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These days, there’s an increasing focus on reducing our environmental impact. Many businesses offer recycling programs and even have composting, while some companies encourage car pooling, offer parking spaces for hybrid vehicles, or move their operations into environmentally friendly buildings.

There are many things you can do as a business owner to make your business more environmentally friendly, but it’s important to take steps that represent permanent change rather than doing something large that winds up being unsustainable for your business or employees.

Here are four small changes you can make that have a huge environmental impact, without altering your parking structure or moving to a new building across town.

Buy reusable pens

Straws and plastic bags aren’t the only items that clog up the environment. Millions of disposable pens are thrown away every year. We wouldn’t suggest you stop writing altogether—although it would also cut back on paper use—but switching to reusable pens has a massive impact on the environment.

First, by reusing pens you’re preventing disposable pens from winding up in landfills. Second, refilling the ink involves less packaging than buying new pens, further saving the environment.

There’s a bonus for your business, too. Although at first reusable pens are pricier than disposable pens, in the long run it’s less expensive to refill them than it is to buy new disposable writing implements. You’ll save money and help the environment at the same time.

Bonus idea: stop using disposable kitchenware.

Conserve energy

People think that computers that are on stand-by (or in sleep mode) don’t use any electricity. They do. Turning computers off for the night saves your company energy. It might take a few moments to get the computers started in the morning, but you’ll be saving money by not paying for electricity to keep the computers on overnight or on the weekends. Even better, unplug workstations so your business isn’t drawing phantom power while no one is there.

Bonus idea: Make sure other electrical items are also shut off or unplugged when not in use. Coffee makers are frequently left on even if no one is around to use them.

Invest in sensors

If your business can afford it, investing in sensor-activated lights for your bathroom, kitchen or communal spaces will save energy and save your business money. Conference rooms, for example, often have lights on all the time but are frequently empty.

Bonus idea: If you can’t switch to sensors, switch to energy efficient light bulbs. It’s an easy switch that will save you money and help the environment.

Use Environmentally Friendly Cleaning Products

Your office must be kept clean, but that doesn’t mean you have to use toxic chemicals to do so. There are many natural cleaning products out there that aren’t expensive and still do an excellent job. Plus, they make your office smell fantastic.

Bonus idea: If you have a cleaning service, ask if they use environmentally friendly products. If they don’t, ask if they’ll use the products you provide, or switch to an environmentally friendly company.

Final thoughts

Your company’s environmental impact can easily be reduced with a few easy steps. Not only do these steps help the environment, they often have an added bonus of saving your business money, improving employee health and impressing your customers.

These changes are also small enough that they’re sustainable. You’re not asking anyone to change ingrained habits or alter their lifestyle.

With so many potential bonuses, there’s no reason not to make some environmentally friendly changes to your business today.

The post Four easy ways to make your business environmentally friendly appeared first on Healthy Business Finances.

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When you own a business, any time you speak in public you’re representing your company. That’s a lot of pressure, especially when you consider that most people are already nervous about speaking in front of people. There’s no magic cure for fear of public speaking but there are some things you can do to feel more confident, comfortable and natural in the spotlight while drawing your audience in.

Tell a relevant story

Stories are a great way to hold your audience’s attention and keep them emotionally invested in your presentation. Make sure the story is relevant to your overall topic, otherwise they’ll wonder why you spent time on it. The story can be about you personally or about someone at your company or a client—though don’t give away personal information without asking permission first.

Audiences like a personal connection with their speaker, and telling a story is a great way to not only establish credibility but to connect with the people listening to you. Be honest with your story and don’t be afraid to share tales of your own failures or adversity.

Keep the focus on you

Figures and graphics make presentations memorable but too many slides and your audience will stop focusing on what you say. Their attention will only be on the visual in front of them. Use graphics sparingly, to make a vital point or to illustrate data that’s too complex to say easily. Don’t read directly from the Powerpoint—use it as a prompt to remind you of what you wanted to say and grab the audience’s interest.

