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Why Telstra’s Wi-Fi Hotspots Are Good For Business

Telstra likes the Internet

Telstra and wifi in phone boothsIf you’re like me, then the only reason you still have an account with Telstra is because you need the phone line for your broadband Internet connection. I replaced my Telstra ‘wired line’ with a VoIP service years ago, which I still use to this day as my business phone, though my mobile picks up most of the slack being that I’m often out and about.

For years, I’ve wondered about the future of Telstra. As more companies entered the telco space and then the ISP space, Telstra seemed to becoming less and less relevant. Funnily enough, just the other day someone asked me if I knew where the nearest payphone was and, for the life of me, I couldn’t think of one. It turned out, there was one just a few metres away.

Telstra offers Wi-Fi hotspots to 7.5 million smartphone users

It seems that perhaps Telstra had been thinking the same thing, because this week they’ve launched free Wi-Fi hotspots in payphones right across Australia. I thought this was a pretty genius move, given some 11.9 million Australians own smartphones and, of those, 7.5 million are accessing the Internet from them. Now there’s a reason for people to head to those little orange and blue phoneboxes again – only now they’re kitted out with a pink cube on top and a white Wi-Fi logo.

Of course, there’s a catch: the Wi-Fi isn’t really free. If you’re a Telstra home broadband customer, then any ‘free’ Wi-Fi you use at a Telstra hotspot counts towards your overall monthly broadband allowance, while non-Telstra customers will have to pay for a guest pass to access the network. Telstra will still make money, just as they did through their payphones until everyone started using mobile phones.

Telstra’s marvelous act of reinvention

Catches aside, though, using phoneboxes to offer Wi-Fi is a marvelous act of reinvention. Developing new concepts – or putting a twist on an old concept, at least – is something we cover in our Small Business Management Course, because it’s something every business owner will need to consider at some point during the life of their business.

Indeed, EzyLearn might not be offering training courses at all if I hadn’t done a similar thing a few years ago when I realised face-to-face learning was becoming a thing of the past. When we eventually closed out training centres that could have been the end of my business had I not made the decision to move our content online.

Every business should pull a Telstra

Keeping up with trends and making changes to your business model is what makes a business successful and gives it longevity. Though it doesn’t necessarily have to be something as radical as Telstra’s free Wi-Fi approach. It could be something simpler, like streamlining your business processes and taking advantage of cloud apps, as Rohan Calvert from Men in White has, for example.

Even though I probably wouldn’t use Telstra’s Wi-Fi unless I was in a real bind – perhaps when I’m on holidays and in need of an Internet connection, but I don’t want to use too much of mobile data allowance – I do think it’s a great idea. What do you think?

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Smart TV Guy Has Feet Planted Firmly In Cloud Accounting

Smart TV Installation & Cloud Accounting Guy

As smart devices and cloud-based apps have become more popular, I’ve started to see more and more tradies using their iPhones and iPads to handle their paperwork, a task traditionally left to the wee hours of the evening – or to their wives and partners!

Now, with cloud-based accounting software like Xero and a number of other great mobile apps, tradies can quote, invoice, and even take payments for work right from their smart phones and tablet devices.

Streamlined business processes with cloud accounting

I met Ken Burrows from Love My Home Theatre, a home theatre installation, TV installation and plasma wall mounting business based in Sydney recently, when he was installing a new home theatre system for some friends, and I was taken with how streamlined his entire business processes were.

Everything – from the quote through to payment – is performed entirely online, using a couple of different apps, including Xero which is used to maintain the business’s accounts. In the video you can Watch Ken talk about how he uses cloud-based apps in his business to streamline his business processes, and make him more efficient and I think it helps 1 business owner do the work of more than 1 person – perhaps he can use more people in marketing..

EzyLearn offers a number of cloud accounting training courses, including our flagship MYOB training course, as well as training courses in Xero and Reach Accounting.

