Category: Small Business Operations Training Courses
Once the startup, marketing and sales people have done their work the operations division is responsible in getting the products and services delivered and supported. Operations can also be responsible for systemising, hiring and firing and even aspects of the marketing or sales roles. These courses will teach you things to help you system your business for better quality of service
There’s lots to do when businesses engage a new worker. As an employer, you’ll be busy going through the onboarding process and showing your new employee the ropes, but there are other important things to do when you add a new member to your team.
Keeping accurate records complete with the right information is essential for businesses to maintain, and that means updating and adding data when engaging a new worker. Here are some things to keep in mind as you go through this process:
MYOB is starting to get their act together providing much desired features in their accounting software.
I’ve written about some of the major receipt scanning programs like Dext/Receipt Bank and Auto Entry in the past and happy to say that we have some new MYOB training course resources in development for our MYOB bank reconciliation Training courses.
Two of Australia’s newest billionaires Mike Cannon-Brookes and Scott Farquhar have become wealthy because they created software that enables companies like MYOB manage a team of developers, designers and analysts in the pursuit of continuously adding enhancements, updating the software, fixing bugs and providing support for their MYOB Tax software via their company Atlassian, but I digress.
The reason for this post is because of obscure behaviour by MYOB regarding their essentials software and a recent upgrade they performed on the MYOB Essentials software.
Will your business be able to stand up without an earnings guarantee?
WHEN YOU START A NEW franchise business, you may be offered what’s called an “earnings guarantee” or “income guarantee” for a period of time after you first start the business. It usually lasts the first six months but it could possibly last as long as a year.
Earnings guarantees are designed to help people transition from having a salary to being self-employed, by providing them with a top-up payment each month if their sales fall short; peace of mind for those would-be business owners, concerned about all the “what if’s” that come with starting a new business.
Most franchisors offer some kind of an income or earnings guarantee, though the amounts and thresholds for when they kick in can differ business-to-business. It’s important to note than an income guarantee is merely a promise of sales revenue for a particular period of time, based on the average amount other franchisees earned in the past. And it in no way reflects what your business will earn in the area you’re looking — you may well earn more, but you may also earn less — nor is it a customer guarantee, as some franchisees may be required to carry out promotional work or make-good work for other franchisees in the event there are no leads available.
Consider the following earnings guarantees at these businesses:
Reliance Roof Restoration: A roof restoration, replacement, painting and guttering services business based in Brisbane, and became a franchise in 2011 after nine years operating throughout Queensland. It offers new franchisees a $75,000 (net) income guarantee for the first 12 months.
In other words, if you only earn $45,000 in the first year, they’ll kick in the additional $30,000. It’s not clear how frequently payments are made to franchisees — whether they’re fortnightly, monthly, quarterly, or annually — though the director of the Franchise Advisory Centre Jason Gehrke told Franchise Business that “profit guarantees tend to be assessed at the end of 12 months or at the end of the financial year.”
Cafe2U: The mobile cafe business developed a “Cafe2U Acceleration Package”, which provides new franchisees with a two-week income guarantee of $500 a day (or $2,500 a week). It’s paid to franchisees at the end of the two week period, but the business claims hardly any of their franchisees ever end up claiming it because their daily sales always exceed the $500.
Hire-A-Hubby: Australia’s largest handyman business, Hire-A-Hubby implemented an earnings guarantee for certain franchise packages it offer — there’s gold, silver and bronze packages available. The business offers new franchisees a $125,000 per annum gross earnings guarantee for the first 12 months.
To receive the earnings guarantee, the franchisee must work a minimum of 45 hours per week (a minimum of 8 hours a day), and must accept whatever leads are provided via head office. If no leads are available, the franchisee must perform whatever marketing or promotional activities that are assigned to them by the Hire-A-Hubby head office; franchisees may be asked to perform “rectification work” to other franchisee clients. The income guarantee is paid each fortnight. The business also offers a “buyback” guarantee to franchisees whose businesses are never profitable, despite following the franchise agreement to the letter.
After the income guarantee ends
Jason Gehrke from the Franchise Advisory Centre cautions potential franchisees against selecting a business based on the income or earning guarantee provided, which he says can provide a false sense of security.
“If franchisees are conditioned to receive top-up payment from the franchisor when sales are low,” he told Franchise Business, “they might not understand just how financially self-reliant they need to become.”
“A person who is used to clearing $1,000 per week may not realise that the promised sales turnover of $1,000 a week will not have the same spending power … Business expenses such as taxes could leave them with less cash for their mortgage repayments and other fixed living costs than they were expecting.”
