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basically business Newsletter 2018

Every month we send subscribers our basically business newsletter. Each newsletter contains easily implemented business tips and advice as well as an interview with a small business owner. To ensure you receive your copy first sign up here

May 2018

April 2018

March 2018

February 2018


Goal Setting for the New Year

Are you getting smashed by goal setting emails at the moment?

The more emails I receive the bigger the failure I feel.
I even took time out to spend on identifying the things I want to do, be and have in 2018, and I still feel inadequate.

So, I decided enough is enough. It’s time for goal setting on my terms.
And that’s what it should be. YOUR TERMS!

All those free downloads and the checklists are someone else’s process for goal setting and sure you might find one that works for you among the multitude of web pages but ultimately you have to trust yourself to know what is right for you.

Last week I spent some time reflecting on a year that was, in simple terms, uncomfortable. Further pondering has led me to accept that there were positive times and that if I didn’t learn the lessons thrust upon me, I can at least acknowledge the awareness of them. I read an article that reminded me not to dwell on the mistakes I had made during the course of the year as I had probably already beat myself up enough at the time and that there was no point in doing so again. That was freeing!! So, I give you permission to dump it all too – RIGHT NOW!

Setting goals is a journey that we take control of, rather than letting life and circumstances control us.

I acknowledge that the scientific facts and the blind tests and whatever other mind-altering experiments all prove that goal setting works and the clearer you are in determining your goals the more likely the chance that they will come to fruition. But like most things in life it doesn’t have to be complicated. Unfortunately we have been led to believe that the more complex and convoluted it is the better the outcome. And while SIMPLIFY is not my word for 2018, simplifying should be a process we all undertake, daily. (By the way my word for 2018 is CONNECT)

The entire process can be as simple as 1 – 2 – 3.
1 – Start with an idea – something better for ourselves.
2 – Choose to have it make an impact on our lives.
3 – Create the plan.

Ideas will never come to pass without us taking some action towards their implementation.

We write it, we read it, we take steps to make it happen. The more we write it and read it and take steps the more likely it will happen. Logical and simple!

And then comes the kicker!!

It’s here where we start to get ahead of ourselves – if it’s that simple why not create 10, 15 or more goals.
All of a sudden our journey is hijacked, we get overwhelmed and nothing is achieved. I know I’ve been here before, I have the templates and guidelines to prove it.

So this year, along with my word of the year, I created simple statements for the major areas of my life where I am looking to improve. And upon review, these statements already included specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely actions – who would have thought?!
The final step for me now is to set reminders in my calendar (and phone) to check in and review both my plans and myself to keep on the right track.

 

Enjoy the journey, and if goal setting just becomes all too hard – keep in mind that you are enough, just as you are, right now.

Let me know your successful goal setting processes.

 

As an online business manager I am mentoring a small number of business owners during 2018 so if you are seeking assistance or accountability, connect with me to ensure your success.

The Importance of Business Branding

White office, whiteboard

Branding is more than just a logo – when people hear your name they conjure up a set of impressions that influence how they think and buy.

What are people saying about you?

SO what is BRANDING?

Branding is everything! 

It’s the process involved in creating a unique name and image for a product or service in the consumers’ mind that signifies and differentiates itself from others.

Branding is a perception.

And in the words of Darryl Kerrigan – it’s the vibe.

 

Many businesses assume that putting together a logo and a tagline is enough to encourage customers to come running but it is SO much more! When done right your brand is your promise to your customers.

Defining your brand story is the first step towards creating the impression that you wish your customer to perceive.  It’s your why that becomes the starting (and ending) point and it is from here that taglines, logos and colours are created.

Graphic designers will use your story to create a mood that will resonate with potential clients. Knowing what colours stirs which emotions helps in the process but choosing 3-5 colours will avoid confusing customers.  Research now also shows that fonts can create certain moods.

Foe example, using pale pink colours with a curly script for a defined target market of 40-50 year old males is not a good branding decision even if, as the brand owner that is your favourite. Or using dark browns and blues with block font for 14-16 year old girls.