Share your cloud accounting story

start a bookkeeping business
Business Opportunities for Ordinary People

We’ll soon be running meetups for our startup academy in these locations.

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If you want to come along and share your story or learn more about the StartUp Opportunities for ordinary people, make sure you subscribe to this blog to keep up-to-date.

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Xero: The Tradies Choice for Accounting Software

Xero and tradies

Rohan the painter tradie uses xeroI once wrote a post about Xero and whether it had the potential to strip MYOB of its crown as the market leader in accounting software, and I’m starting to think that maybe it will.

I spoke with a couple of tradies recently, and they’re both using Xero rather than MYOB because of its functionality and the way it ties in nicely with other cloud-based apps, allowing them to spend less time in the office and more time on the road.

EzyLearn added Xero training courses to our already existing suite of MYOB training courses a little while back after it became clear that it was a major player in the cloud-accounting space. When Xero first hit the market, though, many people thought it was unlikely to have any major impact on MYOB’s marketshare (just as QuickBooks had failed to in the past), given MYOB’s long-standing relationship with accountants.

Xero perfect for tradies on the go

What most people overlooked, though, was that Xero was undeniably easy to use. Coupled with its flexible delivery – it was one of the first cloud-based accounting programs supported with mobile apps – it became an appealing option for many small business owners who previously found MYOB too difficult or time-consuming for day-to-day use.

Rohan Calvert, the director of Men in White, a Sydney-based painting company, is one those small business owners. He had been using MYOB to manage his business’s accounts for ten years, but decided it was time he moved his accounts into the cloud. After initially looking to upgrade to MYOB Account Right Live, Rohan opted to make the switch to Xero, instead.

Xero interview with a painter

Here’s what he had to say about Xero in the cloud:

EzyLearn: What features of Xero do you find most useful for your business?

Rohan: For me, the best thing about Xero is that there is a direct bank feed, so my [Xero] dashboard will show my bank balance alongside the balance in Xero, which makes reconciling [his accounts] very easy. I don’t use the mobile app very much – the functionality isn’t there for me yet. Instead I use the web version on my laptop. My office is basicallymy laptop – I have a laptop stand in the passenger seat of my car. With Xero, I can do payroll and issue invoices while I’m sitting in the parked car.

EzyLearn: How is Xero’s cloud-based software better for your business, compared to the older versions of MYOB you had used previously?

Rohan: I have a business coach in the US and we can look at my financials in real-time while we’re talking on Facetime. I have put a lot of work into simplifying and understanding my bookkeeping and with Xero my reports are accurate and tell me exactly how I’m going, and all in real-time. Previously, when I used MYOB, the financial reports were meaningless and my bookkeeper had to print them out and edit a spreadsheet, resulting in a lot of double handling.

EzyLearn: What do you like most about Xero?

Firstly, it is elegant and intuitive; secondly, it comes from New Zealand!

For more information on our Xero training courses, you can visit our website or, alternatively, click here to enrol online.

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Google Displays Mixed Messages about Quickbooks Online

Who is Behind QuickBooks Online?

Intuit QuickBooks Google Ad with free trial button
Intuit QuickBooks Google Ad with free trial button

It was once seen as the biggest competitor to MYOB in Australia when accounting software reduced in cost from several thousand dollars (for software like Attache) to several hundred dollars. It was the time when the PC was the craze and suddenly normal people could do their own bookkeeping – so they say. I’m talking of course about QuickBooks.

I was doing some Google searches this morning about QuickBooks Online because I was interested in seeing how Reckon and Intuit now differentiate themselves online and I discovered a couple interesting things. The most interesting to me is how many companies are now putting up a landing page that expects you to make a purchase or sign up right there and then.

Landing Pages

Intuit QuickBooks Google Ad with buy now button
Intuit QuickBooks Google Ad with buy now button

Here are the two landing pages that I discovered when searching for QuickBooks Online on Google. One offers a massive 40% off if you skip the trial and the other says the same message but the action button says “Start My Free Trial”. To me it seems like they are still perfecting their online strategy and are doing some beta testing on what potential customers will do.

