Australian e-commerce player the Catch Group, the company behind Catch of the Day and Scoopon, has launched its latest digital venture, hoping to take a further slice out of the online market. YumTable allows diners to eat out at fine-dining restaurants at a discounted price, complementing the company’s takeaway ordering website, EatNow. In June, Catch Group also launched into the homewares space and operations manager Levi Aron says there’s no slowing down for the company. “There is always more exciting things happening, but we’re very careful with what we choose,” says Aron. He says EatNow has been a great success story for the group and it couldn’t look past the opportunity to complement a takeaway service with a dine-in service. “We wanted to capture the other side of market,” he says. But he says the new venture has its own merits as a “standalone” business. YumTable was created by Madewell Enterprises in 2011, an internet technology company founded by MYOB co-founder Craig Winkler. It has since been purchased by Catch Group, who according to Aron, have been waiting for the right time to re-launch the offering. Aron says they’ve turned the business model on its head in order to make it more appealing for restaurant owners. “Traditionally restaurants have been looked on outside of the industry as a cash cow,” he says. We’re not locking them into contracts, we don’t charge them a fee, and we charge the consumer a small fee. The reason why customers are happy to be charged is they’re paying $1 to get access to the discounts.” So far it has between 850 and 900 restaurants from around Australia using the platform. Aron says the site will not be a deals website like some of Catch’s other offerings and will provide something more consistent for consumers and restaurants. “This is a consistent offering throughout the year, which is quite different from anything else around.” Aron says the company will continue to further expand its offering and is often approached by “people with different ideas”. “We want to choose the options we believe are right for the consumer and the retailer and for us.” The group sells on average one item every second. Follow StartupSmart on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
Australia is the hottest market at the moment for cloud software, according to Spotlight Reporting chief executive officer Richard Francis. The company offers business intelligence cloud software to hundreds of professional firms and organisations across the globe, with a particularly focus on Australasia, the United Kingdom and the United States. It recently raised $3 million that will be used to expand the company’s physical presence in Australia as well as the UK and US, and fast track its product development. Investors participating in the funding round include MYOB co-founder and Xero director Craig Winkler, former Xero chairman and former Kiwibank chief executive officer Sam Knowles and Xero director and Spotlight Reporting advisory chair Graham Shaw. “You have Xero shaking things up big time, QBO aggressively pursuing market share, MYOB coming back to market with cloud products, plus dozens of add-on software providers like Spotlight Reporting trying to enrich the experience of business owners, accountants and others,’’ he says. “We already service many leading accounting firms and organisations in Australia, and have accomplished ex-Xero Jason Forbes as our director of sales. “He’s based in Brisbane and we are looking actively right now for senior account managers in New South Wales and Victoria. “Even in the age of SaaS, having a physical presence and getting to know your customers personally is so important. “Australia is so important to get right.” In addition to its Brisbane office the company also has offices in New Zealand, San Francisco and is about to open an office in London. Francis says the company’s immediate focus will be to add more sales and account managers, positions key to expansion. “You can’t skimp on customer service or experience,’’ Francis says. The company is also looking at expanding other core functions by adding developers and marketers; Francis says time will tell where it is best to place them. “Our vision is nothing less than supporting millions of business customers and their advisors globally in making better decisions for superior outcomes,’’ Francis says. “This capital raise is an important step on the long road towards achieving our vision.”
