5 Sep 2017
I have released a number of videos to show you just how simple bookkeeping has become now that the BookPals iPhone App has been released and I wanted to let you know about them because it is all well and good for me to "bang on" about how much easier bookkeeping has become but you're never going to truly believe me until you've actually see it for yourself.
Have a look at the videos now and start to get an idea of just how easy bookkeeping has become and after you've done so, let me know what you think.
24 Aug 2017
If your answer is "of course it was" here's another question for you -
"Have you got there yet?"
and if the answer to this question is "Nah - still working on it" here's a final question for you -
"Why Is It Taking So Long?"
So many small business owners dream of becoming financially free but when push comes to shove many of these same small business owners struggle to achieve this goal and can never understand why.
Well, on today's episode of BookPals Business Sanity you're going to meet someone who might just have the answer you are searching for because on today's episode you meet Katherine Dean of wealthtofreedomformula.com.
Katherine can help you unlock the secret to becoming financially free by assisting you in identifying what she calls your True Financial Archetype and through this process you find out what's holding you back from becoming financially free and what you can do to fulfill your dream.
Aim for the stars - and you'll get there - after listening to this wonderful episode of BookPals Business Sanity.
17 Aug 2017
THE BOOKPALS iPHONE APP IS HERE!!!
Yep, now you can do your bookkeeping simply and instantly "on the road" instead of trying to remember where you left your receipts.
And the time has come to stop rummaging through the cracks in your car seats trying to find those fuel and hardware dockets to claim at tax time.
If you are a sole trader small business owner who hates doing the bookkeeping you have to start using BookPals and the BookPals Phone App for three very simple reasons -
1. You don't have to understand the first thing about bookkeeping to use BookPals
2. You do your bookkeeping with the click of a couple of buttons and
3. You never have to sift through shoeboxes full of receipts again at tax time because your Accountant can access your receipts directly from your BookPals account.
It's time to make bookkeeping quick and easy - and get back to doing those things in life that are most important to you.
Yep - it's time to start using BookPals!!!
2 Aug 2017
I want to share something that happened to me over the weekend because I think it is a wonderful example of how powerful communities can be - regardless of whether these communities are offline or online.
Last weekend we were looking for gift ideas for birthday presents and we ended up at our local Apple Store to look at Apple Watches.
I had better set the scene for you before going on with this story - I love technology and I am pretty much an "Apple Everything" kind of guy!!!
This blog post is being created on an iMac, my Macbook Pro always comes out with me on business meetings, my iPad is never too far away, I am always checking the time on my Apple Watch and I would be lost without my iPhone.
Here's the thing though - to say that I only use my Mac products to about 10% of their capacity is an understatement!!!
Don't get me wrong, I am not a Luddite by any stretch of the imagination but my focus is very much on the ways you can use technology for business and because of this, I am blissfully unaware of about 90% of what all my gadgets can actually do.
Anyway (getting back to the story!!!) we rock up to our local Apple Store and I get chatting to one of the fantastic team members there who starts giving me the rundown on everything there is to know about the Apple Watch.
It is around this time my attendant notices that I actually have an Apple Watch on and asks if I want to learn how to use it.
I stick my chest out and start with the "Oh no - I am just trying to get an idea on the "specs" to work out if this would be a good present for a family member" to which my (darling) wife pipes up and says "Technology is wasted on him - he has everything you guys sell, but knows about 10% of what they are capable of"!!! LOL
The girl serving us starts cacking herself laughing and says "Why don't you let us teach you how to use everything you own?"
She then goes on to explain how you can check out Today at Apple 24/7 to find out what is being taught on what day and at what time and all you need to do when you find something that interests you is rock up and take part in the lesson!!!
To say that "The Luddite" was impressed is an understatement and I will be making use of the training available at my local Apple Store on a regular basis moving forward.
Why am I telling you this?
This experience got me thinking about how powerful communities can be.
As small business owners we are constantly looking for ways to differentiate ourselves from our competition and one way to do this is by forming a community around what you sell that not only helps users of your product or service but also makes you the "go to person" in your particular field of expertise.
Here's an idea - if trying to create your own community is something that really interests you, why don't you join us inside BookPals Business XLerator?
XLerator has been created for small business owners just like you to meet and help drive your business to greater levels of success and it is the perfect platform for you to start becoming the "go to person" in your area of expertise.
Why? Because there are almost 1800 members inside XLerator so you have a captive audience just sitting there waiting to hear from you.
Why don't you come into XLerator now and create raving fans for your product or service?
23 Jul 2017
Let me explain what I mean - over recent times I have been working with a business that has been going through some seriously "trying" times.
Late last year the manager passed away after a very short illness and the owner - who is also the manager's wife - was left with a business in total disarray.
To try and keep the business afloat she brought in a family friend - and as you will see shortly, I use the term "family friend" very loosely - to help run the business because of his (quote) "Management Expertise" and a short time later this same person was (literally) thrown out of the business under suspicion of misappropriation of funds.
Since then there have been a number of tumultuous incidents within the business which have all been based around the fact that the business has been run like a "rudderless ship".
What I mean by this is that there has been no real "Captain" to help guide the business through these harrowing times and as a result the business has been merely "surviving" with no-one to truly guide it back on to the road to success.
This experience has really opened my eyes to the importance of business needing true "Guardians" to guide it to success - in the case of small business, this might mean honourable and ethical management and in the case of larger corporations this might mean an honourable and ethical Board of Directors.
It was around about this time that I was listening to Mark Horstman (that's Mark on the left above) and Mike Auzenne (on the right) talking about how to be an effective executive on their podcast called Manager Tools and their discussion was just the kind of information that this business needed to help it through it's current situation, so I got in contact with Mark Horstman and asked him back on to the BookPals Business Sanity Podcast to talk about what it means to be an effective executive.
You would remember Mark from previous podcast episodes where he has spoken about effective management principles and in this discussion Mark outlines what it means to be an effective executive and the differences between being an effective manager and an effective executive of a larger organisation.
Get ready to start understanding how to prepare yourself for the "jump" from effective manager to effective executive after listening to this episode of BookPals Business Sanity.
