Accounting Training Courses (Xero, MYOB, QuickBooks, Sage One, Reckon); Microsoft Office (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook); Digital Marketing (WordPress, Google, Facebook) – and growing!
Category: Small Business Marketing Training Courses
Online and offline marketing, product mix, pricing packages, call to action, website goals, sales and marketing pipelines. These are all part of the marketing role and they aid the sales people to sell a businesses products.
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: firstname.lastname@example.org versus the far less professional: email@example.com.
We used Facebook ads in our social and digital marketing strategy we used for McGrath real estate agent Derek Farmer. A client list of names based on mobile phone numbers was used to target people in the Northbridge area who already had some past experience with Derek — they’d met at an auction, open home, he’d sold a friend or neighbour’s home, or they’d previously bought one of his listings. We helped Derek achieve Page 1 rankings on Google without using any paid advertising.
Targeted Facebook ads keep you front of mind
This targeted advertising helped build brand awareness with those people in a relatively non-invasive way, so that when Derek did reach out to them by phone, email or in-person, they would already be very aware of who Derek was and the type of property sales he specialised in.
This ensured Derek didn’t lose a listing because someone couldn’t remember who he was, and ended up listing their property with an agent who did take the time to build brand awareness within their local community and with past clients.
Do you want help growing your online and social media presence?
TSheets is a cost effective way to manage and track your time
TSheets, THE TIME MANAGEMENT SOFTWARE, is a great way for independent and remote contractors to manage their client’s projects. It’s especially useful for contractors who are collaborating remotely with other contractors and businesses on one project.
But back to TSheets. TSheets was recently acquired by Intuit, the parent company of QuickBooks. Both TSheets and QuickBooks shared 12,000 customers in common and the time management system had been developed to work specifically with QuickBooks. Deeper integration with QuickBooks can be expected now, following the acquisition.
If you were to think about the top three cloud accounting apps in terms of the types of businesses they appeal to, QuickBooks would appeal most to micro businesses and independent contractors. Check out an earlier blog post where we assess two main factors: User Experience & Ease of Use, and Reporting Tools in a comparison between MYOB and Quickbooks for small businesses.
IF YOU’RE A TRADIE, working as a plumber, builder or carpenter, handyman, gardener or electrician, then you probably already know that some of the best jobs come by referral.
Identify “real world” marketing opportunities
During my recent renovation of an investment property in Newcastle, most of the good tradies would tell me, “Someone you’re working on a job with on Monday will ask you to do a job for them somewhere else on Friday, or a neighbour of a client will ask you to do some work for them.” I soon saw from other tradespeople how “work can come to you just because someone happens to be walking by while you’re on the job” — gardeners get a lot of work this way, for example.
The important thing in this scenario is to act efficiently in finding out what the potential client needs, finding out what else is important, and then selling them on your services. I recently had the pleasure of interviewing Kristine Seymour, an experienced sales person and business builder, for the Sales Training Course at the Australian Small Business Centre (ASBC). She spoke in detail about how to act when your future income depends on how well you can sell. This Sales Training Course is available on the EzyLearn LMS.
Take advantage of business opportunities
This course is also available to new licencees for the National Bookkeeping Business Opportunity. The key to getting new clients is to be proactive and take advantage of these on-the-spot business opportunities by using some “real world” marketing tactics. These skills can be used even if you are just looking for part-time clients or doing bookkeeping or marketing as a side hustle — more on side hustles in a forthcoming blog.
Some “real-world marketing” examples
Another good example of a real-world marketing tactic is to conduct a letterbox drop in the local area where you’ve just started work. Clearly, this lets residents in the area know you’re working there, what you do, and that you are available.
This alone may lead to thousands of dollars in additional revenue if even just a few people get in touch. But always, it’s vital to keep track of what marketing you do and where leads are coming from. It’s vital to schedule quotes and start dates for work and so forth, and have a handle on Office Productivity Software like Microsoft Office or Google G Suite. These will not only help you organise your workload, but you’ll also appear organised and professional to your clients.
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.
So 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:
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.
I RECENTLY MET A PAINTER during a residential renovation I was involved with in Newcastle (an extremely valuable experience that will help us add to our property investment courses.)
We got talking about how he wins new clients and he said:
I advertise on social media that I’m available for $150 a day because no one can compete with it.
The price he chose is insanely cheap, and he knew other painters wouldn’t be able to compete with this as a day rate. However, there are downsides to this. Such a cheap day rate also means that he’ll be stretched financially and that he won’t be able to hire anyone else to do the work. He’ll need to be paid daily and likely can’t afford to provide any sort of credit (like 7 day terms etc).
It made me wonder whether it was such a good idea because cheap prices is a volume game. Companies like Amazon and Kmart are willing to lower their profit margins to undercut other retailers if it means they make up for it in the volume of product their shift.
