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The Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman Guidelines for SMEs 


“70% of small businesses last fewer than 12 months with their chosen digital marketing provider.

– University of the Sunshine Coast

One of the main reasons for this is that SMEs are going to small firms without the skill sets to deliver, while the big firms and agencies can’t provide results that align with SME budgets and needs.

The Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman released a best practice guide for small businesses that provides four steps business owners can take to ensure their needs and expectations are met when working with digital marketing service providers. 

From the beginning, netStripes’ vision was to ensure a best-practice approach to how SMEs avail knowledge, strategy, and digital marketing solutions, which is essential for achieving results through digital. 

We’ve listed the ASBFEO Guidelines below for your reference and how the team at netStripes meets each step to ensure our clients clearly understand the budget, the exact service provided, and realistic expectations for results.

ASBFEO Guideline 1: Get the right services at the right price

Before talking to a provider, identify the support you need and what you want them to do. This will help you decide if their services meet your needs, how much their services cost, when you need to pay them and for how long.

How we keep business owners informed:

1. Service Details

Our services and package details, which include several pricing options to fit various budgets, are clearly stated on each website service page. View example of price plan

2. Free Advisory

We provide a free 30-minute advisory call to discuss a business owner’s needs before purchasing. This call ensures that they clearly understand the goals the business wants to achieve via improved marketing and whether netStripes services suit their needs. This discussion is with a consultant with over ten years of experience. View Advisory booking page

3. Free Webinars

Business owners can attend our monthly free webinars before making a purchase. These webinars aim to help clients overcome knowledge gaps in understanding their needs. During the webinar, clients can see real-life examples of how other clients have achieved results by following the netStripes processes. View netStripes webinars

ASBFEO Guideline 2: Choose your provider wisely

Ask for work examples and contact details of current and former clients. This will help you decide if the providers experience and recommendations suit your business needs, if expectations have been met and how they interact with their clients.

How we show our experience:
1. Discussions with clients

Business owners can watch our free webinars, where we invite NetStripes clients to discuss their business strategies and the results they’re achieving with netStripes. Hear from our clients

2. Google Reviews

Understand client experience from over 70 Google reviews with a net rating of 4.9. See Google Reviews

3. Case Studies

Read our case studies from the various industries we work with. View Case Studies

4. Portfolio

Check our extensive portfolio of businesses we’ve helped stand out from the crowd. View Portfolio

5. Testimonials

Also check out our testimonials on the website and our Youtube channel where clients speak of why they have achieved success. Watch testimonials

ASBFEO Guideline 3: Open Communication

Good communication and frequent meetings with your provider can help manage issues and create opportunities. This is important to get the services and results you need. Many providers have service standards, so you know what to expect, including guaranteed response times. If a provider isn’t open and honest about expectations, results, and costs at the start, they are unlikely to improve over time.

How we communicate with clients:
  1. We have agreed timelines for all our services, including strategy, online brand design, website development, online marketing and tech support, marked on the website.
  1. Agreed weekly or monthly budgets for services. View price options example :
  1. We conduct a 2-3-hour digital strategy meeting between the client and our principal strategist, who has over 15 years of experience. 
  1. We provide a Digital Strategy Blueprint – a document that delivers clarity to business owners that is practical, extensive and similar to a modern-day business plan from the Digital Strategy Formulation Meeting.
  1. We have monthly Expert Sessions with each marketing client to review their marketing.
  1. Website Solutions Clients meet with the Netstripes project team during each project phase for confirmation before we move on to the next step. 
  1. Weekly / Fortnightly project status updates are sent to each web solutions client
  1. A client/project coordinator is assigned to each client with a culture of responsiveness.  
  1. A tech support email address with response rates of 30 min to 4 hours maximum and speedy resolution rates.  
  2. Monthly customised marketing reports with extensive data (about 20+ pages) and visuals for each client.

ASBFEO Guideline 4:  Careful consideration of your contract.

Make sure you have a contract to meet your business’ needs with your provider.

How we communicate terms clearly and effectively.
  1. A clear statement of what you will receive and when :
  2. Any important statements previously made to you by the provider:
    • Service or product pages clarify what to expect, and all inclusions are listed (including main exclusions).
  3. All costs, payment timings and overall contract costs:
    • Package cost and payment plan details are listed on the website under each service/product.
  4. Regular and detailed reporting of results :
    • We conduct monthly review meetings and expert guidance sessions.
    • Monthly customised marketing reports with extensive data (about 20+ pages) and visuals for each client.
  5. Simple and clear exit processes, including early termination and any penalties:
    • The exit process for all marketing clients is clearly stated on the website. Clients can provide two weeks’ notice before the end of the marketing plan period to stop the plan. Clients who want to exit before the end of the plan need to discuss it with an advisor and agree on termination, usually with 30 days’ notice.
    • The exit process is per the terms and conditions on our website for all other clients with 20 business days’ notice and payment of accrued expenses, if any. 
    • Clear steps for dispute resolution that include mediation:
    • We have a straightforward process for dispute resolution stated in our terms and conditions in clauses 11.11 to 11.4, including a mediation process that, fortunately, has not been required to date.
  6. A clear statement on termination that provides for:
    • Any needed training
      • A handover meeting for all services is provided at the request.
      • Clients are trained to manage the website’s backend no sooner than launch.
    • Handover of assets, access, permissions, passwords, and systems once any outstanding dues have been paid.
      • We return all client-owned social media channel accounts managed by us. 
    • Ensure your contract does not include payments for unnecessary services or products.
      • There is transparency around all charges and all payments signed by the client and with the client’s authorisation.

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