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Top 4 Accounting Tips by Karen Bates, Advantage Accounting

Karen Bates is the principal and director of Advantage Accounting Pty Ltd, an accounting practice in Lake Macquarie NSW which specialises in providing micro and small business owners with business advice and accounting and taxation solutions tailored to their needs. Today Karen shares with us her Top 4 Accounting tips. 

Advantage Accounting Logo

  • Use the benefits of technology

There are many efficiencies to be gained from using cloud accounting applications, not least of which is the time to enter and reconcile transactions can be significantly reduced. By keeping your business records up to date, you can look at the current business trading position with ease, facilitating accurate and timely decisions to be made. In addition, cloud accounting applications can be complimented by using cloud applications for important business functions, like job management and stock control, for streamlined systems.

  • Plan for the instant asset write off for asset purchases up to $20,000

Assets purchased up to $20,000 by small business qualify for an immediate tax deduction from 13 May 2015 to 30 June 2017. The assets in your small business pool can also be immediately deducted if the pool balance is less than $20,000. If your business currently has a very small asset pool balance, the purchase of an asset (eg a car) up to $33,000 ex GST before 30 June 2015 may see the depreciated value of the pool being less than $20,000 in 2016/17 and therefore the remaining pool value being immediately tax deductible in that year.

  • Structuring your business structure

When choosing an entity in which to operate your business, consideration should be given to matters like taxation, risk, asset protection, complexity of the structure, introduction of new owners and exit plans. As your business grows and evolves, the business structure may need changing. It’s important to review your business structure regularly.

  • Talk with your accountant when doing BIG things

When buying or selling a business, or property, your accountant can advise you on tax matters such as GST, capital gains tax and stamp duty and help you plan the transaction to minimise your overall costs.

To read client testimonials or get in touch with Karen go to www.advantacc.com.au, Karen would welcome your enquiry on your business.

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Statup Stories: Roccet ID

We first met Rob, from Roccet ID earlier this year when he came to ‘We Love Startups’ for a logo design for his new business. So we were excited to check in with him to see how his new business is going and to have him share his ‘Start up Story’.

roccet ID Maitland Logo design maitland

1: So tell us what is Roccet ID?’
Roccet ID is an online store operating off the back of Roccet Engraving, an established laser engraving business in the Hunter Valley.

Roccet ID specializes in providing ID wristbands, luggage tags and other items. Our wristbands in particular can come with a variety of information such as In Case of Emergency (I.C.E) information, allergies, medical conditions, or barcodes for running events or other scanning applications.

Our market includes, Runners, children, elderly, allergy sufferers, endurance athletes and more.

2: Why did you start your own business?
I started Roccet ID as I felt there was a real need for people to be wearing some form of identification whilst out running alone as I often do. I then became aware of a variety of people that could benefit from these products.

3: What’s been your biggest challenge so far?
Our biggest challenge has been getting our brand out into the market place as one of our main competitor’s is from the USA as has a known following and presence and we think most Australians would rather buy Australian if given a choice.

4: Any tips for other Startups?
Spend time researching your competitors and finding your unique selling proposition.

5: What next for Roccet ID?’
We would like to be an easily accessible and well recognised brand across Australia with a solid reputation and would like to expand with pet identification and the use of QR codes in asset management and identification.

Roccet ID wristbrands

You can order a wristband through Roccet ID online store or continue to follow Roccet ID’s story through their facebook page.

Read more Startup Stories via the links below

Startup Stories: Hunter Headline

For a while now Holly Martin has been quietly and tirelessly working away in the background of Hunter Headline. Her hard work has paid off and The Hunter Headline website has now had over 75k views and has a rapidly growing following on social media. Read below as Holly shares some some insight on how she built this substantial following.

Holly Martin From Hunter Headline

1: So tell us what is ‘Hunter Headline?’
Hunter Headline is a business news website that focuses on the good news for organisations that operate within the Hunter region. It features daily news updates, expert articles and interviews with Hunter Leaders.

2: Why did you start your own business?
I saw a gap in the marketplace for a completely focused business news website. Traditional media provide a fantastic service in the delivery of news, but because they cover such a broad range of topic areas it can often be quite difficult for local businesses to get coverage of their news. By having a very clear audience and purpose Hunter Headline is able to keep local businesspeople in the loop – whether it be about new appointments, business expansions, award recipients or sponsorship activities, the topic areas covered are diverse.

