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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


Virtual Assistants – Asset not Expense

Virtual Assistant is an Asset to your business

A VA is an asset in your business

I recently connected with another virtual assistant – virtually of course – and our discussion led to the mindset of business owners and their outlook on virtual assistants. We each have clients that swear by using a virtual assistant for their business but there are plenty of others that don’t see the value.

In my last post (Are you running your business) I covered some occasions that indicate when it might be time to consider using a VA but it is time business owners see a virtual assistant as an asset to their business.

EXPENSE — An expense is a cost to the business

 

Stop seeing the $ per hour

 

ASSET — An asset is a cost that will add value to the business

 

Start seeing the bottom line $

 

Cost Cutting

Utilising the services of a virtual assistant is a great way of streamlining your costs without seriously impacting your budget – it is estimated that through using a VA costs can be streamlined by up to 40%. By managing their own business they are accountable for all expenses related to the VA business so by hiring a virtual assistant you avoid all the costs of meeting staff employment.

A VA is only paid for hours worked and not all the down time that occurs with having staff.

 

Productivity Increases

Your productivity increases immediately when you outsource to a VA. With the tasks delegated to a Virtual Assistant you can focus on the important core tasks that drive your business. No more procrastinating on the tasks you don’t want to do.

You become more efficient and because your VA is effectively a “Mini Me’ more tasks can be completed in the same timeframe.

If you are an asset within your business then so is your Virtual Assistant.

 

Masters of their Trade

In today’s online world VAs can offer a large variety of skills and have knowledge of tools and programs across many industries. They are working with many platforms that can assist you and your business processes to be more efficient.

Due to the nature of their work they can also educate themselves on new products quicker than most.

As they are undertaking these skills for multiple businesses they are masters of their trade.

A Virtual Assistant loves running a business – it’s what they are good at. What are you good at?

 

Stress Relief

Time away from your business can lead to missed opportunities and on the flip side being overworked can lead to fatigue that can be detrimental to your business and your physical well-being. All work and no play ….

Having a Virtual Assistant on-board will afford you what you can’t afford for yourself: time.

 

Flexibility

A virtual assistant makes it possible to establish flexibility in your business.  This can enable you to create the ideal business environment for you. It can also allow you to deal with unpredictable business conditions.

A virtual assistant is the secret weapon that many businesses are including in their business plans.

 

 

Remember a skilled VA will anticipate, collaborate and manage your business as if it was their own – – because it is!

 

Baillie Admin Services offers Virtual Assistant Services and we would love to be that highly valuable ASSET to your business.


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.


bas.ically business Newsletter 2016

Each month we send our subscribers our bas.ically 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 2016

October 2016

September 2016

August 2016

July 2016

June 2016

May 2016

April 2016

March 2016

February 2016


5 More Mistakes Small Business make on Social Media

Social Media Mistakes by Small Business

In our last post 5 Mistakes Small Business make on Social Media we covered how many of these social media mistakes could be repaired with an effective social media strategy, reversing your social media efforts from being a time sink operation to an organised process driving brand awareness, customer engagement and ultimately profits.

While these mistakes on the face of it are not so obvious to your followers they will affect your social media efforts over the long term.

 

How many of these mistakes are you guilty of?

 

It’s not all about cute “………”

Too often business pages are only sharing photos of cute cats, dogs, pandas and other animals. This also includes motivational quotes. While these may work to boost engagement for a short time over the long term you will be driving your followers away.

Your followers want to be entertained but they also want to be informed. As a leader in your market it is your responsibility to educate your tribe. You have the opportunity to share your knowledge and passions that sharing these types of posts is taking the easy way out.

It’s these cute unrelated pictures that result in…..

 

Inconsistent branding

What you are telling your customers both visually and educationally may be sending mixed messages to your followers. When you are confident in your branding your information is presented to your followers across all media, not just social, in a consistent manner. You need to ensure that all the information you are giving to your customers is relevant with who and what your business is. Additionally you must ensure that the images you are providing are consistent with your branding. This will include colours and fonts etc – your design guide.

This will also apply across the other platforms that your business is using which leads us to…..

 

Platform Overload

Just because there are in excess of 400 social media platforms doesn’t mean you need to be on all of them. Once you have identified where your target market is hanging out you can determine what platforms to use. Your best option is to start with one and understand that platform and provide content that will build consistent engagement before moving onto the next one.

Many businesses set up on too many platforms that lead them to take on…..

 

Automation

Many social media platforms have now provided businesses the option to automate their posting through native scheduling. This can allow businesses, who are implementing a social media strategy to schedule status updated into the future. There are also a number of software options that provide this service. Some platforms also have pre-set replies to respond to messages. While this may help to return some of that lost time back to you, your customers want contact with you. A little automation will make you a more effective business owner, too much automation and your customers will walk away.

As customers are the life blood of any business, all businesses need a…..

 

Lead Generation Strategy

Keep in mind that you don’t own any of the data held on your social media pages. If these platforms were to close down tomorrow how would you get your information/offers to your customers? You should have in place the strategy to obtain and record essential customer information in particular an email address. The best way to do this is with a free offer in exchange for an email address. This could include coupons, e-books, white papers, check lists – anything as long as it is of value to your target audience.

This list of customers is your gold mine and can be used for multiple purposes from market research to product launches.

 

 

 

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.


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.


bas.ically business Newsletter 2015

Each month we send our subscribers our bas.ically business newsletter. Each newsletter contains easily implemented business tips and advice as well as an interview with a small business owner.

December 2015

November 2015

October 2015

September 2015

August 2015

July 2015

June 2015

May 2015

April 2015

March 2015

February 2015