Australian startups are more confident of their revenue growth compared to 2013, according to a survey conducted by accounting software provider MYOB. The latest MYOB Business Monitor revealed 62% of startups experienced rising or steady revenue in the 12 months to February 2014; 21% of startups reported an increase in revenue; 28% reported a revenue decline; and 41% reported steady revenue. In August 2013, these figures were 24%, 34% and 29% respectively. According to the survey, confidence in revenue growth has also increased with 38% of start-ups expecting revenue to rise in the 12 months to February 2015, up on 34%; 17% expect revenue to decline, a significant drop from 22%; and 36% expect revenue to remain steady, slightly more than 35% in August 2013. MYOB general manager, business division, James Scollay says the enthusiasm and confidence of startups is something to emulate regardless of the age, size or type of business. The positivity of start-ups is underscored by a strong start to the year with 37% reporting more work or sales in the pipeline for the three months from February to April 2014. This compared to the previous survey where 31% said they had more work or sales in the pipeline for the months of August to October 2013. When it comes to business pressures, fuel prices were the top pain point. Attracting new customers was ranked second. Startups also planned on increasing investment in business strategies over the next 12 months. “There is a strong correlation between the pain points affecting startups and the investment strategies they intend to focus on, “says Scollay. “For example, increasing focus on customer acquisition and retention strategies can help alleviate the pressure of attracting new customers.” Top five business pressures for start-ups in 2014: 1. Fuel prices – 34% (35% all SMEs) 2. Attracting new customers – 32% (26% all SMEs) 3. Cash flow – 31% (27% all SMEs) 4. Competitive activity – 28% (26% all SMEs) 5. Price margins and profitability – 26% (25% all SMEs) Top five areas of increased investment for start-ups in 2014: 1. Customer retention strategies – 42% (30% all SMEs) 2. Number or variety of products/services offered – 35% (26% all SMEs) 3. Sale of products/services online – 29% (22% all SMEs) 4. The value of spending on marketing and advertising offline – 29% (18% all SMEs) 5. Customer acquisition strategies – 28% (26% all SMEs)
Australian business solutions provider MYOB has announced the purchase of Dovetail, an innovative startup that provides online document collaboration solutions for accountants. A MYOB statement on the deal says it’s a key move to strengthen its connected accounting vision by making cloud accounting easier for accountants and their clients. MYOB general manager accountants division Adam Ferguson says the acquisition will deliver tremendous value to both accountants and their clients. “The purchase of Dovetail is the next step in our vision of helping accountants move online and working closer together with their clients,” says Ferguson. “This will enable MYOB to deliver an enhanced collaboration platform for accountants. “The platform will extend the accountants capabilities beyond financial data management to deliver an integrated, collaborative experience through intuitive workflows, document management, work approvals and more.” Dovetail was founded in 2011 by Rob Cameron, who worked for MYOB in 2006 as a product strategy manager for five years within the accountants division. As a senior product manager for MYOB, Cameron will work across the business in developing integrated solutions for accountants and their clients.
Start-ups may begin (and end) their lives as small businesses, but by definition, they all plan to grow. While the federal government has announced a focus on simplifying red tape for business, rapidly growing early stage businesses have slightly different needs the government should be aware of. Australia is once again talking about the regulatory burden of doing business here after the leaked terms of reference for a Productivity Commission review into the Fair Work Act revealed the government’s priorities for lightening the load our entrepreneurs and job creators face. These include penalty and pay rates, and flexibility. While changes to these business fundamentals will touch the start-up community, there were two legislative hurdles brought up by every start-up founder and consultant StartupSmart spoke to for this story: employee share schemes and crowdsourced equity. Policies to boost the shortage of risk capital were also mentioned frequently. With two of these three issues under review, start-up founders say relief and increased productivity could come from alleviating some of the day-to-day burden of complicated tax systems that eat into time they could otherwise be investing in growing their companies. Site Tour founder Michael Scruby told StartupSmart the regulations around running a fast growing business are holding start-ups back. “The current regulations make it too onerous,” Scruby told StartupSmart. “There are lots of different areas you need to understand and comply with. As a founder, you’re working 70 hours a week but I’m spending at least half a day doing paperwork.” Scruby says if the government wanted to see small business grow and employ people, they should reconsider the quarterly business activity statement’s GST threshold. Businesses that are turning over $75,000 or more per year need to register, report and comply with GST regulations. While this may be manageable for sole traders and a drop in the ocean for big business, Scruby says it’s a low threshold for high investment businesses such as tech start-ups, which