19 Dec 2013

The Christmas Rush Is Here - But For How Long?

It is one week before Christmas and if you run a small retail store, I am sure you are rushed off your feet at the moment as people do the annual "last minute dash" to buy friends and relatives a Christmas gift.

But how long will this last?

There are always busy periods in the life of a small retail business owner - there will always be someone buying in your area, but most small retailers are dependent on one thing - people walking into their shop to buy their goods.

What if you could get your products in front of people anywhere in the world?

What if you could target people specifically looking for your product?

What if you could do this for a fraction of the cost that you are currently paying for things like shop rent and staff wages?

Would this make your business life just that little bit easier?

If your answer is "Oh Yeah!!!" then you have to listen to the latest podcast episode of the BookPals Business Sanity podcast, because in this episode who are going to meet Ezra Firestone and his Brown Box Formula.

Ezra sells physical products online - lots of them - and has created a course he has called the Brown Box Formula, where he will teach you - the struggling small retail business owner - how to do the same.

Have a listen to our chat with Ezra and find out what his Brown Box Formula is all about and see if Ezra's training can make your business life just that little bit easier.

12 Dec 2013

The iTunes Feed Is Working - At Last!!!!

If you have been listening to the BookPals Business Sanity podcast you may have noticed that we have not been encouraging you to subscribe to the podcast feed in iTunes.

This is because we have been having trouble trying to get the podcast feed to work correctly.

We are happy to say that the problem has now been fixed and all podcast episodes (we are up to episode 4 already!!!) are now listed in iTunes.

If you check out the podcasts in iTunes you will see that under each episode you can download an audio transcription of each podcast - we are providing this download because if you are listening to an episode while driving, or out exercising and you hear something that you want to look into further, you won't be inconvenienced by having to listen to the whole episode again just to find a website address or something like that - simply download the audio transcription and everything you are looking for will be there for you.

One thing that needs to be mentioned - you can't download the audio transcriptions direct from iTunes - they only let you access the audios direct - so simply head on over to the BookPals Business Sanity podcast website (or click on the link to the podcast website on the left hand side of our website) to download the audio transcriptions.

We have some wonderful interviews in store for you that we know will make your business life just that little bit easier and after listening to them, if you like what you are hearing, we would really appreciate it if you would leave us a rating on iTunes so that we can get the "word out" to more business owners.


9 Dec 2013

We've Cracked Our First 1000!!!

Today marks the day when we had our first 1000 visits to the BookPals Business Sanity podcast.

When you consider that the podcast has been going for little more than a month, we are really pleased with how you are embracing it.

Thank you, if you are one of those people who have taken time out of your busy schedule to listen to one (or all) of the episodes.

We hope that the people we are interviewing and the information that they are providing are making your business life just that little bit easier.

Remember that you can also download audio transcriptions of all episodes in case you want to check back to refresh your memory on something that was said without having to listen to the whole podcast again.

We have some wonderful guests lined up for you, so subscribe to the podcast via iTunes to ensure you are informed whenever a new episode is launched.

If there is anyone you would like us to interview, simply contact us and let us know who this person, or organisation, is and we will do our best to arrange an interview with them.

8 Dec 2013

Calling All Tradies - Calling All Tradies

Another episode of the BookPals Business Sanity Podcast has just been released and if you work in the trade services industry this is a "must listen" to podcast if you are looking for ways to promote your business online.

In this episode we interview Laura de Lacy, of Cyberstart Tradie, you provides web design and online marketing services for people in the trades service industry.

Regardless of whether you are looking for someone to build a first class website for you, or you already have a website and are trying to work out ways to promote your business more online, Laura and her team at Cyberstart Tradie can help you and your trade services business.

Laura is passionate about her business and is committed to helping tradies promote their business online and this becomes obvious throughout the interview - this podcast episode is a wonderful introduction into a business who cares about you - the tradie - and how Cyberstart Tradie can help you generate more business leads via your website and online marketing.

We hope you enjoy this podcast episode and that it, in some way, helps make your business life just that little bit easier.