29 Jun 2017
We do have our reasons - we have been working away madly in the background to make the BookPals product so much easier for you to use.
Oh - and guess what else we've done?
THE BOOKPALS iPHONE APP HAS BEEN CREATED!!!
Yep, we've been talking about it for years now and earlier this week we signed off on the iPhone app that is going to make your business bookkeeping SO MUCH EASIER!!!
As with all phone apps, we are in the process of getting it approved through the App Store at the moment, so while we are waiting, I wanted to show you it in anticipation of it's release so that you can see just how much easier it is going to be to do your business bookkeeping.
Ok, so have a look at this and tell me what you think -
Pretty complex ah?!!! LOL
The image above is what a receipt looks like once it has been captured by your BookPals Phone App.
Oh - and just so you can see how hard it is to get to this point, here's how you do it -
First of all you have the good old BookPals icon on your phone -
And once you click on this, you see this -
Really complex ah?!!! I won't insult your intelligence by explaining to you how you log in to your account but once you do, you'll see this -
You swipe left to process your first receipt (just like it says) and this is what you'll see -
If you've just walked out of a place where you've purchased something you might have the receipt in your hand, but it may be a receipt that you have already taken a photo of earlier in the day - choose Camera if you want to take a picture now, or Gallery if you have already photographed your receipt and after you have done so we are back to here (needless to say I had a crumpled fuel receipt in my pocket as I am often prone to do!!! LOL) -
Once again, I won't insult your intelligence by stepping through the very "complex" details that you have to enter (LOL) except to quickly mention the one near the bottom that says Account Type: because we don't expect you to remember all your income and expense accounts - we can't remember ours so why should you have to remember all of yours?
This is why we've already got them stored there for you!!!
See - all your accounts are there for you and it's simply a matter of scrolling through them until you find the right one and once this is done, hit the Save button and it's ready to go -
Ok, once this is done, you can add more receipts by Swiping right and adding another receipt just like this -
and once you're done, then it's time to send them over to your BookPals account.
Here's how you do that - you have your list of receipts that you have just added using your phone app (there's only the one in this example - I don't horde my receipts - I get them in and out of the way as quickly as possible) -
You can give them a quick check if you like to make sure that you haven't uploaded the wrong receipt (it happens) and if you have, you can delete receipts by clicking on the Delete All button, or if you have a couple of receipts there and only want to get rid of one, do it this way -
Just swipe to the left and delete the one receipt - either way is dead easy.
The same goes for sending them to your BookPals account - you can send your receipts off using the Send All To BookPals button, or send each one off on it's own by swiping left and doing each one individually if that's what floats your boat.
You've probably noticed the little red Not Uploaded notice under the Tax section of the receipt above - that's telling you that you haven't sent this receipt to your BookPals account yet but after you've sent your receipts off to your BookPas account that prompt changes to Uploaded and looks like this -
And you even get notification that your receipts are on their way to your BookPals account -
Once you've done all this - which, by the way, takes about 60 seconds to do - you're done with your bookkeeping and can get back to doing what's most important to you because your receipts are now in your BookPals account waiting for tax time and there's nothing more for you to do with them.
We promised that we were going to give you the easiest to use bookkeeping solution out there - have we kept our promise?
Oh - and all of you Android phone users - don't fret because we are in the process of making you a phone app as well.
Stay tuned for more info on that -------
15 May 2017
Ok, so if you are based in Australia and you're reading this post the day it goes out, many (most?) of you are just starting the day after celebrating Mother's Day yesterday.
It may have been taking your Mum out for a picnic or a nice meal - or it may have been as simple as a bunch of flowers and a quick phone call (as was the case with me as my Mum lives hundreds of kilometers away from us) to say hi and show her your appreciation and love.
While I'm here I want to give a huge shout out to the "Unsung Hero Mums" that don't get anywhere near as much acknowledgement as they deserve - and that's the Small Business Mums!!!
I tend to categorize these Mums into three groups -
1. Those Mums who run their own small business.
2. Those Mums who are the partners of small business owners.
3. Those Mums who are the partners of small business owners AND run their own small business.
The reason why these Mums need to be acknowledged is that in many (most?) cases these Mums are also co-ordinating the day to day running of homes/children/their own parents - and all the other chaos in our lives and I - for one - often stand their amazed at how they can do it (and I can speak from experience because my wife is a "Category 3 Mum" above!!! LOL).
To all you Small Business Mums out there, I say "Good On Ya" - I don't know how you do what you do and it will never cease to amaze me how you get through the days without ripping your hair out!!! LOL
30 Apr 2017
I am not sure if I have mentioned this before, but my wife Annie runs a business called Krondorf Trading Co where she sells gourmet condiments to customers throughout Australia.
Anyone throughout Australia can buy Annie's products online, but there is only one physical location where you can buy her produce and that's out at Rockford Wines in the Barossa Valley of South Australia.
Anyway, Annie was approached by staff at Rockford Wines some time back asking her if she would set up a stall at the winery to sell her products during the Barossa Vintage Festival.
I had better clarify a few things here - Annie bought Krondorf Trading Co from her Mum a year or so ago and when her Mum was running the business she used to have a stall out at Rockfords each weekend.
Annie works four days a week and runs her produce business as a "side hustle", so when she took over Krondorf Trading Co she decided not to continue the stall - nowadays her produce is in at Rockford's Cellar Door Sales so that visitors who go to Rockfords to sample their wonderful range of wines can also buy Annie's produce while they are there.
The problem here is that visitors can no longer taste the produce and this is why she was approached by staff at Rockfords to set up a stall for the Barossa Vintage Festival - so that visitors to Rockford Wines over the festival period could also sample her produce while they were there.
Of course the answer was "Yes!!!" - staff Rockfords have always been wonderful ambassadors for Krondorf Trading Co, so how could we refuse?!!!
The festival was last weekend, so out we all went (it was a family affair with Annie, myself and our son Ben all "pitching in" to help) and we had a fantastic weekend out there, meeting people from all over Australia - and the world - and enjoying the feedback we received on how good the produce was after these visitors sampled Annie's wonderful products.
