Welcome to Bizcap’s Small Business Tips mega-list for 2024! We’ve spoken to our clients and industry experts to collate a list of the best insights to get your business going in the right direction for this year and beyond.
Our small business tips have been carefully tagged into the following areas: Business Size (1 person, 2-5 people, 6-50 people) and Advice Area: Finance, HR, Time Management, Marketing, Admin and EOFY). Use the filter above to narrow down your selected tips or just scroll through the whole list and see which ones catch your eye. We hope you find them useful for growing your business!
Business Tip 1. Plan around seasonal events – people act well ahead of the rush!
According to Google, 40% of US shoppers are preparing to shop much earlier for major seasonal events (Source: Jan 2022, Google) . Google’s research shows people are beginning their shop up to 6 months prior for events such as Christmas. Even if your business does not increase sales around Christmas, there are other events in the calendar that may affect your sales demand. Some examples include:
- End of financial year for tax specialists and accountants,
- July/August for businesses “saving” budget for the new financial year
- Major sports events for hotels, restaurants etc
Searched for "restaurants" have peaked at July and Christmas time every year (outside the pandemic)
Business Tip 2. Outsource your accounting to a book-keeper
Time is money and business accounting is annoying. There are 5 major accounting obligations each year: your 4 quarterly BAS statements (assuming your business is registered for GST and earns over $75K per annum) and your end of year tax return. BAS statements record every single one of your business transactions (expenses/revenue) for the quarter and assign a GST amount you owe. It would cost $7000-$9,600 to do your own BAS - see below:
- To do a BAS for a small service business with 300 transactions a quarter would take roughly 1 day. (Learning and relearning the rules here - probably 1 week total). That’s roughly 32-64hrs a year plus 40hrs in year 1. At $75 an hr that's $5,200-$7,800 worth of work done by yourself!
- End of year Tax returns for the above sized business would take 1-3 days to complete. Ie 24hrs or $1800 @ $75 an hr.
- Total = $7,000-$9,600 @$75/hr
Business Tip 3. Have formal, consistent documentation
Developing a set template for regularly used documents such as client briefs, proposal documents, invoices, pricing lists, contracts etc will be a time and quality life saver. Spend lots of time getting these standardised and correct from the start. From there you will be able to handle new customers/prospects quickly and confidently before they move off to your competitors. You can find a list of google doc proposal templates here: https://www.superside.com/blog/google-docs-templates#project-proposal We also recommend Canva which has a whole plethora of document templates for various document types: https://www.canva.com/templates/
Canva is a great source of templates for your business and has a free tier
Develop customised documentation with your logo and colour scheme matching accordingly. This helps to maintain a customer’s image of you as a professional organisation and stand out against the rest.
Business Tip 4. Keep track of your Google reviews; deal with bad ones appropriately and promptly
Google is a gateway for customers and clients to find information about your business. Whether they’re discovering you through a search, looking up your website, or seeking out your contact details, location or operating hours, they’ll often find your rating and reviews while they’re there.
It is therefore imperative to manage your online reviews. Whether positive or negative, reply to reviews in a timely and professional manner, and consider how you can take on their feedback to improve your business. When it comes to negative reviews, try to resolve them in a way that turns them around, resulting in a positive outcome for both the client and your business. And remember to thank customers who leave you positive reviews in order to highlight their comment.
Business Tip 5. Have an up to date database of subscribers
Keep regular contact with these clients, personalised messages, as well as on every special occasion such as their birthday, holiday seasons, exclusive sales/deals etc. Consider a newsletter - where you can update on latest projects, company specific news or interesting articles you have produced. Include discount offers for this subscriber list. Renewing old customers is much less expensive than acquiring new ones.
Business Tip 6. Have a website (or if not, a Facebook page or similar)
Having a website is imperative even if it is a basic site as long as there is a form for clients/customers to express interest, so you can get in touch with them and add them to your database. Single page websites - allow you to throw everything on one page! There are a plethora of platforms to build these, including Strikingly, Squarespace, Carrd, Weblium, Wix and more. If you are not confident building one of these yourself - you can just build a page on facebook to get started. This is very straightforward and will take 30 mins. See the steps here. Alternatively you can do a web search for “web designers near me” to find local designers. If you live in an advanced western economy like Australia, these designers will generally be higher quality but also more expensive. Think $5-$10K minimum for smaller sites. If you want to look overseas you can try Upwork or Freelancer.com. These sites list web designers from all over the world and you can find much cheaper rates than local designers. There is a trade off between the amount you are prepared to pay and the amount of professionalism, quality of work, english speaking skills and quality of communication here. Time differences can also be a crucial factor, especially in website design where lots of finer details can't be explained in an email and therefore sometimes need to schedule in a call.