In other words, rather than make $20 profit on an item, and only selling 200, they’re willing to make $5 as long as they sell 100, minimum. Otherwise, it’s just a bad business strategy. You may want to read more about blue ocean versus red ocean strategies.
Is trades and services ever a volume game?
Mark, the painter I was talking about, received lots of enquiries. In that respect, his social media campaign had been a success! But Mark wasn’t a big company; he was a one man band. Now he spent most of his days driving around and quoting for jobs.
This meant that when he was working for clients, there were often days where he could only work a half day or had to break the day rate down into an hourly one. Some days, Mark only earned $100. This was simply because he wasn’t doing the number of jobs he needed to in order to make his low day rate a profitable strategy for his business.
Focus on your business strategy first
What Mark had inadvertently done was prioritise his marketing strategy over that of his business. He’d generated lot of interest in his business by advertising his services at such a low day rate, but by not setting any terms or conditions around that rate, it makes it really hard to Mark to increase his rates next time those clients ask him to work for them again.
Setting rates correctly is something we cover in our Business Start Up Online Training Course. In particular, we look at determining a business strategy for your business, before you start marketing your business and services.
The question of pricing and what we offer in our advertising is something we consider before ever going live when we help clients with their marketing strategies too. Hire a marketing manager to oversea all your digital and social media marketing for a low monthly fee.
Google My Business, Google Site & Google Maps – ALL FREE
DURING A HOME RENOVATION project for an investment property I was involved with recently, I needed to find lots of different tradespeople in the Newcastle area — and quickly.
I also wanted to look up trade tips that would help me solve a few renovation issues, and it made me realise just how important Google Maps and local searches are.
This is in addition to local classifieds and online services like Gumtree and Airtasker.
Create a free website with Google Sites
A local painter and handyman named Mark helped me with many aspects of the Newcastle renovation project and we talked a lot about the ways he could increase his profile in the Newcastle area to grow his business.
I created him a simple website for free using Google G Suite’s Sites application, and also set up Mark’s Google My Business Account, so he would show up in local search listings and on Google Maps — all of which is free with a Google G Suite account. (A G Suite account costs as little as $5 per month, per user.)
By the way, I suggested that he shouldn’t take a photograph for his website after he’d just gotten a buzz cut, but he did it anyway! 😉
Google is a cheap and easy way to get online
Using the productivity tools contained in Google G Suite Course is a great way for businesses to get organised with great SPAM filtering email, calendars and scheduling, tasks and to do lists and much more, and using Google Sites enabled Mark to get online cheaply and easily. And because you’re using a Google product (Google Sites) to create your website, it’s a simple way to make sure you’ll be discovered in Google Maps and local Search results.
Although WordPress offers greater functionality, and is a more robust content management system, it also requires more technical skills to ensure your website is able to be discovered in Google Search and Maps results. It’s also a little trickier to integrate with Google G Suite and other productivity apps. (We offer training courses in WordPress for this reason.)
If you need help setting up your Google G Suite account, and would like to learn how to set up a Google Sites website to increase your online presence for your business, we cover Google G Suite in our Digital and Social Media Online Training Course. Visit our website for more information or to enrol.
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.
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.
In our recent post about recommendations we suggested that you ask a friend, relative or colleague if they’ve ever had experience with a business you’re thinking of using — chances are, if your friends live locally they may well have; or if the business is a chain or franchise operating over a wide area.
Also ask other businesses
When seeking a professional recommendation you can also ask other businesses. Find out what their experiences have been, if any. Often businesses will have a relationship with each other even if it is not, at first, apparent.
For instance, a symbiotic relationship tends to exist between real estate agents and tradespeople. Agents will regularly draw up a list of preferred tradespeople that they work with and recommend to their tenants, landlords and vendors.
And there are plenty of tradespeople who do the same for real estate agents that they’ve had professional dealings with. There are plenty of other examples of these sorts of professional recommendations.
Beware professional bias
Of course, just as you should be wary of overly positive or negative ratings and reviews online, you should be likewise when soliciting professional reviews. If one business regularly referred work by another, even if they don’t think they’re a great business to deal with, neither party will necessarily say anything bad about each other.
In the end, when looking for a tradesperson, real estate agent or some other professional service, be sure to do all your research. Ask around for personal referrals, check them up online, and get in touch with each business directly to see which one is the best fit for you.
Real people, real locations
At EzyLearn we provide testimonials from our students, which include their full name and location, and why they chose EzyLearn to study in the first place. We also offer a money-back guarantee and free samples of our course content, so students know they can trust they’re making the right choice. Visit our website for more information and to see our wide range of courses.