3: What’s been your biggest challenge so far?
As with any new business the challenge at the start for Hunter Headline was to find an audience. It took 18 months of networking, online advertising and social media to build a targeted and relevant audience, but since then it has steamrolled as local business people have embraced a media outlet that is there to serve them.

4: Any tips for other Startups?
Be very clear on your target audience and your point of difference from your competitors.

5: What next for ‘Hunter Headline?’
We’re just about to launch our first yearly print publication – THE ANNUAL. It will showcase the major stories and pinnacles of the previous year, preserving a permanent place in local history for businesses who have grown, succeeded, innovated, expanded, donated and thrived.

Signup for Hunter Headline’s weekly enewsletter here and/or follow Hunter Headline on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn for the latest business news from the Hunter area.

 

Read more Startup Stories via the links below:

How to stay motivated when working from home

Low overheads, no COMMUTING and no commercial leases make working from home a very attractive option for many startup businesses. but, be warned…working from home is fraught with distractions. SEE BELOW MY GUIDE ON ‘HOW TO STAY MOTIVATED WHEN WORKING FROM HOME’

For the first 18 months of our business, my business partner and I worked from the sunroom of a very small apartment. Below is a few of the lessons we learned along the way.

1. Get up early. Use the time that you would have spent commuting wisely. Exercise, spend extra time with family, plan meals or spend some time on a personal project. If you sleep in you only going to loose more time in your day and counteract one of the main benefits of working from home.

2. Get Dressed. You don’t need to be wearing a 3 piece suit, but tracksuit pants are a definite no.  It might be psychological, but it will help you switch from ‘laying on the couch mode’ to ‘work mode’. I use ‘Smart Casual’ as a guide to feeling comfortable working from home.

3. Step away from the washing machine! When I worked at home, completely menial housework tasks sometimes appeared more appealing or urgent and was a easy distraction from work. Suddenly a sunny day seemed like a a very sensible reason to stop what I was doing and quickly pop a load of washing on. The problem being that all of these quick tasks add up to a clean house but a very unproductive work day.

4. Create a space. Create a dedicated working area (see our blog here for some Home Office Inspiration). Try and stay away from your kitchen table, lounge room or anywhere where you are likely to be interrupted or where you have to move to accommodate others.

5. Get out of the house. Don’t forget to get out of the house now and then, schedule some meetings, attend a networking event or take a walk at lunch time. Cabin fever can kick in very quickly, so make sure you plan your schedule ahead of time to prevent this.

6. Set a schedule 

7. Stick to your schedule. Yes, I know this is a bit tongue and cheek, but what is the point of setting a schedule if you don’t use it.

8. Schedule in some exercise. By working from home you are more then likely already sitting around all day, but you are also missing out on the movement that many others benefit from getting to and from their office. DO NOT underestimate the benefit that exercise has on your mindset and motivation levels. Make time for exercise regardless of your workload.

How to stay motivated when working from home

This is the our home office space, 2007

 

 

How Pinterest Can Help Your Business?

Pinterest is a way to bookmark images from the web and organise them onto Pin boards that have different themes. Once set up you can follow other peoples pins or boards and see what images they pin and vice versa. Read below for part three of our social media tips to find out ‘how Pinterest can help your business’ (see part one on Facebook & two on instagram here).

 How to use Pinterest for your business

1. Get more traffic to your website
Images you pin from your website will link back to your website. Then like a ripple effect when people repin this image they and their followers will also have a link to your website.

2. Searchable
Search is a huge part of Pinterest. Be specific and consider what people may be searching when you are adding a name and description to your images, you can even use keywords to name your boards.  (Remember don’t overdo this, you don’t want to look spammy)

3. Rich Pins
Rich pins are pins that have a little extra info. For example a product pin will include the price of the product and details on where you can buy it, a Recipe rich pin will include ingredients and instructions and a movie pin might include ratings, credits. There are currently five types of rich pins; Movie, recipe, article product and place.

4. Create a Business account.
A Pinterest business account will give you access to analytics, rich pins, allow you to set up your page in your business name (rather then your personal name), and their is rumours that new features specific to business pages will be released soon. Pinterest also has some excellent education material that is geared specifically to business owners.

5. You can add a ‘pin it’ button to your website
If you add a ‘Pin it’  (see at the bottom of this blog) button to your website you can help prompt and make it easier for people to share your content.

6. Pin in your sleep
You don’t actually have to be active on Pinterest to have images from your website pinned. If you have beautiful pinnable images on your website there is a good chance someone else will pin the image.