While we were out there a number of "regulars" to Rockford Wines commented on how good it was to have Krondorf Trading Co back and we explained that it was not going to be a regular thing, but we would definitely be out there to say hi again whenever Rockfords hosted other "special events".
The end result was that Krondorf Trading Co had a very good weekend sales wise and what was more interesting were the comments that came from Rockford management and staff later in the week.
A number of Rockford staff approached us and commented on the positive feedback that they had received from visitors about the fact that Krondorf Trading Co had held a stall over the festival and these same people were asking to be informed when we (Krondorf Trading Co that is) would be out there again because they would be making the trip back to sample Rockford's wine and Krondorf Trading Co's produce.
Why am I telling you this story?
We - as small business owners - all do our best to provide our customers with a high level of service, but how often do we do things that actually "surprise" our customers and make them feel "special"?
What I mean by this is that "quality service" does not surprise our customers because this is what they expect (and rightly so) from every business transaction that they do with you, but if you can provide these same customers with something that surprises them - and through this surprise they feel special - then not only do you have a loyal customer, but you also have a raving brand ambassador for your business.
What kind of surprises can you give your customers that will make them feel special?
26 Mar 2017
Isn't it funny where you can get business inspiration from?
Yesterday I was at a judo competition with my son Ben (that's him in the photo here) and at the end of the day I came home so inspired by the things that I saw and how they can be converted into a business scenario that I had to share the experience with you here today.
Ok, so let's set the scene - Ben and his mate Phil are competing in separate weight divisions.
While Phil is waiting to compete one of the co-ordinators comes up and explains that there are no juniors (they're actually called cadets) in his weight division, so would it be ok if he competed against a senior who is only a couple of years older than him, but is a similar weight.
I ask Phil if this will be ok - he says "Yes" - so the game is on!!!
Phil steps on to the mat and starts wrestling with the other guy trying to get him in a position to throw him when BAAM - the other guy shoots in and throws him with a fantastic move!!!
There's only one problem - Phil wasn't expecting the move and did not have enough time to roll correctly when thrown - and was face planted right into the mat!!!
The room goes quiet while Phil lays there looking like he has just been sent on a one way trip to La La Land - and then one of the most wonderful things I have ever seen happened.
Before anyone else moves, the young bloke who threw him is down on the ground beside him really upset about what has just happened.
Now, you have to understand the whole situation here - the move that this guy pulled on young Phil was completely legal and was a really good throw, but all this kid was interested in was the wellbeing of his opponent and it warmed the cockles of my heart to see such real concern by such a young guy.
It gets better - most kids Phil's age would have said "That's me finished for the day" but not Phil - he gets up and is checked to make sure he is ok and then says that he wants to continue the competition.
He finishes this bout and when he comes off the mat he makes mention to me that he has worked out how to beat the other bloke and can't wait to get back on the mat for the second bout with him.
I'm just standing there shaking my head - guys twice (three times?) Phil's age would have called it a day after what just happened, but not this kid - not only does he want to get back on the mat with his opponent but he is now working out a way to beat him!!!
In the second bout Phil tries his heart out to pin this guy by getting him down on the mat (which he had decided was the best way to beat this guy) but the guy is simply too strong and wins the second bout as well.
Here's where the truly inspiring "stuff" begins - at the end of the competition the co-ordinators decide to give both Phil AND his opponent first place medals because of the courage and integrity of both kids.
And it was here that I got a lump in my throat - the young bloke who won the division actually wanted to give his medal back saying that he was a senior so Phil was the true winner and when the co-ordinators said that he could keep his medal he took a step back behind Phil - pointed to him in front of everyone - and started clapping him for his efforts!!!
As he walked past me I said to him "You are a credit to yourself, your club and your family mate - well done" and he bowed to me and said "thank you" and walked off.
Now it's my bloke's turn!!!
Ben had been up against his opponent about 6 months before and had accounted for him in no uncertain terms quite quickly the last time they had met - but to say that this kid had had a growth spurt is understatement!!!
I make mention of this to Ben who was not too concerned - until the bout started - where he found out that this guys was going to be a lot harder to move than the last time they had fought!!!
The fight went for over 4 minutes and Ben eventually got the better of the guy in the end but when he came off the mat to say he was distressed is an understatement.
He walked up to me and said "I don't think I can go back on Dad - I can hardly breathe".
He sits down and I get him to start taking some deep breathes and start encouraging him to settle himself down.
Slowly he settles down - he has a few sips of water and puts the cold water bottle to his forehead and the back of his neck to cool himself down and a minute or so later he begins to settle.
Once he has settled down he starts commenting on how much stronger the other guy has got since the last time they met, so while we are waiting for the second bout we start talking about strategies Ben can use to beat him taking into account his extra strength.
I say to Ben "Have a look at him over there mate - he still looks quite distressed after the last bout and he is not drinking much water - do you think he will be as refreshed as you when he gets back on the mat?"
Ben looks over at him for a minute and then says "Na!!!"
I then said to Ben - "Why don't you just keep focussing on your breathing - settle yourself down further - get plenty of fluid into you - and when you go out there the next time you should have a heap more energy than him don't you think?".
Ben nods - sits back - takes some really deep breathes - has a few more sips of water - focusses himself - walks out on the mat and pins the other bloke in about 20 seconds!!!
"What has this got to do with business?" I hear you say.
Have a think about the two examples above in the context of running a successful business -
All these words played a huge part in both player's efforts yesterday - shouldn't they be an integral part of our business strategies?
Well done guys - it was a honour to be a part of yesterday's proceedings and I am so proud of you both.
14 Mar 2017
Let's get started - last week my son got his first job!!!
He has been applying for everything he could find advertised ever since he found out that businesses would start looking at kids his age for employment and two weeks ago he came running out of his room to tell me that he had just got a text from one of the potential employers who wanted him to come in for an interview to see if he would be a good "fit".
I am not going to mention the employer concerned at this stage (to be truthful, I am in the process of trying to get them on to the BookPals Business Sanity podcast to talk about their business) but what I will say is that their processes for vetting and checking to see if a potential employee is the right for their business are out of this world.
