I hope I didn’t sound rude, but if you’ve read these blog posts you’d know I love playing around with new technology but Telstra Online Essentials is a website builder tool that infuriates me!
I recently had an opportunity to help out Neville with his online marketing and that included exploring his current website on Telstra Online Essentials. We quickly got the EPP code for his domain name and transferred AWAY to Crazy Domains but they had some issues too!
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.
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?
An on-boarding presentation created in PowerPoint can be used to deliver Work Health and Safety (WHS) training — which is mandatory for all businesses employing staff, whether they’re permanent employees or freelance contractors — induction training, and also explain how your business operates.
Modern employee training for modern times
In the past, on-boarding training — be it WHS, induction or otherwise — has been delivered in person. Sometimes a new employee would be sat in a room to watch a company video and complete a written test on their own.
Other times, companies would gather all new hires (often people who’ve been working at the company for as much as three months, by this point) and have someone from their HR department lead a day of training.
However, both these methods come with flaws because neither one shows much commitment to workplace culture, safety or operating procedures.
Train staff in-house or offsite
EzyLearn offers induction training packages for businesses keen to use our learning management system to deliver training, quizzes, short courses, etc. But you can still use PowerPoint to train staff at your premises, as well as remote workers.
Creating an on-boarding training course in PowerPoint will increase employee engagement, and also ensure each employee understands their role in the business and how it operates. Or for more help on figuring out what you need to include in an online induction, read here.
PowerPoint: The Great Visual Aid to What You’re Saying
Many people don’t realise what an excellent design tool PowerPoint is. It can be used for a lot more than just creating slideshows and presentations and is a great marketing and design tool for all kinds of business functions.
Generally speaking, when using PowerPoint, you should feature only one idea to a slide. A PowerPoint presentation is not an essay. It shouldn’t be filled with verbose text (unless perhaps you’re in a university lecture). In fact, as you will learn in our updated PowerPoint Training Course, sometimes a PowerPoint slide shouldn’t contain any text at all, or at least, very little.
PowerPoint presentations that are going to be used as a visual aid should do just that: visually aid the audience through your presentation. It shouldn’t contain your speaking points and you shouldn’t recite from it verbatim. Ideally, you should treat it as a source of further information (or illustration) for the oral portion of the presentation.
Illustrate your points
Okay, in a perfect world, there’d only be one idea per slide, but PowerPoint presentations are tedious enough to create, without having to use a new slide every time something we wanted to articulate contained a subtopic or, more likely, a few subtopics.
But rather than using tried and trusted (*zzzz*) bullet points, try to illustrate the points and use a small amount of text to give more detail. For example, if you’re presenting your company’s latest financial results, rather than writing out how much revenue each department generated, include a pie chart or graph to illustrate this for you.
Shape your points
If there isn’t any way to easily illustrate your points, use shapes and textboxes instead. This breaks up the monotony of a slide filled with bullet points and makes the information you’re presenting easier to digest.
It’ll make it easier for your audience to take notes, without missing any of the spoken part of your presentation. It’s also easier on the eyes, since it breaks up all the white space on your slide.
If you must use bullet points…
Sometimes there’s no escaping it, we get it. Even though we’re not fond of bullet points in PowerPoint presentations, they’re sometimes unavoidable. So don’t worry, we still teach you how to use them in our PowerPoint Training Course. We even use them ourselves.
If you must use bullet points in your presentation, try to use them in an interesting way. Put them inside a shape, change the background of your slide, or do both!
The key to a PowerPoint presentation that really pops is knowing how to use every function PowerPoint has to offer. That way, you’ll never have to settle on bullets when there’s a more creative option available.
PowerPoint — Use it for Facebook and other social media
Did you know you can use PowerPoint with social media? We already know you can create modern, eye-catching and memorable presentations and slideshows with PowerPoint but you can also make movies and videos, animations and advertising graphics. These can then be published on an array of social media, including Facebook and YouTube.
A client of ours showed me an email that came from Sensis and it looked a little sad. It showed how many times an ad appeared and how many people clicked for more information. The saddest part is that this Billion dollar company is now just another online directory. It’s another example of how a traditional business, that hires professional and persistent sales people to sell high cost packages is dying an accelerating death. The other large one I recall was Encyclopaedia Britannica – remember those door to door salesmen who made a good income selling these for your children’s benefit? OK, now I’m assuming you’re over 45 😐
Why Content Marketing
We decided many years ago to go down the blogging route because it makes sense. These days the correct term for blogging for business is “Content Marketing” and it’s great because it’s a way of:
Constantly informing readers,
Demonstrating an active business and website
Informing website visitors about changes in the business,
sharing stories about how people use our services and
Making general announcements.