24 Nov 2013

The Importance Of The Business Plan

The BookPals development has reinforced the importance of putting together a business plan for any new venture you embark on.

The "Business Plan Myth" for small business owners is that creating a business plan is a long, laborious, process that you have to complete before you start working on the business itself (do you think I'm talking from experience from previous projects I have worked on?!!!!), but this cannot be further from the truth.

When we came up with the idea of BookPals we agreed that we had to put a business plan together, but the product itself was well under way before we actually started putting our business plan on paper.

What we have found most beneficial since putting our business plan on paper is that it has actually helped us identify shortfalls in our ideas that could easily have been missed if our ideas simply stayed as thoughts in our heads.

As an example, when we first started working on BookPals it was going to be a desktop/laptop based application, but when we started putting together our business plan, we realised that we were missing out on the ever growing smart phone/tablet market and as a result, we are now working on enhancements that will make BookPals available to users of smart phones and tablets.

These enhancements will be completed prior to the BookPals launch and because of this, there will be substantial savings in development costs when compared to the cost of having to create a smart phone/tablet "plug-in" after product launch.

It might sound boring, but make sure you spend time putting together a comprehensive business plan for any project you are working on - the long term benefits far outweigh the time it takes to do so.

18 Nov 2013

Come "Deep Diving" with Us!!!

Episode 3 of the BookPals Business Sanity podcast has just been completed and is available for download.

This episode came about earlier than expected as a direct result of our last interview, where we spoke to Gordon Kay of Doing Biz.

Our chat with Gordon was a wonderful insight into business coaching services, but after listening to it again, there were as many new questions to be answered as there were answers provided!!!

We promised you when we started the BookPals Business Sanity podcast that we would provide you with hints and tips to make your business life just that little bit easier, so providing you with an episode where you finished listening to it asking more questions than you had before it was available for you did not "sit" well with us because this does not make your business life easier - it makes it harder!!!

This is why we got straight "down to business" and did Episode 3 for you to listen to.

In this episode we do a "Deep Dive" into what you can do to make your business "unique" and we also provide details of websites throughout the world where you can find a business coach to help you with your business.

There is also an audio transcription of the episode for download, so just sit back and enjoy the podcast, then download the transcription for all the website details.

We hope that you enjoy this episode and would appreciate any feedback you may have.

14 Nov 2013

Don't Let Those Ideas Get Away From You

Anyone in business who has listened to a podcast before knows that it is a wonderfully convenient way to learn business strategies from experts in their respective fields, as you can listen to their business success hints and tips during "down time", like driving (or commuting) to work, whilst exercising (listening to podcasts while on a running or walking machine seriously makes the time go quicker!!), or even while you're out walking the family pet.

The one thing that you can miss while listening to podcasts, though, is the opportunity to "note down" ideas that may come to mind for your own business.

The BookPals Business Sanity podcast is now two episodes in and is already providing business gems for you to use in your business, so as part of our promise to help make your business life just that little bit easier, we started thinking about ways where we could make it easier for you to take notes to assist with your individual needs.

Thanks to James Schramko and his FastWebFormula Community (in particular John Logar, DaveNewgass and Kate) we have found the answer.

With the help of Rev.com you can now download an audio transcription of all BookPals Business Sanity podcast episodes.

Use this download to make notes about how the hints and tips provided can help your business specifically and we hope that this service goes one step closer to making your business life just that little bit easier.

We found out about the services that Rev.com provide through the FastWebFormula Community and we are most impressed by their service.

They charge USD$1.00 per podcast minute to transcribe the audio for you and their accuracy is well over 95%.

Rev.com promote a 48 hour turnaround for your transcription, however, we received two transcriptions back in a couple of hours and after a quick check and a few grammar corrections, what would have taken us days to complete was ready for you to download in no time at all.

Thank you once again to the FastWebFormula Community - the advice provided by your members (of which I am one) is making it very easy for us to provide a quality podcast service to our customers.

Thank you, also, to Rev.com for providing a quality transcription service that not only helps our podcast listeners, but also makes running our own business just that little bit easier as well.

8 Nov 2013

At last - Podcast Episode 2 Is Live!!!