A franchisee consistently claiming their top up payments each fortnight for the duration of the income guarantee indicates a couple of things: a) they underestimated how much work is involved in generating new business and sustaining it; or b) the territory they operate in isn’t going to generate enough leads to be profitable.
If it’s the latter, that’s often the franchisee’s tough luck. Many franchisees who bought Dominoes and 7Eleven businesses found that the franchise model would never be profitable enough to pay them a living wage, never mind cover the costs of employing staff. That resulted in one of the Australia’s biggest and most systemic instances of worker exploitation, which led to a Senate inquiry that subsequently found the company was liable to pay workers a total of $4.3 million in underpaid wages.
Do your due diligence!
At the end of the day, earnings guarantee or not, you’re still buying a business. Prospective franchisees should look around at two or three franchise models and do their due diligence — research the market, test how much demand for the business there may be. Just because a business says there are franchise opportunities in a particular area doesn’t mean the business will be viable there.
And look beyond the earnings guarantee to what the rest of the franchise agreement offers. Remember that an income guarantee is usually built into the upfront franchise fee, so a business that doesn’t offer an income guarantee but has lower entry costs might be a better option.
“I call [income guarantees] a ‘capitalised form of working capital’ and you might be better off keeping the money and controlling it yourself,” Gehrke said. “My recommendation is to make an assessment of any income guarantee as part of the overall decision-making process, but not the deciding factor.”
There’s never been a better time to start your own business!
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.
Why you should employ a bookkeeper to help manage the books
PERHAPS YOU ARE a small business owner who is trying hard to keep up to speed with your regulatory bookkeeping requirements. But no sooner does one quarter end and another one seems to roll by with the commensurate paperwork due all over again. This is taking away from your regular work and you’re falling behind — and half the time you’re not even sure that it’s being done correctly. It sounds like you should be seriously considering finding a bookkeeper for your business.
Think about your business and how it operates. Do you have lots of business purchases and transactions each week? Do you employ staff? Do you work in a specialised industry? Are you registered for GST? Do you require a bookkeeper to work onsite at your premises or can they work remotely?
Visit the websites of some local bookkeepers in your area, or search the National Bookkeeping Directory to find bookkeepers matching your requirements located near you. If you don’t require a bookkeeper to visit your premises, broaden your scope and research bookkeepers who can work remotely. Make a shortlist of potential bookkeepers.
Step Three: Check the TPB Register
BAS and tax agents are required, by law, to register with the Tax Practitioner’s Board (TPB), so if your business requires either a tax or BAS agent (or both), the TPB Register should be your first port of call to ensure the person who have in mind is currently registered to provide BAS or tax services.
Step Four: Interview Your Preferred Bookkeepers
During step two, you made a shortlist of potential bookkeepers, and, assuming your TPB search didn’t turn up anything to be wary of, you should now set about contacting each one to get to know more about the services they provide.
When it comes to getting a quote you can compare a bookkeeper to a builder. Just as you would get a quote from at least a couple of builders before hiring one of them to work for you, it’s a good idea to get a couple of different quotes from different bookkeepers. This helps you compare apples with apples.
But more than this: a bookkeeping quote should detail precisely what tasks the bookkeeper will carry out, the frequency at which they’ll be done, and any other hidden costs you may be up for, such as the cost to migrate your data from one accounting application to another.
Your professional services agreement
Getting a quote will also help form your professional services agreement. Simply obtain the required number of quotes and decide which bookkeeper you’ll hire for your business; then make sure that quote is turned into a professional services agreement (PSA).
A PSA is the written contract between you and your bookkeeper, outlining the tasks they’ll carry out and when, any other fees and charges, when you’ll pay them and how, plus any additional obligations on their part and yours. A professional services agreement is a safeguard for both you and the bookkeeper. It’s also another way to help ensure the bookkeeper will be the right fit for your business.
If you’re in the financial position to buy your business premises outright, it may seem like a no-brainer to do this instead of getting a mortgage. However, there are some things you need to consider:
You’ll lose liquidity on the assets in your property, which means you won’t be able to tap into any equity in the property, unless you take out an equity loan against the property.
You’re tying all your cash to one asset class, which may limit your ability to make other investments and prevent your business from expanding. This could run counter to your reasons for making the property purchase in the first place.
You’re spreading the payments over many years, which ties you to paying down that asset for the foreseeable future.
You’re paying interest, which although it’s a tax deduction, will significantly inflate the price of the property.