Additionally creating a logo that quickly identifies your brand is not always easy. It should be able to be replicated in all print formats including screen and embroidery. A logo doesn’t have to define your business name – that is what a tagline is for.

Your logo, font and colours make up your design pallet and by sticking to this pallet across the various social media and online platforms you display consistency with your messaging. If you choose to use traditional forms of print advertising/marketing these same details come into play.

 

The aim is to protect and project your brand through every representation of your business in the marketplace. Eg emails, voice messages, website. This also applies to members of your team.

 

Branding is also how you dress when meeting (potential) customers/clients. If you are a professional brand or relaxed and casual will determine the choices you make in presenting you and your brand. If you make and sell surfboards meeting a client in thongs is acceptable, not so if you are presenting to a Board of Directors.

It’s how and what you say in public and online. Are you well-spoken or is slang a part of you and your brand?

Branding can be about the value you add in every exchange. Some brands include notes or samples when posting orders to customers. It can be as simple as “Is there anything else I can help you with today?”

A well-managed brand will create a strong emotional connection within the marketplace, and a strong emotional connection attracts and fosters loyal customer behaviour.

Make sure that at every moment your brand conveys the message you want to be sending.

Marketing is what you do
Branding is what you are

 

Contact us for a free 15 minute consultation to discuss ways of conveying your brand message to your customers. Book now


basically business Newsletter 2017

Every month we send our subscribers our basically business newsletter. Each newsletter contains easily implemented business tips and advice as well as an interview with a small business owner. To ensure you receive your copy first sign up here

November 2017

October 2017

September 2017

August 2017

July 2017

June 2017

May 2017

April 2017

March 2017

February 2017


Invoicing and your Business

basic invoicing

Spreadsheets work too!

In order to maintain cash flow in your business it is important to invoice your customers promptly and ensure that the payment process is easy.

This process should begin from the first customer transaction by including your terms and conditions at the proposal/quotation stage.

You should take steps to obtain all your customers business (and if necessary personal) information to set up their account.

Invoice Information

Your invoice should have all the information your customer needs to know to pay you on time and as well as details for your own bookkeeping.

 

Business details to include

  • business name and if applicable trading name
  • postal address and or email address, website address, contact telephone and facsimile numbers
  • Australian Business Number (ABN) or Australian Company Name (ACN)

 

Customer details to include

  • customer’s contact details including mailing and/or email address and phone number
  • customer number (if applicable)
  • details of the person that placed the order
  • name of the person responsible for paying the invoice. Addressing the invoice to the right person may help in getting faster payment
  • a purchase order number (if applicable) or contract agreement dates. A PO is your customers reference to the account and may be required when talking with your customer about the order.

 

The Invoice

  • The date you raise and send the invoice. This is especially important if your invoice has payment terms such as ’30 days from invoice date or 30 days from End of Month’.
  • Invoice number. This is useful for your bookkeeping records, as a reference if talking to your customer or when following up unpaid invoices.
  • Job number (if applicable).
  • Goods and Services Tax (GST) If you are registered for GST you must include this on your invoice. The document must be called a Tax Invoice. The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) requires specific company and sales information to be included to issue a valid tax invoice.
    If you are not registered for GST you can only issue an invoice.
  • amount due
  • description of goods. List the products or services provided.
    Itemising can help if referring back to the invoice at a later date.
  • payment terms
  • payment due date
  • payment options, standard options are direct deposit, credit card, EFTPOS, cash
  • direct banking details, BSB number and bank account number, bank account name. The bank and branch may be included but are not necessary.
  • reference detail to be included in the transaction to identify their payment. This will assist with bookkeeping records.

 

Using accounting software

There are many paid and free accounting software packages that will generate invoices from the business information that you completed in the set-up process. Ensure that all customer information is recorded correctly.

 

Basic processes for fast payment

To encourage your customers to pay your invoices on time your business should:

  • invoice in a timely manner. For ongoing/recurring services invoice on the same date each month or at regular intervals. For goods and services invoice when the order is completed.
  • consider invoicing at the start of large projects by obtaining a deposit.
  • stay in contact with customers, good customer service will go a long way to resolve any disputes early. It is also a good opportunity to ensure client information is kept up to date.
  • include your payment options and details on all invoices.
  • follow up promptly if payments are over the due date.