How Pinterest can help your business

Here is some examples of Businesses that are using Pinterest for business really well.

1. Inside Out Magazine

2. Koskela

3. Lorna Jane 

4. Etsy

See part one on Facebook and part two on Instagram

This Blog was originally published on neonzoo.com.au on the 18/12/14

Startup Stories: Octopus Garden Design

We first met Gerrad from Octopus Garden Design through a photo we posted on Instagram a little over a year ago. Excited to meet a fellow business owner, we are happy to share Gerrad’s story of Octopus Garden Design and how it came to be…

1: So tell us what is ‘Octopus Garden Design?’

We design and document plans for new and existing gardens from courtyards to country properties. The majority of our work is for new residential homes in Newcastle, Lake Macquarie and Port Stephens.

Our services are often engaged when a client is doing a new home & wants to incorporate a swimming pool or outdoor pavilion or just doesn’t know what plants to grow.

We meet with clients, give them ideas, draw construction plans, organise permits & tenders, source plants and watch the gardens grow.

2:Why did you start your own business?

Having a passion for gardens and design and largely the economics of being unemployed after relocating back to Newcastle during the 2008 GFC. It seemed the logical choice to start a business.

3: What’s been your biggest challenge so far?

Our biggest challenge was deciding to lease a commercial office after working from home for 3 years.

At the time we couldn’t afford to do it, but it turned out to be possibly the best thing we did.

We have now outgrown the office space and looking for new premises to expand our staff further in the near future.

4: Any tips for other Startups?

Find out who and where your clients are and network with them.

Don’t make your business cards or brochures into junk mail.  Invest in quality business cards, brochures and websites to target your specific market.

5: What next for Octopus Garden Design?’

We intend to expand our design staff and continue to develop our ‘Seaweeds Garden Care’ business that supplies Trees & Plants to order, soft landscape construction works and ongoing garden maintenance for residential and commercial projects.

Read more Startup Stories via the links below:

How Instagram Can Help Your Business

Instagram is currently one of the fastest growing social media platforms. Part 2 of our social media focuses on Instagram (See our Part one on Facebook here)  and ‘How Instagram Can Help Your Business’

Instagram

1. Engagement 
Instagram achieves a greater level of engagement (likes/comments and reposts) than all other social media platforms. See the Forrester study here.

2. Exposure.
Each of your posts will be highly visible, there is no algorithm (like Facebook has) that controls your feed. So everything you post will be seen in the feed of your followers.

3. Hashtags
You can use hashtag to help your content be searchable

4. It’s extremely easy.
No need to over think it. Take a photo and post it….that’s it.

5. Instagram can give you an opportunity to market your products and services in a creative way.
Ditch the catalogue images and show your products and services being used in real situation.

5. It a great opportunity to add personality to your brand.
Show some behind the scenes image, celebrate milestones, support good causes and generally have fun with it.

Want to get started? First you need to download the app on your iPhone or tablet.

Here’s some businesses that are using Instagram for business really well

1. The Little Veggie Patch Co.

2. Nectar & Stone

3. The Luxe Nomad

4. The Lair

5. Pappa Sven 

Follow ‘We Love Startups’ on Instagram , to find out more tips and tricks for new businesses.

This post was originally posted on neonzoo.com.au on 1/12/14

How Instagram can help your business

How To Use Facebook To Help Your Business

Getting your ‘Insta’ confused with your ‘Pintererst’ or your ‘Facey’ mixed up with your ‘LinkedIn’? When talking to clients we get a lot of questions about which social media platforms they should be using for their business. This is the first in a series of blog posts where we explain the benefits of different social media outlets and how they can work for you. Let’s start with ‘How to use Facebook to Help Your Business’

First up is Facebook  with some of the benefits of using Facebook for your business listed below.

How to use Facebook to help your business
1. Out of sight, out of mind.
Facebook is another way of keeping your brand on peoples minds. It’s also another way for existing and potential clients to find your contact details via a Facebook business page. Business pages will list your phone number, address, reviews and opening hours.

3. Drive traffic to your website
Reposting articles from your blog will help to generate clicks through to your site, which will in turn build your website SEO.

4. By building a network or following on Facebook, you are building a network that can potentially share your message.
Any post that is shared by your audience will be seen by a larger audience. But don’t expect everything you put up to be shared, just like anything else it’s all about having good content. It’s best to try to find a balance between helpful, informative posts and fun posts.

