At EzyLearn we offer a handful of online training courses: Microsoft Office (Excel, Word, PowerPoint and Outlook), MYOB Accounting, and WordPress website design and blogging. There are many companies who promote courses online and that’s just what they do — promote courses online — but we try to be a little different.
We offer only a handful of courses and we do them very well
Our courses come with LIFETIME Membership
As a student you receive fresh, new content without paying extra
Where possible, we provide real life exercise files so you can work with the software.
Our Online Community
Our experience with thousands of students has taught us that some students need more interaction than just the videos. They also like to bounce off other people to better understand the software they are learning.
That’s why we provide our Student Community and Tutor Support — to provide our students with the ability to communicate with fellow students, as well as ask questions of our experienced community moderators. It’s like having your own tutor that you can ask questions to who can provide quality answers based on their own experience in their relative industries.
Our students range from job seekers to small business owners and existing bookkeepers wanting to learn more, to accountants who may be thinking of leaving the corporate world and setting up a small business for themselves (or even seeking greater work-life balance).
Our student support community is moderated by our MYOB Bookkeeper and Registered BAS agent, giving students the benefit of both communication with other course attendees (to socialise and to learn) as well as obtain answers to specific questions.
Our Student Community and Tutor Support is provided on a yearly membership basis and you can continue or opt-out as you please each year. The service is available to existing EzyLearn students or new students enrolling into any one of our courses.
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.
In a previous post we talked about your own online business opportunity and how you can buy EzyLearn enrolment vouchers for our MYOB training courses at wholesale price, that you can then sell on to your own clients and contacts at retail price. We have sold enrolment vouchers to other training organisations for some time, but it also presents an opportunity for bookkeepers to expand their services to include training for their clients. If you’re wondering why someone would want to sell another business’ products or service, then take a look at one of the most successful multi-level marketing businesses, which relies on people to do just that: Amway.
Amway: Topping $10 Billion
Founded in 1959, Amway is one of the worlds oldest and most prosperous multi-level marketing companies. Like other well-known multi-level marketing businesses such as Avon and Tupperware, Amway utilises a workforce of distributors (known as independent business owners, or IBOs), who directly market the Amway products to their own network of friends and contacts; Amway expands its network of distributors by encouraging their IBOs to recruit and train new people into the Amway business for which the IBO receives a fee.
IBOs purchase Amway products at wholesale prices, and then sell those products at the recommended retail price; the difference is the IBO’s to keep, and in many ways, the Amway business model isn’t that different from your typical bricks-and-mortar business that stocks and sells the products of other companies.
For years the success of the Amway business model relied entirely upon IBOs developing and building their own network of clients, to whom they sold the Amway products. If you’re familiar with the catchphrase, “Ding dong, Avon calling” this pretty much encapsulates how Amway, Avon and the distributors of many other multi-level marketing businesses, won and retained their customers — pounding the pavement and ringing doorbells.
And it was a pretty successful business model, too. According to Forbes, Amway’s revenue in 2012 had reached $10.9 billion worldwide, making them the twenty-fifth largest private company in America; in Australia and the Asia Pacific, Amway’s revenues totalled more than AUD$198 million, while the number of distributors topped more than 100,000 in Australia, alone.
Social Media to Target the Younger Generations
In 2010, however, Amway saw an opportunity to use Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms to expand their reach. As a business that relies on typical social networks to grow and develop their customer base, utilising social media to grow and develop their customer base online, made sense.
Where other organisations weren’t quite sure what to do with Facebook, Amway did as they had always done: cultivated good relationships with their customers. Their goal was to target a younger demographic that was not the typical Amway customer. Because social media platforms like Facebook naturally skew to a younger demographic, Amway’s decision to include social media in their marketing strategies paid off.
If you’re already working as a bookkeeper, you can expand your range of services and pick up some extra revenue in the process by selling EzyLearn’s enrolment vouchers. Contact us to find out more.
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 conceivablydo 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.
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.
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.
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.