 

Record Keeping

It is not necessary that you pay for or use online software accounting packages. Many businesses can and do operate on sending invoices from templated word documents and updating their record keeping on spreadsheets. What is necessary is ensuring that the correct information is recorded on all documentation.

 

If you need assistance with your bookkeeping or would like a basic spreadsheet to keep your records out of an old shoebox, contact Baillie Admin Services


Are you running your BUSINESS? Or is your business running YOU?

Do I really need a Virtual Assistant?

Think about this –

You have no life outside of your business

You are in constant overload

You’ve missed important milestones in your business and personal life

You have an admin pile – not a file

You’re spending too much time on tasks you don’t understand

You’re doing things you don’t love in your business

Your routine tasks are boring you

You have no time for business development

You’ve blown a business opportunity because you missed a deadline

You no longer have time to be creative

You’re missing the fun part of your business

Did you find yourself answering yes to these statements?
Download the Checklist Do I need a Virtual Assistant?.

 

You thought that when you started your business you could have that work/life balance that everyone talks about. You would spend dedicated time on your business and then be able to make the transition to home life – clean and simple. You would even be able to see the kids’ performances at school. However without knowing just when it happened, you have found that the majority of your time is spent working and you are now spending very little time relaxing, socialising, enjoying family time, etc. Chances are, even when you do take time for yourself you are still worrying about all of the things that aren’t getting done.

 

You started your business because you had a passion or a great idea, you probably didn’t realise that the administration side of your business could and would take over from what you are actually trying to achieve. You know that there are so many administrative tasks in your business that you can’t, you won’t, you shouldn’t and you don’t do – that your time is better spent working on the revenue raising aspects of your business so why would you spend that time on Google and YouTube trying to educate yourself on a task or wasting your precious time on those routine tasks that are so boring. You know the hourly value of your time why use it doing something you hate – usually anything to do with your accounts. Sure all these tasks must be completed but is it really necessary that they are completed by you.

 

Now that your business is booming you have a list of all these wonderful ideas in your head that you would like to implement into your business. Unfortunately unless you are taking time out to consider strategic planning as well as business development, which includes attending networking events, your business will not continue to grow.

 

It’s also possible you’ve become so overwhelmed with doing business that you are no longer following your passion for your business. It all started out as fun but somewhere along the line it’s become a chore. You are probably alternating between feeling like you are in constant overload and feeling guilty that you are not giving your attention to the situation at hand.

 

These are sure signs you are in need of someone to take a bit of the burden – a virtual assistant can be handling your everyday tasks while you work on what’s important. Imagine knowing that even when you’re spending time with family and friends or taking a vacation, or attending client meetings that things aren’t going undone. That’s the peace of mind working with a virtual assistant can give you. A virtual assistant can help you implement those new ideas. And, if you’re still not sure, try keeping a log of what you do for a week and see where you are spending your time (and perhaps where you are losing the opportunity to make money).

 

Baillie Admin Services is available for your outsourcing needs for one off or ongoing projects. Call today to discuss your particular needs.


Asking for Customer Testimonials

 

Your Customers Feedback

Some clients will stay with your business forever and some customers will only use your products or services once but every one of them can give you a testimonial. These can be a great source of feedback to improve your service and a great insight for new clients.

Testimonials from your customers are an important business tool as it gives potential customers/clients insight on your offered services. Any positive comment received can and should be considered for use as a testimonial for your website or social media. You may even use it with any promotional material that you send out to prospects/clients.

Always ask clients for permission before publishing their comments about your service.

Asking for a testimonial

You may feel awkward asking for a testimonial but you will find it gets easier each time you ask. Many of your customers also feel awkward because whilst they love what you do for them they don’t always know what to write.

The following is the script that I send to clients when I request a testimonial – the reply I always get is that they are grateful for the assistance.

 

“Hi [NAME]

I was hoping that you would be able to provide me with a testimonial for [WORK COMPLETED]- it is through testimonials from my existing clients that I am able to give prospective clients an idea of how I can assist them.  