Business Tip 7. Ensure you have an active presence on social media
It seems like a no-brainer; every business should be on social media.
But with so many platforms to choose from - and only limited resources to invest - it’s important to consider which channels are best for your business.
Think about your target audience and stakeholders: where are they most likely to engage with your content and where are they most likely to purchase your products or seek your services?
It’s also important to consider the value of brand awareness; while one social media platform might not deliver sales, having a presence there could help to establish brand recognition.
It’s also valuable to pinpoint what type of content your business can offer to make your social media accounts worth following.
Finally, think about if and how you want to use social media to engage with customers and clients, be that in the comments or via direct messaging, and whether you want to grow your presence organically or through paid campaigns.
Business Tip 8. Don't ignore Youtube - especially content creators
The vast majority of Youtube users are signed in to their account and therefore watching content and creators they are familiar with, like and trust. As a result Youtube can (sometimes) be a nice channel for niche products. In particular when creators themselves advertise the product within their video. (Native Youtube ads are likely a lot less effective because you can't choose exactly where they are shown - only to what “interested groups” they are shown). Google research has shown Youtube has initiated a “surprising” new shopping journey for 70% of shoppers. See here for more (Google) Indeed the same research shows 89% of shoppers trust the recommendations their favoured content producers give! This is a potentially valuable source of customers for you. Another area to consider is the niche of content producers that do product unboxings and reviews - also known as “thrifting haul videos”.
Business Tip 9. Get on Google My Business“Shopping near me” searches have grown 100% year over year according to google. If you don't have a listing on google my business - you will not appear in these local searches. How to set up a Google My business profile:
- Make sure you have an account on Google (any will do)
- Sign in to Google Business Profile Manager here
- Add you Business
- Click Add Business
- Search for your business name – if its not there add:
- Confirm your business category
- Add Location Information:
- Enter your business address
- Add your website and contact details. Mote: you don’t have to have a website on google and can instead just list your business!
- The final step is to verify your business. You will need to respond to the postcard sent to your address by Google to verify
- Click Add Business
Business Tip 10. Educate yourself on what expenses qualify as business expensesThis is probably the number one complaint from all small business owners. The tax rules are so complex and byzantine that people are in a constant state of confusion on where their transactions stand. Now we are not advocating you to become a qualified accountant in your spare time, you are already busy enough. But for your own sanity, make sure you set aside a day or two to learn as much as you can about what qualifies as a business expense. This can obviously vary by country. We are based in Australia, which has rules similar to the US. In Australia, any expense that meets the criteria of “ordinary” and “necessary” for running a business is tax deductible. Ordinary means that other traders in the same business also pay for the same things while necessary means that the expense helps run the business. (See here for more). Allowable “entertainment” deductions:
- Refreshments made available at a presentation to staff on business premises (such as sandwiches, biscuits and tea or coffee)
- Expenditure incurred by an employee who is travelling away from home. In this situation also, there is less of a requirement that the items consumed be merely functional.
- If a business hosts a product launch, for example, and serves up a spread of various food and drinks for the guests, including alcohol, the costs of this entertainment will be deductible. Note: the ATO normally frowns upon claiming alcohol as an expense, so this is another example of the extremely complex nature of tax law
- Where food and drink are consumed incidental to attendance at a seminar of at least four hours’ duration. Note also that the word “seminar” covers events such as workshops, training sessions, conferences, lectures and so on. (taken from here).
- In the US you can claim green fees, guest fees, cart fees, caddies, tees, balls & gloves, beverages, snacks, breakfast, lunch or dinner. And, you can deduct your own costs, even if you go Dutch & pay only for yourself - so long as you conduct the business meeting as soon as possible before/after the round in a more business appropriate setting - i.e. lunch would suffice. (see here)
- If you use your personal phone, or work from home sometimes, you can claim a portion of your home utility bills. For electricity, you can claim 45c per hour that you work at home.
