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Business plan for your startup bookkeeping business

Start a bookkeeping business plan

Free Business Plan Templates

I recently wrote about the importance of writing a business plan if you want to start a bookkeeping business. I included a great business plan template that is made available by the Australian Department of Innovation, Industry, Science and Research. You can find free Microsoft Word templates from within Microsoft Word or by doing a simple Google search. Today I’ve included a link to some free templates from Microsoft.

This website provides a template for a “business plan for a startup business” but you might notice there is also a business plan template for existing businesses.

Who Starts a Home Based Bookkeeping Business?

Many of our students are mums who are returning to work after many years of looking after young children. They may have had a professional careers, but their circumstances change and they now want to operate a business that allows them to drop children off and collect them from day care and school. If you are one of those people you’ll be thrilled to hear that there are several work-at-home-mums (or virtual assistants) as part of our EzyLearn Online Training Team 🙂

Small Business Management CourseYou may also be interested to know that our Small Business Management course includes training on topics that enable you to work from home via the Internet. Cloud based services like Google, WordPress, Dropbox and even the new MYOB software now make it possible and we show you how to do it.

Best of all, the Australian Government provide a website full of resources for those people who want to start a home-based business and a bookkeeping business is one of the best (according to us) because:

  1. It allows you to work your own hours
  2. If you are smart you can earn good money
  3. Every business needs to do bookkeeping
  4. Very few business owners WANT to do bookkeeping
When you enrol in an EzyLearn online MYOB Training Course you receive access to the courses for LIFE so they are always available to you as a resource, with case studies of various different business scenarios used in our training workbooks.

Bookkeeping Business Plan Built By a Registered BAS Agent

National Bookkeeping Business Plan TemplateDo you want to start a bookkeeping business? Want to work to a plan that was built by an experienced bookkeeper? Does it all seem a bit daunting?

[quote]Jacci, our Registered BAS Agent has worked through the Small Business Management Course to create a Bookkeeping Business Plan for those who want to start their own bookkeeping business.[/quote]

This course not only gives you a well rounded education of the requirements to start and build a small business, but you will receive a business plan that you can tweak to suit your own circumstances as part of the course! Read more..

NEW! Start a Bookkeeping Business Without Buying Into a Franchise

Added November 2014

Maggie Richardson’s Small Business Management Course is now online at EzyLearn BUT better than that we’ve combined it with a bookkeeping business plan (written by Jacci) as well as some legal templates, agreements and other training to help you get started with a bookkeeping business you can operate from your own home quickly.

When most people think of startups they think of technical wiz kids who create mobile phone apps, but our startup academy helps ordinary people start their own business as independent virtual assistants working from home in industries that are growing and with companies that can provide the support to help them get up to speed quickly and get great clients.

Want to learn more about starting a bookkeeping business?

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Malcolm’s Business Innovation Plans Can Include You

Australian Federal Government Wants Business Innovation

Innovation package, bankruptcy changes, capital gains and raising equity funding
Source: https://commons.wikimedia.org

In December, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, unveiled a new $1.1b Innovation Plan, developed to encourage more Aussies to start their own businesses, specifically ones in the areas of science and technology and which are, well, “innovative”. With the announcement coming just a few weeks before Christmas, it seemed perfectly timed to give Australia’s would-be entrepreneurs the holidays to think about their plans innovation plans for 2016.

But with all this talk about scientific and technological innovation, you could be forgiven for thinking that only Australia’s Next Google can take advantage of the many new initiatives introduced by the government. So let’s be clear: this is fantastic news for anyone thinking of starting their own business, whether they’re bookkeeping or content marketing businesses. Just the very act of starting a business is, itself, an act of innovation – because more businesses means more employment opportunities for more Australians.  

There is more opportunity to start anew after going broke

As I’ve mentioned in the past, the climate at the moment is incredibly favourable toward anyone looking to start their own business, and these new measures just make it even more so. That’s because some of the big changes come in the form of changes to our bankruptcy laws, which have always been notoriously punitive, and have tended to discourage businesses to take risks or entrepreneurs to try again, if at first they did not succeed.

That’s going to change. From 2017, the bankruptcy period will be reduced from three years to one, and businesses will also be allowed to continue trading while insolvent, as long as the business appoints a restructuring advisor to work on a turnaround plan, a measure not dissimilar to one within America’s Chapter 11 laws.

Grow and expand your business with equity investments from angels

One of the more exciting new measures to be announced, however, is one that will help more start-ups find funding from investors. To be introduced in 2016, the government will now provide a 20 percent tax offset worth up to $200,000 for investors in start-up businesses, plus a 10-year exemption from capital gains tax if they hold shares in the company for three years.

Together with the already announced tax breaks for small businesses; the raft of new technologies – particularly the recent union of PayPal and QuickBooks – that allow small businesses to work faster and smarter; and the increasing number of shared workspaces, like the NSW State Government’s Smart Work Hubs and the WOTSO Workspaces, which give small business owners and teleworkers the opportunity to work remotely among other like-minded entrepreneurs, you can make 2016 the year that you start your own small business.