How Bad is the Yellow Pages Directory Going?
Telstra recently offloaded their majority ownership in the Yellow Pages business they branded as Sensis and in the fine print on page 15 (2013 year) and page 18 (2014 year) you can see that the revenue for this business declined by 11.7% and 22% respectively.
I remember when most local tradies (plumbers, electricians, chippies, builders etc) would spend tens of thousands of dollars per year to keep their position in the large display ads. I even remember the days of the golden phone that Yellow Pages use to make available to business to PROVE just how many phone calls would be coming in the door as a result of advertising with them. If anyone remembers the golden phone offer I’d love hear from you on our Facebook page..
Where do you spend your marketing money?
The idea for this blog post came as a result of being forwarded an email, but it ties in nicely with our Small Business and Startup Course which is now available at a hugely discounted price! Read on to see how we changed our pricing structure.
In this course we have two subjects which cover marketing for small business and we have some great interviews with Michael Locke who shares information about the 4P’s. Sensis would represent an excellent case study of where the marketing function may not have been submersed in the strategy business decision making to stem this significant change in their business model.
The recent change we made to this course was to separate the business coaching and assessment options and make them available separately. In this way the Small Business and StartUp course is much like our MYOB course where you can work through everything at your own pace and request support if you need it.
If you are interested in doing a number of different courses as well as the Small Business Management course you might want to enrol at the Australian Small Business website where you can choose our software courses at a discounted price (when combined with the small business management course). This way you’ll be able to use WordPress for your content marketing, MYOB or Xero for your accounts and Excel for any spreadsheet work.
In running our Small Business Management Course and MYOB Training Courses, one of most common reasons we find that people want to start their own businesses is to be their own boss. This is a perfectly understandable sentiment — but it’s not necessarily conducive to making a small business work.
Entrepreneurs are known to be people who manage starting up and/or bringing to fruition their own businesses and ventures, but entrepreneurs are a certain breed and as many find out the hard way, self-employment is not for everyone.
The Qualities of Entrepreneurs
Even just having a brilliant idea and passion isn’t quite enough — although they’re two fantastic qualities to get you off to a flying start. To start your own business you need to be mentally strong so you can face the various disappointments that sometimes come with self-employment and come out the other side.
We have found in our experience that mental fortitude seems to go hand in glove with 5 other qualities possessed by successful entrepreneurs:
1. You don’t waste time with self-pity:entrepreneurs don’t have the time to waste feeling sorry for themselves when something doesn’t work out the way they hoped — they emerge from trying situations with self-awareness and gratitude and soldier on even after a failure. Indeed, I’ve heard one successful entrepreneur say that in order to attain his successes, he probably first failed more than anyone he knows.
2. You don’t give away your power:entrepreneurs avoid spending time with people who make them feel inferior because they understand they’re in control of their actions and know that their strength is in their ability to manage the way they respond.
3. You’re excited by change:entrepreneurs embrace change — and in some cases, even seek it out. In fact, becoming complacent is probably one of their biggest fears and so they seek out new challenges regularly.
4. You don’t make the same mistakes over and over:a good entrepreneur takes full responsibility for past behaviour and is willing to learn from mistakes. They don’t repeat the same actions, hoping for a different result.
5. You know the world doesn’t owe you anything:So the economy is bad — that doesn’t mean anyone owes you anything, least of all a living. Entrepreneurs know this; they know that their success is entirely dependent on their drive, ambition and motivation to do well in their lives and careers.
So do you feel you have what’s needed to take the plunge and start running your own, or someone else’s, small business? Perhaps you believe you have the mental strength to succeed in your own venture but could do with some more direction by others who have proved they have what it takes to launch and maintain successful businesses of their own?
Then take a look at our Small Business Management Course — it takes you through every aspect of managing a small business and introduces you to successful entrepreneurs and like-minded business people: invaluable resources for seeing to it that you can truly succeed in your own small business. What are you waiting for!
If you are familiar with our online MYOB courses you’d know that each course includes at least one training workbook and each workbook goes through a common scenario of daily, weekly and monthly transactions to teach our students how to use MYOB accounting software. We are now seeking information from website designers and SEO professionals about their bookkeeping needs because we are assembling a new MYOB training workbook for website designers!
When we start designing our workbook case studies our quest always begins with “What does a web designer and SEO expert offer” and here are some of the things we have come up with.