Business Tip 11. Learn from your customers
As you grow your business, listening to feedback from your customer base is crucial. It can be easy to ignore negative feedback, but the truth is both positive and constructive criticism can help your business succeed. Pay close attention to client reviews. Always respond to negative reviews, you’ll be surprised how often a negative review can be turned into a positive outcome. These can be worth their weight in gold. Consider surveying your customers. Ask them about their experience. Ask them how you could make your product or service better. Often there will be hidden/unexpected gems of information you hadn't thought about.
Business Tip 12. Stay focused on your speciality/niche
When you begin a new business venture it is easy to get carried away and keep on adding ideas to your business. However, most of the time the more successful businesses have a speciality or a niche which they focus on acing and getting well known for, prior to venturing out and adding other services, products or aspects to their business. If you spread your services too thin, you risk being viewed as less ‘proficient’ (wrongly or rightly) than competitors who focus on that specific niche. If you do decide to spread out your offering, be sure to regularly communicate through your website, messaging to customers etc just why you offer a greater breadth of services and how this doesn't impact the quality of your other service offerings.
Business Tip 13. Deliver an experience your customers won't forget
Be unique. Go the extra mile, they will remember it and tell their family and friends. Customer experience is one of the high ranking factors for returning clients to a particular business. It has a domino effect, if you do it well you will see an increase in your business’ sales, whereas if you do not do it well you will probably see a decline. Respond to your customers individually, not with a generic email. Remember their birthdays or special anniversaries. Send them discount offers or small thank you gifts. All these little things add up to make a great customer experience.
Business Tip 14. Learn to DelegateThis is possibly the hardest thing for every business owner, but you simply must find a way to do this - otherwise your business will not grow! The big hurdle with delegation is the drop in quality that happens when “you” stop doing the work. This can be minimised in the following ways:
- Only delegate to an expert. Yes these are more expensive, but it also means less worries for you so you can concentrate on driving new revenue. An example is hiring a part time book-keeper.
- Have thorough oversight of staff work - only delegate 80% of the job to begin with. You need to keep your finger firmly on the pulse of any job your staff member is doing so you can jump in quickly to nip any issues in the bud before they arise. Ways to achieve this include:
- Regular (weekly at a minimum) update meetings with staff on all current work.
- Having an easy communication platform eg Slack so issues can be communicated/acted upon quickly.
- Have “test projects''. These are less valuable projects where you can evaluate how well the person you are delegating to performs. Undoubtedly they will make mistakes on the first project - have a solid debrief on this. On the next project if they make the same mistakes again - you should reconsider if this is someone you want working for you.
Business Tip 15. Get a 1300 or 1800 NumberHaving your own mobile number on a website is a recipe for the kind of spam calls everyone hates. Instead signup for a 1300 or 1800 number. A 1300 number allows anyone to contact you from a fixed line at local call rates. A 1800 number is a free call for the caller (you pay obviously). For around $25 a month you can get a 1300 number through a variety of providers eg Optus in Australia. You can then link this number to a mobile so you never miss a call.
Optus has a good deal on 1300 numbers
Pro tip: get a separate mobile for your business. Clunky as this is, it allows you clearly to put on your best self for those all important business enquiries. We have trialled dual sim phones (eg the latest IPhone 12) and while they “work”, they don't identify for you which phone number an incoming caller is calling to. So you never know before you answer the phone if you are going to be dealing with a business call or not. We don't recommend this approach.
Business Tip 16. Go to conferences/roadshows… not in your field!It may sound counterintuitive, but going to conferences in a field other than the one you operate in gives you a great opportunity to stand out from the crowd. For example, an accounting service stand at a travel expo. Sure you may not be directly related to the theme at hand, but every business needs accounting services. You’ll likely be the only provider there and will be in much higher demand than at an accounting specific conference. Think outside the square. Where else, tangentially related, could you be out selling your message? You'd be surprised just what industry verticals are interested in in the product and services you offer!
Business Tip 17. Use videos instead of resumes
Ok this is a bit left field, but we’ve tried this ourselves and it works! Instead of sifting through hundreds of identical resumes, try asking job applicants for a short 30-60sec video of why they should get the job. This immediately cuts half the field out who couldn't be bothered putting in the extra effort. It then gives you a chance to quickly determine someone's personality, experience and fit for your team. If they can't sell or convince you on their own experience and/or suitability for the job - how can they be expected to convince your clients? Getting applicants to create a video als gives them a chance to be creative and comfortable telling you “their” message, instead of them trying to fit into traditional resume formats. You are hiring someone who brings their own skills to the table - they will either complement or hamr your organisation. Use a video to uncover the possibilities of what people can offer as opposed to how closely they can fit themselves into a set of criteria you have set.
