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How to Reduce Your Fail Rate in Business by 50%

What You Can Do this Christmas

business start up online training course christmas holidays2
There’s lots to do in preparation for starting a business and the summer holidays is a good time for the ground work.

DID YOU KNOW research shows that by taking just one short course on small business management, the chance a business will fail is reduced by as much as 50 percent.

This is because business mismanagement is the primary reason businesses fail; the other most common reason is because owner/s fail to implement appropriate credit management processes. In both cases, this failure has come about because the owners, directors, partners or managers lacked the appropriate management skills to make it a success.

Learn the basics in business

The Christmas holidays is a perfect time for taking the steps needed to start your small business. While everyone else has gone on holidays, you’ll be ready to take on your first client or customer by the time business really starts kicking off again at the end of January.

business start up online training course christmas holidaysSo let’s get to it: there’s work to be done. And this work generally requires some rudimentary knowledge of Australian tax law, copyright law, trademarks and patents.

You should also have knowledge of particular software applications, and digital marketing.

Other key areas of business you need to know

The key areas business owners should understand before starting a business include:

Ordinarily, to become skilled in each of those areas, a person would have to take, at least, five different training courses. But few people are ever likely to do this. Instead, they’d be more likely to cherry pick the areas they’re least familiar with, and fly blind with the others. Needless to say, that’s where people run into problems.

Take Advantage of our Christmas Savings!

We don’t want you to wing it or fly blind — our goal is to help small businesses succeed which is what we’ve been doing for nearly 20 years.

We cover what you need to set up a small business in our EzyStartUp Business Course, priced at just $297. This course covers each of the key areas mentioned above that a small business owner needs to be familiar with, in addition to the following:

  • Originating and developing concepts
  • Establishing legal and risk management
  • Product packaging
  • Marketing your business

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When you enrol you will also receive FREE ACCESS to a bunch of our other online training courses, including Xero Set Up and Beginners’ Excel and Word.

Our Last Dasher Sale is also on now with special Christmas discounts on our online training courses in social media, and cloud accounting software (MYOB, Xero) and Excel, Word and WordPress.


Don’t Wait — Become the Head Honcho Today

Use your time off from work this summer to begin working on your new small business. All of our training courses are delivered online, and can be completed at your own pace, so you can complete them while you’re actually on holidays, or relaxing at home or at a cafe.

And since one of the best ways to start a new business is by operating it as a side project to your other job, if you get all the start up stuff out of the way while you’re on holidays, it’ll be ready to go by the time you back to work.

Learn more about the EzyStartUp Business Course at our website or view all of our special offers to save on your next EzyLearn training course.

start your own business online training course videosAnd as a gift to you, remember our Bookkeeping Basics Guide is yours’ for free!


 

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

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Bet You Didn’t Know the Many Wonders of PowerPoint!

PowerPoint: The Great Untapped Design Tool

learn PowerPoint online training course
Wow – this PowerPoint presentation really is AMAAAZING!!

You know what PowerPoint is. It was installed on your computer when you bought Microsoft Office. You hate it. But have you thought that the reason you hate it is because a) you’ve never learned how to use it properly, and b) you associate it with boring corporate meetings and seminars?

If you answered YES to one or both of those questions, read on. If you answered NO, still read on! Continue reading Bet You Didn’t Know the Many Wonders of PowerPoint!

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Performing Weekly Reconciliations in Xero

Why it Pays to do Regular Bank Reconciliations

bank reconciliations weekly
Doing regular weekly bank reconciliations will help avoid confusion or errors later on.

In our Xero Bank Reconciliations and Journal Entries Course, you’ll learn how to carry out each step in the reconciliation process, in particular how to set up bank feeds. Bank feeds are an important function that allows transactions on your linked bank account or credit card to automatically show up in Xero, so you (or your bookkeeper) don’t have to spend time entering the details from scratch.

Both contract bookkeepers working from home or employees working remotely or in the office can log in and perform bank recs using bank feed data. Continue reading Performing Weekly Reconciliations in Xero

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Working Out Job Costs and How to Charge Your Clients

Why You’re Underselling Yourself with Fixed Price Quotes

bookkeepers fixed price quotes
There are many reasons why you may lose out when fixed price quoting.