Episode 2 of the BookPals Business Sanity podcast has been released - finally!!!!

To say that there have been some "hurdles to jump" to get this episode live is an understatement - everything from outside business demands to family illness has delayed the release of this episode, but it is live now and we are sure you will enjoy it.

In this episode, we interview Gordon Kay of Doing Biz who talks to us about the benefits of having a business coach to help you with your business.

Gordon started his first business at the age of 16 and has more than 30 years of experience in business ownership and management.

He has also been providing business owners with coaching services since the year 2000 and during our discussion he provides a wonderful insight in business coaching services and how it can help your business.

Listen to Episode 2 of the BookPals Business Sanity podcast and let us know what you think.

29 Oct 2013

What Else Can Happen?!!!

You may recall in a previous post that trouble with Internet speed delayed the release of Episode 2 of the BookPals Business Sanity podcast.

We expected to have the second episode ready for release today but guess what?

There's been another delay!!!!

Everything was ready to go for the interview with Gordon Kay of Doing Biz when we received a call to say that a family member had been diagnosed with an illness that requires immediate medical attention.

As you can appreciate, as soon as we received this message, everything else was put on hold.

We are committed to making your business life just that little bit easier, but nothing is more important than the health and wellbeing of a family member, so our total focus at the moment is to ensure that this person receives the medical attention that they deserve.

We are hoping to reschedule the interview for next week, but if it takes a little longer this is simply because we are unable to find the time to conduct the interview due to our (now heavier) schedules.

The past week has highlighted why we made the decision to commence the BookPals project in the first place - we all hear about how busy it is running your own business, but when you add to this those little "surprises" that impact on our personal lives, the less time we have to spend behind computers doing things like business bookkeeping the better.

22 Oct 2013

Poor Internet Speed - Aargh!!!

Yesterday was supposed to see the release of Episode 2 of the BookPals Business Sanity podcast.

For those of you who listened to Episode 1, you will know that our guest for Episode 2 is Gordon Kay from Doing Biz.

Gordon is a business coach based in South Australia and we are going to have a chat about the benefits of having a coach and mentor to help make your business life just that little bit easier.

Everything was ready for an early morning online chat, but when we "hooked" up with one another he could hardly hear a word I was saying, even though I could hear him fine.

After almost 4 hours of checking everything we possibly could, we had to reschedule our interview due to other commitments that we had that day and today we found out what the problem was - poor Internet upload speed at my end!!!!

The good news is that I will catch up with Gordon Kay in person next week, so we will have our chat about business coaching then and Episode 2 of the BookPals Business Sanity podcast will be available for you shortly afterwards.

We will make sure that we let you know when the podcast is ready for you to listen to it, but in the meantime, why not subscribe to the BookPals Business Sanity podcast in iTunes - there are some really interesting interviews planned for the future and this way, you don't have to bother with checking to see when they are released.

10 Oct 2013

Things Are Starting To Get Serious!!!

We have got to a point with the BookPals launch where it is time to get a developer on board to help us.

The difficulty with a development of this type is that when you first come up with an idea like BookPals it seems relatively easy to put the specs together, get the system created and then get the product launched, but once the project gets underway and you start taking into account everything that is required to create the kind of product that the market is demanding of you, you begin to realise that there is much more involved in the rollout than you first thought.

One big benefit of bringing others into a project like this is that when you are as close to the product as the BookPals' founders are, you begin to realise that having "another set of eyes" looking at the project can highlight "gaps" in the system that may have been missed.

We spoke to a potential developer earlier this week and things are looking most promising for him to "come on board" and help us with the BookPals development.

Are there any aspects of your business that could be improved, or enhanced, if you had an "outsider" take a look at them to give you some "fresh" ideas?

5 Oct 2013

The Importance Of "Downing Tools"!!

This week has been a significant week in BookPals, but for different reasons than you would expect.

Everyone involved in BookPals has had the week off, so no "real" work has been done on the BookPals project!!!

One of the directors has been away on a four wheel drive expedition and the other has been hosting visitors from interstate and it has highlighted an aspect of running your own business that often gets overlooked - the importance of "downing tools"!!!