Be yourself

Audiences like speakers who are genuine, whether that’s in the form of being highly energized, somewhat funny, or more laid back. They can tell when speakers are trying to be something they aren’t, and changing your style will make you more uncomfortable when the spotlight is on you. If your style is laidback develop a more relaxed presentation. If you’re very comfortable improvising then make room for it when you talk. If you hate improvisation then make sure you’ve written your entire presentation ahead of time.

Know who you are and how you’re most comfortable and stay true and authentic during your presentation.

Practice, practice, practice

Okay it’s not the most ground-breaking advice, but one of the main concerns about public speaking is the worry that something will go wrong. The best way to prevent something from going wrong is to practice it as much as possible.

Write your presentation beforehand and read it out loud. First practice reading it out loud just to yourself. This will help you find any awkward phrasing or sentences that are too long. Then get your family or some friends together to hear it. Ask them for feedback about your content or your presentation. Did you speak too quickly? Look down too much? Seem uncomfortable? Use their feedback as you continue to practice.

The more familiar you are with your presentation, the more comfortable you will feel. And, because you’ll become more familiar with it as you practice you’ll spend much less time checking your notes, which will make the whole thing feel more natural.

Final thoughts

There will always be minor glitches or unexpected snags that happen in presentations. Audiences know that and are generally very forgiving of such things. Don’t spend too much time worrying about everything that could possibly go wrong, instead focus on things going right.

If you go into each presentation feeling confident and prepared, you can handle any minor issues that might arise.

The post Four tips to being an amazing public speaker appeared first on Healthy Business Finances.

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If you’re a small business owner whose company hasn’t gone through hard times, that’s great but it’s likely to happen at some point. As much as we dream about being brilliant enough at business that we’ll never face slow times, there are many things beyond our control that can negatively affect our business.

Here are four tips for getting your business through difficult periods so you can look forward to many more years of business ownership.

Focus on your existing customers

When companies go through tough times, many owners turn their focus to bringing in new business. The downside is that existing customers are often forgotten, but those are the most efficient people to make sales to. You don’t need to stop marketing yourself to new customers, but make sure you give extra focus to the customers you already have, to ensure they remain loyal. Find out what their current needs are, how successful you are at meeting them, and what you can do to maintain an ongoing relationship. Communicate with them, and always provide exceptional customer service.

Reach out to others

Chances are, you aren’t the first person in your industry to experience tough times. Talk to other people who have been in similar situations to learn how they navigated those challenges. Ask them what did and didn’t work for them, and what they learned from the experience. Some—if not all—of their answers could be applicable to your business, or could at least inspire a solution.

Examine your marketing plan

Your marketing plan brings in new customers. Now is the time to consider fresh marketing ideas to bring in new revenue. Is there an area of your business you haven’t promoted before but could bring in clients? Is there a new way to market yourself you haven’t tried?

Examine previous marketing efforts to determine how successful they were. If they weren’t successful, stop wasting your valuable time and money on them. Use your efforts on something new.

Improve your cash flow

Analyze your company’s financial health to see if there are ways to improve cash flow. Can you charge clients a deposit or encourage payment up front to increase cash flow? Are there products you sell or services you provide that bring in revenue more quickly than others? Are there ways to save money that won’t hurt your business in the long run?

It can be tempting to eliminate staff, but when things are good you’ll just need to hire employees again. Doing so costs time and money. See if you can find small ways to save money that won’t negatively affect your business when it starts booming. Cutting overtime, for example, can save you money without losing staff.

Make sure you can account for every dollar your business spends. Don’t hide from creditors, communicate with them to find out if you can restructure your debt or extend your terms. Free up as much money as you can without setting yourself up for failure when things turn around.

Final thoughts

Chances are your business will go through tough times at least once. It’s important you take action to help get you through it, rather than crossing your fingers and hoping the difficulties pass.

The steps you take during these challenging periods will help you, but they can also help set you up for increased success in later years.

The post 4 Tips for Getting Your Business Through Tough Times appeared first on Healthy Business Finances.

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Toxic leaders let their poison infiltrate entire companies, and once they get authority over others, well it is all downhill from there. Thankfully, any business can destroy their poisonous influence and regain a culture of positivity and trust. Tell The Truth

Toxic leaders thrive when no one tells the truth, but the reverse is also true. If your employees are honest about each other, they can uncover toxic conduct and destroy it (and hopefully eliminate it). Employees know how obnoxious leaders can be, but reporting their actions isn’t always worth the effort.

