at this stage, so we’re going to go to Scone on Saturday. If shewins we could probably just sneak into the field.”

Rhymes is one of three Hunter-trained outsiders in the other feature, where Bjorn Baker’s Egyptian Symbol isthe early favourite. Newcastle trainer Paul Perry will start Last Witness, while Scone’s Rodney Northam has Touch Sensitive.

Murrell said Rhymes, which was second at Port Macquarie and Muswellbrookin her two starts,was being aimed at the$250,000maiden Magic Millions race.

”Kris has wanted to try her in a better class and ride her quiet, so we’re going to try that and see how far off the better ones she is,” he said.

Search for the CEO: Newcastle conservatives welcome review despite vote confusion

Cr Brad Luke, right, and lord mayor Nuatali Nelmes exchange words after an aborted council meeting last week. A TRIO of conservative Newcastle councillors say they have nothing to hideafter being referred to the Office of Local Government overthe search for a new interim chief executive.

In a now-contested vote on Tuesday night, the council supported a motion by Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes which included referring councillors Brad Luke (Liberal), Andrea Rufo (Independent) and Allan Robinson (Independent) to the council watchdog.

However, it was only the next day when Cr Luke learned he was named as part of the investigation approved by council.

“She [Cr Nelmes]handed out a piece of paper with something written on it … then she said another thing, moved it and voted on it,” Cr Luke said.

The council requested theOffice of Local Government investigate “reported conversations” between Cr Luke, Cr Rufo and Cr Robinson prior to the start of interviewsin the appointment of the next interim CEO.

Cr Robinson claims he was told, by a member of the public, who had been appointed to the top job two days before interviews began. Cr Rufo – who was one of three councillors on the interviewing panel – later resigned in protest due to what he believed was a tainted process.

Tuesday’s motioncalled for Cr Rufo’s actions to be investigated, “and the fact none of these ‘concerns’ were raised by Cr Rufo during the process”.

Asked the next daywhether he agreed with the lord mayor’s motion, Cr Rufo replied: “I was still reading the document when she was calling for votes. I’m named in there and I wasn’t given time to vote”.

The Independent councillor abstained from voting because he was still reading what was being moved.

However, Cr Nelmes was adamant everyone had enough time to read the 147-word document.

“I clearly said, ‘It’s a motion, as distributed’,” she said. “I said, ‘Has everyone read the motion?’.

“Everyone said yes.”

Asked why the motion wasn’t read out in full, Cr Nelmes said: “You don’t get to hear every motion, otherwise we’d be there all night.”

Despite the confusion, Cr Rufo said he welcomed the Office of Local Government review. “I’m excited to be given the opportunity to raise my concerns,” he said.

Cr Robinson said the review was the “greatest thing ever”, while Cr Luke said it needed to be an “in-depth investigation that interviewed everyone”.

Tinkler fails to get out of bankruptcy

NATHAN Tinkler’s audacious bid to escape bankruptcy has fallen at the first hurdle after he failed to post the $1 million he proposed to settle debts of more than $550 million before a creditors’ meeting on Wednesday.

Mr Tinkler’s bankruptcy trustee, John Melluish of Ferrier Hodgson, said “part of the proposal was that the funds had to be sitting there before the meeting started”.

“This had not occurred before the time of the meeting and therefore it could not be put to creditors, so it was a bit of a non-event, in the end,” Mr Melluish said.

Nathan Tinkler at a recent meeting in favour of Drayton coalmine.

He said “three or four” creditors had attended the Grosvenor Place meeting in person and another “four or five” took part by telephone.

He said Mr Tinkler spoke to the meeting by telephone.

Asked if Mr Tinkler had said why he did not post the funds as promised, Mr Melluish said he could not go into detail beyond noting it appeared Mr Tinkler’s relationship had deteriorated with the other partners in Australian Pacific Coal –a business attempting to reopen the Dartbrook coalmine near Muswellbrook.

But Mr Melluish said Mr Tinkler had indicated “he could try again in the New Year” to put an offer to creditors.

Mr Tinkler was forced into personal bankruptcy in March this year after finance company GE Commercial moved against him over about $2.7 million owed on the lease of a private jet.

Documents prepared for his bankruptcy indicate he owes $553.8 million to more than a dozen creditors, although some of these, including US investment bank Jeffries, have no dollar figures next to their debts, indicating the total could be much higher.

The tax office is claiming $106 million in taxes and penalties.

Under bankruptcy law, a proposal such as this has to be accepted by 75 per cent of the creditors by value, and 50 per cent by number.

Mr Melluish said that if Mr Tinkler’s proposal was eventually accepted, even those creditors who voted against it would be bound by its conditions.