Concept design and website goal setting
Theme design (if you use WordPress)
Page structure, menus and written content
Images to be used (graphic design, clipart or custom photography)
Social Media Marketing and commenting
Domain name registration
Setting up and managing Google Adwords Pay Per Click (PPC) marketing
If you are a website designer and you want to have some input into the the contents of this course please feel free to make contact. You need to be an Australian based company and you can feel free to promote your services via our facebook page.
We were reviewing the course outline for the MYOB Day-to-Day Transactions course because it covers most of the topics that someone would need if they are performing daily bookkeeping data entry tasks for a small to medium business.
The course provides the foundation skills that most of the other courses are built on. Once you have the day-to-day data entry skills you will be able to more confidently perform a bank reconciliation, generate reports and prepare BAS returns as well as enter the data and prepare reports for payroll.
The MYOB Day-to-Day course uses a very common case study of a company that provides products and services. We use an IT consultant that sells small business VoIP telephone systems and supports their customers with the initial setup as well as ongoing support.
Since January 2011 our full suit of 5 MYOB training courses comes with lifetime access so you can revisit the training videos, workbooks with step-by-step exercises and knowledge reviews as often as you want for the rest of your working life. Many students use the course as a resource for when they are using
Our MYOB training courses also come with EzyLearn ANSWERS, a service that we provide to create new course content based on questions from our students. It’s a way that we increase what is covered in our courses while providing students with an level of customisation and support.
Another great aspect of this course is that we go into the Inventory module of MYOB Accounting software to see how a company can sell products as well as services using the Inventory module of MYOB AccountRight Plus.
Our MYOB training courses are created using consultation with business owners and certified bookkeepers and registered BAS agents who perform bookkeeping tasks for their own customers.
Free MYOB Training Course
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We wrote about the amazing success that Woolworths is having in the increased sale of products through their online shopping portal. Today we explore the concept of loyalty considering the loyalty war that is going on between the shopping majors Woolworths and Coles as well as ways of increasing your customers loyalty.
Imagine this scenario:
Jane is 53 years old and lives with her cat in a northern suburb of Melbourne. She works full time on the other side of town, so she prefers to drive rather than catch public transport. On the weekend Jane likes to do some gardening, and she is also fond of red wine. In fact, she drinks so much that it makes financial sense for her to buy her wine by the carton. Jane’s daughter lives a few kilometers away and has an 18-month-old girl. Jane likes to buy clothes and toys for her granddaughter, even though she has more than enough already.
There are some great discounts available for members of these loyalty programs but do you expose yourself and your complete spending profile to these huge companies. It becomes even more interesting as these companies enter more and more markets. From simple grocery shopping the retail majors are now into petrol and liquor and next it could most likely be pharmacy. With all this data about your shopping habits these companies will have an eerie amount of information about you.
This report reveals some very interesting information about how you can be profiled.
If there is one thing smaller businesses can take from this, it’s the value of having a database of your customers and the easiest database to use is your MYOB customer datafile or your email newsletter subscriber list. You can learn about these concepts in our online MYOB Training Courses and our WordPress course.
Sometimes we use this blog to let you know about other projects we are working on and companies that we partner with. Today we share some information about VIRION and their great new phone system for small businesses.
Our online training courses are a form of “cloud” based service. For example, you can access the MYOB training courses from anywhere in the world using just a username and password. It’s the same for small business phone systems using VoIP technology. You can purchase a small business telephone system for under a thousand dollars, plug it into your broadband internet, configure it in 5 minutes and start making and receiving calls from anywhere.
Best of all you can:
Take your phone number with you when you move
Port your Telstra number across and save a lot of money
Get professional features like voicemail to email and much more.
Save hundreds of dollars per month in call charges
We’re now using virion business grade VoIP and we’re also creating some training videos for them to educate their dealer network. Take a look at a quick and simple training video we created.
We wrote back in early 2010 about what appeared to be a revolutionary move at the time about MYOB founder Craig Winkler jumping ship and moving to Xero. In the recent bad press about the bug-ridden upgrade of MYOB AccountRight 2011 there is an interesting mention about Cloud Based accounting and MYOB’s goals to get into that space.
In the past 12 months we have worked with as well as provided training for many virtual assistants (remote contractors) and we’ve come into contact with other cloud-based accounting/bookkeeping services you might like to know about. Our pick of the bunch would have to be SAASU at this stage because they have a product that is perfect for remote contractors or micro businesses.
