I’ve written some blog posts about Xero & QuickBooks Projects and MYOB Jobs recently. In fact, if you visit our MYOB AccountRight and Xero Training Course pages, you’ll see there is now an extra course included in the COMPLETE course packages!
The course was built as a result of the needs of people who’ve been using our training materials to help in their own training. What’s interesting is how important your current inventory and inventory management is to managing the cashflow and profitability of a project.
While I was getting my hair cut the other day, I casually asked the hairdresser how her business was doing. Now this woman is a highly experienced and personable stylist who runs a modern and professional-looking salon with terrific co-workers.
Yet she lamented the fact that business was quiet and she was struggling to get new clients. So what’s going wrong?
The hairdressing salon owner I spoke with the other week was quite downcast about her sales. This is despite regularly receiving ecstatic feedback from her clients about the service they receive and the way the salon looks.
She’s pretty active online too — she regularly posts on Facebook and Instagram, clients can schedule their own appointments via Google Calendar and the other staff members in the salon always seem enthusiastic and happy.
But here’s the thing: I come across countless hard working and talented business owners who just aren’t pulling in the sales they need on a regular basis.
The reason isn’t that they’re doing anything wrong technically – most of the time it’s just that people don’t know about their offering.
Selling what you do to people
As consumers, we’re hit with a tonne of messages from the start of the day — all vying for our attention online, offline and everything in between. You have to find a way to cut through the noise.
But how? You can do this via a combination of ways, but consistent email marketing, also referred to as content marketing, is a powerful place to start.
With the right strategy, email content marketing allows you to inexpensively stay in touch with current, potential or lapsed clients. It’s a way that you can start to connect with people, as often as you want, by sharing your story and what it is about you and your business that makes you unique. These days, it’s getting more informal too, so authenticity is key.
Get the ball rolling on your email marketing campaign
Not sure where to start? The very first step is an easy one and will start you on an email marketing strategy for your business.
Collect your clients’ email addresses
What’s a beautiful email without someone to send it to? A waste of time…
One of the fundamental truths about successful small businesses is their ability to manage and grow off their existing client database. And you can even create this email database in Excel if you want to.
Get your client database started by using every opportunity to collect as much information about your clients as possible. It’s this information that gives you a valuable and complete database and it must be kept up to date. And happy customers won’t mind.
Start collecting client email addresses with these ideas:
- Record email addresses every single time you have a relationship or interaction with a client
- Whenever a client calls you, immediately add them to your client list
- Add a signup or subscribe form to your website so clients receive your monthly e-newsletter: make it really easy for them!
Keeping the conversation ‘real’
You can’t be everything to everyone; it’s never going to be possible to create a single email that all your clients will love.
Basic rule of thumb: Keep your content relevant and personal. Try to be yourself. Business speak is much more conversational than ever before. In fact, businesses are increasingly using Instagram and Facebook messenger to converse with clients; a domain previously reserved for informal contact with friends, family and sometimes colleagues.
People will be much more likely to open and read your emails if they can relate to them and don’t feel like you’re wasting their time bragging about how great you are. (Remember, they are expecting you to say you’re good, so it’s very ho hum to your clients; you’re not exactly going to tell them how bad you are, are you.)
Sending emails and email newsletters that speak to your clients should increase your email performance and conversions (when your reader takes the action you wanted the email to achieve).
Using MailChimp to engage your clients
So you’ve started the conversation, now lead capture forms will make it easy for people who visit your website and social media sites to enter into the conversation with you.
We use WordPress for our website content management and there are other providers that, these days, make it easy for you to create and edit your own online content.
With some basic knowledge about how to edit pages in WordPress you’ll be able to “embed” the code for a MailChimp form and enable all your customers to “opt in” to your marketing messages. We’ve recently written more about MailChimp, including the costs (free for small business!) and the benefits to you.
It’s official and we GUARANTEE it! Our Xero Advanced Certificate Training Course is the best value for money short course in Australia. If you’re upskilling or want to do a refresher Xero course, there’s even better news for you.
It probably seems simple to erect a 3m x 3m garden shed, doesn’t it? I mean there’s not much to it, right? Small slab, basic tools and up it goes.
In reality, we use Xero Projects and prove that you need to be very careful quoting low prices if you have staff who are paid by the hour.
One thing is essential when you operate a small business with staff — that is your payroll obligations. I wrote about a hairdressing salon owner a few months ago who told me how easy payroll was to manage using a printed timesheet book. However, most tech-savvy people prefer to use software.
MYOB Essentials is targeting payroll management. They provide a cheap and easy online software package that is preferable for most people to using a manual book or spreadsheet. However, MYOB Essentials is different to MYOB AccountRight. Continue reading MYOB Payroll Administration Essentials Training Courses
When I started my first business in Sydney’s Dee Why in the early 1990’s, I was amazed that most restaurants and cafes, as well as other retail shops like dress shops, didn’t even know who their customers were!
Many business owners knew their customers by face, but they missed out on lots of opportunities to market and make contact with these customers when business was slow or they were overstocked. Are you working your database?Continue reading Is Business Quiet? Need More Money/Sales? Use a Database!