Business Tip 18. Hire people not roles
You've probably heard this before, but it really is true. Don't try and find the “perfect fit” for your role. A perfect fit does not exist. A person fully qualified for a role will be bored and looking for a more senior or different role. They, more likely than not, will turn into a distraction/problem for your business. Much better to hire people with a great attitude and potential. Sure they will need extra coaching at the start, but you will gain in the long run in terms of increased productivity and better performance as they grow into and relish the role more. If you are running interviews and find someone who resonates with you in terms of great attitude and interesting skills that your company doesn't already have - strongly consider hiring this person!
Business Tip 19. Get your finances sorted!Before you do anything else, set up a separate business account. This will save you a world of pain down the track. Setting up a business bank account will take a few days to sort out. Depending on your business structure you will need the following types of documentation:
- Sole trader: ABN (if you have one), personal ID (eg Passport), business address
- LTD PTY: ASIC registration, ACN (ABN) details, personal ID, business address & place of business
Business Tip 20. Carry business cards with youYes it's old school, but you’d be surprised how handy these can be. That quick conversation with a tradie, or a stranger you met at a conference - could easily turn into business for you - so long as said person is able to contact you!. Having a ready supply of business cards when you are out and about solves this problem. Always carry a few spares in your tools bag, laptop bag, hand bag, briefcase or car. If you get stuck you can have a digital backup. You can try some of the providers out there - but to be honest these are all lacklustre. The primary way they share your “business card” is via email, text or QR code. (Yes there are NFC technologies such as Mobilo, but they mean storing contacts in a phone's contacts folder, not always ideal).
- Pro tip: In these post Covid/check-in days, we recommend trying a QR code approach instead. How?
- Somewhere on your company website host a page with your contact details on it (make sure it has a noindex tag on the page so it is not crawled by google) - it could be a copy of your team details pages.
- Create a QR code using QR Code Generator
- Capture this as a photo on your phone and share this to your heart's content :-)
Business cards are old school but still really handy
Business Tip 21. Add a personal touchAdding a personal touch to your business is what will make you stand out to your clients in regards to competitors. A lot of organisations are very transactional and not very open to getting on a personal level with their customers/clients. If you can add a personal touch to your services or products by:
- Include a handwritten thank you card with a purchase
- Send a thank you email
- Add a special surprise such as a free gift like a water bottle for example.
Business Tip 22. Every setback is a stepping stone to successIt may sound cliche but you can honestly only learn from mistakes and make note of them, so as to not repeat them in the future. This is how you will start seeing positive results, instead of going in circles by repeating the same unsuccessful things that you were doing in the past. Learning from other business mistakes is also key, so speak to people in similar industries, read case studies and articles, get their take on things, open your perspective and try new things outside of your comfort zone, because sometimes that is when something great comes about…
Business Tip 23. Build an audience you can monetize
Whatever niche your business operates in - there may be an audience you can carve out. Whether it is “how to videos” on youtube, contributing to local newspaper columns, appearing at local fairs, creating a content focused Instagram channel or even TikTok. If you have a message or content that connects with a group of people, you may have a chance to monetise this. We don’t advocate being exploitative here, but if you have a genuine audience who trusts you, they will trust your product and service recommendations. This is obviously valuable. Have a think about your current and potential customers/audience. What sort of content/interaction can you build for that audience? It could turn into something that augments your business- or at the very least you have some fun along the way.
Business Tip 24. Don’t compete on price
Stand by the quality of your products & services instead of relying on price to differentiate your business. Until you reach gigantic scale, very tight margins will affect every part of your business from quality, to staff pay, to morale - even to customer perception (e.g. cheap, low quality). Continually offering lower prices will lead to a downward spiral. Your quality will drop, forcing you to offer even cheaper prices. You may even precipitate a price war with rivals. Avoid all that by offering the average or even slightly more expensive price for your industry. Talk to old, new and potential customers about the prices they have been offered to gauge where your offering stands. Maybe even offer them a discount to give this information to you. It is very valuable!,/p>
Business Tip 25. Working from home is a great option if you can do it
The world has clearly changed since COVID-19. People expect and are trusted to be able to work from home. Benefits stem from an improved work/life balance for your employees, as well as a more efficient use of everyone’s time. For your business you could be saving on unnecessary rent or mortgage payments. Look for flexible offices wherever you can. Many co-working spaces are now offering very flexible options. Make sure you decide what you want - and negotiate! A simple option is to sign up to a shared workspace 1 day a week (on Friday's) and work from home the other 4. It may be different for your business but there will be a fit for you outside the full time in the office, traditional option.