Not only do toxic people seek revenge, but they also love destroying communication lines. That makes it easier for them to isolate coworkers so they can emotionally manipulate them.

If you want your employees to tell the truth, then you need to reward them and step up your management game. Speaking out against a colleague is always risky, especially if they are voicing criticism a superior with the authority or influence to punish them so have a system in place for employees to come to you.

You don’t have to offer monetary incentives; praising them in private is usually enough, though it doesn’t hurt to remind them that you are very thankful for contributing to the future success of the business.  These are the kind of workers you want around long term, so nourish them at every opportunity.

Create Deadlines

People won’t correct their conduct if they don’t get clear directions (and if you don’t hold them accountable to those deadlines). Procrastinating is easy, and having no deadlines means they are getting away with their toxicity.

Troublesome managers don’t always make destructive decisions intentionally. Micromanagers, for example, want to do a good job and work hard; they just don’t understand that they are wasting company time and often annoying the hardest workers in the process.

Create deadlines that your employees can meet. Breaking them down into small steps means everyone can follow their progress and make needed adjustments. It is also a good idea to clarify offenses and punishments. Some actions deserve swift and harsh penalties, including firing; informing your employees is a powerful deterrent.

Cut Your Losses

Knowing when to let members of your leadership team go is vital – you need to always be thinking about the big picture. Managers influence decisions at every level of your business, including who you hire and fire. Toxic personalities hire candidates that look like themselves, which creates more poison in your business. Don’t let them get away with it.

The resources you spend on recruiting and mentoring a team member are already gone. You are losing money and damaging your reputation every day a toxic leader stays on staff. Whilst firing staff is not pleasant, always make decisions that will help your company in the long term.

Promote Integrity

In business, character matters. Creating policies that prevent toxic behaviour is vital, but people are infinitely creative. Given enough time, people will work out how to bypass the system, even if it means bribing and blackmailing coworkers.

Hiring and promoting employees with strong character will transform a corrupt leadership team, as long as they are free to influence their coworkers. If you think toxicity is in a specific department within your organisation, attack it from above with the right leadership style.

This simple solution often leads to quick results. You will face stiff resistance, but it will weaken over time as toxic influences lose power.

So what character traits should you seek? Emotional maturity will stand out; it is hard to miss in an employee’s actions and work history. Next, look for candidates who value people over possessions. If someone would prefer to walk away from a toxic culture than become part of it, they might be a perfect fit for your team.

If toxic leaders are poisoning your business, then look for a cure quickly. Finding one is not as difficult as many companies may think. Toxic personalities aren’t immortal, and some aren’t even aware how destructive they are. Give them the opportunity to change or flood you business with the right leaders to flush them out.

The post Stop being a toxic leader: what to avoid appeared first on Healthy Business Finances.

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Whether you are a service based business or a product based business, word of mouth is vital for organic growth.  And word of mouth (if done right) can be a great strategy to grow your business.

If you have any doubt that word of mouth referrals are important, consider these statistics:

So how can you encourage positive word of mouth for your small business without feeling like a pushy used car salesman?

Here are a few suggestions to take into account:

Offer exceptional customer service—every time

There is simply no way around it: positive word of mouth has to be earned. It doesn’t just happen because you sold something.

Unfortunately it is exceedingly difficult to prevent negative word of mouth. People are much more likely to share a bad experience than praise a business. (Research shows that 95% of consumers will pass on a negative run-in with a company and more than half will spread the word to at least five other people).

The best way to earn positive referrals is to make your customers feel special each and every time they come in contact with you and your brand. Whether the sale is $10 or $100, it is about the whole process from the moment they came into contact with you to the moment they receive their product/service.

