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Marketing Hacks: What Kind of Business Should Advertise in the Paper?

Advertising in your local newspaper can be great if you're offering your services to a local market.
Advertising in your local newspaper can be great if you’re offering your services to a local market.

There’s a module in our Small Business Management Course about marketing and undertaking marketing activities, and in that module you learn about researching the market and determining the best mediums to use to advertise your business.

With the advent of the Internet and social media, there’s been a lot of discussion about declining advertising revenues in newspapers, which has led many business owners and marketers to erroneously think that advertising in the newspaper is no longer efficient.

But really, advertising in the paper is just as efficient as it ever was – it all depends on the business and whether a newspaper is the right medium for it.

So what businesses should advertise in the paper?

Where Oh Where to Advertise?

The answer to that question really depends on the business and the newspaper. For a local business, like a restaurant or a retailer or a plumber looking for local customers, a newspaper that’s highly read and engaged with by the local community is definitely the way to go, as opposed to a larger metropolitan newspaper.

But it’s important that you consider why you’re advertising in the first place. If you’re looking to build brand awareness, a regular advertisement in a relevant section – such as dining, or professional services, for example – over a significant period of time will pay off.

If you’re looking for new customers and fast, then a smaller number of ads, towards the front of the paper clearly advertising that you’re opening soon or running a special deal will deliver the immediacy you’re looking for.

How Far Will People Go?

It’s important to remember that the majority of people don’t travel further than between 3 and 3.5 kilometres to do their groceries, and a maximum of about 12 kilometres for larger purchases like a car or white goods.

This is what makes local newspapers highly efficient for local businesses, whereas national businesses find both local and national newspapers efficient in delivering their customers.

Global Reach

But what if you’re not looking for local customers from any specific region because you’re an online business whose customers can reside anywhere in the world?

In this instance, a local newspaper, while it would deliver a number of highly engaged customers, would only deliver a small section of your target market, making it highly costly.

While metropolitan or national newspapers would work better here, they still wouldn’t deliver those overseas customers. This is where online and social media advertising may work better for you, assuming that it’s highly targeted the your ideal customer.

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The key to successful marketing is always understanding exactly who your customer is. This comes from efficient market research prior to starting your business. It’s for this reason that we recently introduced a new short course called the originate and develop new concepts course, which takes you through the all-important first step of business: researching the market.

For more information on our originate and develop new concepts course, visit our website or contact us for more information.

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Our NEW Originate and Develop Concepts Course

It pays to think ahead about the competition before opening the doors to your business.
It pays to think ahead about the competition before opening the doors to your business.

We’ve just unlocked a new course as part of our Small Business Management Course that’s now available for individual enrolment – originate and develop concepts course.

This course was previously only available as part of our Small Business Management Course, but because it’s such an important first step in starting your own business, we decided to make it available for individual enrolment.

The course focuses on the all-important research phase of starting a business. In order to complete this course, students will need to already have an idea for a business, which they can begin researching.

In the originate and develop concepts course you’ll be looking at things like the geographical area your business will service, whether seasonal factors will impact it, demographics and other socio-economic information that may be necessary.

These are important first steps that many business owners don’t learn until they’ve already opened their doors, at which point realigning their business accordingly is often costly and difficult.

But if you’ve already determined that to start your virtual bookkeeping business, you need compete, say, with two other established bookkeepers who only offer straight bookkeeping services, you can offer BAS services and establish a point of difference between yourself and the competition from the get-go.

Knowing where your business stands in the marketplace will also aid you in marketing and advertising your business, while it’s also necessary to have completed this kind of preliminary research if you intend on securing finance from an investor or a bank.

In the course, you’re also required to isolate your ideal customer, which is imperative to ensure you’re delivering the correct products or services, but again, also helps you market your business directly to that person – because you know exactly, what they do and how to reach them.

So if you’ve been thinking of starting you own business, our Originate and Develop Concepts Course is just the thing for you. Visit our EzyLearn Online website for more information or enrol now.

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Feedback from Students About Our Online Training Courses

We value - and need - your feedback about our online training courses.
We value – and need – your feedback about our online training courses.

Over the years, we’ve provided online training to numerous Australian – and international – students, whether via our flagship MYOB training course or one of our Excel or WordPress courses, or our more recent Small Business Management Course. Over the years these students have provided us with valuable feedback.