Want to learn more about business valuations and preparing your business for sale? Information is included in our Small Business Finance Courses with in depth interviews with Tony Arena from BCI Business Brokers. Read about the Valuations and Raising Equity Funding Course.

Get started with the Start-Up Academy

If you’re subscribed to this blog, then you’re probably familiar with our latest partnership with the StartUp Academy, which aims to help people to start their own home-based business easily and successfully, through proven business opportunities and plenty of guidance for prosperity.

There are currently a number of business opportunities, across a range of different industries, that you can register your interest in at the StartUp Academy website. Each opportunity allows you the freedom to operate as an independent contractor from your home, regardless of where in Australia you are located.

Get the FREE guide to becoming an independent contractor

If you’re interested in becoming an independent contractor in 2016, whether it’s with the StartUp Academy or with a business idea of your own, why not use the summer break to study up on what it takes to become a successful independent contractor by downloading our free guide off the StartUp Academy website, and make 2016 an innovative one!

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Starting a new MYOB bookkeeping business? Got a plan?

start a bookkeeping business as an MYOB bookkeeperWithout a plan, could you be planning to fail?

I AM REGULARLY SURPRISED at the number of our students who are learning how to use MYOB because they want to start their own bookkeeping business.

Many of them already have accounting or bookkeeping qualifications, but these are usually in larger accounting systems and so they learn to use MYOB to apply their accounting skills to help small business owners.

Start a MYOB Bookkeeping Business

I recently wrote about the Australian small business startup scene and have been working with like-minded, successful business owners to put together a series of bookkeeper business building webinars. Indeed, one of the critical parts of starting a new business is the business plan.

To some business owners this is the “art” part of starting a business, particularly if you are starting something from scratch! I’ve often heard people ask:

How can I possibly predict my future income?

How do I work out how much to spend on advertising?

What price should I charge?

What if I don’t get that many customers?

Business plan for your bookkeeping business

National Bookkeeping Business Plan Template
Get a bookkeeping business plan created by a registered BAS agent and get started fast

The best answer I can give is that a business plan is really just some solid information that you have collected from your research about the industry you want to work in.

It’s the best estimate that you can make at the time. But the best part of it is this:

  1. You can always modify your business plan
  2. Your next business plan will be more precise

[quote]The most commonly asked questions I hear about business plans is: Where do get one? Can I see yours?[/quote]

Where can I get a business plan?

The EzyLearn StartUp Course comes with a business plan template that will help you determine, not only the viability of your business, but also how to achieve your business aims. It will enable you to justify to your clients — and yourself — why you charge the fees you do. It is a dynamic blueprint that you can look back on and go over as you need to, in order to remind you of your goals, your business mission statement and keep you on the right path.

Oh, and please don’t underestimate the importance of a business plan. There is a famous quote from Benjamin Franklin:

[quote]“If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail!”[/quote]

The Australian Government’s www.business.gov.au website also has a free business plan template you can modify. Watch their video below:

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Email Is An Important Part of Your Business’s Brand

Google G Suite Training Courses - contacts, emails, calendars, appointments

Getting your own “branded” email is a cinch!

woman using mobile to learn online digital marketing social media training course study

[dropcap]T[/dropcap]HE INTERNET HAS democratised many elements of starting your own small business, but, in particular, it has made marketing a small business a whole lot easier.

There are now plenty of inexpensive ways to have a logo designed for your business, just as it’s a lot easier to register a business name, ABN, or GST/PAYG.

Another super easy thing to vastly help your business along is getting your own “branded email address”. What do we mean by a branded email address? Simply an email address that carries your branding in the domain name, for example: info@thenameofyourbusiness.com.au versus the far less professional: yourbusinessname@gmail.com. 

Continue reading Email Is An Important Part of Your Business’s Brand

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She Shares “Sales Secrets” for Bookkeepers Starting New Business

ONLINE INDUCTIONS ARE WIDELY used for contractors who visit building sites or any other site where they perform work that can be risky, like plumbing, electrical, HVAC, roofing, security etc.

Many  inductions are delivered manually by a qualified staff member (usually in the WH&S department). Usually any person in the organisation or business who hasn’t yet been inducted will be notified about the forthcoming induction and urged to attend.

However, this way of carrying out inductions can be a little hit and miss — people can be absent, overlook (or ignore) communications, and the quality of the inductions themselves probably vary.  Continue reading She Shares “Sales Secrets” for Bookkeepers Starting New Business

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How to Reduce Your Fail Rate in Business by 50%

What You Can Do this Christmas

business start up online training course christmas holidays2
There’s lots to do in preparation for starting a business and the summer holidays is a good time for the ground work.

DID YOU KNOW research shows that by taking just one short course on small business management, the chance a business will fail is reduced by as much as 50 percent.

This is because business mismanagement is the primary reason businesses fail; the other most common reason is because owner/s fail to implement appropriate credit management processes. In both cases, this failure has come about because the owners, directors, partners or managers lacked the appropriate management skills to make it a success.