If you spent money on Christmas pressies recently, you’re a small part in the continual climb of online trading in this country. Did you know that in 2012, the value of online trading in Australia reached $237 billion dollars? This represents a 25 percent increase year-on-year, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics. This increase in online revenue reflects the growing number of small businesses moving their operations online, either in part or entirely — and it’s largely thanks to new technologies facilitating e-commerce for small business.
The Growth of Online Businesses
Prior to 2006 the online marketplace was all but monopolised by the eBays and Amazons, organisations that had the resources to create the necessary infrastructure needed to allow customers to shop entirely online. After 2006, when we first moved our MYOB training courses online, offering a completely online shopping experience was just starting to gain popularity among the small players like ourselves; in the years since, it’s now pretty much become the norm.
As platforms like WordPress have made it possible to create and maintain a website without any design or HTML knowledge, theme clubs like Woo Themes, which provide web-themes to suit a range of different business types, now even include ecommerce plugins that can be linked with a PayPal account.
By offering you services online, you’re opening yourself up to an entirely global customer base, allowing you to offer new or different services than you did before. Since we moved our business online, we’ve also been able to build on our business — this year we added the highly popular Small Business Management Course to our suite of training courses, for example.
For some businesses, moving online is more of a necessity, a way to stay competitive in a world with ever-evolving technologies. For example, new cloud accounting software like Reach (and we offer a course in Reach Accounting too) makes it easier for small businesses to manage their own books, without needing the services of a bookkeeper.
For many bookkeepers this could spell doom and gloom, or it could provide them with the opportunity to venture into the business of training people on how to manage their own books. As a bookkeeper looking to extend their services into training as well, by setting up a website with an e-commerce facility, you could partner with us to sell vouchers to our training courses.
With a share of $237 billion up for grabs, now is a good time to consider offering your services online, particularly when it’s become so darn easy! We even offer WordPress training courses, which covers setting up ecommerce, so you’ve no excuse for missing out!
We offer training courses in MYOB, because it’s the market leader in accounting software and because it’s the preferred software of choice for most accountants. For start-ups or other small businesses, however, Zoho Books or Invoice might be all you need for your business, which is why we’re going to provide some videos on how to use Zoho.
Just What is Zoho Invoice?
For now, though, we’re going to look at the functions of Zoho Invoice. If you have recently started your own virtual assistant business or another business that really only requires you to invoice your clients, then Zoho Invoice is all you would really need.
The best thing about Zoho Invoice is that if you have 5 or fewer customers and only need access for one user, it’s completely free — forever. After that, the next step up is the standard plan, which allows you to have up to 500 customers and 3 users for $USD15 a month; the professional plan costs $USD30 with unlimited customers and unlimited users.
Even if you use the free plan, you can still access all of Zoho Invoice’s features, including time tracking, recurring invoices, expense, tracking, multi-currency, payment gateways and automated overdue payment reminders; you can even customise your invoices with your company logos and branding.
As your business grows, you can upgrade your plan to the standard or professional versions of Zoho Invoice, or even upgrade to Zoho Books if you’re in need of a more comprehensive piece of accounting software. There’s also an iPhone and Android app for Zoho Invoice, which allows you to create invoices on the go.
While Zoho is an American owned and operated company, you’re still able to customize the settings for an Australian business. This means you’re able to charge in Australian dollars, add GST, and you’re able input information like ABNs.
The downside is that there isn’t a local number for their customer service team, so you have to get in contact via email. That being said, Zoho has an online forum where you can ask and answer questions and they also provide a number of videos to help you with troubleshooting.
Overall, Zoho Invoice is a good piece of cloud-based invoicing software that is both inexpensive and highly functional. For a virtual assistant or a start-up that only needs to invoice customers, it sure beats the hell out of that tired, old Excel invoice! Stay tuned for more on Zoho and the Zoho Office Suite.
The Difference between Public Relations and Marketing
For some reason, marketing and PR are two activities that are often confused with one another. Perhaps that’s because many companies combine their marketing and PR departments, or maybe it’s because people don’t really understand what PR is.