The feedback we receive from our students helps us to understand what’s working and what isn’t, which is why it’s invaluable to us that you get in touch and let us know what you think.

It was based on the feedback we received from our students that we decided to develop our Reach Accounting and Xero training courses. It is also based on the feedback we received that we changed the way we issued our certificates so that students received them faster and could use them to find work.

Recent Feedback

Here’s just some of the feedback we’ve received from our students recently:

“I found the workbooks the most helpful for giving practical experience.” — Karen Dimitri, Glengowrie SA 5044

“The best part is that you can do it on your own time and pace.” — Juliana van Wyk, Hilton WA 6163

“Short, easily digestable videos. Can fit in easily with a busy lifestyle.” — Korina Power, North Shore, Auckland 0630

“I could learn at my own pace.” — Jackie Smith, Sheidow Park, SA 5158

“Doing the workbooks and watching the videos at my own pace has helped me a lot in pursing the current workforce requirements.” — Merritt Ray, Loganholme QLD 4129

“I was able to finish the whole course in just a couple of weeks.” — YoonOck Lee, Atwell, WA 6164

“By watching videos on one particular topic and doing a test straight after relating to those videos, you don’t become too overwhelmed with too much information.” — Michelle Bankstown, NSW 2200

“I am happy as I could completely the course at my own pace. It was easy n simple to understand. As a mother I felt the course was very time efficient. Looking forward to putting my knowledge into action.” — Kimberline Francis, St James, WA 6102

“This course is best for me because I can access any time from home, I can replay any video provided when I didn’t understand.” — Mika Humphreys, Innisfail, QLD 4860

“Everything within the course itself was great. I liked the most how easy it was to understand and navigate through.” — Katie Davis, Whyalla, SA 5608

“Being able to actually move around the sample company file to get a feeling of how the software is structured, made me have more confident.” — Joy Khoo, Mudgee, NSW 2850

“The best parts of this course is that we get freedom to learn and complete this course in your own suitable time. There is not so much pressure that you have to complete in certain time limit. I would advise and recommend this course from EzyLearn to international students who want to further their career in bookkeeping and accounting. It was a great privilege to be part of your institute.” — Prabin Gurung, Auburn, NSW 2144

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We’d love to hear from you too. Get in touch via our course evaluation page.

 

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Small Business Finances: Should You Start Your Business in the Red?

Don't fall into a credit trap by running into debt to finance your small business before you even have your first customer.
Don’t fall into a credit trap by running into debt to finance your small business before you even have your first customer.

The ‘Plan small business finances module‘ of our Small Business Management Course takes students through the steps to creating a financial plan for their small business. Many small businesses get loans and credit from banks and other finance institutions, but how wise is it to get into debt before the doors to your business are even open?

Is Credit the Best Way?

About 20 years ago, the only way businesses could make payments easily was to apply for a credit card from a bank. The bank would then give you an amount of credit, $5000 say, and the more you used it, the more credit you would be offered.

This is great if you have the means to pay it back immediately – and if you do actually pay it back immediately. However, if you’re like most people, having access to large sums of money that can be paid back at a later date – in 30 days, 55 days, 3 months – can lead down a dangerous path for your small business.

Start-Up Finance

We spoke to one entrepreneur who had an idea to start a gourmet packaged meals business aimed at a demographic of busy professionals. He had planned to go the conventional route and borrow $200K to finance his start-up; even though at this point, he didn’t have a single customer.

But there were plenty of other options available to get his business off the ground, rather than getting into debt before he even had his first customer. We suggested using another company’s equipment, contracting the manufacture of the products to another company, or re-branding an already existing product.

The term used in the start-up community for using your own money is called bootstrapping. But it’s one way to guarantee that you will do all the research and determine the most cost efficient way to run your business before outlaying substantial sums of money on equipment or other overheads.

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With new technologies like cloud-based software and high-speed internet, many small business owners have been able to significantly reduce their overheads, which has enabled them to avoid starting their business in the red.

Business is about taking calculated risks for a reasonably predictable reward and it really all comes down to research and knowledge. Live with an asset mentality and don’t get caught in the credit trap. You’ll find out all the best financing options for your small business in our Small Business Management Course.

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Small Business is about Doing

It's time to roll your sleeves up: our Small Business Management Course gets you working on a real life business idea.
It’s time to roll your sleeves up: our Small Business Management Course gets you working on a real life business idea.