Here are a few simple ways to win over your customers:

  • Be friendly and approachable in person and online
  • Answer their questions promptly
  • Get to know your customers personally
  • Ensure customers are greeted and don’t wait long to complete a transaction
  • Express gratitude for ongoing business
  • Offer perks for loyalty
  • Pay attention to the details
  • Be honest, always
  • If something goes amiss, take immediate steps to resolve the problem to the customer’s satisfaction.
Invite (and also reward) referrals

Yes that is right, you actually should ask for referrals.  Some people find the thought of asking for a referral quite daunting, but if you are already working with ideal clients, really this should be a no brainer.  As if they did refer someone, chances are it would be another ideal client.

You can increase the odds that customers will spread the good word about your business with an incentive, such as a freebie or discount on their next purchase for completing a review on your website or providing a testimonial.

Seek out every opportunity

Remember to ask the folks who praise your products and customer service that you’d love a testimonial for your website, or a shout out on social media.  So when someone does email you and say “Gee Stacey, you are amazing and solved all my bookkeeping problems”, don’t be afraid to ask them if you can use that as a testimonial across scocial media or on your website (or both).

On that note, it is essential to keep track of what people are saying about your brand online, whether the talk is positive or negative. Be sure to take a moment to thank your fans for their kind words. As an added bonus, replying to positive business reviews can help give them a bump in search results.

Be sure to respond appropriately to negative reviews, too. Consider a bad review an opportunity to make things right. What can you fix, what systems need tweaking. It is much better to know what people are saying and respond than allow a problem to fester.

As you make a conscious effort to increase word of mouth for your business, remember this: it is the element of surprise that really gets people talking about a company. Think about how you can do more than just meet your customers’ expectations, but instead what can you do to dramatically exceed them. They will not only tell their friends about you, but they will also keep coming back for more.

The post How to encourage word of mouth appeared first on Healthy Business Finances.

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Ask anyone who has been self-employed if they have ever had a “less than ideal client”. The answer will be a big fat yes, I guarantee it.  So how can you sack a client politely? Is it possible to do it with grace and dignity?

Now don’t get me wrong, by and large, the vast majority of clients you get are great. They value your work, they understand your skill and expertise, they let you do your job, they understand that you are an expert and they trust you. On the other end of the scale, the less than ideal ones, however, can become a serious pain in the bum.

Problem clients come in all shapes and sizes. Often you don’t even know they are a problem client when you take them on. There are the late payers and scheduled “no shows”. The ones who are demanding and don’t respect your time. And the ones who always want a discount but still want all your experience at the same time.

Remember, just because you need to earn a profit doesn’t mean it is in your best interest to serve everyone who walks in the door.

Here are a few ways to respectfully let go of clients who aren’t an asset for your business.

Know your deal breakers

As business owners it is essential we maintain professionalism at all times. Ideally, effective communication, that is, setting boundaries early on, respectfully and assertively, can help prevent a situation with a client getting out of hand.

Some entrepreneurs have a “three strikes, you’re out” policy before they sack a client, but ultimately I feel that just allowing unacceptable behaviour to continue. If there are things you won’t tolerate (for me, one of those things is dishonesty), then if that occurs, step up and confront the situation.

“If you are spending all your time managing less than ideal clients, you won’t have time to manage and attract your ideal clients.”

What is your communication style

Depending on your personality and the client in question, it may be easier to end a business relationship over email than in person or over the phone. Whichever option feels most comfortable to you, stay polite and on point.  But how you communicate should be made easier by having a termination clause in your contract or engagement letter.

If you email a client to let them know you won’t be working together anymore, you might invite them to call if they have any questions.

At that point, the hard part will be over which can take off the pressure and emotional stress.

If you do wish to have the discussion by phone, this can easily get out of hand when emotion takes over.  So make some dot points of things to cover, take the emotion out of it, and the phone call becomes over and done with easily.

Stick to the facts—or take the blame

If a client has become unreasonable, become defensive or has turned hostile in relation to your services, you could tell them:

  • you have decided to shift the focus of your business to a new niche
  • in order to maintain a high level of client care you have to refer some of your clients to other businesses
  • for personal reasons you are scaling back your workload

If you are comfortable being up front with the client, you can point out the issue in a neutral, factual way that allows them to save face (see my point above about writing a little note of the points you want to cover).  But this is not a bitch session, it is not a vent of all the problems, it is facts relevant to how you can service them adequately.

