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Business Tips – Ideas to grow business sales

Business Tips – Ideas to grow business sales

Ideas to grow business sales

Here are a couple of ways your business can grow with some work and persistence!

Idea 1 – Add Complementary Products and Services
One way to increase sales and bring new customers to your sales base is adding new complementary products and services. But how do you decide what to add without turning your business into a third-rate department store?

Start by reviewing the definition of your business. For example, if you sell house siding, ask yourself, are you in the siding business or the exterior building materials business? The result may be that you redefine and expand your business to add gutters and downspouts, roofing and other coverings to your product line!
Another surprisingly simple way to build a list of new products or services is to ask your customers what else they might buy from you if your business sold it. A few friendly conversations with customers and staff will likely get you more information than thousands of dollars spent on professional customer surveys. Be sure to ask how much they would want to buy and how often to get a sense of whether the demand would be great enough to warrant the additional costs of building up this area of your business. (To learn how to build your network, read Small Business: It’s All About Relationships.)

Idea 2 – Look for New Market Niches
One way to find a new market niche is to seek alternative applications for your existing products and services, and we have a Cheez-y example of how this works. Kraft started out with a spreadable cheese product in a jar that could be spread on crackers for snacks – it was called Cheez Whiz. This was fine, but selling a cracker topping will only take you so far in this world. That’s why Kraft expanded the scope of Cheez Whiz and started promoting it as a base for a variety of dips and food toppings. Soon Cheez Whiz was an ingredient in all sorts of recipes. Kraft wasn’t satisfied with only human consumption though. One of the latest unique uses of Cheez Whiz comes from a California fishing lure and bait company that sells Cheez Whiz in a pre-packaged bait application, and it buys Cheez Whiz in 55 gallon drums!

If Kraft had stuck with the spreadable-cheese concept, sure, it would have covered a lot of crackers. But by thinking outside of its original intent, Kraft expanded the market and attracted customers it never would have targeted initially.

(Source and more Ideas Investopedia)

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Business Tips – Rise in revenue and business health – Businesses used their accountant as a business advisor

Business Tips - Rise in revenue and business health - Businesses used their accountant as a business advisor

Rise in revenue and business health – Businesses used their accountant as a business advisor

Rose Powell reports in SMEs can make better use of their accountant to boost their bottom line “For the third of business owners who worked with an accountant as an advisor, one in five (21%) saw a rise in their revenue over the last year.” Rose also wrote – “Small business operators who used their accountant as a business advisor last year were 31% more likely to see an earning uplift, according to new research from the 2013 MYOB Business Monitor.

The vast majority of the 1005 business owners surveyed, 89% used an accountant last year.

Only 32% of owners reported having an advisory or consultative relationship with their accountant, compared with the 57% whose relationships were for compliance only, such as tax return completion or GST reporting. Just 11% did not have an accountant…”

Adam Ferguson, general manager of the accountants division at MYOB, told StartupSmart that using an accountant as an advisor was especially valuable for start-up companies.”

“The start-up phase of a business is very different to when it’s up and running. In that phase, your accountant can help with things like creating a business plan, applying for business loans, building out your business case,” says Ferguson.

For start-ups who are already in operational phase, the increasing use of cloud accounting systems enables accountants to provide feedback and ask the right questions about compliance and cash flow.

Ferguson says cloud accounting means compliance is no longer a year-end process, and increasingly a monthly one. This makes them well placed to advise on cashflow questions.

“An accountant can play a key role in helping a start-up, reporting on cash flow on a more regular basis, and understanding the dynamics that drive cashflow,” says Ferguson.

The report found companies that worked with an accountant as an advisor were less concerned about attracting and retaining customers, and were more likely to increase their overall investment in their business strategies.

Once you’ve got your cash flow healthy, it becomes a question of how to use that and where to invest that to grow my business,” says Ferguson.

Over half, 53%, said they found their accountant advisor provided useful advice on how best to manage the money that flows through their businesses.

So talk and work with your accountant – if you need a recommendation, call us for FREE help!