As Australia’s leading provider of online training courses, we deliver all kinds of different training courses – and we’ve recently branched into providing online induction training courses to business. But where EzyLearn’s flagship course, the MYOB training course, teaches practical skills in using one of the most popular accounting software packages, it is a completely different kind of course to our Small Business Management Course – and for good reason.

Thinking as if You Own A Business

Our Small Business Management Course is designed to make you think like a business owner. Where our other software-based courses are designed to systematically guide you through a particular software package, our Small Business Management Course needs to be different.

As a business owner, you’ll be thrown curve balls from many directions – especially when you first start out – and the key to surviving them is being able to think objectively and without bias.

You’ll need to be able to problem-solve and sometimes develop new approaches to existing business practices or activities. Running your own business means having a plan, but not always operating to it.

To complete the course, you need to be able to demonstrate that you possess the required skills to successful operate your own business – by researching, thinking and writing.

A Real Business Idea with Tutor Feedback

The Small Business Management Course is deliberately structured so that as you work your way through the course content, you’re applying the exercises and skills you’re learning to a real-life business idea. Then, once you’ve complete the course, you’ll go live with this business idea.

The course gives students an unusual and unique advantage over other soon-to-be business owners because our students get feedback from a tutor that they can then apply to their business strategies.

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This is what makes our Small Business Management Course so popular – because you’re learning with your real business idea, where other business courses merely have student complete exercises or answer questions in relation to hypothetical business scenarios.

If you would like to learn more about our small business management course, visit our website or enrol here.

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Entrpreneurs Share: Why All Businesses Need an Exit Strategy

Exit strategy
Plan from the outset where you want your business to go.

Perhaps to some it sounds a little pessimistic to talk about having an exit strategy for a business you haven’t yet started, however, an exit strategy is actually a very wise move. We talk all about the things you need to consider when starting a business in our Small Business Management Course, but of equal importance is how you’ll end the business, which is something you need to consider when writing your Business Plan.

How Will You End It All?

Knowing how you’ll exit your business when the time comes will determine a framework for how you’ll set up your business up in the first place. This could involve creating a name for your business, rather than using your own name, so that you can sell your business later without having to relinquish your right to use your own name.

Exit strategies have never been more important than they are today when it’s not uncommon for a start-up to be sold maybe two or three years after its inception. Take Flickr, the image hosting website, as an example of case in point; it was only 18 months old when it was sold to Yahoo! for $30 million in 2005.

Three Key Reasons to Have an Exit Strategy

We spoke to our network of fellow entrepreneurs and business owners recently, and they gave us three reasons every business should have an exit strategy.

1.    It gives you a roadmap: Mark Darling of Sip Water says: “Begin with the end in mind.” Operating a business without an exit strategy is like going on a road trip without taking a map. “How are you going to get there if you don’t know where there is?” The smaller things tend to fall into place much more easily when the bigger things have been decided.

2.    It’s motivating: “When you’re working towards a specific goal, it really helps you to stay motivated on those days when everything seems to be going wrong,” says Vic Cherikoff of Australian Functional Foods. Your exit strategy helps you to put certain problems in perspective.

3.   Get the best sale price: “Knowing when and how you will sell your business can help you think about what you need to do to maximise your business’s value,” explains Robert Crane of CIA OPS. Without an exit strategy, you may find yourself accepting fire sale prices just because you want to exit your business quickly. Having an exit strategy helps you avoid this.

Having an exit strategy is just as important as having a start-up strategy. But that doesn’t mean you have to follow it down to the letter. Like most things in life, often the best-laid plans don’t actually go to plan, but having a framework to work off will help to make your business more successful and ultimately, more profitable in the long run.

You can find out more about writing a business plan in our Small Business Management Course by clicking here.

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Why The Business Name You Choose Is So Important: Interview

Choosing a business name that is Google-friendly is important.
Choosing a business name that is Google-friendly is important.

Our Small Business Management Course teaches students everything they will need to successfully start and operate their own small business, which includes how to write a business plan. Throughout the duration of the course and particularly, when it comes to writing your business plan, you’ll need to think about what you’ll name your business. So what does make a good business name?

What’s In a Name?

For this post, we spoke to a business owner whose business has a rather distinctive name: CIA OPS’s Principal, Robert Crane. CIA — or Computer Information Agency — OPS is a Sydney-based technology consultancy firm, which focuses on assisting businesses and individuals improve their productivity using technology and smart business practices.