I’ve written a number of blogs on how bookkeepers can work out their fees and what good local bookkeepers generally charge. However, now we examine the nitty gritty of determining your on-the-job costs so you can clearly see what your hourly rate should be.

When it comes to working out fees, most business owners go: “Well, the average market rate for my profession is X per hour and this job should take around Y hours” and off they go and give their client a quote that, in today’s small business parlance, is frequently referred to as being a fixed-price quote or the project fee.

This would be fine except that you’re essentially working on an hourly rate, without the benefit of being able to charge the client if you run over your allocated timeframe. Continue reading Working Out Job Costs and How to Charge Your Clients

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What Bookkeepers Can Learn From Real Estate Agents: Facebook Advertising

Facebook – Great for Local Marketing

using facebook for bookkeeping marketing
Facebook can be extremely useful for marketing to a local audience.

In its decade of existence, Facebook has built up a wealth of data about its users, data that it likes to sell back to those who need it, in the form of targeted advertising. Facebook advertising, though similar in its approach, is very different to Google Ads in what it delivers.

Real estate agents discovered the value of Facebook advertising early, and have used a combination of images and videos to successfully deliver their marketing messages and sale pitches directly to their target market and in order to set their prices. Continue reading What Bookkeepers Can Learn From Real Estate Agents: Facebook Advertising

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MYOB, Xero or QuickBooks: Which Suits Your Business Best?

Which is the Pick of the Bunch?

xero myob or quickbooks which is best
It’s a competitive accounting software market place out there … which is the pick of the bunch for you?

IN A PREVIOUS POST, we highlighted some of the biggest differences between QuickBooks and MYOB

However Xero is also a serious competitor to MYOB (and QuickBooks to a lesser degree).

So let’s take a look at the different capabilities of each accounting application and the kinds of businesses they best suit.

Continue reading MYOB, Xero or QuickBooks: Which Suits Your Business Best?

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Is Credit Management Just About Getting on the Phone?

It’s Good Business to Set Out Your Credit Management Policy at the Outset

credit-management-bookkeeping-business
Spelling out your credit management procedure at the start with a client helps avoid payment-chasing phone calls later.

CRITICAL TO THE SUCCESS OF ANY BUSINESS is the ability to maintain a healthy cash flow. But doing so requires effective credit management processes.

Unfortunately, too many business owners feel uncomfortable talking about credit and debt management upfront with new clients.

They (falsely) believe it begins if, and when, a customer doesn’t pay a bill. But, in fact, credit management starts much, much earlier than that — long before the two businesses even agree to work with each other, to be precise.  

The 3 Stages of Credit Management

Credit management falls, generally, into 3 broad stages, beginning with how new customers are assessed before you do business with them.

If you extend a line of credit to your customers, payable on a 30-day account, then a credit check is an imperative first step. But even if you don’t offer credit, a credit check should be a routine part of the new customer set-up process.

If you provide services to customers that aren’t paid for in advance or upon receipt, and you allow that customer between 14 and 30 days to pay your invoice, you’ve essentially just extended them a line of credit.

Indeed, it’s recommended that any business, whether they’re a sole trader, freelancer or independent contractor, carry out credit checks on any new, ongoing customer for jobs over the value of $1000.

Stage 1: Assessment

The assessment stage of good credit management involves taking the following steps:

    • Create credit application or work authorisation form
    • Establish terms of trade
    • Obtain a credit check

As long as the credit check doesn’t raise any issues of concern in relation to the business’ previous track record with paying suppliers on time, you can then decide to take them on as a client. From here you move to the next stage of credit management.

Stage 2: Management

This is the most involved stage of the credit management process, as it requires diligence to ensure your processes don’t slip. Some aspects of the management stage may require a phone call to your client to find out why they haven’t paid.

However, for the most part, cloud-accounting software has made it a lot easier to stay on top of your debtors. Ensure your process includes the following:

  • Prompt invoicing (as soon as goods / services have been provided)
  • Establish payment reminders, either by email or text
  • Send regular statements (if customer is on a 30-day credit account)
  • As soon as payment is overdue and in breach of terms of trade
  • Send to debt collection.