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Business Tips – Consistency in Marketing – Having an overall consistent message in marketing

Business Tips – Consistency in Marketing – Having an overall consistent message in marketing

Consistency in Marketing – Having an overall consistent message in marketing

Like most business owners, you needs clients, but having consistency in marketing is hard when you find you can’t stop to get them! It feels like you’re being pulled in many different directions (both personally and professionally) that you can’t find the time to have an overall consistent message in marketing.

When it comes to marketing, what is most effective for businesses these days? It used to be you could pay a lump of money annually (or break it into monthly payments) for a Yellow Pages ad and the phone would ring. Or attending a local networking event from time to time. But things have changed. There are so many choices, and advertising doesn’t really seem to work anymore, at least not in the traditional way. Most of us are not outgoing and hate the idea of reaching out and “selling” our services .

So, for many, the marketing just doesn’t happen.

Problem – Yet we know it’s necessary to market our business to build and grow a stable income and reach our goals. But given the time and budget limitations, how can we get past the marketing hurdle?

Answer – Do small consistent tasks that don’t take much time. When you approach it this way, you’ll actually get BETTER results!

In this age of online technology, doing small actions consistently is one of the BEST ways to get and keep your marketing rolling to consistently attract new clients and grow your business.

Some quick and effective things to do that you can spread out over a week, ONE per DAY. And then repeat the process!

  • Create / Update Your LinkedIn Profile – This is a most powerful social media profile you can have for your business. Get it done one chunk at a time.
  • List your business in one new online business directory – These get picked up by the search engines and you never know who will find you this way. Most are free or low cost. Be sure to include a key benefit you have to offer that sets you apart from your competition. This works for both local and virtual bookkeepers.
  • Make one or two phone calls per day to a present or past client – The point here is to talk to someone just to warm up the connection and let them know you are available if they have a need. This also works for connecting with colleagues, strategic networking partners, and any business connections you have or want to establish.
  • Update your Association/Industry profile – If you’re a Certified X (your industry) (or have a listing in any other type of certification or partner program directory) update or improve your profile information so it is appealing to potential clients who see it. Maybe make a special offer that is time sensitive.
  • Making connections in  Social Media like Twitter – Start following people you would like to make a real connection with. Then start sharing (tweeting) helpful information that would be useful to the type of clients you want to attract. Ultimately, you will want to be spending a little time on Twitter daily, if possible.

Getting the word out about your services so it can reach the customer/clients who need your help can be a lot of work, but the load is much lighter when you can approach it just one small action at a time. When it becomes a habit, you will build a true, rock-solid business as a result.

Marketing is not something that should be done all at once and then stop when you get too busy.

Try out this simple daily plan above, and see if it works for you.

Do you already have a daily marketing routine that works well for you? Tell us your tips!

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Business Tips – Borrow or loan? Pay cash or finance / loan for stock or equipment?

Business Tips – Borrow or loan? Pay cash or finance / loan for stock or equipment?

Borrow or loan? Pay cash or finance / loan for stock or equipment?

At a local Meet-Up (www.meetup.com), we had an interesting discussion about mistakes we’ve made in business. For example: Whether to pay outright or borrow for stock/equipment.

The example one business gave was paying outright for equipment that would be sign-written to advertise another business (he organized advertising for businesses). The issue was that spending $10,000 on the equipment took all the spare money the business owner had, while the payment for the advert was monthly over a multi-year contract.

Hindsight showed that it would have been better to get a loan for the equipment, then add his mark-up for the advert and service on top of the monthly re-payments, and he would still have his $10,000 to use for cashflow and marketing.

Have you had a similar experience?

What Better Business Decisions can you share?

DOWNLOAD a FREE “Bookkeeping Quarter Checklist” to get organised! CLICK HERE

Need help? Not sure? Call for FREE 30min advice / strategy session today!