Business Tip 26. Get involved in your local community/fundraisersThere are numerous ways your business can benefit from community involvement, such as by sponsoring local events/ sporting events or fundraisers. It can increase brand awareness, cultivate trust, and foster a positive culture. All of these things are bound to increase profits and help you succeed. It is also a great networking opportunity and a way of meeting new clients who you can hand out business cards to etc. Letting your customers/clients know that your business isn't just focused on sales, but is also open to connecting with the community and doing their part to be involved and help where possible is a great approach to creating a positive image.
Volunteering is great for your business for so many reasons
Business Tip 27. Throw a product launch or event
Ideally when you are just starting out as a business, or if you are an already established business but are introducing a new product or service to your business, throwing a launch event is a great way to promote and let potential and already existing clients/customers see why they should use your products/services and how you differentiate yourself in the industry. It also helps an organisation build anticipation for the product, gather valuable feedback from early users, and create momentum and industry recognition for the company. If throwing a full on event is a bit out of budget another great way is having a stall at another event or market/roadshow etc.
Business Tip 28. Analyse your competition
Become familiar with your competitors, what they do and don’t do well. You can learn from them and the feedback provided to them from customers via reviews etc. This will help prevent you from making the same mistakes, or on the more positive side of things see what their customers love about them and implement something similar in your business. You also need to be prepared to sell yourself if someone was to ask about you in comparison to your competitors, whether it be regarding service, quality, price etc. Standing out against your competitors and being able to guarantee your clients speciality service, products or pricing is one of the keys to success.
Business Tip 29. Have an organised structure for posting on socials, website etc.Have a calendar or structure in place which ensures you are regularly posting content such as posts, case studies, blogs, reviews and more. Being active on socials and updating your website every now and then shows that you are engaging and improving your services for your customers. Ideally you should be posting at least once a week, but I think three times at the start, middle and end of the week is a great way to be front of mind for your customers.
Use the above grid layout on Instagram for your business
Business Tip 30. TravelAttending conferences, roadshows or any business related event, interstate or even globally is a great way to network and potentially expand your business. It is also a great opportunity to spread brand awareness about in new places, as you may eventually expand your business to these areas. You can also generate new ideas when you are outside your usual space, it’s a great way to get creative and change your working environment every now and again. It’s also great because you can claim all the business expenses as a tax deduction.
Business Tip 31. Be adaptable, stay on top of marketing trends
Ensuring you have an open mind to change in regards to how business is run in this day and age is a key to success. You can’t keep living in the past if you want to grow, you have to be open to change, such as using new platforms (such as TikTok, Instagram etc) and staying up to date with the trends such as having a QR code which leads to your website and social pages. Also the use of influencer marketing, appearing on podcasts etc.
Business Tip 32. Let your customers know they have privacyMany controversies regarding privacy control and security have proven terrible news for companies. Keeping this in mind, business' should therefore prioritise preserving their customer's privacy. In this context, the development and implementation of a system for the customer is an excellent way to keep them safe in this era. Many reputable companies are working towards developing systems to ensure customer privacy. The main objective of these systems is to keep the customers secure while they provide their personal information to the company or business concerned. This will allow consumers to use services without speculating on data leaks or identity theft. Companies are now looking for the best systems that will ensure their customers' complete security and privacy. For E-com businesses in particular PayPal is known as the safest financial portal which is encrypted and trusted by many consumers. Something to keep in mind to incorporate on your business' website.
Business Tip 33. Separate Your Personal & Business Finances
Don’t accept payment in your personal business account or put business expenses on your personal credit card. Since you and your business are separate taxable entities, you need to have separate finances. Otherwise things just get messy and you might as well assume you’ll have to deal with an audit—even if you’ve got nothing to hide. This also allows you to get a clearer picture of your finances when you are with your accountant assessing your day-t-day transactions and working out your overall financial position.