Under the terms of his bankruptcy, Mr Tinkler is obliged to make regular“income contributions”, which Mr Melluish said he had not been making.

“Given that the bankrupt has not paid any contributions, consideration is being given to extending his bankruptcy by a further five years,” Mr Melluish said in his December 13 report to creditors.

Although Mr Tinkler is no longer formally associated withAustralian Pacific Coal, Tinkler family entities still own shares in the company, which a year ago announced plans to buyDartbrook fromAnglo American.

German mining identity Hans Mendes agreed to tip in $10 million in September butthis deal was“not completed” and“still on foot” earlier this month.

Fairfax Media left text messages for Mr Tinkler, but they were not returned.

Ho-Ho-Ho House of the weekMayfield WestPhotos

House of the week | Mayfield West | Photos TweetFacebook House of the week | Mayfield WestThe tradition of putting up the Christmas decorations in December takes on a whole new meaning when it comes to Vicki and Brian Frankham’s Mayfield West home.

With only the bedrooms and bathroom off-limits, the house’s interior is annually converted to an Aladdin’s Cave of Christmas treasures.

The everyday decor is packed away and almost every surface between the front door and the back deck is adorned with delicately intricate and elaborately colourful Christmas items.

They range from from animated scenes to tiny ornaments and large statues.

Then there are the trees: there are five this year including a traditional green adorned with glittering lights and glass baubles, a white snowman-shaped tree and a black one topped with a Mad Hatter’s headpiece.

“If you’re going to ask me why I do this, I’m a nutter,” Vicki laughs.

“And my husband’s a nutter for letting me do this.”

Vicki and daughter Casey started the tradition about 15 years ago, with the collection growing annually.

Vicki has lost count of the number of items acquired (she owns about 80 elves alone) but has a shed full of decorations to mark her appreciation of the festive season.

“I love Christmas because it includes everyone,” Vicki says.“It’s not just like your birthday when it’s just about you.”

Vicki loves shopping for gifts for the Christmas charity wishing tree and opening her home to friends for an annual December Christmas party to showcase the wonderland she and Casey create.

Planning begins at the end of the first week in November, with decorating complete for the party on the second Saturday in December.

“It’s never the same,” Vicki says of the interior design.

She sources everything from Forever Christmas in Mayfield.

“I get to wander around the shop I call my happy place,” Vicki says.“When Brian comes home and I’m not here he says ‘I know where she is’.”

Each year Vicki challenges store owner Sandy Diamante to find her new treasures – and she never fails.

“I say to Casey ‘I won’t have to buy anything at the Christmas shop next year; what could Sandy get in that I could possibly want?’,” Vicki says.

“She always amazes me.”

This year one of Vicki’s favourite pieces is a Patience Brewster limited edition Santa statue, a birthday gift from Diamante, that is displayed in the hallway.

New this year is a Mark Roberts limited edition Mrs Claus figurine.

“I’ve never had a Mrs Claus,” Vicki says.

“She’s fabulous.”

A returning favourite is a frog statue; he’s dressed in a green and red Santa suit, a pointy party hat, and stands on the kitchen bench.

“Well look at him, he’s just cute,” Vicki remarks on why she can’t resist putting the frog back on display.

Sparkling silver and glass pieces make the dining room centrepiece a standout too.

“I love the table this year,” Vicki says.

“I think the fact that it sparkles.

“If you have a little look around my house, you’re going to go ‘this lady likes sparkle and bling a little bit’.”

Even Vicki’s silver kitchen cupboard handles (from AJ Edden) are adorned with diamantes.

Among the largest of the Christmas decorations in the Frankham home is a Patience Brewster life-size nativity cow, which has a spot on the back deck.

The smallest pieces are Heart of Christmas miniature figurine owls and mice, displayed on shelves in the home’s central hallway.

Other highlights include Mark Roberts baubles encrusted with beads, crystals and other gems, that hang from the shelves.

“If I had heaps of money, I’d have a whole tree of these,” Vicki says.

Lemax animated village scenes include an eggnog factory and brewery.

“The eggnog is for me and the booze is for Brian,” Vicki laughs.

Taking pride of place on recessed shelves in the lounge room is a set of eight Patience Brewster ornamental reindeer.

The pieces are modelled on Clement C. Moore’sThe Night Before Christmasand each has it’s own identifying adornment: Blitzen is wrapped is a fluffy snowball-like coat; Comet is covered in little stars.

But Vicki’s biggest joy is opening her home and sharing it all with friends at the annual Christmas party.

“Everybody comes through and loves it,” she says.

“It’s just the pleasure, I guess, that my motley crew enjoy.”

Have a home that could feature in Weekender? We’d love to see it. Email:[email protected]南京夜网南京夜生活.