I suppose I have to put something into perspective here - I applied for my first job 40 years ago and I still remember how daunting and laborious the whole process was - sitting down in front of a panel of "Oldies", wearing a suit and tie for the first time and thinking I was in a court room being questioned over a murder case - and to compare this experience to how the business conducted my son's interview and vetting process was so refreshing to me.
What impressed me most about the whole process is that it is set up to cater specifically for the demographic that they are targeting as employees - in other words young kids who are just starting out on their business careers.
The whole process was very casual and laid back, but at the same time it was run to a very tight system, with all the checks and balances in place to ensure that when a person was chosen as a new employee the employer was confident that all the requirements needed by the candidate had been "ticked off".
Why am I telling you this?
Many of us - small business owners that is - think that adhering to "tight" systems is something that only the "Big Boys" have to do, but this can be no further from the truth.
Systems are there for a very simple reason - to give you a very clear "path" on what needs to be done under certain circumstances - so doesn't it make sense to incorporate systems into everything you do in your business so that others working for you don't have to keep hounding you with questions on what they should be doing?
Running your own small business takes up enough of your time as it is without having the added hassle of staff constantly hounding you for instructions on what to do in their job, so think about systems as the freedom you need to successfully run your business.
Gotta go now - time to teach the "Young Bloke" how to iron his new uniform!!! LOL
6 Mar 2017
Well, what a week last week was!!!
I have to share what has happened with you because it highlights the importance of picking the right people for your business.
As you will shortly find out, this example is probably at the extreme end of the scale, but I am certain that after you hear about it you will think long and hard about the people you are considering as potential employees.
Ok, so here we go ---
I am working with a business who - due to tragic unforeseen circumstances beyond anyone's control - had to employ the services of a new manager.
The person who was chosen for the role was an old family friend of the owners, so you would think that the business was in good hands.
How wrong you are!!!
Within a month of taking over the role, "mysterious withdrawals" began to take place from the business bank account.
"So why were these withdrawals not immediately picked up?" I hear you say -
The reason for this was twofold -
1. The owners were dealing with the tragic events that led up to the loss of the old manager and
2. The new manager placed road blocks between the owners and these "mysterious withdrawals" to prevent them from becoming suspicious about what was going on.
Just so you can understand the amount of damage that was done, let me give you an overview of the consequences of this person's actions -
- Ten of thousands of dollars have vanished from the business.
- Hours of productivity time have been lost as a result of the initial investigation and subsequent police interviews.
- The business has had to front the executive management of it's biggest customer to explain what has gone on and why they should be allowed to continue providing this customer with their services.
- Staff's confidence in the business has hit an all time low because a number of them have not been paid due to "cashflow issues" (this is what the new manager was telling the staff).
- More resources are being lost because the business has now been forced to employ the services of a business consultant to help them re-establish the business using much stricter policies and procedures.
- The potential for many more lost hours exists due to time being taken up in what could potentially be a lengthy court case.
The moral to this story is very simple - PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE pick your staff very - VERY - carefully!!!
What may - on the face of things - be a perfect candidate for a role in your business may turn out to be something completely different after you "scratch the surface" just a little, so take the time to set up thorough processes for vetting potential employees to your business.
After this little episode, I cannot impress upon you enough how important this is to your business ----
28 Feb 2017
As you know just about everyone is talking about video marketing these days…
The only problem is virtually no one actually tells you what you need to do to get RESULTS…
I’ve come across this AWESOME YouTube SEO Cheat Sheet that’s jam packed with a ton of simple and actionable tricks you can implement immediately to boost your rankings with video…
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If you want to drive traffic with video, this YouTube SEO Cheat Sheet can really help you out…
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Specifically it reveals:
– A Proven formula for writing VIDEO TITLES THAT GET CLICKS.
– The 3 TAGS YOUR VIDEO MUST HAVE to maximize video traffic potential.
– The single BIGGEST FACTOR THAT IMPACTS VIDEO RANKINGS, and how to nail it by “opening a loop” at the start of each video.
– 7 simple tricks for generating NATURAL INBOUND LINKS.
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DOWNLOAD your Video SEO Cheat Sheet Here (For FREE) - http://www.contentsamurai.com/c/BookPals-the-ultimate-youtube-cheatsheet
All the best and let me know how it helps your business.
26 Feb 2017
I can't go into too much detail about what happened specifically at this stage but one thing that has been driven home is the realisation that we - as business owners - must remain extremely aware of how important every person - and I mean EVERY PERSON - is inside our business.
It also reminded me of an incident that I was a part of nearly twenty years ago now and even though business practises have changed dramatically in this time, this is one aspect of business that has remained a constant.
Let me share it with you ---
Going back to the 1990's I was working for a large corporate organisation - I'll refrain from naming the organisation to protect the guilty!!! LOL.
As a part of this job I was asked to attend upper level management meetings and these meetings often included representatives from other organisations.
Anyway, on this particular day I was going to be a part of one of these meetings and we got to the conference room early to set up in anticipation of our guest's arrival.
When we got there we found that one of our cleaners was still in the conference room putting the finishing touches to the daily clean of the room.
I can't for the life of me remember the cleaner's name but I do remember that he was by far the best cleaner the organisation had - he was meticulous with how clean he would leave a room and took great pride in his work.
Anyway, one of the managers with us had a reputation of "looking down" at staff members lower on the "corporate ladder" than him and when we walked in this same guy was very quick to give the cleaner a bollocking for still being in the conference room with 15 minutes to go before the meeting started.
After being told to pack up his gear and get straight out (in no uncertain terms) by this manager, the cleaner quietly looked up and said "I'll only be a minute or two longer - I'm almost finished" and turned back to finish his cleaning.
The manager did not like this response at all - how do I know? - because his face turned a livid shade of red and he started stomping towards the cleaner.
I'd seen this guy (the manager dude) in action before and knew this was not going to end nicely, so before he had a chance to get at the cleaner I quietly walked up alongside him and whispered "I wouldn't do that".