If you speak to your client twice about an overdue invoice / account, and they still don’t make payment within an agreed time, refer them to your debt collection agency, however harsh that may seem.

Stage 3: Enforcement

Although debt collection agencies can chase a debt that’s as much as 5 years old, the older the debt, the harder it is to collect payment.

As soon as a client is in breach of your terms of trade, and your other attempts to collect payment have failed, refer the debt to your collection agency.

If debt collection is unsuccessful, you should speak to your accountant or financial advisor about writing the debt off in your next tax return.

Good Credit Management Should Mean Few Phone Calls

credit management chasing payment
Avoid time-wasting and unpleasant phone calls by eliminating the chances of late payment through a professional credit management policy.

So the upshot of all this is a big part of a good credit management process is properly vetting all new customers before you do business with them. If this is the case, you should rarely have to pick up the phone to chase them for payment.

In that sense, credit management is not about getting on the phone. Rather, it’s about implementing a range of procedures for managing your debtors, and it begins before you even do any work for them.

We Can Help You Set Up Your Credit Management and Much More

Is your business yet to set up proper credit management systems?

Having the assistance of a reliable, experienced professional to help you do so may cost a lot less than you think. We have thoroughly-vetted, reliable bookkeepers across Australia, capable of setting up your systems so you can continue to do your bookkeeping yourself, or able to keep managing your daily or weekly bookkeeping and accounts.

In your office or in the Cloud

This can be done remotely or in person, with most of our bookkeepers tertiary qualified and able to assist in basic bookkeeping to more complex accounting tasks. These might include accounts receivable and payable and payroll, or financial strategising.

We also have registered BAS agents in our national directory. See our newly upgraded website, National Bookkeeping for more information.

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How much should a local bookkeeper charge?

What is a local bookkeeper worth?

I recently wrote a blog post about whether bookkeepers could also provide marketing services to their clients, which I also touched on in another recent post about starting a bookkeeping business and the need to be diverse in the services you offer as an independent contractor.

While brainstorming with Ray from the Startup Academy about the services bookkeeper charge and the rates they can earn we discovered that there is a huge variety of services that a bookkeeper can offer and as a result their rates differ. Continue reading How much should a local bookkeeper charge?

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Want to Earn a Thousand Bucks for Giving a Referral?

referral marketing
We’ve come across a great new referral marketing website that will pay you a grand for referring a colleague.

We’ve published numerous posts about referral marketing, which is an invaluable and cost effective way of marketing your business. In particular, we talked about LinkedIn. This is something that I, Steve Slisar, CEO of EzyLearn, am a big believer in — and so is small business marketing guru, Michael Griffiths.

You can learn more about using LinkedIn for referral marketing by attending one of Michael’s Sydney workshops and here’s a company willing to pay a good commission for referrals. Continue reading Want to Earn a Thousand Bucks for Giving a Referral?

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How Bad Do You Want It? (Money, That Is!)

invoicing small business
Don’t do all the hard work and not get paid for it: consult our checklist for what you can do to get paid – and faster.

If you’re working as a contractor and using an Australian business number (ABN), rather than a tax file number (TFN), you’re self-employed, and this means you will need to invoice your customers for the products or services you provide in order to get paid.

If you’ve only ever worked as an employee before, you’re probably used to being able to set your clock to payday, but unfortunately this isn’t often the case when you’re a contractor.

Getting paid late — or worse, not at all! — can seriously affect your cash-flow, and in turn, affect the success of your business, which is why we cover things like financial planning in our Small Business Management and Start Up Course.

Continue reading How Bad Do You Want It? (Money, That Is!)

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Setting Up Automatic Bank Feeds In Xero

Many accountants and businesses are now using Xero instead of MYOB so it's important for bookkeepers to be trained in this.
Many accountants and businesses now use Xero instead of MYOB.

In our last post we talked about the developments that have occurred over the last few years in the accounting software space; one of which was the introduction of Xero to the marketplace. Since then, a huge number of accountants and businesses have switched to Xero.