ONLINE RATINGS AND REVIEWS ARE a great way to determine whether a business is trustworthy or whether they products and services they provide will suit your needs. TripAdvisor and Yelp have transformed the hospitality and accommodation industry, for example. And Airbnb is doing similar with short-term rentals.
While recently working on a home renovation in Newcastle, I came across a carpenter who had seven employees working for him. Jimmy the Chippy in Belmont has been in business nine years, has no website or online presence — but his business is booming.
How does he do it?
The old fashioned way! He does exceptional work for his customers and clients, who hire him again and again and refer him to friends, relatives, colleagues and so on. He also made a point of networking with local builders and plumbers in the area, who contact him when they have work to do, and refer him to other builders and plumbers as well.
Use word of mouth
If you’re looking locally, and the online ratings and reviews of the businesses you’re trying to decide between aren’t helping, asking a friend, relative or work colleague if they know any of the businesses.
If no one in your social network knows the business, you can also google an online forum like Whirlpool, where members frequently provide fair and balanced opinions of businesses they’ve dealt with — and if they don’t, they’re usually called out for it.
Testimonials are helpful, too
Real estate agents, accountants and many other businesses — EzyLearn included — use testimonials rather than ratings or reviews (except on Facebook), so you shouldn’t discount these just because they’ve been vetted before going online.
At EzyLearn we provide testimonials from our students, which include their full name and location, and why they chose EzyLearn to study in the first place. We ask each student whether it is ok to publish these beforehand. We also offer a money-back guarantee and free samples of our course content, so students know they can trust they’re making the right choice.
IF YOU’RE ANYTHING LIKE most people, rating and reviews are how you probably make many of your purchase decisions. This can be for purchasing white goods, clothing, a holiday, or even choosing a real estate agent.
The OpenAgent example
Take OpenAgent. A core function of OpenAgent, the real estate agent comparison site and lead generator, is its customer reviews, which serve two purposes:
The first is to help consumers to make an informed decision when selecting a real estate agent
And the second is to recommend top rated real estate agents to new OpenAgent customers.
True and and real ratings and reviews for businesses, whether they’re real estate agents on the OpenAgent site or reviews for OpenAgent itself on third party review sites, are important, because they’re the basis for which many consumers make their decisions.
Check reviewers are real people
So how do you know which ratings and reviews you see online are true, and which ones aren’t? It’s something companies like Google and Amazon and TripAdvisor have had to grapple with, because there are ways that companies can game them.
Lots of review sites don’t allow anonymous reviews or reviews that are left by people who don’t verify their identity by signing in with their Gmail or Facebook account. The theory goes that people are less likely to leave false reviews if they’re using their own name, and can be easily identified.
You can test this further by checking how many reviews, and the kinds of reviews, certain individuals leave on sites such as Yelp and TripAdvisor.
If the same person shows up multiple times leaving only positive or only negative reviews for lots of different businesses, there’s a good chance this person isn’t real or they’re being paid to leave these reviews.
Likewise, a good test is to see how long the account has been active for. If it’s only recently been set up to give glowing (or negative) reviews to a new business, it’s likely there’s an ulterior motive at play.
Negative feedback is responded to
Not every business will be able to satisfy every customer or do everything right 100 percent of the time. But the businesses that make an effort to respond to negative reviews and criticisms, prove they’re committed to delivering the best possible service to all their customers, and also help show some reviewers for what they really are: baseless complaints or fakes.
Also keep your eyes peeled for the language used in reviews on businesses websites. If all the reviews say mostly the same thing, mostly the same way, they’re more than likely not legitimate.
Are you in business as a bookkeeper, tradesperson, retailer, trainer or real estate agent and want to stand out from the crowd? We can teach you the online marketing techniques to help you do just this! Check out what’s included in our comprehensive Social Media and Digital Marketing online training courses.
Take a photo of bills and invoices from suppliers and upload them to Expensify, which will input all of the data and then send it through to Xero.
Create expense reports
Online and offline retailers don’t have to worry about this too much unless they also produce their own products, but for cafes and restaurants that host functions or cater for events, separating the expenses directly related to those functions and events is an important way to track their profitability.
Automatic approvals cut bookkeeping time
By turning on the automatic approvals feature and setting expense rules, you can cut your bookkeeping time by having recurring or trivial expenses automatically approved and sent to Xero, so you can spend more time on the complicated ones that require closer inspection.
By keeping an eagle eye on your expenses using Xero and Expensify you’ll be able to see precisely where your business is most profitable and where it’s not so you can modify it accordingly.
Our Xero training courses will show you have to track expenses in Xero and how to connect third party apps to your Xero account. We offer ALL SKILLS LEVELS for ONE LOW PRICE. Find out more.