The good news is my comment stopped him - the bad news is that I now became the centre of his attention!!! - but before he could start on me, I quietly whispered "You do know that the CEO who we are meeting today is an absolute clean freak and if everything is not completely clean, this whole meeting could fall over?"
That stopped him (perhaps it had something to do with if this deal did not get over the line he was going to fail his KPI's!!! LOL) so he just stood there with that beautiful shade of red making his face glow while the cleaner finished his work and promptly exited the room.
The meeting took place - the deal went through - and everyone went home happy, but this little incident highlighted just how important everyone is in your business.
I say this because I'm confident that regardless of how good our presentation was, if that conference room had been left even a little dirty, the visiting CEO would not have agreed to anything (I'd seen him in action before - and it was ugly!!!).
It's so important for you to keep this in mind as a small business owner - particularly when the majority of your focus is on driving your business to greater levels of success - there are times when you are not the most knowledgable person in the room (have a look at the team around you - are you ever the most knowledgeable person in the room?) so it's very important to be willing to take feedback from all the members of your team - and that means everyone from your trusted secretary right through to your office cleaner - because the information you will glean by listening to these people may very well give you the answers you're looking for to drive your business forward.
23 Feb 2017
We are all walking around with these little computers in our pockets - which some of us know as phones!!! - and it is so easy to look up a "how to" or "this is what it looks like" video while we are commuting - or just lazing around - that it makes sense that videos will play a huge part in what we buy.
And that's why when I found out about this free resource from Content Samurai called The Ultimate YouTube SEO Cheat-Sheet I had to let you know about it because it is resources like this that will get you well ahead of your competitors when promoting and marketing your business.
Have a think about it for a minute - how often have you wanted to see what something looks like - or how it works - before you've gone out and bought it?
It's funny because when I first heard about this resource, the first thing I thought about were tradespeople.
How many of you Tradies have done some wonderful work (carpentry, cabinet making, welding - whatever) that would be a fantastic advertisement for your business and the best you can do when someone asks you to show them your work is pull up a photo of the job on your phone?
Why not use that same phone to video record the whole job and then stick that video up on YouTube so that anyone who wants to see your work has access to it?
This is just one example of how powerful videos can be - and how easy it is to video your work with that little computer in your pocket (which some of us know as phones!!!) - to promote and market your business.
Go and get The Ultimate YouTube SEO Cheat-Sheet now and start driving your business to greater levels of success.
19 Feb 2017
"I've identified my target market"
"I'm doing all the online marketing stuff"
"My market message is exactly what they need to hear"
and still no-one buys your product or service?
One of the scariest things that can happen to you as a small business owner is when your marketing efforts to your chosen niche is not working and this is why we asked Sean Kaye of CasualMarketer.com back to BookPals Business Sanity to discuss what you can do when your niche goes quiet on you.
Sean has spent decades helping small business owners market their products and services online and in today's discussion you are going to hear things that may not make you feel comfortable, but will give you a clear understanding of what to do to re-spark your marketing efforts with your chosen niche.
Or whether or not you have a chosen niche at all!!! (Now that's got you thinking, hasn't it?)
There are times in a small business owner's life when they have to hear it exactly as it is - and this discussion is one of those times - so sit back and get ready for a serious dose of small business reality after listening to this episode of BookPals Business Sanity.
17 Feb 2017
There are a myriad of bookkeeping solutions on the market these days and many small business owners believe (incorrectly) that they are all much of a muchness, but here's the thing - if you stop thinking about what type of bookkeeping system you should use and think more about what bookkeeping system allows you to collate your financial records the quickest you will find that this aspect of running your business becomes much - MUCH - easier.
Let me give you some examples of what I am talking about -
If you're a sole trader - or a sole proprietor - who runs the business on your own and will never have staff, why do you need a bookkeeping system with all the "bells and whistles" like payroll, inventory management and the like?
You're never going to use these aspects of a bookkeeping system, so why would you waste time trying to learn them and money on a system that has them?
If you don't understand accounting principles - in other words all this "debit and credit stuff" that you hear about all the time - why would you choose a bookkeeping system that is accounting based?
Wouldn't it be easier to use something as simple as a spreadsheet - or if you have (or need) to use a bookkeeping system, wouldn't a really simple bookkeeping program that doesn't bamboozle you with all the accounting jargon be the best option for you?
Let's come at this discussion from the other direction - if you have just started a business and you know that as soon as you can you will be employing staff (or you have to employ staff from the moment you open your doors), why would you buy a "base level" bookkeeping system when you know that in the not-too-distant future you are going to have to upgrade your bookkeeping system to a more complex one?
Here's something else to think about - if the only reason you are doing your own bookkeeping is because you can't afford a bookkeeper, but you know that as soon as you can afford one you will be getting someone else to do the bookkeeping for you, why would you choose a bookkeeping system that "sits" on your home computer instead of having a system in the Cloud so that when it's time to hand over your bookkeeping to someone else, the process is quick and seamless?
And while we're going down this rabbit hole - if you are always getting hounded by your Accountant because they are constantly chasing your receipts to check against your financial records, why wouldn't you choose a bookkeeping system that could give your Accountant direct access to those receipts instead of you having to rummage through boxes of paperwork trying to find that one receipt that you have been asked to produce?
Bookkeeping is a fact of business life - as much as you might want to avoid it you can't - so when you are thinking about the best bookkeeping system for you, spend time thinking about which system is just right for your business - and your business alone - so that you can get this aspect of running your business done quickly and easily and get back to those things in life that are most important to you.
13 Feb 2017
This big 4 wheel drive vehicle towing a trailer was heading down the road towards me and as it got closer I could see that there was signage all over the trailer.
Advertising on vehicles has always fascinated me because I think it is a great way for small, local based businesses to get the word out about their products and services so as the vehicle approached I waited in anticipation to see what type of business it was.
Anyway, the vehicle drives by and guess what the advertising said -
I laughed and shook my head in amazement - now I know their surname and now I know there is more than one of them, but I do not have the faintest idea what kind of product or service they provide and if it they sell something that I need, I have no way of knowing how to contact them.
Advertising is one of those expenses that many small business owners begrudge paying because they (often?) don't see the return on their investment - is your advertising giving you the best "bang for your buck"?