It appears that Xero and SAASU own the online accounting market space but it will be interesting to see how MYOB go as they diversify into cloud accounting as well as their many other products like website hosting, which we’ve never really understood when there are market leaders like MelbourneIT and NetRegistry as well as thousands of small providers.
While we’re on the topic of cloud, here’s a little plug for virion business grade voip. Our trainers have compiled an Excel spreadsheet to demonstrate the cost savings of VoIP over traditional telephony and this year we will have some training for IT Consultants about the Siemens Gigaset office phones.
MANY OF US are already using our smartphones in ways that overlap with our PCs and laptops.
For instance, when we looked at Google Analytics to see our blog readership stats, we found that a good number of you are reading this on your smart phones.
Smart phones have so permeated our lives and become so powerful that it’s little wonder they could become much more.
There’s talk about smartphones becoming your electronic wallet(or at least your credit card). Then there’s Ubuntu, a company that make software that helps your “Android” smartphone become a computer. Of course, right now many of us already use “the cloud” to communicate, write letters and much more.
We spend a lot of time looking at new technology and thought you would be interested in this cutting edge technology.
Apple or Android?
Although the Apple iPhone is the market leader that everyone talks about, some of our team members, including myself, use an Android-based phone. I find this preferable as it’s easy and has live integration with Google Apps (ie. gmail).
The great thing about companies that manufacture Android-based smartphones is that they are building in HDMI, USB and other great connectivity features that enable this type of technology.
It’s a beautiful example of convergence in technology.
If you mentioned the word Webmaster 5 years ago you would imagine someone slightly geeky, who drinks cola, has thick rimmed glasses and talks incessantly about the latest technology and gadgets. Things have changed. The technology used to create websites was the domain of nerds who enjoyed writing code and getting dirty with technology using programs like FrontPage, DreamWeaver, Flash etc, but now it’s the domain of staff members, marketing people and remote contractors (Virtual Assistants who work from home). Why has it changed?
The most significant aspects of website design are:
The template (or theme) that’s used including colour scheme, branding and navigation
Thousands of designers create templates that you can purchase for $20 to $300
Once a template or theme is designed and setup the content management is the same (just like using Microsoft Word)
Writing articles, creating extra pages and adding to your navigation becomes as easy as selecting a check box and picking a category.
So is it really something that you could do?
Have you heard about WordPress, Google, Facebook and Twitter? Can you use your computer to access your email, do internet banking and accessing other online services? Have you heard about or used PayPal? If you have, then you are at least familiar with some of the tools used by a modern webmaster. Combining these new online marketing tools and WordPress CMS driven websites you can get busy and start creating.
The Internet, smart phones, cloud computing and VoIP are making the world a smaller place and allows people to work from home but still remain digitally connected. There has been a significant shift towards remote contracting (virtual assistants) and the concept of mums working from home is now commonplace.
If you want to come on the Webmaster journey with EzyLearn we have the WordPress course. It’s a step-by-step system of setting up, creating content and images, building the contents and then promoting your own business using all the tools we’ve mentioned in this blog post. Best of all you’ll have an internet guru educating and coaching you each step of the way until your website is complete so not only will you have your own website and tools to promote it, but you’ll have the skills to promote yourself to other businesses and help them with their website management.
If you are receiving this post via email click the heading to visit our blog and watch the free PowerPoint training video included.
Microsoft PowerPoint is a fun program to learn that gives your presentations structure and professionalism. We recently spent 4 hours getting a technical product manager up to speed with PowerPoint so that he can use Powerpoint slides to demonstrate his companies products to their dealer network. Geoff had used the program only sparingly over the years but the time had come for him to quickly get up to speed so he could look professional with his dealer network.
In the 4 hour training session he had all the skills to create his own presentations from scratch, use company templates, create flowcharts and diagrams, charts and animations and even incorporate music and video into his presentations. He also had access to our online course and some course notes to keep as a reference.
These days you can promote the fact you like something very quickly and easily. Twitter and Facebook accounts are free and almost everyone knows how to use them. Established blogging platforms like WordPress and Blogger are also easy and free to setup but there are even simpler microblogging platforms like Posterous.
What’s so good about all this new technology that is available? It means you can sign up for affiliate accounts and start earning money from referring good quality website to people you know or are connected to. Here’s a link to a post we wrote earlier this year which explains a bit about how affiliate marketing works.
We are trialling a new affiliate service for our online MYOB course and the reward is $25 for a successful sale from your recommendation. Don’t worry the affiliate management system keeps track of your referrals. Here’s a link to the affiliate website.