Business Tip 34. Invest in your educationThe best money I’ve spent on my business has been on my own education to further it. If I don’t know how to do something, I know it’s silly for me to keep trying to Google solutions, go through months and months of trial and error, and maybe get it right after that. Instead, it makes a lot more sense to pay a few hundred dollars (sometimes even a few thousand, depending on the skill) to have someone who’s been there, done it, and been successful at it teach me how to do it right the first time. Because even though those courses cost money upfront, they more than pay for themselves in return on saved mistakes alone… not to mention how much they help me actually make more money because of the things they teach. I’ve done courses on how to set up my business, how to manage clients, how to market, how to advertise, how to write, how to pick colours and do basic web design, how to network, and how to create an info product. Free courses are available yes, but they only scratch the surface. Paying money to dig deep into the topic and really learn it goes so, so far.
Business Tip 35. Train New Employees WellYou get out what you put in. Throwing employees in the deep end with no guidance is a recipe for failure. Instead - have an induction plan for their initial few days. Then have a solid training plan to get them up to speed. This will require you to develop training procedures and documents in advance. On the job training is fine - if you can spare the resource. Generally you will want to shadow your new staff in the first few weeks. Have them work with a more experienced colleague. Give them less responsibility and have them work on less important projects to get started. A good tip is to get them to re-write the training docs for you. This is a win-win where your staff member gets low-risk experience and you get new procedures docs for your business! Also, don't get the employee who is leaving the company to train the new employee. This is an obvious thing - that unfortunately we’ve all been through. New company, new adventure - you need someone guiding you who is not checked out and leaving soon anyway!
Business Tip 36. Schedule Meetings With YourselfSo every week—I schedule mine on Friday mornings—take 30 minutes to an hour to have a meeting with yourself as the chief strategist of your business. To start off the meeting, acknowledge what your big-picture goals are and then for each of those goals, figure out if what you’re doing right now is aligned with making those things happen. Having a checklist also helps you prioritise and ensure you are being productive and managing your time efficiently.
Business Tip 37. Prioritise the Most Important TasksEach day, make sure each team member is focusing their attention on the task that will move the needle the most for your business. That task should be the first thing that gets completed each workday. Keep chipping away at the most important tasks. Small businesses don’t have the resources available to get caught up doing noncritical tasks. Tools such as Trello and Asana are great ways to collaborate, manage projects, see your own and your team's plans and tasks, track progress and reach productivity peaks!
Trello is such an awesome tool for organising your workflows. There is a free and paid version.
Business Tip 38. Focus on established revenue sourcesWe can lose site of our current customer base in the search for new customers. New customers are much harder to get than retaining current ones. Consider offering loyalty discounts, membership benefits and other ways to make your current customer base feel special. Another reason to focus on this part of your business is when getting a loan from a bank. Banks prefer hearing about your current revenue streams as opposed to your “future revenue streams”.
Business Tip 39. Stay on trackTheres only so many hours in the day - and small business owners have so many tasks to get through. Wasting your time on tasks that have marginal value for your business growth is enough to drive any small business owner crazy. We’re talking working in areas you are not an expert in: accounting, IT, law etc To stay on track you need to know what your tack is - ie a business plan - and you need to review your current course regularly (weekly) and decide if you are still on track or if you need to adjust. To help you stay on track consider the following:
- Have a summary of your overall business plan that you can refer too easily.
- Have a daily/weekly task list. Check these off and monitor your progress.
- Set goals. Then create steps to achieve those goals.
Business Tip 40. Become a Limited Liability Company (Pty Ltd or LLC)Things can and will go wrong. In the unlikely event that this is a major catastrophe for your business, you don’t want to lose your house too - which is a possibility when you are a sole trader. Becoming a Limited Liability company requires some extra steps compared to a sole trader. On top of getting a company number (ACN in Australia), you will need to register your company with the relevant authorities - in Australia this is ASIC (Australian Securities & Investments Commission). You will also need a Directors ID and then pay the relevant fees (~$600 per annum in Australia) - see here for more. Finally you’ll have to set up a board (can be just one person) and have an annual meeting every year to approve the financial accounts. You’ll need to do a separate tax return for the business along with your personal tax return.
