Small Business & Startups

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Naming things is hard, especially if the name needs to be unique. Over the years I've worked for sites named Urlesque (rhymes with burlesque, it's about memes), Slacktory (it's a factory for slacking) and Valleywag (which came scarily close to being called "Boomshank"). I always loved the evocative site names of the Gizmodo network. Sploid connotes splatter, tabloids and explosions; Deadspin promises ESPN with an unexpected angle; Kotaku puts the slightest spin on the Japanese term for obsessive nerdy interest. More famous names like Instagram, Medium and Upworthy also compactly convey multiple meanings. The same approach is popular for fictional character names: Darth Vader, Voldemort and Ebenezer Scrooge read immediately as bad guys.

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Elevator Pitch is a regular feature on Lifehacker where we profile startups and new companies and pick their brains for entrepreneurial advice. This week, we're talking with Will On, co-founder and joint CEO of retail shipping engine Shippit.

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Optus has announced a new cloud-based telephony system aimed directly at small to medium businesses (SMBs). Dubbed 'Loop', the product is a hybrid mobile and fixed line service with a host of unique features. If Optus can be believed, the service will save businesses hundreds of dollars annually compared to a traditional telephone switching system. Here are the details.

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Twitter, Facebook, and now Instagram — small businesses are constantly being bombarded with the advice that they should be repping on all these social media platforms. But each new account you add is a huge investment in time, or in money if you choose to invest in services or staff to help manage it. So: is Instagram worth it?

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Elevator Pitch is a regular feature on Lifehacker where we profile startups and new companies and pick their brains for entrepreneurial advice. This week, we're talking with Adrian Merrick founder of energy retailer Energy Locals, .

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So you've made a Facebook Page for your business, you're posting regular content and you've built up a small following. There's just one problem — it feels like none of your few thousand followers actually see the posts you make. Here's how you can improve those odds.

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Amazon is coming. We've heard all about how it's going to be an Australian retail killer. But if you're a competitor on a much, much smaller scale, what can you do to protect yourself against wholesale abandonment of local business?

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Every week it seems like there's a new piece of advice for would-be entrepreneurs from the ones who've already made their mark on the world. Tim Cook starts sending emails at 4:30 in the morning. Steve Jobs once ate nothing but carrots. Donald Trump supposedly sleeps only four hours a night. Most recently, serial odd-advice-giver Gary Vaynerchuck has told Business Insider that he doesn't eat in the daytime. But do you really need these weird habits to be an entrepreneur?

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Someone with more than 400 companies under their belt, billions of dollars and a knighthood is bound to have made some good decisions in their time. Luckily for the rest of us, entrepreneur Richard Branson has shared his tips for making business decisions, to help out anyone who's trying to get where he's at now.

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If you've been on social media lately, you've probably noticed that memes are king (among a certain demographic, at least). It's no wonder brands have been jumping on the memewagon ever since the term first entered popular consciousness, with results ranging from hugely successful to downright disastrous. Have you been thinking of taking up this double-edged blade for your social media campaign? Read on for more to help you decide whether memes are truly suitable for your business.

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Most small businesses can't afford to hire in highly specialised roles, as useful as those roles might be. While your business might have a website it probably doesn't have a full time content creator, and despite your healthy Facebook, Twitter and Instagram presence you aren't likely to employ a social media manager. But have you ever considered using services, rather than people, to fill those knowledge gaps?

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The Square Reader is a tiny chip card reader that plugs into the headphone jack of any smartphone or tablet, allowing users to take credit card payments right from their own devices. It's been on the Australian market for 12 months now — but in this time has built up a strong customer base of over 60,000 small businesses across the country, despite tough competition from CommBank's own Albert POS device.

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Elevator Pitch is a regular feature on Lifehacker where we profile startups and new companies and pick their brains for entrepreneurial advice. This week, we're talking with Taryn Williams, founder and CEO of online marketplace TheRight.Fit.

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Pollenizer was known as a pioneer on the Australian incubator scene, but it finally closed up shop earlier this year, after nine years of operation. Despite it no longer being active, however, Pollenizer's founder Phil Morle didn't want the many resources they developed to go to waste — so they're not available to all, for free, under an open-source license.

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Elevator Pitch is a regular feature on Lifehacker where we profile startups and new companies and pick their brains for entrepreneurial advice. This week, we're talking with Paul and Michael Higgins, founders of HelloCars.