can be turning over $75,000 a year and still be nowhere near profitability. “Start-ups are stuck in between. For the first few years as you’re ploughing all the cash back into the business so this GST threshold makes running a business with limited resources onerous, expensive and just really tough,” he says. Tim Reed, the chief executive of accounting software and support company MYOB, told StartupSmart BAS was top of the list of concerns raised by their customers every year in the annual surveys. “It’s a cumbersome process even though we’ve been living with it for just on 14 years now,” Reed says. Not only is the regulation challenging to understand and time consuming to comply with, its implementation requires business owners to keep a lot of information for auditing processes. While many entrepreneurs, including Scruby, would like to see the threshold raised, Reed says this is a short-term fix that would only benefit whichever businesses fall beneath the new threshold. “If the government could go through and look at the regulation around the GST, they could take the big steps forward to make it simpler,” he says. “This would touch most small businesses and would have a very big impact. It would mean the time it takes to complete a BAS could be reduced by 50- 75%.” Reed also hears repeatedly from clients about unnecessarily complex and varying legislation such as award and penalty rates. He says simplifying both the award structure and nationalising the state-by-state system of occupational health and safety requirements would be a boost for rapidly growing start-ups. “We speak to a lot of businesses that could grow their business, turn over more and employ more people but they don’t want to deal with all the extra rules,” Reed says. Expanding into three states means dealing with three different OHS systems which means three times the paperwork, and triples the risk of staff getting hurt and businesses being fined. While the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) had agreed to unify the system just over five years ago, little progress has been made. All of these compliance hurdles require time and often expert consultants to help young businesses navigate the challenges. This adds to the costs and time it takes to get a start-up to profitability, which in turn raises the amount of investment funds needed. Raising funds could be made significantly easier with a few small regulatory changes, says DLA Piper senior associate and AngelCube accelerator legal mentor Joel Cox. “One of the most time-consuming regulations that could be fixed for early stage companies here is the restrictions and requirements for issuing new equity,” he told StartupSmart. Australian companies that are issuing new equity have to create a prospectus unless they meet criteria exempting them from this requirement. In his practice, Cox says the most common exemption for start-ups is for a small scale round. This limits the founders to making personal offers to fewer than 20 people for a total of less than $2 million. “With an increase in the number of angel funding rounds, we’re seeing more rounds with large numbers of participants,” Cox says. “But it’s not viable at all for an early stage company to produce a prospectus. This means they have to amend their fundraising round to fall within the restrictions, which are very confusing to understand and do require a lawyer and therefore legal fees many can’t afford.” Cox is hopeful the review into crowdsourced equity now underway may address this issue. The biggest issue for Cox wasn’t any particular piece of legislation or the impact it had on early stage businesses plotting global growth. “Australia is slow to adapt to the changes in the market around the growth and proliferation of early stage companies getting ready to grow quickly, as opposed to the US and Israel for example,” Cox says. Cox says updating the employee share scheme regulations and crowdsourced equity restrictions must be priorities for the federal government if they want to see the start-up ecosystem take off.
Whether or not you identify as a tech start-up founder, if you’re launching a business today, you need to be tech-savvy, says Simon Raik-Allen. Raik-Allen is the chief technology officer at accounting software provider MYOB. Prior to working with MYOB, he spent over a decade in a range of start-ups. He spoke to StartupSmart about why every new business owner has to be tech-savvy, regardless of what industry they’re in. In the video below, Raik-Allen shares what founders should focus on when it comes to tech and cashflow.
According to new research by global debtor finance firm Bibby Financial Services, 81% of Australian small and medium-size businesses surveyed had experienced cashflow issues in the past 12 months. Over a quarter (26%) surveyed were looking to pay down existing debt and 23% intend to refinance existing debt. Fewer than one in five businesses surveyed were looking to seek new funding to grow (19%) and to provide working capital (18%). We spoke to John Moss, the chief strategy officer at accounting software provider MYOB, about how start-ups can keep their cashflow intact and growing. He shares his top three tips in the video below:
The last thing start-ups and small business operators want is to invest more time in paperwork. But that doesn’t mean all reports should be outsourced or ignored until they become critical. We spoke to John Moss, chief strategy officer at accounting software provider MYOB, about which reports start-ups should focus their limited time on getting right. Moss talks about the three reports it is essential to master, and how you can use the reporting process to grow your business.