Business Tip 41. Get InsuranceSimilar to above - in the event of a crisis insurance can help save your business. Not only is it protection against unforeseen events - many companies (and all government clients) will require you to have public liability and professional indemnity insurance. The amount insured will vary by company/government department - but a good guide as a minimum is $5million for professional indemnity and $20million for public liability. Prices for this range of insurance hover around $1,000 per annum. Shop around for a broker and you can make some big savings. Check out Steadfast which helps you quickly shop around a huge selection of insurance brokers across Australia
Business Tip 42. Let bad clients go and focus on good onesNot every client is worth keeping! Yes it is extra revenue in the short term - but a ‘bad client’ will end up costing you in the long run. Whether it is extra stress trying to deal with said client’s ‘different’ expectations, or diverting scarce resources from your better clients to deal with the bad one… you’ll end up losing out. What you’ll find when you let one bad client go is that as one door closes another opens. The extra time and frankly more positive attitude you will have will help open your eyes to new opportunities and allow you to be receptive to them.
Business Tip 43. Company presentationNobody likes to deal with a rushed or temporary looking business. It immediately seems untrustworthy… Spend a little extra on having a nice website, business cards, logo etc. A professional looking, but small single page website wont break the bank - a web designer will be able to get you set up with a professional one page website for $1-$2K (even less if you shop around). Professional logos can be designed on fiverr.com for - a fiver. Business cards can also be designed via Fiverr or reelancer.com. For a total spend of $2K the professional appearance of your business will jump immeasurably.
There are a tonne of logo providers on Fiverr
Business Tip 44. Nip office politics in the budOk this may be hard to uncover - but as soon as you do - you need to kill it quickly or it will undermine your company culture. Here are three ways/situations where you can uncover negative office politics in your business taken from business new daily:
- Urgency takes a back seat to process, and the stakeholders in the status quo become threatened by change. If there is some ‘overly elaborate process' in your company, it is likely being exploited.
- People who do not regularly produce results don’t get fired or reprimanded.
- The average employee has little knowledge of and visibility into the company’s decision-making.
Business Tip 45. Consider taking advantage of the instant asset write-offSpend money to save money. Sounds counterintuitive, right? But if you need to buy some new equipment – like a new coffee machine, a vehicle or even some new computers, – you can probably write it off against your 21/22 tax bill. The scheme is open to businesses that have an aggregated turnover of less than $500m, and some assets are excluded, including plants, buildings and assets you lease out. But, if the asset meets the criteria, costs no more than $150,000 and has been purchased and used in the year the write-off is claimed, then you should be good to go. For more information, the ATO has a page dedicated to the Instant Asset Write-Off.
Business Tip 46. Remember to write off your business loan interest
Interest on business finance is generally tax-deductible, and can add up significantly – you just need to remember to do it! For example, if your weekly repayment is $500, and $150 of that is interest, you could claim $7800 (52 x $150) as a tax deduction – which would save you a few thousand dollars.
Business Tip 47. Invest in your businessAs your business comes to life, experts agree one of the first challenges you’ll face is obtaining the necessary funding. Many would-be small business owners often feel overwhelmed navigating the complexities of start-up finances. Read this article for experts' advice on business funding.
Business Tip 48. Pay any super you oweIf you have employees, you know you have to pay their super at least quarterly, by the cut-off dates determined by the ATO. By paying the April-June instalment in late June, you should be able to deduct the payments from this year’s tax.
Don't get caught out at tax time! Keep track of how much super you owe your employees
Business Tip 49. Review any bad debts, and write them offIt’s a fact of business life that some accounts go bad, and some invoices just don’t get paid. If you’re in this position, then it’s wise to assess those and let your tax accountant know which ones you aren’t going to be taking payment for – you may be entitled to a deduction if you’re no longer expecting to receive payment for those invoices. The end-of-financial-year can be a complex time, which is why we recommend working with a professional tax accountant to maximise your position and ensure you’re meeting all of your obligations. Alternatively, the ATO’s website is full of information surrounding tax rules and regulations.
Business Tip 50. Have an accurate business plan
It's a good idea to have a realistic and straightforward business plan that will guide the day-to-day operations, finances and overall development of your business. Your plan need not be 20 pages, as long as it is an accurate representation of your business’s costs, expenses and earnings. This will allow you to make the most of your business’s true potential.
Business Tip 51. Have a budget and stick to itThe budget needs to be a part of your business plan! Budgeting may not be the most fun part of running your business but it definitely is one of the most important. You (or your accountant) need to come up with a realistic and measurable budget based on your projected cash flow that will allow you to have a strong base for your business goals to rely on. While it may be easier to create a budget, it is not always as simple to stick to it. There will always be uncertainty and some unforeseen expenses. One way to make sure you stick within the parameters of your budget is to follow the Profit First Principle in accounting. This method allows business owners to take a percentage from each sale as profit as opposed to the traditional profit formula which deducts expenses from sales, leaving the remaining amount as profit. The Profit First formula deducts profit from the sales leaving behind the remaining amount for expenses.