5. Facebook is a low cost marketing tool.
You can create an account in seconds and it won’t cost you a thin! Don’t be fooled, to do it well you must invest the time in your Facebook page if you want to see any results and drive engagement.

6. Help show your brands personality.
Facebook is a way to reach out to your audience and talk directly to them. No need for stuffy corporate messages, use Facebook to show your brands personality and further build the connection between your brand and your audience.

7. It’s instant.
Social media is fast. Having a flash sale? Have some information on a current event? If you have a message to get out there, there’s no quicker way than social media.

 

Remember these golden rules for social media.

1. Be Authentic, the voice you use on social media must accurately represent your business.

2. Be Responsive, if someone interacts with your page, respond to them (even if it’s negative).

3. Post Regularly, inactive Facebook pages will not bring you any benefits.

How to use Facebook for business

Here’s some examples of businesses that are using Facebook for business really well…

1. Design Files , this is a good example or reposting articles to have people then click through to a website.

2. Doughheads, really good example of instant communications. Doughheads uses Facebook to let people know which markets they’ll be at and when, to generate excitement about new flavours and announce competitions.

2. Pet Rescue, Pet rescue is a Not For Profit organisation and they use Facebook to generate awareness, encourage donations and most importantly help many needy pets to find their ‘forever’ homes.

3. Threadless, They post a lot of fun content and get their audience involved by asking their opinion on designs – engagement!

Follow ‘We Love Startups’ on Facebook so we can continue to share more tips and tricks with you.

This post was originally posted on neonzoo.com.au on the 20/11/14

8 Online Tools for Business Startups

There is a lot to Do and learn when starting a business so we’ve put together our list of ‘8 online tools for business startups’. Below is some tools that can help you to manage your admin, contacts, accounts and day to day tasks.

1. TuexDuex, If you live by ‘To Do Lists’ then you should take a look at Teux Deux, the design is simple, functional and you can use the iphone app to sync between your phone and computer, so you’ll never miss those items that you remember on the run.

tuexduex, online tools for business startups

2. Xero – If you new to accounting want your accounting system to be streamline, easy, save your time and beautifully designed, then you want to use Xero, trust me.

xero, online tools for startups

3. Google Drive, Online storage for important documents and items needed on the fly where ever you are.

google-dirve, online tools for business startups

4. Survey Monkey, Want to do some market research before your launch or get valuable customer feedback? Use Survey Monkey to quickly and easily gather information.

survey-monkey online tools for startup businesses

6. Google Analytics, Don’t guess, plug Google Analytics into your website and get real insight about the traffic going to your website.

online tools for business google-analytics

7. Rapportive, Get quick snapshot of a college in your inbox, and quickly connect with them via LinkedIn

rapportive online tools for new businesses

8. Boomerang for Gmail, Send emails at a specific time, remind yourself to follow up on emails when you don’t hear back and get help archiving emails until a later date.

boomerang online tools for startups

Startup Stories: Vintage China Hire

Maree from Vintage China Hire is one of those inspirational people that took the plunge and decided to transform her hobby into a business. See below for her story and tips on starting a business.

Q: So tell us what is Vintage China Hire?
A: We specialise in the hire and styling of genuine antique and vintage tableware – perfect for anyone looking to have their own vintage, retro or quirky celebration, high tea, wedding or any special event. All of our items are genuinely vintage, no reproductions and we do not bulk up our collection with too many items from the 80’s-90’s.

Q: Why did you start your own business?
A: I had been collecting vintage and second-hand items for most of my life, especially cup/saucer/plates, and also liked what the UK hirers of Vintage China businesses were doing.

Q: What’s been your biggest challenge so far?
A: If a person has their heart set on a particular business name, check to see if it is available both as a business name and a domain  name.  I registered both my business name and internet domain names years before I had the funds for my Website and FB site

Q: Any tips for other Startups?
A: A well-designed and functional website, Facebook, and business cards.

Q: What’s next for ‘Vintage China Hire?
A: Making our site responsive i.e; mobile and tablet friendly, and training in some new social media skills.

Follow Vintage China Hire, through her Facebook 
Vintage China Hire Startup StoriesVintage China Hire Newcastle Startup Stories
Vintage China Hire Newcastle Startup Stories
Vintage China Hire Startup Stories

The logo, website and photoshoot for Vintage China Hire was designed and styled by our sister company Neon Zoo in 2012.

Read more Startup Stories via the links below