Work out the best way in Excel
Using the data from your Xero accounting software package, Microsoft Excel can help you determine whether your business will be financially better off buying its premises outright or getting a mortgage.
IF YOUR BUSINESS RECORDS a loss for a quarter, you may be entitled to a BAS refund from the ATO. In a new workbook in our Xero training courses, we look at what happens when a business changes strategy and when this change results in a loss.
Businesses that record a loss sometimes receive a BAS refund from the ATO. You may have the full amount returned to you, or part of the amount.
Are you receiving a full BAS refund?
When you lodge your BAS paperwork, you either owe money (a tax debt) or the ATO owes you money (a refund). Sometimes you mightn’t receive a refund or the refund may be less than you thought.
This could happen if the refund is offset against a tax debt you already owe, or perhaps the refund is being retained by the ATO until you provide further information — which could be as simple as providing the correct bank account details. The ATO provides information about both of these scenarios on their website. Regardless of whether the whole amount, or part of the amount is returned, you’ll need to account for this in Xero.
Create a ‘receive money transaction’
If you do receive a BAS refund, you’ll need to record this money (that isn’t due to a sale) by creating a ‘receive money transaction’ in Xero. Our Xero training courses show you how to do this.
Our online Xero training courses show you how changing your business strategy could result in your business making a loss — and how you can account for this. Our Xero courses also walk you through how to lodge and record BAS refunds. For more information, visit our website or go direct to the courses.
WHEN YOU’RE SELF EMPLOYED you are responsible for managing your taxes and your superannuation — the latter of which many business owners let go by the wayside. It’s almost always because they don’t have the cash reserves to contribute to their super fund regularly enough.
Just as you would create a budget to make a business investment or asset purchase, you can use Xero and Excel to determine how much super you should contribute on your behalf, and then make the payments.
Run a cashflow report
You’ll learn how to run a cashflow report in our Xero training courses. This report will show you the periods when cashflow is liquid and when it isn’t. Run a cashflow report for a couple of different periods, and export them into Excel. This will give you a better idea of trends and cycles in your business.
At time of writing, the superannuation guarantee is 9.5 percent of your gross revenue, before taxes, expenses, etc. If you set your prices correctly, you should have already factored this 9.5 percent into your prices or hourly rate. If you haven’t, you ought to consider revising what you charge customers and clients.
If you were an employee of a business, your employer would be required to make super contributions on your behalf, at least each quarter. Because you’re self-employed and self-managing your super contributions, you can make them as frequently or infrequently as you like, so long as you’re contributing the correct amounts. (Speak to your accountant or financial advisor, however, if you’re salary sacrificing above the minimum amount — this may affect your tax.)
Make super contributions
Once you’ve determined how much you should contribute to your super fund each quarter, refer back to your cashflow report and to the periods where your cashflow is especially liquid. Are you able to make your contributions each quarter easily, and without compromising your business’s liquidity? Would it be easier to make smaller, more regular contributions?
The decision is yours.
Use Xero to make your super contributions. Xero is connected to a superannuation clearing house, and if you’ve been using to Xero to pay yourself a wage, it’s the easiest way to do so. If you’re not using your accounting software to pay yourself a wage, you can make the payment directly out of your bank account, however, you’ll need to track this in Xero for taxation purposes.
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.
One of the exercises in our Microsoft Excel Training Course shows you how to create your own staff roster, so we’re not going to do that here. Instead, we’re going point out the things you need to include in a staff roster.
Different employment types
If your business employs a combination of full time, part-time and casual staff, you’ll need to prioritise the full time first, then the part time staff, as by law, they’re guaranteed a certain number of hours each week — 38 hours for full time staff, fewer than 38 hours for part time staff.
Employee RDOs, leave
A rostered day off (RDO) is a day in a roster period that an employee doesn’t have to work and these can be paid or unpaid depending on individual agreements. Both full time and part time staff members will have annual and sick leave entitlements. Make sure you mark these up on your rosters. It’s not just easier to schedule the rest of your employees when you can see who’s working and who’s not working, but it’s also useful for the rest of your team to know this as well.
Depending on the modern award and the duration of the shift, certain staff members will be entitled to different kinds of breaks — two 15 minute breaks and one 30 minute lunch break, is common in retail, for example. Mark these break times up in your staff roster, so the staff member can see when they’re due for breaks.
Leave a column on your roster, so each employee can sign off at the end of each week to confirm they worked their rostered shifts. This is important, particularly if any of your employees ever claim a discrepancy in their pays due to shift changes, etc.