The name CIA OPS perfectly encapsulates everything Robert’s business does — provide his clients with information about computer-related technology, such as how to streamline a business’s processes for use with cloud-based software or training in Microsoft Office 365 — but at the same time, it’s also a conversation piece.

“Everyone’s heard of the CIA, as in the USA’s Central Intelligence Agency,” Robert says. “So when they hear CIA OPS, they immediately ask me more about my business and what we do.”

Interesting – and Easy to Remember

But because the name CIA OPS has already aroused people’s curiosity, they’re more engaged and interested in what Robert has to say. The fact CIA OPS is also easy to remember is another added bonus.

“Even if they forget the ‘OPS’ part,” Robert says, “They always remember the ‘CIA’ part and the fact we work with computers, which makes it really easy for them to find me Google.”

Is it Google-Friendly?

Which brings us to another important consideration you need to make when it comes to thinking of a business name. Thinking of something quirky and interesting which also represents what your business does is one thing, but ensuring it’s Google-friendly is another altogether.

Google has, in many ways, fundamentally changed the way we do business — and as a result, it has changed the way people select their business name, too.

If your business name is too obscure that it becomes too hard to remember, then it won’t work; if it’s too common that it returns hundreds upon hundreds of Google results, it won’t work, either; if it’s too long, too short, too boring — won’t work, won’t work, won’t work.

“You really need to think about what you’ll call your business, because that is one thing that’s hard to go back and change later,” Robert says. Make sure you check to see if the business name you’re thinking of using is being used already, or is too similar to someone else’s — which could land you in hot water, as you will lean in the intellectual property and general law module of our Small Business Management Course.

Robert’s advice: “Avoid names that include the words ‘solutions’ or ‘networking’ — they’re boring, too common, and pretty obvious — you know, all businesses hope to provide some sort of solution, for instance.

“Be original, give your business name some real thought, and test it out on your friends and family first,” Robert advises.

Being that your business name is so important, we recommend that our small business management students start thinking about potential names as soon as they start the course, so than when it comes time to finishing their business plan, they’ll have something in mind.

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If you would like more information about our Small Business Management Course, click here. For information about the other courses we offer at EzyLearn, click here.

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Interview with Business Owner: The Benefits of Being “Hands On”

We interview Mark Darling about some of the keys to his hugely successful water business.
We interview Mark Darling about some of the keys to his hugely successful water business.

We recently wrote about the five attributes successful entrepreneurs possess, but one attribute that wasn’t on that list was being hands-on. Our Small Business Management course teaches students all the practical, hands-on skills you need to successfully start and operate a new business, but that hands-on attitude shouldn’t dissipate once your business is up and running.

Why It Pays to Be ‘Hands On’

With that in mind, we recently spoke to Mark Darling, the chief executive officer of Sip Water, a Sydney-based bottled water business, about why business owners should always be hands-on with their businesses. Mark’s history with the bottled water industry has been a long and storied one, but ultimately it’s been about success.

For many years, Mark operated his first bottled water business almost like it was still a small business even though it had grown to become the second largest bottled water company in Australia, behind Neverfail. Even as the large-scale operation that it had become, it was not uncommon for Mark to carry out many of the duties typically not expected of a managing director, like making deliveries to clients.

Eventually Mark’s business caught the attention of another publicly listed company to whom Mark eventually sold it; it was some several years later, that Mark decided to start Sip Water, this time a much smaller operation where Mark still makes water deliveries to his clients to this day.

Why Do What You Can Pay Others to Do?

The reason Mark still makes deliveries: because it makes his business more efficient, and his hands-on approach is something he attributes to the success of all of his businesses. “People often ask me ‘Why don’t you get someone to help you?’” Mark says. “But I always say ‘Well, why would I do that when I don’t need one.’”

Mark says that many business owners often feel they should employ someone to perform work they could really do themselves. “I’m sure it seems unusual for a CEO to make deliveries, but I do it because, this way, I know it’s been done,” Mark explains.

Perhaps this contradicts everything you thought you knew about business, particularly since its often drummed into business owners that in order to prosper they need to delegate; to step away from the smaller things so they can concentrate on the big things.

On this, Mark agrees, but adds: “If I can fit some deliveries into my day without it impacting on the other things I need to do, I will.” The idea is to only hire personnel that are absolutely essential to the running of the business. This keeps your overheads down and your profits up.