For example you might say: “we rely on our clients to pay on time so we can pay employees and continue to run our operations effectively.”

If you can find another professional willing to take on your client, you may be able to avoid any hard feelings when you part ways. But if you are passing this client on, please be up front with the other professional about the issues you have had. Sacking a client is not necessarily leaving on bad terms.  It is just not the right fit for you now. Where possible, you want them to still hold you in high regard, even if they are not using you.  So, where possible, think about offering them a separate support package during the transition (paid up front of course).

“To keep your dignity in tact, sacking a client is a business decision.  As hard as it is, you need to take the emotion out and review the facts.”
If the client is no longer the right fit, refer to your contract or engagement letter, and stay confident in the quality of the services your business has offered.  If you continually have to justify your skills and experience, the client is not valuing you, and it is best to part ways sooner rather than later.

The post Is there a polite way to sack a client? appeared first on Healthy Business Finances.

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There are all kinds of groups dedicated to networking. Some are highly structured with performance requirements with exclusive membership. Others are free form, come as you please and no charge. Networking can be a total mixed bag.

Not every group is right for every kind of business, and trust me, I have tried so bloody many. You will find that some groups may simply not have connections in the market you are seeking to attract. You will find some groups have rules that just don’t fit with how your business works.

Yet there is one factor that is often overlooked when considering a networking group; does this group offer more long-term value, or short-term value?

When you focus on short term value, you see each member of the group only as a prospect, something that does not resonate with me at all. This limits the business potential of the group because you can’t reach beyond the people who are actually present in the room. If there are only 50 members, and 25 of them fit your prospect profile, what do you do once you have presented to all 25? You can either quit that group to start all over again with another group, or you can take a long-term value approach.

“Networking for me is about the long haul.  I am not just after a quickie.”

The long-term value of networking group lies on building strong trusting relationships that will give you influence beyond the people in your immediate group.  It helps build up a tribe you can rely on, not just for new work, but for brainstorming, venting, and surrounding yourself with people who will support and encourage you.

Discover Needs

If you are like most people, you are already pretty clear about what you need. What you may not be so clear on is what your business connections need. Do you know anyone who is a good prospect for them? Can you recommend or offer services that will help them? Find out what your contacts need and act to fulfill those needs.  Networking is not just about you.

Be generous

Stop looking at every person in your networking group as a potential sale. Especially early on, be more concerned about what you can give than what you can get from these meetings.

“Networking is not shoving your business card in as many faces (or hands ) as possible.  That is a total turn off.”

Give openly by sponsoring group events, donating to fund raising efforts, or simply bringing in some bagels for the meeting. Give of your time and effort by contributing time in a service position or simply be free with great ideas and a welcoming smile.

Especially give liberally by helping others make valuable connections. If you can help one of your fellow group members by making an introduction, do it. If you are generous, the effort will come back to you.

Build trust

People seek out people they can trust. Cultivating trust takes time and effort, but is totally worth it. When it comes to business, trust is based on three factors:

Value – do you consistently bring value to the relationship?

Dependability – are you the real deal? Can you be depended upon?

Consistency – are you consistent over time? If you are occasional participant, or just passing through, it is harder to develop trust.

Hold regular one-on-one meetings with group member. Get to know them, and they will get to know you.

Networking groups provide you with valuable business allies who can open doors and remove obstacles. Cultivate relationships instead of just asking for sales appointments. Strong relationships build strong businesses, over the long-term, this is the most valuable approach to networking.

Stacey, Founder of Healthy Business Finances is pleased to announce she is the facilitator of the new Institute of Certified Bookkeepers monthly network meeting in Ballarat.  If you are a bookkeeper and wish to come along, you are more than welcome (small fee for non ICB members).  Please see the ICB website for the details of the next meeting.

The post The True Value of Networking appeared first on Healthy Business Finances.

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What do Warren Buffet, Bill Gates, Mark Cuban, and Arianna Huffington have in common? All of these smart, savvy, successful business leaders share a passion for self-improvement through reading.  Yep, good old fashioned reading.

If you want to improve your skills as a business owner, why not spend a bit of time each day reading books that guide you to greater success?