 

I know how hard it can be to write a testimonial so if it’s needed I have included the following to help – these questions may assist in completing the template below –   

 

  1. What were your concerns before using our service – how did you feel after contacting us?
  2. What did you love about the service – how were we able to help you?
  3. How did you feel after receiving our service?
  4. Would you recommend [YOUR BUSINESS] to anyone?

 

With your answers complete this easy template!

 

I approached [YOUR BUSINESS] because… 

[YOU] helped me by… 

The result was… 

One thing I liked was their… 

I found the experience… 

I would recommend [YOUR BUSINESS] to people who need…

 

And you’re done! And thanks so much!”

 

You may even like to ask for a photo to use when publishing the testimonial.

Social Media Reviews

If your client is a social media user you may also like to request that they post a review to your business page or if they post a status update from their own profile ensure that the status is marked for public viewing. If they are a LinkedIn user also request that they endorse your services.

If you would like assistance in obtaining testimonials from former and current clients, contact Baillie Admin Services to discuss how we can help.

 


25 Content Ideas for your Newsletter

email newsletter

You may have got to the stage in your business where you are thinking of adding a newsletter as part of your ongoing marketing efforts.

Before even looking at content you will need to set your goals and how and what to measure. You will need to identify why you are sending the newsletter – is it for educating and informing or is it purely sales?

Spam or No Spam

It’s important you don’t send unsolicited emails to anyone particularly from a personal email account. This is spam, and not only is it annoying, it’s illegal. Using a newsletter campaign software program such as Mail Chimp gives your subscribers the opportunity to unsubscribe should they wish. You can also track delivery successes, open rates, click through rates, and see which links get the most clicks. A good manager will also allow you to track which subscribers are opening your messages and which users are ignoring you.

How often you plan on sending your newsletter will determine how many topics to include, which will then determine how much time and effort it will take to put it all together.

Content Ideas

Here are 25 content ideas for your newsletter –
1. Personal note from your business
2. Editorials
3. How to’s
4. Latest product release / Product Spotlight
5. Sales
6. Promotions / Special Offers / Competitions / Contests / Giveaways
7. Tips
8. Link to blogs – yours and guests
9. Customer stories / Testimonials
10. Company updates / Employee introduction / Behind the scenes
11. Industry news
12. Questions from customers and your Answers
13. Quotes
14. Sponsor/Partnership Advertisements
15. Statistics
16. Polls/Surveys
17. Events
18. Reminders on key dates
19. Photos
20. Reader submitted photo of your product
21. Videos
22. Reviews
23. Links to your website and social media platforms
24. Interview with inspirational people (relevant to audience)
25. Funnies – jokes, comics, trivia

Thinking about the information that your target audience would like/needs to know will help you decide on what content to include. Keep in mind your subscribers may not be in the position to spend large quantities of time reading massive amounts of content so it’s not recommended to include all the above content ideas in the one newsletter.

And importantly, as with all your marketing efforts ensure that you are consistent with your branding.

If you need assistance or would like to outsource your newsletter process contact Baillie Admin Services.


5 Mistakes Small Business Make on Social Media

5 MISTAKES ON SM

Social media is here to stay and it’s a cost effective opportunity that small business can tap into to grow brand awareness and the bottom line.

Unfortunately many businesses make these five common mistakes on social media that can easily be avoided. If you are guilty of making these mistakes, don’t despair because the remedy to repair them is available.

Ok let’s face it there are more than five but it’s no point alarming you too much.

 

Build it and they will come

Many businesses mistakenly believe that all they have to do is set up a business page on any and all social media platforms and the profits will start rolling in. Business owners know that when potential customers search their social media platform of choice their small business will show up in the results and ultimately customers will find all the relevant information needed that will lead them to their business point of sale. We covered the importance of having a social media presence in a previous post Hello, are you out there?

However, building your social media business page it is only the first step. Unfortunately once the page is established many small business owners fall into the next mistake….

 

No commitment to a long term social media strategy

Sure the customer can find you on social media but today’s consumer is looking for more information and requires as much as 18 touch points before making a purchase. Your social media business page is only one of those points. If you have taken a set and forget approach to your social media platforms then your customer is going to go elsewhere to be informed and entertained.