Learn the basics in business

The Christmas holidays is a perfect time for taking the steps needed to start your small business. While everyone else has gone on holidays, you’ll be ready to take on your first client or customer by the time business really starts kicking off again at the end of January.

business start up online training course christmas holidaysSo let’s get to it: there’s work to be done. And this work generally requires some rudimentary knowledge of Australian tax law, copyright law, trademarks and patents.

You should also have knowledge of particular software applications, and digital marketing.

Other key areas of business you need to know

The key areas business owners should understand before starting a business include:

Ordinarily, to become skilled in each of those areas, a person would have to take, at least, five different training courses. But few people are ever likely to do this. Instead, they’d be more likely to cherry pick the areas they’re least familiar with, and fly blind with the others. Needless to say, that’s where people run into problems.

Take Advantage of our Christmas Savings!

We don’t want you to wing it or fly blind — our goal is to help small businesses succeed which is what we’ve been doing for nearly 20 years.

We cover what you need to set up a small business in our EzyStartUp Business Course, priced at just $297. This course covers each of the key areas mentioned above that a small business owner needs to be familiar with, in addition to the following:

  • Originating and developing concepts
  • Establishing legal and risk management
  • Product packaging
  • Marketing your business

***

When you enrol you will also receive FREE ACCESS to a bunch of our other online training courses, including Xero Set Up and Beginners’ Excel and Word.

Our Last Dasher Sale is also on now with special Christmas discounts on our online training courses in social media, and cloud accounting software (MYOB, Xero) and Excel, Word and WordPress.


Don’t Wait — Become the Head Honcho Today

Use your time off from work this summer to begin working on your new small business. All of our training courses are delivered online, and can be completed at your own pace, so you can complete them while you’re actually on holidays, or relaxing at home or at a cafe.

And since one of the best ways to start a new business is by operating it as a side project to your other job, if you get all the start up stuff out of the way while you’re on holidays, it’ll be ready to go by the time you back to work.

Learn more about the EzyStartUp Business Course at our website or view all of our special offers to save on your next EzyLearn training course.

start your own business online training course videosAnd as a gift to you, remember our Bookkeeping Basics Guide is yours’ for free!


 

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MYOB or WordPress for your new business website?

I recommend WordPress (and our online courses) over MYOB Atlas website builder any day

Is MYOB doing too little of too much?

I recommend WordPress (and our online courses) over MYOB Atlas website builder any dayEvery business needs a web presence, and it’s become a lot cheaper and easier to get one. Where it once could cost many thousands of dollars to have a web designer get your business online, you can now build your own website yourself, quite cheaply.

That’s due to the number of cheap open-source content management systems that have come the market, like WordPress (by far, the market leader), then there is Wix, Squarespace, and even Google Sites (part of Google’s G Suite productivity apps for business). Our online WordPress Training Courses include the basic creating and editing of website pages and blogs posts to more advanced features only available to WordPress Site Admins. 

You might find it interesting that MYOB offers a website service and it makes me wonder whether MYOB has the single focus on building the best accounting software for small business or jumping into any and every new technology it can to see which one sticks.

MYOB is also into websites

About five years ago, MYOB, in partnership with Google, launched a website creation tool called Atlas as part of an initiative called “Getting Business Online.” Atlas enables MYOB customers to create a business website, get a domain name, connect an e-commerce site, and social media platforms for $30 a month. 

Learn about domains, DNS, hosting, Websites and WordPressI put together a series of emails which explains in a logical order how domain names, hosting & websites work…
and it’s free so check it out if you want to learn on that technical stuff!

Because they’ve partnered with Google, the sites promise to “rank well on Google search,” but there’s no flexibility to manage your SEO or integrate with any SEO tools. In fact, for your $30 a month, you don’t get much flexibility at all — not in the choice of themes (they’re limited), adding corporate branding, to connect email marketing services, template changes, and so on.

Carmel Crane ERP Specialist National Bookkeeping_3_comp
Learn more about ERP system from a specialist

MYOB wants to be the ERP platform for small business

Back when the internet was still fairly new, MYOB used to have a partner program in place with hosting companies to help their clients run multi-user programs in the cloud. When MYOB realised they could be earning that money themselves, they shut the program down and did what they have often done — disregarded their partners and their businesses completely. 

MYOB have gained a bit of a reputation for this sort of thing — starting up, and then abandoning, partner programs. Over the years, perhaps due to the complexity of their software, they’ve tried to establish themselves as the enterprise reporting planning (ERP) software of choice for mid-size businesses, but they’ve struggled with already established specialist brands. The MYOB Atlas website creation tool is another example of just that.

The cloud, focus and commitment

 With established platforms like WordPress, which is easy and cheap to use, and highly customisable, this might just be another missed opportunity for MYOB. These website design platforms are built around the concept of open source software and WordPress is surrounded by thousands of theme and plugin developers which provide the integration for some pretty advanced features in an easy to use interface. We made the change to WordPress after going with a Site Builder program which ended up closing down and no longer being supported – it’s a huge waste of energy and resources when you have to start all over again!