Rather than employing an admin person for your business because you feel that as the owner you shouldn’t be doing admin work, ask yourself whether you can conceivably do the admin. If you can, why hire an admin person?

Often people believe that the larger your team, the more professional your business will seem; the more it will seem like a big business. But some big businesses are like icebergs: they appear a certain way on the surface, but it’s what lurks beneath the surface you need to worry about.

In the case of Mark’s original bottled water business, not long after selling it to a well-known, publicly-listed company — or big business — the core company which purchased it went out of business, taking the business Mark had built down with it.

The Moral Is…

The moral of the story, as Mark sees it, is that his attitude towards running his businesses is right: if you’re hands-on with your business and you know what’s happening with it, then you’ll avoid the calamities that often engulf other businesses: closure due to poor management.

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Our Small Business Management Course teaches students everything they need to know about successfully starting and operating a small business, including payroll, financial planning, and the like. To see our full suite of training courses, click here.

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What Is It That Your Business Does Again? The Need To Be CLEAR!

If people are left confused as to what your business does, they'll simply go elsewhere.
If people are left confused as to what your business does, they’ll simply go elsewhere.

In our Small Business Management course, we discuss creating a website for your business — and at EzyLean, we even offer a training course on creating a website using WordPress. We’ve also talked about some of the website “must haves” on this very blog, but one of the things many business owners still get wrong is communicating what exactly their business does.

What Does Your Business Actually Do?

Being able to explain your business in one sentence or less should be like second nature to any business owner, yet I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been on a business’s website and found myself wondering, “What the hell does this business actually do?”

It seems that somewhere, in the midst of worry about design, functionality, load times, conversion rates, and so on, many business owners — large and small; this affliction is not discerning — forget to answer the most basic of questions and often the fundamental reason a person is on their website: What does my business do?

Take a look at your website. Does it clearly state in one sentence or less what your business does? If we use EzyLearn as an example, we could say, EzyLearn is an online training provider. We could even take it one step further and say, EzyLearn is Australia’s largest provider of online training courses, including MYOB, WordPress and Excel.

Both examples are clear, concise and, above all, they entice visitors to spend time on our website. This is important, because if you leave visitors wondering what your business does and whether you offer the services they’re looking for, they’ll give up and go elsewhere.

Your Business Plan’s Executive Summary

This is where the executive summary of your business plan comes into play. The executive summary of your business plan is used to explain what your proposed business will do; in no more than a paragraph you need to be able to convince the reader that your business idea is worthy of their funding, participation or whatever it is you’re seeking of them.

In essence, your executive summary is your elevator pitch. You need to refine this and whittle it down to a short, pithy explanation of your business and your services. Practice on friends and family if you have to and once you’ve got it, put it straight onto your homepage, or an easy-to-access “About Us” page.

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And remember: the thing about the Internet is that it’s great if you know what you’re looking for; but the majority of people don’t. Always craft your copy like you’re communicating with someone who doesn’t know the first thing about your business or the industry, then go from there.

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Get THAT Job this Year: The Importance of the Cover Letter

Your covering letter is as important as your CV.
Getting your covering letter right is as important as your CV.

January is when we’re busiest processing enrolments in our MYOB courses, our Small Business Management courses and so on, and we’ve always been happy to be able to provide people with the training they need to make the career change they’ve been dreaming of. This January we also wanted to give you some advice on the two most dreaded aspects of applying for a new job: CVs and cover letters.

In a recent post we spoke to Fiona Neumann, a recruitment specialist and the director of Skills Savvy, a Sydney-based recruitment firm that specialises in helping people to re-enter the workforce following redundancies, raising the kids, or simply because they want to make a career change.

Fiona helped demystify the CV-writing process, which at one time or another has puzzled even the best of us. But in a job market where redundancies are almost commonplace, writing a CV is not just puzzling, it’s very often daunting, particularly for those people starting their career afresh.

Writing a Cover Letter Doesn’t Need to be Daunting!

But here’s the good news: it doesn’t need to be. Getting the job of your dreams has a lot to do with your ability to articulate yourself, which is where the cover letter comes into play.

It’s fair to say that many people see a cover letter as an afterthought; the way people see wrapping paper as the afterthought to a great gift. They spend all their time laboriously writing and fine-tuning their CV, to then put together a slap-dash covering letter just so that Seek will accept their job application.

Mistake. Big one.

