The Personal Properties Security Register and your business

We have previously written about the Personal Properties Securities Register (PPSR). The PPSR allows businesses to register security interests over personal property, giving them rights over the personal property in exchange for the security of payment or the performance of a particular obligation.

Personal property is property that is not land, buildings, or fixtures. Personal property can be items such as machinery, stock, shares, debts, or even rights under a contract.

As previously discussed in the past these security interests would have been registered on a number of separate registers, such as with ASIC (if the security interest was over shares), or with REVS (if the security interest was a motor vehicle). The PPSR now streamlines all of that into one central register.

The PPSR also allows businesses or individuals to check whether the personal property they are purchasing have a security interest over them. This can provide potential buyers with a way how to double check and make sure that when the transaction is completed, the purchaser will have full rights to own the personal property. If there is a security interest attached to the car, then the vendor may not actually have the right to sell the car – but in the worst case scenario, the owner of that security interest (for example, the finance company who loaned the money for the car) can repossess the car if the loan has not been paid.

Because there is now a central register noting down all security interests, as a small business it should be theoretically easier to offer your plant and equipment / machinery as security for a loan, as it is easier for the bank to check if the equipment or machinery is either owned by someone else, or if someone else has already lodged their security interest on the equipment.

If you are a small business who sells goods on credit, you should consider registering your security interest on the goods, so that if your debtor does not pay your outstanding amount, you may try to repossess the goods. If you rent or lease out machinery and equipment, it might also be a good idea to register your security interest on the machinery and equipment.

For a small fee, the PPSR can be searched for a fee via http://www.ppsr.gov.au. If you are a small business, you should consider incorporating the PPSR and its features into your business processes!

Benefits of networking for businesses (part 3)

In the last two articles in this series, I’ve discussed some of the benefits of networking for business and that, as a small business, networking is probably one of your better strategies – especially if you are the key reason for the success of your business so far.

When you’re in small business one of the main reasons that people will do business with you is because of you. They have a relationship or a connection with you or they know you through some sort of network or association. ‘You’ is what makes your business unique – and that’s marketable.

After having shared some of my thoughts on word of mouth marketing and referrals for your business, in this article I’ll share some of my experiences which may help draw parallels with what you can do in your business. Please keep in mind that these are my personal experiences only and not intended as a criticism or endorsement of any form or forum for networking.

My experience with formal business networking

My first experience of formal business networking was with Business Network International (BNI). For those who not familiar with BNI, it’s a structured approach to business networking, specifically for referring business. Obviously, the amount and value of referrals can vary according to how the specific BNI Chapter or area is managed and the enthusiasm and quality of its members.

I found BNI to be a good training ground for basic networking skills and techniques, and although I’m no longer part of a BNI Chapter, I recommend it to anyone who is starting out in networking for business. However, given the demands and commitment it’s probably more suited to a mature business rather than a start up. Start ups might be able to benefit from being part of the group, but I think their value to the group would be tested. Relatively high membership/renewal fees and a weekly meeting schedule may deter all but the most motivated and committed individuals – which is a good thing.

There are many networking groups like BNI going by many different names focused on business networking. Many clients and others I know in business remain in BNI and swear by it, but at the end of the day, you need to find something that works for you keeping in mind the level of commitment and accountability between members of the group. Interestingly, I still maintain many of the relationships I formed while I was in BNI and in fact the number of referrals that I received increased noticeably shortly after I resigned from the group.

Small versus BIG

Over the years, I’ve also involved myself with local business chambers – and while BNI was referral-focused networking, my involvement with the chambers initially focused on the social aspect of business networking. Compared to the weekly BNI meetings, the chamber functions were bigger with a larger cross section of industries and businesses.

‘After 5’ functions, which bring people together after normal business hours, are a common event for the chambers and other networking groups. I previously attended those functions (as well as some morning briefings) however, while they were enjoyable social events, I found they had little measurable benefit.

It’s quite normal to see the same social cliques at every event. I’m not criticising it in any way, otherwise I’d be as guilty as the next person – but it’s quite natural for that to occur. In addition to that, any attempt to meet someone new (maybe even if its a new attendee) or to join a foreign clique can be challenging if not possible depending on the strength of existing social connections or the lack of any other connection. Further, at that time of the day some people just wanting to unwind, socialise and have a drink rather than network for business (assuming there is a clear distinction).

I believe the social dynamics within a larger group that meets on a less regular basis work the same way as in a small group that meets on a more regular basis, but just slower – a lot slower. Successfully building relationships that matter in this context (compared to something like BNI) takes more commitment or dedication otherwise the half-hearted attempt each time leaves the relationship at a superficial level – perhaps purely social, without any business benefit.

In recent years, the local business chambers that I’ve been involved in have started to develop their own form of structured networking – similar to the BNI model. By focusing on the smaller more intimate networking groups, as well as their usual larger social events, I see the chambers attracting an even wider market to include people who want to socialise, those who want to networking for business, and those who want to do a bit of both.

Final thoughts

I think it’s quite easy to talk about networking in general, but the real test is just getting involved. In the next instalment I’ll just share some final thoughts on the subject and then look forward to catching up with all of you on the networking scene.