Unlike MYOB, Xero realised early that online software is about being a specialist in a given field, so they integrate with lots of different specialist platforms and systems so small businesses can connect the applications they need. I’ll be writing about some of these Xero integrations soon.

Ref:#714

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Profitable Businesses Suffer Poor Cashflow

Xero Course cashflow-forecast-charts-reporting-budgets

Xero Course cashflow-forecast-charts-reporting-budgetsI’VE TALKED ABOUT CASHFLOW on this blog before, particularly as it relates to good credit management processes.

This time, however, we’re going to look at how profit differs from cashflow, even though the two are intimately related.

There is the perception that a profitable business can’t suffer from poor cashflow, but this is incorrect. There are plenty of profitable businesses that don’t have enough money in the bank at a given time to pay their outgoings because cashflow is lumpy.

We’re in business to make a profit, and yet the term ‘profit’ is really just an accounting concept. Profit is revenue minus expenses, but it doesn’t reflect our investment in capital assets, such as equipment or vehicles, nor does it take into account the liabilities we have funding our business (loans and hire purchases).

Cashflow is the true indicator of success

Cashflow, unlike profit, is about timing. Specifically, it’s about having money before you have to pay out money, something not identified by profit. Managing cash flow is one of the most stressful things about running a business, because many variables affect it.

Sure, not earning enough money or not having processes in place to make sure that money flows into your business in a timely fashion are part of it, but there are other factors too, such as:

  • Incorrectly priced products or services
  • High overheads
  • Holding too much stock
  • Large bills (tax bills)
  • Seasonal cycles
  • Large projects
  • Growing pains (putting on more staff, increasing stock levels)
  • Unrealistic forecasts.

P&L reports help determine causes of poor cashflow

Quite a few of the things that adversely affect a business’s cashflow can be determined by running regular Running Multi-Period Profit and Loss Statements], while others can be managed (or avoided) by implementing better processes or procedures for doing business.

Product based business which keep inventory can have their cashflow affected by:

  • incorrectly priced products and services
  • holding too much stock
  • seasonal sales cycles

and this evidence will show up when you run your P&L reports, as well as your inventory sales and stock-on-hand reports. If, for example, you identify that May, June and July is your busiest quarter, while November, December and January is your quietest, and where you struggle to meet your outgoings, you should implement strategies to better plan for that leaner period.

A seasonal period of downturn is common among most businesses. It’s how you manage and plan for that downturn that separates successful businesses from ones that aren’t. For example, it’s unwise for a sole trader to take a holiday March, a seasonally busy period for his business, when he could wait until June when it’s much quieter.  

Your bookkeeper will play a key role in how you plan and manage your cashflow. Ask them to run reports that will help you to identify any inefficiencies in your business that’s causing poor cashflow, and implement strategies to better manage it.

Bookkeeper, BAS Agent or Finance Manager

start a bookkeeping business & find a good bookkeeperIf you’re looking for a reliable bookkeeper to manage your daily or weekly bookkeeping and accounts, either remotely or in-person, Tracey from Rockingham is a highly qualified bookkeeper, who also has the practical experience of having operated her own business in the past. Tracey has a lot of experience in the day-to-day accounting functions of a small business and you can contact her directly as a fully licensed member from her profile page.

Our National Bookkeeping website has recently gone through a significant upgrade so watch out for more stories about featured bookkeepers in forthcoming blogs! Join and we can feature YOU in our articles too. Subscribe and stay tuned to learn about some new members who have moved from the corporate world to focus as Finance Managers for small to medium businesses. 

Learn How to use Xero EzyLearn Online CoursesXero for LIVE data and Accurate Reports

Xero enables business owners and their bookkeepers and financial managers to see what is going on RIGHT NOW and because it’s popularity is growing we’ve created a NEW Xero course which goes through a great example of the business decisions that a business owner makes about buying an investment property, figuring out which products/services provide a better Return On Investment (ROI) and more.

Check it out at Xero Cashflow Course and remember that existing EzyLearn students can get access to this course by just sending an email request to student support.


 

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Don’t Wing It With Customer Service – Plan It

Great customer service doesn’t just happen.

learn online training videos about small business customer service
If you’re unsure about what makes up the kind of customer service people rave about, then perhaps you should look into our EzyStartUp Course.

HOW TO PROVIDE REALLY exceptional customer service is just one of the modules covered in our EzyStartUp Course which teaches you all about how to start up your own business.

We handpicked this inclusion as our experience is that, time and time again, good, nay excellent customer service goes a long way to ensuring a business has longevity.

We’ve mentioned in a previous post the issues inherent with Zoho’s customer service, which wasn’t bad as much as it was hampered by geographical differences and the strength of Aussie customers dealing with Aussie customer service workers and telephone operators.

Defying customer expectations

For many, good customer service is something many of us have come not to expect. Most of the time when you go into shops to buy something, you come prepared – you’ve already researched the kind of TV you want online and why, and you know the sales girl will never tell you if your butt looks big in those jeans.