Linking Back and Clarifying Your CV

Your cover letter is just as important as your CV. Aside from reinforcing all the information you’ve put into your CV, it shows that you didn’t mean to apply to some other job listed on Gumtree, and importantly, it allows you to show a recruiter or hiring manager why you’re suddenly looking to re-enter the workforce after several years of being out of it.

The key here is to be clear and concise. If you’ve been raising the kids for the last six years, write that. Don’t be vague and allude to something that could be interpreted as raising children or… being in prison.

But also don’t write a flowery vignette of your life. You need to show why you’re applying for the job you are; if it involves are change of field or industry, then explain why; why you’re qualified for the job, but not overqualified—this is important, because people that are overqualified are, to an employer, risky: you could get bored and leave, want more money than they can offer, or have difficulty with authority being that you’ve always been The Authority.

But remember: be clear and concise. And above all: don’t be bland. Recruiters read through hundreds of cover letters; they’re looking for the most qualified, most desirable person for the job. Don’t leave them wondering why you applied for the position you did. For some CV-writing help see this post; for help up-skilling, see the training courses we have on offer here.

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Recruiter Tells: What Will Make Your CV Get Noticed

Find out what a recruiter has to say about how to make your CV stand out from the crowd.
Find out what a recruiter has to say about how to make your CV stand out from the crowd.

If one of your resolutions was to find a new job this year, you’re probably not alone. Job seekers are most active during the early part of a new year, so if you’re planning on taking the next step in your career, you’ve got to stand out from the crowd.

Our Small Business Management and MYOB Training courses are most popular this time of year because training courses up your skill-sets and are a key way of ensuring you’re a cut above the competition. However, that’s only as long as you’ve got your CV in front of the right people.

This makes the role of your CV an extremely important one; a lack lustre CV can often be a deal-breaker for a recruiter at the other end of an email address filling up with enough CVs to blanket Siberia — twice.

What Makes Your CV Stand Out?

So what’s going to make your CV the one recruiters and employers shortlist for an interview? We spoke to recruitment specialist and director of Skills Savvy, Fiona Neumann, to get some insight on design, whether or not everyone embellishes on their CV, and what you should put in the dreaded “special interests” section.

Q: What are some dos and don’ts when it comes to formatting, layout, design, etc? Some people think the more creative the CV, the better chance you’ll have of standing out from the pack – is this necessarily true?

Fiona: There is no rule of thumb on what you should or shouldn’t do. It really depends on the job you’re applying for. For example: If you are applying for a graphic designer role or another artistic role, then the recruiter will definitely be looking for a CV that stands out in a creative way. If it is a sales or service role then some candidates can be a little creative by adding their profile picture to the top of the CV. I personally like this, as long as it is a professional photo. This is a great way to stand out.

Q: Should your CV (and cover letter) show a bit of your personality, or is it safer to save that for the interview?

Fiona: I believe your personality comes through via your cover letter and your CV in subtle ways. When candidates place their photo at the top of their CV, this demonstrates that they are willing to put themselves out there and it shows confidence. The language a person uses also shows their personality. These are subtle ways. If your CV and cover letter is written in a way that articulates why you are the best person for the role then a recruiter will call you. A phone interview and a face-to-face interview is where the recruiter/hiring manager will see your personality.

Q: Embellishing your CV – does everyone really do it? And if so, where does that leave the honest jobseekers?

Fiona: Great question. No I don’t believe that everyone embellishes on their CV. Besides, a great recruiter is able to read between the lines and ask the candidate the right questions. The recruiter can then work out what is fact and what is fiction. A CV is important, but it is only one part of the recruitment process. If a person has written something on their CV then they will need to be able to answer questions during a phone interview or a face-to-face interview to back up their CV — and if they’ve embellished or lied in their CV, they probably won’t be able to answer the recruiter’s questions.

Q: Lastly, does any recruiter/employer really care that your interests include collecting antique teacups and reading crime novels?

Fiona: I personally like it [the special interests section], because you never know what the hiring manager may be looking for. Plus, including your interests does, in a subtle way, demonstrate personality, which helps recruiters and hiring managers determine whether you’d fit with the culture of an organisation. Take these two different examples of special interests: “I enjoy spending weekends with my family, going out for dinner and reading books,” and “I love to party, going to see live bands and watching Formula 1 racing.” There is no right or wrong answer, but you can see you are probably dealing with two completely different personalities, and while I would never discount someone based only on their special interests, it does tell me a little more about the person behind the CV.