Email info@accountkeepingplus.com.au or call 0407 361 596 Australia


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Business Tips – Growing – Low cost Marketing with a Lucrative Partner

Business Tips – Growing - Low cost Marketing with a Lucrative Partner

Business Tips – Growing – Low cost Marketing with a Lucrative Partner

Here are some great tips from Bryan Janeczko at Score.com – about finding a partner that can help grow your business.

When I was trying to get noticed after I launched NuKitchen, the online diet service, I tried just about everything to generate sales. One sure technique that I ‘discovered’- which kept a pipeline of new customers coming in the door – was a partnership with a more established business. For us, one of our first partners was Related, a large real estate holding company that owned a string of high rise apartment buildings in New York and the Equinox Fitness chain. Their clients were exactly the same type of customers we were targeting. Establishing a partnership with these folks was one of the best ways for us to get noticed, maintain a continuous flow of potential clients, and ultimately drive sales.

Finding established, recognized names of businesses who are also targeting your customer base, is one of the surest ways to drive your startup sales. Like Related was for me, these businesses already have a customer base that you can tap into. As a startup, however it can be tricky getting them to notice you, let alone partner with you, so I’ve identified 3 tips for landing a lucrative partner:

  1. Identify 5 partners that can drive value for you: Once you’ve identified your target customer, think about established brands in your community who are also targeting your ‘customer’. You’ll want to identify partners in complementary businesses, not necessarily businesses competing directly in your area. Be on the lookout for those potential partners with great reputations. Who would be your ideal partner? Write down the top 5 who you think could most strongly deliver your ideal customers. If you know somebody senior at the business, reach out to that contact but if not, find out who the Director of Business Development is.
  2. Create value for your partner: In order for the partner to listen to you, you’ll need to have a product or service in market (or at least a working prototype). Most businesses won’t risk their reputation if you’ve simply got an ‘idea’. This was actually that case with me when I initially approached Equinox with the NuKitchen concept. I hadn’t yet launched it so they said come back later once you’re in the market. This is exactly what I did- returned a year later as I launched NuKitchen and created a compelling offer for their gym clients. We would provide ‘free’ food tastings at each gym and provide members with a complimentary day of NuKitchen service in exchange for being able to promote our company. They were happy because their members got a valuable benefit. For your own business, what special value add or discount will you offer to your target partner for their clients? Whatever you offer, make sure that you can deliver. Remember, it’s not just your reputation but that of your established partner as well.
  3. Make implementation ‘easy’: Finally, coming up with a compelling offering is great and both parties may get excited. However, the real work is in the execution. Chances are that your Business Development contact is going to be super busy carrying out his or her daily duties. Make it easy on them and do as much of the legwork as possible. Draft an implementation schedule with proposed dates. This may require a little bit of guesswork on your part since you may not have intimate knowledge of their inner workings. My biggest piece of advice is to be flexible since things can take longer than expected or take different twists or turns.

Need help? Not sure?

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Business Tips – How recognition of employees helps your business and should be the TOP priority

Business Tips – How recognition of employees helps your business and should be the TOP priority

How recognition of employees helps your business and should be the TOP priority

Recognition of Employees should be a top priority of your business – both for the benefit of them and for the business health and happiness! Here are some findings from research and authorities – around the globe and Australia (our emphasis added) –