Is there too much churn and burn?

Is churn and burn a problem with the quality of customer service? Certainly in many chain or department stores now, where there’s a huge turnover of staff, many employers seem to have given up on trying to teach their staff the art of customer service.

And the ambivalence toward customer service has slowly crept into other areas of business, as companies downsize, move online, or shift jobs offshore.

As a business owner, I have always prided myself on providing the very best customer service possible. When I moved EzyLearn online, one of my major concerns was how would I manage the customer service side of the business, now that my customer service resources had shrunk?

Using a ticketing support system

That’s when I decided to use the Zen Desk ticketing support system to manage all of my online customer enquiries. Zen Desk does this in a way that’s professional for my customers and also easy for me and my team to use.

Incidentally, Zoho also offers a similar support ticketing service and, like most of the Zoho products, the most basic offering is free to use forever. But even if your business decides to use a ticketing support system like Zen Desk or Zoho, remember: It’s only as good as the customer service processes you implement for your business.

Good customer service is structured

Fantastic customer service — the kind that makes people tell their friends and keep coming back to you for their purchases — doesn’t just happen. This is why we cover customer service in our EzyStartUp Course. Most people don’t realise that, like everything else in business, you have to plan to deliver good customer service. And as the business changes, your strategy can adapt and change too.

This might take the shape of a policy which outlines things such as ensuring phone calls aren’t answered before the third ring (so as to not startle or fluster callers), replying to emails within a few working hours (even if it’s just to say you’re looking into the issue), or following up on sales enquiries with a phone call (which increases conversion rates).

Definitely use tools like Zen Desk to help you fine tune your customer service policies, but remember that good customer service starts with you. Develop your customer service strategy (our EzyStartUp Course can help you) and commit to it.

***

Planning how you’ll provide great customer service — that’s what’ll give you the edge over other businesses. Good customer service is so rare these days that when people find it, they flock to it. So find your flock, and if you need help, take our EzyStartUp Course.


learn online training Xero courses videos for less

Our Xero online training courses include EVERYTHING for ONE LOW PRICE. Furthermore, if you select our Lifetime Membership option, you’ll have LIFETIME access to our ongoing course updates. All EzyLearn courses are accredited by the Institute of Certified Bookkeepers (ICB) and can be counted towards Continuing Professional Development (CPD) points. Find out more about our Xero online training courses. 


 

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Marketing for When Your Business Strategy Changes

Where lead generation services are useful

lead generation services
Using a dedicated lead generation service can be more useful than advertising but the quality of the leads may be questionable.

CHANGING YOUR BUSINESS STRATEGY to include additional services will require an additional investment in marketing if you are to make this successful. In terms of simply paying money to advertise your additional services, as you’re probably already aware, advertising doesn’t always yield immediate results. Therefore you might consider spending money on a lead generation service.

We cover how to account for marketing and lead generation costs in our Xero training courses, which includes a new workbook that looks at what to do when your business strategy changes.

Lead generation vs marketing

Lead generation, as the name suggest, is solely focussed on generating a potential customer or client for your business. For instance, there are lots of lead generation services in the building and home maintenance trade — hipages, One Flare, Service Seeking, Quotify, etc — but there are also a growing number for people in creative services, although they’re typically referred to as online marketplaces and include Freelancer.com, Upwork, Fiverr, and so forth.

Advertising and digital marketing (including content marketing), puts your message or business in front of your target audience, but there are more steps in the process before you can capture a lead.

The benefits of lead generation

The main benefit of using a lead generation service is that it delivers active leads almost as soon as you sign up to the service. The quality of the leads tend to differ between services, and the leads also tend to be people who are focussed solely on price, and not so much workmanship. In other words, they’re looking for something done in a particular fashion, for a particular price. No more, no less.

These sorts of jobs are good when you’re getting started or as a way to keep the home fires burning, but it may not be appropriate to rely on them as your sole means of developing clientele.

The benefits of marketing and advertising

If you’re using the correct channels to reach and market or advertise your business to your target market, you’re effectively developing a relationship with those people and educating them about your business.

This means you’ll capture people at all stages of the purchasing funnel — some will be at the pointy end, while others won’t be ready to make a purchasing decision for a while. The benefits of marketing and advertising is that you’re capturing a wide array of people and building brand awareness.

A combination of both works best

If you have the resources, a combination of both marketing (advertising, content marketing) and lead generation works best, though your focus should on marketing and advertising your business to your target market, rather than trying to fit your business into the mold of all the different leads fed to you through a service like hipages or Freelancer.com.

Create a marketing budget

Run a cashflow report in Xero to determine how much cash you’ll have to invest in marketing your business. Our Xero training courses will show you how to run a cashflow report, which you can then export to Excel and use when creating your marketing budget, which should include a schedule, costs, desired outcome — i.e., number of leads, conversions each week, month, quarter — to ensure you’re getting a good return on your investment.