Need a resume or want to start a home based business?

The lovely people from Workface have combined their resume writing service with our online Microsoft Word training courses so you can have a professional resume AND the ability to add and edit it as you need. If you are interested in starting your own business as an independent contractor and work your own hours, close to home and doing something you love you might consider one of these business opportunities..

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Want to be an Entrepreneur? Five Attributes You Must Have!

Being entrepreneurial involves a lot more than enjoying being your own boss; you must also be very strong minded.
Being entrepreneurial involves a lot more than enjoying being your own boss; you must also be very strong minded.

If you’ve just returned to work after the Christmas break and it’s feeling like a bit of a drag, you’re not alone. This January, enrolments in our Small Business Management and MYOB Training Courses have been at an all time high, and we think we know why.

After spending weeks as your own boss, deciding how you would spend your days and with whom — and liking it — you’re feeling like maybe this is the year to start your own business and be your own boss for good, right?

But liking being able to decide how to spend your spare time, and actually making a business work are two different things. An entrepreneur is a certain breed of people and self-employment is not something for everyone.

Mental Strength and Positivity

To start your own business you need more than just a great idea, or a passion for the thing you do — 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.

If you’re mentally strong, you should possess the majority of these attributes:

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.

If you feel you’re mentally strong enough to succeed in business, but need a little more direction of the nitty gritty of running a small business, our Small Business Management Course takes you through every aspect of managing a small business and introduces you to successful entrepreneurs and business people.

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It’s the New Year – Resolve to Start that New Small Business Today! – free success tip video

It's never too early to make the resolve to start your own business - don't put it off any longer!
It’s never too early to make the resolve to start your own business – don’t put it off any longer!

If you or someone you know is looking to start a new business, up skill to provide additional services to existing clients, or partner with us to build a training business, our Small Business Management Course provides you with essential information for operating a new small business.

We also offer online courses in Reach Accounting, Xero, and of course, our flagship MYOB course as well as online courses in Microsoft Office (Word and Excel). You may recall from a previous post that we sell enrolment gift vouchers for our online training courses, so if your friend or family member (or even yourself) has been seriously considering starting a new small business, why not help make 2014 the year that dream becomes reality by giving them an enrolment voucher!

Small Business Management Course at Last Year’s Price

Since it’s still the festive season, we’re giving you the opportunity to lock-in your 2014 Small Business Management Course at 2013 prices.

As you complete each module within our Small Business Management Course, you’re working your way towards writing the business plan for your business, which you can then use to secure financing or as a model for the future growth of your business.

We take you through every facet you’ll face when it comes to owning and operating a small business, from researching the market and undertaking market activities, through to customer service.

Our Small Business Management Course includes training videos featuring real-life business owners, so you can see how each module practically applies to a real-world small business. Take, for instance, the video below with David Hall, the ‘Customer Service King’ and Director of Sydney’s The Clean Plumber.

 

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The New Year is the time for making resolutions — resolve to start your new small business today and enrol in our Small Business Management Course! Or if you’d like to gift a training course to your friend or family member, contact us and secure your 2014 training courses at 2013 prices!

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When the Price is Right, It’s Not Always Cheap

Don't be a scrooge this Christmas - it's often not best to go cheap unless you intend to stay that way.
Don’t be a scrooge this Christmas – it’s often not best to go cheap unless you intend to stay that way.

WITH CHRISTMAS AROUND THE CORNER, good ol’ Scrooge deserves a mention. In the “Selling Your Products or Services” module of our EzyStartUp Course we cover how to determine the correct prices for your business; a decision many new business owners often don’t realise requires quite a bit of research and planning.

Instead, many people fall into the trap of using their prices as a way to market their new business to potential customers, using the “cheap is best” mentality. Bah — wrong! That may be no better than a Scrooge…

Often cheap is not best, and you need to ask yourself whether those cheap prices you’ll be offering are sustainable.

By that we mean, whether you’ll earn enough to draw a wage that’s commensurate with one you could earn as an employee elsewhere. If the answer is ‘no’, then you need to rethink your pricing structure before you start attracting clientele.

What Kinds of Customers Do You Want?