Stuart Hearn at business.com writes – A recent workplace study conducted by Clear Review, a performance review software system, found the number one workplace frustration to be a lack of appreciation regarding effort and performance. A remarkable 40 percent of employees, from a diverse range of fields and positions, stated that employee recognition was simply not a priority in their business, something that limited their motivation to truly excel.
We have known for a long time that employee recognition is a critical aspect of performance management. As a result, many companies make it a point to acknowledge employee performance during monthly check-ins. But how can employee recognition benefit a company? And how can you give your employees the appreciation they deserve?
Employee recognition improves engagement levels
Many sources will attest to the fact that recognition is a fundamental human need. In order to feel engaged at work, we need to know that what we are doing actually matters, and that it is appreciated. Without this knowledge, employees consider their role purposeless, and employee engagement levels within your organization will plummet. In fact, recognition has consistently been shown to be a top engagement driver. If, however, you dedicate time and resources toward developing an employee recognition program, employees will become more loyal and positive toward their company.
To further demonstrate the effect of recognition on employee engagement, we can look to the following facts and figures:
An Australian Company, Red Balloon, performs quarterly surveys and in one report finds –
There are six basics or standards required to deliver on expectations and start to engage a workforce; our suggestion is that organisations that do not include these activities as part of their engagement mix stand little chance of breaking past average levels of engagement.
  • Training and Development Programs
  • Recognition Programs
  • Non-Cash Rewards & Incentives
Training and Development is of particular interest as organisations that do not invest in it are highly unlikely to have an employee engagement score of over 40.
  • Parental Leave
  • Time off for Study
  • Flexible Working Arrangements
These last three activities are core ingredients of engagement because organisations scoring <40% are just as likely to invest in them as 80%+ organisations. Investing in them is now a standard that has little uplift in terms of engagement scores but would definitely have a negative effect if not invested in or taken away once they were in place.
What are your thoughts and experience?
Not sure? Call for FREE 30min advice / strategy session today!
Call and you also get FREE “Avoid these GST mistakes” – There’s 18 that the Tax Office see regularly – Get them right!
Email info@accountkeepingplus.com.au or call 0407 361 596 Australia


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Business Tips – How Recognition of employees helps your business and should be the TOP priority

Business Tips – How Recognition of employees helps your business and should be the TOP priority

Business Tips – How Recognition of employees helps your business and should be the TOP priority

Recognition of Employees should be a top priority of your business – both for the benefit of them and for the business health and happiness! Here are some findings from research and authorities – around the globe and Australia (our emphasis added) –

Stuart Hearn at business.com writes – A recent workplace study conducted by Clear Review, a performance review software system, found the number one workplace frustration to be a lack of appreciation regarding effort and performance. A remarkable 40 percent of employees, from a diverse range of fields and positions, stated that employee recognition was simply not a priority in their business, something that limited their motivation to truly excel.

We have known for a long time that employee recognition is a critical aspect of performance management. As a result, many companies make it a point to acknowledge employee performance during monthly check-ins. But how can employee recognition benefit a company? And how can you give your employees the appreciation they deserve?

Employee recognition improves engagement levels

Many sources will attest to the fact that recognition is a fundamental human need. In order to feel engaged at work, we need to know that what we are doing actually matters, and that it is appreciated. Without this knowledge, employees consider their role purposeless, and employee engagement levels within your organization will plummet. In fact, recognition has consistently been shown to be a top engagement driver. If, however, you dedicate time and resources toward developing an employee recognition program, employees will become more loyal and positive toward their company.

To further demonstrate the effect of recognition on employee engagement, we can look to the following facts and figures:

  • Businesses that spend as little as 1 percent of payroll on recognition have a 79 percent greater likelihood of seeing more positive financial results.

 

An Australian Company, Red Balloon, performs quarterly surveys and in one report finds –

There are six basics or standards required to deliver on expectations and start to engage a workforce; our suggestion is that organisations that do not include these activities as part of their engagement mix stand little chance of breaking past average levels of engagement.

  • Training and Development Programs
  • Recognition Programs
  • Non-Cash Rewards & Incentives

Training and Development is of particular interest as organisations that do not invest in it are highly unlikely to have an employee engagement score of over 40.

  • Parental Leave
  • Time off for Study
  • Flexible Working Arrangements

These last three activities are core ingredients of engagement because organisations scoring <40% are just as likely to invest in them as 80%+ organisations. Investing in them is now a standard that has little uplift in terms of engagement scores but would definitely have a negative effect if not invested in or taken away once they were in place.

What are your thoughts and experience?

Not sure? Call for FREE 30min advice / Strategy session today!

Call and you also get FREE “Avoid these GST mistakes” – There’s 18 that the Tax Office see regularly – Get them right!

Email info@accountkeepingplus.com.au or call 0407 361 596 Australia