***

Our Xero training courses will show you how to run cashflow reports and account for your marketing costs, while our Business Start Up Course will show you how to create a marketing plan. Visit our website for more information.


learn Xero online learning videos cheapest

Our Xero online training courses include EVERYTHING for ONE LOW PRICE. Furthermore, if you select our Lifetime Membership option, you’ll have LIFETIME access to our ongoing course updates. All EzyLearn courses are accredited by the Institute of Certified Bookkeepers (ICB) and can be counted towards Continuing Professional Development (CPD) points. Find out more about our Xero online training courses.


 

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When Your Business Strategy Changes

There are websites that make it easy to change your business name

changes in business strategy xero cheap online learning course
Having a plan rather than changing your business strategy in an ad hoc fashion, ensures greater success of your business going forward.

PLENTY OF BUSINESS OWNERS change their business strategy, but what makes this successful? We say, above all, planning and a willingness to change the ordinary operations of your business. In a new workbook contained in our Xero training courses, we take you through the steps you would take in Xero to affect a change in business strategy.

In this blog post, we’re going to look more generally at some of the things you might need to do if you were making a change to your business strategy — even before you would start making these changes in your accounting software.

Business name change

A change of business strategy and direction may warrant a business name change. As a basic example, a builder who begins offering plumbing, electrical, and handyman services should change their business name from John’s Building Services, for example, to John’s Building and Home Maintenance Services.

If considering a business name change, visit the ASIC website. There you’ll be able to register a new business name and make sure one you’re thinking of doesn’t already exist. ASIC doesn’t allow you to update or change your business name, but provided you’re operating your business under the same structure — i.e., sole trader — there’s no limit to the number of business names you can register and assign to your ABN.

In April this year, the business.gov website launched a new Business Registration Service, which although still in Beta, allows you to easily and quickly apply for a business name, ABN, company, and tax registrations for free. At the moment it’s only available for new businesses — whether they’re sole traders, partnerships, companies or joint ventures — but it’ll soon be rolled out to existing businesses, trusts, and superannuation funds.

Registering for GST

Many contractors don’t register for GST because they do a combination of contract work on their ABN and TFN. Provided their business doesn’t generate $75,000 per year or more, they won’t have to register for GST, even if they do earn more than that by also working as a contractor on their TFN.

If the change in business strategy means your business is going to generate substantially more than $75,000 per year, or even if your suspect it may get close to it, you should register your business for GST.

You can register for GST via the ATO’s Business Portal. Registering for GST does mean your business will need to lodge regular business activity statements. This is additional compliance that can yield fines for late or inaccurate lodgements.

If you’d like to try and defer registering for GST for as long as possible, run a profit and loss statement in Xero and compare your current revenue with the estimated additional revenue your new business strategy will generate.

If there’s good, safe margin between your projected income and the $75,000 GST threshold, you can hold off.

You can learn what you need to implement the financial side of your changed business strategy, plus how to run profit and loss statements, complete and lodge business activity statements and much more in our Xero training courses. For more information, visit our website.


learn Xero online learning videos cheapest

At EzyLearn you can choose from a range of XERO online courses, depending on your skill level — or you can access ALL courses for ONE LOW PRICE. All our courses are accredited by the Institute of Certified Bookkeepers (ICB) and can be counted towards Continuing Professional Development (CPD) points. Find out more about our Xero online training courses. 


 

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Should You Start a Business That You LOVE or a Business YOU CAN DO?

Pairing knowledge with a gap in the market

how to find the right career path
I love watching TV. And I have an opinion on many things. Doesn’t mean I can monetise the pairing of these two. Or can I? Did somebody say Gogglebox? 

CONFUCIOUS ONCE SAID: “FIND a job you love and you’ll never have to work a day in your life”. That’s good advice, although it’s not always practical.

After all, I love watching television, but it’s probably impractical to try and monetise that to start a business — not impossible; but it is impractical.

A better measure of finding something you can turn into a business idea, and then a business, is to find something you’re good at, that also addresses a gap in the market. In other words, put your existing skills and work experience to use in a new, different way.

When skills meet reality: The Open Agent example

For some people, this does mean starting a business doing something they happen to love. Photographers, writers, even golf or tennis pros are using their existing skills that they do love, but often not how they might have first imagined. Photographing weddings instead of high fashion; content writing instead of novel writing; teaching golf or tennis instead of competing professionally.

Other people may not necessarily love their sales skills or aptitude for data analysis, but these are skills that can be put to use in a business that they do love. Take the real estate comparison service, Open Agent, for example. It was started by two former McKinsey and Company business analysts, using a WordPress website they built in a single afternoon.

Three years later, it had raised $20 million in funding, and the business had doubled in size for every 12 months it had been operating. The co-founders, despite having no real estate or technology experience, put their experience working at a management consulting firm to good use, as well as their connections to the business world to get their venture off the ground.

Finding VIABLE gaps in the marketplace

Earlier in this post, I said you should find something — a skill — you’re good at and channel that into a business idea that addresses a gap in the market. But this doesn’t automatically mean your idea is viable. It just means it has the potential to be. To determine if your idea is viable, and to what extent you can expect it to start generating revenue, you should carry out some market research and competitive analysis.