As business owners, we often forget the importance of having "time off" with family and friends because we get so focussed on running our business.

What we forget is a little "down time" not only gives us time to rejuvenate, but it also frees up our minds which can often result in the next "great idea" for our business.

How often are you "downing tools" and if you're not, why not?

Who knows - a couple of days rest and relaxation may be all you need to help you propel your business into its next level of success.

26 Sep 2013

Auphonic - How You Turn Good Into Great

Feedback from Episode One of the BookPals Business Sanity podcast has been fantastic.

Not only have we received emails and calls saying that the ideas behind this podcast are great, but there have already been over 200 visits to the podcast page in the four days that it has been available.

Thank you for taking time to listen to the first episode and we give you a commitment that future episodes will provide you with hints and tips that will not only make your life just that little bit easier, but we hope will assist you in creating more profit for your business.

One aspect of the podcast that we want to improve on in future episodes is the consistency of the sound level.

If you listen carefully to the first episode you will hear three very distinct variations in the sound level - one at the beginning of the podcast, which changes when the "body" of the podcast starts and changes again towards the end of the podcast.

The reasons for these variations is quite simple and gives you an insight into how sensitive room acoustics can be - the podcast was done in three separate "takes", with the introduction taking place late at night, with the office door closed, the body of the podcast taking place in the middle of the day, with the office door open and the end of the podcast taking place also during the daytime, but this time with the office door closed.

As you can hear when you listen to the podcast, a simple thing like the time of day and whether or not a door is open or closed is all it takes to change the noise levels significantly.

The solution to this problem came in the form of a podcast by James Schramko of SuperFastBusiness.com.

In this podcast, James Schramko interviews a gentleman by the name of Georg Holzmann from Auphonic.com.

Auphonic is software developed in Austria that you run audio through and it "smooths" out the different sound levels.

Best of all, Auphonic is free, so if you want to produce high quality audio for your website and/or podcasts, you can use Auphonic at no cost to turn good presentations into great presentations.

We are currently working on the second podcast and have already done two separate "takes" which again had different sound levels. This time, we ran them through Auphonic which "smoothed" out the sound levels wonderfully, so once the second episode has been completed, we will definitely be running the whole thing through Auphonic again to improve the quality of the presentation.

On top of the quality of the software, we must say that the team at Auphonic are most gracious - you will notice their logo at the start of this post - we sent the team at Auphonic an email asking if it was ok to include their logo in this post and Georg Holzmann replied personally saying that this was not a problem at all.

Thank you Georg for your quick and gracious response.

Podcasts are a great way to promote your business, but like any advertising, if it is of poor quality, it can have a negative effect on what potential customers think about you and your services, so if you are going to use audio to promote your business, make sure you use tools like Auphonic to turn it from a "Good" presentation into "GREAT" presentation.

18 Sep 2013

We've Just Been Registered In iTunes!!!!

The BookPals Business Sanity podcast just had its registration in iTunes approved - Yaah!!!!!!

Now you don't have to worry about checking to see when new episodes are available - simply go over to iTunes and subscribe to our podcast and that's it.

Let us know what you think.

12 Sep 2013

People Power - We Need Your Opinion

We cannot decide on a cover for the BookPals Business Sanity Podcast that will be launching shortly, so we thought that in the true spirit of community we will ask for your opinion.

After all, when BookPals launches, not only will you have access to the easiest bookkeeping software you have ever seen, but as a BookPals user, you will also be part of the BookPals Community, where we will help each other with our businesses.

We have narrowed our choices for the podcast cover down to two finalists -


Which one do you think we should use for the podcast cover?

To make things easier for you, we have created a poll on Facebook and we would really appreciate it if you would give us your opinion.

If it is easier for you, just Contact Us and let us know what you think.

Check Out Our Pinterest Boards!!

Pinterest is a funny "animal".

When BookPals first started we were not sure if marketing on Pinterest would work for us because what pictures can you use to promote bookkeeping?