Because that’s the other thing: the prices you set attract a certain kind of customer. Consider the kind of shopper you would typically find in a department store, like David Jones, with the kind of shopper you would find in Target. Both stores sell fairly similar products, but the prices are different — and, often, so is the customer (although with the amount of sales constantly happening, there’s probably a significant overlap these days).

What a David Jones customer may be happy to pay for a new dress, for example, is likely to be different to what a Target shopper would be happy to pay for a similar item. Even if in this instance, the Target shopper learns that the dress from David Jones is superior in quality and worth the higher price tag (and they may well agree with you) it will probably change nothing: they will still shop at Target.

Low Can be a Loss

That’s not to say cheap is bad. But there is sometimes a high-cost associated with cheap. Consider the price wars between Woolies and Coles over the cost of milk, which Coles reduced to $1 a litre first and saw Woolies quickly follow suit. But who’s the real victor when you’re selling milk for a dollar? Not Coles or Woolies, where the profit margins are between two and minus-three percent, and certainly not the farmers.

If setting low prices is your strategy for winning customers, it may pay more to think of another one, as cheap is easily replicated and not every business can sustain it. Start out how you mean to continue — if you don’t always intend to offer bargain basement prices then don’t offer them at all. Or at least, offer them in a way that makes it clear to potential customers that you don’t intend to always charge those prices.

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One thing is certain: there’s a lot to weigh up in setting prices for your new business, which is why we consider the Selling Your Products or Services module of our EzyStartUp Course such an invaluable one. If you’re starting a new business, don’t sell yourself short. Make sure the price for your services is right, rather than just cheap.


 

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Does Your Business have a Facebook Page? Here’s 6 Reasons Why You Should!

Do your small business justice and develop a Facebook page.
Do your small business justice and develop a Facebook page.

After they complete our small business management course or MYOB training course many of our students go on to start their own home-based bookkeeping business. Among the many things you learn in our small business management course is how to effectively market a small business.

Why Market?

For any new business, it’s important to market your new business so develop new leads and customers, but it’s also important that your marketing costs don’t outweigh your income. In the marketing module of our small business management course, we talk about Google Adwords, which is a low-cost way to advertise your business online, using keywords.

Another Option is Facebook

Facebook is also another option for businesses large and small, but we think it works particularly well for small businesses, due to the community-minded nature of Facebook, itself.

There’s an old saying around EzyLearn: People like to do business with people they know, like and trust. Facebook helps you to develop online relationships with your customers, allowing them to get to know, like and trust you.

But in case you’re still not convinced, here are another 6 reasons why you should be on Facebook:

  1. Population and penetration: We know that over 1 billion people are on Facebook, but what’s the penetration rate for a market, like the USA, for example? 67 percent of internet users in the US are on Facebook; in Australia that penetration rate is much higher—82 percent.
  2. Age: Facebook skews young—83 percent of 18-29 year olds are on Facebook—but the 45-54 age-bracket has also seen 46 percent growth since the end of 2012.
  3. Income: The incomes of Facebook users higher than any other social media platform. 73 percent of Facebook users earn more than AUD$75,000 compared to 17 percent for Twitter.
  4. Mobile: Social media is the most popular social media app on smartphones and accounts for 66 percent of total social media sharing on iphones.
  5. Gender: Like every other adverting medium, Facebook also skews toward women, but it’s still more gender neutral than Google+ or Pinterest.
  6. Education: Nearly 75 percent of Australian Facebook users have some form of university or tertiary education.

If you’re looking to target any or all of these demographics for your small business marketing campaign, then create a Facebook page and start marketing your services to your followers.

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Want to be a teleworker? The Australian Government wants it too

Telework-work from homeSince we closed our Sydney-based training centres in Dee Why, Gordon and Parramatta in 2006 and went 100% online we’ve been able to offer more for a lower price.

For the same price we use to charge for a one day training course in MYOB we are now able to offer ALL 5 MYOB training courses AND provide lifetime course access (INCLUDING updated course content).

You might also recall that our online support team comprises remote workers who operate their own virtual assistant business from all over Australia and even internationally so we are thrilled to be part of the new revolution in remote workers.

We are also very proud to be a Partner of the Australian Government Telework week in the SME (Small Business Sector) and look forward to helping more and more students find work as well as run their own businesses from their own homes.

Remember that we even offer the opportunity to start your own online training business using our established infrastructure AND if you are looking to start your own business as a bookkeeper (or any business for that matter) we now have the Cert IV in Small Business Management on our Learning System.