Find out what sorts of businesses like yours already exist and how they operate. What’s their target market, and what are the main issues business owners or the industry as a whole are facing?

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Find out what sorts of businesses like yours already exist and how they operate. What’s their target market, and what are the main issues business owners or the industry as a whole are facing?

If you’re not sure how to go about this, we cover it, as well as business planning and sales and marketing in our Business EzyStartUp Course. To find out more, visit our website.


Xero online training course

At EzyLearn we offer online training courses to help you up-skill and find employment. Choose from our range of cloud-based online accounting software courses, to business start up and management courses, to marketing and sales courses, or update and further your skills in a range of Microsoft Office programs (ExcelPowerPointWord) or social media and WordPress web design).

Many of our courses can also be used towards CPD points. Find out more.


 

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Thinking of Starting a Second Business? Introducing Jerry

Case Study: Costs for starting up a second, related business

microsoft excel starting a second business
Contemplating starting a second business, related in some way to your first? Excel can help you forecast start up costs.

A LOT OF BUSINESS OWNERS branch out into related fields when their flagship business becomes successful enough (just look at Jim’s Mowing). However, this can be a bit dicey if the business owner doesn’t properly forecast all the start up costs. Not doing so can not only have an adverse impact on the new venture, but also on the existing business.

In this case study, we’re going to look at the start up costs associated with starting a real estate sales business.

Meet Jerry, our budding entrepreneur

Jerry is a male in his 40’s, currently working as an agent for a local asbestos removal company, earning a commission for helping the company make sales. In this role, he works as an independent contractor, invoicing the asbestos removal company at the end of the month. Because of the work he does, Jerry meets with lots of homeowners (and business owners too) who are renovating their home in preparation to put it on the market for sale or rent out.

Because of the client contact base Jerry is always developing, and knowing that there is no conflict of interest, Jerry decides he’d like to branch and become a real estate salesperson.

Budgeting for a new business from home

Jerry decides to operate his real estate sales business from home, as he plans to operate it as a side business, at least initially. Jerry won’t need to lease office space, but there are the following costs he will need to budget for. The costs he foresees are approximate:

  • Real estate license training course: $2,250
  • Website setup costs: $300 + training (if required)
  • G Suite account: $5/month upwards + training (if required)
  • Mobile phone: $55/month upwards
  • Business cards, flyers, other marketing materials: $99 upwards

Jerry’s ad-hoc operational costs

Although the majority of Jerry’s operational expenses will be reimbursed by the vendor once the property is sold — property marketing, auctioneer costs, etc. — Jerry will need to ensure he has enough capital to cover these operational costs. Property marketing costs are determined based on a percentage of the property’s value, usually 1 percent but sometimes lower. The median price of property in Jerry’s area is $440,000.

Because Jerry is already working as an independent contractor, he doesn’t have to incur any other operational costs (office furniture, internet, information technology, etc.), however his bookkeeper may apportion these costs differently now that Jerry is operating an additional business.

Determining upfront capital required

Jerry already has two homeowners who are thinking of selling their home in the next 12 months. He estimates that based on the value of each property, he will need to spend $5,000 each on property marketing. Therefore, he’ll need at least $13,370 in startup capital to fund his new venture for the next 12 months — although he knows that the initial $20,000 in property marketing will be reimbursed to the business within 6 months.

How Jerry will measure his success

Jerry is located in Newcastle in the Hunter region of New South Wales. Clearance rates in this region hover around 70 percent and properties spend an average of 50 to 70 days on the market, as property is typically sold by private treaty rather than auction. These two metrics will be used to determine Jerry’s success. Price is not a good indicator, as the nature of property sales means Jerry should be valuing property accurately with only a 10 to 15 percent difference in the final sale price.

Jerry should also research other real estate agents selling similar property in his local area to determine how many sales they are writing each calendar year. This can become another benchmark for Jerry’s success, although only a peripheral one, as Jerry is still only operating his real estate business on the side.

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You can use Excel to work out a budget for the start up costs for your second business, and use accounting software like Xero, MYOB or QuickBooks to forecast whether your existing business will have the capital to fund your new venture.

Our Excel training courses will teach you how to create budgets and forecasts and our cloud accounting training courses will show you how to determine the financial health of your business.


Social Media and Digital Marketing online training course_comp

Successfully promoting your business products and services to clients these days requires a sound knowledge of how to spread the word via social media. Whatever your field, we can teach you the online marketing techniques to stand out from the crowd and build your customer base! Check out what’s included in our comprehensive Social Media and Digital Marketing online training courses.


 

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Running Your Business from Your Mobile Phone

Millennials Driving SmartPhone Usage

Can you send an invoice using sms text message from Quickbooks, Xero or MYOBI WAS TALKING to a tradesperson in his mid twenties and how he wants to start his own business.

The more we spoke, the more I realised that this bloke runs his life almost entirely from his mobile phone — and doesn’t have a computer or laptop!