Financial advisors and accountant experts are calling for businesses to seize the opportunity presented by the new financial year to set goals and sort out their finances. Accounting software provider MYOB has released some steps for start-ups to take in the new financial year. Debra Anderson, the owner of leading MYOB consultancy company Legally BAS, spoke to StartupSmart about how to implement them. “This is the ideal time of year to write down your goals, whether they’re financial in a budgetary sense or if they’re a marketing goal or even just getting to have a holiday this year. Writing it down is a commitment, and the whole process helps us think about it and organise our business plans to include them,” Anderson says. Revisit your business plan with the market in mind Start-ups and small business should focus on a few written goals and overhauling the budget in their business plans. “The budget is your roadmap. You need to know where you want to get to, so your budget is the really important thing to show you what you’ve got to get there and where you’re going,” Anderson says. “You also need to take a look at what your competitors are doing now.” “Things have changed a lot, even in six months. The Australian dollar has dived and the interest rates are down. The landscape has changed and it changes quite quickly in the global market.” Anderson says many businesses make the mistake of believing the business plan should be set and stuck to for the year. “Work out what you need to change or look at, once you’ve got that top goal, you can work down. It might not be that you do it all today. You don’t need to execute the whole plan and have it all sorted. It’s a dynamic document. You can change it every week if you need to revisit it,” Anderson says. Work closely with an accountant or financial advisor throughout the year Anderson says the new financial year is the best time to invite your accountant out to visit your business. She believes this is key to developing a productive and insightful relationship. “It’s really important that your accountant actually comes out to your business so they can get a feel for the state of affairs,” Anderson says. According to Anderson, too many small businesses and start-ups underestimate how much their accountant needs to know. “Actually, make sure your accountant knows what you do, and how you do it. They’re not just there for tax returns, you should be able to use them as a trusted advisor. We don’t talk about money with friends, but that’s our job, the good bad and the ugly,” Anderson says. Streamline productivity and processes for a more efficient team and business The new financial year is the perfect time to re-evaluate your business relationships and suppliers, including your accountant and accounting system. “Streamlining is really important and you should make sure you’ve got some kind of system that is right for your business. That can be really simple, it could just be Excel if you’re running a really basic business or it could be something with more features,” Anderson says, adding that you shouldn’t choose a system simply because your accountant prefers working with it. According to Anderson, the most common financial management mistakes small business make are not separating their personal and business accounts, and not putting aside funds for upcoming regular payments. “Too many small businesses have one credit card for business and personal. Combining their personal and business accounts is a huge error,” Anderson says. “Get a business one so you can link it to the financial software, keep it clean and know where your money is going. It’ll streamline the process and if you’ve done it properly, it’ll do all the dirty work like data entry for you.” Given cashflow is a major issue for start-ups, Anderson says the easiest thing you can do to get on top of the issue today is separate your accounts or create a new one to start sorting funds appropriately. “Set up that second bank account; put some money aside for taxes and superannuation aside as you go. Run your GST reports monthly or weekly and put that money aside so you don’t get caught out paying it quarterly,” Anderson says.
Businesses less than two years old saw better revenue growth and greater confidence than more established small businesses, according to a survey. New research from accounting software provider MYOB found that 36% of start-ups saw revenue gains, compared with 18% of SMEs in the year to February. Small businesses also reported a higher rate of declining revenue, 39%, compared with start-ups at 27%. James Scollay, business division general manager at MYOB, told StartupSmart the survey was a health check on the start-up and small business sector, and that the good news reached beyond just the business owners themselves. “It’s very encouraging and great news for the economy to see more start-ups positive and growing,” Scollay says. Start-ups were more confident about the coming year, with 42% expecting to generate a revenue increase, compared with 30% of small businesses. Only 17% of start-ups expected a fall in revenue, compared with 18% of small businesses. Scollay attributes the performance and cultural difference between start-ups and older small businesses to a new wave of Australian businesses. “When you correlate the different factors in the survey, the use of technology and the way the start-ups work is different. They’re using more innovative techniques and technology and seeing greater business success,” he says. Scollay added the start-ups surveyed were far more likely to be using online opportunities to promote and sell their products and services, use teleworking and flexible work opportunities, and cloud-based services. Scollay says the fundamentally different way of working was likely to continue to favour these start-ups as they grow and mature. “It will be interesting to monitor how they do, but if their existing trajectory and outlook for the future is anything to go by, then this is a segment of the business community that’s likely to do very well,” he says. The survey found start-ups worked fewer hours than their small business peers. The average reported working week for a start-up was 39.7 hours, compared to 40.6 hours overall. Just over a third of start-ups, 37%, worked 40 to 60 hours a week, and 13% worked more than 60 hours a week. The research released this week as part of the Business Monitor Survey also found start-up owners’ key concerns are managing cashflow and attracting new customers. The majority of start-up owners, 73%, said reaching and converting new customers was a challenge, with 9% saying it was an extreme pressure. On cashflow, 71% say it’s a pressure they face. Scollay described this as unsurprising for a new business, but the focus on attracting new customers was good news. He added the thriving start-up scene would benefit from big businesses understanding their needs and packaging their products appropriately, and from government re-assessing the considerable amount of compliance and legislative red tape. “Australia is a hugely entrepreneurial economy fuelled by two million small businesses, and we do think government and large business can do more to help these businesses thrive.”