At its most basic PR is the deliberate, planned and sustained effort to establish and maintain mutual understanding between an organisation and it’s public. Marketing, on the other hand, is the business of promoting and selling products or services, which includes market research and advertising.
It’s important to keep these two definitions in mind when undertaking either activity, because if there’s one thing PR is not, it’s selling, which is the ultimate goal of marketing.
That doesn’t mean that PR won’t result in eventual sales, but it shouldn’t be the primary objective of a PR campaign, (although it’s not uncommon for many established PRs to forget this subtle nuance between the two).
If it’s done right, PR is a great way to generate buzz about a new business or product, particularly for small businesses that may not have a huge marketing budget.
Simple Ways You Can Create a Buzz for Your Small Business
For a home-based bookkeeper or virtual assistant just starting out, PR activities to generate interest in your business could include holding an event with other home-based bookkeepers or virtual assistants and inviting local business owners along so you can educate them in the benefits of employing a remote worker.
The goal for an event like this would be to build relationships with your “publics” — people that may come to employ or use your services—but not necessarily to win new business on that particular day.
Alternatively, you could contribute to a few online business publications on what it’s like being a remote worker, or seek opportunities to be quoted in those publications.
Ultimately, that’s the goal of any PR campaign: to gain exposure for yourself or your business by educating and informing first. The selling part comes second, which is where PR differs substantially from marketing, of which the ultimate goal is to promote and sell.
If you’re a remote worker, why not give your business a PR boost in addition to your regular marketing activities — contact us and tell us your success story. In fact, this very blog is always looking to hear how our students are doing since completing one of our courses, so if you’re now working remotely as a bookkeeper or a virtual assistant, get in touch! It’s great exposure for your business.
We’ve mentioned before how we offer enrolment vouchers for our MYOB training courses, which we sell to training organisations and accountants. The idea is that accountants and other trainers can give their customers additional training without having to having to provide the materials and content themselves.
Are you a Bookkeeper? What about Becoming an Online Trainer Too?
But this also presents the opportunity for existing bookkeepers to extend their businesses into the area of online training. We’re looking to partner with existing bookkeepers who would like to provide online MYOB training courses, for which we’d provide the website, tailored to your business needs.
For bookkeepers, this allows you to extend your business beyond just bookkeeping, and use your knowledge and skills to train others in MYOB without having to provide the course content or the necessary infrastructure to facilitate an online training course to your students.
For EzyLearn, it gives us the opportunity to extend our reach and capture a larger pool of students we may not have previously been able to reach. It also fulfils our goal of helping bookkeepers start their own businesses and take control of their careers.
How Does It Work?
Sound interesting? This is how it would work: you register your interest in working with us, and we would have a conversation about your business goals. If both parties are happy to move forward, we’d provide you with a website, tailored to your needs, and sell you the initial stock — vouchers for EzyLearn’s famous MYOB training course, which you would then sell onto your clients.
The end result is a partnership where we provide the materials and infrastructure to operate a training business. What you do after that is entirely up to you. For instance, you might decide to bundle our online training course with one-on-one training, for which you’d charge extra for your time. The possibilities are endless!
We recommend MYOB Account Right Live in all of our MYOB training courses — not because it’s the latest version of the hugely popular MYOB software — but because it gives business owners the kind of data they need to run their business efficiently and securely.
We have previously blogged about how cloud accounting software now makes it so much easier for you to start a bookkeeping business from home; but it can also help existing business owners operate and grow their businesses.
Perhaps the biggest bonus with cloud accounting software is that you have access to information about your profits and expenses in real-time. This is enormously useful for small businesses to constantly track how they’re going and make any necessary changes.
From a Break-Even Bakery — to Owning 2 Successful Stores
We decided to take a look at how one business owner grew a moderately successful business into a totally thriving one by using cloud accounting software to track their expenses.
Cheryl and her husband, Jim, operated a small neighbourhood bakery in a busy block of local shops. Jim was the baker and pastry chef in residence, while Cheryl, who had previously worked as an account executive at an advertising firm, managed the office side of the business.