6 Feb 2017
Lets face it, the daily grind of running your own small business can really wear you down if you've been doing the same old same old for decades, but what are you going to do if you close your doors - work for someone else or retire?!!!
Well, today you're going to meet someone who can help you put the mojo back into running your own small business, because on today's episode of BookPals Business Sanity you meet Lorraine Pirihi of relaunchyourlife.com.au.
Lorraine helps Baby Boomer business owners get that spark back into their lives so that they face the challenges of running their own small business with zest and vitality.
Best of all, after listening to Lorraine you'll begin to understand what you have to do to start reconnecting with the fun and excitement that is being a small business owner.
Get ready to put the mojo back into running your dojo after listening to this episode of BookPals Business Sanity.
30 Jan 2017
Ok, so you will remember in a previous blog post that I was grumbling about not being able to get a coffee while on holidays in Halls Gap?
Well, all was not lost on our trip there because what I also saw there was a wonderful example of quality customer service that I want to share with you here today.
While we were there we found out about a restaurant called Spirit of Punjab that serves Indian cuisine and as we all love a good curry we decided to head down there for dinner.
To say that the service there was first class is an understatement!!!
When you first arrived at the address what impacted on me the most was that you were greeted by images, statues and notices of the cuisine, together with a brief history of the region in India where the cuisine originates from.
What you find - in the carpark of all places - are all these quirky little statues and signs about the history and origins of the cuisine, so before you've even gone inside you are smiling about the upcoming experience.
When you head in to the restaurant you are greeted by smiling staff who show you to your table and provide you with a first class level of service.
Now, I have to explain something here - the place was a hive of activity for the whole time we were there (probably because there was nothing else open in the area!!! LOL) - there had to be several hundred patrons at the restaurant, but the hosts never rushed you or made you feel like they were in a hurry to move on to the next table.
Why? Because there were so many waiters there that it seemed like every table had its very own personal waiting staff!!!
What made me smile most about the place was that some of our group fancied themselves as "Curry Hardened" and wanted to go for the "hot stuff", but when they asked for a meal that the host thought might be a bit too "warm" for them, this person would politely say "Are you sure? This dish is very hot."
Of course one of our group pipes up with the usual "I've been eating curries all my life - I'll be fine" comment to which the host politely smiled, accepted his order and walked off and it was most amusing to watch this guy's face look like it was about to explode a little later when his meal was returned to him - he took a mouthful - and it nearly blew his head off!!! LOL
As I said before, the place was packed the whole time but the service was second to none and I must say that the whole experience was a wonderful example of quality customer service at its greatest (what a shame we didn't order a coffee there ah?!!! LOL).
Are you providing your customers with quality customer service so that they rave about your products and services long after they've left?
24 Jan 2017
You'd remember in a previous post I was talking to that guy from the UK about how he had obtained that lucrative deal fitting out hotels in Britain and Europe.
Well, there was something else he said during that conversation that I want to share with you because I think it is so important to keep this in mind in business.
It's the importance of staying light on your feet.
What do I mean by this? You may know it as "pivoting" - or you may know it as "pirouetting" - whatever you want to call it, it is so important to be ready to change tact at any given moment while running your own small business.
Hand's up if you have been pigheaded - or dogmatic - in some aspect of your business where people around you have been saying -
"You need to change that"
and you have said (or at least thought) -
"Don't tell me how to run my business'?
We've all done it, but the one thing to always keep in mind is to stay focussed on the environment that you're trading in.
Let me give you an example -
If you are over the age of 50, remember this -
Black and White TV
AM radio (i.e. no FM radio)
Push button cash registers
Telephones with numbers on a circular dial
Envelopes and stamps
Now - with this in mind - how much did your life change as each of the above went off in search of the dinosaurs as they wandered off into extinction?
If you're true to yourself, you'll agree that many of these changes had a profound impact on your life (I hated not being able to record movies on TV when DVDs took over from videos, didn't you?!!!) so if these changes impacted so profoundly on you, why won't the same thing happen to your business if it simply "marks time" instead of pirouetting to meet the changing world around it?
Well, this exact topic came up in the discussion I was having with this guy from the UK.
Colin (his name) made mention that when they first started their business they were focussed not on refits for hotels in a specific chain, but for repairs and maintenance to the existing fittings on hotels in the British Midlands, however, during the process of tendering for work it became obvious that refits were not only the most cost effective way to upgrade the hotels, but it also gave hotel guests a more luxurious experience in the form of more modern and comfortable amenities.
Once this became obvious, Colin's business did an immediate "pirouette" from marketing their services as a repair and maintenance business to one that did complete refits.
The "downside" of this change in direction was that many of the smaller independent hotels throughout the British Midlands could not see the benefit of complete refits, but this one hotel chain immediately saw the benefit of giving their guests a more luxurious experience and as a result hired Colin's business to provide the service.
The moral to this story is to always stay "light on your feet" when you are running your own small business - we are living in a time where things are changing at an extremely fast pace and your ability to change direction quicker than your opposition can put you at "the front of the class" very - very - quickly.
22 Jan 2017
While we were on holidays over the Christmas period I got to meet a couple of my relative's mates who had travelled to Oz from England to celebrate his upcoming 50th birthday.
I got chatting to one of these guys and during our discussion he made mention that he was a partner in a business back home in the United Kingdom.
My "business brain" immediately kicked into overdrive because part of the BookPals rollout includes introducing the BookPals bookkeeping system to small business owners throughout the UK.
He and his partners provide fit out services for a large hotel chain throughout Britain and Europe and it was fascinating to listen to how the business had originally started and the process that they went through to obtain this most lucrative contract.
During our discussion I posed the following question to Colin (that's his name) - "So, what was the "Secret Sauce" to getting the contract?" - and his reply was so profound that I have to share it with you here -
Just Keep Knocking On Doors!!!
My reply was "That's it?" to which he replied "Yep!!!"
He then went into detail about how they had tried all the "marketing tricks" we all hear about to source new clients but when it all came down to it, success was achieved by identifying the exact customer avatar that needed their services and once they had done this it was simply a matter of finding and "hounding" these leads until they got in front of the key decision makers to show them how their products could help them.