Using social media requires a constant and consistent approach. With a well-constructed strategy the time you spend on social media for your business can be used wisely that will prevent the next mistake of…

 

Post Overload

With no strategy many business owners jump onto their social media platforms once a week and publish and share multiple posts within minutes. The followers who have stuck around have now been bombarded with your inconsistent messages and posts that they don’t bother reading, let alone engaging with. Most will scroll right past your information and some will move immediately to unfollow.

If once a week is the only time you have to spend on updating your followers then look to schedule your messages so that your audience is drip fed the information over the course of the week/month. The other alternative that many small businesses fall into is the next mistake of….

 

Post Ghost Town

With no commitment to a long term strategy there are those business pages that have been left derelict for days, weeks and months at a time. You can see from the timeline if the business has made the commitment to keep their followers informed. When you come across these pages you are left with the impression that the business is no longer operating or they just don’t care about their customers.

Your business page is not there for you it is for your customers, that leads to the mistake of….

 

Ignoring your Followers

Your social media business page is an opportunity to interact with your consumers and just as you wouldn’t ignore a potential customer on the shop floor, neither should you ignore them on social media platforms. It irks me as a small business owner when I visit pages, of both large and small businesses, that have received comments, questions and messages from their followers with no response from the business – even if the page is managed by someone other than the business owner.

It is a simple customer service action to acknowledge the engagement and will leave your follower feeling valued who is more likely to engage with you on a regular basis and from that contact a relationship will be established that hopefully will result in a sale.

 

Once you get these mistakes sorted you will find that your social media efforts move from being a time sink operation to an organised process driving brand awareness, customer engagement and ultimately profits.

Have you made these mistakes on social media?

 

If you require assistance with repairing these mistakes across your social media platforms, then Baillie Admin Services can define and develop a custom designed social media service covering strategy, management and marketing to meet yours and your customer’s needs. Your business is unique and your social media strategy should be too.


Spying on the Competition

eyes

 

Let’s face it, some weeks you post and post and there is just no action on your Facebook page yet you think your competitor is just killing it with massive reach and engagement!!

 

BECOMING A SPYMASTER

Do you want to know their secret?

There are a few options whereby you can research your competitor’s page to see what they are doing and replicate it for your page and for this post we will look at Pages to Watch.

 

THE RECONNAISSANCE 

If at least 100 people like your Page, you can create a list of Pages to watch that easily allows you to compare the performance of your Page with similar Pages on Facebook. Keep in mind that you need to choose at least 5 Pages to watch to see insights about them.

To create a list of Pages to watch:

  1. Click Insights at the top of your Page
  2. Click Overview
  3. Scroll down to Pages to Watch and click Add Pages
  4. Search for a Page you want to watch or choose from Facebooks suggested Pages and click + Watch Page
  5. After choosing at least 5 Pages, click Done

When you add a Page to watch, the people who manage the Page will get a notification. This notification won’t include your name or the name of your Page.

You can add up to 100 pages so make sure you include pages outside of your industry that are performing well.

To stop watching a Page:

  1. Click Insights at the top of your Page
  2. Scroll down to Pages to Watch
  3. Hover over the Page you want to remove and click x

Review your Pages to Watch regularly – check out how often they post, what they post and what type of engagement they get.

 

THE COVERT OPERATION 

To review your list of Pages to Watch:

  1. Click Insights at the top of your Page
  2. Click Overview
  3. Scroll down Pages to  Watch
  4. Click on a Page you watch to see the top posts of the week

To review the Top 5 posts from ALL of your Pages to Watch:

  1. Click Insights at the top of your Page
  2. Click Posts
  3. Scroll across to tab Top Posts from Pages You Watch

 

THE DEBRIEF

Don’t copy your competitors post directly but use the ideas and information to amend your strategy.

You should already be using a variety of post types, including text, links photos and video so it may only be a matter of tweaking what you are already doing.

 

If you require assistance with your social media management, Baillie Admin Services offers management packages to suit your business.

 


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