There are so many wonderful ways business owners are using technology every day for their digital marketing, as well as point-of-sale (POS) and bookkeeping.
Last week I met Cherie. Cherie owns a relaxed cafe in the holiday haven of Forrester’s Beach, NSW, and she let me record a short video of a customer paying for their meal using Square.Continue reading Clear Out Albert, Cherie’s Getting Square! (PayPal Alternative)
I completed a Cert IV in Property Services a couple years ago and have a strong interest in real estate as an asset for investment.
There is a lot of talk currently about negative gearing and whatever happens, we will all be affected. It’s the “wind that blows” according to Jim Rohn, a great inspirational speaker.
One of the topics which comes up about negative gearing is whether it should be available for existing dwellings or only new house and land packages.
As a result, EzyLearn is creating a real-life case study covering the investment and tax benefits of investing in a new house and land package. There are certainly plenty of them going up in the Central Coast to Newcastle and Maitland area!
Real Estate as an Investment
I believe real estate is a terrific investment provided you don’t stretch yourself financially. It does fluctuate in the short term, but you have to think long term.
Certainly, the recent changes in the real estate market, with Sydney property prices dropping over 15 per cent, means that if you bought in the last 2 years your property is worth less than what you paid for it.
Less Equity, Same Debt
The problem with house prices going down is that this affects your equity. Equity is how much of the property YOU own. The banks DEBT stays the same and only reduces as you pay down your loan.
The problem with your equity decreasing won’t matter in the long term because house prices generally continue to increase, but it will be a problem if you need to refinance or can’t afford the repayments and need to sell.
It’s these situations that make lenders charge mortgage insurance. If you borrow more than 80% of the value of the property, you’re up for mortgage insurance.
The ability to borrow so much of a properties value is GREAT when property prices increase, because you only actually have a small amount of equity (which increases) but when prices go down it can be very stressful.
Depreciation and Negative Gearing
This is a hotly discussed topic right now but it mainly affects whether property investors should be able to claim negative gearing if they buy an existing dwelling.
This is not so much of an issue for new dwellings because governments generally want to encourage builders and developers to erect new homes to house the population.
Property Investment Course
EzyLearn is adding a new training course manual & workbook to our property investment course that is totally focused on the tax benefits of investing in a new property.
The great news for Sydney and Melbourne investors is that you can invest $450,000 to $600,000 and buy a completely new house and land package in the Central Coast to Newcastle area of NSW. This makes it much more affordable than the capital cities.
Read more about our property investment course
Featured image: Allam Builders and Developers’ new house in Forresters Beach Estate, Central Coast of New South Wales
MYOB AccountRight, QuickBooks Online and Xero come with job costing and job tracking functions allowing users to develop more accurate budgets and avoid cost blow outs.
I’m excited to be delving deeper into a micro course specifically targeting how you can manage on-the-job costs and track your project. This will be included in all of our Xero, MYOB and Quickbooks online accounting courses.
Real life case studies and micro courses
We design our training courses to be true to life. This means we create our training courses around real-life business examples, or case studies. This information helps you get a job in the real world.
In my last blog I talked about the job tracking function in Xero, MYOB and Quickbooks. In our Job Tracking and Projects Training Course, we’ve taken as our starting point a real-life situation where a tradie uses job tracking features in cloud accounting software to make sure he makes a profit from all his running around, allocation of staff, cost of stock and out of pocket expenses from trips to Bunnings.
The erection of a garden shed
Our Job Tracking and Projects Training Course case study highlights the seemingly simple example of the erection of a garden shed. Our client purchases the shed directly from a hardware supplier, then employs the services of a builder to deliver and erect the shed.
Although it seems very easy, just like life itself, the process is actually more complex than meets the eye. Here are the issues the tradie needs to consider:
- Some of the products the tradesperson uses are stock (inventory),
- others he needs to buy for the job,
- others products and parts need to be purchased while on the job (expenses incurred by his staff).
Then there are circumstances which the tradie didn’t account for in his quote:
- Some days the build is rained out and
- some things end up taking longer than expected.
- An extra staff member is required and the tradesperson then has to keep keep track of his worker’s timesheets,
Establishing the transaction costs
Just as this Cloud Accounting Training Course case study is based on a real life scenario, so the transaction costs (the cost of supplies, labour, expected profits and losses) are current and accurate.
In developing our course content, we actually liaise with the relevant suppliers, including various tradespeople, interviewing them and finding out the variations and possible blow outs they experience and the contingencies they implement to offset these.
We also draw on ATO benchmarking which compares the information gathered from your financial returns to the information the ATO gathers from all other similar businesses.
Make sure you subscribe to our Cloud Accounting Course blog to receive updates about the next steps we take when creating our courses!
Want to learn more about managing project costs and job tracking in the major cloud accounting software packages – Xero, MYOB and Quickbooks? See our new case study: https://ezylearn.info/how-it-works/case-studies-micro-courses/managing-jobs-or-projects-to-measure-profitability/
In many industries, no two jobs are the same, making estimating job costs and resources tough. Job tracking is one of the best ways to develop an accurate budget and avoid blow outs.