We were confident that we would even put ourselves to sleep if we pinned pictures of general ledgers and profit and loss reports, so what were we to do?!!!

Then we started thinking about the BookPals project itself and not simply marketing it on Pinterest.

What are we trying to achieve with BookPals and how do pictures explain this?

It was then that it all made sense!!

The reason why we have started BookPals is because we know the frustration many business owners have with traditional bookkeeping software.

All this "debit, credit and journal stuff" is like a foreign language to many business owners and we are determined to provide BookPals users with a bookkeeping package that is not only really easy to use, but where you don't have to be a "Pseudo-Accountant" to use it.

Using BookPals will allow you to free up time to do all those things in life that are really important to you and it was then that Pinterest suddenly made sense - create Pinterest Boards that show you the things you will be able to do once you free up time by using BookPals!!!

Travel, cooking, sports and even sourcing more business (for all you die hard business owners!!) - these are all things that you will have more time for once you start using BookPals - and there are heaps of beautiful pictures on these types of activities!!

Check out our Pinterest Boards and see what you think - and if you have ideas for other Pinterest Boards that we could include, please let us know.

11 Sep 2013

Podcasting - Online Marketing On Steroids!!!

Well, it has been an interesting 24 hours!!

If you have been following our blog you would know that we "tweaked" our Podcasts Page yesterday and the results were instantaneous!!

Overnight we had a huge increase in visitors to our site.

We usually have around the 5-7 visits a day to our website (be nice - we have only just started!!!) but within 12 hours of announcing the new Podcasts Page there were 32 new visits!!

It just goes to show that more and more people are interested in listening to audio content these days.

Lets face it - it is not often that you get "free time" to learn things when you run your own business

If I can use myself as an example for a moment, the only "free time" I get these days is while driving between appointments, so I find that listening to podcasts is a great way to get answers to questions I may have on running and promoting BookPals.

That's a big part of the reason why we have included a download option on all our podcasts - this way, if you don't have the time to listen to them while sitting in front of your computer, you can download them to listen to them on your phone or tablet device during your commute.

We hope that our podcasts and the ability to either listen to them at your computer, or the ability to download them to listen to them while commuting, assists in making your life just that little bit easier.

While on the subject of podcasts, if you think that doing podcasts might help your business grow, check out Dan Lyons' Podcast Like A Radio DJ course.

This was the course I did earlier this year and I cannot recommend it highly enough.

Dan's course is inexpensive and easy to understand and if you are serious about "getting your name out there" so that more people can learn about your business, I cannot think of a better way to do so.

Check out Dan's course and let us know what you think.

10 Sep 2013

Not Happy Jan!!!

We had a BookPals development meeting today and the general consensus was that access to the podcasts had to be changed.

We have said from the start of the BookPals project that everything we do will be focussed towards making your life just that little bit easier, so having to click on the BookPals Podcasts Page, then download the podcast that best suits you and then listen to it is just too much of a hassle.

It took us the whole day to come up with a better solution, but check out our Podcasts Page now and let us know what you think.

Now you have immediate access to all our podcasts with one quick click - simply "turn on the player" that suits you best and find out how BookPals is going to make your life just that little bit easier.

There is a small matter of not being able to view the "players" with certain tablet devices (apparently it is some sort of "Flash" thing), so if a "player" does not display when you check out the Podcasts Page on your tablet device, you will see that there are links where you can still download the podcasts (sorry, but there is nothing we can do about this - if we can find a solution, it will be fixed immediately).

Let us know what you think about the new Podcasts Page.

Time For A LinkedIn Company Page

Ok, now it is time to get a LinkedIn Company Page up and running.

Everyone involved in BookPals has their own LinkedIn page, but we thought it really important to let you know about BookPals the product and not us (we're just not that exciting!!), so that you get to hear how the BookPals development comes together.

Check out our LinkedIn Company Page and let us know what you think.

9 Sep 2013

Are You Ready To Hear About BookPals?

Ok, the BookPals introduction series of podcasts are ready for you to listen to now.