Xero has quickly gained momentum in the accounting software space, and while it’s important for bookkeepers to be skilled in MYOB, it’s becoming increasingly important that they’re also skilled in Xero as well. Continue reading Setting Up Automatic Bank Feeds In Xero

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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?

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Will vs Skill: How Desirable are Your Employees in the Workplace?

Employees possessing both will and skill are the most desirable in the workplace.
Employees possessing both will and skill are the most desirable in the workplace.

At EzyLearn, our flagship training course is the MYOB training course, which is sort of like an induction into the role of a bookkeeper in that it provides students with an overview of the duties typically carried out by a bookkeeper. Most of our students take our MYOB training course because they both want and need to know how to use the software in order to find work as a bookkeeper.

In the world of business training and coaching, this is called the Will vs. Skill Matrix. Employees who have both the will to succeed and the skill to succeed are highly desirable in the workplace.

Transparency, Will and Skill

Employees who have only one of those attributes, however, are less desirable. Helping staff maintain both the will and the skill to succeed in their jobs has a lot to do with how transparent you are as an organisation.

We’ve mentioned transparency in business before, notably in relation to induction training programs. Induction training programs are a highly efficient way to communicate easily and efficiently with your staff, while also testing their will and skill to succeed at their jobs.

While most induction training programs are used to merely address the requirements of the Work Health and Safety Act, or to induct contractors and consultants to a business’ premises, induction training programs can also be used to further your employees’ professional development.

Furthering your employees’ professional development can be done by providing your staff with online training courses that are relevant and useful to their jobs, such as a Word or Excel training course. By delivering this content online, it allows your staff to complete the course at their own pace, in an informal environment – at home or at their desk at work, rather than in a dedicated training centre on a dedicated day – and it also allows you to monitor their progress.

As the business owner, by being able to see how your employees are getting on with the training courses can illuminate areas where your staff could benefit from further training; it can also highlight those staff member who possess the will and the skill to succeed.

Those staff members who are have both the will and the skill to succeed in their jobs also happen to be highly engaged, and as we mentioned in a previous post, more productive.

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If you’re looking for ways to keep your staff highly engaged with your business, we can help you tailor and deliver highly engaging induction training courses to your staff. Visit our website for more information, or contact us today for a quote.

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Induction Training: What Info Should You Include?

You'll be surprised how much information new employees lack - something which can easily be remedied by an online induction program.
You’ll be surprised how much information new employees lack – something which can easily be remedied by an online induction program.

We’ve been talking about induction training a lot lately, and it’s because an induction training program is hugely important for all businesses, especially small businesses often using contractors or consultants. But induction training is also an important aspect of acclimatising a new employee to your organisation.

What’s Important for Newbies?

An induction training program should include all of the work health and safety measures that relate to your organisation, along with common information about where employees can find parking or the local café.

But most importantly, it should also include specific information that relates to a new employee’s department or position.

Things to include in your induction training program could be: who an employee reports to, how often the company carries out performance reviews, and what the pay cycle is.

This may seem overly basic, but these are common questions employees usually have when they start a new job. By providing this information upfront it demonstrates a level of transparency, and helps newcomers feel at ease – after all, there’s nothing more awkward that having to ask your new boss when you’ll be paid.

Your Employees’ Responsibilities

But you should also use your induction program as an opportunity to highlight the expectations and responsibilities of that new employee, by outlining their tasks and duties and when they’re expected to have them completed by.

You may have covered this in the interview process, but anecdotal evidence shows that the vast majority of new employees still don’t know what is expected of them until their first day on the job.

If their responsibilities and goals are still not properly communicated to them on their first day, they often spend the first few days and weeks uncertain about what they should be doing. This leads to frustration, which ultimately leaves them feeling disengaged and invariably wastes time and money – and they haven’t even started their job yet!

A properly executed induction training program helps to define the responsibilities and expectations of your employees, and also helps boost company morale and engagement – two important ingredients in any successful business.

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If you would like to learn more about induction training programs, visit our website or request a quote from us.