Colin is in charge of the partnership's marketing and he outlined exactly what had to be done to obtain the contract - let me share it with you here and now -
Identifying the key decision makers
Getting past the "gate keeper"
Talking to the key decision makers
Arranging a time to present to them
Presenting to them
Getting their approval
Obtaining the contract
Providing the service
We just sat there smiling at each and agreed that it would be great if there was some kind of "secret sauce" that could allow you to bypass the majority of this process - but there isn't!!!
One thing Colin said later in our conversation that I thought was fascinating was the flow-on effect his efforts had - as a result of him "grinding it out" to get this business, the hotel chain had hired him as a consultant to source more business for them because they were so impressed with his tenacity and perseverance that they decided to hire him to source more corporate customers for the hotel chain itself!!!
The "Secret Sauce" to generating more sales is that there is no secret sauce - find people who need your product or service, contact them, show them how your product or service will make their life easier and they will buy from you - that's it!!!
So there it is - the "Secret Sauce" to generating more sales - off you go!!! LOL
19 Jan 2017
Ok, so back to this year's Christmas business experiences!!!
As part of our interstate holiday this year we all travelled to Halls Gap to see in the New Year.
For those of you who have never been to Halls Gap before, let me set the scene for you - it is a sleepy little town situated in The Grampians in Victoria, Australia and for the majority of the year it is a quiet place where bush walkers and campers go to "do their stuff".
Christmas time is a little different though - the population explodes with tourists from the city, interstate and overseas who visit the area to wander around the bushland and "get back to nature".
There are a number of shops, cafes and restaurants there who, for the most part, do a reasonable amount of trade, but during the "off season" things get fairly quiet there because your stereotypical bush walker is not an "ultimate consumer" and they tend to be self sufficient in things like food and other essentials while they are up there wandering around the countryside.
This, however, seriously changes at Christmas time - Halls Gap turns from a sleepy hollow of bushwalkers into a "buzzing hive" of activity with tourists who have pockets full of money - and are happy to spend it - while they are visiting the area.
Now, think about this in the context of running your own small business - for (lets say) 9 months of the year your business just choofs along at a reasonable pace and then for a three month period (between Christmas and Easter time each year) the number of customers increase by at least tenfold.
With this in mind, if you were running your own business in an area like this, would you be very focussed on being open as often as possible over this three month period?
Well, let me draw you a picture of what happened while we were at Halls Gap -
It's Sunday the 1st of January and there are hundreds - and I mean hundreds - of tourists wandering around the town enjoying themselves and around 7.00pm guess what happened?
All the shops start closing!!!
How do I know this? We wandered into town after deciding to get a coffee and there was nowhere open to get one!!!
That's not exactly true - we did find one place that was open and sold coffee, but when we asked if we could buy coffees from them (keep in mind that there were at least a dozen of us in the group) we got told that the coffee machine had been cleaned because they were closing up in 15 minutes so they were unable to sell us a coffee!!!
We all stood there looking at one another in amazement, then shrugged our shoulders and wandered back to our cabins to put the kettle on, make our own "cuppas" and grumble about the level of customer service in the township of Halls Gap.
If you run your own small business - and wonder why you can't increase your customer base - are you there when your customers expect you to be?
Food for thought ----
17 Jan 2017
We are currently in the market for a new kitchen for our house. My wife has recently taken over her Mum's business and we need to upgrade the kitchen for the extra work that is now being conducted there.
Anyway, we went around to some kitchen places over the weekend to check out what is on offer and one kitchen design place in particular (I am not going to name them - you will see why shortly) seemed most promising.
We spent a great deal of time going over our requirements with the consultant there and arranged for one of their design technicians to come out the very next day (a Sunday - most impressive) to quote us on the job.
Now - I have to pause here - because this is a really important point (as will become clear later) - while we were there I made it perfectly clear to this consultant that the budget for this job was $20K and we were not interested in proceeding if if was going to be any more to which she said that she completely understood and would pass this information on the design technician prior to our appointment.
The next day - bang on time as promised (I love promptness) - we get a knock at the door and this well dressed and most polite gentleman walks in to our house and introduces himself as the design technician.
I must say that I was impressed - having built and renovated a fair number of houses over the years I have become used to a 1-2 hour "lead time" in the time that most trades say they are going to turn up and when they actually do turn up, so to have this guy arrive exactly on time impressed me greatly.
I made mention of this to him - keep this in mind for later on in the story!!!
Anyway, we spend the next 30 minutes or so "chewing the fat" with this guy chatting away, complimenting us on the design and layout of our house and how "easy" this kitchen upgrade is going to be.
Then we get down to the "nitty gritty" and start going over the new design - we go over everything we had spoken to with the consultant the day before, make little to no changes to what we had asked for the day before, the design consultant plugs all our requirements into his fancy computer program and out spits the total cost for the job -
I just sit there staring at my wife and she just sits there smiling - she told me after the guy left that I looked like one of those pressure valves that was just about to explode!!!
I then do what I thought was the most appropriate thing to do under the circumstances -
Breathe In, Breathe Out and Say - "I told you guys that our budget was $20K"
Now it gets really interesting - the design consultant guy suddenly goes from silence into "overdrive"!!!
- All our materials are locally sourced
- Everything is made here in South Australia
- We can reduce the benchtop from 40mm to 20mm and see if that reduces the price
and the real clincher -
You told me how happy you were that I had turned up on time!!!
He then jumps straight on the phone - without giving us the chance to say anything back to him - and rings his "boss" because (quote) "I'll probably lose my job, but I'll ring the boss to see if he can move on the price at all" (unquote) and starts raving to someone on the phone about how we are "so close" to buying but that they will need to "move" on the price for things to proceed.
After half a dozen "Ok's" he hangs up, looks me dead in the eye and says "I probably don't have a job when I get back to the office, but the boss is willing to drop the price to $21,982.00 to keep you happy!!!
