Interest-free student loans and course finance VERSUS cheap courses

Interest free student loans for Xero, MYOB, Excel, Marketing and Business Startup Courses cost someoneIT’S THAT TIME OF YEAR again when my team and I review the success of our marketing for 2017 and plan our strategies for the New Year. The topic of interest-free student loans was on the agenda, so I thought I’ll write something about it.

Personally, debt has always been something that has terrified me until about 5 years ago. This stemmed from a time in my mid twenties when I got a commercial hire purchase (CHP) loan to buy an extra Telstra Mitsubishi van. It was selling for $12,000 at the time (which was a lot of money for me) and I paid it off within a year but needed to pay a penalty because the loan was for a fixed period — it cost me $16,000!

This experience left me feeling completely ripped off and began my intrigue into the different type of loans available to businesses, the risks, and how lenders cover their risks as much as possible. Then Jerry Harvey started spruiking the “buy now with nothing to pay for 3 years” mantra that has become commonplace for many retail businesses. We now have every man and his dog business giving away interest-free credit which usually comes with a credit card attached.

The fact is that borrowing money costs someone and if you’re offered an interest free loan it just means that the loan cost is being absorbed by the seller.

If you’ve completed our MYOB or Xero courses (or you’re already working in accounts) you’d know that a course debt is a liability to the student but an asset to the lender and that asset can be sold or written off. Further, if you read the financial news you’ll see that major retailers are either selling their debt or their in-store cards or credit card to the highest bidder.

The problem I have with any form of debt, except buying an income producing asset like real estate or business assets (or a business), is that if you can’t afford it now how will you be able to pay it back later?

Cashflow for a business is often lumpy and the interest cost for cashflow lending is an expense which comes off your taxable income. In this sense it’s “good debt”, but personal debt that can’t be claimed as an expense is bad and often you’re better off finding the same product or course for a cheaper price and just paying that — or use your existing credit card (and pay it back in time). Read about our newest Xero Cashflow, Budgets and ROI Course.

So, back to our marketing dilemma. EzyLearn has only ever tested part payments of courses and realised that we’re not a lender and rather than pay the cost of having a loan facility we’d prefer to include as much as possible in our courses (including additions and updates) and offer our courses at a cheap and competitive price with occasional special offers.


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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). 


 

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.