But this can be hard work. Are the latest job costing and tracking functions in MYOB AccountRight, QuickBooks Online and Xero making life easier?
Job tracking functions in your accounting software
As its name implies, job or project tracking is a way of keeping track of, and allocating, all costs and incomes to a particular job or project.
Job tracking has numerous benefits. It allows you to stay on schedule, budget for costs and resources efficiently and work out job profitability.
Why job tracking can be difficult
Part of the challenge of job tracking is making sure that staff members responsible for invoicing, paying accounts, and payroll functions, know exactly how to allocate costs in a job. They also need to know which jobs are active at any one time.
How job tracking affects Accounts payable and receivable workers
We cover the skills needed to for clerical, administrative and accounts work in accounts payable and receivable in our Xero Advanced Certificate, MYOB Advanced Certificate and QuickBooks Online Advanced Certificate courses.
When it comes to job tracking, employees working in these accounts areas need training and awareness. If you have staff responsible for invoicing customers, they will need to know which job numbers to use.
Similarly, accounts payable staff who receive supplier bills and need to allocate the costs to the correct jobs or cost centres.
Payroll staff, too, are involved in job tracking as they receive employee timesheets and need to allocate hours worked to the correct jobs.
How the different accounting programs “job track”
MYOB AccountRight Job Tracking
You can track job costs and revenue using the Jobs function of MYOB AccountRight. This is available in the Lists menu. (Note: Job tracking is not available in MYOB Essentials.) The Jobs List in MYOB AccountRight provides a snapshot of the profitability of each job.
We cover job tracking in our MYOB BAS & Reporting online training course.
Xero Projects or WorkFlowMax
Xero, too, has its own much awaited job tracking function, called Xero Projects. The introduction of Xero Projects has been great for those wanting to make the move from MYOB AccountRight.
However, Xero Projects isn’t exactly like tracking costs by job in MYOB. The Xero Projects module tracks time and expenses and a billing process generates invoices. However, you can’t track job costs by line on each invoice.
You can overcome this by creating tracking codes in Xero which would allow you to allocate costs/income as appropriate. This only becomes a little unwieldy if you run lots of different jobs. An addon like Workflow Max may be worth considering for these kind of operators.
Read about some of the other project management tools you can use.
Overall, however, Xero’s more recent offerings, like Xero Projects, are making it increasingly competitive against MYOB. We’ve written a lot about the comparisons between MYOB AccountRight and Xero; it’s a heated topic among small business owners and bookkeeping businesses!
We’ve talked before about how QuickBooks is comparable with Xero. Like Xero, it also has a Projects feature, which is available on a QuickBooks Online Plus subscription. The QuickBooks Projects screen provides a snapshot of the profitability of each job. A project name and customer is required to create a new project.
We’re currently creating a short course on Job Tracking, Job Costing and Projects
If you are a current EzyLearn student you’ll be thrilled to learn that we have a new case study in development that will teach you how to manage projects for tradies like builders, carpenters etc.
Learn more about our latest Micro Course Case Study and make sure you subscribe to receive updates on its progress.
We are creating a new Job/Project Tracking training course for each of our Xero, MYOB and QuickBooks Online Courses.
Want to learn how you can really manage late payers? Simply by reconciling more regularly, you can use a “real time” snapshot of your cash flow in your accounting software, rather than relying on your bank balance.Continue reading Should You Send Reports to Late-Paying Clients?
‘Social proof’ is testimonials, reviews and feedback of others, that vouches for the product or service we’re thinking of buying. Social proof backs up the fact that what we’re considering buying is what it says it is.
Come see some social proof about EzyLearn by meeting some students from the past few weeks
Continue reading Are EzyLearn students just like YOU?
— you just might have a lot in common with them.
So you’ve switched on the job alerts with SEEK and accounting jobs, part-time or contract accounting jobs are coming into your Inbox! Jobs galore! Everyone needs accounts people, right?
IF YOU’RE RECEIVING the job alerts everyday — indeed, you may even have applied for some jobs already — but you’re still not getting called up for interview, then the following questions of doubt may be brewing:
- Why haven’t they picked me?
- Have I been filtered out for some reason?
- Was my cover letter not good enough?
Good quality can be cheap and poor quality may be the most expensive
OFTEN IN LIFE we’re told that if something seems too good to be true then it probably is. Along the same lines as this is the expression that you get what you pay for. Indeed, I’ve commonly used the phrase: “Pay peanuts and you’ll get monkeys” but naturally, there are exceptions to this and plenty of cases where low cost can simply mean low cost – without meaning that quality or value has been compromised.Continue reading Why such cheap online Xero & MYOB courses?
Online MYOB Courses are flexible but…
ONLINE TRAINING IS one of the most convenient ways for busy people to study. While some people take to it naturally, for others the flexibility and freedom it affords itself is a learning curve.Continue reading Does Your Family Support Your Study?