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Small Biz Matters – a half hour program each week where you can work

ON your business rather than IN it.

Common Admin Errors

with Alexi Boyd

from Boyd Office Management Services

Date: 14th April 2015

INTRO – today’s show is all about learning from other’s mistakes. I’m going to take a leaf out of my own business book, thinking back on my 15 years running one family business and my last 12months setting up my own little business and humbly share with you some of my disillusions, my errors and sometimes the downright stupidity I’ve been through when running a small business.

Part 1 – Admin Boo Boos

  • Making sure all the links on your website and email signatures work (and test the email signature on different platforms like Gmail, outlook, MacMail)
  • Setting templates to make life easier – like email signatures, proposal document templates, invoice templates
  • Bookkeeping – not attributing bills to the correct supplier (like putting all petrol receipts to “petrol” instead of Coles Express or Metro Fuel. Remember all suppliers should also have their ABN entered too
  • Not asking for all the information from your new employees when they start such as ther super details
  • Backups – start with backing up your accounting software onto an offsite system such as Dropbox or GoogleDrive

 

Part 2 – Some typical broad mistakes:

“Renovating too soon”, or the giant business metaphor

  • Just like knocking out walls of your house before you move in renovating your business too early on can be a mistake. Just like a house (and this advice came from my Mum) you need to live in a home before your decide what to do with it. Wall Colours are your branding, furniture your business’ substance and walls the “where you’re heading”
  • You need to LIVE in your business before you decide where it’s going. Maybe the sales you thought were going to be your bread and butter might not be bringing in the dollars and maybe your passion isn’t so important to you anymore, and it becomes about the dollars for a while.
  • I guess the mistake is deciding too quickly where you’re heading as a business before being flexible and waiting to see what happens. Those with passion might find this a little harder than those with a more relaxed outlook….
  • BUT having said all that you do need to be persistent. There is a balance between giving your original idea air to breathe (and time for the concept to reach its full potential) before moving onto another idea.

 

Not doing your homework

  • Number boffins like me go on about this quite a lot. You need to calculate things like your setup costs, costs to run your business on an hourly basis. This is how much it costs to run your business. These are really important; not only to make sure you’re not completely wasting your time but also so when it comes to outsourcing, knowing what you can afford.
  • I’ll just go over this again, but the way you calculate your running costs is to list all of the annual costs of running a business like rent & operating expenses, insurance, computer hardware & software, setup materials (like hardware if you’re a tradie), annual subscriptions (like website costs) …. Basically everything you need in a year to run a business. Remember these are not your cost of sales – the costs you pass onto your cliets.
  • and then divide by the hours in a year (divide by 48 weeks in a year and 40 hours in a week) to get your hourly costs.
  • And one note about setup costs. Some aspects you should include are website setup, capital equipment to buy, uniform, vehicles, stock (if you’re selling that) computers ….. then “mark it up” by 30% to cover anything you’ve missed.

 

Be flexible with your marketing plan

  • Marketing (even the free kind) is expensive and the costs aren’t necessarily clear. Don’t forget about the cost of YOUR TIME when trying to do your own website. I spent 2 weeks full time – that’s 70hrs full time – building my website. Not I’m not suggesting you should launch your business without one (it is a must) but maybe think about a simple one to begin with, and again outsourcing it. Your first website can be
  • I had grand illusions of a weekly newsletter which was both informative AND entertaining, … and now I do a radio show. So again, that flexibility is important when setting anything in stone.
  • We can all get a little bit bogged down in the buzz words like “relevance” “audience engagement” or “likes” and forget what we are advertising and why.
  • I would suggest is taking your time when planning out your marketing plan. Listen to what your clients are asking for from you – maybe your specialism will change and so too you may need to change or “update” your marketing/social media plan.
  • And of course, as if I haven’t said it enough on Small Biz matters… Have an online presence. In my humble opinion, that is a simple website, a LinkedIn profile and a Facebook business page.

 

 

Part 3 – There are no such thing as experts….

  • Why do I say that?
  • We are all racing to “position” ourselves as the expert; writing blogs, talking it up, attending networking groups, exclusivity, but at the end of the day the businesses which are the most successful are constantly re-training, researching, learning, product developing etc.
  • And I guess what I’m saying is that those who succeed never think they have. Isn’t that profound

 

Spelling@!!

  • Speaking as a former high school teacher, there is nothing more unprofessional than reading emails full of spelling and grammatical errors. If you’re not sure, cut and paste your very important email to a new client into Word to check it and if you’re not 100% sure then send it to a boffin friend like me to check it.
  • AND not to mention errors on printed stuff like business cards. Disaster AND environmentally unfriendly.

 

Customer is God

  • The absolute biggest Mistake is not making your clients your number one priority. At the end of the day, references are your biggest seller and the best way to grow your business. So LOOK AFTER your current clients. Make them all feel special, that they are your number one client