I am such a sucker for a good book (business or otherwise) so hopefully my reading list of inspiring business books will help you get started:

  • “Miracle Morning” by Hal Enrod
    Hal is a motivational speakers, author and life coach and boy has he had a myriad of experiences in his life.  After suffering a near fatal accident (which could have easily ended his life), Hal devised a way to start each day with positivity, faith, peace and focus.  As someone who has struggled their whole life with being not being a “morning person” there are many takeaways from this book.  The biggest for me was setting myself up the night before for the day ahead.  Make life easy for “future Stacey”.  Whilst I still prefer a sleep in over a 5am alarm, this is still a great read.
  • “The 25 minute meeting” by Donna McGeorge
    Donna is an expert at maximising the use of your time – and meetings could be one of the most time wasting exercises in any business.  Donna wants your time spent at work to be productive and enjoyable.  Oh tell me more.  In The 25 minute meeting, you are forced (in a good way) to think about the purpose and goal of the meeting (and let me tell you many meetings fail at the first hurdle).  Meetings should have a framework and it should be followed. Plain and simple.  I don’t have time to waste so this book was gold for me (so much so that I went on to buy another of her books – The First 2 Hours)
  • “Winging It”” by Emma Isaacs
    One of the queens of Australian entrepreneurship, Emma is the founder of Business Chicks.  Australia’s largest networking and support group for women. She works across a few time zones now she resides in the USA, and has a team who put on monthly events, speakers, networking nights, learning sessions, retreats and workshops.  She is one busy lady and this book goes through her journey.  And boy, it is so refreshing to see someone say it how it is.  No holds bar easy read about the entrepreneurial rollercoaster.
  • “Risk & Resilience”” by Lisa Messenger
    If you are an Aussie based business and have never heard of Lisa Messenger – where have you been.  An entrepreneur from way back, she dabbled in a print magazine (The Collective) and now has a series of books on offer on a range of topics.  All relevant for the business owner, Risk & Resilience, is all about surviving those start up hurdles and scaling without crumbling.  Um hell yes please.
  • “Make Time”” by Jake Knapp & John Zeratsky
    Here is what I love about this book – I have never heard of the authors.  Yep, usually I bee line for books by highly proclaimed business people, and often I leave feeling a little underwhelmed. Well, the authors of this book say “We’re normal, fallible human beings who get stressed out and distracted just like everyone else.” Oh gosh, please tell me ALL your secrets.  This book focuses on fighting distraction and how to make your time work for you. I have not met a business owner who is not working stupidly crazy hours to fit it all in, so this needs to be on your reading list.

Now the above books are only a small sample of the ones on my bookshelf.  I have hundreds of books. I love them and can’t bear to get rid of any, even once I have read them.  I know I can buy ebooks, but I love turning the pages of a “real” book.  It is therapeutic in a way I guess.

“Reading for me is such a guilty pleasure as being a business owner, sitting down for 30 minutes “doing nothing” feels selfish.   “

But I challenge you to flip that thought around. That 30 minutes of reading is self development, it is relaxation, it is much needed down time.  And if you learn a thing or two in the process, well that is such a great bonus.

The post Habits of the world’s most successful business leaders? appeared first on Healthy Business Finances.

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When you run a small business you likely want to spend as much time as possible on the tasks that make money for your business. Unfortunately, there are many day-to-day chores that require your time but aren’t necessarily worth your energy. Faced with those errands, many small business owners either spend their valuable time and energy on chores they hate or put them off until the last minute.

That’s where virtual assistants come in. A virtual assistant can handle those pesky responsibilities that take you away from doing the things you love and drain you of your energy.

What is a virtual assistant?

A virtual assistant deals with your administrative tasks, but does so remotely so they don’t have to be in your office. Virtual assistants can answer emails, conduct data entry, maintain your website, order supplies, do weekly bookkeeping, plan meetings, make travel plans, and handle your social media, among other activities.

Most virtual assistants are freelance workers, so you can specify the services they provide you and specify how many hours they spend working for you per week. You also won’t be required to offer the benefits an employee would receive. Because they work remotely, you won’t lose valuable office space to your virtual assistant, either.