What I find most interesting about the current QuickBooks strategy is the expectation that people will register or buy straight away! Perhaps they will when this ad comes up because they have actually searched specifically for “QuickBooks” rather than just online bookkeeping or accounting software, cloud accounting comparisons etc.

Marketing Your Business on Google

Pretty soon, we’ll feature our own bookkeeper directory so every piece of information like this we see we make a note of to see if it is something we can use ourselves.

This also demonstrates something we cover in our Small Business Management Course about testing and measuring – that you don’t always get your message across perfectly every time. The most important thing to do is to make a plan and get started. The best thing you can do is take action and start, then you can measure the results and fine tune, tweak or completely change your marketing strategy.

Share Your Opinion About QuickBooks

I was looking at some of the bookkeepers in our bookkeeper directory and noticed that a good number of bookkeepers still use QuickBooks and know about it. I’m interested in hearing your thoughts and opinions about it.

  • Do you use it?
  • Do you prefer it to MYOB or Xero?
  • Are there things that QuickBooks Online do better than MYOB or Xero?
  • Do you still work with Reckon (who use to distribute Intuit products in Australia) and their online accounting software?

If you have something to share simply send us an email to support @ ezylearn.com.au or post your comments on our Facebook page.

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You’ve Already Got a Business Coach – YOU!

being your own boss
Every time you set goals and generally act like a boss, you’re serving much the same function as a business coach.

Ever since EzyLearn’s early days, when we still had our training centres in Sydney, I’ve always gained a real buzz out of helping our students start their own businesses.

I still do, which is why I recently presented a seminar at the Reinvent Your Career Expo and why EzyLearn has partnered with the StartUp Academy.

The StartUp Academy is a start-up incubator for entrepreneurs who want to work in industries currently experiencing rapid growth — like the work health and safety industry, for example — but who also want to have balance in their home and work life; to be their own bosses. Continue reading You’ve Already Got a Business Coach – YOU!

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Affiliate Marketing: Partner with Us to Start Your Own Business NOW

Start a Computer Training Business

start your own businessDo you want to start your own business? Perhaps a home-based business? At EzyLearn, we’re passionate about helping people follow their dreams and start their own businesses.

At the moment, we’ve got a host of opportunities available to people who would like to partner with EzyLearn and start their own home-based business with a focus on Bookkeeping. Continue reading Affiliate Marketing: Partner with Us to Start Your Own Business NOW

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Reinvent Your Career, Become an Independent Contractor

Who wants to work from home?

Ever since we started offering our MYOB training courses online, thousands of students have enrolled and learned how to become MYOB bookkeepers. Many of those students are mums, who were looking to become skilled in a job they could do from home.

In 2012, we added the Small Business Management and Start-up course to our online training platform, to help students to learn a new set of skills that would help them start their own businesses as independent contractors, so they can earn more money, work their own hours, work closer to home, and spend more time with the kids.

Continue reading Reinvent Your Career, Become an Independent Contractor

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So You Think You Can Be an Entrepreneur?

entrepreneur
Entrepreneurs are strong-minded individuals – but we’ve found there are at least 5 other qualities they tend to possess that leads to their business success.

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 and work remotely from home.

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. Continue reading So You Think You Can Be an Entrepreneur?

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But Networking Isn’t Making Me Any Money! Putting Together a Marketing Action Plan

marketing action plan networking
With a Marketing Action Plan, you’ll be able to isolate which marketing strategies are working best for your small business.

In the marketing module of our Small Business Management course, our students learn about marketing action plans, and throughout the course come to create their own marketing plan for their soon-to-be business.