I look him straight back in the eye and quietly say -
I told you guys that our budget was $20K
Off he goes again -
- We will walk you right through the process so you don't have to worry about anything
- You will get your own consultant who you can ring at any time for an update
- All the work will be done to strict specifications and on time - all the time
All the while Annie (my wife) and I are just sitting their with our jaws dragging on the ground - it was like watching someone on Methamphetamine - this guy was bouncing around like a ping pong ball trying every "second hand car salesman" stunt in the book to get our business - if it wasn't so sad it would have been comical.
I couldn't help myself - I just started laughing which (as my wife well knows) is code for "He's just about to explode" (which was probably why the colour started draining out of her face!!!), but I was most pleased with myself because - instead of hitting him with a barrage of abuse (which was my S.O.P. for this kind of garbage years ago) - I simply looked him in the eye and said -
No thanks - Bye!!!
I've never seen anyone pack up and leave so quick in my entire life and after we closed the door behind him we just looked at each other and started crying with laughter!!!
Why am I telling you this?
The days of second hand car salesman type selling are over - this guy had all the information he needed to make a judged decision on whether or not they could meet our requirements for the purchase we wanted and if - after costing what we wanted - he had simply rung us and said "We can't get anywhere near what you want for the price you want to pay" he may not have got the sale, but I can assure you that we would be singing his praises to other people looking for the product that he sold.
Have a think about how you are selling - regardless of whether or not a sale takes place are people becoming brand ambassadors for your products or services, or are they laughing about you as you walk out the door?
14 Jan 2017
Remember how I told you that the festive season had provided me with a heap of business insights that I am going to share with you over the coming weeks?
Well, an insight came to light yesterday that I did not expect and I have to share it with you because there are a ton of implications - both business and personal - in it!!!
We were staying with relatives while travelling interstate over the Christmas/New Year holiday break and while there I got chatting to the boyfriend of one of these relatives.
I have met this guy only once before, but I have really warmed to him for a number of reasons - he is in his early 20's and he's a real "go getter" - keen to impress and constantly looking for new ways to improve himself - so when he told me that he was having trouble finding a decent job and this was really getting him down, I immediately wanted to help.
Let me take a step back - this guy has no "formal" qualifications per se' - he is a country lad who was not interested in a formal education path, but doesn't mind getting his hands dirty and is always willing to learn.
The problem with this is that he is now living in the "Big Smoke" and unskilled labour jobs are getting more and more scarce.
Well, it just so happens that I have a customer who does work for a big company called Spotless and Spotless provides all manner of "support" services for many of the larger corporate entities around Australia.
I explained this to this young bloke and he immediately grabs his phone (I wish these kids would use tablets or computers to browse the Internet - I can hardly see what they're looking at when they browse on their phones!!! LOL), he goes straight to the careers section of the Spotless website and there are about 6 vacancies he sees there that he is qualified to apply for!!!
He applies for a couple of jobs there and then - this was about a week ago and I get a call from him yesterday to say that he has just walked out of a job interview and he starts work with them in a couple of weeks!!!
Why am I sharing this with you? There is an old saying that goes something like "Be nice to those you pass on the way up because you are always going to pass them on the way down" - have a think about that comment for a minute - by helping people around you (both in business and in life) not only does it make you feel fantastic, but they may be just the person you need to reach out to yourself at some time into the future.
Do you think the chances of them helping you will have increased as a result of what you did for them?
Food for thought ----
10 Jan 2017
Sorry I have been away for a while, but with the Christmas/New Year festive season just gone it has been a mad house of activity!!!
One thing that did occur over the festive season was the myriad of business insights - both good and bad - that came across my path and over the coming weeks I am going to share them with you because they are wonderful examples of what to do - and what not to do - when you run your own small business.
Lets start with a positive business insight - we were over in Victoria, Australia, to see relatives over the Christmas period and while there we visited Melbourne, Victoria's capital city.
The power cable to a hard disc drive that has some of my business information on it was not working properly so while in Melbourne I was trying to source a new power cable.
Every store I went to allegedly listened to the problem I had and then immediately tried to sell me a new hard drive!!!
The number of times I had to say "I don't need a new hard drive - I simply want a power cable for the one I already have" defies belief!!! LOL
When each sales person finally "got it" the standard line went something like "We can't sell you the power cable on it's own, but it will cost you less to buy a whole new hard drive".
This is where "Ninja Dean" (also known as Evil Dean!!!) came out of retirement and politely asked "That sounds great - and how do I get the data off my old hard drive to put it on to the new one?".
The blank look and the occasional "What?" completed the picture so out of the store I would stomp vowing never to return to it again!!!
After this had happened to me about 4 times I was ready to call it a day when - by chance - I happened across the Jaycar Electronics Store in Melbourne.
When I was living in Melbourne (20 odd years earlier) Jaycar was the "go to" store for car sound systems (I had purchased numerous Pioneer - my sound system of choice - systems from them over the years) and I happened to notice that they were now promoting themselves as selling "all things electronic".
What did I have to lose? In I went and I will say right here and now that the service I was provided with should be put in to some kind of "Super Retailers Handbook" to be taught to every person who ever embarks on a career in retail sales.
The young guy who served me must have spent at least 5 to 10 minutes asking me every manner of question to get a very clear picture of exactly what I needed and after clarifying every conceivable point possible he walks up to a cabinet, pulls out an empty hard drive case and says "This is exactly what you need".
He then goes into detail about being able to sell me a new power cable, but (to quote him) the most likely problem is that the solder inside the box itself has probably broke away from the wiring and if he sold me just the power cable on it's own chances are I would have exactly the same problem when I got home.
When I explained to him that IT hardware and "hard disc drive changeovers" were not my forte he walks away, returns a short time later with a "dummy hard drive" and steps me through the complete process of how to remove the hard drive from the old case and insert it into the new case.
Keep in mind that while this is happening there are customers everywhere and at no time did I get the impression that this guys was in a hurry to get rid of me - I was his total focus of attention until he was confident that I was completely happy with my purchase and understood exactly what was needed to be done to get my problem resolved.
I walked out of Jaycar a most satisfied customer - so much so that all of you are now hearing about it - if you can provide this level of service to your customers, do you think they will do the same thing for you and your business?