Marketing for When Your Business Strategy Changes

Where lead generation services are useful

lead generation services
Using a dedicated lead generation service can be more useful than advertising but the quality of the leads may be questionable.

CHANGING YOUR BUSINESS STRATEGY to include additional services will require an additional investment in marketing if you are to make this successful. In terms of simply paying money to advertise your additional services, as you’re probably already aware, advertising doesn’t always yield immediate results. Therefore you might consider spending money on a lead generation service.

We cover how to account for marketing and lead generation costs in our Xero training courses, which includes a new workbook that looks at what to do when your business strategy changes.

Lead generation vs marketing

Lead generation, as the name suggest, is solely focussed on generating a potential customer or client for your business. For instance, there are lots of lead generation services in the building and home maintenance trade — hipages, One Flare, Service Seeking, Quotify, etc — but there are also a growing number for people in creative services, although they’re typically referred to as online marketplaces and include Freelancer.com, Upwork, Fiverr, and so forth.

Advertising and digital marketing (including content marketing), puts your message or business in front of your target audience, but there are more steps in the process before you can capture a lead.

The benefits of lead generation

The main benefit of using a lead generation service is that it delivers active leads almost as soon as you sign up to the service. The quality of the leads tend to differ between services, and the leads also tend to be people who are focussed solely on price, and not so much workmanship. In other words, they’re looking for something done in a particular fashion, for a particular price. No more, no less.

These sorts of jobs are good when you’re getting started or as a way to keep the home fires burning, but it may not be appropriate to rely on them as your sole means of developing clientele.

The benefits of marketing and advertising

If you’re using the correct channels to reach and market or advertise your business to your target market, you’re effectively developing a relationship with those people and educating them about your business.

This means you’ll capture people at all stages of the purchasing funnel — some will be at the pointy end, while others won’t be ready to make a purchasing decision for a while. The benefits of marketing and advertising is that you’re capturing a wide array of people and building brand awareness.

A combination of both works best

If you have the resources, a combination of both marketing (advertising, content marketing) and lead generation works best, though your focus should on marketing and advertising your business to your target market, rather than trying to fit your business into the mold of all the different leads fed to you through a service like hipages or Freelancer.com.

Create a marketing budget

Run a cashflow report in Xero to determine how much cash you’ll have to invest in marketing your business. Our Xero training courses will show you how to run a cashflow report, which you can then export to Excel and use when creating your marketing budget, which should include a schedule, costs, desired outcome — i.e., number of leads, conversions each week, month, quarter — to ensure you’re getting a good return on your investment.

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Our Xero training courses will show you how to run cashflow reports and account for your marketing costs, while our Business Start Up Course will show you how to create a marketing plan. Visit our website for more information.


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Our Xero online training courses include EVERYTHING for ONE LOW PRICE. Furthermore, if you select our Lifetime Membership option, you’ll have LIFETIME access to our ongoing course updates. All EzyLearn courses are accredited by the Institute of Certified Bookkeepers (ICB) and can be counted towards Continuing Professional Development (CPD) points. Find out more about our Xero online training courses.


 

Turning Your Business Idea into Income

How not to plunge into working for yourself — while working for yourself!

becoming an independent contractor_comp
You might have to supplement your income by working at a cafe or similar while you find your first clients.

IF YOU’VE DETERMINED THAT your business idea is viable and has the potential to generate revenue, then it’s time to start earning income from it.

We show you how to carry out market research and competitive analysis in our Business Start Up Course and this blog post will tell you the steps you should take to start deriving income from your business idea.

Have an income on the side

It’s unwise to plunge headfirst into self-employment. You need to have some income behind you while you’re getting your business off the ground. That may even mean leaving full time employment and taking up part time work in a cafe or retail shop. You have bills to pay and it’s neither fun nor productive being unable to. You do, however, need time to work on your business, so you can’t be so time poor and stressed that you can’t devote the necessary time to organising it.

You need to have some income behind you while you’re getting your business off the ground. That may even mean leaving full time employment and taking up part time work in a cafe or retail shop.

Start working as a contractor for other businesses

finding work as a contractor
Initially, be willing to work as a contractor while you build up clients for your own business.

Getting that first job or client is always the hardest part of starting any business. But it’s easier when your business is providing a service and you’re working as a contractor or freelancer.

Whether you’re a bookkeeper, virtual assistant, even a tradesperson, you can apply for jobs working with other businesses, rather than spending money you probably don’t have to market your business, while you wait for clients to find you.