Business Tip 52. Know your numbers
Keep track of all your spending, no matter how big or small. This is really important as even though the big stuff might be easier to remember, the smaller things really add up and are easy to forget. Take time out once or twice a month to review your numbers and consider all of your business expenses. Evaluate thoroughly which of your spending habits are worth keeping or need to be changed.
Business Tip 53. Don't be afraid of loansTraditionally, loans can be considered quite intimidating due to the repercussions of not being able to pay them back on time or at all, however, they are an excellent way to boost your cash flow. In the long run, the cost to your business for not seizing an opportunity that presents itself now, due to lack of cash flow, is greater than the cost of securing a loan. With Bizcap, loans are made easy. We can get you funded with up to $2 million in under 3 hours.
A loan can help your business expand. If you need a loan where your unique credit circumstances are taken in to account, try Bizcap.
Business Tip 54. Keep good business creditAs your business expands, you may need to take out more loans or acquire more real estate, and with a poor credit score it is difficult to get an approval for any type of secured or unsecured funding. To keep your business in good standing, pay off all your debt in a timely fashion and avoid defaulting. More importantly, only opt for funding options that your business can afford to repay. A tip to consider is to set up notifications in your banking application to avoid constantly checking your account to see if you've been paid, be alerted as soon as a payment hits your account, keep up with your mobile, electricity bills and credit card repayments etc, see upcoming payments, know when your balance falls and be able to set reminders.
Business Tip 55. Focus on expenditure but also ROI
An ROI (Return on Investment) is defined as a ratio between the net income and the investment. A high ROI means the investment's gains compare favourably to its cost. As a performance measure, ROI is used to evaluate the efficiency of an investment or to compare the efficiencies of several different investments. Measuring expenditures alongside return on investment can give you a clear picture of what investments make sense and which may not be worth continuing.
Business Tip 56. Reduce costs
It is very easy to get caught up in the day to day processes, operations and requirements of a business that we tend to often overlook or even forget to keep looking for newer and more efficient ways of doing business. Reviewing these costs, such as upgrades, maintenance, overheads and miscellaneous frequently and thinking of ways in which you can save money, really adds up and goes a long way.
Business Tip 57. Make ways to increase cash flowHere are some tips to improve your cash flow as suggested by business.vic.gov.au
- Encourage customers to pay early
- Manage staffing and cash flow
- Manage your stock and suppliers
- Consider your other assets and investments
- Refine your marketing strategy
- Forecast your cash flow
Business Tip 58. Plan ahead“If you’re not looking 5 to 10 years ahead, you are behind the competition,” said Tina Gosnold, founder of QuickBooks specialist firm Set Free Bookkeeping. From a financial standpoint, it is really important to plan ahead for the future of your business and not focus entirely on issues that need to be addressed today or in the near future only. Planning for the future means you are well prepared to face any challenges that might come your way and have a good understanding of the direction you need to take to achieve your set goals and targets.
Business Tip 59. Pay yourself
You have to believe that you are the company’s biggest asset. It is your vision and direction that will guide the company towards success so you should not overlook your own role in the company and compensate yourself accordingly. Plus, paying yourself from the get-go has serious advantages, not just in terms of your financial situation but also positively impacts how you feel about yourself. It is the best way to increase work incentives, savings and commitment.
Business Tip 60. Have a billing strategyLet's be real - there will always be customers that will make payments late or (worse) never. If you are struggling to collect money from your clients then it may be time to get creative with your methods.
- Be open and transparent with all the costs and payment terms before conducting business with a client or finalising any contracts.
- If a customer is experiencing issues with making payments, set up a payment plan and assist them instead of going hard on them - unless no other option is available.
- Make sure you send invoices straight away. This helps avoid falling behind.
- Issue warnings and if those don’t help, then charge late payment fees.
- Don't give up on your customers, don't be aggressive but definitely be persistent. Send email reminders regularly and if those are missed or ignored, call them everyday until they pay.
- If numerous attempts in trying to collect your payments have failed, get a collection agency or factoring company involved or ultimately don't be afraid to take legal action.