Accountants almost unanimously believe their small and medium business operators, including sole traders, are not fully prepared for tax time. According to research by the Institute of Public Accountants (IPA) and accounting software firm MYOB, 98% of members surveyed say their clients were not fully prepared for when they submit their end of financial year statements. Tony Greco, general manager of technical policy at the IPA, told StartupSmart that tax was getting harder for small business owners. “It’s indicative of small business that paperwork isn’t top of mind as they’ve got other priorities,” he says. “It’s also a sign of the times that paperwork struggles with more and more regulations, and that’s one of the things they find hard about running small business because everyone wants a piece of them. Tax is really important because it impacts your hip pockets and how it’s treated can impact on what you pay.” Another study found the majority of small business owners (61%) said they thought EOFY compliance was too much of a burden, and 56% found it stressful and worrisome. Almost a third (32%) said they missed out on important personal and family events during EOFY work. Greco says complex and increasing legislation is making tax even harder for sole traders and small business owners who usually do their paperwork after hours on the kitchen table fending off family and exhaustion. “It’s not easy and it’s not getting better. Every government promises big things about red tape but it’s going the other way with more and more legislation being added,” Greco says, adding that paid parental leave, managing GST and superannuation are some of the key extra challenges for small business owners who also need to be focused on bringing sales through the door. The survey of members of the IPA found the most common mistakes business owners make when preparing their end of financial year paperwork were miscoding transactions (65%), not providing enough supporting information (64%), and not being adequately trained on how to make the most of their accounting software (39%). The research also revealed accountants and small businesses needed to be more proactive about tax throughout the year, with other common mistakes including not keeping accounts or records properly throughout the year (62%) and not staying in touch with their accountant throughout the year (42%). For sole traders and businesses getting their paperwork ready, Greco recommends businesses being as open and proactive in their relationship with their accountant as possible. “Get everything out and in the open and transparent so your accountant can do their job,” Greco says. “Pull out anything you’re not sure of so your accountant can look at it, because there have been some significant changes such as the small asset write- off and the additional write-off for vehicles you can take advantage of.”
No doubt you’re exploring clever ways to accelerate the growth of your start-up. You could work more hours, raise capital from outside investors to fuel growth, or open new locations – all of which are tried and true methods. However, one of the best ways to grow your business when you’re starting up lean is forming a strategic partnership. A strategic partnership or alliance with a like-minded company or industry group can provide an array of benefits for your business, such as the opportunity to access new resources, expertise or market segment. This can help boost your competitive advantage. For an alliance to be strategic and successful, it has to be mutually beneficial. Here are some considerations: Let’s be friends Strategic partnerships are effective when both companies complement each other (not adversaries). The potential partner could be in the same market as you but offers a different product or service that supplements your own offerings e.g. if you’re in the business of selling shoes, consider partnering with a fashion accessories provider (belts, jewellery, scarves and the likes). So think about where your customers go before they buy your product/service, and where they go after they make a purchase. The potential partner could also embody similar company values and modus operandi, making them complementary. Therefore, each partner can focus on its strengths, while the other can cover the areas outside your expertise. Do your homework When you have a short list of potential strategic partners, carefully study their product line before approaching them to ensure that your product is complementary. Check out the distribution reach of the company to ensure they do have the type of distribution into markets that are right for your own product. Verify the financial standing of the company and the relationship with its customers is in good shape. The last thing you want to do is to partner with a company that is going to reflect negatively on you, your product, or your business. Be realistic It’s important to know what you can and what you’re prepared to deliver, as well as your expectations from the potential partner before you start exploring opportunities. Approaching a partner without a clear understanding of your objectives can result in their loss of interest before negotiations have even begun (and vice versa). It helps to ask the potential partner what they’re looking to achieve right up front, and see if it aligns with your objectives. Remember, the value your business brings to a partnership isn’t limited to just your products or services – knowledge is power so the opportunity to share your expertise and experience with them and their clients can be just as valuable. It takes two to tango The level of commitment from each partner should be openly discussed as per any relationship. The nature of your business and theirs – including different working tempos, styles and bureaucracies – will likely determine what activities each partner will commit to, to ensure the alliance is effective. It’s best to be flexible and adaptive, again focusing on the desired outcomes. In addition, the extent to which you share resources and expertise in the partnership will need to be considered so there’s a balance between collaboration and achieving your own business objectives. One good example of a strategic partnership is Alex Perry and Collette Dinnigan each designing their own range of glasses exclusively for Specsavers. Both are leading Australian fashion designers who wear glasses themselves. The partnership allows the designers to reach a broader customer base via Specsavers, while Specsavers are able to appeal to fans of Alex Perry and Collette Dinnigan. Finally, remember that a strategic partnership is an alliance (and not a merger), so the terms of engagement should be mutually beneficial, and one that will open more doors for your business, and theirs. Angely Grecia is a consultant at MYOB.