We also talked about referral marketing and networking in our last post, in which we outlined what every business should be doing to grow their customer base. For this reason, it should also be included in your marketing action plan. Continue reading But Networking Isn’t Making Me Any Money! Putting Together a Marketing Action Plan

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Pimp My Business: Networking How-To’s and an Apple Case Study

networking2
Once you start networking it becomes easier and more natural.

We recently wrote a post about referral marketing and how it can genuinely grow your business. We talk about different marketing strategies in our Small Business Management course, and particularly the different mediums – newspapers, online, etc – that you can use to advertise your business, but referral marketing is one marketing strategy that doesn’t cost a lot and that you can – and should! – begin today. Continue reading Pimp My Business: Networking How-To’s and an Apple Case Study

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Do You Get Other People to Talk You Up?

referral marketing
Using your clients to refer you is a great way to generate new business.

Marketing and referrals are essential components of any successful business. We cover marketing in the Marketing Action Plan and Undertake Marketing Activities of our Small Business Management Course, where we talk about the ways you can market your business to get those first few customers.

Referral marketing is a great way to gain new customers, and involves encouraging your existing client base to promote your business and its services.

Continue reading Do You Get Other People to Talk You Up?

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Do You Really Need to Be Nice in Business?

Being nice in business
It may be difficult at times, but it really does pay to be nice in small business.

In our Small Business Management Course, you learn all about starting and managing a small business. One thing we don’t teach, however, is customer service.

In fact, it’s often said that the golden rule of customer service is that the customer is always right, even when they’re wrong.

But what happens with your suppliers, when you’re technically the customer — does this give you free reign to be as demanding as you like? Or does it pay to be nice? Continue reading Do You Really Need to Be Nice in Business?

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Pricing: Are You Being a Con Artist Without Knowing It?

It doesn't pay to sneak around your pricing; stating it up front is a better way to go.
It doesn’t pay to sneak around your pricing; stating it up front is a better way to go.

A short while back we wrote a post about why your final price should include GST, and just recently we talked about how you should structure your prices, so we thought we would add to these and talk about whether you should make your prices freely available on your website.

The internet has changed the way we do many things. It’s changed the way we bank, communicate and work, but if there’s one thing it’s almost entirely revolutionised it’s the way we shop — particularly the way we shop for professional services. Continue reading Pricing: Are You Being a Con Artist Without Knowing It?

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Working For Free: Why You Should Give With No Expectations

There are benefits in working for free, on occasion, in small business.
There are benefits in working for free, on occasion, in small business.

In a recent post we talked about the times when businesses should work for free, which we referred to as ‘added value’. We cover value-related exercises, such as determining and setting your prices in the module of the same name in our Small Business Management Course.

Sometimes working for no charge at all and outlining where this so (that’s important — people need to be informed that you’re doing something for nothing otherwise they mightn’t know!)  discourages hagglers and nuisance clients always looking for a discount at every opportunity. Continue reading Working For Free: Why You Should Give With No Expectations

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Are You a Bookkeeper? Find Clients Online FOR FREE!

It can be daunting knowing where to get your first clients when you start your own business.
It can be daunting knowing where to get your first clients when you start your own business.

The hardest part about starting your own business is finding the first few clients.

At EzyLearn, we love helping our MYOB training course students start their own bookkeeping business, but we’re even more passionate about helping you make that business a success Continue reading Are You a Bookkeeper? Find Clients Online FOR FREE!

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When Should You Work for Free?

It's ok to do work for free, but your clients should be made aware of the extra value you're adding.
It’s ok to do work for free, but your clients should be made aware of the extra value you’re adding.

In our Small Business Management Course there is a module on determining and setting your prices, which includes factoring in things like travel expenses if you’re going to be visiting clients and so forth.

But what about things like, installation costs – should you bill your clients for this or work it into the price or just let it slide?

Some businesses work those sorts of prices into their final cost; others – think Foxtel, for example – charge installation fees; but a surprising number of businesses let it slide. Continue reading When Should You Work for Free?