At EzyLearn we are constantly refreshing the content of our online training courses. Where possible, we draw on real-life case studies as examples, to help you learn, and apply your skills, in a relevant way that makes sense. Visit our Micro Courses page to learn more.
Documenting procedures helps keep your bookkeeping up to speed
IN A PREVIOUS POST we talked about how to tell when you need rescue bookkeeping, which is basically when a business is behind on its bookkeeping by three months or more and the deadline is looming to lodge their activity statements.
Rescue bookkeeping work costs more than having your bookkeeping taken care of regularly, because it’s often messy and there are no procedures in place to manage the bookkeeping efficiently.
What’s a bookkeeping procedures manual?
A bookkeeping procedures manual clearly identifies the regular tasks and activities your bookkeeper needs to take each week, fortnight, month or quarter to ensure your bookkeeping is kept up-to-date. This not only gives you the peace of mind that your bookkeeper is staying on top of your books, but it also helps you to understand what’s going on with your business.
If you require regular P&L statements or balance sheets, having a procedures manual to clearly outline how frequently they’ll be created helps you to stay on top of your business’ financials.
A typical procedures manual will include:
Simple steps that are easy-to-understand and succinct
Tasks are written up in a step-by-step style, so they can be followed logically
References, links or examples are included to help readers understand
Contain a number of formats — written steps, flow charts or checklists.
Rather than leaving your bookkeeping to the last minute, so you’re always operating your business in dark, organise to have bookkeeper create a procedures manual to regularly take care of your business’s bookkeeping.
We Can Help You Find a Good Local Bookkeeper
We have bookkeepers, BAS agents and accountants located across Australia, available to help businesses in need of rescue bookkeeping work. Visit our online bookkeeping directory, National Bookkeeping, to find a suitable and experienced person available to work in your area, or able to work anywhere in the cloud. Alternatively, if you are a bookkeeper looking to expand your client list or find contract work, you can register and become part of our network for free.
Scheduling for Rostered Staff Can Be Easy — and Free
SHIFT WORK TYPICALLY EXISTS in businesses that operate outside of regular business hours — on weekends, the wee hours of the morning, late at night — and to be fair to all of the business’ employees, the shifts are rotated. Other times, as in the case of home care nurses, it’s because the employee has to visit a different patient each day of the week.
As such, it’s necessary for these businesses the provide staff members with a roster each week, fortnight or month. Although there are lots of roster programs available, we’re going to look at 3 great ways you can create staff rosters for free.
1. Use Microsoft Excel
One of the exercises in our Microsoft Excel training courses is to create your own staff roster, because once you understand how to change the margins and set up a worksheet correctly, Excel is still one of the most common programs to create a roster in. Most businesses ensure a new roster is available at the premises on the same day each week, fortnight or month, with at least a week’s notice so each employee has time to check their shifts when they’re at work. Other times, they’re printed and emailed to staff, again with at least a week’s notice.
2. Google Sheets
Once you’ve had Microsoft Excel training, you’ll find little difference between Excel and Google Sheets, as the former was so efficient that not even Google could find a way to improve its offering (ditto for Google Docs). Once your roster has been created in Google Sheets you can likewise print it out, email it or, if your staff have Google accounts, share it with them.
3. Google Calendar
This only works if your staff are all using the same domain — i.e., they have a company email address — but if you open up Google calendar, you can start scheduling events as shifts. This may be suitable for call centres or businesses whose employees work in their office, both of which only have a handful of employees and a few shifts to cover. Scheduling lots of staff members across lots of different shifts this way can be tedious.
Depending on how many employees work for you, the repayments on a business loan are typically smaller than all of your payroll obligations — this includes superannuation and PAYG — combined. If you get a loan to fund 12 months of your business, payable over a 24 or 26 month period, the repayments will be far easier to manage each month.
Interest is usually a tax deduction
Businesses are able to claim the interest from any business loan as a tax deduction, so even if the annual percentage rate (APR) adds a few additional thousands of dollars to your capital amount over the period it takes to pay the loan back, the interest will still go towards reducing your taxable income.
This is a more favourable option to delaying payment to your employees (illegal) and delaying payment of PAYG and superannuation withholdings, which could incur a Failure To Lodge (FTL) penalty, plus a general interest charge (GIC). Note: Fines and penalties cannot be claimed as a tax deduction and are therefore dead money.
Do your sums first
Don’t forget that, while a business loan to cover payroll for 12 months will be easy to repay initially, your business’s profits will need to improve substantially over the next year so that you can continue to meet your loan repayments AND your payroll obligations for that year.