Look for part time, contract or casual jobs you can apply to. If you see a company has been advertising for a full time employee for a while and it appears they’re having trouble filling the position, get in touch with them. Find out if there’s an opportunity for you to work with them on an ongoing freelance or part-time basis, or until they fill the position.

There are many businesses that would like to hire freelancers or contractors but don’t know where to find them, so they continue to employ by traditional means. If you can show them you’re capable, and that there are benefits to using a contractor or freelancer, then the job might just be yours.

Find a recruitment agency

The businesses that do like to hire contractors and freelancers, but don’t want to manage it themselves, go to recruitment agencies. If you’re in any kind of specialised or creative industry — IT, finance, business management, advertising, marketing, etc — then it’s a good idea to get a recruiter, maybe two. It won’t cost you anything, and it’s the best referral marketing a person can get. Plus, it’s always good to have someone in your corner when you’re just starting out, to ensure you’re getting fair market rates, conditions, and the like.

“Packaging” your services

Before approaching businesses or recruiters, you need to understand the value you bring. Sometimes this means combining a number of your skills and gaining other ones, to ensure you’re always in demand.

In business parlance, this is known as packaging your services, which we also cover in our Business Start Up course. To learn more, visit our website.


Social Media and Digital Marketing online training course_comp

Are you in business as a bookkeeper, tradesperson, retailer, trainer or real estate agent and want to stand out from the crowd? We can teach you the online marketing techniques to help you do just this! Check out what’s included in our comprehensive Social Media and Digital Marketing online training courses.


 

Should You Start a Business That You LOVE or a Business YOU CAN DO?

Pairing knowledge with a gap in the market

how to find the right career path
I love watching TV. And I have an opinion on many things. Doesn’t mean I can monetise the pairing of these two. Or can I? Did somebody say Gogglebox? 

CONFUCIOUS ONCE SAID: “FIND a job you love and you’ll never have to work a day in your life”. That’s good advice, although it’s not always practical.

After all, I love watching television, but it’s probably impractical to try and monetise that to start a business — not impossible; but it is impractical.

A better measure of finding something you can turn into a business idea, and then a business, is to find something you’re good at, that also addresses a gap in the market. In other words, put your existing skills and work experience to use in a new, different way.

When skills meet reality: The Open Agent example

For some people, this does mean starting a business doing something they happen to love. Photographers, writers, even golf or tennis pros are using their existing skills that they do love, but often not how they might have first imagined. Photographing weddings instead of high fashion; content writing instead of novel writing; teaching golf or tennis instead of competing professionally.

Other people may not necessarily love their sales skills or aptitude for data analysis, but these are skills that can be put to use in a business that they do love. Take the real estate comparison service, Open Agent, for example. It was started by two former McKinsey and Company business analysts, using a WordPress website they built in a single afternoon.

Three years later, it had raised $20 million in funding, and the business had doubled in size for every 12 months it had been operating. The co-founders, despite having no real estate or technology experience, put their experience working at a management consulting firm to good use, as well as their connections to the business world to get their venture off the ground.

Finding VIABLE gaps in the marketplace

Earlier in this post, I said you should find something — a skill — you’re good at and channel that into a business idea that addresses a gap in the market. But this doesn’t automatically mean your idea is viable. It just means it has the potential to be. To determine if your idea is viable, and to what extent you can expect it to start generating revenue, you should carry out some market research and competitive analysis.

Find out what sorts of businesses like yours already exist and how they operate. What’s their target market, and what are the main issues business owners or the industry as a whole are facing?

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Find out what sorts of businesses like yours already exist and how they operate. What’s their target market, and what are the main issues business owners or the industry as a whole are facing?

If you’re not sure how to go about this, we cover it, as well as business planning and sales and marketing in our Business EzyStartUp Course. To find out more, visit our website.


Xero online training course

At EzyLearn we offer online training courses to help you up-skill and find employment. Choose from our range of cloud-based online accounting software courses, to business start up and management courses, to marketing and sales courses, or update and further your skills in a range of Microsoft Office programs (ExcelPowerPointWord) or social media and WordPress web design).

Many of our courses can also be used towards CPD points. Find out more.


 

Release: Concreting Business Case Study for Xero Training Course

Case Study: Tradespeople Using Xero Cloud Accounting

Concreting business uses Xero for jobs, purchasing and progress payments - online training case studyTradies across Australia are getting onto the cloud for their accounting and there’s a good reason for it — many busy people can use the system from remote locations to get their work done.

This means the estimator can use it to generate a quote at a site, the office administrator can convert quotes to orders and invoices and the remote contractor can sign in and do accounts receivable calls from their home office. This is good news! All major accounting programs now offer cloud access — MYOB, Xero and Intuit Quickbooks.