Not only will you be able to listen to how BookPals will make your life easier, but we have produced separate podcasts for Small Business Owners, Accountants, Bookkeepers and Corporate Business so that you can pick the one that suits you best and don't have to listen to a presentation that does not meet your individual requirements.

All presentations are short and snappy because we know that you are busy, so listen to the most appropriate podcast for you and if you have any further questions, Contact Us and we will be happy to explain things further.

8 Sep 2013

Newsflash!! The Power Of Community

Yesterday, I saw an example of just how powerful communities can be and this example has reinforced our commitment to providing you with not only a simple to use bookkeeping system in BookPals, but also a strong community of likeminded business owners, where you will be able to get answers to questions you may have on bookkeeping in particular and your business in general.

Last night I attended the birthday party of my old weight training coach.

It was a surprise party and there was a great turnout - over 100 people came to celebrate the 70th birthday of a quiet guy who has never liked the "limelight" but has had a profound impact on weightlifting in South Australia, both as a competitor himself in the 1970's and 1980's and as a coach after his competition days were over.

The people that turned out last night could not have been a bigger cross section of the community, with ages ranging from children who were not yet teenagers right to adults in their mid to late 70's, business people, labourers, tradespeople, nurses, ambulance officers, retirees - the list goes on and on.

Many of these people had not seen each other in over 10 years and the only common thread for all of them was that they were all a part of this weight training community at some time.

Ironically, the party itself was at the clubrooms of a football team that was playing in a final that same night and while our party was taking place upstairs, there were hundreds of football fans downstairs cheering for their team - just another example of the community at work.

It was a wonderful example of how powerful communities can be formed from people from all walks of life - as long as they have a common goal.

Happy birthday Courtney - a wonderful night.

4 Sep 2013

Time To Get The Podcast Started

How do you prefer to learn?

Do you learn by seeing things, do you learn by hearing things, or do you learn by reading things?

We are all different and because of this, we process information in different ways.

As part of our commitment to making your life just that little bit easier, we will provide you with our information via video, audio and text, so not only will you be able to read about what is happening in the BookPals community, but you will also be able to watch videos and listen to podcasts to help you with your business.

As a start, you will notice that we now have a link to our podcasts.

We are just in the process of finishing the first podcast that talks about BookPals and what it is all about, so watch this space and we'll let you know as soon as they are ready for you to listen to.

In the meantime, if you have any ideas on the kind of information you would like us to provide to you, simply post a comment on our social media sites.

3 Sep 2013

First Up - Social Media

Ok, while we are working on the BookPals software development we would love it if you stayed in contact with us via our social media channels.

After all, if you have any questions about BookPals and how it is going to make your life easier, how can you do so if there is no way to interact with us?
Come on over to our Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus pages, say hi and ask us anything you like about BookPals.

We are also on Pinterest to give you ideas on things you can do when you free up time by using BookPals, so check out our Pinterest boards - there are some beautiful images there - just like the one above that was taken by one of our founding members who has a passion for restoring historical buildings.

OK - Where Do We Start?

Have you ever tried getting a new software project off the ground?

If you have, you will know what we mean when we say "where do you start?!!!"

When you first come up with an idea it seems so easy - you know what the problem is, you know what needs to be done to create software that will fix the problem and it seems like such a simple thing to just "sit down, list what needs to be done, get a coder to do it and off you go"!!!

Nothing could be more further from the truth!!

The most amusing (and at times frustrating) part is working out where to actually start.

It seems so simple, until you actually get the project underway.

This is where the prioritising comes in - what is more important - the software development, the webpage design, sourcing funding, sourcing coders - the list goes on and on!!

Now, after many months of working through these priorities, we are well on the way to providing you with both software that we are sure will make your life easier and a community of members that will be there to help you and your business.

Join us on the journey by following our blog and registering with us to be updated as the BookPals launch gets closer - if nothing else, it may give you ideas on how to launch your own online product.

The Blog Begins!!!

As the BookPals launch gets closer we thought it a good idea to provide you with updates on how things are going.

There are so many aspects of creating new software systems that we thought you might be interested in following the process, just in case you are thinking about doing something similar in the future.

Stay tuned, as things are starting to get exciting!!