“I was used to budgets and targets, so it made sense that I would handle the admin side of the business,” Cheryl tells us. “But, coming from a large-scale ad agency, I had been spoilt for choice in the way of CRM and other software that tracked my sales in real-time,” she says. “I didn’t have any of that with the bakery. Just an outdated version of MYOB!”
Cheryl and Jim estimated that it would take them about a year before they would start to see any real traction with the bakery, but a year had come and gone, and they were still just breaking even.
“Jim would come in and go ‘we had a great day today, heaps of customers’ but at the end of the month we were still struggling with all the expenses, paying our staff and trying to pay ourselves a wage too,” Cheryl says. “Finally I asked my accountant what was going on and he just said ‘update your MYOB,’” she says.
Cheryl says that having access to data they had previously only received once it was too late was a game-changer. “This sounds funny, but I could see we were spending all this money on flour, but our sales didn’t reflect a need for it,” Cheryl laughs.
“Finally I asked my accountant what was going on and he just said ‘update your MYOB,’” Cheryl says.
“I asked Jim if he was over-ordering because that seemed like the logical answer, but he said he only ordered what was needed,” she says. “This led me to do some investigating.”
What the Data Revealed
Jim would bake an average of 75 loaves of bread a day, but sales records in MYOB showed they old sold an average of 40 loaves a day; Jim was baking twice as much bread as he needed and all left-over stock was thrown out at the end of the day.
“We were literally throwing our money away,” Cheryl says. “But it was a learning curve.”
Before long Cheryl and Jim implemented various other systems to track their stock, so they could better manage their expenses. Within a year, Cheryl and Jim had completely turned their business around.
“Now we have two shops,” Cheryl says. “Where before we struggled keeping just the one going. Being able to see what we were spending as we were spending it — that changed everything.”
Don’t run your business blind; use cloud accounting software, like MYOB Account Right Live, which allows you to see your accounts in real-time, safely and securely. Our MYOB training courses will get you up-to-speed with everything MYOB. Enrol today.
Where do you live? If you live on the east coast of Australia, there’s a good chance the National Broadband Network (NBN) is already available in your area, and if you’re not already connected, you should be. With high-speed internet piped straight into your home, completing one of our online MYOB courses or operating an home-based business that uses cloud accounting software like MYOB Account Right Live is a cinch.
The NBN will make it possible to share and upload files to online storage software like Dropbox and it will become commonplace to video conference with people locally and internationally. Further, slow download and upload times, or choppy video that stalls and jams will become a thing of the past.
The Growth of the NBN
However, according to the NBN Co, in December 2012 it was estimated that there was already some 34,500 homes connected to the NBN — out of the 758,000 homes and businesses where the NBN was already available, mind you. This is means there’s a great deal of Australians not connected to the NBN when they could be. The map on the right shows the areas of Australia where the NBN service is currently available. (You can find out more information on whether the NBN is available in your area by click on the map of visiting the NBN website.)
The advances in the education, business and even health industries, created by the NBN will be limitless. In the education space, particularly in the area of e-learning, online videos will become the delivery method of choice — and later, even live conferences between students and teacher. Though online video is being used more regularly than it was just five years ago, it’s not being used to its full capacity. But the NBN will change all of that; so you can say goodbye to reading an endless scroll of text on a webpage or printed learning materials.
Opening up the Use of the Cloud
The NBN also gives small businesses the ability to streamline their processes and procedures — previously reserved for large organisations that could afford the cost to implement them — with cloud-based softwares that make working with people from different sites, sharing data and even storing data, quick, easy and (importantly) viable — which accounting software like MYOB is already doing.
So if you haven’t done so already, find out if the NBN is available in your area (click on the map above to find out if your home can be connected to the NBN). If it turns out the NBN is available to your home the next step is simple: contact one of the NBN’s preferred service providers (a list is available on their website) who can help you make the switch; from there, it’s all systems go — you’ll be connected to a world of possibilities.