I wrote in the past about Rohan from Painters, Men in White; Ken the home theatre installer and Jason the kitchen appliance repairer. Today I’m happy to announce that we’ve released a case study in the Xero Daily Transactions course that relates to the building and construction industry — in particular a concreting business that quotes for the pouring of a 3 level apartment building. Sue, a contract bookkeeper from Yarra Junction helped me write this Case Study based on her experience in the building sector and in particular with concrete companies.

Bookkeepers Upskilling with EzyLearn

Sue is typical of the students who enrol with us to broaden their skills in cloud accounting — existing bookkeepers who want to upskill. She has a lot of experience in the day-to-day management and accounts for tradespeople and found that she could perform the bookkeeping from her own home at any time.

We’re Constantly Updating Online Course Content

While I’m blowing my trumpet I may as well add that this is an example of what we promote with our online courses — that during your student access period you’ll have access to ALL the courses you’ve enrolled into including updates and new content. This is particularly useful for MYOB and Excel Course students who enrol using the LIFETIME course access option.

Xero Course Student Testimonials

I haven’t posted any new pages with student testimonials to the website for a while (but they come in with every course) but today it must be trumpet-practising time for me because here I blow again! When Sue completed the course, she commented:

I would recommend this learning site to others and I am thinking about studying Excel next with this learning centre“. She also commented: “Convenient in that I can do it from home at my own leisure. The price was very reasonable.

While Sue was working with us we put her through our Microsoft Word and Excel courses at no cost and the main thing that really stands out to me is how much everyone benefits by doing a Microsoft Word course!

Use Microsoft Word to Create Xero Courses

Helen from Bright learnt how to use WordPress and got leads for website design work using our WordPress course
Helen from Bright is a registered BAS agent who did our WordPress course and got paid creating a website with out help!

Many students enquire about the Microsoft Excel courses because spreadsheets are complicated for people who don’t know how to use them. However, I never cease to be amazed at how many people confidently state, “I know how to use Word, that’s easy”.

Microsoft Word is used in so many aspects of a business yet too many people think that just because they can type they are good at Word. Things like:

are covered in our 203 to 205 courses (so they are considered beginners to intermediate Word skills) yet I am surprised at the number of people I meet who don’t truly understand how these work!

When we work with a new contractor, even as part of our National Bookkeeping Network, we ask new members to write up an education guide if a bookkeeping customer is looking for a certain task to be completed. We end up putting the bookkeeper through our Word course and they discover a whole new world of computer skills that enable them to do more office admin work for their employers or customers — particularly when it comes to long form documents like instruction guides, tenders and even eBooks which are becoming increasing used in online digital marketing.

Bookkeepers Can Be Great Web Designers!

One EzyLearn student helps another from MYOB bookkeeping to designing websites for baby massage using WordPressAs I’m sharing so many EzyLearn student stories, I’ll provide another example of a recent student, Helen from Bright in Victoria (check out where Bright is located in Google maps and you’ll see just how far away she is from the nearest capital city — again, the beauty of working from home using the internet!)

Helen is a Registered BAS Agent and has been for a long time. She performs all the bookkeeping tasks that many of our students aim to offer by being a BAS agent, but she is also interested in being a little more visually creative — at least part of the time — so she completed our WordPress Course and as a result we’ve introduced her to some clients. Since then she’s actually been paid for creating and editing websites! One website she created and continues to edit as required is for ANOTHER student, Sonia who completed our MYOB course years ago to help her with her husband’s business!

Sonia now spends a lot of her time teaching mums (AND dad’s) about baby massage and how they can use infant massage to build a bond with their new baby and help them relax when they are uncomfortable. With a nursing degree and a huge amount of experience with children, Sonia is able to help parents and babies alike create a special bond through touch, and ease new parents into the sometimes stressful experience of welcoming a new baby into their family.

PROMOTED: Corporate Training Licence

If you like the sound of all these courses you may like to take a look at our special bundled offers or even a corporate training licence for your staff or team members.

Referral Marketing is Something We Like

I hope I’ve managed to share with you how we genuinely like to support our students and clients in their journey. We welcome your feedback and love to hear directly how you’re progressing along the way, how we can improve what we do, and any other input you may have.

If you’re looking for a new job, we can advise you on our comprehensive courses with lots of content and examples and a fantastic price. If you’re looking to start a new business we can help you with our Business Startup Course. If you’re a small business in need of a good bookkeeper, writer or website designer — we can connect you.

Stay tuned for some new training content releases about Selling Your Property, Facebook Marketing and Intuit Quickbooks.