Are you in business as a bookkeeper, tradesperson, retailer, trainer or real estate agent and want to stand out from the crowd? We can teach you the online marketing techniques to help you do just this! Check out what’s included in our comprehensive Social Media and Digital Marketing online training courses.
If you’re a bookkeeper or real estate agent or someone else who sells professional services, rather than products, providing valuable information about your business or explaining the way it operates can help convert more visitors into customers.
People scan for valuable information
Most of the time, when someone comes to your website for the first time, they’re scanning it to see if you meet a certain criteria they have for a potential supplier.
This could be based on price, services, turnaround times, or something else. If they can’t find this information quickly and easily, they’ll generally move on somewhere else.
Use PowerPoint to convert visitors
Creating a PowerPoint presentation that contains this information, which you can upload slide-at-a-time, or altogether as a video, is an excellent way to present this information to visitors of your website.
This is very useful for bookkeepers and other businesses that have a particular way of working with their clients. Take prospects step-by-step through your process, so they know exactly how your operate and what to expect before they even contact you.
This helps demystify the process, which makes people feel more at ease with the practice of hiring you, and also shows you’re transparent about process, and that makes you trustworthy.
The fewer questions prospects have about you and your business, the more comfortable they will feel about contact and hiring you.
You can use PowerPoint to explain any of your business’s processes that involve the customer, whether it’s your returns or refund policy, setup procedures, or technical support.
First off, there are two kinds of audio you can use in a PowerPoint presentation: pre-recorded audio and audio you record yourself. You’ll learn how to record and insert your own audio files into PowerPoint in our PowerPoint Training Course.
When you might use pre-recorded audio
If you’ve ever fiddled around with PowerPoint, you’d notice there are a few audio sounds you can use insert into your slides. They’re mostly generic sound effects, like the sound of waves or a bird chirping. To be honest with you, none of these are ever appropriate in a PowerPoint presentation, except in some really obscure instances. Or less obscure ones, like a training course teaching you how to insert pre-recorded audio into PowerPoint!
You can also add pre-recorded audio that you have on your computer, like a song from your music library. Again, there are few instances when this is necessary, but it’s another option nonetheless.
Adding audio you record yourself
And here is where the answer to using audio in PowerPoint really lies. You can record your own audio, using QuickTime if you’re an Apple user, or Sounds Recorder if you’re using an older version of Windows; otherwise you can also record it on your mobile or digital recorder and import it onto your computer.
You would use this audio if you were going to upload your presentation to your website for a webinar, or for people to watch online afterwards. EzyLearn uses it in some of of online training courses. You could use audio in your induction training courses, too.
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.
You know what PowerPoint is. It was installed on your computer when you bought Microsoft Office. You hate it. But have you thought that the reason you hate it is because a) you’ve never learned how to use it properly, and b) you associate it with boring corporate meetings and seminars?
If you answered YES to one or both of those questions, read on. If you answered NO, still read on!
We recently updated our PowerPoint training courses to include new content and new exercise books — so you can never say that you don’t like PowerPoint because you don’t know how to use it!
Use PowerPoint for training
In our PowerPoint Training Course, we take you through how to create your own PowerPoint presentation, and we show you some of the different ways you can use PowerPoint, aside from as a sales presentation or visual aid during a speech, seminar, meeting or conference.
EzyLearn uses PowerPoint all the time. We use it to do deliver many of our training courses, in particular our WHS Online Induction Course. That’s one of the other things you can do with PowerPoint: create induction training for new staff, contractors or visitors.
But there are plenty more. Here are just a few other uses:
If, for whatever reason (there are many), you find you need to write a business plan, then PowerPoint is a much easier way to do it. You can plan, write, edit, and print your business plan all from the one document. If you discover you need to reorder any of the sections, you can easily move the slides around, rather than trying to cut and paste vast portions of text. Hot tip: don’t include more than one idea or section on a slide.
Marketing or sales collateral:
You can create virtually all of your marketing or sales collateral in PowerPoint, from price lists to product / services information to instruction manuals to flyers — even online advertising or FaceBook ads. Anything you can possibly think of can be created in PowerPoint. No, not Photoshop — PowerPoint!
Flow chart / organisational chart:
Organisational charts are an excellent way to give new recruits a lay of the hierarchical land (and help them better understand their new position). PowerPoint makes creating them easy — there’s a special function that lets you select a design and style you like, and then modify as needed. You can also use this function to create flow chart for large projects you’re working on.
If you’re still sending employers your CV in a Word Document, stop. It’s boring and visually unstimulating. There’s also a good chance the formatting gets stuffed around when someone opens it in and older or newer version of Word. Create a visually attractive resume in PowerPoint, making generous use of text boxes, images, and the shape drawing tools. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a graphic designer or a bookkeeper. Your resume should stand out. So make it (in PowerPoint).