Small business leaders around Australia are concerned the appointment of Gary Gray as the sixth small business minister under the current government creates further uncertainty about the direction of small business policy in Australia. Given Gray has also been handed responsibility of the resources, energy and tourism portfolios, SME advocates believe he will not be able to adequately dedicate his time to understanding the needs of small business. Council of Small Businesses of Australia executive director Peter Strong told SmartCompany he’s disappointed by the rate of turnover in the position. “We run on confidence, but it’s hard to be confident when we’re unsure of the future. There have been a lot of surveys done and uncertainty is the biggest problem,” he says. “I don’t know how much he understands, we’ll have to see if he understands the issues facing small business about competition law and consumer problems.” “He needs to sit down and give the industry confidence and set some policies.” Prior to his position in government, Gray worked with companies such as BHP Steelworks, Wesfarmers and as an advisor to Woodside Petroleum. Strong says when it comes to the small business minister, background is important. “If you have a background like [Opposition Small Business Spokesman] Bruce Billson does in small business, then you are more likely to understand the problems businesses face.” Without that, Strong says it comes down to the attitude Gray has and if he has the capacity to understand the fact we’re not just business we’re people,” he says. SmartCompany contacted Gray for comment but received no response prior to publication. Australian Retailers Association executive director Russel Zimmerman told SmartCompany Gray won’t have the time to develop an understanding of small businesses prior to the September election. “It would be nice to see a person allocated the role stay in it long enough to be able to get to understand small businesses.” “It’s going to be hard for him to get a grasp on the portfolio. If they are returned again, we hope they’ll bring some stability,” he says. Zimmerman says an election needs to be held because the government has recently become a “farce”. “I think there was a good reason for the government to go to the people because it’s become a farce,” he says. Zimmerman says he’s also concerned with the number of responsibilities Gray is taking on board. “Tourism and small business go hand and hand, but certainly his other role will not be necessarily associated with small business,” he says. Gray is yet to communicate with Zimmerman or Strong, but both industry representatives say they hope he will do so soon. Accounting group MYOB released a new report today which found SME dissatisfaction with the federal government remains high at 54%. MYOB chief executive Tim Reed told SmartCompany the number of recent small business ministers is “appalling”. “It’s a message which says government policies have not been well explained to small business owners,” he says. This story first appeared on SmartCompany.
Reckon is aiming to shake up the Australian accounting software market when it launches its first cloud-based product Reckon One in the next quarter.
MYOB chief Tim Reed has joined the board of digital health platform Healthshare, which has announced the successful closing of its capital raising, although the amount is undisclosed.
MYOB has outlined seven steps start-ups should take to boost their business in 2013, after revealing more than half of small businesses hope to improve systems and processes this year.
The business outlook is brighter for SMEs in 2013, according to the latest MYOB research findings, but micro businesses will continue to do it tough and have been urged to plan ahead.
Online retailers will experience their highest volume of Christmas sales from December 7-10, according to a new survey, while sales for offline retailers will peak closer to Christmas Day.
Cloud computing has been a buzz term for businesses for a little while now, but it appears that Australians SMEs just aren’t that keen on jumping on the bandwagon.
Compliance with government regulation continues to stifle business operations, according to a new report, which shows more than 80% of the businesses surveyed are struggling with red tape.