The virtual assistant industry has become more niched, so people who offer such services are often experts in certain areas, such as content creation, customer service, or social media. Some have experience in business administration and are highly experienced in managing the duties you need taken care of.

Why you need a virtual assistant

Virtual assistants bridge the gap between you and administrative assistants. You might be too busy to take on some of those daily tasks that need to be done, but not yet in a position to hire a full-time administrative worker. Maybe you don’t have enough tasks to justify a full-time position or don’t have the cash flow to pay for a full-time employee.

A virtual assistant will work on the tasks you assign and spend only the time you need on those duties. It’s the middle ground between you doing everything and hiring someone full-time.

Not having to deal with those daily chores frees up your time and energy to focus on the tasks that you love doing, or that are vital to generating revenue for your business.

Let’s be honest, there is almost always something related to your small business that requires your immediate time and attention. Being able to delegate some of those things to someone else saves you stress and hassle.

Keep in mind

Before you hire a virtual assistant, be clear on your budget and what tasks you want them to take on. It’s fine to revise the tasks once you get a better feel for the assistant and their abilities, but it’s good to have an idea of what you need and can afford before you get started. It’s also vital to know how much you can afford to spend and where the assistant’s help will be most useful.

Final thoughts

When you dreamed of running your own small business, you probably didn’t dream about all the time you would spend in mundane tasks like answering emails or updating your social media.  Virtual assistants provide an important service that can free up your time and energy, leaving you to do the things you dreamed about doing.

The post Can a Virtual Assistant Help Your Business? appeared first on Healthy Business Finances.

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Do you have under 19 employees? Then you need to be ready for Single Touch Payroll when it comes into play from 1 July 2019. Single touch what I hear you ask!!

By now you may have heard the buzz around Single Touch Payroll. It’s a pretty big deal for any business that has employees. So…what do you need to know and how does it affect you? Keep reading to find out.

What is Single Touch Payroll?

Single Touch Payroll (STP) is a new way to do your payroll reporting. The ATO has made it a legislative requirement that employers report all pay events back to the ATO. That means pay runs, including tax withheld on wages and superannuation amounts, will all be reported as they happen.

Lodging every pay event to the ATO means they’ll have up-to-date information in front of them, which makes data matching a lot easier. The ATO will be able to see if you are meeting your superannuation guarantee and PAYG withholding obligations. Put simply, the ATO will be able to crack down on business owners that aren’t doing the right thing.  It will become obvious to your employees too, as they will see each pay event in their MyGov account.

Who does it affect?

STP affects every business with employees. If you employ staff, you need to chat with us today.

If you are a micro employer (1 – 4 employees) some concessions are available for a limited time so depending on your circumstance this could mean different due dates however it does depend on what staff you have and if you are using a registered BAS agent or registered Tax agent.  Just give us a yess for some more information.

When does STP start for employers with 19 and under employees?

For businesses with less than 20 employees, it comes into effect from 1 July 2019.

So when does it really come into play?  Well the time to act is now. There is not long before STP comes into place and you need to make sure you are set up, you understand the obligations of lodging this information to the ATO and that you are ready to report.  So you don’t have to wait until 1 July 2019 to start reporting STP. You can start earlier, but please please please for the love of god speak to your BAS agent as this could effect how your end of year payment summaries are issued in your accounting software.

What do I need to do?

The first step is to have a chat with us. As a registered BAS agent, we’re in the best position to help you with this. We have already been implementing STP solutions for clients for 12 months and have rolled it out to many clients already so come 1 July, well really, it is no big deal as we are already doing everything correctly.

Electronic payroll software is essential for STP reporting. If you’re not currently using electronic payroll software, now is the time to get started. We can help you decide on the best and most cost-effective software to suit your needs.

So what’s next?

Talk to us today, don’t leave it any longer! We can help make the Single Touch Payroll process a whole lot smoother for your business.
We understand just how difficult it can be to employ and manage staff, as well as manage payroll. You don’t need the added stress of not being STP compliant.

The post Are you ready for Single Touch Payroll? Single touch WHAT?? appeared first on Healthy Business Finances.

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