After having spoken to a few tradies in the last 6 months, I realise that this is the case for many of them. In large part, it’s because the nature of their work is outdoors and requires them to focus on what they’re doing there and then on a work site.

What this guy is very good at doing is replying to SMS text messages and using Facebook Messenger. This made me think about how much of your business you can actually do with a smart phone and via text messaging.

(It also made me think about how much business we might all be doing via Facebook whether we like it or not, but that is a topic for another blog post!)

How do you use your SmartPhone?

I am an Android / Google person through and through because I like their open source model and low priced (OK, cheap) solutions. Way back in 2012 I wrote about how the smartphone could replace your computer.

What I didn’t realise at the time is that most people want to run their business while they are doing it — ON THE GO — rather than have to plug it into a big screen and keyboard when they got home or to the office.

If you are interested in ways of using your SmartPhone as your office computer check out these sites!

I use my smartphone for:

  • emails
  • texting
  • calendar scheduling
  • checking online support and chat activity
  • reading the news
  • checking website analytics
  • taking photographs
  • internet banking (using CBA Netbank)
  • a street directory
  • real estate property searches
  • research on any of the projects I’m working on
  • making and receiving phone calls.

The things I don’t do on my phone are:

  1. writing and publishing blog posts
  2. transferring funds using NAB (because their Internet banking is sad)
  3. accounts and bookkeeping (interesting, huh?)

Thoughts of what we do with our smartphones made me explore a little deeper into something very simple that I think most tradies would like to do — “Send invoices by SMS”

This is what I found out:

 

It seems like much of the functionality that people are starting to want is available as a paid extra. However, what doesn’t make sense is the fact that I can send an unlimited number of text messages as part of my mobile plan.

Can’t these modern accounting programs just take advantage of that feature?

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I’m very interested in hearing back if you have a real world experience where you’re using a smart phone to do something you would normally do from a desktop or laptop computer. Drop me a line at sales@ezylearn.com.au! I’d love to talk about you and your business in the blog.

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Is QuickBooks Better than MYOB for a Small Business?

How Does QuickBooks Really Stack Up Against MYOB?

compare QuickBooks and MYOB
QuickBooks is a much simpler accounting package to use than its rival, MYOB.

WE RECENTLY INTRODUCED our QuickBooks Online Daily Transactions Course because we can see that QuickBooks is fast becoming a serious and respected rival to the more established accounting software packages.

We recently wrote about how QuickBooks uses the SuperStream-compliant service KeyPay to deliver payroll services because QuickBooks itself isn’t actually SuperStream compliant. Currently, the payroll feature in QuickBooks is free for all Small Business plans, as the company further positions itself as the low-cost accounting software option for Aussie small businesses.

Continue reading Is QuickBooks Better than MYOB for a Small Business?

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Why Partnerships Can Be Risky Business

An Understanding of Business Partnerships is Essential

business-partnerships-training-course-online
Structuring your business as a partnership doesn’t have to be risky business if you arm yourself with the right information first.

As we mentioned in our previous post about doing the necessary actions to start your new business now, rather than in January, there are lots of tasks to carry out before your business will be ready to commence trading. The first, most important thing you should do, is register for an ABN.

There are lots of services available that, for a fee, will register your business name, company structure, domain name, email hosting, and even register your business for GST and PAYG. But do you really need to use these services? Well, it depends. 

You might if:

1. You need your ABN or business name registered NOW

A few years ago, we wrote about a service called e-companies, which provides all the registration services mentioned above using its direct portal to ASIC and the ATO. As a result, many company registrations are completed within five minutes, while ABN registrations are completed in fifteen minutes, providing aren’t flagged for further checks by the ATO.

2. Your business structure is complicated

The most straightforward business structure to set up and manage is a sole trader, but they’re not suitable for every business, particularly where more than one person will be running the business or where income from the business will be distributed to family members or other beneficiaries.

In such circumstances, you may need to structure your business as a trust or partnership. If you already know how trusts and partnerships work, you may choose to use a service to register your business structure, so you don’t miss any important steps along the way. Otherwise, you may need to engage a solicitor to structure your business.

Or — 3. Learn about partnerships and do it yourself

If you’re structuring your business as a partnership, a partnership agreement is crucial to your business’s success. It’s particularly necessary for businesses that intend to use PayPal, as PayPal will withhold your income until you provide a copy of your partnership agreement. Services that register business structures do not provide any guidance on how to draw up a partnership agreement, and so many businesses go without one, which can be disastrous if a partner ever wishes to leave the business or the business is later sold.

We created our Partnership Agreement Course because a partnership is the most risky business structure. The Partnership Agreement Course, which now costs just $48 (down from $97) provides you with a template, explanatory notes, and all the standard clauses, including exit clauses for when the partnership needs to be dissolved. Once you’ve drawn up your partnership agreement, you’ll also be able to access lower tax rates with the ATO.

Read more about what’s included in our Partnership Agreement Course or enrol today, and you start the course by 5pm tomorrow.